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SimonSpear

Member Since 10 Sep 2005
Offline Last Active Oct 24 2014 01:19 PM
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#340601 Disturbing Video - Underwater Twerking!

Posted by SimonSpear on 13 December 2013 - 03:15 PM

:)  It is very rare to get THAT narked at 1.5m LOL




#339483 Disturbing Video - Underwater Twerking!

Posted by SimonSpear on 15 November 2013 - 03:48 AM

Shark Cage Style!

 

 




#339385 Blackmagic Cinema Camera housing by Nauticam

Posted by SimonSpear on 13 November 2013 - 02:22 AM

Hi Espen

 

I recently took the Nauticam BMCC prototype to film Great Whites at Guadalupe and I've just posted a short comparison video between the BMCC and PMW200.  (This You Tube version is pretty blocky and the banding is pretty bad, but I'm re-encoding and I'll upload another version when I can and also upload to Vimeo).

 

 

I'm still writing down my thoughts on the BMCC.  I only had the equipment in the water for a limited time in not what you would call 'normal' dive conditions, but I guess in summary I really liked the Nauticam Housing, but had some reservations about the camera for underwater shooting. 

 

I think if you have the ability to shoot 100% in RAW and the time/budget/proficiency for RAW post production then some of my fears would be overcome, but that shouldn't be dismissed lightly in terms of the amount of work that is required.

 

I'll post the full write up just as soon as I've finished.

Cheers, Simon

 

 




#338809 The Triangle

Posted by SimonSpear on 30 October 2013 - 05:36 AM

Great viewing Dustin.  Really impressed with how much you are still pulling out of the 5D2!  The colours looked almost 444! :D

 

Cheers, Simon




#336098 Sony FS100 white balance at depth

Posted by SimonSpear on 21 August 2013 - 02:41 AM

I feel sorry for amphibico, they must have spent some serious money on the Genesis housing line & looks like very little return.

That's a shame because I was hoping the FS700 was going to be a great camera:(

 

I feel some sorrow for Amphibico about the FS100 housing because they would not have known initially about the issues (assuming they didn't learn from their previous experience with the NXCAM range which has since come to light), but I have absolutely zero sympathy with them with regard to their subsequent handling of the situation or for the FS700 housing.

 

To recap from day 1 I had issues using the Gain control which was advertised accessible through the pistol grips when it was not.  Also as I was one of the first people to get the FS100 housing underwater I reported back to them in detail the issues that I had encountered with the camera, which they basically ignored and showed zero interest in finding out more about.

 

If you look back through this thread you will see comments from Amphibico from fairly recently where they are still claiming the poor results are due to a 'steep learning curve with a S35 sensor' and that you can get fantastic results from the FS100.  They also posted links to footage which (not beating around the bush) is awful and shows many of the issues that we have been talking about!!  Truly bizarre.

 

I've used Amphibico housings before but this is the first one that I have owned and I have been very disappointed with the aftersales backup.  After only 15 dives my Genesis housing died and needed a new circuit board.  It was sent back to Amphibico along with a list of numerous other issues that had cropped up after only 15 dives and which should have been fixed under warranty.  Amphibico returned the housing to me with a new circuit board but without addressing any of the other problems.

 

After mine (and others) comments regarding the FS100 and others comments regarding the FS700 Amphibico carried on regardless with the FS700 housing when they knew in advance that there were issues with the camera and using it underwater.  I know of at least 2 manufacturers who were really keen to produce a FS700 housing but decided not to on the basis of this thread right here on Wetpixel after reading about the issues that we were encountering when using the FS100 / FS700 underwater. 

 

With all the evidence suggesting that you'd be better off taking down a GoPro1 than a FS100 you have to ask why Amphibico carried on with the development of the FS700 housing.   It truly baffles me. 

 

So do I have sympathy for Amphibico?  No.  The only sympathy I have is for the customers who spent a fortune on a housing only to find out that the camera is crippled when shooting underwater.

 

Cheers, Simon




#331532 Sony FS100 white balance at depth

Posted by SimonSpear on 18 May 2013 - 02:11 AM

Eventhough Joe does have a vetted interest, I think it was ok to remind us what is possible in certain lighting conditions.

 
As Drew pointed out even the examples Joe posted from shallow water show the halos and the really awful colour reproduction / WB issues that we have been talking about which is why I asked if he had bothered to actually read the thread.  I've been so busy lately and I have a huge backlog of work but when I find the time in addition to the Socorro footage that I have already posted I can post a FS100 showreel of what it is capable of in certain circumstances.  Sadly even the good examples are inferior to cheaper and similar priced cameras when used under the same conditions. 
 
