Monday, January 26, 2015

Adding USB 3 to a 17 inch Macbook Pro late 2009

Adding USB 3 to a 17 inch Macbook Pro late 2009
(Mavericks)

This one works really well. Full Speed, no errors.

4 Port USB 3.0 HUB to ExpressCard Express Card 34 34mm Adapter Converter 5.0Gbps FL1100 Chipset



There are patches and workarounds for using it with Yosemite, but with Mavericks it works great for me. I needed the USB 3 port since I got and Atomos Shogun and the reader is USB 3 and not Firewire 800. I am still using the old 17" Macbook Pro- until Apple makes a new version...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Video for Nikon: D810 and D4s ISO limits and lenses

Video for Nikon: D810 and D4s ISO limits and lenses, tripods, monopods, etc.

=Summary==========================================================
ISO for video:
D810  64-2500
D4s    200-12800 (try to stick with 10k or less)

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD 
both work great for Image Stabilization, hand held or vehicle.
The video from the 810 on Flat really does look better to me. (using a Atomos Shogun)
=================================================================

Bottom Line usable ISO for video: (shooting 24p  1/50s: Many shoots in different environments.)
D810  64-2500
D4s    200-12800 (try to stick with 10k or less)
Above those numbers things start to get truly grainy. Remember to shoot with the flat profile on the D810 if you plan on grading later. (You can get close creating a similar setting manually in the D4s.) I have heard that the Sony FS-700 does well to 56k, but I haven't tried it.

If you're in a car and you don't have $3-15k to spend on a gyro stabilizer - No Problem. Get these (especially the Tamron for the zoom range in the vehicle.)
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Until Nikon comes out with a 24-70mm 2.8 VR II the Tamron is just going to have to do. The Nikon 16-35mm just doesn't do well at 35 and I prefer a 50mm for facing forward. The VR or VC does a great job of taking out the vibration. The vehicle video is unusable without this.

If you are shooting on solid ground on a tripod then I recommend the 24, 35, 58, and 85 f/1.4 or the fantastic 200mm f/2.0 (you'll have to back up... even more so for the 400mm f/2.8  ;) which is also beautiful for video)

Need a 10 stop ND filter? You will need one if you are planning on shooting video at 24p (1/50s) outside in bright sunlight. (Yeah - just try to scrim the cars on the road while you are driving.) Look at this article. http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/10-Stop-Neutral-Density-Filter.aspx 
Yes, you might be able to get by with a 5-6 stop ND filter. Singh-Ray makes a 5 stop Mor-Slo too. I use the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo 5 stop and the Singh-Ray 3 stop filters. I can use one or the other or stack them both.  The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD does just fine with both stacked, with minimal vignetting. The Tamron has slight vignetting at 24mm as it is and two stacked filters does not add much to this.

Need a 6 stop filter for your Nikon 200mm f/2.0 get this Hoya 52mm Pro 1 ND 64x Sorry - I couldn't find a 10 stop that is thin enough to fit. This one works beautifully. It should work for the 400mm too.

Tripod: There are so many. You want a solid one with a real fluid head. I went with what the News guys use. They use the latest Sachtler head with the hotpod. I was fortunate enough to buy a used 18plus head on a hot pod a few years ago. It is smooth. It is made for heavier cameras, so I use it backwards on my lighter setups. When I put the 400mm on it works beautifully. If you have never used the Sachtler hotpod - it is a treat. You just slide the middle cross leg piece to the right spot on the bar it slides on and out drop the legs. Push the cross piece all the way down and they lock. Then press down on the leveling lever and level the head. It takes seconds. That is probably why the News guys use them. They are also solid as a rock, which is key for video. I have a set of Miller Sticks which I use if I am in the woods or need to go low, but it is nowhere near as solid or as easy to setup and move as the hotpod. A demo of the hotpod is here

Monopod: In a pinch I use the Manfrotto video monopod with 500 series head. It works quite well. It is great with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II  for shooting kids sports video.

