Thursday, 29 September 2011

GoPro Fun

Here are a few simple clips strung together shot using the GoPro Naked - this is essentially a 5Mp video camera about the size of a matchbox. GoPros are designed by extreme sports people for extreme sportspeople - I am not one of thse but I can still use this 1080p HD camera for a number of  interesting projects. Because of its tiny size the GoPro is amazingly handy for shooting in small spaces or for attaching, as the original intnetion, onto a bike helmet, skis, surfboard or tow bar of a 4WD.

The Naked models comes with a minimum of attachments - you can buy extra attachment brackets or stickers for a few bucks online. I bought the tripod adaptor so it now fixes nicely onto the end of a Velbon monopod. Which enables me to shoot some high angle images simply and relatively effortlessly. The $320 Naked shoots 1080p at 30fps and 720p at 60fps. The quality is good if you shoot in good light. Any shade or low light and you'll get a lot of noise. I find the colour flat and lacklustre but most of this can be fixed in post. The 127 degree angle of view produces extreme optical distortion - which adds to the wackiness of the video. The shots in car on this video were done simple by sticking the camera's foot onto the car's dash with blutac. It has no LCD (buy it as an extra) and no real controls - everything is a flashback to the 70s, being operated via two press button combinations. But you can shoot single frames and time lapse with the GoPro as well as 960p and self timed images. Its waterproof casing is watertight to 50m - and if it gets damaged, you can get a replacement for $49. Bargain.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tasmania Photo Tour 2012

My latest photo tour has just been announced - Tasmania for eight days, early next year (March 16 -23, 2012). Here's a bit about it copied off the organiser's website, (

"The concept behind this photo tour is to provide our clients with the best of both worlds: a memorable travel experience in Tasmania plus great memories in the shape of fabulous pictures once the tour is completed.
Your tour leader, Robin Nichols, has more than 30 years experience behind a camera, and more than ten years experience teaching students from all levels and walks of life, so you can be sure that you'll come away with a broader understanding of the photographic processes. The locations we visit present a unique set of photographic challenges so there are plenty of opportunities to pick up new shooting skills. Many of the evenings are spent discussing the results of the day's shooting as well as how to best post-process the images so you'll never be short of ideas, or inspiration.

As the tour progresses Robin will monitor your photographic results carefully, while providing specific tuition on subjects such as shooting macro, working with long exposures, using special effect filters, tripods, shooting video, night photography, and much more.

Two evenings have been set aside specifically for group photo critiques. These are both great fun while providing an ideal opportunity to swap ideas and techniques with your fellow travellers. All in all a photo tour is one of the most effective and enjoyable ways to learn, and master, the craft of picture making.

Some highlights

  • Seven days of expert photography tuition with Robin Nichols including one-on-one tutorials
  • A visit to the unique MONA art gallery including wine tasting
  • Full day Bruny Island wildlife adventure cruise
  • Photographing around the Port Arthur historic site
  • Cruising Macquarie Harbour and Gordon River in the shadow of the mighty Huon Pine
  • Photographing the pristine environment of Cradle Mountain and Dove Lake"
Academy Travel specialises in small group travel to a number of different and incredibly diverse locations. Call the company now for more information on this, or upcoming tours: 02 9235 0023 or 1800 639 699 (outside Sydney).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Morocco and Oman Video

After hours of sweating over the edit process, my full length Landscapes of North Africa video is now ready to be unleashed on the unsuspecting public.
You can see the shorter, CCE promo version here. This is good for checkin gout some of the awesome images my students made during and after the trip.
Mine is more about the pure video and the places we visited - I think it gives a reasonable impression of what travelling through Morocco and Oman is really like. Personally I love both countries and would revisit either at any time.

The video lasts for around 15 mins so relax, grab a drink and crank the volume as high as it will go...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Rozelle Shipyards Redux

This is what we produced for our first ever CCE DSLR Video class...
I've visited the Heritage Shipyards in Rozelle Bay a number of times now - couple of weeks ago was another great fun day with a group of students from CCE (Sydney Uni).This time the students were taking part in my new Sydney Uni CCE DSLR Video class.

The shipyards are great for both video and stills photography. We had a good day, and an even more industrious day one week later trying to put the clips that we had shot into some sense of order using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Here are the really quite amazing results from the students. Cast in no particular order of appearance.  Bear in mind that for many this was the first time any of them had even used the software...

First video seen here was shot and produced by Kate Buchanan

Take a journey to the Sydney Heritage shipyard and gain insight from the volunteers who restore these pieces of history. By Leah.

Short movie by Robyn Larbalestier

A longer session featuring the work of Patrick McSwiney

Video created by Robin Nichols

This was not my fist trip to the shipyards so I have combined some stills from a previous visit with the moving pictures.
Editing in Premiere Pro.
Colour effects were done using Magic Bullet Looks (a must-have Premiere Pro Plug-in). The special effects stuff (i.e. the added spots and scratches) were applied using Magic Bullet Misfire.