Birth order is a strange and powerful force….more and more, the research points to the fact that in most families, a lot of your personality is not only developed because of your innate qualities, but also where you appeared in the birth order of your siblings.
This is certainly case for the Sony RX10 series….the first one was introduced with one of the Sony A7 series, the flashy big brother, and the Sony RX100ii, the precocious baby, and so of course, the uber-talented middle child was overlooked (and no, I’m an eldest child, so this isn’t my life story disguised as a camera review:-).
And this same thing has happened with the introduction of the RX10ii, which was completely lost in the kerfuffle about the A7Rii and the RX100iv cameras in the same release.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last few years of shooting motion, it’s that you really need to support that camera for smooth footage. Tripods and monopods are just a couple of devices in my ever-growing, but still compact, arsenal of support devices.
Today, I’d like to acquaint you with three small support options, each of which played an important role in my recent month-long trip around the world documenting National Geographic Expeditions “Celebrating Exploration” private jet tour. In fact, the video here, Afternoon in Bhaktapur, was shot entirely with the tabletop tripod in shoulderpod and bellypod mode (explained below).
There are a lot of times when a hardwired audio connection just isn’t going to cut it in a run and gun situation. And the first place most of us turn is to a good wireless mic setup. I’ve got an older version of this one from Sony, and it is rugged, reliable, with great sound.
The problem with the pro wireless units is that they are fairly bulky (you wouldn’t be carrying it around full time in a camera bag, unless you are seriously doing only interviews) and at $600, rather expensive.
TSA inspectors don’t like them because they look like part of a detonation system. Overseas, customs inspectors don’t like them because they look like something you could start a revolution with. They’re strictly for bigger, professional productions.
Wouldn’t be nice if there were a reasonably priced ($179), tiny, lightweight (2 oz.) wireless system you could throw in your bag on fulltime basis to use for those travel gigs where you will occasionally find a character you’d love to mic up for a quick interview?
I was recently invited to submit some of my travel films to a new section on the website of a major American publication. It’s a showcase of short films and when you go to the site, it’s full of spectacular nature, adventure, and travel films that are daringly executed, expertly shot, and beautifully edited…and, to watch one, you have to sit through a 30 second, non-fast-forwardable commercial.
Contrary to the popular misconception among family and friends that I am some kind of hopped up gearhead, most of the time, I actually hate to upgrade or switch cameras. It takes me 6 months to catch up with the workings of a new camera, and frankly, most of the time, the incremental improvements are rarely worth the bother of learning all the new button, dial, and menu placements. Of course, there’s always an exception to that “rarely worth the bother” clause, and the Sony A7s is one of them.
If your knees get a little weak when you check out the price ($500-1000) and the size (relatively humungous) of the XLR pre-amp adapters available for your Sony A7 series, RX10, Nikon and Canon DSLRS, or your Panny GH4, you’ll like this post.
The longer I do the video thing, the more I appreciate a shooter who can get a great interview out of an every-day person; the type of subject who isn’t a media-savvy professional used to being on camera and giving soundbites. Although he is known for so many other visual things in the world of DSLR videography, Philip Bloom seems to be able to get great interviews out of ordinary people, which is just one of the many reasons I admire him.
I’ve already seen the first Halloween candy in the supermarket, so I figure it’s not too early to talk about the mother of all “Halloween” celebrations, the Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico. I had the opportunity to cover the festival last year with my friend, Richard Ellis, longtime Reuters and Getty shooter and founder of the Charleston Photo Workshops. I’ll be heading down again with him next month to co-teach a travel workshop around the festival. Here’s a taste of what we will see:
It’s not easy lugging gear around on what is essentially a family vacation. But when you get a chance to go to someplace as exotic and photogenic as Bali, it would be crazy not to take advantage of the photo (and video) ops that abound on this beautiful island.
And so, when I planned my kit for a recent trip to this Indonesian island with my two sons and my brother, a trip that was essentially going to be a boogie boarding safari, I knew that the pounding Balinese surf wouldn’t be the only thing I’d be shooting.
…and unlike that daring young man on the flying trapeze, my moves may not be graceful, all girls I cannot please, but damn, I can produce some pretty nice-looking aerial HD video for clients who can’t afford the big, nosemounted, two-man crew, aerial Hollywood video helicopter setups when they need views higher than the growing army of DJI drone-ographers can get them.
There are three factors that help me compete with the big boys.