I've possibly used this camera underwater more than anyone else in water conditions ranging from 30oC tropical to 8oC temperate and I can tell you that this is not a steep learning curve issue to do with a S35 sensor - it is down to fundamental technical flaws in the cameras image quality when used underwater.  We have talked in depth now about the halos and the poor colour reproduction / MWB issues but there are others.  The DR underwater seems to shrink beyond belief and you get horrendous digital noise in white highligts -  perhaps I'll dig out an example of that and throw another can or worms into the FS100 pot.
 
I too have a vested interest in 'promoting' the FS100 as I am trying to sell my Genesis housing, but on balance I feel that I need to talk about these issues to let others know rather than trying to paper over the cracks or ignoring them as others appear willing to do.  Hand on heart I couldn't do that to people when I know differently and they are about to spend a large amount of money getting these cameras underwater.  A casual user may be ok with all of the flaws, but this is a pro/semi pro camera and should without a doubt be achieving a whole lot more than it appears to be capable of.  It is probably costing me quite a few thousand dollars by saying all of this so believe me I do not say it lightly.
 
Cheers, Simon


#331254 First Place Video - Classic - SEA International 2013

Posted by SimonSpear on 12 May 2013 - 12:45 PM

Wonderful!  It's not often that I watch a vid on the internet and when it ends I wish that it had gone on for longer!  Congrats on your win - it looks well deserved :)

Cheers, Simon




#330221 Amphibico Genesis 700 for the NEX-FS700

Posted by SimonSpear on 24 April 2013 - 11:03 AM

Let's hope the FS700 is better suited for underwater shooting than the FS100, but from the evidence so far I sincerely doubt that it will be and I hope that potential buyers look at all the threads running here highlighting the issues and other examples of underwater footage before they fork out $xxxxx.

 

Specific to the Amphibico housing it looks like the handles are indentical to the ones on the FS100 and in a similar position.   When diving they really feel like they were set up to be used with an external monitor or a rear view LCD and they defintely do not allow for a comfortable diving position if you want to look down through the top LCD window as the handles really needed to be further forward and/or at a different angle for that.  After 40 odd dives with the FS100 Genesis I've actually found looking down into the LCD really uncomfortable and it competely removes any awareness of what is going on around you other than what you can see in the LCD which itself can be limited due to the positioning.  I've used the Phenom in the past but it didn't have this issue as the LCD screen was a lot closer to the port on the housing and it was pretty comfortable using it in that position.

 

Overall I found the FS100 Genesis a great design attempt but it does have flaws and it doesn't seem to be wearing very well either.  After 10 dives all the stickers fell off, after 15 the plastic locking mechanism cracked and chipped up against the metal locking point (long term there is only ever one winner plastic vs metal) and after 20 dives the circuit board blew up.  The coating on the housing has marked pretty badly and only one of those is from a shark bite (!) although the photos posted above look like they may have used a different coating so this may not be an issue on the new housings.  Add all this to the fact that I bought it thinking it had one touch control of the Gain from the pistol grips and the significant issues with the camera underwater and I'd say "Proceed with Caution"!  I'm really not trying to throw a spanner in the works here - after all I'm trying to sell my FS100 housing so I'd hardly be saying this unless I REALLY felt like it needed to be said.

 

Cheers, Simon




#328600 RED 4k+ (and similar) vs Sony PMW 200 (and similar)

Posted by SimonSpear on 25 March 2013 - 06:11 PM

Interested to hear more about your PMW200 experience Simon. Did you use the SWP44? Flat port at all? Diopters?

 

I should be home tomorrow so I'll try to write up my thoughts and post them with some footage over the next couple of days.

 

I used the SP as I couldn't stretch to the Fathom, but I was delighted for WA shooting (maybe a little narrow, but I have been using a 10mm on the 7D so it is never going to be that wide in comparison!).  To do macro properly you really need the FP anyway, however I did manage to shoot some through the SP using flip Hoya diopters.  I was actually surprised at the results for emergency use, but needless to say it wasn't a go to option for Pigmy Pipehorses!!  (yes they have found some in Fiji).  The last time I shot super macro was with the V1 which had a x20 zoom (x30 with the excellent digital option) and a +3.5 century achromatic diopter.  I think with the x14 zoom and screw in diopters you could get great results.  Doesn't the Z1 have a x12 or x14 zoom?  That has been macro king for like ever...  !! :D

 

Cheers, Simon




#326548 Considering an Upgrade from Canon HF-S11 to D-SLR Video: Is it Worth the Inve...

