Panasonic VariCam 35 sheds light on BBC’s Moorside

The VariCam 35 was chosen for the popular BBC One docu-drama The Moorside, the most successful debut of a drama for the Corporation in 15 years.

The Moorside Photo credit – Stuart Wood

Set on Dewsbury’s Moorside estate, the series follows how a group of ordinary women brought the community together as one to try and find a child who had disappeared in their midst.

The ITV Studios-made drama, produced by Ken Horn (The Street, Our Girl) and directed by Paul Whittington (Cilla, Mrs Biggs) was shot on the Panasonic VariCam 35 supplied by rental provider Provision.

The series is based on the real life story of Shannon Matthews, whose 2008 disappearance sparked a major police search before it was revealed that her mother knew where she was, and had colluded with a relative to hide her in the hopes of claiming reward money.

The focus of the drama is on the spirit and determination of the women who led the local campaign to find Shannon, and the impact on them when the truth was revealed that her disappearance was a sham.

Shot in nearby Halifax in the interest of sensitivity, filming took place in January and February 2016 meaning natural light was limited. After carrying out side-by-side camera tests, looking at how they would handle the sodium street lighting of the estate, the VariCam 35 won out as it offered a more true-to-life image.

“The sodium colour came out so well on the VariCam, the other camera we were testing turned the street lighting quite red”, said Stephan Pehrsson, Director of Photography on the shoot with previous credits including Luther, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

The VariCam 35 has a Super 35 sized sensor. It features a dynamic range with 14+ stops of latitude and a wide color gamut, acquisition functions that
support 4K/120fps uncompressed RAW recording using V-log. The camera uses a PL lens mount.

The Moorside Photo credit – Stuart Wood


“Our mission was to be as invisible as possible, to allow that cinéma vérité feel. Because we weren’t spending so much time resetting lights, we could spend more time shooting and getting better performances from a brilliant cast. We were shooting each setup 7 or 8 times as we were able to turn around on the location so quickly. I pity the DIT who had to deal with such a massive amount of material.”

With two native ISO settings of 800 and 5000 the VariCam 35 is able to achieve very high sensitivity while maintaining a low noise level at 5000 ISO. The noise level at 5000 is nearly identical to that seen at 800 ISO, according to Panasonic.

“We tested the 5000 ISO, as well as 1600, but most of the drama was shot at 3200 ISO. Anything you could see with your eyes the camera saw, maybe more,” continued Stephan Pehrsson.

The VariCam was used in conjunction with 35mm Cooke S4i’s and Angenieux Optimo 15-40 & Angenieux Optimo 45-120 lenses, and shot at ProRes 4444, as the BBC didn’t request 4K.

“The Line Producer loved it, the economic saving from having such limited lighting on set allowed us to bring in more extras, which just enhanced the show,” added Stephan Pehrsson.

“Keeping it small meant that we were also able to have a much lower profile. Obviously it is a sensitive subject and we didn’t want to over-do it. In actual fact, we had such a minimal lighting set-up that Jeff Pope, the Executive Producer, came on set and couldn’t find us. Normally you can’t miss a drama crew.”

Thanks to Panasonic for the quotes, images and information from the press release.

Firmware Update Now Available for Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15

Sony Australia has announced that a firmware update for Action Cam HDR-AS15 is now available.

The firmware update includes PS Recording Mode (1920×1080/60p), which enables users to capture smooth images of fast moving scenes with a higher frame rate of 60p. A new “Water Mode” is also available on the Action Cam, which adjusts the camera’s white balance to an optimal setting for underwater shooting. Furthermore, the new ‘Beep Off’ setting gives users the option to turn off audio notifications of key camera functions, such as when recording is enabled or disabled.

Sony HDR-AS15

In addition, users of the Action Cam HDR-AS15 will get to enjoy ‘Seamless Mode Change’ functionality via PlayMemories Mobile from June 2013. The update will enable users to change from ‘Smart Remote’ mode to ‘File Transfer’ mode directly, without having to go through the Action Cam.

To download the software, please click on the link here: http://www.sony.com.au/support/product/HDR-AS15. The operation manual will be made available during the download.

Action Cam HDR-AS15 Accessories

Users can now capture the action in even more ways with the availability of mounts and attachments for the Action Cam HDR-AS15. The new Skeleton Housing (SRP $39) and Float Attachment (SRP $19) will let you take the action anywhere, while the latest Wrist Mount (SRP $39), Surfboard Mount (SRP $39) and Dog Mount (SRP $49) allow you to shoot from a totally new perspective. All new accessories will be available from late May at www.sony.com.au.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III firmware upgrade provides significant still-shooting and Full HD video improvements

Supports advanced user needs through clean HDMI output for video and boosted AF performance for low-light and telephoto shooting

Sydney, Australia, 30 April 2013 – Canon Australia today announced that the new firmware upgrade for the EOS 5D Mark III digital SLR camera is now available for download, delivering considerable improvements to still-shooting and Full HD video. The new free-of-charge upgrade will allow users to boost the EOS 5D Mark III’s potential, opening the door to new imaging opportunities.

