Dick’s Rant

Smaller Solutions - Part Four The business of supplying constant light for video recording is not just confined to the studio with big panels, soft boxes, or banks of light. It can also be needed out in the field. Two Phottix products currently on the Stirling Street roster would seem to be very elegant answers to the problem. I noted them on the floor and again up in stock in the storeroom. a. The Phottix Nuada P is a 250mm x 100mm soft LED panel on front and a digital control on the back . Colour temperature can be adjusted between 3300º Kelvin and 5600º Kelvin with a power output of 860 Lux. Small and intimate, it would be ideal for vlogging and other close encounters. There is a shoe mount on the bottom as well. Note that the light has been attached to the shop display rack with the Phottix umbrella mount. This is an all-metal bracket that is very good value for money and contains a number of safety features like spring buttons to prevent you dropping the lights at an inadvertent...

The burgeoning business of recording video is starting to make me look at camera stuff again - specifically lighting equipment. My first discovery was that standard room lighting is horrible. My studio has downlights that run on big circular fluorescent tubes with a colour temperature of old liver. They are positioned to make everyone look like zombies. If I ever start filming horror movies, I'm set. The trial reels using the modelling lights on my standard mono-head studio flashes showed them to be too dim, too yellow, and too cumbersome for the game. They are dynamite lights for still photos and the light modifiers are just what I need, but the difference between a flash tube and an incandescent light bulb is far too great. The next stage was to look at odd little LED and ring lights. Let me excuse myself from sounding foolish - these lights were hauled along to a recording session by the dancer who was appearing in the reels. Bought from some eBay seller, they were literally falling to pieces as we tried to set them up. Gaffer...

Or so it would seem from an article in DP Review. A recent posting noted an change in the command structure at the Twitter organisation and a decision to stop allowing pictures of people to be posted without their permission. It raised an understandable cry of concern from a number of quarters; notably street photographers and people who like to post social pictures of big crowds. Further reading seems to make the ruling a little less severe - there can be a lot of posting still going on, but if any complaint is received images may be pulled from the site. I suspect time will tell whether this is going to be a real problem for real people...

Have you bought a fancy bit of photo gear any time in the past five years or so? If not, now is the time. The accountant made me say that. What I really was going to write was about the packaging - and what it tells us about the goods we buy. I was prompted to think about this by a recent trip to the hifi shop to get my old radio fixed. If I was young I'd have gone to Wanderlust in Murray Street and bought something cool and sleek - but I'm not and I just wanted the old razzinator repaired. The hifi shop was not sanguine about it - there is a dearth of both parts and servicemen at present. And the cost of the repair would have been more than replacement of the radio - even at hifi shop prices. I bit the wallet and bought a new radio - same as the old one but with Bluetooth, whatever that is. Then the fun. The salesman had taken it out of the box to show and had to put...

Let me give you some good advice - do not record audio for your video with the microphone on your camera. I know because I tried it and it was horrible. The camera works perfectly, as does the onboard mic, but what it hears, you wouldn't want to listen to. It is firmly attached to everything that hums, clicks, or pops on the camera body and every time fingers run over the body while filming things you get the sound of a dustbin rolling down a cobbled street. Full of cats. That may have been slightly exaggerated...

Some years ago, the pistol grip  was a popular thing. You saw them on a lot of things; umbrellas, stick shifts, and .44 Army Colts amongst other things. They also appeared on photographic ball heads. The idea was that the pistol grip would make it easier to point a camera and lens on the ball head for action shots. You saw advertisements for these grips with long birding  or sports lenses. We sold several varieties - I remember them from Italian and Japanese makers. They may still be made. There is a new head in the Stirling Street  shop that is along these lines - but with a very important improvement. It is all to do with ergonomics. The Vanguard Alta GH-100 hs a lot of the same features as the older rivals; adjustable grip angle, centralised weight over the tripod, quick release plate, etc. But it scores a new point with an improved ergonomic feature - the release mechanism no longer involves opening your hand to open the lock. You can keep a very firm grip on the whole structure while releasing...