Change of discipline today; photographer!

Madeleine pink table centre piece flowers Madeleine Pink table centre piece at Epsom RAC (Canon 5D mkIII, Samyang 14mm @T/3.1, 1/60’s, ISO 1600).

I am not a yes man. I will never say yes to doing something I haven’t had experience in, as it can just cause anger, frustration and disappointment from both myself and the client, especially if I don’t deliver what is expected.

Photography for me is one of those disciplines. Personally I am not a photographer, I don’t have an education or background in still photography apart from graphics and VFX, so I go against one of my own rules here purely because of the following reasons, that may be applicable to you too!

1) I learned videography and production on broadcast video cameras, transitioning to DSLR through the wedding film job I do; I was heavily trained and now 3 years on my 5D mkIII is my port of call. Many will be in the same position as me here and will follow the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed, ISO).

2) While at university, and still now I study cinematic and storytelling techniques (it wasn’t included in my Television and Video Technology BSc. course). Whether it be moving the camera or with a static shot, the composition of storytelling is a present and constant thought in my work.

3) I have prepared myself heavily with the correct equipment and research to use; high speed lenses, a range of lights to compose the image, building mood boards and finding out the clients requirements (as well as any inspiration they have that will add).

4) My client is very happy with what I produce, and if they weren’t they wouldn’t ask me to work with them again.

Note: I never advertise myself as a photographer.

That makes me confident to go out and take some photos of flowers for a florist, which I am doing today!

Madeleine pink table centre piece flowers Madeleine Pink table centre piece at Epsom RAC (Canon 5D mkIII, Tamron 24-70mm @F/3.2, 1/50’s, ISO 3200).

Transferring the skills from DSLR videography to photography have been easier for me, probably because I always shoot in manual, I love taking my camera out with me wherever I go, and the storytelling techniques of composing images are still present in photos like they are in video.

If however you find it a little more difficult, consult the exposure triangle, and keep a couple of things in mind;

Aperture – Wide open allows lots of light to enter, shallow depth of field. A narrow aperture reduces the light making the image darker, and creating a deep depth of field. Using focus and blur is one of the main tools the director uses to concentrate the audiences attention onto specific details.

Shutter speed – Controls the motion due to how long the sensor is exposed to the light. A fast shutter captures fast motion with minimal blur (sports and outdoor), a slow shutter means the sensor is exposed for longer, allowing the subjects to move in the frame while it is open, creating blur.

ISO – Digital noise added to increase the image exposure. Low ISO results in low noise, crisp images but with no added exposure, where high ISO will increase your exposure but will introduce digital noise that is more visible in dark situations.

Other key points to remember: White Balance/Colour Temperature – make sure your whites are white and your blacks are black. This depends on what light you are using, daylight for example is 5600K, but Tungsten is 3200K.

Make sure your camera is set to capture RAW and JPEG images to allow for greater definition when editing the pictures afterwards!

Madeleine pink table centre piece flowers Madeleine Pink table centre piece at Epsom RAC (Canon 5D mkIII, Nikkor 50mm @F/1.8, 1/50’s, ISO 1600).

It is worth a go if you are confident you can produce the images your potential client is looking for. Being a videographer not a photographer, I do not charge a standard fee to have me out for an hour and to post process the images later. This is for two reasons; I am a new business, and so is my client. Why out price your skills and make it a hard decision for your potential client to use you? Secondly, like I keep mentioning I am not a photographer and although I have rates and targets to meet financially, I see this more of getting out with the camera to be creative for an afternoon rather than a job.

Some points to consider if you are ever approached by someone who requires something different from your usual line of work! Do not forget to do your research though. Unfortunately I have had a number of experiences of photographers embarking on video without understanding the full production process, where I’ve been asked by their client to correct the mistakes.. So if you’re a photographer doing video, again have confidence in that you will be able to produce exactly what is expected, and with the internet being the biggest learning and education network, there really is no excuse nowadays!

 

 

Video on the Canon 5DmkIII and Samyang Cine Lenses

Many of you intrepid videographers may have come across a unique range of VDSLR Cine lenses from Samyang (Rokinon/Walimex) depending on your region. Have you had thoughts to invest in one, or a whole range of them?

Focusing on video, having electronic focusing and aperture is not essential for me, and in fact gives more control over the light entering the lens due to the de-clicked aperture. You can create smooth transitions between light and dark situations with ease by pulling the aperture.

As I’ve only just got the 5DmkIII and cine lenses, I thought it would be a good idea to test the kit out individually; producing a short video of the results.

I began on the Samyang 14mm T/3.1, an ultra-wide lens that does have barrel distortion if subjects or distinct lines move towards the sides of the frame. Operating the camera handheld on the MODA rig, I was not left much choice but to capture the video in 720p 50 frames per second, to eliminate obvious camera shake. This did work in my favor come later in the day when I was hanging out of a car boot filming!

adam plowden video filming canon 5dmkiii samyang 14mm

To exaggerate the ultra-wide effect, getting close to the ground, walls or your subject will show how wide the image actually is, while offering exquisite sharpness throughout the depth of the image. Moving while operating an ultra-wide also gives a unique changing perspective to the viewer; one that is appealing due to it looking unnatural to our eyes – a great effect for establishing locations in film.

