Comments Off on Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EF Mount Wide-Angle Lens
Wide and fast is possible with the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 lens. It’s ultra-wide on full frame cameras and medium wide on crop sensors. The f/1.8 maximum aperture is particularly useful indoors and at night. It’s also visually interesting, since you can get a wide field of view and still have a shallow depth of field.
We love this length for handheld video. It’s also about as wide as you can get without adding barrel distortion, so architecture won’t bend in the corners and scale seems emphasized but natural. The lens could almost be put in the macro category, with a close-focusing distance of about 5″ and an object magnification of 1:4.
We shot this side-by-side with Canon’s USM 20mm f/2.8, and as a video shooter’s lens, this one comes out ahead hands down. The manual focus is easy to grip and the action is smooth. Both lenses tend to darken at the corners, especially above f/4, this is less noticeable in 16:9 frames. We think the Sigma looks more cinematic. Still shooters will probably prefer the USM and Canon’s slight edge in sharpness, but for video, the extra 1 1/3 stop makes this an all-purpose prime lens.
This lens has an EF mount and 82mm front filter threads.
Comments Off on The Future for Canon Full-Frame Video
I’m pretty sure the f/1.2 lens is mounted in this picture just to rub it in Nikon’s face. Bring me the ND8192!
Canon announced last month it had developed a full-frame sensor exclusively for video applications, and the blog world didn’t seem surprised. Here at MKE, we felt like the internet passed over something that could be a much bigger deal. Here’s why:
1. This could be the end of moire in DSLR video. The larger pixels have no need to subsample the image into a 1080p raster. We were really hoping this would be a 4k sensor to replace the Canon 1Dc, but running the numbers in the press release, it’s pretty clear this is a 1920-pixel horizontal imager.
2. This is a leap forward in low-light sensitivity. How much of a leap? Think “shooting video with available starlight.” Or “I had to cover the camera LCD so bounce off my face didn’t ruin my shot.” Canon specifies 0.03 lux, which is five stops darker than the light of the full moon! There are literally more dollars in the US federal debt than photons used in a frame of video. The coolest application we can see for it? High framerate videos indoors with available lighting.
3. The megapixel war in photography is ending. We could see the end in sight, with Canon dropping its full-frame cameras down from 21MP to 18, and cameras like the Lytro forcing us to re-define resolution all together. This regular old 1080p sensor is just 2MP. Of course, Canon will still make full-frame photo cameras in the 18MP range, but Canon’s engineers are definitely not chasing after more marketing megapixels at the expense of image quality. And 8K for video is probably as far as consumer resolution will ever go, at least in the TV/cinema experience.
4. Processing 2MP is a lot less intensive than processing 18MP. The upshot? Theoretically 9x more data, or capabilities in the range of 1080p240 with the same DIGIC processors (assuming that Canon provides a memory interface that can handle that much bandwidth). This could also help cover the limits of the rolling shutter CMOS sensor, until Canon catches up with cameras like the new Blackmagic and their global shutter feature.
The press release from Canon seems to focus on the astrovideography and security applications, but we hope to see this prototype in the hands of some of our favorite cinematographers soon!
Have to list something for sale online? This 40″ white photo tent is the answer to your product photography prayers. We use it for photos like this, without a distracting background. The white tent creates even lighting and eliminates distracting reflections and shadows. This tent works great with both continuous and strobe lighting.
The product photo tent rental includes four different color backdrops, so you can pick the best match for you.
Comments Off on Blackmagic HDMI to HD-SDI Converter
The Blackmagic Design HDMI to HD-SDI converter will take your HDMI output from a camera, Bluray player, or other device, and convert it to dual auto-switching SDI or HD-SDI outputs, including audio. Uses an AC power adapter, included.
Make your signal line more reliable by converting from HDMI to HD-SDI as early as possible. We see this box a lot on DSLR and mirrorless camera sets. The output is a high-quality 4:2:2 signal that matches whatever HDMI settings your camera can output.
Take your camera’s SDI or HD-SDI output and convert it to the HDMI standard, with embedded audio. It includes loop-through SDI for easy connection to existing systems. We use this to connect HDMI projectors and monitors in a SDI signal chain. You can use audio over SDI or connect an analog source to combine on the HDMI output.
Comments Off on Blackmagic Analog to SDI converter
This Blackmagic Design converter will take any component (YPbPr/RGB), composite, or S-Video (Y/V) output and convert it to SDI or HD-SDI outs. Inputs are locking BNCs. Request RCA adapters if you need them. Audio over SDI is possible, using the two 1/4″ phono inputs. Runs on AC power. A power adapter is supplied.