Steadicam: I use the Steadicam pilot. It does well. Go with the Scout if you are flying something a bit heavier. I recommend that most people stick to the tripod. Steadicams can be frustrating if you don't have time to practice and the extra patience and coordination that they take. Also hand holding the Image Stabilized lenses works quite will in a pinch.

I must apologize for the lack of video or still shots. I will post them when I have the time. I am going to make sure to put iPhone video shots there for comparison as well. People think that the iPhone takes great video. The iPhone has its range. It does well in bright light. When it gets really dark though, it just can't do it. (The iphone screen is black by the time you go to 6400 ISO on the D4s. Remember, this is video so we are using 1/50 sec shutter speed.)

There is a review with some video here on Fstoppers (starting at 13:30) It doesn't cover the D4s, but that (for video) one goes to ISO 10k cleanly and 12800 pretty well.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nagra SD

Nagra SD recorder
Nagra SD recorder - photo borrowed from BHPhotoVideo

Summary:
Best handheld recorder that I have ever used. The preamps are up there with Nagra's recorders like the LB, but it is in a handheld package.


Not too long ago I picked up the Nagra SD recorder. I have to say that it has taken my audio recording to a whole new level. There are plenty of good ways to get excellent audio in an external recorder for your high end videos. To capture the ambient sound and stereo movement across the frame this thing is hard to beat. I use the Green band microphone for stereo recordings. Mounted on top of the camera, when  the audio is either cut into the  video in post or plugged directly into the camera from the line out, you would think you were there. I recommend cutting the audio in from the recorder in post if you have the time since it is better quality than the line out feed to the camera.

I recommend picking up the Nagra NM-MICSII stereo Green band microphone and the Nagra NM-MICMC mono White band microphone. The green is great for stereo ambient sound and the white is great for areas where there is an echo. You have to buy the microphones separately. Oh - and the white sounds just like the green except it is mono and is better than the green for high echo areas.

Great reviews are here:
BHphoto review of the Nagra SD (has sample Video with audio)
Wildlife Sound Recording Society (has sample audio)

This is my go to audio recorder. It truly is broadcast quality in your hand. Yes, I have used the Marantz, the H4n, and many others. This thing is just better. If you looking for a broadcast quality recorder for some kind of National Public Radio type recording of an event, then this is the the perfect solution.

It comes with a single XLR input cord. A stereo XLR (two connector) input cord can be purchased separately. Using the cords, one can connect one or two XLR inputs to the Nagra SD.

Keep in mind that I am using this for quick interviews or recording performances when I am primarily shooting stills. (I am frequently asked to "just get a few short videos.") This is not a complete audio solution for recording by any means. It is just and easy way to truly get broadcast quality (background sound primarily for me) into your video for under the usual $3k mark and have such a small handheld that you can just carry with you. There are plenty of other microphones like the Senken CS3e , Sennheiser MKH-416, Schoeps CMIT-5u; Mixers and recorders from Sound Devices (Mixpre-D as a small example used by DSLR run and gun people), Nagra and so many more.

I still use the Rode Video Mic Pro for run and gun interviews in loud areas (again - when asked to "just get a few short videos"), but is nowhere near the audio quality or pickup of this thing. I use the Rode usually to cut out and isolate the sound and then add in the real background from the Nagra SD recorder.


I will be showing my newer audio/video setup sometime soon.


I hope that you find this helpful.









Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Light Grenades

Light Grenade:
I was asked by a friend to write a quick piece on this.



At a recent wedding I pulled out my go to quick lighting solution, the light grenade. It is merely a small portable light stand with a umbrella holder and bracket on the top. I usually put two SB-900's on the bracket so that I don't overheat or burn them out with the added bonus of getting more light. These things fold up so small I can carry three of them in a small bag folded up.

Just set it up, point the umbrella at the subject, (at a 45 degree angle to the subject usually) and fire. If I am using Nikon flashes I use TTL. If I am using everything on manual, I set the umbrella flashes to 1/16 to start and work my way up.

It is called a light grenade because while it does throw soft light through the umbrella on the subject, it throws light everywhere.

