Free work with Nadine and Ian Part II

Today set 2 and 3 from the free work session with Nadine and Ian.
We mostly concentrated on playing a bit with characters, and of course just have some fun :D

 

Nadine en Ian 103 - December 01 2014

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Free work with Nadine and Ian

Last week it was finally time for some free work with Nadine and Ian.
Today set 1.
A bit more vintage.

 

Nadine en Ian 31 - December 01 2014

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BTS during the workshop in Groningen

Today a video Annewiek shot during the workshop in Groningen.

 

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Who’s afraid of lensflares

Lenses are often coated against lens flare……
And that’s ok of course, because in all honesty I don’t want lens flare in most of my images, but sometimes it can be incredibly cool to play with, it can really spice up a shot.

 

Always remember that lens flare can be rather easily controlled.
First of all make sure you see the light source in the frame and then slowly crop it out and release the shutter.
Wider angles are more prone to lens flare
Remove your sunhood
And get the cheapest glass you can :D (but is also works with very expensive glass under the right angles)

 

Sometimes it will be too much, but if you start learning the tricks it can be a real addition to your shots.

Marina Day 1 September 16 2014 0035

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Camera as prop, a tip

It’s often a problem to keep coming with good ideas, we all know the feeling of……. uhm…….. yeah……. so……… pfffff…….. yeah let’s do that….. or not.
Get that feeling also sometimes?
Who doesn’t :D

 

 

Sometimes it’s easy to fix, just give the model something to play with, but what?

 

 

I found out that I loved it when my models posed with cameras, old and new, actually on www.frankdoorhof.smugmug.com I have a whole album with shots I did over the past year or so with cameras.

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So the next time you’re stuck (or have a model that’s a bit stiff or unexperienced) give him/her a camera to play with. One final tip… make sure you tell the model how to hold it.

 

 

For much more in-depth tips and techniques see my website www.frankdoorhof.com and download one of the instructional videos, or get my book “Mastering the modelshoot”

Nadine PI dag 2-36-Edit

Sony HDR AS100 action cam

Today a review from the Sony HDR-AS100 action cam.
As you know from me I will give you my opinion, no resolution charts, no pixel peeping, just the way I use it and my opinion.

 

As most of you know I love to be active during my free time and one of the things I love to do is mountain biking (or just biking), we live in a nice area for biking and often I’m asked online if I can show some of the routes I bike, one could of course do this by taken some photos (which I normally also do) but it’s more fun if you can see the video right? So it was time to get a so called Action Cam, now one thing I noticed from myself is that although I claim to be not brand loyal I went to the store and asked not for an action cam but for a GoPro Hero4……

 

In the past I bought a GoPro because everyone told me it was the best action camera out there, and to be honest it was a very nice camera although I had to add a lot of extras like the display and still I could not really see what I was doing in bright sunlight (by the way this is all a non issue with the new generation), also when we watch a movie and you see action cam sequences the first thing we say is “GoPro” now this is actually quite good for GoPro, it means they did their work and marketing VERY well, it’s a bit like GoPro for a lot of people is the same as action cam so if you buy one… it’s not an action cam but a GoPro… so also with me.

 

The store I bought my camera was Tuerlings in Tilburg, they helped us out with the Scott Kelby Photowalk this year and they sold the GoPro’s so I thought it would be nice to buy it from them. Now one thing I have to say about Tuerlings, this is the kind of shop you want to buy gear, their staff is very knowledgable and friendly and they really give you a VERY good and solid advice, as I was about to find out.

 

As soon as I told the salesperson about what I wanted to do with my GoPro/Action cam he immediately said that I would be much better off with the Sony HDR AS100. At first I was a bit stunned… Sony? as an action cam? I’ve been shooting Sony photo cameras for a while now but I never (to be honest) even looked at their action cams. Thanks to Tuerlings I got the guarantee that if I did not liked the camera I could bring it back, no questions asked, and exchange it for a GoPro. Well in that case…..

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The camera itself
I hate to bore you with all the specs but here we go :
Very good Zeiss lens
Up to 50mb/s video (XAV S or MP4)
120 AND 240 fps action freezing motion video (slow motion that is)
Natural and vivid colorsettings
GPS
Wrist remote control and display
Splash water proof
Easy menu
Stereo sound
Wifi and NFC
Underwater color balance
170 degrees lens without steady shot and 120 degrees with steady shot
Steadyshot
1920×1080 at a max of 60 fps
720P at a max of 120 fps
800×480 at a max of 240 fps
Microphone input
HDMI output
Several Photo (13.5MP) options like interval, burst, time-lapse, motionshot LE,

 

The camera itself is very small and compared to the GoPro’s I actually like the form factor from Sony a lot more, the menus are really easy to navigate, although I would have liked to have format a bit more easily accessible. The main thing I love about the Sony is the splash water proof, this means you can just use the camera without it’s housing on your bike (car or whatever) without the fear of it getting wet, and because there is no casing the sound and image quality is optimal, one thing I don’t like is the way the microSD card is mounted, this can be either way and one would expect that it would only fit one way. Also I had some trouble finding the right MicroSD card, but when I got the correct one in the mail from Tuerlings it actually worked right away, so beware of this make sure you buy a card with the camera.

