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Everything posted by peterbkk

  1. Why would you want to be using continuous auto-focus underwater anyway? Unless you are using a long lens and shooting a person or creature swimming close towards you, it's better to fix AF at the right distance. Normally, with the kind of WA lenses used underwater, the depth of field will cover the subject. With macro, you don't want the lens changing focus point on the subject as that'll make your audience dizzy. So, unless you have some special reason to be using continuous AF, just lock the focus at the right distance as you start to shoot and you'll have no lens noise. Because, if the lens is making focus noises that probably means it's hunting and that'll look bad in the image. Regards Peter http://www.peterwalker.com
  2. Excellent! Only thing I'd change is to cut out the feeding catfish scene as they look little less "alien" than all the other critters. Regards Peter
  3. It all seemed a bit destructive to me: the stomping along the bottom, smashing at the wreck, ripping up the coral rubble. Maybe the message from the music and footage is that this behaviour is evil and "dark side" but I'm not sure that message came across clearly enough. Looked to me more like an ignorant diver damaging the dive site. Maybe your actor did not seem sinister enough: looked more like a "naughty boy" than a "Darth Vader". Regards Peter
  4. facebook.com/rxdivemasks Prescription Dive Masks in San Diego are great and you have complete control of the corrections and viewpoints. They send you instructions and then you work with your optometrist to mark up your favourite mask. You send the marked-up mask and your prescription to Prescription Dive Masks and, a couple of weeks later, it's back. When you are marking-up the mask with your optometrist, take your time. Hold something in your hand to simulate the camera viewfinder and work out the best position for the transition from magnification to distance viewing. Regards Peter
  5. Hi Nu, Wow, what a great opportunity. Cannibal Rock is always a great dive but usually for Macro. You were lucky to be there when those rays arrived and also lucky to see them as it's usually a dive of intense focus towards the rock rather than out in the blue (actually, I should say "out in the green"). But, can I give you 3 pieces of advice. 1. Do some more color correction work on the footage. You have some reddish - purple in the highlights from the surface. With some careful secondary color correction, you should be able to pull that out. 2. Cut the yawning frog fish. This is what I call the "self-editors dilemma": you shot something interesting so you want to get it into the final cut, even though it has nothing to do with the storyline. An editor would chop it because it distracts from the story. The audience wonders what is the connection with the Rays. Is it yawning because the dive was boring before the Rays arrived? You get the point? No matter how much you love that shot, if it is not relevant to the story, it ends up on the cutting room floor. Maybe you can use it in a different story about yawning fish. 3. Don't use YouTube for quality footage. I'm sure that what you uploaded to YT looks great but their lousy compression ruins it. Especially bad in open water footage like this. Lots of ugly compression artefacts. Vimeo is better - not great, but better. But, otherwise, great stuff! regards Peter
  6. IMHO, the Sony cameras have never been great at MWB underwater. The MWB software seems to be desperately looking for red. You can fudge it with a pink plastic card but it's still a bit hit and miss. Rather that stuff-around with MWB while diving, I prefer to be able to quickly get to a WB that approximates the conditions. The typical conditions are: Light blue colour cast - shallow, clear tropical water Deep blue colour cast - deep, clear tropical water Light blue-green colour cast - shallow tropical water with some suspended plankton Deep blue-green-green colour cast - deeper tropical water and/or lots of suspended plankton Video lights dominate (night, cave, etc.) - use AWB So I made 4 A4 pages in PhotoShop that approximate each of those colour casts and printed them. Then I put the pages in sunlight and took an MWB off each one, saving one into each of the 4 WB presets of the camera - then saving all the settings into the Custom Sets that I had already created for different exposure / focusing custom sets. You can find the coloured pages in a PDF in this thread: http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=54683&hl=%2Bgh4+%2Bpreset+%2Bwhite+%2Bbalance&do=findComment&comment=355784 Regards Peter
  7. As it mainly affects vertical lines, even if it was present in a camera system, it'd not be very obvious underwater, unless doing a pan over a shipwreck. Regards Peter