What I did notice was a very strong contrast, even when shooting in Neutral picture style (for a flatter image). This is causing issues in post due to burnt in detail in the highlights and shadows.. So I have adjusted the picture style to my needs by reducing all of the parameters to the lowest level.

Overall, I am ecstatic to finally get my hands on an ultra-wide as I had no way of achieving that perspective with my old kit.

My tips would be to keep the camera stable – use a tripod, shoulder rig or steadicam to operate the camera. This gives you better control and steady visuals that won’t distract the viewer from the awesome visuals.

Judge your highlights and shadows correctly – this is a manual lens, so remember it is easy to stop down to F/6.5 or F/8.3 (uncommon electronic F stops) to expose the image perfectly. With this, always check your focus (use digital zoom!!). The worst thing ever would be to find an awesome flowing shot but it being slightly out of focus.

Experiment using the manual aperture, it will take some time to get used to!

Here is a draft edit that I chucked together from the test day –

On to the Samyang 35mm T/1.5

london filming canon dslr video camsmart moda camera rig

This is a beautiful lens. I’ve only worked with a 35mm F/1.8 for my little Nikon D5000, so as far as experience with 35mm that goes out the window.

What can I say… The 35mm focal distance works so well with the 5D’s full frame sensor, and even at T/5.6 the image was sharp and had a beautiful bokeh. To the other end of the spectrum; I also shot at T/22 to achieve a silhouette effect of Glen and the Houses of Parliament in the background. At this small aperture you would expect loss of detail and softness, but the Samyang 35mm excelled.

Another fantastic benefit of this lens is its minimum focus distance (the minimum distance from the lens to the subject for it to be in focus). It is very small at only 30cm allowing you to get very close to the subject and still achieve pinpoint sharpness and shallow depth of field.

I was filming up in London with my friend Glen, the light was hard when we arrived with strong sunlight beaming through the rain clouds, so to retain good exposure throughout the frame I found myself shooting between T/4 and T/8, varying the ISO depending on the location. For demo purpoes, I also filmed Glen constructing and using the new CamSmart MODA Rig, in innovative new video and photography product aimed at all level of users to achieve exceptional visuals in a cost effective solution.

For this close up, intricate video the 35mm lens was perfect for both wide and close up shots, I get more and more impressed as time passes!

My tips for using the Samyang 35mm T/1.5 cine lens – get yourself some ND filters, or even better variable ND filters as this will reduce the light entering the lens without changing the aperture, shutter or ISO. If you have a lens that is very fast, like this model at T/1.5, to retain a shallow depth of field in a multitude of locations and light levels ND filters are crucial and should be in your kit bag.

Here is the rough edit of the 35mm film! –

Big shout out to Manfrotto for the 055CF tripod, video head and pro backpack, makes a world of difference to my old 055 aluminium model!

Good luck with your shooting, drop us a comment if you have any questions about using the lenses or kit, and be sure to like, follow and share!!

Why is music so important to your production?

As videographers come and go, especially those that focus more on the visuals rather than the audio aspect of production, some may not realize the importance of the sound that accompanies the visuals. It builds atmosphere, tension, and can play on many different emotions and feelings that is just not possible through visuals (hearing someone behind you for example).

Remember, AUDIO is 50% of a final video or film, the other 50% is the VISUALS. Without good audio, your audiences perception of the recreated reality portrayed in the visuals becomes blurred as it is not realistic to hear naturally, think about it!

If you are working on a production where you know the quality of the audio or visuals will be compromised, then have a back up plan! I shoot all the time on my Canon 60D, DSLR’s having notoriously terrible in built microphones so I overcome this in ENG situations by using a RODE Videomic, which does the job. However, for exceptionally clean and high quality audio recording an external mic+recorder device is crucial especially for talking heads! I used the Zoom H2 audio recorder to capture the sound externally, to then sync up in post.

A GREAT TIP!! If you are in a shooting situation that allows; set the camera and audio device recording and clap. This will create a spike in the audio waveform and will make it so much easier to sync up later on!

My reason for discussing; I’m currently choosing the accompanying music for the GLF conference video. I use a site called Audio Network to source most of my audio media as it has great creative commons uses and is reasonably priced too, as well as having such a vast array of production style music.

So far, to go with the up-beat and enthusiastic, youthful visuals I have chosen these two to go with the visuals; let me know what you think!

If You Wanna

How’s It Going?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the music, and any similar production questions or issues you may be having!

Want creative and cinematic promotional video, and need to keep costs down?

Get 10% off all productions until the 15th November '13!

Get 10% off all productions until the 15th November ’13!

Are you in need of innovative, cinematic and artistic promotional video’s and media, that makes your business, product, event or service stand out, attract a wide audience and immerse them in the visuals and sound?

My portfolio includes video/media work with – Moet Hennessy, Broadcast Magazine, The BBC, AstraZeneca, Manfrotto & more.

I’m offering 10% off on all productions until the 15th of November 2013! Check out my work at

www.adamplowden.co.uk

and get in contact!