 

Battery life is ok but nothing more, on the other hand I think it’s a limitation of all cameras that run with tiny accupacks, I get app 2 hours out of a battery with GPS and wifi enabled, with wifi off it should last a lot longer, GPS I don’t want to turn off because I actually love this feature. It’s great to see where you biked and in the Sony software you can even overlay the GPS information in the video, the quality of the video does take a hit (hardly noticeable on most material)  but it looks pretty cool so let’s hope they will fix that later on.

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The image stabilization is a BIG BIG advantage.
Of course you can do this later in Premiere or Final Cut Pro but to have it in camera is in my opinion always best, especially when filming a few hours of material. Now you can always argue if image stabilization is the reason to buy the Sony so let’s see if there is more…. because there is.

 

We already talked about GPS but what’s the most important thing about a camera?
Of course…. the image quality.
And I can be very very short about this one, the Sony is absolutely awesome, the GoPro might have 4K in the most expensive version but the dynamic range and color rendition of the Sony really surprised me, now I have to be honest that I did not have the opportunity to compare the two next to each other but also when you read reviews online the Sony wins hands down on pure image quality and I can only say that for an action cam I was pleasantly surprised about the quality.

 

The vivid color mode is… well ok vivid, I like it and I use it for my bike rides, however if I want serious image quality I will switch to the natural looking color setting which is indeed much more natural of course and is easily tuned in your editing software. Most of all however I am impressed by the dynamic range of the camera and it’s ability to operate at very little light, again I don’t have a GoPro4 here to compare but the Sony does incredibly well in low light situations. I made a small video tour of our studio handholding the camera and using image stabilization and the on board microphone which you can see here, and trust me… the studio was pretty dark.

As you can see the Sony did really well and this was actually one of the reasons we wanted to get a new action cam, my old GoPro was very bad in low light situations.

 

As expected it’s best to choose the setting 50 (or 60fps) for recording anything with movement, I tried a few videos on 25/30 just for testing and the image jumps around way too much, on 50/60 it’s very very smooth and the added image stabilization almost gives you the idea that you are seeing a glide cam, the next clip is actually me riding my bike with the camera mounted on the handle bars (not the perfect place for shocks, realize that parts of this route are off road and VERY bumpy. The video is sped up but you get a pretty good idea I think about some of the tricky lighting situations and the overal image quality. I did had to compress the heck out of the video so don’t mind the lack of detail, we had a very slow connection where I uploaded this (even slower than in the studio) and the video was never intended to be used for a review, but I do like to show it because you can see the way the Sony handles the lighting and stabilization.

 

Cases and holder
When I posted online I got the Sony the first few responses were mostly from people telling me I made a huge mistake and I would never ever be able to get all the accessories that GoPro has etc. Well I can be very short in this regard…. even if I couldn’t…. who cares…. as long as you can find the accessories and mounts YOU need, in my case the car and my bike, it’s ok right?

 

What people often don’t realize is that GoPro indeed has a huge amount of mounts and accessories, but don’t worry…. Sony sells a convertor which makes it possible to mount your Sony action cam on the GoPro accessories.

 

The wrist remote
This I really really love.
With the Sony package I got a wrist remote was included, at first you might think “well let’s skip that one” especially because the Sony is (like most other modern Sony cams) compatible with my iPhone app for Sony and shows you the image on your smartphone (also Android) however you have to start the app, make connection etc. The wrist remote works like a charm, connection is made in seconds and you can see what the camera does and start/stop recording all from your wrist. Because most action cams don’t have an LCD display (which also doesn’t really make sense) it’s always hard to adjust them exactly the way you want it. I used the LCD backpack on my GoPro but never really liked it, it did make it easier but especially in bright sunlight it was hardly visible and it was still a matter of guess work. The new GoPro’s have way better integration with remotes and smart devices but I absolutely love the wrist control.

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Conclusion
The Sony action cam is awesome, the image quality is in my personal opinion incredibly good. I love the added GPS and the wrist remote/LCD screen, the image stabilization rocks (well actually it prevents that) and overal the package is incredibly well thought out and very very nice. The included software is ok, for people not familiar with editing software like final cut or premiere it will be more than adequate and adding GPS information is loads of fun.

 

Overall I’m incredibly happy I went for the Sony instead of the GoPro, the 4K from the GoPro did got my interest (we own a 4K projector) but in the end I thought the other features from the Sony were more important for what I’m using the material for and I’m glad I did.

 

Many thanks to Foto Tuerlings in Tilburg for giving me the right advise, if you live in that are make sure to check them out.

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http://www.sony.net/Products/actioncam/en-us/?j-short=ActionCam

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Results workshop Groningen

Today some images from the workshop I taught on November 29th in Groningen.
The location was an abandoned building and our model Anna Matthea, of course the styling was by Nadine (and Anna herself).

 

During location workshops I always try to not see the location before the workshop day, this way the group can really see what goes through my mind while setting up the scenes, in my opinion this is the best way to learn, I don’t feel people learn all the techniques when during a workshop there is no attention for the way something develops, and it also keeps me on edge of course. On some locations there are many opportunities and in some locations you really have to look for them. In this case it was a bit of a mix, the building itself had many great locations, but it hasn’t been abandoned for long yet so the decay still has to set in so to say, thanks to the layout however there were more than enough great photo opportunities, in fact I could shoot there for a week I think and still find new things.

 

The first set we did was in a small hallway and explained the mix between focus and broad light, but also the mix with the ambient light, but most of all it was about finding an interesting angle.

Anna Matthea Groningen  31 - November 29 2014

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