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Nick Hope

Member Since 12 Sep 2004
Offline Last Active Today, 06:16 PM

#380913 Shooting Macro for the first time

Posted by Nick Hope on 24 January 2017 - 08:41 PM

I would shoot 4k. Hopefully, once you're framed and shooting, the camera will be settled on something, preferably some sort of tripod, and still.


"Somewhere in the middle" of the range usually works best for aperture. Don't go too very small or you'll get diffraction and the image will go soft. Better get the lights closer than go very wide, unless you specifically want a shallow depth of field.


Longer light arms give more options including backlighting. But if it's your first time then try one from the front and one from the side, or just a single light from one side or directly above before getting too fancy with backlighting.


For me, the Keldan 4x are too wide for macro. More backscatter gets lit up and it's difficult not to light the background as well as the subject. I 3D printed shades for mine but then eventually changed to narrower FIX lights.


Framing.... Try to get at least one wide establishing shot. Often you can do this after getting your tight shots as it's usually easier and faster to get. Also try to get low down so you can see more distant background to give shots depth.

#380342 Panasonic LUMIX GH5 for underwater video

Posted by Nick Hope on 07 January 2017 - 06:29 PM

Won't be be getting the anamorphic full sensor (4:3) 5K readout in one of the FW updates? This will provide similar image to the 1440p ?


Maybe but my point was, I reckon at 400Mbps there's a good chance they could manage 10-bit 4:2:2 60p at 2.7k, which would be a preferable format for me to shoot because of the scope to stabilize and pan/crop it then deliver full HD. They presumably won't be able to manage that quality at 5K or they would also offer it at 4K. I probably should have left 1440p out of it as I forget that's 4:3, not 16:9 :swimmingfish: 


However, I still think the GH5 is a big update from GH4 shooters, even if it was still only shooting 4K@30p. We now have full width of the sensor, no rolling shutter, the IBIS / DualIS for more silky smooth shoots, better ISO performance, AutoISO and fingers crossed better color rendition.

I totally agree. It appears to be a great upgrade. My personal reason for probably skipping is partly due to spending more time in post than shooting in the next year or two.

#379684 Winter musings

Posted by Nick Hope on 16 December 2016 - 05:10 PM

Yes 4k at 60 frames sounds great - I just wonder how much it will be compressed at 150 mbps.


Yeah I guess the Z100 still "wins" in that respect as it has an equivalent 150 Mbps UHD mode, but also can shoot XAVC Intra 4:2:2 VBR at up to 600 Mbps max. (and true 4K).

#379233 Diving the Salish Sea

Posted by Nick Hope on 29 November 2016 - 06:06 PM

Very nice. The sharpness and colour of those macro shots is great. Was all that macro shot with a CX550 in a L&M housing? Did you use an extra macro lens?

#379193 DSLR vs. designated video camera.

Posted by Nick Hope on 28 November 2016 - 06:14 PM

Now I'm shooting video with a "stills" camera (Panasonic GH4), these are some features I miss on my previous designated video cameras:


1. Wide range of focal lengths in one zoom lens

2. Better auto-focus

3. Longer depth of field (unless I specifically want a shallow DOF)

4. Flippable color-correction filter

5. Flippable ND filter (or at least an auto ND filter)

6. Smooth aperture adjustment (not in steps)

7. Simpler menu and controls

8. Better ergonomics for video


You potentially have most of those advantage in the AX33 over the D7100 (but probably not #5) and #4 would depend on the housing.


As a very general statement, designated video cameras are good for wide angle, underwater "run and gun" style shooting when you don't have much time. DSLRs etc. are good where you have time to set up a shot, such as benthic macro.

#378640 Vimeo Vs Youtube in 2017

Posted by Nick Hope on 09 November 2016 - 07:58 PM

You were on YouTube from the beginning.
What are the reasons?
How do you find the overal streaming quality?


Started posting on YouTube in 2006 and became a partner in 2009. I've stayed with them since because I get paid, because I like how ubiquitous YouTube is, so my videos get seen by more people, and because they have loads of features that the other platforms don't have. I'm happy enough with the streaming quality. The biggest issue I face with YouTube is that Facebook suppresses posts and comments that contain YouTube videos or links because they want their own video platform to dominate. I suppose they may well suppress Vimeo the same.

#378407 Color Correcting Purple Water

Posted by Nick Hope on 02 November 2016 - 07:16 PM

Any comments?


The water colour looks good but to my eye the shark and diver are a bit too magenta/red.

#378325 Deep Macro

Posted by Nick Hope on 31 October 2016 - 06:19 PM

That scooter is fat enough to act as your tripod unless you specifically want shots of the top of the sea pen. Lay it down and if it won't settle in a stable position, weigh it down or wedge a rock or something under the side of it. Set the front of the port about 30cm from the polyps and start there. Do an auto focus then lock focus and ease the whole rig forwards or backwards for fine adjustment if you need to. Even lighting from each side will tend to make the subject flat. I would try with one light from the front and one from the side, but you may well get a more pleasing shot with just one light either from the side or from directly above, so after the shot with 2 lights, you can simply turn one on at a time. Try and get the lens's aperture "somewhere in the middle" of the range. Avoid very small aperture which will soften the image. If you follow your camera's exposure, this may well make the subject a little overexposed since it will be bright, relatively small subject against a darker background. This is a mistake I often make. If anything, drop the exposure down a little from what the camera says is correct. Perhaps try a shot with auto white balance and one with a manual white balance suitable for your lights' colour temperature, unless you're already confident in which will work best. Let the shots run long enough to remove the wobbles in post-production and to let any sediment settle down.