Posted by SimonSpear on 22 February 2013 - 02:08 AM

Over the last couple of years I've gone from camcorder (V1) to HDSLR (7D) to S35 camcorder (FS100) and now back to traditional camcorder (PMW200).  One thing for certain is that they all have their own strengths and weakness, some of which have already been covered.

 

On a personal note I really enjoyed shooting on the 7D and it was such an upgrade over HDV despite all its recording flaws.  Some of the footage I've shot with it is simply gorgeous and I've regularly sold footage shot on a 7D for broadcast and never had my footage turned down because of the camera it was shot on (there are still allowances for sometimes up to 25% of footage shot on cameras like the 7D in most HD broadcast productions).  However HDSLR's are not ideal in all situations as you always need to shoot in full manual which is very difficult to do in any fast moving constanly changing enviroment where sometimes you may just need to turn on auto iris etc.   I did sometimes find that I missed shots while trying to fiddle with the settings.  On a plus side they are a dream to travel with as you can often get them in your hand luggage, where my new PMW-200 in a Peli case without its monitor weights 23kg on its own!  I certainly wont be selling my 7D as there is still a place for it in my filming, but there are probably better HDSLR/M43 options now than when I bought it in 2009!


Cheers, Simon




#324428 Oliver Spear - Homo Aquaticus

Posted by SimonSpear on 14 January 2013 - 08:40 AM

I finally got around to editing this:

Oliver Spear - 7 months old - Learning to Swim.

[youtubehd]Q_kqplOxytU[/youtubehd]


All filmed on a 7D @ 720p50 and then conformed to 25p. I used Twixtor for the ultra slowmo and from memory I used 1/400 shutter speed to keep the images nice and clean so limiting the motion blur. Twixtor is pretty good, but it does have its limitations and it really, really hates any object moving too fast.

Cheers, Simon


#323284 A Taste of Underwater Ambon

Posted by SimonSpear on 26 December 2012 - 04:10 AM

.....the eyes ain't what they used to be, so it's great to see all the details when I get back and upload it to a big screen.


LOL I think a few of us know that feeling Jo!

Great work and a really lovely portrait of underwater Ambon. It looks very interesting indeed! :)

Cheers, Simon


#322851 Underwater Realm Premier Tickets

Posted by SimonSpear on 17 December 2012 - 03:12 AM

Hi all

I've got a couple of tickets available for the Underwater Realm 'World Premier' on Thursday in central London. Sadly the kids have come down with chickenpox and we don't have a regular sitter that we feel comfortable leaving them with.

I've also got an invite to the after show party for two which is being held in Leicester Square afterwards. Dress code is "Black Tie".

I've posted this in the video section to give the video guys a better chance of seeing it, but please feel free to move to the Gallery or somewhere else if more appropriate. If no one takes up the offer I'll send the tickets back as I believe they have a long waiting list.

Cheers, Simon

edit: If anyone does not know about the Underwater Realm then here is the link: http://theunderwaterrealm.com/


#322594 Sony PMW200 - the new EX1R

Posted by SimonSpear on 13 December 2012 - 04:51 AM

Hi Nick

Since I got it housed I've only been splahing around in muddy puddles (allegedly called lakes) but my first proper diving is in Jan so I'll definitely do a write up/review on it then.

I've had the camera a year now and used it extensively topside and I've never seen any evidence of banding or any other significant issue with image quality. Although I was never a fan of AVCHD this flavour on the FS100 is pretty robust and once transcoded to ProRes I've been able to stretch, poke, push and pull it way more than I ever could HDV or HDSLR footage. I think many of the problems we've seen with underwater screen shots and test footage have been due to incorrect wb and exposure rather than any inherient issue with the camera. The dynamic range on it is pretty good so as long as the WB is sortable I don't see any major issues, but like I said I'll know a whole lot more come end of Jan.

If I was buying from scratch now I'd probably opt for the FS700, but although close the low light is not as good as the FS100 which is the main draw for me as I shoot almost exlcusively in ambient with no lights.

If I had no other requirements with the camera other than shooting underwater that I guess it would be hard to go wrong with the PMW200. I'm sure it is going to become the workhorse replacement for the EX1/R and before that the Z1. For an all round WA underwater system I think it will be hard to beat but for super macro there may be better options.

Cheers, Simon


#322189 Gulp!

Posted by SimonSpear on 07 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

Not on a single dive Nick(!), but yes I have filmed a sponge in the past before realising that it wasn't a Froggy....