Well here we are everybody, finally all caught up! It's been a little bit hectic trying to get all of these done quickly but I'm really happy with how they have all been turning out! As I'm sitting here writing this I'm enjoying a very delicious summer beverage and I am excited to share this week's shot with you all.
The prompt for this week involved the elements...weather you like it or not! Ha, great terrible pun right? Okay fine, no more puns....this week. So yeah, the prompt was "This week should be as unpredictable as the weather! Feature the weather in this week's landscape."
As it just so happened, the weather was doing interesting things when I needed to shoot this! I had just driven home through an INSANE thunderstorm and found that by my apartment the weather was kind of just going around us.
I decided what better way to film this than to shoot a short time lapse of the sun peaking through the clouds! So let's go ahead and watch this week's shot!
So for this week, I shot with the Sony a6300 in 4K, 24p, 2500 ISO, 1/50 shutter, at f20.0 using the Canon 75-300mm lens. Rather than shooting standard time lapse, I decided to just shoot continuously for about 25 minutes then speed up the shot in post.
I mainly decided to do that because I was too lazy to set up the camera with an intervalometer and didn't have time to buy the time lapse app for the a6300. In the end, the shot came out really great.
This week I want to start with the good. The best thing about this shot was that it is the sharpest shot I have ever gotten shooting with the adapted anamorphic set up.
This was simply due to shooting at f20. It's funny too because not only have I never shot at f20, but I didn't even realize that the lens went to f20 until I started stopping it down. It also allowed me to capture great detail in the clouds and sky.
The other thing I really liked about this shot was the way that the sun spread across the shot almost like an anamorphic lens flare. At first that's what I thought it was until I watched the clip a few times and paid attention to the clouds and saw that it was just the way the sun was hitting the edge of the clouds.
Now let's talk about the one bad thing that came up while shooting this week's shot. The biggest issue I ran into was the actual weather. When I set up the camera it was dry, no signs of coming rain over us, everything was good to go.
Right near the end of the time lapse it actually started to rain and because I was already filming I couldn't put any rain gear on the camera or I would cause the camera to shake.
So thinking quickly I grabbed the nearest thing to the door to my porch (a snow shovel, because an umbrella would be too normal) and held it over the camera for the remainder of the shot.
So beyond a few drops of rain on my camera and lens and tired arms from holding a shovel over the top of my camera, this week basically went off without a hitch!
That's it for this week! If you are participating in your own 52 week photography or cinematography challenge, please share your image for this week in the comments below!
This shot comes to you one week late with the knowledge that we will be 100% caught up this week! The prompt for this week was to shoot a portrait where the hands were the primary focus of the shot.
So for this shot it meant that I could do a pretty standard portrait that put emphasis on the hands, or I could shoot something that REALLY focused on the hands. I obviously went with the latter of the two options.
Let's take a look at this video showing a great slow motion shot of hands at work with an acoustic guitar!
It seems that I truly have a new favorite camera for shooting with as this week was shot again on the Sony a6300! I decided to have some fun with this shot and shoot it in slow motion.
The exact specs were shooting at 1080 120/24p, 6400 ISO, 1/1600 shutter, at f4.0 using a Canon 75-300mm lens and of course the B&L vintage anamorphic projector lens.
For this shot I decided to use a single 750 watt continuous light with barn doors limiting the light to basically be only on the guitar. I then set up a reflector on the other side bouncing in just a little bit of light to fill the shadows on the hands, but I wanted to make sure to get a good high contrast look to the shot.
I also had to use bright lighting to compensate for filming at a high frame rate. I wanted to get the movement of the strings captured as best as possible so I shot with a 1/1600 shutter. This also meant that even with the bright lighting I had to open up the aperture of the lens.
To make sure that I had good focus with the lens being opened up like it was, I focused while the lens was stopped down first.
Since I shot this as close up as I did, I had to use a +2 macro lens attachment which helped the shot come out with a nice shallow depth of field when combined with the f4 aperture. I also like how the image came out just a bit soft because it helps rid it of the digital look.
