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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Stupid Stuff @ NAB

Starting out the list of Stupid Camera Stuff.... Most electronic servo stabilizers. Solution in search of a problem for the most part. Not terribly useful for a full day off shooting compared to the numerous other rigs like jibs, dollies, and even drones. Since your arms can't really support one of these things for more than a few minutes adding support is required. This wire support rig isn't a bad idea if you have a bad shoulder and need to shoot hand held. Here its been adapted to a stabilizer. can anyone say steadicam ? or one of the affordable copies which is a vastly more practical production tool ? Arri was showing exactly this, as was at least one other vendor. It makes a world more sense that a steadicam whcih is designed for extended shooting combined wtih a stabilizer would make for the ultimate in steady shots. Of course most good steadicam ops will tell you they can do the exact same thing minus the weight if the rig is properly balanced out and the operator has this old fashioned thing called : SKILL ! For those who can't be bothered with developing skill the stabilizer will let the novice get shots they couldn't, but with the added weight.

Folding Tripod...Sort of

So I watched the demo of this product by well know gear bits vendor. It sucks. Its fiddly, unstable. Ok, nice idea, but any camera bigger than a bare DSLR or small plamcorder and its useless. Even watching them adjust it up or down or whatever, it was clear they were fighting with it. NEXT !


A Human Jib Arm ? You're Kidding, Right ? 

Sorry for the blurry pic, its a frame grab from video. Its a body mounted dual jib arm, it goes up and down. Has a stabilizer rig on it. Some other blog site gushed about how great and innovate this is. The commenters all agreed, it wasn't. Not for $14K ! Laughing yet ? Hey its NAB and sometimes you see stuff like this. Nice college engineering project to prove it can be done but that doesn't make it a usable or practical tool.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Its Been A Long Week - for work and news

I'd like to have a picture from this week's job but can't... NDA / trade secrets. Well it was interesting just the same and I got to work with some great people that...well, never mind, they weren't here ! I guess of most interest was I had 3 GoPro's running at once for a couple of set ups and they worked great.

Meanwhile I've been watching the weeks postings from around the web. Maybe the most bizarre is the GoPro3 mod that takes said unit and mounts it into a new housing that can take C mount lenses. That all sounds cool until you look at what these guys did, going completely and totally overboard and making it a rental item only. Pointless, who cares. Really do I want to RENT a GoPro with C mount lens and remote follow focus ? No. Get real. I can appreciate the crazy work that went in to this... but really if you can't sell it for a couple hundred bucks who cares. Reality is I'll just use a dslr of some flavor instead... or a normal GoPro for the job. Lets stop and think about this... for $3k I can have  BMD cinema camera with somewhat bigger than 16mm sensor with EF or M4/3 mount and 2.5K. Real deal here. Instead take a 1/4" chip camera, take out the guts, make an aluminin housing for it, remount all the connectors, give it a C mount... and the make it cost more ? for less ? Wait there is more... you can have an LCD on the back AND wireless focus control for that rack focus from 5" to infinity shot... even though DoF is pretty much forever at  1 to 2 ft. anyway with a wide angle lense and nearly as much with something a bit longer.

So this earned a special nomination into the "stupid DSLR stuff" catagory this week taking its place next to the $64 1/8->XLR cable last featured.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Space Shuttle Flight

Simply amazing and cool. Lots of time over LA. Includes com audio. Enjoy... 100% non-CGI !

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Doing The Right Thing

It never ceases to amaze me what some people will do on shoots. Mostly inexperience combined with not knowing when to say NO ! its dangerous, its not safe. Here are a couple of examples I ran into over the last day or so. 

One of the worst things I've seen... do these guys seriously think that little lift will hold this with more than a small breeze ? Thats scrap metal waiting to happen. Note camera under 20X.... maybe if the camera gets smashed, the public won't have to worry about these guys shooting anymore. Also note : Full Sail on the side of the truck....

Now dig this dslr rig. Ok, we all know they are smaller and lighter but... never mind the aluminum pole will bounce the camera silly... maybe enough to smash it into the pavement saving these guys from a shaky cam shot.

Of course even productions with money do dumb things. I couldn't even watch what happens with the bridge up the street.... or if they go around a right corner even slightly too fast.

