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Everything posted by nickdiver

  1. Hi Steve. Good to hear from you. I just sent you a PM via Wetpixel. Hope all is well with you, Nick
  2. Underwater videographer needed in Palau, to assist during busy season, Sep. 2010-April 2011, and possibly during future busy seasons. Main responsibility will be to film divers and marine life on a daily basis (each day a different group of divers), and produce a souvenir DVD of their dives. Must have a minimum of 3 years of experience in this line of work, as well as references and a demo reel to prove it. No dreamers need to apply. High Definition video gear preferred but not crucial (miniDV ok). Videographer will work under the supervision of main uw video & photo pro at Ocean Wonders Productions, affiliated with Sam's Tours in Palau. PADI DiveMaster certification and PADI liability insurance are required. Videographer will need to have own uw video and scuba gear, own computer for editing and burning DVD (Mac OS preferred). Good social skills are a must, because of our daily interactions with divers and people of all kinds. Pay is commission based. For questions and details, please send cover letter, resume, 3 references, and a web link of your demo reel showcasing your uw filming and editing skills (e.g., 5 min. video) to nick@oceanwonders.org. More about Ocean Wonders Productions at www.oceanwonders.org.
  3. Video editor needed in Palau, to assist with the production of souvenir DVDs of divers' daily dives. Will be needed for the busy season Sept. 2010-April 2011 and possibly throughout the year. Will need to have own computer for editing and burning DVD (Mac OS preferred). Must have a minimum of 3 years of experience in this line of work (video editing, DVD authoring), as well as references and a demo reel to prove it. No dreamers need to apply. Editor will work under the supervision of video & photo pro at Ocean Wonders Productions, affiliated with Sam's Tours in Palau. Familiarity with computers, digital still cameras and basic/intermediate photo editing (e.g. Photoshop) and good social skills are required, as the Editor will also need to manage the daily logistics of our Digital Photo Center (e.g., renting uw cameras, assisting guests with computer and Internet needs, keeping track of sales, etc). Pay will be a combination of fixed salary plus commissions on each DVD produced. For inquiries, questions and details, please send cover letter, resume, 3 references, and a web link of your demo reel showcasing your editing skills (e.g., 5 min. video) to nick@oceanwonders.org. More about Ocean Wonders Productions at www.oceanwonders.org.
  4. We do offer them here in Palau, through Ocean Wonders Productions and Sam's Tours. More at http://www.oceanwonders.org/SamsTours/uwim...rses/index.html Check out the testimonials at the end of the page. Cheers, Nick
  5. Hi Sasha. I have the same HID lights, had them for years. Yes, you can buy the HID bulb thru Welch Allyn, I've done it several times in the past years. Cost is $230 per HID bulb, a lot less than the $350 at L&M! Go here to order: http://www.walamp.com/lpd/webstore/detail....891858382331020 You can change the bulb yourself, IF you're mechanically inclined and won't mind spending a couple of hours doing that. The bulb is VERY fragile, so careful when you're taking out the old one and installing the new one. Sometimes it's trickly to pop the new bulb into the slot where the old one resides. Lubricating the sides (NOT the contacts!) of the black base of the bulb usually helps to get it to slide into place. Also, unscrewing the light may be a bit tricky. Using a bench definitely helps. Ditto when you're screwing it back. Also, make sure you lubricate the two o-rings inside the light, and careful with the top glass part. I LOVE the lights, but I hate the wet connectors. They're fine if you use them a few times a year, but if you're like me and use them several times a week (given my uw film job) they're a bitch and require ultimate pampering, attention and anal-retentiveness to keep them clean. And even then, they often fail. I mention this to L&M, but (as usual), they don't care and deny the problem. - You don't need any filters with the HIDs. They'll give you great color from the start, no need for post. When they work, or course.... (see above). - I also looked into retrofitting my 2 HIDs and upgrade them to the LEDs. Basically, not worth the money. Also because you HAVE to change the battery pods, since the ones used with the LEDs use 3 connectors, not two like our Sunrays. I've seen the LEDs at work, they're awesome. BUT, again, L&M is still using the old and faulty wet-connector design, which is still a major problem after a few dozen dives... Maybe good for weekend divers, but not for day to day production work. When will they learn? My .05, Nick
  6. Thanks Alex for allowing the hosting of the pdf file on WP, and for posting the link to my website, where the videoclips of the RED Shootout are available for download ( http://www.oceanwonders.org/RED_Palau ) If hosting of that pdf paper ever becomes a problem in the future, I'll be happy to host that file on my site, on the same page where the videoclips reside. Nick
  7. Hello. Would you be willing to sell the camera and the housing only? I shoot with a Z1 in a L&M BF HD housing, and have all the other stuff (HID lights, monitor, pods, etc). How much for the cam+housing? thanks, Nick