The hardest part of shooting this was getting the slider positioned just right. I had it tilted slightly so that the camera would tilt up just a bit due to the fact that I mounted the camera directly to the slider.
But this was another shoot where the unique design of the ProMediaGear slider comes in really handy. The slider is curved on one side to add additional motion to the footage as it doesn't simply move the camera side to side.
The direction that the camera is pointing changes slightly while it moves in the partially circular motion.
Overall I am really happy about how this shot turned out and look forward to sharing next week's shot with you all!
As always, please share your image for this week's shot in the comments below if you are participating in a weekly photography or cinematography challenge.
Here we are with week 21 in this week of catching up! This week was one that I had to decide exactly what I wanted to do. There were so many options, but when working within the constraints of the adapted anamorphic lens, some ideas were simply out of the question.
I decided that the shelf of geekdom in my living room was a great place to get a good shot. So let's go ahead and take a look at this week's shot.
This shot was done with the Sony a6300 again, shot in 4K at 24p, 8000 ISO, 1/50 shutter, f11.0 with a +1 macro lens attachment. I shot this week on my Canon 75-300 lens again as well.
So let's start off with the negative on this week. My biggest problem this week was the rolling shutter. For whatever reason, it was really noticeable to me. For those that don't know what the rolling shutter does to the image, it's also described as a jello effect.
So for this week, one thing that created a speed bump in getting this week's video done was the necessity to use rolling shutter repair on the footage run at a pretty high level. This not only meant extra rendering, but it also seems to slow down the export of the final video as well.
But once the rolling shutter repair had been done the footage looked much nicer and had a better handheld look to it than before. Handheld footage as well all know can look great or awful, but I ended up pretty happy with the handheld for this shot in the end.
My favorite thing about this shot is all the color. I love how nicely all the color ended up popping in the shot once a grade was applied. I did notice that the noise was a little bit bad because I shot at high ISO and put on a pretty harsh grade, but it still wasn't unusable noise.
I ended up just de-sharpening the footage a bit and bringing down the harshness of the grade just a bit and ended up with a nice looking shot with much more of a grain like noise.
Much like the post for week 20, this is another shorter post without that much to say so I'll end it here. If you are participating in your own 52 week photography or cinematography challenge, please share your image for week 21 in the comments below!
Another week that fell behind but it's never too late to get it posted! Due to life getting in the way I fell a few weeks behind so let's keep this short and get on to the rest, am I right?
So for this week I had two different ideas that I was getting ready to shoot. I was going to shoot a night time traffic shot and then a shot of the Denver skyline. Walking over to where I was going to shoot the shot of traffic my fiance pointed out that the pool at our apartment complex had opened.
Seeing that glowing water ended up trumping any ideas that I had for other shots and I decided to just go with that.
So without further ado, let's check out the shot for week 20.
This week was shot on the Sony a6300 in 4K 24p in SLOG 3 at 10,000 ISO, 1/50 shutter, f11.0 using a Canon 75-300mm lens and of course the adapted B&L Anamorphic projector lens.
I decided to shoot this week at a high ISO to test the low light ability of the camera further while also testing out a different lens with the projector lens. In the end I was really happy with the results.
The biggest challenge with this week was not during the actually filming of this shot, but instead everything that kept me from getting the shot on time. I was really busy and away from home for basically the whole week that I was supposed to film this shot.
That's no real excuse of course, but in all honesty I just kept forgetting to go get the shot until it was too late at night. That or a few of the nights I planned to go film the weather was awful.
But I finally got around to filming it and in the end, waiting like I did led to getting a much better shot than I had planned that wouldn't have been possible when I was supposed to film this shot.
I also really liked that when I film in 4K and output in 4K that means that I actually have to squash the video down rather than stretch it out. It seems to me that this lead to a sharper image than I have previously been able to achieve with the adapted anamorphic set up.
Overall I am just really happy with the way that this week's shot turned out.
Well like I said, I am keeping it short for this post since I am doing 2 more this week, so keep an eye out!
As always, if you are participating in any kind of 52 week photography or cinematography challenge, please share your image for this week (well week 20 that is) in the comments below!