#377075 Canon 5D Mark IV.....

Posted by Nick Hope on 15 September 2016 - 09:35 PM

No 60p 4k so I'm not interested.


However I could imagine myself buying a used 5Dmk2 or 5D mk3 or 1DC wide-angle rig one day, just for the lovely colour rendition.

#376129 ND Filter

Posted by Nick Hope on 15 August 2016 - 08:16 PM

The "norm" for video is to shoot with the shutter open for half the duration of each frame. That means 1/120 if you're shooting 60 fps. 1/100 if you're shooting 50 fps. 1/60 if you're shooting 30 fps. 1/48 (or 1/50 if that's all that's available) if you're shooting 24 fps etc.. This is alternatively known as 180 degrees, as it dates back to rotary shutters on film cameras and projectors. A faster shutter speed is possible but with movement you will get a stuttery effect, a bit like a cartoon flipbook, because less motion-blur is captured. Having said that I've published loads of video with a faster shutter than 180 degrees. With a static shot it doesn't matter. I've even used 360 degrees (1/30 at 30p) in dark situations, rather than increase the ISO. Fast shutter speeds can be good for doing slow motion in post-production, where the motion interpolators like sharp frames to work with.


Not sure how strobe sync is relevant to video.

#374191 Canon 1dx Mark II - Philippines

Posted by Nick Hope on 01 June 2016 - 07:31 PM

No long-GOP option such as H.264 for 4k 60p on that camera?

Ah I see, so you had to upscale a little to bring the zoomed parts up to 4k again.

#374189 Canon 1dx Mark II - Philippines

Posted by Nick Hope on 01 June 2016 - 07:05 PM

That's a lot of data. What format are you shooting?


You've got a couple of very nice smooth zooms in there. Didn't see the 2160p option at first so I assumed you'd done them by cropping to HD in post. Maybe I should try it. Haven't done a zoom during a shot in at least 10 years :D

#373716 "Contact" - The Humpback Whales of Tonga

Posted by Nick Hope on 17 May 2016 - 10:59 PM

My new video of humpback whales in Tonga.


This is made in 2016 with 2008 30i HDV footage which I deinterlaced then slowed down from 60p to 30p (before the mother and calf, which is real-time).


I hope it conveys some of the sense of awe of swimming with these magnificent animals.


Feedback, positive or negative, is welcome.


#373335 Help! I'm going blind

Posted by Nick Hope on 05 May 2016 - 05:46 PM

An update on my solution....


I tried contact lenses for a while and just couldn't get on with putting them in and taking them out. Could never get the knack. A whole bag of stress in the mornings before dives, and then of course you've got them stuck in all day when you don't need them.


I didin't get far with prescriptiondivemasks.com by email. Maybe a face-to-face meeting at a trade show or their shop is the best way with them.


So I struggled with TUSA bifocal lenses for a while, having been told by their regional distributor that TUSA don't make full-frame corrective lenses. Basically I was looking at everything through the bifocal lens, not just the close stuff. Than I discovered that TUSA actually do make full-frame corrective lenses, all the way from +1.0 to +4.5. I swapped the bifocals in my TUSA Ceos mask for a pair of +2.5 full-frame lenses that I bought at https://www.simplysc...ndiveMasks.aspxThe optical quality is excellent, and I find that not only can I see little critters and the small text on my camera display, but subjects in the distance are pretty clear too. TUSA have always made great masks, so the mask itself is excellent. Most comfortable I've ever had.


Very happy with this solution! :yahoo:



#371683 New Nauticam 29 port for Panasonic 14-42mm PZ could be a blast for 4K video s...

Posted by Nick Hope on 19 March 2016 - 03:32 AM

What macro configuration would you get if you had the NAGH4+ 6"Dome for the 12-35 Pana and 7-14 pana?. 

I've even thought in selling the port and lenses and start from scratch with wet lenses, but I'm not too happy with the idea of carrying the WWL-1 uderwater.
So, what set of port/lense and wet dipoters lenses you suggest would be the most versatil for macro??
Any chance to use my 12-15mm for macro?

I assume you meant 12-35mm in that last sentence. As far as I know, no, there isn't really any chance to use that for macro. It won't fit in any flat 67mm diameter ports. I think it will fit in the 77mm special port (option #1 below...I should try that some time!) but if you're going to buy that port, you may as well buy the lens it was designed for.


Your options are these:


1. Olympus 12-50mm in special 77mm port. I've got this setup and have been very happy with it. It's my usual choice at places like Lembeh and Anilao. You can switch it into the special 43mm fixed macro mode. The Nauticam CMC on the 77mm Nauticam flip arm works well with it too, to get you even more magnification. And at 12mm in non-macro mode you get wide enough for the odd medium shot. You could also put the WWL-1 on it (and I might), but probably better on #3 below. The Oly 12-50 can be got on Ebay pretty cheap as it was a kit lens. In your case, this is probably the best option.


2. Olympus 60mm macro. Gets you more magnification than the 12-50mm. I use this at places like Lembeh and Anilao where I've got a specific tiny target like pygmy seahorses. You're pretty screwed even for things like ghost pipefishes. I had to be 2m away from one of those once to fit it in the frame. There is also the Panasonic 45mm macro, but I think you may as well go all out and get the Olympus. Works well with CMC.


3. A Panasonic 14-42mm-based set up as described in my previous post. I've never used one so I can't comment much but I would probably have invested in this if I was starting from scratch because of the flexibility. You rely on the CMC and/or wet diopters for your macro shots in this case. I doubt that all-out macro would be as good as either of options #1 or #2 but I know you can get decent close-up shots with it. Peter Walker and others are have used that.