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Canon

Imagination Creations Promo!

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Imagination Creations Promo!

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Check out the brand new promotional trailer for Imagination Creations!This concept had been brewing in my imagination even since releasing my After Effects Handwriting Tutorial back in January. This concept had been brewing in my imagination even since releasing my After Effects Handwriting Tutorial back in January.

After a great brainstorming session with my wife over Chinese food, our plan was set!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfC2jXKrFtc[/youtube] We booked our actors for the very next day, and then the work begun! Cutting stencils, colouring, arranging and filming. Post-production was the real challenge for this project. Getting a 4-year old to blow 20 paper letters off a table and out the window is no easy task. Enter After-Effects, Mocha and a lot of patience.

By motion tracking the camera movement from an empty table to the window, I was able to digitally insert all the letters onto the table and have them be blown away out of the window and into the forest!

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I hope you all enjoy the video! It was a blast to create! Special thanks to Noa and Maya Reinblatt for being great actors and models! [nggallery id=15]

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Acharai: A multimedia success!

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Acharai: A multimedia success!

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Wow! I just returned from Acharai // After Me, a 3 week adventure, traveling through South Africa and Israel on a social action mission with 25 motivated students and 1 inspirational Rabbi. My job was to document the journey through photo and video in order to promote what we were doing to the community back home as to the greater community of the world. I was posting photo albums and video edits to Facebook regularly and our subscriptions increases healthily throughout the course of our travels. Filming and shoot all day in the hot sun, and editing all night, made for many very long hours, but the results were well worth it.

Everything was shot on location with my Canon 60D and Tamrom 24-70 VC lens, using a Rode Videomic Pro. In addition to all the filming, photography and editing, I managed our Facebook portal so our friends, family and supporters back home could track our every step!

Have a look at all that we accomplished in the 8 videos below! These were all edited on location! Or click here to check out all of the photos, HD videos and blog posts on our Acharai page!


Acharai kicks off in Africa [vcfb id=501030256577011 w=625 h=376]
"There are people out there working on making a difference" [vcfb id=501772593169444 w=625 h=376]
The Lucky Ones [vcfb id=502180939795276 w=625 h=376]
He felt that it was his duty to give back [vcfb id=811874016284 w=625 h=376]
"I Think It's a Great Future for Me" [vcfb id=504532782893425 w=625 h=376]
"We're Building the Stage for the Community" [vcfb id=505692719444098 w=625 h=376]
Education on Acharai [vcfb id=506117996068237 w=625 h=376]
"Thinking about all the people we can make safe is what makes it worth it" [vcfb id=506715962675107 w=625 h=376]

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DSLR Gear doesn't need to break the bank!

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DSLR Gear doesn't need to break the bank!

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Cameras are expensive. So are lenses. But there is lots of very useful gear that you can buy at a very affordable price, and will help you out in your day to day filming. I shoot with a Canon 60D, so the gear I'm referring to is made for that camera, but most of it can apply to many other cameras. This article is targeted at beginners trying to get started on a limited budget, or more advanced users who are looking to spend less money than they have been spending.

Living in Canada, we are faced with a far smaller selection of items than our friends to the south, but the items we have access to are generally more expensive. Of course, if price is not an issue, then you can find anything you need in Canada, both in store and online, but for the budget conscious folks like myself, price is the main issue.

Before we begin, one great tool that will make any 'less expensive' camera, like the t2i perform at a muchh higher level is Magic Lantern... And it's free! To read more on that click here.

Don't get me wrong... most things aren't free, but my goal in this post is to lessen the financial burden while still getting the gear you need. Let's start with the basics.

Batteries

Something we all need. The 60D takes LP-E6 batteries, as does the 7D and the 5D. Futureshop.ca will charge you $129 for this battery. Bestbuy.ca will charge you $50 for an aftermarket battery. I bought 2 Opteka batteries including a wall and car charger for $29.99. I bought 2 packs of these, for a total of 4 extra batteries and 2 sets of chargers. for $60. Half the price of what Futureshop is charing for 1 battery.

In my experience so far, the batteries are working great. Their power usage reads accurately on the camera and they last just as long the original Canon battery that came with the camera. The one downside of these, is that when registering them on the camera, they all register with the same serial number and so you cannot track which is which within the camera. A small compromise in my opinion for the price. Click here to see this on Amazon.com

Battery Grip

Staying on the subject of batteries, the BG-E9 is Canon's battery grip for the 60D. Vistek and Lozeau sell this item for $329. While, a battery grip is helpful as it can store 2 batteries simultaneously, doubling your power, as well as ease vertical shooting and and make the camera easier to hold for some, at that price I'd consider it overkill for my needs. Unless I would be able to buy an aftermarket version of the BG-E9 for $33.

This grip from amazon.com appears to be identical to the Canon model and has worked great for my purposes so far. It attaches to the camera very snugly, and does everything it is supposed to do. It can also take AA batteries if you are out of LP-E6s. There are lots of version of this grip available, so make sure to buy one that is well ranked by other users. Once

LED Light

When shooting video, light is essential. Natural light is great... and cheap! But it is often not available, or inadequate.