AM Video's newest camera is the Sony a6300 so I figured that it would be a good idea to write up an in depth review on it! The a6300 is a small mirrorless camera that is an upgrade to its predecessor the a6000.
The a6300 boasts a 24.2 mega pixel APS-C sensore, 4K video up to 30fps, and 1080p up to 120fps, as well as lightning fast 0.05 second 4D focus that utilizes phase detection and 425 auto focus points. It can also shoot photos continuously at up to 11 frames per second.
This camera is using a Exmor CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X processor. What does that mean? Well those are the same ingredients as the a7s II, which means that the a6300 has some of the same amazing features as the a7s II, just slightly minimized.
The a6300 isn't quite the low light beast that the a7s II is, but for its size, sensor size, and price point, it is still a low light beast of its own. It can shoot a wide range of ISOs from 100-51,200. In video mode it maxes out at 25,600 ISO, which is still impressive.
It also features an SGA OLED viewfinder that can be used during video recording when the screen may not be the most visible (like I don't know, shooting in daylight).
As for video quality, well it is superb. It can record in multiple formats including AVCHD for lower bit rates, and XAVC S at up to 100mb/s. It also features the very popular S-LOG 3 for recording video with wider dynamic range.
I shot a review video that talks about the camera and the image quality and shows examples of the footage from the camera that is included below.
The camera body itself is quite nice. It isn't overly small but is smaller than a DSLR yet it is a bit heavier feeling in the hand than a DSLR. The handle on the camera is not great though unless you have absolutely tiny hands.
As for the overall design, again, good but not great. Most of the controls are well placed such as the dial for the shutter and scrolling through menus. But then what threw me for a bit of a loop was that the second dial, on the top of the camera is to control the iris.
This is nice actually so that you don't have to hold a button then scroll to change the aperture like you do on certain DSLRs. So after getting used to that, it is nice to have a dedicated dial for the aperture.
For a quick menu it has a button that is labeled "Fn" which I had to click just to find out what it was, because let's be honest here, who really reads the manual? But their quick menu is really nice and can pretty much control everything important in the camera. This is good because the actual full menu is so overly convoluted. It's really quite awful.
My biggest complaint, just like everyone else, is the placement of the record button. Talk about awkward. Rather than put the record button on the back of the camera where it is easy to push, it is on the corner of the grip.
This means that to push record, if you are holding the camera by the grip, you have to move your thumb to an awkward position and loosen your grip in order to hit record.
The button itself is also sort of stiff and it can be hard to feel if you actually clicked the button. The camera has a beep that happens when you start recording which at first was sort of annoying, but after shooting for a bit I found that I appreciated knowing for sure that I had started recording without having to check the screen. So for that reason alone I won't be turning off that setting.
The other nice aspect of the camera body design is the swivel screen. Although it does not swivel out from the camera body like the screen on a t3i, it does at least come out far enough that you can effectively use it to capture high and low angle shots.
It is also nice that the screen will automatically turn off when you look through the viewfinder, even though this isn't a fancy new feature or anything
The camera also has a hot shoe mount on the top of the camera that can be used to mount accessories including specialty on camera microphones being sold by Sony.
There are a few features that I mentioned at the beginning that are the features that Sony boasted specifically for this camera. I've tested them and overall have found that Sony has been right on the money with all of them.
Fast 4D FOCUS
When using a Sony lens compatible with continuous auto focus, the focusing abilities of this camera are absolutely insane. You can set a focus point on the screen and the camera does a really good job of keeping that spot in focus even with camera movement.
The only time that it seemed to flop with this was when the camera had been recording for a while when I was shooting the video review. Despite the camera being locked off it eventually stopped focusing pretty much at all and wouldn't even hunt for the proper focus.
But other than that one incident, it has been very good for focusing continuously or when pushing the auto focus button. When using compatible lenses it is really nice being able to click the focus button and having it instantly focus on that spot.
This feature is great for shooting interviews or really any type of shoot with non moving subjects so that you can quickly and accurately set your focus.
But the best use for the continuous auto focus will probably be gimbal work. Being able to track your subject and keep them easily in focus will come in very handy for low budget and indie shooters.