We often use this with older analog HD and SD video cameras to give us HD-SDI capability during live shoots. It’s also an excellent choice for converting video from analog sources like VHS to digital, when used with the right equipment. We’d be happy to help talk you through your conversion, if you need help.
We started with two DSLR shoulder rigs and “frankensteined” them together into one rig we really like. This rig is our favorite way to stay portable and handheld, and the rails let you mount a follow focus without trouble. The counterweight in the back helps make long takes easier, and the rig is fully adjustable to fit any shooting style and size.
For DSLR and mirrorless cameras like the T3i and GH4, this is definitely the best way to get your handheld video to look good.
If you like, we can add a standard Manfrotto quick-release so you can easily transition to a tripod, and add some mounting hardware so you can mount your monitor or audio gear.
Plenty of us snap a pic of what we’re about to eat with our smartphones, but taking a well-composed shot that’s worth printing is a very different undertaking. Food photography can be as challenging and rewarding as human subjects. Here are my top six tips to get great-looking food in photos and video.
Color is key. Shoot raw or triple-check your white balance.
1. Start with good, fresh food. This may seem obvious, but you’re not going to get a great shot of a dried-out pizza. Use fresh ingredients, a good chef, and have the tools you need to cook nearby. You want to be able to go from the grill/oven/fryer to the lights in as few steps as possible.
2. Bring at least five times the ingredients you need for a single entree. I suggest starting by making the entree once just as a sample, before you even take out the camera. Get an idea for the color, the shape, the texture. This is your chance to play with light and plating.
3. The background is the context for your work. Is the product fast-casual? Upscale? Infinite white may work great for fast food photography, but it’s usually too dry for fine-dining work. Build a set for your food after you see how the first sample comes out. If the emphasis of the food is on the origins, consider including the ingredients in the background, like wheat behind a fresh-baked loaf of bread, or an orange behind your delicious glass of orange juice. If the emphasis is on the mood and ambiance of the restaurant, try shooting in a table setting. If the emphasis is on the culture of the food, try to connect it to the people or the place it comes from.
4. This is macro, be prepared. You’ll want a close-focusing lens that can be stopped down if necessary. If you’re shooting video, try adding very slight motion. A tabletop dolly and a high framerate will give you extra-smooth motion, especially if someone in your shot is pouring, cutting, or moving the food.
The best part is that you get to eat it when you’re done.
5. Lights matter, and you may need more than you think for high framerates, fast shutters, and control of focus in macro. Three-point lighting usually works for opaque foods, but remember that the heat from tungsten lights can dry out or melt the product. For stills, flash is definitely the way to go. For video, I like to use natural light when possible, but Kino Flo banks and other fluorescent fixtures are a good option, too. Avoid LED lights, they tend to shift colors in odd and unpredictable ways. Big softboxes may have a tendency to flatten out textures, since they are many times bigger than the subject they are lighting. Often, semi-soft or hard key light is the best option for food shots. Pay special attention to reflections and highlights on polished and wet surfaces.
6. Every great photograph tells a story, and food is no exeption. Think of one brief thought you’d like your audience to have when they see this shot. Is the picture making your mouth water? Does it invoke the emotion you’re trying to convey? That’s how you know you’ve got the shot you want.
Thanks to Bleu for the delicious tuna! Now, go find some food, take some shots, and dig in!
Use our 10×16 green/white/black backdrop rental as your studio-in-a-bag. Great for full-body and group shots, for both video and photography. This makes it easy to get the “infinite white” or “infinite black” look with appropriate lighting, and makes for easy keying for video work.
The advantages of fabric backdrops are portability and affordability. If you need a perfectly smooth surface, we suggest using seamless paper instead. We carry a few different colors of 107″ seamless paper for purchase.
Included are two 8′ stands and a 12′ cross brace. We suggest using sandbags for safety. If you have rigging, you can mount this cleanly with mafer clamps with threaded baby pins and wingnuts. Our rate includes one of your choice of backdrop. Add additional colors starting at $5/day.
We prefer to work with Quicksilver courier service in Milwaukee for delivery and pick up needs. They are available 24 hours a day. After you place your order with us, contact them and arrange your delivery and return details. If you prefer to use a different courier, just let us know when you place your order.
If you haven't found what you're looking for, try the search box above, or call (414) 939-3653. We have way too many clamps, cables, and widgets to list everything. And we have new stuff coming all the time, too!