  8. Two points: Stability takes time to develop. Let me compare it to a racing car driver. Most people, with a bit of guidance, can get a car around an empty race track. Why can racing drivers do it multiple times faster alongside other fast-moving cars. After years of practice and experience, the race car driver's perception of the world expands to include the car. Yes, his brain builds a map of the outer edges of the car as if it was an extension of his own body - just like his fingers but further away. He can't "think" or "calculate" his way through a narrow gap at 300kmh, his brain just "feels" that the car will clear the gap. After shooting video for long enough, the camera becomes an extension of the body. Your hands, wrists and arms "mentally fuse" with the camera and you instinctually feel where it needs to be pointed and how it needs to be adjusted for small movements of current. Of course, large unexpected buffets by the the current will overcome the muscles ability to adjust. But you get the point. Spend every chance you can handling the camera underwater. Eventually your perception will expand to include the camera. Your muscles will do the work without you needing to think about it. Secondly, in most currents, shooting video with a reef hook is challenging. Instead of flowing with the water, you are being bounced around on the end of a short string. Every eddy in the current is getting transmitted straight into your body and through you into the camera. So, it's preferable not to use a reef hook when shooting video. Get down low and use the natural topography to avoid being blown away e.g. behind a bommie. Of course, don't risk yourself and don't damage marine life. If the currents are too strong, and you must use a reef hook for safety, a springy one connected near your belly is better, find a place where the current is somewhat slowed and smoothed by the bottom topography, then establish an aerodynamic profile so you are flying "hands-free". But, it's not easy. I know that a lot of "tourist divers" love the flying currents of Komodo but the strong currents are not the more conducive to good video. When I was there last, I specifically planned the trip around half-moon when the currents are milder. Then, for dives in the Straits, I worked with the Dive Manager to plan many of the current-prone dives around slack water. Of course, they have to cater for all customers so you will find yourself flying through Shotgun wondering how to avoid crashing your camera into something... Regards Peter
  9. When you have shot some underwater footage with it, please post some sample results. I'll try and do the same. Regards Peter
  10. I finally made a new snoot. http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=55825&st=0&p=362158 Regards Peter
  11. Given that my last topic here was about the Shogun housing that cost me an arm and a leg, I thought I'd go to the other end of the spectrum and describe the cheapest piece of underwater video equipment that I ever bought. Last weekend, I was wandering around a huge hardware store here in Bangkok when I had an idea for a snoot. I found two bits of "reducing diameter" water pipe that fit snugly together and, by some miracle of hardware sizing, fits perfectly on the iTorch Pro 7. Because the wider end is slightly tapered, it slides on tight enough to wedge on without any tape, velcro, clamps or locks. It needs to be wiggled slightly to get it off. It's like someone designed these plumbing pieces to be made into a snoot! Of course it helps that the iTorch Pro 7 is exactly a particular dimension and has its one switch far enough back that the snoot does not interfere with it. I just glued the 2 bits of pipe together and painted it black with a can of matt spray paint. It fits into the same pocket on my BP/W belt as the one that I use to carry my light filters. From about 15cm from the mouth of the snoot, it makes a oblong of light about 6cm across with quite defined edges. Total cost: about $5 for two, plus the spray paint. Regards Peter The iTorch Light and the water pipe parts: The finished Snoot painted black: The Snoot mounted on the light:
  12. Hi Steve, One minor correction, the video was made in 2013, not 2003. In the last six months of 2013, we made 1,000 DVDs and had them delivered directly to key individuals in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. I picked those countries because they include a lot of the South-east Asian ocean and I already had contacts who were prepared to help distribute the DVDs to the target audience. The key individuals were Ministers for Environment, Tourism, Fisheries and Finance, Marine park organizations, dive resort / boat owners and other people (e.g. some university professors) who we thought might be able to influence leaders. I have no idea if it has had any influence at all but it's one of those things that you just have to try. Regards Peter
  13. On world ocean day, please watch my video on why marine parks make economic sense: http://www.peterwalker.com/marineparks.html Please retweet or share on Facebook.