  8. Hey Alan. Hope L&M will re-machine those grooves correctly. Keep us posted on the result, ok? And personally, I'd still duct-tape the pods AND the pod lock even after your housing comes back. You never now. I once lost a pod (slid off my BF HD) and had to fork out an outrageous $550 for a new one... Nick
  9. Hey Mark. I just wanted to let everybody here know what a pleasure it has been to work with your team. The shoot was a blast. Of course, at times it was so tempting to dump my Z1 and grab one of the REDs! But, I had to stay in my own "zone", so you guys could stay in yours... :-) Hope the report is coming out nicely. The page with the videoclips is ready to go. Will be glad to let the cat out of the bag when you're ready... Nick
  10. Alan, I have the same setup as yours. Love the lights, but the pods are a pain in the neck. The pod lock works most of the times, but sometimes it does get loose, even after you tighten it. With the BFin HD housing, the safest thing is to use good ol' duct tape to keep the pods from sliding off the bottom of the housing. Also put duct tape on top of the pod lock, that way it won't come off. It is obviously a flaw in the design of the pod lock and pod grooves on the BF HD. Elegant, yes. But 100% realible, nope. Never had that problem when I used to use the same battery pods with my BFin 900, or Stingray, since the back and front plate of those housings would keep the pods from sliding off the grooves. Also, if you do lots of dives (I dive almost every day, with my uw video biz here in Palau), you WILL eventually start having problems with the bulkeads on the pods. They're very finicky, to say the least. Most realiable way of keeping the wet contacts inside the bulkheads in good working order is to gently spray a small amount of WD40 every few dives, or as soon as you start seeing some corrosion/buildup on the "female" connectors. (this holds true even if you rinse you cam after every dive, etc. ). My five cents. Nick
  11. A link to a webpage with videoclips from the RED shootout in Palau will also be included in Mark's upcoming report.... Can't say more for now, or Mark will come back to Palau and feed me to the sharks.... :-) Nick
  12. A link to a webpage with videoclips from the RED shootout in Palau will also be included in Mark's upcoming report.... Nick
  13. Hey Steve. Thanks for the update on SDUFEX, sounds like this new location was a winner! Re: the RAM thing, well you're right, on SOME Apple models, in order to increase dramatically the RAM, one has to get rid of most or all of the previous RAM, typically because (particularly in a laptop) space is at premium. It sounds like there's only 2 RAM slots in your MBP, and if each of them is already filled with a 1Gb stick each, then you woulnd't be able to add any new ram UNLESS you toss both the current ones and you buy two 2Gb sticks. (you can't have a 1gb + 2Gb configuration, because typically they need to be in PAIRS of the same size, to be "seen" by the processor). Some models (e.g., iMac) are a lot more flexible when it comes to ram, because there's more space on the motherboard allocated to RAM slots. In laptops instad, every millimiter is taken up by something, so choices and space are more limited. I'm sure you could always buy the 2Gb + 2Gb of ram, and then sell the two 1gb of RAM on ebay as "mint"... Hope that helps, Nick
  14. Hey Nick again. Now I understand, you want to output at 1080i to your external 16:9 monitor. yes, I think as you and also Wagsy hinted at, it's actually a "feature" (BUG!!) with the camera. I remember before I left for PI and still had my Sony HD TV (1920x 1080) back in California, I used to run into the same problem. When connecting the Z1 to that HDTV via the component cable, and trying to display the camera info onto the HDTV set (with the latter set to 1080i), only the info on the TOP part of the Z1 LCD would show. The info at the bottom WILL NOT show, when connected to a monitor set to 1080i. Yep, it's pretty F...d up, but there's no other way (not that I know at least). I think it's because the software that controls the display of camera info is still old, and it uses large, non scalable fonts and symbols, which was fine in the old pre-HD days, but not anymore. The only way to see ALL of the camera info is to connect in 480i or 480p mode, which of course results in a softer image. You would think Gates and Amphico shoudl be aware of this bug? What does the manual for their monitors say? Perhaps there is a "firmware" that Sony has released, that would fix the bug? Nick
