Sunday, June 19, 2016

I am now officially a Flying Dutchman!

No, I did not get my pilot license... but I did get a Phantom 4 drone! My first drone. The Phantom 4 struck me as 'somewhat idiot proof' with it's obstacle avoidance system so I decided to take the plunge. I'm taking one lesson to avoid the most common mistakes and then I'm off to.. err, well, whereever... :-)

Fly, soar, float in the sky... the next best thing to having wings myself... Anyone in need of some aerial footage in Europe? Contact me, your devoted drone pilot.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Why I traded my Sony PXW-FS5 for a FS7

Late November I was an early adopter of the Sony FS5. I was very excited about this new camera after I had played with it at IBC 2015 in Amsterdam.

It had the same super 35mm sensor as the FS7, a camera I had been eyeballing from the moment it was announced but which seemed too intimidating and costly.

When the FS5 came out, I figured this was a mini FS7 and I felt it was meant for me. This was not as much based on reality as it was on desire. Even after visiting Alister Chapman's workshop on the FS5 I failed to see that this camera was not a small FS7, even though Alister emphasized this. Although he phrased it a little differently by saying it was 'not a cinema camera' like the FS7. There were so many things I did like about the FS5, like the variable ND, the handy viewfinder, super slow motion and the fact that it fit in my bicycle messenger bag.

I was set on the camera and pre-ordered one. Late November I received it.

After having test-shot the FS5 and filmed part of an assignment with it, I soon became frustrated and desillusioned. The quality in UHD was not what I expected, especially in low light. The kitlens is very hard to focus manually and autofocus is slow and not accurate the few times I tried it. The compact form factor of the camera actually works against you when trying to shoot handheld. The package with the kitlens is fine when you cradle the camera or do very short takes through the viewfinder. But when you use a bigger, heavier lens, possibly in combination with a SpeedBooster and you add a wireless receiver, an external mic, a (in my opinion mandatory) loupe and a big BP-U60 or even U90 battery, you have one very heavy, small package that cannot be handheld for extended periods of time. It is much easier to balance a 'large', heavy package than a 'small', heavy package. When I started looking for a loupe and a shoulder-solution, I realized I was building a FS7.

I traded my FS5 in for the FS7 -with considerable loss- but have nonetheless been extremely happy with the decision.
First surprise: the FS7 is not a big, heavy camera at all. I think most people coming from DSLR's would disagree but coming from a Sony EX3, it is about the same size and weight (with the Canon 24-105 and the SpeedBooster). Second impression: I love the arm for shoulderwork. This camera is actually much better designed for shoulderwork than the EX3.

(Another misconception: the FS5 is small and light and will therefore attract little attention. Well, forget it. It looks like a pro camera and once decked out it is far from stealth.)

The FS7 solved a lot of my problems: an excellent Sony loupe, better ergonomics for shoulderwork, a much better 4K picture, bigger buttons for easier control during shooting and alltogether a camera that represents the best value in a camera by far, ever.

But even the FS7 needs improvements ie investments to make it (near) perfect. I have immediately ordered the Shape extension arm and it is brilliant and mandatory. There was basically no way to quickly lay the camera down without one... (and then there are other other benefits like being able to change the length or position of the arm in a second- something you needed tools for with the Sony arm)

And today I received the Vocas baseplate for a much better shoulderfit. Expensive? Yes. But I want the best possible results with this camera and spread out over the many years I'll be shooting with it, the investment is acceptable.

In my younger days I often tried to cut corners but as I get older, I am more inclined to buy the best possible gear I can afford. No more compromise. Right now I can afford this camera and it feels just right.

Enough talk, let's go shoot already.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

100 Girls - from 0 to 100 years

I made '100 - from 0 to 100 in 150 seconds' 3 years ago but I had made many more portraits than I initially used. I knew one day I would make an all-female and all-male version.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Sony A7S Mark II - Sony wants to eat my wallet, again.

After all the excitement about the Sony FS5, I completely forgot the A7S Mark 2 pictures I made, although they're not as exciting as the FS5 photo's. It's basically the A7S with a different sensor with ISO 4 million (no, it's actually a mere 409600, see pictures below...) and x-ray vision. And built-in image stabilization.
Who needs a camera like this? We all do! And who doesn't have threethousandfourhundred euro's lying around, doing nothing...? Or should I just rent?

The Sony FS5: a huggable little powerhouse, pics from IBC!

Saw the Sony PXW-FS5 this morning at IBC. Really quite charmed by this little camera. I've been eyeballing the FS7 but this one's more in my budget- and a lot more stealth!

It handled well in as far as I was able to handle it while attached to a metal and electronic cable (the camera, that is...). Eyepiece was ok and the viewfinder nice- I'm sure someone will develop an eyepiece for the LCD screen which will give you an even better and bigger viewfinder.

Nice feature is the ability to magnify the image for focus check during recording and actually move arouind the magnified screen. Recording on SD cards! Built in ND-filters!

Here are some gearhead snacks:

And Sony said we didn't need a rig!

This camera was not meant to be rigged, at least not like this...

Monday, August 24, 2015

The best Sail 2015 - time lapse video

A few days ago I saw a few time lapse video's of Sail 2015 that were labeled as The Best of Sail 2015. Too bad I didn't publish my video until yesterday ;-)

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Eiffel tower CANNOT be filmed without a permit!

I was in Paris, France a week ago and made some shots of the Eiffel tower, along with 100.000 other tourists. I made one panorama shot on a particularly nice evening around sunset, looking over the city from a tall building. Violet and orange light at the horizon. The city lit up with little lights...

I submitted this shot to Shutterstock but it was rejected because I didn't mark it as ' editorial'. Since when is a wide panorama shot of a city 'editorial'? I decided to do some research and it turns out that the Eiffel tower at night is off limits because 'the lighting of the Eiffel tower' is copyright protected?! So a shot of the tower in the daytime is no problem but sharing a video or picture taken at night without permission could get you sued- be warned!

This is the clip I'm talking about: don't tell anyone about it...
I was able to sneak this shot in at Pond5 where you can buy it royalty free, or you can contact me for great deals and more Paris footage.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Money Shot!

What makes you feel better than a real pile of good old paper money? I could think of a few things but it certainly ranks high up there in the feel-good-department.

So I decided to film a big pile of money and sell it. (the footage, not the content)


Play it at a decadent party, use it as inspiration or watch it in times of hardship! Check out my 4K stock footage and more Money Shots here.