So I thought it appropriate to take a moment out, and detail some of the gear I currently own, what I’d really like to snag (because I OBVIOUSLY don’t have enough… ), and what 2010 has been so far, and what it might have in store for me! Onward!
First off, I’m now shooting on the Canon 5d Mark II, and wow is this camera a beast! (not in the heavy sense, but more in performance)
I’m continuously blown away by the image quality, and versatility, especially in low-light situations.
For those who aren’t aware, low-light was a definite necessity for me, as I tend to cover live events (music/spirits related) in natural lighting, as well as capturing bartenders in action. Both of which tend to not allow flash / other auxiliary lighting. For that, this camera is perfect, it seriously DIGS light out of the shadows. Not to mention, in an absolute worst case scenario, the performance at >ISO 1600 is fantastic. Obviously there is some grain & degradation, but not near that of my other setup, and in many cases, salvageable in post. Take that performance, and couple it with some fast lenses (albeit not the fanciest): 50mm f/1.8 II (nifty fifty), 100mm f/2.8 Macro, and 16-35mm f/2.8L II; and the camera almost seems to create light where there is little to none. To say the least, this camera has completely changed my life.
So looking beyond just the still, the video this camera creates is PHENOMENAL. It shoots in Full HD – 1920 x 1080, and coupled with the aforementioned lenses produces some amazing film-esque DOF and image quality. I originally purchased the camera more with the intention that Canon had initially designed it for, as a tool for journalists to be able to capture some “decent” video when out in the field. However the results are so amazing, it’s now taken me on a completely new journey… or I suppose down the rabbit hole, so to speak. I’ve suddenly found myself studying traditional cinematography techniques, along with trying to understand the science behind light/lighting (books I’m currently reading on these topics: Cinematography: Theory and Practice & Light: Science and Magic). Thus far I’m still adjusting to “seeing” the light, and have only been shooting some video as I am out capturing other events… However I’ve got some ideas cooking, which I’ll get into later.
Seems this might be a great time to mention “The Story Beyond the Still“, a contest sponsored by Canon and Vimeo, and being judged by some of my new-found favorite 5d/HD-DSLR DPs: Shane Hurlbut, Philip Bloom and Vincent Laforet. These guys are producing some seriously heavy-hitting material using the 5d Mark II, 7d, and now 1dMarkIV. Along with the folks at Zacuto, Hurlbut Visuals and the forums at Cinema 5d, there are some great tests of the gear along with some intense accessories to making these cameras much more “cinema” functional.
Of course… with new passion comes new G.A.S. = Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Thus far I’ve spent a majority of my time & hard-earned moneys for gear more on the photo side of things: a base set of lenses (see above), A Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod & 804RC2 3-Way Basic Pan Tilt Head (for Photography), Canon Speedlite 580 EX II, a Stroboframe QuickFlip Flash Bracket, backup batteries, CF Cards, Battery Grip, IR Remote Control, UV Filters, Lighting Gels, Flash Sync Cord, and of course updating my hard drive capacity significantly (now~5TB). Fortunately this gear has definitely proved its value for photography, and some has some great crossover value for video: Tripod obviously, although the Head isn’t ideal (non-fluid head), CF Cards & Batteries (duh), UV Filters, Hard Drive space, and the Stroboframe helped act as a makeshift handheld stabilizer for a run & gun live event shoot: Mark Lowrey vs Hip-Hop Live at Czar Bar in Kansas City, MO. That being said… there’s a whole new list of gear that’s on my “wish list”… but for now, here’s the “short” version:
So… obviously I’ve started compiling a bit of a “grocery list”… and you might be asking, “Well Gee… How are you going to have time to play with all this stuff, and what are you going to do with it?”. Well, I’m glad you asked. Unfortunately I was informed a little over a week ago that my day job “contract” would be significantly cut back. The reasons behind which were very much legitimate, and completely understandable. However, I’m opting to look at this as a HUGE opportunity for what can come for me in 2010. That said… I was very fortunate to form my LLC, get a bank account set up, and purchase the majority of my gear over the last quarter of 2009, while still having a nice steady flow of income. It has at least got me to a point of “sustainability” with my work. Of course the house mortgage, and other monthly expenses don’t go away… They just force me to be more creative.
Some of my goals / intentions / hopes / ideas for 2010 are as follows:
Lofty goals for 2010… but I’m extremely hopeful… Again, I look at the changes that have come about in 2010 as being a big push to get my own endeavors up and running, and hopefully will be able to see them through to fruition.
Cheers, and here’s to 2010!
PS: Here’s my first test of “timelapse” work. Shot over 20 minutes, and condensed to 5 secs. Would’ve gone longer, but it was just too cold and I was not dressed for the occasion…