LED lights have become very common and very practical these days, with their low power consumption and small sizes. I picked up a light from Cowboy Studios on Amazon.com for under $50. It gets pretty bright and attaches to your cameras hot shoe. It also comes with a white filter to soften the light and a yellow filter to reduce colour temperature. A very handy tool to have in your kit, and depending on the type of shooting you do, you may want to pick up a couple of these, and attach them together, or place them in different areas.

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Viewfinder / Loupe

Focusing on a subject on a sunny day can be very tricky. With the bright light of the sun, it is very difficult to see an lcd screen and make out the finer details.

I picked up an LCD viewfinder/loupe from Cowboy Studios on Amazon for $28. There certainly are more involved versions of this technology, that will run you $200 or more, but for my purposes, this does a fantastic job! Not only does it block out light from glaring on your LCD screen, it also magnifies your liveview by about 2x to 2.5x, making focusing and seeing detail so much easier.

The viewfinder I bought comes with a magnetic backing so it can snap to your lcd screen for convenient placement and removal. The problem, however, is that if you shoot with a 60D like myself, or any camera with a articulating lcd screen, the magnetic mount will prevent you from closing your lcd screen inwards. I decided to come up with a strapping system to attach my viewfinder without having to glue anything or prevent any of the cameras functionality. I'll explain more about this in a future post.

[singlepic id=33 w=300 h=240] [singlepic id=34 w=300 h=240] Click here to see this on Amazon.com

Microphone

I won't spend much time or this section, only because this is an area where I chose to spend some money. I use a Rode Videomic Pro. It does a great job, it's compact and it attaches conveniently to your cameras hot shoe mount. I payed about $280 for this mic and the accompanying dead cat to reduce wind noise.

[singlepic id=35 w=300 h=240] [singlepic id=36 w=300 h=240] Rode VideoMic Pro

Brackets

You may be thinking, if I have a light and microphone, and I want to attach them both at one time to my hot shoe mount, I'm going to have a problem. Not true. There are tons of brackets available that allow you to do just that. Brackets can add 1 or many extra hot shoe mounts to your camera. I chose a 'Y' attachment because it is inexpensive and compact, but there are many models to choose from. Just pick the one that suits your needs. The one I chose was the VB-20 from Opteka and it cost me $15 on Amazon.com

Tripod

This is an other area where I was willing to spend some money. Because I do a lot of run and gun shooting, I wanted to find a tripod that can double as a monopod. I did lots of research of it seemed that I was going to be paying about $280 for an aluminum model or over $400 for a carbon fiber model. (Carbon Fiber products are far lighter that their aluminum equivalents.) Through shear luck I spotted the Giottoes VBRN-8255 at Royal Photo in Montreal! This is a carbon fiber tripod/monopod that folds up very small and it super light-weight. What a great find! At the time of this article, these models are still on sale at Royal Photo for only $249.99! An amazing deal for a carbon fiber tripod!

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Of course, there is a never-ending amount of camera gear that one can purchase, but these are just a few of the choice items I like, some of which are very affordable and very helpful!

Happy shopping!

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Magic Lantern:  A GREAT FREE DSLR Upgrade!

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Magic Lantern: A GREAT FREE DSLR Upgrade!

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For those of you who have dealt with Canon DSLR video, have no doubt felt limited by some of the features that the camera offers, BUT, you very likely haven't yet tried Magic Lantern! DSLR image quality is stellar, and the ability to switch between multiple lenses is highly convenient, however, the lack of being able to monitor audio is frightening and the 4gb file size limit is inconvenient.

Enter Magic Lantern. Magic Lantern is a free firmware upgrade developed by ordinary folks like you and me, and has no formal affiliation with Canon. It opens the door to tons of features and improvements that would be otherwise unavailable. Here are the top 4 advantages I've found so far after playing with Magic Lantern for a short period of time on my 60D.

1. With Magic Lantern you can see live audio meters while you shoot at the top of the lcd screen. No more blind audio recording, and no more need to carry around an external audio box. You can also now monitor your audio directly from the camera using earphones and a small adapter!

2. Magic Zoom. This one is great! Magic zoom shows you a zoomed in area of your focus point as picture in picture on the top left your lcd screen. I find this much handier that having the whole screen zoom in and allows you to focus on the fly with great ease while being able to keep track of your subject.

3. Built in intervalometer. Magic Lantern has an intervalometer built in, so there is no need to spend extra money and have to shlep around any extra gear to achieve great time lapses. The best part of it is, that at the bottom of the LCD screen, you can see how many shots it will take based on the space available on your memory card, how long it will take to reach that many shots, and how long your resulting time lapse will be based on 30 frames per second.

4. No more 4gb file size limit. Magic Lantern allows you to continue rolling past 12 minutes! This happens by automatically creating a new file (causing a small skip in your footage) or by giving you the ability to lower the bitrate of your video.

These are just a few of the main features I've noticed and liked, but there are plenty more including HDR video, Bulb timing for sunset/sunrise time lapses, the ability to map the movie button to 'C' on the mode dial to avoid having to turn the dial all the way around and lots more!

Everything you need to know about Magic Lantern can be found here. http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ

Make sure to read all the info and the instructions very carefully before installing!

Happy magical shooting! Ari

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