DJI Spark - First Flights

Just got a DJI Spark and having some great fun with it.  Surprisingly good smooth video (HD 1080p).  4K doesn't really interest me at the moment and takes some serious computing power to edit and render.  Here is some of the video from a trip to Killinthomas Woods, Kildare and Portmarnock Beach.  Mind you there were some anxious moments when it does some of its built in routines.  It went so far I thought I would lose it at sea! Anyway here's a bit of video from my first attempts at flying and videoing! https://vimeo.com/229624180

Benahavis - Rock Pool

In July and August we enjoyed 4 great weeks in Marbella Spain. With our friends the Nolans, from the apartament downstairs we headed off to a large Rock Pool in Benahavis for an afternoon of fun. The following video was taken on a Nikon D800 and a GrPro Hero2 which can go underwater. It was all put together on the new iPad (iPad 3) using the iMovie app. Actually very easy to do and great fun. Only mistake is the spelling of Benahavis, I left out the first a!!

Benahavis Rock Pool from Shay Farrelly on Vimeo.

Camera Club Annual Weekend Away

Last weekend we had our annual weekend away and there was a great attendance, 30 in all our biggest ever.  We went to Ballinasloe and stayed in the Carlton Shearwater on the river Suck.  I haven't looked yet at the photographs but to be honest we were all having too much fun and enjoying ourselves to be too worried about getting any images. There were very late nights and sore heads the next day.  However, on the Saturday afternoon Gerry Morgan took a group of 14 of us out to Garbally College to do a tutorial on using flash outdoors.  Here are the videos: But first the group:

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Part 1 of tutorial:

Part 2:

Time Lapse experiment

For a while now I've been interested in trying some Timelapse photos, though they're probably really videos.  Anyway yesterday I found a piece of software called LRTimelapse which works in conjunction with Lightroom t o create timelapses, see LRTimelapse.  I copied it down and had a look at some of the tutorials.  So this morning I decided to get up early and try some shots around the Estuary at sunrise.  It was very cold but a fantastic sunrise, see some of the shots below.  Of course I had to jump in and try one of the hardest things to do a timelapse of, the sunrise or sunset.  The problem is the steadily rising exposure of sunrise causes problems getting the exposure right throughout the timelapse particularly when using manual settings.  If you use automatic settings you get a flickering effect as the exposure of each shot can be minutely different to the previous one. I gave it a shot anyway, 8 seconds between each shot, using the interval shooting option on the camera.  The next problem is the size of the CF Card.  It takes 30 shots to give just 1 second of video, so you have to shoot a lot of shots to get just 10 seconds of video (300 to be exact).  If you shoot in RAW thats a lot of data that fills up your card quickly.  If you shoot in JPEG you can't manipluate the exposure etc. in post processing as well.  So a lot more difficult than I was expecting.  On the plus side this morning it was a great sunrise.

Here is the basic unedited version, as you can see the exposure brightens a lot, need to work on sorting this out, but I like the look of it.

Here are a couple of images from the sunrise.

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All comments welcome!

IHS Video for "Better Together" Campaign

We have just completed a video for the Irish Haemophilia Society for the "Better Together" campaign, which is a campaign to build support for charities, clubs and associations around the country.  Below is our entry, which I had great fun putting together. It would be great if you could lend your support by voting for our video here.  Remember vote often!

Cuba Video - updated

I eventually got around to editing my video from Cuba, though a bit rushed at the end. I have to thank Brendan for letting me use some of his footage as well, between the two us we got something half decent. You can see it here.

Time to get a new PC

I have had my current Dell XPS for about 4 years and I'm on my third video card through failures and it appears to be acting up again, but now my warranty has run out.  Plus my PC is just not powerful enough for proper editing of video.  It stutters aong when trying to render or scrub.  So the search is on for a powerful PC to edit video and hopefully everything else will be looked after if I go for that.  I use Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects and the big thing in CS5 was the introduction of the Mercury Playback Engine which uses the Cuda architecture of the Nvidia cards to give smooth real time playback and rendering even with complex effects applied to many video tracks.  I've selected Dell machines for many years but I got advice to look at the HP workstations, in particular the Z series.  After looking at some sites that provide turnkey solutions it also appeared that the HP workstations, the Z400 in particular, form the key component of the system usually with the Nvidia FX3800.  When it comes to the graphic card though I am inclined to go for the newer and more highly specified Nvidia Quadro 4000 which is only a little more expensive. I am told it is really more for 3D work so I think I will get the rendering and smooth playback I'm looking for but also better productivity with After Effects.  Finally I need to decide on the harddrive.  With a good workstation with Xeon processors and enough RAM and a good graphics card the speed of the harddrive can become the bottleneck.  Most turnkey solutions appear to favour a Raid 0 set up, but I've been warned that this could be problematic. So I've now narrowed it down to either: SAS drives, an SSD drive or a 10,000 rpm SATA drive.  There's not much in price between the SAS and the SSD solution (once you take into account you have to buy a SAS controller as well), although I can probably get more space with SAS.  At the moment I'm inclined towards SSD, but I need to do a bit more research.  So hopefully very soon I'll have my new workstation. 

Cuba Video

While away in Cuba I also took my Video camera but with all that has been going on since I cam back I haven't had a chance to do anything with it.  Today I finally downloaded it to my PC and ran it through the software to let it identify the highlights.  I'll get a chance to soon to edit it properly but here's what the software threw up.