Unfortunately there are plenty more examples of productions of all sizes doing dumb stuff like this. If you are just starting out, use an extra dose of common sense. If it doesn't seem like a good idea, its not. Never ever do a rig thinking "I can get away with it this time" because that doesn't always work out. Learn from some experience people first. Remember, its just a movie... or commercial... or some corporate thing, its not your arm, your leg, your life or some one else's.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Would You Really ?

I haven't had a Stupid DSLR Entry in a while. Most gear is good, well made, well thought out. In many respects this gear is probably well made. There is ends. The CONCEPT : Mount 2 dslr's onto your shoulder rig to get wide and close coverage. Um... dumb !. no matter what, if you frame to cover one shot, the other will not be good... even super wide one. Next, doesn't 2 cameras generally mean 2 operators ? Nothing like giving up a day of pay because of something like this where a producer decided the "whatever your get" wide shot will work. Not all ideas are good. Its not that I haven't  done over / under, wide / close, but each with an operator and time spent to line the shots up... Well at least they used some music for this video that would of made a cool porno track from the 80's ! maybe... I'm off to another shoot tomorrow !

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

$70 iPhone Remote

Um.... $70 to use your iPhone as a dslr remote ? I mean really its got a hardware bit to be sure, but for $12-$20  you can get a real remote on ebay. I guess if you really really want to use your iphone and be cool, maybe. For the rest of us, ebay is the place.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lightening Strikes Twice

A couple weeks ago I posted shots of a pair of modded Tota lights made to operate vertically. I was cruising around ebay the other night and look at what I found - what appears to be two more Tota lights modded to operate vertically ! Maybe Lowel needs to engrave into the barn doors "Operate Horizontally Only Or You'll Be Sorry"

Well at least this pair seems to be well made as opposed to the last two that used a couple hose clamps and a bolt.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When you thought you'd seen everything -

I'm sure you've heard this one " Well it seemed like a good idea ." To witness, I add these two pix I took while on a shoot this week. I won't say where but setup in a small chroma key "studio" were these two tota lights. Thats right, some one modded the lites to work vertically !

Ok, for those of you who don't know, the long tube like bulbs used in tota's, broads, cyc lights, ect are supposed to be operated horizontally. OEM recommendation is within 3 degrees of horitontal. Why ? because heat builds up on the high end of the bulb leading to bulb failure. I don't mean it burns out, it EXPLODES ! Molten glass goes flying ! While I have not personally seen this, I do know several people who have, and when a bulb exploded the molten glass set stuff on fire. Its deadly serious.... and some one went out of their way to create the most dangerous possible way of operating these things.

Since they were being used to light the chroma key bg in the place, I'm sure the vertical operating position worked better, right before everything burned down.

Please, safety first and foremost always. Getting hurt, burned, crippled or killed isn't worth it. Oh, I almost forgot to say, we were there shooting video around the topic of safety....


tots light being operated vertically - wrong


vertical tots light being used wrong

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yet Another Stupid DSLR Product

I'm going to add a new category to this site : Stupid DSLR Stuff.  Just when you think you've seen either every overpriced piece of gear, or just plain stupidly designed piece of gear that some one thinks slapping dslr onto the name will make it sell :


Ok, this is a peice of spring steel bent in a loop to grab the focus ring. I guess these guys have NEVER seen all the other focus levers that are out there, and have been for maybe the last 100 years. There is nothing to patent here guys, there is so much prior art here is isn't funny. This isn't a follow focus, you're not fooling anyone. Call it what it is, a focus assist lever.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Can you sell ANYTHING to dslr owners ? How about a $69.95 audio adapter worth $3

I'm just amazed at some of the overpriced stuff out there. Don't get me wrong, the price of gear over the last few years has dropped dramatically. It wasn't too long ago you needed $100K VTR to record HD video tape, now there are $1k-$3k solid state recorders with better quality. So here comes a 3.5mm to XLR adapter for $69.95. Lets get real, the XLR  can be had for $1 in lots of 20, $3 in Radio Shack if you want to really be ripped off. The  3.5mm adapter can snipped off the end of a 3.5->3.5mm cable you can also pick up for a $1 or so as a shortie. Add in 10 minutes to solder it up... ya $3. Premade ones can be found for not too much more. You can even find ones with line level -> mic level padding, ok, that requires 2 resistors in the XLR to get the job done. 

If you are really interested : Energy Transformation Systems, Inc

They must think dslr owners will buy anything.