South America 2014: The Video

Earlier this year, I embarked on a five week overland tour of South America. Beginning in Buenos Aires, travelling all the way down to the southern-most city in the world, Ushuaia, then returning back up through the Argentinian Lake District and finally to Santiago, Chile. I continued my travels up and into Canada but that’s another story.

This is a video montage I have created from clips I made with my GoPro Hero 3+ and Olympus OM-D E-M5. I used GoPro Studio and Cyberlink’s PowerDirector to edit them and then put them all together.

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The GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition: A Familiar Tale

It appears that teething problems with focus/sharpness are not reserved exclusively for the Nikon D800. After purchasing a GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition last week, I subsequently began reading about a potential issue that affects early batches. It seems that the new lens was designed to be sharper and more in focus at closer rather than longer distances. Hence, a number of complaints began appearing about the overall quality of still images and the video being actually softer than its predecessor, the Hero 3. Continue reading

A Day In The Life Of…

Up until very recently, I hadn’t been a massive fan of video production. In the days before digital HD, the quality was, quite frankly, pretty naff, it always looked too shaky unless the device was mounted on a tripod and the editing process was cumbersome, lengthy and complex, not to mention the huge file sizes involved and raw computer power required.

Technology moves on, as it always does, and we have now reached a point where the quality of video is, when recorded in HD, crisp and sharp. Image Stabilisation technology allows hand-held recording to be done without the awful accompanying picture shake although a tripod is still an essential bit of kit and the massive advances seen in storage capacity mean that a 1 GB 5 minute HD video no longer requires a sizeable chunk of your expensive hard drive to store. Of course, we also have YouTube that will store our videos for us.

So, I’m gradually warming to the idea of incorporating video more and more into my creative workflow as the production process becomes easier with better achievable results and, for a while now, I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a photo/video journal of sorts. Mixing still images with video is a simple concept that can look extremely effective when a little bit of thought goes into the creative process and so it was that I set myself a neat little project to record and produce “One Day In The Life Of…” – a photo/video journal of one day in my life. It happened to be Monday 16th September, a day like most other days, in other words, pretty average. It was, for the most part, an eclectic mix of domestic chores, working on my websites and post-processing photos, a walk in the local park and musical activity in the form of guitar playing/singing, all the things I do on a fairly regular basis.

It was an interesting exercise that was a little more involved than I anticipated at first. As it is with still photography, “point and shoot” isn’t the way to go if you want the best out of video and there was a definite learning curve to climb with choosing the best settings. I learned quite a bit about my camera on that day and became more familiarised with the excellent video editing software I used called “Cyberlink PowerDirector”. They’ve just upgraded it to version 12 with native 64-bit support which makes a huge difference in its performance.

It was shot exclusively on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 which is a superb camera for taking video, not least because of its incredibly effective image stabilisation and, thus, we have the fruits of my labour below.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Full HD Video

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Full HD Video

I’ve had my Olympus OM-D E-M5 for quite a while now. It has some cracking features which I’ll probably run through in other blogs but it also full HD video capability. Something I’ve not played around with that much on this camera so I decided to go to the local park today and shoot some video at the highest setting of 1920 x 780 25i. The following vid is the result after stitching the shorter clips together.  A superb feature of the Olympus which I will mention is the IBIS Image Stabilisation. This helps enormously in maintaining a steady scene.

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As always though, you have to be aware of how large the file sizes get. This 5 minute clip came in at just under 1 GB.

Some of the footage here, especially of the rippling water, doesn’t look brilliant upon closer inspection but there’s a lot of complex stuff going on with the reflection. I guess the image processor is wondering WTF! The camera was set on Program mode and Continuous Focusing too which doesn’t help. It’s pretty obvious that the shutter speed may not be at its optimum and the focus is hunting at times. Maybe I’ll try another shoot some time and use Manual mode with S-AF. Silly me! That’s what I should have done in the first place. Having said this, the general results are impressive.

Overall, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is one slick piece of photographic machinery and, along with the Nikon D800, was “the camera” of 2012. Funny! I’ve got both of them.