Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR
YES - I have one. I am not just talking about unboxing either.
- Tamron 24-70mm VC has slightly better stabilization for video, but the Nikon more than makes up for it in sharpness, color rendition and light gathering/transmission (low noise).

- The New Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 VR is much better for color  and for light gathering/tranmission (low noise) than than the older 24-70.

I tested the Tamron, the Nikon VR,  and the older Nikon 24-70 on both a D4s for stills and a D810 with an Atomos Shogun for video.

The older Nikon was not as fast or as accurate for focus. Video on the older Nikon was ok, but the colors were flat and it didn't take in as much light as the newer and wider (82mm) on the VR. My video on the D810 with the newer VR had richer and more accurate color and less noise at the same light level.

The Tamron does have slightly better image stabilization. You can quickly check by zooming to 70mm and then zooming into 100% on live view video and try to hand hold the camera. Any camera shake and image stabilization is quite clear when you turn on and off image stabilization. The color rendition on the Tamron was always a bit flat and the sharpness never really got to that of the Nikon. Now you can see the difference in video immediately and on stills the newer Nikon blows the Tamron away.

My advice - dump the Tamron and the older Nikon 24-70 and get the new one. It is that much better. The old one is great in great light (or with flash), but the new one looks much better in any light and in low light there is no comparison for light gathering, light transmission and color rendition.

Have fun and I hope that you find this useful.

I will try to post more later, but I can't post a comparison video since I dumped both of the older lenses.

(And no making fun of the cat pic - it is good for seeing detail. This one was shot in lower light, but not completely dark.)

Working with iPhone video

Working with iPhone video - use iMovie
- Horizontal ONLY
- Use iMovie on Mac for editing
- lead in and out (PLEASE )

OK - So after sweating through a marathon office video which was shot all on iPhone by the average person, I decided to come up with some simple notes.

I usually shoot to an Atomos Shogun or Atomos Ninja straight to ProRes 422HQ these days to simplify editing, etc.

For this project I was handed a ton of random iPhone footage. What a mess. Ok, where to start?
The usual process that I use is to transcode the footage, converting it from MP4 to ProRes for editing in Smoke and Davinci Resolve. Ha Ha Ha. I tried Premiere Pro. That was a no go as well. It seems that the iPhone video just does best in iMovie. It really does. All of the others had transcode problems all the way from fuzzy video to audio and video skipping.

So - iMovie.
Get the latest version that will work on your machine. Then connect it to a big monitor since Apple hasn't released a 17 macbook pro inch since - what 2011? Good grief. A lot of people don't have a desktop anymore since it isn't portable. Sure - I have a workstation at work. It's a PC. I still use my Macbook Pro 17 inch from 2009 for photo's etc. I tried to persuade the powers that be to get me a 5k iMac for work, but I still find that I do a lot on my laptop. In this case, the final video would have to be added by someone else, so I set it up on their laptop and plugged in a larger screen.

The footage was shot about half and half vertical and horizontal on the iPhone. Bad Bad. Always shoot HORIZONTAL! That will give you 1920x1080 and not 608x1080. I'm not sure what format that is. Also, cutting between Horizontal and Vertical shots is just nuts. Think about watching a movie and having to rotate the screen. Photos can be all kinds of crops and resolutions, video can't. Oh - and iMovie is not full of features and it won't crop properly on that so just forget that.

Also, use the same iPhone if possible. (At least the same version.) The video will cut together much better if you do. Colors will match better, etc.

Organization. Ah - gotta love iMovie - nope. In iMovie you can sort by name or date and time. I recommend keeping a log of shots by date, time and duration. (Try not to be too productive in one minute, since the log is by the minute...)When you go to edit, you can turn on the (I) information tab on the clip, under Adjust, and turn on the skimmer info under View. This will allow you to see the filename, the date, time and duration.  Will all of this lined up, you just drag your files in the correct cut order into the timeline. iMovie is quite simple. There are not a whole lot of features like most track editors have which iMovie does not, but hey - you are shooting on an iPhone.  I created an Event named All Video and another called USED. As I used each of my clips from the pile I moved them into the USED. This allowed me to search through fewer clips in the All Video folder and helped me keep my selects separate from the giant pile.  Setting up like this makes things much easier and faster.

Don't forget leads on front and back of the clip. Also - try not to laugh in the background - we might need that audio.

With voice pieces you can boost the volume of the audio and use the voice enhance audio filter. It seems to work well.

You can roughly do in's and outs, but if you need to cut a clip in the middle you will have to drop multiple copies into the timeline since there is no ability to slice the media in the timeline. You'll get the hang of it after a while, but it can make the inserts a bit annoying if you need to pause the primary video, drop in a clip, and then restart the main video.

As this was a corporate internal video,  I can't post it here.

I hope that you find this helpful.

A quick summary of other advice on shooting iPhone video: