Monday, 21 March 2011

First Movie

The weather at Wimbleball SC on Sunday was fantastic, apart from the lack of breeze, that is. But it was a good opportunity to try out the video rig, while shooting stills with my Canon kit at the same time. Some observations:
  • Shooting video is not the same as shooting stills!
  • Trying to do both at the same time was a nightmare
  • Just with the LCD viewfinder (and no shoulder mount) the camera can be held quite steadily in the normal SLR shooting position, ie held up against the face with right hand on the grip and left hand under the lens. It's not a particularly heavy camera, so I may find the shoulder mount isn't really needed.
Post-processing was interesting. I got the stills out of the way first using my normal workflow (based on Camerabits Photo Mechanic). Then I looked through the video clips (all 66 of them) individually to see which ones to use.

I started doing the edit using Adobe Premiere Elements (PRE) and after about half an hour was still having problems deciding which settings to use! I took the easy way out and edited the whole thing in Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM) in about an hour, including sourcing and adding a cheesy music soundtrack. There's no doubt I will have to take time out to master PRE (roughly speaking, if PRE is a DSLR then WLMM is the camera on your mobile phone - it seems to be excellent for quick-and-dirty video editing but lacks PRE's bells-and-whistles.)

I need to add some info to the video when the results come out, then I will post it to YouTube

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Video Time!

Having tried the K-7 a few times in video mode, holding it at arm's length and squinting at the rear LCD screen, I have decided that it's time to get serious about video, which means buying some proper kit.

After a lot of research I have come up with the following video outfit:

  • Opteka shoulder mount
  • Seagull LCD Viewfinder
  • Adobe Premiere Elements 9
I went for the Seagull LCD viewfinder rather than the LCDVF product, because the Seagull has a dioptre adjustment for spectacle wearers.

OK - the kit has now arrived. The shoulder mount seems very well made - nicely machined and anodised alloy parts, and it screwed together very easily. Once slight snag - the tripod screw which secures the camera to the mouth reaches the end of its travel before the camera is tight on the mount. A couple of layers of gaffer tape on the mount sorted that out, and also introduced an element of padding for the camera to bed onto.

The mounting frame for the Seagull LCD VF is now on the camera, weighed down by a couple of books, and I will now wait for "hours" as advised by the leaflet before attempting to clip the viewfinder to it.

I will install Premiere while I am waiting...

Starcross Steamer (Again)

The annual Starcross Steamer pursuit race was the first major gig I did with the K-7. last year. I went to this year's edition last weekend, and once again we were blessed with breeze and sunshine. I used the K-7 with the 50-200 alongside my Canon 40D, with 400 prime and 70-200 f4 & 1.4tc. Quite pleased with the results, but a Northerly breeze always makes it difficult to get shots with the sailors properly illuminated.

This may be the last entry in the blog before I re-focus it on video work. The plan is to use the K-7 as the heart of an HD video rig. I have ordered all the bits and will report as I go along about how it's all coming together.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

18-55 Lens First Outing

I took the K-7 and 18-55 lens to Sidmouth this afternoon and took a few tourist shots. Overall, quite impressed. Sharpness is acceptable across the frame, but there is a bit of colour fringing at the edges as can be seen on the extreme crop, of the post in the top right hand side of the frame.

Extended Trial!

Pentax UK have very kindly allowed me to extend the trial indefinitely, so the blog will live on. I have recently purchased the other kit lens for the K-7 (18-55 f3.5/5.6 DA AL WR, so I can now cover the whole range from 18 to 200. I'll be trying out the new lens in the next couple of days and will post a quick report. I now have 50mm covered by 4 lenses so a little comparison will be fun. The lenses are: the 18-55 just bought, the original 50-200 DA WR that came with the camera, a 50mm SMC Pentax-A f1.7 and the old Sigma 35-135 f3.5/4.5.

I intend to use the K-7 as the basis of a DSLR video rig, so more on that later.