The upgrade, which was first announced in October 2012, enables the use of the HDMI output functionality for more efficient video editing and monitoring workflows by professionals in the fields of cinema and TV production. With HDMI output, users can record HD uncompressed video data (YCbCr 4:2:2, 8 bit) to an external recorder via the camera’s HDMI terminal, supporting minimal image degradation during video data editing for greater onsite efficiency during motion picture and video productions. Additionally, video can also be displayed on an external monitor while being captured, for real-time on-site monitoring for HD video during shoots.

To further improve functionality, the upgrade improves the AF system with centre AF point now enabled at f/8 supporting the needs of photographers to achieve more from their camera when using fast super-telephoto lenses with extenders. Drastically increasing the shooting range, version 1.2.1 now makes it possible to use an EF600 f/4 lens and two-times extender to achieve a massive 1200mm focal length with precise AF performance. This will benefit sport and nature photographers who shoot over long distances. This upgrade also increases the range of lens options with full AF capabilities, including the EF400mm f/5.6 and the EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS with 1.4x extenders, for zoom ranges up to 560mm.

“The EOS 5D Mark III, continues to lead the way in DSLR Full HD Movie making and with this new update Canon has responded to the needs of professional image makers by providing them with clean HDMI output, as well as boosted AF performance for telephoto shooting over an expanded range of focal lengths,” said Charles Montesin, Product Manager – Professional Imaging, Canon Australia. “We’re excited to be offering these features in direct response to requests from professionals working in the fields of cinema and TV production, and expect the firmware to enhance the user experience and workflow.”

The EOS 5D Mark III free firmware update is available now from: http://support-au.canon.com.au/P/search?model=EOS%205D%20Mark%20III&filter=0&menu=download

Canon 5D Mark III

Related links:

EOS 5D Mark III

About Canon

Canon is the world’s leading imaging brand that actively inspires with imaginative ideas that enable people to connect, communicate and achieve more than they thought possible through imaging solutions for business and consumers. Canon’s Australian R&D company, CiSRA, develops and exports digital imaging technologies for use in Canon products worldwide. Canon has ranked among the top-four US patent recipients* for the past 21 years, and had global revenues of over $US40 billion in 2012. Canon Australia also operates Canon Finance Australia, which offers one-stop shopping for customers wanting leasing or finance services. For more information, visit www.canon.com.au, www.facebook.com/canonaustralia, www.twitter.com/canonaustralia, www.youtube.com/canonaustralia

* Based on weekly patent counts issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office

New Crystal Macro Video

I’ve posted a new macro video shot with the Canon MP-E65mm macro lens.

And below is another image of obsidian, volcanic glass, shot with the same lens.

obsidian

The Time Of The App-Expandable Camera Has Arrived

Long-time readers of DImageMaker and of my contributions to HP Professional Photography blog may remember me talking of the need for cameras to become expandable in the same ways that phones are. We needed to be able to expand their functionality or just configure the existing capabilities in a way that better suited us, personally.

Finally the App capable camera seems to be arriving. Samsung has announced their Samsung Galaxy Camera EK-GC100, an Android powered compact camera. This is an important step. It has compact camera image quality, rather than that of smartphones and it has all the connectivity and App options of a Galaxy phone, without the ability to make cellular phonecalls. I suspect that Samsung have screwed up by not having the phone call making capability in the camera, but we will have to wait and see. It certainly has most of the capability there, with 3G and 4G network connectivity, just not the ability to place cellular phonecalls, though you can through Skype. Gizmag has posted a decent review of the camera.

samsung

Users have really voted with their feet on this issue, as reflected in the falling sales of compact cameras and the wide takeup of people using their phones for photography, despite all the limitations this entails. Obviously the convenience of having a camera with you at all times and the instant sharing/modify capability more than offset the poor image quality, lack of optical zoom capability, etc. Which is why I think Samsung should have included the phone capability.

Now we need to see this App-centric approach expanded to dSLRs, where they can leave the phone capability out.

Coupling great optics, a large sensor and full customisability in a dSLR is a winner and I can’t wait for manufacturers to do this. What we do need is a standard phone API (applications programming interface) for Android for all the advanced features that high end compacts and dSLRs offer, so that app developers can concentrate on creativity rather than having to support all sorts of non-standard interfaces.

Review of the Canon MP-E65mm 1-5x f2.8 Macro Lens has begun

Yesterday I received a Canon MP-E65mm 1-5x Macro lens for review. This is an unusual lens, in that it focuses from 1x magnification to 5x magnification to a full frame sensor.

This is a manual focus lens that does not focus to infinity. It is exclusively for macro.

