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Dettifoss & F864

Another low key video… the footage I had just called for such approach.

Dettifoss & F864 from Jernej Burkeljca on Vimeo.

I took it on a recent trip to Iceland and it sort of represents a condensed impression of Iceland in general… waterfalls and gravel roads through the desert (obviously there’s much more to it). Featured here are Detifoss and the drive there on F864 (Hólsfjallavegur). Wikipedia says it’s the largest waterfall in terms of volume in Europe. And it is impressive. Although once you make your way around from Reykjavik you’re wondering if seeing yet another waterfall is worth any extra effort. We took that chance. It was a miserable rainy, freezing and windy day but I’m not sorry.

Shot on Canon HF200 on a tripod that was shaking like a leaf in the wind and treated with proDAD Mercalli (highly recommended piece of software) to stabilise the in-car shots a little bit (it’s a very light camera and I wanted some weight to its movements).

Dawn on an island

Sometime in early December we got our hands on some new gear (JVC GY-HM100e) at work so I got to play with it to test the handling and workflow. The video below, shot in 1080 25p (exported in 720 25p), is a result of an early morning shoot one Saturday on an island in the middle of Drava river just outside Maribor. It was the first real test I did – other than playing around in the office – so I kept it pretty much all on auto to see how it performs on its own and because I wasn’t that comfortable with the controls yet.

Dawn on an Island from Jernej Burkeljca on Vimeo.

The result of relying on the camera having amazing brains is more noise than I would have liked. Image quality strongly reminds me of compact cameras set on ISO 400 and above. And essentially this camera is just that… a small camera with some pro features. In photo world it would find its equivalent in the Canon G series. Fine, indeed quite nice, in a lot of situations but quite horrible when you push it towards what it hasn’t been designed to do. Bottom line is that at high gain the image is ugly. It’s not that there’s a huge amount of noise, it’s just ugly in the same way it’s ugly on nearly all small sensor cameras and mobile phones. So now I know to avoid flipping the gain switch if I don’t have to.

The other problem I have with nearly all video cameras is the depth of field. The infinity of it. I’ve gotten so used to shallow DOF that it really annoys me when I use anything other than an SLR and a fast lens. Obviously this is only relevant if the project you’re doing requires shallow DOF, in most cases cameras such as GY-HM100 end up doing one man band documentaries shot handheld where focusing is something you just don’t bother with, indeed don’t want to bother with. And for that kind of work I believe this camera is near perfect. It does a good job on full auto, it’s small and featherweight. So light that I kept checking if there’s anything at all in the bag where Canon 20D with 70-200/2.8 attached usually resides. The little JVC also comes with 2 XLR ports for more serious audio work and offers a decent post workflow. Manual controls on such a small camera are of course a slight issue for clumsy people with big fingers but they’re not such a problem so as to become unusable.

There is an issue with post though and I’ve written more about it when I first encountered it. I’ve yet to find a long term solution to the audio being mangled up in Premiere but the simple fact of the matter is that transwrapping the files is fast and easy and everything works great from there on. Premiere CS4 handles it beautifully and the result is above.

The question is… would I buy it for myself? No. But I’d love to use it whenever there’s a need for such a camera. Handheld, mobile, efficient style of filming. But for me personally I’m much more inclined towards a one for all solution. Since my 20D still works as it should I’m not contemplating a switch but when that day comes I’d like a 7D please. That would suit my own taste in photo and video much more and I would avoid carrying more stuff than I’d like. I tend to leave the 70-200 behind often enough as it is.

short but sweet

Project Pedal

Teaser 001 from mike ambs on Vimeo.

Teaser 002 from mike ambs on Vimeo.

Teaser 003 from mike ambs on Vimeo.

Teaser 004 from mike ambs on Vimeo.

Teaser 005 from mike ambs on Vimeo.

Teaser 006 from mike ambs on Vimeo.

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