And Then It’s Spring

TOYS FOR BOYS

Spring Cleaning
It’s March and I’m throwing everything out. Portable DVD player. Who needs it? Not me. Out damned DVD player!

Goodbye DIY polecam, sad to see you go. Hello DJI Phantom Quadcopter, how high can you fly?

My two Sony V1U cameras … out, out! I bought them in 2006. Six years of faithful service, paid for themselves a thousand times over. Tough. Goodbye, been nice to know ya.

I put them on eBay. After weeks of e-mails and no money, I decide to give them away.

Hanging from A Sky Hook
A real helicopter doesn’t like to hover, but this one does. I just love my DJI Phantom GoPro Aerial Quadcopterfrom DSLRPros. Take your fingers off the controls and it just stays up there, hanging in space. It’s uncanny. People stop and stare.

The video is almost vibration free and there’s very little rolling shutter “jello,” even with GoPro HERO3 set at 2.7K 30 fps Protune.
I’ve just ordered another three batteries from DSLRPros, only $27 each. With my original battery, I can now fly for 50 minutes. Wheeee…
It’s replaced my huge homemade polecam. I’m sad to see it go, but my new ’copter takes a fraction of the time to set up and makes better movies.

Aviator Travel Jib

Sony NEX-6 camera, Gitzo 2180 pan head, Manfrotto 394 quick release, Aviator Travel Jib

Next up, a carbon fiber tripod from 3 Legged Thing coupled with the Kickstarter-funded Aviator Travel Jibfrom Nice Industries. It’s perfect for close range up-and-over shots. Swinging the arm beats all those wimpy slider moves—the current rage on YouTube. “Look at me, I’ve got a slider.”
To speed up things up, I’ve become addicted to quick release plates. I have a Manfrotto 394 on the tripod, one on my new Gitzo G2180 pan and tilt head and another on the Aviator jib. If I want to use the tripod with just the pan head? Click, that’s it. Want a jib shot? Unclip pan head, clip jib to tripod, click Gitzo pan head to the end of the jib.

The jib is designed for DSLR cameras like the ubiquitous Canon EOS 5D Mk II. I’ve finally made the move and bought a couple of Sony NEX-6 mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. For video, they are much better than the Canon. The sensor is APS-C size (23.5mm x 15.6mm)—close to Super 35mm film (24.89mm x 18.66mm). For interviews, I use the Sony 50mm f/1.8, which at 6’ gives a nice feature-film-like soft bokeh.

3D Heaven
I sold all my HERO2s on eBay—that went smoothly. I now have five new HERO3 Black Editions.

K-Tek Norbert Sport Junior frame, GoPro HERO3 Black with 5.4mm 85° lens, Manfrotto 323 quick release

For shooting 3D stereoscopic, two of my babies, configured with conventional 170° lenses and LCD Touch BacPac monitors, are mounted on a K-Tek Norbert Sport Junior frame with Manfrotto 323 RC quick release plates.

I’ve an identical rig but with 5.4mm 85° lenses from Dennis at Ragecams.com. The new 5.4mm, while pricey at $279, is amazingly sharp, far better than GoPro’s “medium” setting.

For My Next Act …
I’ve ordered a Blackmagic Teranex 3D Processor. If it’s as good as its brochure, it will line up my 3D HERO3 movies and make them look like Avatar.

“The 3D camera align feature of the Teranex 3D Processor lets you frame sync even unlocked left- and right-eye signals and fix geometry errors in the camera rig. You can even correct the alignment of two consumer cameras for incredible 3D images!”

Well, that’s the theory. Stay tuned.

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