It consists of:
Manfrotto 5001B
Lastolite LL_LA2423 TriFlash Bracket
Impact S3243 White Translucent Umbrella


This is not an original idea of mine. Many travel photographers have been using this for years. You can find it clearly laid out by Bob Krist is the Nikon CLS lighting system video.CLS Lighting Video with Bob Krist and Joe McNally Check the video at 1:15:00 and you can watch Bob unpack and explain his kit.

I put the strap on mine so that I can carry one around in its own as a portable lighting solution.


I hope that you find this helpful.


Workflow for Weddings

Workflow for Weddings

(Excerpted from post on Capture One Pro) - on user request

Bottom line - My workflow:
1) Shoot RAW+JPG. RAW to Card 1 JPG to Card 2.  I can always hand off the JPG card to anyone for them to use immediately if necessary.
2) IMPORT : Photo Mechanic
3) EDIT :  Capture One Pro 8
Use Sessions so that I can edit in original directories and not have a huge catalog. Also, if I really need to use Photoshop or another plugin because I have a solution that I have used in the past I can.
4) SEND Proofs: Smugmug
5) PRINT: Imageprint
to my Epson 3880. To really get good proofs and understand printing you need to use a good printer. To not waste time figuring out print profiles (because you are in the photography and not the printing business) let Imageprint figure out the perfect color, paper, and ink settings for you.

Don't use Catalogs!:
Use Sessions
But - leave the files right where they are when you import. Don't import files into Capture one. Just access them in the file browser.

Lightroom, iPhoto, and Aperature use a Catalog. Capture One Pro 8 can use catalogs as well. But - even better, with Adobe Bridge or Capture One Pro you can just look in a directory at the files. There is absolutely no need to import your photos into some ridiculously huge, slow and unstable catalog. I have always edited files in the directory, avoiding catalogs. I usually import my photos with Photo Mechanic the worlds fastest import and file viewer. I set up a hierarchy of directories for my files starting with date. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) I can then cull down my photos to only the selects that I can then edit. I used to use Photoshop through Bridge and Adobe Camera RAW. (Now all of that has gone creative cloud and is far too unwieldy, slow and expensive.) A full 8 hour plus wedding set on the D4s and D810 takes only 1 hour to cull, and at most 3 hours to edit in post for the proof prints. (No. I am not kidding. Just ask Emily Karcher of Emily Karcher Photography if you need a real person that can attest to this. (Don't buy into something that you only see or hear online. A lot of what you see is staged (models for "Wedding Shoots") and for advertising.))

How is it so fast. Two things:
1) Cull down your photos into selects first
2) Do not import into a Catalog - Use the files in a directory where they are.

Cull down your photos into selects first. Select the photo's you like, rate them etc in Photo Mechanic.(2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) Then move them or copy them into a Selects directory under that main directory. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding/Selects) Open the Selects directory in Capture One Pro and do your editing and corrections. Then export your photos to the Send directory. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding/Send)If I still need to do some crazy edits in Photoshop I can do that on the Selects or Send files.

If you shoot a monster like the Nikon D810, Canon 5D Mark III, or any medium format camera you know how big those files are. If you cull down your files first and then don't use catalogs, you will only have the photos that you need to edit in memory or in your sorted directory. This is so much faster than asking your computer to look at a 40GB directory fill of 40MB files. (Or worse - One giant 200GB Catalog containing not only this shoot, but several of the last ones. Keep in mind that anything over 4GB in size is a royal pain for a computer. Just try to copy a giant video file some time.) I do my editing on a 2008 Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM. (I needed the RAM for 3D graphics and rendering.)  

Do not import into a Catalog - Use the files in a directory where they are.
Using the files in the directory where they are you can edit your selects with whatever external editor or plugin that you want.Using a Catalog forces you to waste time, importing and exporting with no added benefit. Also archiving is easy. Just grab the entire directory (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding), back it up to both of your spare backup drives (BOTH!) and then delete the 40 GB monster (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) from your computer's hard drive. A Catalog keeps growing and growing and becomes overly cumbersome.  (Plugins are quickly becoming stand alone apps now that don't require Photoshop. Awesome! Now you can process files with your favorite settings automatically in batches without the $700 purchase of Photoshop with Bridge.)

