I Heart the Internet
It never ceases to amaze me the amount of creativity that can be found on the internet today, especially in video form. Sure, we’ve all seen the Google Videos for Chrome that tug a bit at the heart strings or make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. I shared one of those recently over at Google Plus. It’s pretty fantastic so check it when you get the chance.
Of course Apple does this very well too. Although usually in a much shorter format. Until this year’s WWDC that is. About 7:00 into the presentation there is one of the greatest clips I’ve seen in a very long time. I’ve narrowed it down for you, just press play.
I love when a company really knows how to sell itself. How to make itself look larger than life, look better than everyone else and, at the same time, just look like they are doing things because it’s the right thing to do. Like or it not, believe it or not, that’s exactly what this particular clip is all about.
And it’s done right.
Recipe: Chicken & Waffles
A new recipe I think you guys might like. Chicken and Waffles, and as you can see above, it’s in video form and starring Stella! We created the video for a contest being held by one of our favorite stores, Fresh & Easy, thinking it would be fun and give me an excuse to use the new camera (more about that later) for video.
I’m super pleased with how it turned out. Turns out, Fresh & Easy like it too. That contest we entered? We are a finalist with this video. All finalists win something, but we have a shot at the grand prize of $1,000 worth of groceries!
Did you like it? Are you on Facebook? Would be awesome if you gave us a vote! You can do that here. Ours is the entry, bottom right.
The Sunday Post 106: Arizona Balloons
Last weekend, the inaugural Arizona Balloon Classic took place at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. Not really Wild Horse Pass, but a place called Rawhide. From their site:
>Witness more than 50 hot air balloons take flight both morning and night on November 18, 19 and 20 at Rawhide in Chandler, Arizona.* Don’t miss this unique visual spectacle during the perfect time of year.
50 is more than a bit of a stretch. The actual count on Sunday was closer to 12, and not a single one of them was there at sunrise. A fact I am supremely confident with since we were there at sunrise.
Once the balloons did show up, it was pretty amazing. I’ve never seen anything like this before, at least not up close and personal. Standing right next to each balloon as it was filled with hot air from propane torches that resembled rocket engines was awesome.
The main reason for us going was to snap some photos and video of the balloons, which I did using pretty much all of my gear.
That was shot with my Canon, which couldn’t be in the shot because it was busy taking the shot. Shots that can be seen in my Flickr stream.
And there is video. This video is comprised of video from my the The Flip Mino and Canon HF100. I was going to do some iPhone video in there, but decided against using a 3rd video camera because that’s just silly.
Changing the video
I’ve always been fascinated with stop motion animation (remember Gumby?) and time lapse photography. Since I do not have the time to make clay bits move about, photography is more my speed.
It’s really simple. Find what you want to shoot, set the focus, set the invalometer to the desired time and walk away. Come back to a either a dead battery or full CF card (yes, my camera is old. Let it go) and transfer them in. The video above was created from over 500 shots taken every 3 seconds.
I have a photoshop action that I use to resize the images to 720p, bring them into Google Picasa (yes, on the Mac), set the frame rate and turn ‘er loose! Once I have a completed movie, I can edit again in iMovie (to add sound or mix it with something else), which I have done here.
As a bonus, this one is short enough that I was able to post it to my Flickr stream, something I haven’t updated in months!
The Sunday Post #103 : Something new
For the longest time I’ve wanted to do time-lapse photography. Not video sped up 800% in iMovie, but actual take-a-photograph-every-10-seconds time lapse. And since I’ve got a camera that is suited to doing that, I figured it was time.
A New Tool for my Bag
This week, I picked this up at Amazon, a Shoot remote timer that works with my camera. It allows for timing of the shutter release at just about any interval you can imagine. Set it to start shooting in X seconds or minutes and continue to shoot every X seconds or minutes until X photos have been shot. Or, shoot until you run out of space on your memory card or the battery in your camera dies. Automatically. As a bonus, this also works as a standard remote shutter release. Even without batteries, this feature works.
Then it was time to study up on best practices for doing time-lapse photography. For those of you that don’t know what time-lapse is:
Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that which will be used to play the sequence back. When replayed at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. For example, an image of a scene may be captured once every second, and then played back at 30 frames per second; the result would be an apparent increase of speed by 30 times. Time-lapse photography can be considered to be the opposite of high speed photography.
History lesson out of the way, I started reading up on the best way to set up my camera. As you can see in the sample below, I still have some work to do, but I’m getting close.
This was shot over the course of about 90 minutes in the heat of the Arizona sun. The camera used was my Canon Rebel XT capturing the photos in jpeg. The timer was set for 20 second intervals which created 145 photographs.
I created a custom action in Photoshop to process the photos. It did some minor color correction (but not enough), image and canvas resizing and some cropping. I fired it up and about 10 minutes later I had a batch of photos ready to put into a time-lapse film.
I used iMovie ’11 this time, but I can tell you from previous experience that Picasa does a better job. Sure there are specialized apps that do this for you, quite nicely, but my budget doesn’t allow for such things.
In iMovie, the shortest interval I was able to set the photos to display at was .1 of a second. That is 10 frames per second. In Picasa, you can set it to pretty much any duration you want, and then import that into iMovie for further editing. We’ll talk more about Picasa later.
Next time I do this for a short interval like this I will be shooting in raw instead of jpeg so I can process the photos better if needed. I also need to pay better attention to the aperture and shutter speeds, which is to say that it’s time for me to become a real photographer, paying attention and learning what f-stops are and how to actually use my camera in full manual mode, not just aperture priority.