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Member Since 25 May 2005
Offline Last Active Jul 19 2014 05:14 PM

#350518 Tubbataha Reef, Philippines

Posted by peterbkk on 19 July 2014 - 05:12 PM

Conditions looks awesome ! , which time of the year you went ?



It was the last week of May, right in the peak of the season.


Tubbataha Reefs are only open for 3 months from Mid-March to mid-June.  Mainly for weather reasons.  The reefs are 150km from the nearest shelter.  There is no shelter at the reefs.  And typhoons do pass through to the north, with the occasional one running right across the reefs.  Believe me, you wouldn't want to be out there in a storm.


But, also for conservation, they want to limit human impact.  Access is tightly managed and controlled, with only a few boats being licensed each season.   The rangers, who live there year-round in a storm-shelter, do a great job, patrolling the reefs, armed with M16 rifles, chasing away cunning fishermen.  Before the dive boat leaves the harbour, volunteers from the National Parks come on board to explain the rules and encourage good diver behaviour.  Having seen Marine parks all over Southeast Asia, and having a passion for improving them*, I was suitably impressed by what the Philippines is doing at Tubbataha.


For more information: http://tubbatahareef.org






#350341 Tubbataha Reef, Philippines

Posted by peterbkk on 16 July 2014 - 01:24 AM

Hi Guys,


Here is my latest work, a mini documentary on the Tubbataha Reefs in the Philippines.


Warning: If you haven't been there, this video may cause you to instantly whip out your credit card and book a trip for next season.


Tubbataha reminded my of Sipadan back in the good ol' days.  Maybe even better.  Fantastic diversity, huge schools, sharks and turtles everywhere, pristine corals and, on some days, visibility up to 100 meters!


It's remoteness and short season helps but the Philippine government is doing a good job policing the park's "zero take" policies.








#349659 Upcoming Panasonic GH-4K

Posted by peterbkk on 30 June 2014 - 09:06 PM

While waiting for the GH4 housing, I've been playing with my new GH4, just doing some stuff to become familiar with the controls and settings.


As this is my first foray into using a traditional "camera" for video, I've been experimenting with some setups that might make it more of a video camera experience.  I was particularly concerned about movements in the "pitch" dimension, amplified by the camera's short front to back length.


Also, for most of my work, I like to intermingle some "above water" shots with the underwater footage, adding some local colour or scenery or even an interview or two.  So, I need a video camera that can be handheld, often on a moving boat.


So, how to make the GH4 into the optimal "above water" video camera for use on and around boats that records decent sound?


Here is what I have come up with:


GH4 Video 1.jpg


GH4 Video 2.jpg


GH4 Video 3.jpg


Adding the microphone improves sound quality, especially for interviews.  It has both stereo and shotgun options.  Because it is Panasonic, the camera automatically detects its presence and adjust the settings according.  I know that there are better microphones but this one does a good job and is very convenient.
Adding the Zacuto Z-Finder makes the whole back display into one huge EVF - great for manual focus. And really great for focusing your attention on what's happening in the scene.  
The combination of the Z-Finder and the Op/Tech hand-strap increases stability because, even with eyeglasses, I can mash the soft rubber finder up against my face.  The Z-Finder pops on and off very easily, leaving behind a short frame which helps keep light off the display.
Of course, I will need to buy a second GH4 and lens so I don’t have to keep taking it in and out of the housing...

#349198 Upcoming Panasonic GH-4K

Posted by peterbkk on 18 June 2014 - 12:56 AM

Cheungy Diver and I visited the Broadcast Asia Conference in Singapore yesterday.  Big event with all the usual suspects present.


We met with the guys from Atomos and looked at the prototype Shogun.  Looks like it'll be a great underwater recorder monitor.  They had it sitting in a glass case, between a GH4 and an A7s.  But not yet operational.  The shogun may be a bit large to mount in a separate housing on top of the camera housing.  Hard to get the physical balance right.  Need to find a way to place it line astern with the camera.  September is still the delivery date.


We also wandered into the big Panasonic booth.  Bear in mind that this is a conference for professionals - no general public allowed.  The Panasonic stand, while they had a couple of their broadcast camcorders on display, was dominated by the GH4.  They had a "set" with lighting, a motorbike and an attractive model with three or four GH4s aimed at the model.  The GH4s, with their YAGH, were hooked up via SDI cables to 4K displays and recorder / monitors.  The results were impressive. Very nice colours. Great details.  You can see that Panasonic are serious about marketing this camera as a professional video camera.  You could sense that they've realised that this will be a winner for them.




#343708 Creating a black background on your videoshots

Posted by peterbkk on 23 February 2014 - 06:45 AM

1. Shoot at night or either end of the day when it's relatively dark.
2. Make sure that the lights cover only the subject.
3. Manual control of the iris / aperture so that the auto exposure doesn't try to make the whole frame brighter.
4. Increase the contrast / lower the blacks when editing.

#342816 Palau: Mating Humphead Parrotfish Aggregation Video

Posted by peterbkk on 04 February 2014 - 03:10 AM

I just posted the a video from a recent Palau trip:
It is a HD online video (hosted from Vimeo) so you will need a fast internet connection or wait patiently for it to buffer.
I do have a couple of other online videos in the pipeline (Caves, Jellyfish Lake) but this is the "mating aggregation" video so I focused on uploading this one first.
Thanks to David Cheung of ScubaCam for putting this trip together.
Camera: Canon XF100
Housing: BS Kinetics Makla Takan
Editing: Final Cut Pro X 10.1

#342609 Final Cut Pro 10.1

Posted by peterbkk on 30 January 2014 - 02:51 AM

I guess we better balance the view with a video on using FCP X.