  15. Hey Nick, long time no "see", so to speak. I've been living in the Philippines now since Jan of this year, moved from California. Macro galore! Been shooting for a couple of HD production companies, my own, private parties DVDs, some marine conservation groups, etc. Lots of projects going on. Soon will be giving seminars in uw filmaking here. Nice to slowly come back to the WP community, after a time when I was too busy for that (setting up new business here, etc). Anyway, good question yours. As you know, like you I also have a L&M Bluefin HD for my Z1. And, I also have the L&M 4:3 monitor (I used to use it with my L&M Buefin 900, and kept it when I upgraded to the HD housing for the Z1). It's the L&M "compact" monitor (self powered via internal bettery). Although it's not high def of course, for general framing (e.g, divers, medium-large subjects at standard distance) the L&M monitor does a fine job. And after a while you actually can accurately "guess" the focus just by looking at the image (even if it's a bit soft, of course). Of course for critical stuff, e.g, macro, it helps to double check your focus with either the big 16:9 LCD on the Z1, or peep through the Z1 viewfinder. If I can make a correction Nick, it is NOT true that the external 4:3 L&M monitor, when connected to the Bluefin HD housing does not show you the camera info that you already see in the nice 16:9 monitor built into the Z1. In fact, the 4:3 monitor will show you exactly the same image, camera info included. Only thing is, it's letterboxed of course, to maintain the proportions of the 16:9 format into a 4:3 monitor. The reason in some cases the external monitor may not "mirror" the camera info present on the main LCD of the Z1, is if you've inadvertently siwtched "ON" the "show 4:3 guides" mode in your Z1 menu (camera or "other" settings, can't remember). If that is the case, turn it off, and you should be able now to see the camera info on any external monitor. Apparently the Z1 cannot ouput both the 4:3 guides and the camera info at the same time to an external monitor. Mark in Palau used to have the same problem when he first got his Gates + Z1 + Gates ext. monitor, and he was able to fix this problem with this trick. Re: cable, yes my L&M 4:3 monitor is a SubConn cable and: - name on cable is "BELDEN 8412 2CE" - diameter of cable is about 1/4 inch. - diameter of each of the "fatter" ends of the cable is the same as the ends on the cable that connects your lights to the pods. - The cable has THREE "golden" pins, plus a forth one that is a simple metal pin that helps the whole thing plug into the blukhead perfectly aligned. It's not clear whether 2 of the conductors are connected internally. I would assume so since the video cable only carries 2 signals, but don't quote me on that. Hope that helps. If you need pix, let me know (or email me, nick@oceanwonders.org) Nick
  16. Hey Steve. No prob re: RAM for your new laptop. Apple's costs a fortune, but it's typically identical to memory from other reputable manufacturers, and as long as you know the type of RAM your MBPro accepts, you should be fine with shopping around for a cheaper RAM chip (e.g., Tigerdirect, etc. ). The manual should tell you. When I got my Powerbook G4 2yrs ago, I knew the exact type of RAM chip I needed, and the guy at the store where I bought the PB (who installed the RAM) was an Apple certified technician. As long as they're certified, if anything were to go wrong with the "non-Apple" RAM they installed I'm pretty sure it'd be seen as their fault, and therefore it should be covered by the warranty. My .05. Oh, how was SDUFEX? Nick
  17. Hey Mark. You'll love the laptop, easy as pie to capture and all. As you know, I do it all the time with my Powerbook G4 1.67Ghz, never had problems. With you MCPro I assume it'd be even faster. Handy particularly when working with HDV content, where rendering as you know takes a lot longer than good ol' miniDV. You can keep all the programs on the main HD, and then all those GB of Lyvetype, Sountrack, etc. on a separate disk (external), that way they won't clog up your internal. You also can easily capture to an external HDD via Firewire, never fails, I do it all the time as you know (remember FnF?) Heck, you can even capture to a video-iPod in case of an emergency, for that matter, via USB! Never drops a frame! I'd suggest a Lacie with Fw 800, FW 400, USB2 and eSATA, you'll be set for all kinds of "plan B". Maxtor is also pretty good, although reliability depends on the model (e.g., the 500Gb with Fw 800, FW 400, USB2 is pretty good, as are the older "Onetouch II" Maxtors; the 1Tb and 1.5Tb instead have had all kinds of problems, likely to the RAID configuration - which you can disable anyway). Whatever you get, make sure your external HD has got a good "bridge" (i.e., the chip on the small board on the external enclosure that makes it "talk" to your Mac); Oxford brides are very reliable, and used typically in most major brands. Any Mac laptop questions, you know where to catch me! Oh, I've sent you a separate email. Enjoy Antibes! Nick
  18. Mus, I have a L&M Bluefin for your Sony900. Used but in good conditions. Never-ever had a problem with it, has worked perfectly for the past few years. Comes with assorted lenses, as well. (macro, Wide angle, wet "Macromate" lens). I've been shooting HD since last year, so it's all yours if you want to. If you need a "spare" TRV900 PAL, I can add that too to the package. Excellent conditions, low hours. Best to reach me at my email, nick@oceanwonders.org , with your offer, since I don't check WP every day. I can email you several pix if you wish. I'm based in the Philippines - moved here from California since Jan 07. Cheers, Nick
