Cheap Video Solution for Newspapers: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

© Matthew Jonas 2010

Web video is here to stay. And with the roll out of the new web platform I mentioned previously, we have been tasked with creating video content for all of our publications. I really want this to work out for us but I have made it clear to our editorial management that this will not be a “quantity versus quality” endeavor. Not every story will include video. I set our goals at 1 video per week, per paper. So basically I will probably end up cutting together 4 videos a week. It’s not going to be easy. But I like a challenge.

Speaking of challenges, the company actually purchased video cameras for the staff. In a time of furlough days, pay cuts and expense reductions it was a nice surprise. However, (let’s face it there is always a however) with the limited budget the equipment purchased was not the Canon XH-A1s and Sennheiser EW G3s that we would have liked. Instead we were given the Kodak Zi8 pocket video cameras and Audio-Technica wired lavaliere mics. The photo above shows the camera and mic along with my haggard Think Tank Photo Trim Changer.

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Redrock Micro: Running Man Nano DSLR Rig Review

© Matthew Jonas 2010

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Redrock Micro about my previous post on the Microfinder Accessory. We exchanged several emails and they informed me that an updated version of the Microfinder Loupe Accessory was available. Long story short, I have a review unit of the new finder accessory and of the Running Man Rig. Today we are going to look at the Nano rig. Later this week we will look at the updated loupe accessory.

The one problem that I had with many of the HDSLR rigs that were available was that they were very impractical for the type of work that I do. Most of the systems were built around a rod system with a matte box and shoulder support which are heavy, cumbersome in size and don’t allow me to switch back to shooting stills easily. Redrock Micro must of been listening to their customers when they debuted the Nano rigs at NAB. You get many of the benefits of stabilization without the extra weight and extra cost.

The setup above is what I have been using for the last couple of days to shoot stills and video. It’s made up of a Canon EOS 7D, EF 16-35mm f2.8L wide angle lens, a Sennheiser MKE-400 mic with windscreen, a Rycote hot shoe extension, an audio recorder (soon to be replaced with a Samson Zoom H1 recorder, if it ever arrives) and Sennheiser wireless lav mics.

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What is all this stuff?

© Matthew Jonas 2010

I’ll tell you what it is. It’s one of the new Nano rigs from Redrock Micro. In the next couple of days I will have an in depth review of some of their new products including an update to the Microfinder Loupe accessory. Stay tuned for a lot more.

HDSLR Video We All Should Aspire to Produce

The video above comes from The Guardian in London. It was shot by Felix Clay on an unnamed HDSLR (my bet is Canon 5D Mark II) and edited by Elliot Smith and Shehani Fernando. This is just one video from Laura Barton’s series called Barton’s Britain in which she travels throughout England, Scotland and Wales to create a visual story of modern Great Britain. In my opinion (and the opinion of the UK Press Photographer’s Year 2010 Awards) this is outstanding work. Finding a visual style in photojournalism is tough. It’s clear that Felix Clay has found his. There are several more videos on the Guardian’s site that showcase this as well. Check it out.

Zoom H1 for HDSLR Audio Recording

Samson Zoom H1Photo Courtesy of Samson

This looks interesting. Samson is set to release a Zoom H1 recorder that they seem to be marketing to HDSLR users. A quote from their product page:

The H1 will easily shoe mount on top of a video or DSLR camera. And because it has a standard ¼-20 mount on the bottom, you can place the H1 anywhere on your rig. Use the stereo output jack to connect directly to the audio input on your camera, or bring the audio into your editing suite using the USB connection.

I wonder if the audio level from the recorder will work with a standard stereo mini cable or if a Pinknoise cable with a -25 DB pad will be required. I have been thinking about replacing my aging Edirol R-09. The H1 might be an inexpensive solution.

Affordable LED Lighting for HDSLRs

© Matthew Jonas 2010

Finding affordable LED lighting solutions for HDSLRS seems to be impossible. There are lots of cheap options but very few affordable choices for full featured LED lighting…or so I thought. A couple of weeks ago I began a quest for an upcoming shoot that would possibly require a little bit of on-camera lighting. Actually if I was going to see anything at all it would be necessary. I will be shooting video inside a mine. So I turned to the internet and started shopping.

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Guardian.co.uk: Dan Chung’s Election Coverage

I have talked about the blog dslrnewsshooter.com here before but never really talked much about the man behind it. His name is Dan Chung and he is also a great still shooter. He hasn’t had many update since the NAB Expo and I can understand why. Until recently Chung was devoted to covering the election for the man that would live at No. 10 Downing Street. If you don’t know who that is, google it and then move out from under a rock in Kansas.

To me, his work is very traditional. He captures many of the behind the scenes moments of the election that the public is often unaware of. His pictures are documentary, non-intrusive, story telling images. Having covered some of the 2008 presidential elections, I can understand the thrills, boredom and surprises of the campaign trail. I think he has done a great job with his coverage. I encourage you to check out his work for The Guardian, here, here or here.