MPE65mmf2815xMacroPhotoAngle

To start the testing process I grabbed some samples from our rock and crystal collection and started shooting. The results are in the gallery below. You’ll see more of these as testing continues and then read the full review once I am finished.

Lexar Multi-Card 25-In-1 Memory Card Reader Review

I’ve been using the new Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 card reader for image transfer. It is a multi-card reader because you can access multiple cards simultaneously and you can do card to card transfers.

Being USB 3.0 the transfers are fast (depending on the memory card) and very reliable. I’ve had no issues at all with the unit while I’ve been using it.

25n1_MC_Reader

The Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader leverages SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology to offer high-speed file transfers with a USB interface read speed of up to 500MB/s, and is up to five times faster than USB 2.0.* The reader also features a convenient pop-up design mechanism to protect the card slots when the reader is not in use and comes with a USB 3.0 cable cord. A blue LED activity light lets users know when data is being transferred.

The Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader supports the following memory cards formats:

  • CompactFlash slot: Reads CompactFlash® Type I and Type II
  • Secure Digital slot: SD™, SDHC™, SDXC™, miniSD™, miniSDHC™, MMC™, MMCplus™, and RS-MMC™
  • Mobile slot: microSD™, microSDHC™, and Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™)
  • Memory Stick slot: Memory Stick™, Memory Stick (with MagicGate™), Memory Stick PRO™, Memory Stick PRO Duo™, Memory Stick PRO Duo (with MagicGate), Memory Stick PRO Duo Mark2, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™, and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo “HX”
  • xD-Picture Card slot: xD-Picture Card™, xD-Picture Card Type-M, xD-Picture Card Type-M+, and xD-Picture Card Type-H

 

The Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader comes with a one-year limited warranty,  is compatible with both PC and Mac® systems.

Definitely worth buying, it is compact enough for use on the go and also works fine with a desktop setup. Highly recommended.

 

Where Is Photography Going?

Since it is the start of the New Year and also, for me, very much about new beginnings in my photography, it is time to consider where things are going.

Photography is in the process of undergoing changes every bit as large as those of the switch from film to digital. In fact, I would argue that we are still going through that process and the changes that are happening now and will in future are still part of moving from a film-oriented to a digital-oriented way of thinking.

Compact cameras are disappearing and being replaced by smartphones, which not only take great images, but have the massive benefits of always being with you and allowing you to process and modify your shots at or near the time of shooting via apps. Any camera you have with you takes better shots than the one you left at home, and so many of us, me included, who would not usually use a compact camera now do so all the time. And you see more and more well known photographers posting iPhone images online, and wonderful images they are too. The benefit of being able to throw apps at our shots is not to be underrated and in fact the mainstream camera makers need to pay heed to – photographers want to be able to customise their cameras.

Another major equipment shift is in the area of still vs. video. Where we are at right now is that video and still cameras shoot both video and stills. When you choose one over the other what you are doing is choosing where the emphasis is placed with regard to controls and functionality. The fact that cameras like the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800 are being used to shoot motion pictures shows just how capable they are. It gives filmmakers access to all the great still photography lenses, from macro to extreme telephoto, lensbabies and more. And we can see how this capability has already revolutionised filmmaking and commercial areas of photography, like wedding photography. It means that many of us who saw ourselves as still photographers are shooting more and more video. This is an exciting time for photographers, as it is opening up new markets, new services we can offer and new creative possibilities.

gwmconcanon5d11s

 

genuscanon7d1a

There are major changes afoot with printing/display. The spread of full HD large TVs meant that more and more images were being shown electronically rather than printed. The beginnings of the home 4k TV market will advance this further, as the resolution and size of these TVs is actually allowing more people to see far more detail in their photography than they ever did before, remembering that most people do not print their images large. It is my hope that this might start to get people used to the idea of bigger images hanging on their walls, extending the market for large prints. But they may just decide to use their TVs as image displays. Could there be a market for selling high-resolution images to big TV owners, but how do we avoid piracy?

Camera makers are continuing the decline of the human race by perpetrating the idea that dSLRs will give people better pictures without requiring that they actually engage their brains. They will continue this as all that matters is selling more cameras. Thankfully that creates more opportunities for photographers to run workshops on how to take better pictures.

So what is coming up? Expect better and better video capabilities and more of us to make use of it. Expect someone to integrate apps into a dSLR. I would be great if someone would pair up with Apple and make this iOS but I suspect we’ll be stuck with Android and so have to worry about malware and viruses on our cameras. GPS will become a feature of all cameras (yeah). There will continue to be room for new, niche equipment makers to fill accessory gaps that vastly expand the usefulness of our cameras. Full frame will continue to move down market (yeah).

For me personally, 2013 is a year for a deeper engagement with video and pushing my still photography in new directions and to greater depths. This includes pushing my art further and experimenting with new (to me) techniques, like extreme macro.