Cuba a quick view from Shay Farrelly on Vimeo.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

A gang of us went to the WFH conference in Buenos Aires in July 2010, given we were going such a long way we decided to make a holiday of it and visited Buenos Aires, Colonia in Uruguay, the Iguazy Falls on the Argentine and Brazilian border and Rio de Janeiro.  Needless to say we had a great time and details of our trip can be seen on this blog.  Sharon and myself took a fair bit of video and it's only now I've got around to doing anything with it.  Something to do on these wintry days.   I've created the first video of the Buenos Aires part of the trip the rest will follow soon.  So here it is.

Buenos Aires, Argentina from Shay Farrelly on Vimeo.

Panasonic TM700 update

I've had the TM700 for about 6 months now and I must say it's a great machine.  It's renewed my interest in video.  The quality of the video is truly amazing, very detailed and sharp and I'm not even using it on it's higest setting as that's too difficult to edit, but more on that.   The TM700 is such a portable and easy to use device, very easy to carry around with you, in fact you can get it in a decent size coat pocket.  We've been away a good bit since and I've taken it with me and enjoyed using it.  The only problem is now finding the time to edit the movies but I've decided that's an activity for cold winter days which we are getting close now so nearly time to start editing.

My fear when buying a HD camcorder was would I need to start upgrading all the rest of my system.  Get a higher specced PC, a BluRay writer drive, a BluRay player, more hard disc, a new version of Adobe Premiere and so on which all sounded like a big spend.  But no in the end I've managed.  I updated my ram to 8GB and my operating system to Windows 7 64bit and I'm still using Premier CS4 and it is managing fine.  I don't record at the highest level or in Progressive mode as I know Premiere won't handle this format.  I also know if I get too sophisticated with too many multiple tracks in Premiere it would struggle, but I'm getting away with it. So I've put off the decision what PC to upgrade to, but I know a Core i7 would be great.  The biggest issue was deciding what format and media to write the movies too, I thought I would need a BluRay disc writer, but I got around this as well.  What I did was to buy an LG BluRay player that has Wifi and also a USB port that means I can add a portable hard drive to the player and watch my movies on the TV in this was.  This works very well and also means I don't need to spend hours authoring and writing to BluRay discs.  Now I edit my moves and write them straight from Premiere ot the different formats I want.  Highest quality and size to the portable hard drive from watching on the TV and smaller more compressed formats for the web.   There are some great web sites where you can upload your HD movies like YouTube and Vimeo and you will find a link on the right panel to see my videos so far.

I've even tried doing a bit of editing on the iMac with the new iLife version 11 and it was great fun creating a trailer movie using it's new feature for this and it only took 10-15 mins, you can see it here.  But I sense the Mac with only 2 gb of memory would struggle with the editing of HD content but I might try it for the craic.  Any way the TM700 is a great video, very portable, very versatile and easy and enjoyable to use.

Boys on Tour - Amalfi Coast

We're back on tour again all set and ready for another great adventure after the disappointment of having to cancel in May due to the volcanic eruption. Mind you we start with another volcanic eruption however this ones quite a bit older it's Pompeii. Up early and we meet at 5.30am so we get a full day when we arrive. Not a great start though as the flight is delayed 30 mins due to restrictions at Naples airport.

Our base will be in Sorrento in the Hotel del Mare near the marina. From here we plan to take the Amalfi drive along the coast and we plan a trip to visit Capri. It looks like the weather will be good, in the twenties, sunny and dry. We've booked a limo company to take us around and to do the airport transfers so that should mean we can just sit back enjoy it and take it at our leisure. We're here from Wednesday to Sunday so a good break plenty of time for sightseeing, relaxing, some good photos (I hope), good food, a few drinks and great company.

Here's a trailer of the video to come!

Amalfi Coast - Trailer from Shay Farrelly on Vimeo.

Saltees

This week our camera club had our annual week-end away and we went to Bunclody. The highlight for many of us was the day trip we took to the Saltees Island a bird sanctuary off the Wexford coastline. As we headed off from Kilmore Quay the weather looked fairly overcast and the thought of 5 hours stranded on the island didn't look too enticing. We were all wrapped up but wondered would the cloud blow away and give us a nice day to take some photographs of the Gannets, Puffins and other wild birds. We trekked off towards the Gannetries and we were not disappointed. The clouds cleared, the sun came out and we had great photographic opportunities. A few lucky people also caught glimpses and a few frames of the odd Puffin or two. By the end of the day we were exhausted but very happy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU1m0jqqOYs

The weekend was a great success we had lovely meals, a great day out and hopefully everyone got some great photographs.

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My favourite shot of the day.

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Group photo

The group that went to the Saltees, thank you Roisin for the photo.

Howth Summit

At this point I was hoping to have a video from our trip to Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, but the volcanic ash put a stop to that and now we will have to wait until September.  So in the mean time I took out my camcorder and here is some video I took while on a walk from Howth Summit to the Harbour and back.  As you see the weather got steadilly worse as I went along, but a nice walk all the same.

Howth Summit from Shay Farrelly on Vimeo.

Nikon D300s HD Video

I have a Nikon D300 and I was thinking of getting a HD camcorder (see previous blog) so I was wondering would I be better getting a D300s that does HD video and the convenience of just having one camera or would I get the Panasonic TM700. A friend has the D300s so I got a loan of this to try it out. Although the video is quite good I feel there are a number of problems using a DSLR as a Camcorder so I decided to go for the TM700 which I've ordered and for which I am waiting.

One of the problems I noticed with the  D300s (apart from not being able to edit in Adobe Premiere PRO CS4) is that the mike picks up the sound of the VR lens as it makes it adjustments but what I would do in future is turn off the VR.  The attached is some of the video I took while experimenting.