The inner geek in me came out last wednesday as my friends and I congregated to Times Square for the big NYC DSLR meetup hosted by the master himself, Philip Bloom. It was cool seeing like minded professionals and hobbyists take over Times Square with their cameras hanging around their necks and talking the latest tech talk. When the man himself finally showed up, we swarmed around him like vultures. Tourists and passerby’s were asking if he was someone famous and Philip said it best by telling one young girl, “if you’re not into geeky technology, you won’t know me.” Anyways, I’ve followed his blog for quite some time now so it was nice to finally see him in person. © Photos by good friend and flash wiz Chi Gao
Archive Page 2
I recently came back from a 1 week trip to Utah. It was everything you can ask for in a snowboarding trip. The grins on our faces coming out of powder stashes got larger and wider as each day went by. Park City. Snowbasin. Powder Mountain. Snowbird. Solitude. Thank you snow gods for letting me end the season the way it should be.
The annoyance of carrying around a backpack with lenses, batteries and memory cards soon became forgotten as the amazing conditions and picture perfect scenery turned into endless opportunities to capture footage. I shot over 500 clips and have been busy making notes, editing, sound mixing and everything else. An epic trip deserves an epic video.
This past weekend was our first snowboarding trip of the year. It’s been a very late start to the season due to the erratic weather. It’s nice to get out on the mountain and it feels really good to finally get behind the camera after months of waiting. I had a bunch of shots in mind that I wanted to try and get. Of course, my ideas on paper looked drastically different through a lens. Regardless, I think I came pretty close in what I wanted to achieve with a few surprises and luck thrown in between. It’s essential to tell the story through each frame and I really wanted to capture the excitement of snowboarding as it is to myself and my friends. Everything from waiting in the chairlift line to strapping into your bindings represents what the sport means to us. Nothing else makes you feel as free and detaches you from the “real world”.
I really wasn’t sure what kind of results I would get so I used this weekend to experiment. There’s been numerous complaints about the weak codec but everything seemed to hold up fine for me, probably due to the fact that I shot entirely in 720 to avoid the dreaded ‘MUD’ that I’ve read on countless forums. I should really aim to shoot with a lower shutter but with the snow and bright sun, it was a bit unavoidable, even with an ND9. I don’t get as much grading flexibility in post either and it’s tough to get the fine detail in the shadows and highlights. Either that’s a technical limitation or I need to work harder in properly exposing my scenes. Also, my $50 “steadicam” isn’t very steady so a lot of footage looks like I’m shooting during an earthquake. Slowing it down in post helps but a lot of my footage I found unusable. Oh well.
After finishing my final edit and watching it countless times, I can say I’m pleased. Does the quality compare to that of a full sensor? Definitely not. Does it look like film? Perhaps. Does the camera perform exactly how I expected in those conditions? Absolutely and it actually exceeded my expectations. I purchased this camera for its size and versatility, knowing I’d have to carry it around while snowboarding. I’d much rather have that flexibility than compromise size and a few other luxuries like a more robust codec.
Screengrabs below. View the final edit here on vimeo.
Wow, I’ve realized it’s been almost 2 months since my last post. I guess that’s what happens with the increased popularity of micro-blogging and the quick and easy use of Twitter. I’ve been busy at work with pitches and spending lots of time inside After Effects for holiday greetings, logo animations and updating the new Last Exit website. I have a handful of projects I need to add to my portfolio site. In the meantime, check out my latest project here.
2010 is around the corner and I expect big things for the new year! Happy Holidays.
Shot some footage over the weekend in Times Square. Lot’s more “movies” to come, especially with snowboarding around the corner. 🙂
Nick Campbell who is a motion designer at Digital Kitchen Chicago has a wonderful blog which has become a weekly bookmarked visit for me. I spoke once before about his 5 second projects and how it’s a great way to play with an open brief to experiment and learn. His new thing is reel critiques. Basically you can send him a link to your reel and he’ll do a real time critique of it. I was 1 of the 3 reels chosen for his 2nd episode. He had some nice words to say about my reel which is very encouraging and offered some insight into how I could improve it. Thanks Nick! And thanks to everyone else who’s left comments, emails, advice and everything else.
Trying to get my GH1 was impossible. Every store had it on pre-order and Panasonic decided not to roll them out until mid September. I patiently waited 3 weeks and thankfully, Crutchfield kept on their promise to send me one when they got the next shipment. I’ve read just about every forum on dvxuser and listened to all of Philip Bloom’s comments and it just made sense for me to get this now. The compact size is what really did it for me as I can’t imagine lugging anything bigger on snowboarding trips. Also, I’m not too concerned with “MUD” as I’ll be shooting primarily at 720/60.
I’ve already purchased the Fader ND and 4/3 adapter from ebay so I’ll be up and ready come snowboarding season. Just a couple more accessories and I’ll be fully prepared for a nasty follow up to my Whistler documentary.