  19. Hey Nick (Hope), tx for the pic of the latch retainer. Looks good, cheap and effective. Will experiment with the same. Hopefully it won't get in the way of the viewfinder or PP buttons in the long run though. Like you, I've also put two strips of sticky-back velcro on the viewfinder cap/housing to hold the lens cap in place when not on the viewfinder. I actually did that from day one, after "diving" the (empty) housing in a pool to make sure it didn't leak. Works great, and the cap stays in place nicely during dives. Also, I've added two strips of velcro on each front side of the housing, and a complementary strip on the blue pastic circular cover that comes with each port. I've always been very paranoid about getting the lens all scrached up when some absent minded DM throws the rig in a rinse bucket or something, where other cameras may be present (or knives, or all kinds of crap; man, I've seen it all...). So this way I typically get in the water with the blue port cap on, remove it and 'velcro it" to the side of my housing, and simply put it back on once I resurface from a dive. Well, at least this method used to work very well with my old housing (Bluefin 900) and its much smaller lenses. With the Bluefin HD, the cap for its lenses is a lot larger, and I would imagine in strong current it may come "unvelcroed". Will need to experiment in the future, perhaps with a double strip of velcro on the blue cap itself, or a different way of holding it attached to the side housing. Btw, the position of the velcro on the front sides of the housing is such that when the blue cap is secured to the velcro, its position will not get in the way of your hand as its gripping the handle or working the controls (when the cap is secured to the right side of the housing, it does however interfer a bit with your working the macro or orange filter flip, but not much anyway). Last, you may want to stick a couple of extra strips of velcro in the inside of the cap, so it'll "grab" the black rim of the port better when you slide the cap back onto the port underwater before you come up (the water will actually help things by acting as lubricant between the inside of the cap and the outer part of the port). I've attached a sample pic of the cap + velcro system. Hope that helps, Nick
  20. Hey Drew, thanks for the Color Phase tip, was not aware of it. I'll experiment with it in a few days.
  21. Drew, holy mackerel, 6K for the tripod? Titanium huh? Gee... a bit too steep for my pockets (big holes right now after getting the new Z1/Bluefin rig...). I've got to give the Ultralight Guys a call, here in town... but I know the answer will be to fork out a least half a K for something that will do the job, their stuff is never cheap! Will keep ya' posted though. Nick
  22. Lmeyx, I agree with many of the suggestions by Nick H and Dan. In some situations, it is indeed useful to set the exposure to "Auto", and as pointed out by Nick H, since Sony cams tend to overexpose when used uw, it's also a good idea to set a -1 or -2 AE through a designated picture profile. On my Z1, eg., I have two PProfiles alredy set up, when I think Auto is the way to go. E.g., when shooting mantas or divers or any large subject who may be on top of you one second, and to your side or below the next moment, because of fast and unpredictable movement. The light & contrast will change all the time, and very rapidly. In this case, manually controlling the iris in "real time", as things are unfolding, would be a hassle, and you'd risk to either overexpose a shot, or underexpose another. So I have PP1 set up so it is Auto Iris, Auto Shutter, Auto WB, 0dB max, but with -2 AE. And another setup, PP2, which Auto Iris, Auto Shutter, 6dB, -2 AE and with "WB shift" all to the left (bluest), for those "green water" situations, which often times are also a bit darker than tropical (hence the boost to 6dB instead of the usual 0dB). The nice thing about these PP setups is that, even when they're engaged, you can always override any of the basic parameters (iris, shutter, WB and gain) for a "semi-manual" control. Lmeyx, given that Sony's "owners manual" is a joke, a great resource to get a comprehansive understanding of all the functions on the Fx1/Z1 is a "must-have" DVD titled "Hands on HDV - A Complete Guide to the HVR-Z1 and HDR-FX1, available at www.handsonhdv.com. I cannot say enough good things about this DVD. Buy it, sit down with it for a few days, experiment with all the suggestions, etc. You'll have a whole new understanding of your sweet cam. Again, YOU will be creative control of the cam, not the other way round. My .05, as usual. Nick
  23. Shawn, Thanks for the heads up re: the latches when shooting uw. Great, more worries now... :-( On hindsight, I now start to appreciate those "old" latches on my trusty Bluefin 900... Nick, Thanks for trying out your new idea (tight loop of marine shock cord). If you could post a pic that'd be great. Still, it's hard for me to understand how the L&M guys missed such a crucial piece, when they designed those latches. A simple sliding plastic "pin" that sits right under the latch would have all that was needed to make the design truly foolproof. Heck, even my very first still cam years ago had a cheap pin like that. I love L&M, and I woulnd't shoot with anything else nowadays, but sometimes I just wonder if all these manufacturers actually get to really dive their housings after they they design them. It's the same story with the LCD shade. Or the vignetting problem with the Phenom's first WA lens. Again, small details, but they do make a huge difference down there in the big blue. Oh well...
