Archive for May, 2010

Bill and I have created a multi media at the Kentucky Derby for the last three years. Each year we've learned something new about how to shoot video with the DSLR cameras. This year, while Bill shot with a Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 lens supported on a heavy duty Manfrotto tripod, I decided to go light. I spent the whole time walking around with a Cinevate DSLR shoulder rig as support. This allowed me to be extremely mobile while still remaining steady. Check out this quick backstage video to see some footage.

Here in the South the wind is created by the old ceiling fan steadily pushing a gentle artificial breeze over us as we work to edit our latest music videos. It's delicious. The over the high Plains of Western Nebraska some of the most spectacular cloud paintings roll along, pushed by the constant winds. When I was a child there was never a still moment. I had no idea there was a place where the air was heavy and motionless. And then I moved to Mississippi and Florida. When I have a chance to go home, either in my mind or actually traveling there, it's always the big sky that I think of first.

With summer coming and the Florida heat making itself at home again, Bill and I are hitting one of our favorite photo spots with one of our favorite kids. Cason Kirk was 12 the first time we shot him at Kona Skate Park. He was just starting out in the competitive skating world. We were testing the multi media waters and the new hybrid Nikon DSLR, the D90.

Things have changed since then. Cason is now 14. He has braces, is about 6 inches taller and is an accomplished skater with numerous sponsorships and championship trophies. Bill and I have also grown up a bit. We've learned a thing or two since our first days at Kona. The DSLR camera technology has changed dramatically. The Nikon D3s is our favorite camera, for video or stills, on the market. The imaging capabilities are growing every day.

Our supports are changing as well. We now travel with at least six Manfrotto tripods, where we used to only carry two.

We've also learned ways to incorporate some motion. The Atlas Linear Tracking System by Cinevate gives us the motion capabilities of a cinema dolly with only a fraction of the foot print.

But it's not all work. Our friends at Kona have clever ways of using old car tires.

Bill's 9-year-old daughter Havana was the first to try it out, but not the last.

Never a bad way to spend a Wednesday.

Bill and Laura on the roof of Churchill Downs

On the roof of Churchill Downs, Bill and Laura program the Gitzo Athena remote control tripod head to cover different sections of the track during the Kentucky Derby using a Nikon D3s camera body and a Nikkor 300 f2.8 lens.

Our multimedia project from the Derby is on SI.COM Using Athena, we can anticipate and execute multiple images with one camera and lens combination remote precisely. The gimbal is controlled with software running on a laptop, for us that's a Macbook pro. It allows us to not only remotely tilt, shift, pan, level or roll the head holding the camera but also to program in and name a number of preset positions. The live view feature of the Nikon D3s lets us see what the shot looks like and control the camera using Nikon's Camera Control software.

The countryside clothes lines outside Gap PA took me decades and miles home to western Nebraska and a silent salute to my Mom whose hard work, practicality and sense of order define my thoughts.

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