#342414 Final Cut Pro 10.1

Posted by peterbkk on 26 January 2014 - 07:11 PM

I think that the main strength of FCPX is the paradigm shift from traditional NLEs around the "magnetic storyline" concept. Yesterday I went from hours of footage to a 30 minute first-cut storyline in a couple of hours. The ability to skim, select, insert real fast makes what used to be drudgery, now a pleasure. Add-on features like the intuitive "auditioning" concept to quickly compare the impact of alternative clips without having to play with timeline patch panels is also great. Everything just seems easier and faster in FCPX...

#339208 Sony FS100 white balance at depth

Posted by peterbkk on 09 November 2013 - 06:03 PM

Underwater housing manufacturers must know this is a popular camera.

But we should question the ethics (or intelligence) of a housing manufacturer that is NOW releasing an underwater housing for a camera that will never perform well underwater.

You can sort of forgive the early-adopter housing manufacturers as they could not have known about the problem. And, you really can't expect them to fix something that's unfixable. Nor are the housing manufacturers financially robust enough to give a refund.

And, we should not be surprised that Sony is not interested in a problem that only effects a small part of their user base and is probably not fixable in firmware. They can't even express sympathy because that might attract class-action. At best, you can hope that they are listening and have told the engineers to make sure that it is not a problem in the next model. Any large electronics engineering company would behave the same.

Symptomatic of our times...

  • r4e likes this

#339060 GoPro 2 fogging remedy?

Posted by peterbkk on 05 November 2013 - 04:41 PM

If you must open it on the boat deck, you could try to put it in a clear bag to close it and blow some air from your second stage into the bag just before you close the housing.   Scuba air is less than 10% humidity, so the dew point will be very low.   Just be very careful not to blow any water that may be on the reg into the housing or bag. 

No offense, but I can't see any situation where it would be a good idea to blow air from a regulator into a bag containing an open camera housing. The possibility of blowing sea water into that open housing is going to outweigh any benefit of getting dry air into the housing. Even a "dry" regulator can have pockets of water in its nooks and crannies. Maybe if the dive boat / shop has one of those blower attachments but, even then, compressed air can do other damage, like pushing an o-ring out of its groove or pushing a sand grain down behind an o-ring. David's toilet paper or my silica gel sachets is going to be a much safer more reliable solution.

#338798 GoPro 2 fogging remedy?

Posted by peterbkk on 29 October 2013 - 08:39 PM


Sure that is why it must be folded to fit. Practice Origami .....


Will you be running toilet paper origami classes in your shop anytime soon?

#337071 Whale Shark on the Seven Skies

Posted by peterbkk on 16 September 2013 - 05:30 AM

This past weekend I had another amazing encounter with a whale shark, this time on the wreck of the Seven Skies. 

This whale shark was a relatively young female, cruising around the wreck of a supertanker, the Seven Skies, with an huge entourage of fish.  Hard to tell but I guess that she's about 3 to 4 meters long.

Enjoy the 5 minute video: http://www.peterwalk...sevenskies.html



#336753 Marine Parks Make Economic Sense

Posted by peterbkk on 06 September 2013 - 06:39 PM

A new underwater video, entitled "Marine Parks Make Economic Sense" is the 15-minute, English-language cut of an environmental video, aimed at governments across Southeast Asia.  Based on new scientific research, it makes the case that marine parks improve the economy of the region and the livelihood of local fishing communities.  The next step is to get versions made in all the major ASEAN languages then distribute it directly to government departments and leaders.  I have no idea if this will achieve anything, but we have to try to educate those that have the power to do something to better protect the oceans.



#336612 sxs cards v tape

Posted by peterbkk on 03 September 2013 - 03:23 PM

If I am doing some editing on the trip, I bring my Apple laptop with small external Firewire hard-drive and back up daily to that.


If not doing editing on the trip, I bring one of these things from HyperDrive: http://www.hypershop...e/HDU2-1TB.html and back up daily to that.


But, in any case, I make sure that I have enough cards for all the video that I will shoot on the trip.  Then I have two copies, one set travels back with me and one set travels, well secured and sealed, deep inside my luggage.  I figure that, with this approach, the risk of loss is acceptable.


I never zap a memory card until I have the content copied onto my main editing computer at home and have taken at least one reliable backup.  Call me cautious, but (touch wood) I have never lost an image or clip through media problems.




#334328 What to Buy?

Posted by peterbkk on 15 July 2013 - 02:12 AM

Your XF105 may have 422 50mbps, but the noise performance will never match the output of the bigger sensors.  Physics is undeniable, as are the results.  




How dare you criticise my choice of equipment.  The mere fact that I chose it means that it is the best.  I find your implication that it is not the best most insulting. You besmirch my good character. I demand satisfaction.  Pistols at dawn.  The survivor gets to say which camera is best.  OK?  Name the place and time.



People get very obsessive about their equipment, as you can see here! :)


What you talkin' about?