  24. Nick (Lymeyx), I usually don't like to use this forum to recommend books, etc, but it does sound like you may need some firmer background in uw videography to achieve your goals. If I may suggest a great book (among the many out there), it would be "Underwater Digital Videography", by Steven Fish. It's got some awesome description of topics such as WB (with and without lights), iris control, balancing lights and ambient light, proper techniques for focusing, etc. with concrete visual examples of video frames of the same subejct taken using different settings. I've used it several times with some of my students in the past, highly recommend it (and no, I dont' work for him, heck I don't even know the guy). The "book" is available as a .pdf download at several sites, like http://www.ebookmall.com/ebook/141360-ebook.htm Get the ebook, sit down with it for a few weeks / months, experiment with many of the suggestions in the book, and your footage will improve dramatically. Remember, YOU are in control of the cam, not viceversa. The LESS you use any "auto" modes (whether it's iris, WB, Gain, shutter), the BETTER your footage will look, because you will leave less and less to chance. There are times when Auto is the way to go, but for the most part it's manual you wanna work with. My five cents, as usual. :-) Nick
  25. Nick (Limex), yes, you can always change the "value" assigned to each of the 3 positions of the Gain switch on the camera by going into the Menu, select Gain setup, select the same gain switch that is currenclt "active" on your cam (e.g., L, M, or H) and assign a new value to it (e.g, 6dB, 12dB, etc.) It doesn't take me more that 10 seconds to do that, literally. It may help to "save" the Gain Setup command in the "personal menu" so it's very quick to access a any time. Last thing, Nick, NEVER - EVER shoot with the autofocus on (particularly in green -murky waters like often here in CA), at least when you're shooting WA or Medium shots. You may risk that the cam will start "hunting" for the correct focus, and in the process it'll screw up your shot because it may lock on some irrelevant stuff (e.g, pieces of kelp in the water, a small fish in a corner, etc.) instead of your main subejct. When shooting macro it is usually (although not always) ok to use autofocus, since the distance to your subject is very short, and there's plenty of light (DO use the lights when you're shooting macro, it'll make a HUGE difference; and it'll increase the depth of field significantly, since the cam will close down the iris a few stops - at 1/50th or 1/60th - , as compared to no lights). So at the beginning of your dive, one of the first things you wanna do is to LOCK the focus to manual, at about 2-3 feet. Pointing the cam to the tips of your fins and then pressing the Manual focus/focus lock button will achieve that. When you do that, you should see the Manual focus symbol in the bottom left corner of your LCD, with the distance it locked the focus at (e.g., 3ft). That means that everything from 3ft to infinity is going to be in focus, all the time (well, assuming you have enough light, etc.) When you need to reset the focus, say for a medium shot, go to auto, point to your subject, and when the cam achieves the focus on that subject, LOCK the focus. If the fish, etc. is coming towards you, at some point you'll have to rest/re-lock the focus. Presetting everything to 2 or 3 ft definitely help in this case, and it'll allow you to concentrate on framing and composition instead of focusing. Of course it the fish is getting real close to the lens (e.g., less than 1-2 ft, you may wanna quickly swich back to auto, as long as the fish fills most of your frame. The beauty of the Bluefin is that this is so easy to do, flawlessly and super smoothly, while still in the Rec mode, because of its phenomenal "smart handles" and their very intuitive layout of buttons. Again, we're just skiming the surface here, we could talk for hours about this. Hope that helps, Nick
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