Capture One Pro 8

Capture One Pro 8: Better than ever!
(Also - workflow for weddings at bottom)

Killer features:
- No need for Catalogs!
- Variants
- Multiple focus windows for image review or tethered shooting 

Best tethered shooting app!

Killer feature (for me)- Multiple focus windows for image review or tethered shooting!!!!

Capture One 8
(Yes that picture is from Capture One Pro 7) I just happened to take a screen shot to show how one can compare two photos side by side while reviewing photos or while tethered. The two focus windows on the left I used for checking two separate focus points on each photo. You can have many of these focus windows.

Capture One 8
Ok - check this out. It is two sessions (two windows) The left one is the my best shot up until now, the right shot is the latest tethered shot. The left side stays the same and the right side changes with each new shot. If I am shooting tethered this allows me to check focus (and all edits, crops etc.) on the left photo and then see if the right photo is better. If it is, I select that photo in the left window as my keeper and keep shooting. I can even set different edits to crop and keystoning (or any effects or edits) on the right tethered window and each successive shot takes on the same settings from the last shot. Amazing!

UPDATE:
After setting this up I rebooted my computer for some Apple software update and guess what - when I started Capture One Pro 8 it started up with both session windows open the exact same way with the same files open!!!! How awesome. So if my machine goes down, or I have to set up for a quick tethered shoot or stop editing and have to restart or whatever - I can just start up Capture One Pro 8 and I am right back where I left off. Brilliant!!!

Variants:
Capture One Pro


Yes - I reused the photo. The left photo is variant one and the right side is variant 2 of the same photo. The best part about this is that you can edit the heck out of a photo and then just hit a button to create a new variant that has the same edits and settings (clone) or a new variant that has no changes to the original file (new variant). This is unlike all of the other photo apps that I have used where you have to copy the original file before you even start and then work in layers, etc and turn them on and off so that you end up with multiple staged files all over the place. These edits are in an XMP file so there is no overhead and it doesn't take up space on your hard drive or in RAM.


No need for Catalogs!: (Workflow for Weddings)
Use Sessions
But - leave the files right where they are when you import. Don't import files into Capture one. Just access them in the file browser.

Lightroom uses a Catalog. Capture One Pro 8 can use catalogs as well. But - even better, you can just look in a directory at the files. There is absolutely no need to import your photos into some ridiculously huge, slow and unstable catalog. I have always editing files in the directory, avoiding catalogs. I usually import my photos with Photo Mechanic the worlds fastest import and file viewer. I set up a hierarchy of directories for my files starting with date. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) I can then cull down my photos to only the selects that I can then edit. I used to use Photoshop through Bridge and Adobe Camera RAW. (Now all of that has gone creative cloud and is far too unwieldy, slow and expensive.) A full 8 hour plus wedding set on the D4s and D810 takes only 1 hour to cull, and at most 3 hours to edit in post for the proof prints. (No. I am not kidding. Just ask Emily Karcher of Emily Karcher Photography if you need a real person that can attest to this. (Don't buy into something that you only see or hear online. A lot of what you see is staged (models for "Wedding Shoots") and for advertising.))

How is it so fast. Two things:
1) Cull down your photos into selects first
2) Do not import into a Catalog - Use the files in a directory where they are.

Cull down your photos into selects first. Select the photo's you like, rate them etc in Photo Mechanic.(2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) Then move them or copy them into a Selects directory under that main directory. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding/Selects) Open the Selects directory in Capture One Pro and do your editing and corrections. Then export your photos to the Send directory. (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding/Send)If I still need to do some crazy edits in Photoshop I can do that on the Selects or Send files.

If you shoot a monster like the Nikon D810, Canon 5D Mark III, or any medium format camera you know how big those files are. If you cull down your files first and then don't use catalogs, you will only have the photos that you need to edit in memory or in your sorted directory. This is so much faster than asking your computer to look at a 40GB directory fill of 40MB files. (Or worse - One giant 200GB Catalog containing not only this shoot, but several of the last ones. Keep in mind that anything over 4GB in size is a royal pain for a computer. Just try to copy a giant video file some time.) I do my editing on a 2008 Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM. (I needed the RAM for 3D graphics and rendering.)  

