Tuesday 30 November 2010

Hope Augustus live at PJ's, Covent Garden

Hope Augustus live at PJ's, Covent Garden from eclectictrains on Vimeo.

In June this year I had the opportunity to film jazz singer Hope Augustus at PJ's in Covent Garden.  It was great to get out with a video camera and capture a flavour of the atmosphere at Hope's gig.  The performing space at PJ's is intimate, for those of you that don't know it, and therefore a challenge to film in.  So I plonked myself at the back of an eating area and didn't take the camera off the tripod until the punters had had a few drinks.

It was a fun night.  There were certain moments when the audience were completely captivated which is hard to achieve when everyone is eating and imbibing.  Look out for the audience reaction to Hope singing "The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face".  Before the show I filmed a short interview with Hope.  This was a family show, so to speak, as Hope is my sister-in-law.  I hope (every pun intended) you enjoy this short film of the night.

[For those of you interested in the technical stuff: the film was shot on a Sony Z1 (HDV mode);  I recorded extra sound from the PA feed into a Zoom H4n (utterly crucial); I edited on Final Cut Pro and my colleagues at Xube graded my footage using Magic Bullets].

Friday 26 November 2010

What makes the Canon 7D so good at video?

I'm not sure I can't answer that question yet because we have only just started experimenting with DSLR camera technology but we had great fun making this little film at Xube last week.  Filmed on a cold winter's day in Wanstead Park, East London.  Here is The Chocolate Lab Test:

The Chocolate Lab Test from xubetv on Vimeo.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Fun with HDR photography on the iPhone

Tyne, leaves, seaweed and steps
I'm really enjoying the HDR app on my iPhone. Pro HDR "lets you capture an image exposed for the highlights and another exposed for the shadows", as it says in the marketing blurb. High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography has been around for a while but now smartphone apps are giving people instant access to HDR imaging through a combination of the onboard camera and dedicated software. The HDR effect often gives images a dream-like quality because areas where you expect to see shadows become vibrant and full of saturated colour. If you have any links to great HDR images please let me know by just posting a comment on this blog.

I took this shot in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on a stunning autumn day in October.

Friday 19 November 2010

Playing with the Canon 7D

My outer office wall
I had great fun yesterday playing around with the Canon 7D camera. We hired it for its video capabilities but I couldn't resist a few still shots. Here is one taken with the aperture wide open (f2.8). This is the outer wall of my office in Bethnal Green, East London. The shallow depth of field (sdf) means that only a 20cm slither of the wall is sharp whilst the rest of the image - foreground and background - is satisfyingly soft (out of focus). SDF is also known as bokeh.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Side Entrance

Side Entrance
Originally uploaded by eclectictrains
A photo from my trip to the Bogside, Derry (Feb 2010).

Monday 8 November 2010

First Amazon Kindle spotted on Tube

Kindle on tube
Well, this is clearly a claim that I cannot substantiate. Anyone (is there anyone?) who has read my previous postings (http://bit.ly/9MOJq6 and http://bit.ly/9f7Aig) will know that I like observing people and especially if they are on the London Underground parading the newest techie product that we are all talking about. So, I have just seen a middle aged man perched on a carriage-end 'seat' (you know, the uncomfortable types) with a Kindle on his knee. My iPhone photos do it no justice (train wobble and lack-of-flash saw to that) but I can tell you this: the quality of the "electronic ink" is amazing. I did a double take because I thought he was reading a book with some oddly placed plastic buttons at the bottom of his page. The e-reader revolution continues! I hope he didn't notice the surreptitious pics I took of him.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Wallace & Gromit jumped the invented shark

Wallace & Gromit "jumped the shark" tonight with their World of Invention show tonight on BBC1 (7:30pm). The kids were confused because they wanted Wallace & Gromit doing their normal stuff (as did I). Instead they were the comic anchor for a highly random series of "serious" invention news items stuck together with some ropey video footage*. I am quite surprised that the BBC polluted their W&G brand to this extent. What of course they are trying to do is create a contemporary twist on the old BBC classic, Tomorrow's World. Why bother? Just bring it back and leave W&G re-inventing our plasticine, flat-capped past.

*They also made the mistake of trying to mix a film aesthetic (W&G has the high production values we associate with feature films) with the, often lesser, production values of a magazine style doc shot on video for TV.

It just didn't work for me although I am always interested in anything with the "invention tag" attached to it. The chap with the lifetime project of creating robots without electronics, propelled by wind and made out of electricians' plastic tubing was pure Heath Robinson.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone