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Everything posted by DanB

  1. You're right, diving is not permitted in the protected zone, and we respect and follow the rules fully. This is similar to diving with the whale sharks in Mexico. But that's not a problem because there are a lot of great shots to be had in shallow water when the mantas swim in formation right below the surface. And the protected zone is a small area, diving is allowed on all the other sites.
  2. There are a few spaces left on the October 21 - Nov 4th trip to the Maldives with Berkely White of Backscatter and Under Exposures. This will be the 4th year in a row that we have chartered the Manthiri live aboard to see the massive manta congregation up in Hanifaru. We just can't get enough of this amazing phenomenom. This video says it all: [vimeohd]10071726[/vimeohd] This is a photography trip with the emphesis on being at the right place at the right time to see the mantas, all the while working together so everyone gets a chance to get the shots. Professional underwater Photographer Berkley White will be leading this trip and offering his expertise to the group. In addition to the manta action we have found some amazing dive sites nearby, so on our "off" days we can hit some manta cleaning stations, cruise the outer reefs looking for whale sharks, and dive the best wide angle sites in the area with amazing fish life and soft corals. If you would like more information on this trip, please visist http://underexposures.com/maldives-manta-bay-october-21-november-4/ or email info@underexposures.com
  3. Here is a short video of our 2009 trip. Off the charts! An under water photographer's dream come true. [vimeo]10071726[/vimeo]
  4. I think your AF seeking has a lot to do with it. Do you see the glare in the corner all the time or does it come in and out of the frame? My guess is that it floats in and out and that it's related to focus seeking. I had a similar problem, when the shot was in focus the edges were fine but when the camera tried to focus in the blue and racked in and out i saw it. Not sure why. The dolphin shot for example is out of focus. Was the whole scene out of focus or just this part? Was there a problem with the in focus parts? Look at your footage and see if you see a relationship between the focus and corner. If you lock the focus when you are shooting wide angle then you'll solve this. Not only should it solve the corner issue but it's just better WA technique and will help you get less out of focus shots. DanB
  5. Your battery may be fine. Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning. Seriously though, if you haven't used it in a while it just may need some time on the charger before it charges up. Leave it plugged in overnight and most likely it will recover and charge up just fine. This happens to me from time to time. The best thing you can do for the battery is use it regularly, if you can't then pull it out every once in a while and run it though a cycle. A little exercise will do it good. Always charge it back up fully before you pack it away. Rechargeable batteries should never be stored empty, they don't like that. If after leaving it on charge overnight it still does not work, then it may truly be bad in which case it needs to be replaced. Good luck. Danb
  6. Complete set of Light & Motion SunRay HID video lights for sale: 2 HID heads w/ arms 2 Battery pods 4 Batteries 1 Charger Good condition, work great. They sold for $3300 new, I'll take $1000 plus shipping. Danb
  7. Hi Chris, While I agree that MWB is a very important feature, I understand if you don't want to spend big $$ for the BlueFin housing. More if you want to get lights too. Not everyone can swing it. But that doesn't meant that you shouldn't buy anything. There is a good housing for every budget. Since the Stingray is a universal housing made to fit a variety of cameras (very cool), it can not have such specific controls as mwb and exposure. (believe it or not John) That's just part of the deal. It takes a model specific housing like the BlueFin to do that. But it costs more and will only fit the HC7/9. Which is the better housing? The BlueFin of course. But if you can't afford that, you're still allowed to have fun shooting uw video with another housing. Lot's of people shoot Stingrays and Dive Buddies and get good results. (AWB only) The HC7 is not the greatest low light camera every made, but it does well for what it is. I've seen good uw imgages from it and others of it's type. You'd have to step up to an FX1 camera to see any real improvement and again, that's big $$. (plus size, travel weight, etc.) It's not for everyone. But according to your post, you're going to be in low light, green water most of the time, right? Well, that means that you won't have a lot of ambient light so MWB is not as important to you. If most of your light is artificial, then the awb will work pretty well. Embrace the green around you, it's a good color. And have fun shooting wrecks! my $.02 Danb Oh, and John, the extra pod length may look bad to you, but would you really want it shorter? That would mean a smaller battery and shorter burn time. That's not better.
  8. Hey hey Drew So if you make the light red, it won't bother your subject as much. Ok. Cool. Do you then try and correct it back to natural color somehow or does it stay red like that? Like the military green night vision scopes. Is that watchable? "In daylight, if your fill lights are redder and you MWB to that, your background automatically becomes bluer, which is a desirable effect." You know that's what I thought, but really the opposite on the color wheel of red is cyan, not blue. So it doesn't make your water bluer, it make it more cyan. (And that's what I think water color is really, cyan.) But therein lies the rub. It's making your ambient even more cyan (or blue) so you get this icky, reef lit by ambient next to colorful reef lit with lights. The mix is harsh, not smooth. If you make sure the reef looks good with white balance then it will blend with a lit foreground as well as trail off into the distance. (or am i dreaming here?) db
  9. Nick- Yes, it would be interesting. In fact, I’d say that’s what interests me the most out these lights. Being able to filter the artificial light so that it matches the color of ambient light underwater would be great. That way, the on camera filter and manual white balance would correct both sources equally and you’d get even color throughout the scene. Wow! How cool is that!? Videodan- You jumped the gun on me, man. I was wondering if there are any other filtering desires out there besides this? Wanna go warmer?? For what? Cooler? Why? I must confess that I can’t think of any other reason to filter the lights. But maybe that’s because I’ve got such a one track mind right now and all I can think about is correcting mixed lighting. So, if anyone has had any other desire to filter lights, I’d like to know why. But back to Wide Angle Mixed Lighting (as this is all I seem to think about lately). I dove 2 SunRay 2000s with a slew of filters trying to see what would happen. These lights were amazing because they were twice as bright at my HIDs, even filtered. The deepest filter I used only took out about 1 stop of light (and that one was clearly wrong from the start). Most were less than a stop, and the ones I ultimately settled on took out less than a 1/2 stop. I was now able to light up a subject in a shallow, high ambient light situation. My light was bright enough, now I just needed to make it white enough. Like you said Nick, mixed lighting has always been a challenge because it turns your foreground red. Why? It’s being over corrected by the camera’s CC filter, right? So maybe what I said above is not really what you want. Maybe you don’t want to make your artificial light match ambient after all. Instead I think you want to put a filter on your video lights that that will make it appear white after it has passed through your camera’s color correction filter. Take water out of the equation. Make a lighting filter that will neutralize your camera’s CC filter. This is not a wild guess, Dan, this is exactly the conversation you and I had at DEMA. I tested many different “blue†filters with these LED lights and got pretty poor results. Trying to match ambient was impossible. But when I tried to neutralize the UR Pro in my housing with some Cyan, it started looking good. I stacked up about 8 layers of a Cyan gel filters on the light heads before I got the density I needed. Now, when I turned on my Cyan(ish) light it was properly converted back to white by my UR pro. I dove this system for days and got some pretty encouraging results. I found the best thing to do was manually white balance with ambient light with the camera’s CC filter on. This gave me a proper ambient setting. Then, whenever I turned on my lights they were perfectly balanced. Very cool. I suppose I should post some video soon to back this up, eh? :-) All this being said, there is still a lot to learn here. I’ve just scratched the surface and by no means have perfected the process. It is going to take a lot more work to dial this in. But I think it’ll be worth it. DanB
  10. Hi All, The plan is for the SunRay 1000 to have 3 power levels, like the current LMI halogen lights, and for the SunRay 2000 to have 2 power levels. Both light heads will have a 52mm filter thread so you can attach any common filter out there. The demo units at DEMA just happened to have the Hoya filter on the 1000 and the Cokin system on the 2000, but they could've been easily swiched around since they have the same threds. But let's talk about this for a little bit. I got to test these lights out last month and the sample footage playing in the DEMA booth was mine. The lights worked perfectly so there was little "testing" to be done as far as the light was concerned. It was working out the filter system that was most challenging. Not only is the attachment system and issue, but which filters do you choose? Will off the shelf filters do the job? Well, what exactly is the "job"? I guess that's the question. Why filter your lights? What is the desired effect? Once you know that, then you can pick the proper filter. If no filter exists in the land photo world to fit our needs, then custom UW filters will have to be created. I'm going to leave the question at that for now and see where this takes us. I have my own ideas but I'd really like to know what you guys hope to accomplish by filtering lights. Then, let's make sure we get the filters we need in a system that works for us. Dan B. LED field tester
  11. You know, I'm not sure what to think about Camcorderinfo.com. They seem to be a good resource for news and product info, but they are often negative in their reviews and I don't always agree. I visit their site often but take what they say with a grain of salt. Personally, I tend to discount sources that never seem to have anything positive to say. You know, the always negative types. I'm sure they think that being critical is a good service to their readers but they seem to think they are above the "consumer" cameras they review and there is always something terribly wrong. Is anything good enough for them? And does that mean that it's not good enough for you? Danb
  12. Join underwater video experts Dan Baldocchi and Light & Motion founder Michael Topolovac aboard Indonesia’s newest luxury liveaboard, the Voyager. Learn essential UW video skills while diving the rich waters of the Pacific. The goal of this workshop is to make you a better underwater videographer. By learning these skills "in the field" you will be able to apply what you learn right away. Our nightly critique sessions will review your work and help you determine what you are doing right and wrong. Plus you will have the added benefit of seeing what your fellow shooters are doing as well. We will all learn from each other. Sure, it’s a Light & Motion led trip, but that doesn’t mean only LMI shooters can come. All are welcome to join and share their knowledge and experiences. It does mean, however, that Light & Motion will open up the toy box and bring all the latest cameras and housings for you to try. New to video or looking to move to HDV? We’ll have complete systems for you to use on the trip. For more info go to www.underwatervideotrips.com
  13. Hi Ryan. Good review. My experiences with the BlueFin HC3 were nearly the same as yours. Personaly, I like the manual control knob set to adjust exposure, but that's just me. I agree that the easy button should be avoided, it's no good. Luckily it's easy to deactivate. If you look inside he housing you will see a small plastic part where the easy button is. This is the piece that actualy touches the camera. Simply reach inside and gently pull the part away from the housing and then slide it back and out of the housing. Very easy. Have fun watching your footage on your 77 inch HDTV. 77 inches? Really? Damn! Danb
  14. Hi Will, The next Digital Shootout will be in Bonaire, June 16-23 at the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort. We've updated the website www.thedigitalshootout.com Check it out. Eric Cheng, Jim Watt, Berkley White and I will all be there again. Hope you can join us. BTW, we've added a video category this year. We'll have specific video shooting and editing seminars as well as a contest for the best 3 minute piece. The Shootout is not just for still shooters anymore. Dan B
  15. What model battery are you using? The PC100 is a nice little camera, but it has a (nice) little battery. And due to the nature of the battery slot there are not a lot of options for a longer life battery. The battery that comes with the camera is the NP-FA50 (800mAh) They also sell the NP-FA70 (1220 mAh) Obviously, you should be using the FA70 if you want the longest run time. FYI, Sony's other battery styles go as high as 6600mAh so you can see that the battery for the PC1000 is limited and will need to be changed more often. You should get a couple of them. Have you tested the battery life outside of the housing. Before you blame the housing, do some "virtual dives" on land and see how long the battery lasts. Walk around your neighborhood with the camera and shoot for an hour. Use the LCD and zoom in on things. Try and record as much footage as you would on a dive. See how long it lasts. I bet you'll find it is the same as in the housing. I doubt there is anything wrong with your housing that would cause the battery to drain. Like Scubadru said, the lanc control does not draw much power, if any. The Mako's monitor back does draw power from the camera and that will certainly affect the run time. Just like when you use the flip out screen on land. If you only use the viewfinder then the battery will last longer than if you use the LCD. Same thing in the water. Using the monitor back will consume more power than the standard back. That's just part of the deal. The PC1000 is a great little 3 chip camcorder, but it has a puny battery. So what's the work around? Make sure you have the biggest battery you can, and swap it out after every dive. If you can't get a full dive on one battery then you'll have to be conservative with it in the water. Turn it off when you are not shooting. The start up time is not bad when you are ready to shoot again. I know this sounds like a hassle, but the alternative is a larger camera with a larger battery (with a larger housing). I don't think the Gates housing would be much different. The PCII is designed for the LCD screen to be open so it will have about the same power draw as the Mako with the monitor back. No real advantage there. You could use the Mako with the standard back, but I wouldn't. I like the screen too much to give it up for a few more minutes of shooting. Good luck with your testing and I hope you find a happy result. BTW, other than the power issue, how do you like you Mako housing? Danb
  16. I'm looking for an external HD to use as a scratch disk for FCP on the road. What are you guys using? I have a Macbook pro, and while I'm happy with my HD solution at home, I don't want to take it around the world with me. I think I want something compact, lighweight, bus powered, USB2/FW400... 80 - 120 GB should be big enough, you think? Any recomendations? Tell me what works for you. Thanks. Danb
  17. Space is still available for our upcoming video trip aboard Indonesia's newest live aboard, The Voyager. We offer daily classes, image critiques, and free HDV demo gear. Have fun shooting video while diving some of the richest reefs in the world. It's not too late to join us! Check out our web site for more info: www.underwatervideotrips.com
  18. Sorry Dean. On the A1U the menu choice is "Down Convert" Select Letterbox and it will show you the 16:9 image on your external monitor. As well as any other 4:3 TV you plug the camera into. The other choices are Squeeze and Crop, but I much prefer the Letterbox myslef. Dan
  19. Hi Dean, You can turn the on the display info and convert the picture to 16:9 on your monitor by changing a few menu setting on the camera. Display: Go to the Standard Set menu - Display - V-out/LCD This tells that camera that you want the display info sent out the video out jack so you can see it on your external monitor. 16:9 Go to the Sandad Set menu - TV Type - 4:3 This tells the camera that the monitor is 4:3 and that the camera could convert the signal to 16:9. It will make the image smaller of course, but i like to see the widescreen image. You can decide for yourself if you want to use these setting or not, but at least they are there for you. Dan
  20. A 30" display sure is nice, but kinda pricey for me. I just bought the Dell 24" HD Monitor (1920x1200) and I love it. Dell just dropped the price to $799 so it is a hell of a bargain. http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/Product...uctlisting.aspx I also really like that it has component inputs so I can plug my HD camera directely into it and don't need a computer to view HD. This has been nice when I've wanted to show others my work. I just grab my camera and monitor and can take it anywhere. Everyone who's seen it has been impressed so far. (with the monitor that is, mixed results on the work :-)) Dan
  21. Hi Shawn, Yes, there are two different flip macro lenses for the Bluefin FX1 housing. The housing ships with a flat port and also comes with the macro flip lens. You use these two together to get super macro. The 80 degree lens is sold seperately and there is a different flip lens for it. You can not use the one you use with the flat port. You need to buy a seperate (optional) flip macro filter. If you don't get it, the port is still 80 degrees wide, but you will not be able to use the entire zoom range of the camera. It will loose focus ability about half way through the zoom. This filter gives this ability back to the camera and enhances the close focus range so you can use the zoom as a macro lens. Zoom in, and be close to the subject and fill the frame. It's actually very versitle and works well. For wide angle, you flip it up and out of the way to get the widest shot. When working close you can flip it down and get the use of enhanced close focus and the full zoom. Like I said before, it still allows the camera to focus to infinity at fulll wide. (Some macro lenses only allow close focus when engaged) So you can shoot tight on a subject but can still zoom out to full wide and stay in focus. (although not as wide as if the lens was flipped up of course) This is nice if you are shooting a reveal that starts tight on the subject and then zooms out to reveal the environment. If you get the 80 degree lens, then be sure to get this flip lens too. It's worth it. You do need to change it between dives when switching from flat port to wide port. Sure, it's another step, but it's not hard to do and only takes a few seconds. The 80 degree lens is flat on the outside and curved on the inside. It is a lens really, not a port. It seems to me to have great corner sharpness, with and without the flip lens engaged. Like I said before, no vingetting either :-) As for white balance, the housing does not let you switch the Preset /A/B control. You need to choose one setting, either A or B. You can of course press the WB mode button and the WB set button. So you can shoot auto, or switch to manual and take a reading. They are simple push buttons on the housing and easy to activate. Dan
  22. Thanks Wags. Yes, the housing has a UR pro filter in it, and it worked very well. I got a set of magic filters and tried them once, but never got around to truely comparing them to the UR pro filter. Maybe on my next trip. FOV = 67 degrees on land. Then behind a flat port in the water it drops to about 46 degrees. Sound right? That is quite a bit different from the 80 degrees on the wide port. I can't wait for the 100 degree lens. Dan
  23. DanB


    You need to be more specific on what type of monitor back you want. Light & Motion made many different versions for different cameras over the years and if you do not specify the correct one, you will get one that will not work with your camera. What model camera do you have in your StingRay housing? Not working is ok?? Dan
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