4K Resolution Video
The 4K video from this camera is absolutely fantastic. It is very sharp and the detail in the video looks really good. In the video review you can see shots in 4K that show it's low light capabilities as well as it's color.
When filming with people, it handles skin really well. So far I have only been using the SLOG 3 gamma setting since it gives so much more dynamic range than shooting in a standard Rec.709 color space.
I have also only been recording in the high bit rate XAVC S in order to get the best image quality. Even when shooting at the highest bit rate the camera it doesn't eat through SD cards like crazy. Honestly on an average day long shoot I don't imagine that I will use more than maybe two 64 GB SD cards, and that's if it's all day coverage such as at a live event.
Slow Motion Video
Another awesome feature that the a6300 has is the ability to shoot continuously at 120fps in 1080p. This is a great feature for shooting slow motion video for many different project types.
One thing about this feature though is that it requires you to shoot the footage to either a 24p or 30p clip. This is neither a good or bad thing really but it did warrant noting. The plus to this is that it is easier to then use the footage in the rest of a timeline that is using either 24p or 30p footage.
But it does also mean that you have to set which you want to record to which has to be done through the annoying, giant, convoluted menu.
The footage shot in slow motion does look really great though. The 1080p is slightly softer than the 4K footage, but that is to be expected. If you haven't watched already, the video review does have two different test shots showing off the slow motion capabilities of the camera.
Low Light Abilities
Now this was one of the most important aspects to me when purchasing the camera, and important to many other shooters. This camera features the same type of sensor that is in the a7s II, only a crop sensor version instead of full frame.
With the amazing low light abilities in the a7s II, I could only imagine that the capabilities of this camera would be similarly good. In the end, this camera has definitely proven to be a good camera for low light shooting conditions.
The camera can shoot up to 25,600 ISO in video mode which is pretty crazy for me coming from a Canon DSLR and the Black Magic Pocket cinema camera which are not low light monsters like these new Sonys are.
I tested the camera in every ISO for noise and was actually very impressed across the board at the quality of the footage in low light. The noise from this camera is actually impressively similar to grain rather than noise.
I did not see any colorful noise or artifacts even when shooting at 25,600 ISO. At the higher ISOs the noise is definitely visible, but rather than detracting from the image quality it seems more reminiscent of film.
I also noticed that throwing a nice high contrast grade on the footage is a great way to minimize how noticeable the noise is at the higher ISOs.
I think what I found the most strange about the noise on this camera is that it shows up at basically every ISO when shooting in SLOG 3. At first this worried me when I was seeing a decent amount of graininess to the footage shooting at 800 ISO. But once I threw on even a basic log to Rec.709 LUT it really cleaned up.
As with any camera there are the big features that everybody knows they want, then there are the little features that people forget that they want. There is one very particular feature that this camera has that I almost forgot to review it seemed so minimal.
For white balance there are of course all of the presets for different white balances, but the big thing that it has for video production is the ability to select you white balance by Kelvin. You can also go even further than that and tweak the Hue of the white balance directly.
I've never seen that ability in a DSLR, let alone a $1K camera.
Another nice feature for video mode is the ability to shoot at pretty high shutter rates. You can shoot up to 1/4000 in video mode which is actually a nifty feature when shooting at high frame rates outdoors.
You can get very crisp movement while also maintaining shallow depth of field with a fast lens.
One last seemingly minor detail that I have been finding that I really like more and more is the on screen balance indicator. Again, not a feature that I have really seen in cameras that fall in the $1k price range.
This feature is great for both tripod shots and handheld shots to make sure that the camera is level. I know that sometimes I think the camera is level then I check that little indicator and realize that I definitely was shooting at a minor dutch angle.
Overall I am very happy with this camera. The video quality from it is really great, and the high bit 4K footage looks really good. I look forward to using it on more projects in the future.
As for the photography features, there are some really cool features but I have a lot more exploring to do with this camera in terms of photography.
If you are looking for a good starter camera, or a nice small, budget friendly 4K camera, I can not recommend this camera enough. It is an incredible camera especially for the $1K price tag.
Alan Meyer is an experienced cinematographer, but is no stranger to writing.