Social Media & My iPhone Camera

This last year I found myself on the road a lot.  I use some social media like facebook to keep up with friends and interests.  Don’t share a lot of images or post my location because it leads to more targeted ads.  I also find it had to take my camera on the road with me.  I already have to take 2 laptops so to pack in a DSLR in my carry on gets to be a bit much.

IMG_1140Still I want to take images on the road.  I decided to make some social media changes.  I changed my Facebook account to only my hobby interest.  I removed most of my personal information.  Deleted posts that were not related to my hobbies.  Moved most of my professional contacts to Linkedin.  Then I decided to use Instagram for my photos.  Since the images I get are mostly from my iPhone I thought this was a good compromise. Plus it is an outlet designed for that purpose.

IMG_1019Now I take my iPhone photos and edit them in the instagram app.  It actually does an OK job.  I use it mainly for snapshots to document where I’ve been or for goofy images.  I do try to post on a regular basis and I also use the instal reel app on my MAC.  I don’t use it for anything other than travel snaps while I am on the road for work.  If I’m working on a photo project of course I use my DSLR and Photoshop.

IMG_1304The biggest disadvantage of my iPhone is the limitations of the lens.
IMG_1070The overall camera is actually decent for a phone.  To give myself a few more options I got the olloclip.  It’s a snap-on lens device that gives me 4 options.  Wide angle, fish-eye and 2 Macro lenses in one small package.  I can easily place this in my backpack and when I have time outside of work to site see I grab it and go.  It has a lanyard that the unit just snaps on and off of.  It really is a nice add-on if a camera phone is your only option.

This little system will never take the place of my DSLR but it will give me some options when it comes to sharing my travel with my friends and family and instagram followers.  There are times I really wish I had my DSLR but when it is just not possible I have my olloclip and iPhone.  The images here are some of my instagram photos.  Taken with my iPhone 6s plus.  I haven’t had the account long but I hope to keep adding images from my travels.  Thanks for the read, follow me on instagram @PD_Images

Steady Cam for your iPhone or GoPro!

I found a new gadget that helps reduce shaky video. The Digipower Action Camera Stabilizer. It is a simple design, includes counter weights, smart phone mount and a GoPro mount. It all packs nicely in a hardshell case. The price was about $60 for the kit.

It is quite simple. You mount your device then use the counter weights and level (built in the arm) to get the desired angle. When you start filming the mount helps to reduce camera shake and movement. I’ve only used it a little but notice a big difference in video quality.

Over all it seems to be well built but be aware it is for light weight cameras. I would not try to mount a DSLR or full size video camera to this unit. The only real issue I ave is the case does not look to be the most durable. For the price this mini steady cam is a great value!

The Art of Stop Motion – MAC fun with iStopMotion

The Fly Empire - Bug Wars

This is a follow up to a previous blog post on iStopMotion. I thought I would look into what it takes to produce a short video. So let’s start with the basics. First you will need some sort of concept. Just because these are not live actors doesn’t mean you don’t need to create a script and plan out the movie before shooting. The concept for this short is “Bug Wars”. We will be using some plastic bugs and creating a battle. The concept is simple enough. There isn’t a script but we will need to plan this out so we know what to shoot and what to do. This can be done by making a shot list or creating a storyboard so that everything in organized.
Step 2 would be to assemble the characters for the movie. In this case I have picked up several packages of fake bugs. Looking at the storyboard I will need to cut a few of them up so I can have some parts for the splatter scenes. I also need some additional items for props. I got some chunks of paper, plastic, wrappers and an old plastic cup. These will make great objects for my bugs to crawl over and add to the overall look and feel of the film. Now that most of this has been collected I need to build a location. Using dome old cardboard boxes I constructed a crude set for this fun film.

Clone Roaches - Bug Wars

It is time for the fun and hard work to begin. I had to make sure my lighting was even. I chose to use overhead lighting for this. It does make the image a little flat looking abut it is also easier to film. I have also used key lighting (main light to one side) but this will work best for this adventure. Setting up is important as well.

 

Look at the stage and the props through the camera. Get them all in place and make sure everything is how you want it. Once it is set you need to lock the camera down. You need to make sure that the camera and object don’t get moved until filming is complete. If you plan to have different camera angles the I suggest shooting everything you want at each angle then assemble it all in post production.
Don’t expect to be a fast process at 12 frames or more per second you will be taking a bunch of images. I also would stress that your finished size will be 1920X1080 max (in most cases) if not smaller so don’t think you need to set your camera on “full” or “raw” size images. You should get great results on smaller jpegs.

The set of Bug Wars

This is also important so you don’t fill your memory card and risk moving the camera to change it. Another item to point out is to keep in mind your depth of field. You can do some amazing effects like shooting a close-up at f2.8 to put the background out of focus. Just remember when you pull back to change the f-stop to f5.6 – f11 if you want more of the objects in view.

 

As I created this movie I used the onion skin so I could make sure I didn’t move items too much. I think this is a feature that really makes a difference. The only drawback is you have to accept the image and if you forget to do that you loose the frame. I also setup the grid to 16 squares. This is something you don’t really need to do but it helps direct the motion the way you want. In closing just remember this is a long process and the results vary but it is fun creating this type of animation. Next time I’ll talk about how I import iStop Motion into iMove and complete the post production work.
Thanks For Reading!!


8mm Filming for the iPhone – Vintage Film Look

I found a fun little iPhone app and wanted to share. This app lets you take video and make it vintage. You can import or film straight from the app. It allows you to choose different types of vintage film. You can change the lighting to include center light, outer boarder, lens flare and others. The controls are simple to use just swipe to change. I think it has many fun uses. I took it to the zoo for a fun walk around safari. The only real issue I had was the control for shutter/flare is easy to touch and change while filming if you are not careful. But if you want to have some fun this is an app I really like and had a lot of fun making the video part of this post. Hope you enjoy my zoo safari!!

Thanks for reading!!

8mm Test Video


Still Images in Motion with iStopMotion

I embark now on a new bit of photographic fun. Not only photo’s but video as well. I decided to play with iStopMotion. This was a very fun tool to use. The interface is simple and takes very little time to learn. Like those Claymation holiday movies this program creates a video from still frames. You position your character/object then snap an image. The program imports the file (if you have a web Camera/live view video camera you can see the image preview) then you move your character/object a little and take a picture. Repeat this process and your character comes to life.

The program has several tools to assist you like color correction and tilt shift controls. You can use a grid layout to help track motion. The program can also be use to capture time lapse photography. Additional tools like onion skin lets you overlay the current image over the previous on to insure you movement is fluid and not off. One of the other useful tools is the robo sync. You can for instance record an actor then use the footage to mimic the actors motion with the character/object. The program also comes with some preset foregrounds and backgrounds. Over all I say if you enjoy those old Claymation movies and want to create your own then you need to try iStopMotion.

Below is my first sample movie. I used iStopMotion then imported the project in After Effects to give it that night look and create the ghost. It was fun to make, hope to make another one soon! Thanks for reading!


iStopMotion Demo