Do not import into a Catalog - Use the files in a directory where they are.
Using the files in the directory where they are you can edit your selects with whatever external editor or plugin that you want.Using a Catalog forces you to waste time, importing and exporting with no added benefit. Also archiving is easy. Just grab the entire directory (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding), back it up to both of your spare backup drives (BOTH!) and then delete the 40 GB monster (2014_09_17 Mary and John Smith Wedding) from your computer's hard drive. A Catalog keeps growing and growing and becomes overly cumbersome.  (Plugins are quickly becoming stand alone apps now that don't require Photoshop. Awesome! Now you can process files with your favorite settings automatically in batches without the $700 purchase of Photoshop.)

Other Features for me:
Tethered Live View for the D4s D3 D810
Exporting
Lens Correction - Supports latest Nikon and Canon (and other DLSR) lenses and selects them automatically.
Layers
Spot correction and Cloning
Great Black and White Tool
Great RAW rendering engine
Output Sharpening for print
Single Pixel Noise Reduction for Night Photos- Long Exposure
View Proof Profile - Soft proofing
Hot Folder - Allows you to use whatever camera control app you want and still have the photos pop up automatically in the Capture One Pro session.
Capture Pilot - photo review and tethering control on iPad or iPhone
Free Capture One Pro 8 Training Videos Online Just search Capture One Pro 8 or here at Phase One

Full Blown review of what it is new.

Also:
This is really Phase One's only software product (Ok - there's Media Pro)- and it is dedicated to cameras - It is updated with new cameras and lens profiles as well as RAW conversion continuously. Adobe has so many other apps to dedicate people to. They do update the camera RAW, but I am not sure they take the time to profile all of the cameras and lenses like DXO or Phase One.  Phase One makes digital backs and makes this application to control them and other digital backs.

What it doesn't do:
Capture One Pro 8 is not Photoshop. You are not going to use it for keying or compositing or any of that. Capture One has the Spot Correction and Cloning tools to remove problem areas in an image, but it is not a full blown compositing solution.  Photoshop is great, but do you drive an efficient car to work or a car, truck, boat, airplane, submarine, crane, bulldozer, all in one? You get the point.

Bottom line - My workflow:
1) Shoot RAW+JPG. RAW to Card 1 JPG to Card 2.  I can always hand off the JPG card to anyone for them to use immediately if necessary.
2) IMPORT : Photo Mechanic
3) EDIT :  Capture One Pro 8
Use Sessions so that I can edit in original directories and not have a huge catalog. Also If I really need to use Photoshop or another plugin because I have a solution that I have used in the past I can.
4) SEND Proofs: Smugmug
5) PRINT: Imageprint
to my Epson 3880. To really get good proofs and understand printing you need to use a good printer. To not waste time figuring out print profiles (because you are in the photography and not the printing business) let Imageprint figure out the perfect color, paper, and ink settings for you.

I  hope that you find this helpful.





Monday, April 21, 2014

Nikon D4s - Just a comment

Nikon D4s - Just a comment

I have been a bit busy, but I felt that I would be doing a disservice to people if I did not write something brief about the D4s.

If you have even thought about upgrading from the D4 to the D4s, do not wait. The D4s is nothing short of amazing when compared to the D4 as far as ACCURATE and FAST AUTO FOCUS, color accuracy, color depth, and straight to JPEG shooting. Yes, the 2.7 crop video is beautifully sharp as well. If you shoot primes like the 35, 58, 85, 200, do not walk, run to the nearest store and swap your D4 for the D4s. It is truly amazing. The focus locks on moving subjects and is dead on. This is the best auto focus that I have seen on any camera ever.

There are plenty of reviews out there from people who have merely unboxed the D4s and never shot with it. Those who have can't help but rave about it.

Example comments:

http://news.coreyrich.com/2014/03/ask-corey-is-the-nikon-d4s-noticeably-sharper-than-the-d4-in-fx-mode/