  14. I know some of you want to see some graded underwater footage from the GH4 / Shogun combination. A week ago, David Cheung and I spent a few days diving in Lembeh Straits. I was capturing footage for the octopus documentary that I'm working on. So, I did not specifically shoot any "let me test this system" footage. I'm more of a storyteller than a technician. I did get some excellent footage of octopus behaviours to add to my increasing library of these amazing critters. Some of the footage reminds me of playing with our cats at home - they just don't react they way you expect them to. It took me a couple of dives to get used to the changed handling of the rig. The one huge upside was the big monitor with its ability to do focus-peaking with different colors (red works best during the day, light blue at night). It made a huge difference to capturing footage of moving octopus, close up. I could always see if the octopus was in the band of focus. At some angles, the band of focus shows up as a pathway across the monitor. All I had to do was to mentally will the octopus to walk along that pathway (or move the pathway to suit the octopus). Anyway, sorting through the clips, I did find once piece of footage that I thought might test the tolerance of the ProResHQ 4K 422 10bit footage. One afternoon after heavy rain, the water was dark, murky and very, very green. We were hunting blue-ring octopus (we did find a beauty and got some great blue-ring CU footage later in the dive) but I did a quick test shot on a nudibranch to make sure all was working. The original footage is green. So I put it on a FCPX timeline and pushed the colour-correction to get rid of the greeness. It took 3 CC effects (1 primary, 2 secondary masks) to get it looking the way that I wanted it to look. The footage held together really well. I have no idea if this is a valid test but it convinced me that ProResHQ 4K 422 10bit footage is worth the extra effort of lugging the Shogun housing with me on future trips (underwater it is perfectly balanced / slightly negative) I have posted the test footage on YouTube in 4K (3 seconds original / 7 seconds graded) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYJXKdOcvrM (switch the little cog thingy to 4K before watching). Regards Peter
  15. Hi recd, I thought some more about it and took a close look at the source video and now I think that I was using the 12-35mm f2.8 lens at Manta Sandy. I changed lens often on that trip but, if I remember rightly, earlier that day I was using the 7-14mm f4 to shoot interiors of the resort cottages so I took the 12-35mm lens diving. The 12-35mm has the advantage of super sharpness corner-to-corner and one extra stop. But, especially if the water is not clear, the 7-14mm is better for big stuff. Luckily, on that day, the viz was good so I could get back a meter or two from the mantas. Regards Peter
  16. I suggested to Mr Cheung that we could try Viagara but he thought that it would not work underwater unless a mermaid swam by.
  17. I had a lot of problems with L&M lights over the years so decided that I would not buy any more - at least not until I hear better stories about their reliability. Yes, their service is good and they do swap bad lights. But I don't see why there has to be bad lights in the first place. If you have a bad light in a remote location, all the service in the world is not going to save the shoot. The Keldans are all great lights, really well made and easy to use. But you have to like pinkish / purple. Why can't they be black? I have used a pair of the i-Torch Video Pro 7 lights regularly for about a year. They are bright and reliable. The burn times are roughly as claimed. The shape is conducive to adding homemade shoots and filters. They are compact and light for air travel. I like that the spare batteries are also waterproof so no worries having spare batteries in wet conditions. At the price, they're hard to ignore. When they break, buy a new one. Regards Peter
  18. Not true. The 10-bar flexi-arms are much more positionable than ball and clamp. They are stiff enough to hold their position but flexible enough to be easily moved into most lighting positions from WA to CU. I just used them on 15 dives and had no problems with them, shooting both macro and wide. The 45cm version is intended for mounting on a tray where the lower segments are the handle. For the GH4 housing, with the arms mounted on the top of the handles, 36cm is about the right length. They do make a noise when repositioned but not that haunted-house creak of the Locline. Regards Peter
  19. I used the 7-14mm lens behind a Zen 170mm dome port. No, this shoot was back in March but I did not get the Shogun housing until May - just used it for the first time last week in Lembeh. Superb! Regards Peter
  20. I just checked and it is working. It's just a Vimeo video embedded in my site. The only place where I know that it doesn't work is in Indonesia as the government there banned all of Vimeo for some nudity in a few videos - not in mine. Regards Peter
  21. I just posted a five-minute short video from a recent dive trip to Raja Ampat in West Papua, Indonesia onto my website. http://www.peterwalker.com/rajaampat.html I was only in Raja Ampat for 3 days to shoot a promo video for a dive resort (see below). But, even in that short time, I came across an amazing amount of marine life. Rather than squeeze in lots of quick snippets of the myriad of creatures, for this short video, I just edited down to a few of the more impressive or colourful fish. Raja Ampat really is a diver's paradise! (And, if you want to dive the northern area from a very comfortable resort, I can recommend the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge which is, not only in the midst of the sites, but also has an amazing dive under its own jetty) Regards Peter Shot with a GH4 in a Nauticam housing.
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