Video Tag

Carlos and Sam at the Stirling Street Store are real life savers. When I'm casting about for a topic to include in the week's reports here on the weblog column, they always have something new - or newish - to show me. This time it was Carlos and a new little accessory from Manfrotto. Note: I am a fan of Manfrotto, as my studio will show. Nearly everything that has to stand up or hang down does so on something from either Manfrotto or Bunnings ( and if Camera Electronic did sheets of MDF board and sausages in a bun I could cut out Bunnings...

That's a good dog. Now just let me attach this harness to you and then we'll all have fun. You have to admire dogs for their love and their patience with their humans. They are far more tolerant of us than we of them. But you've also got to admit that they let themselves be put into the most embarrassing and difficult positions. Take the ones that haul milk carts in Belgium and the Netherlands. Or the malamutes and huskies that draw sleds in the Yukon and Alaska. Or the poor devils that were harnessed to machine gun carriages in WW1. Great job that - a dish of Alpo and a maxim bullet...

I wrote a piece a little while ago about the action camera mounts that are intended to strap onto your dog - turning Fido into at best an unwitting cinematographer and at worst just an Alpo-fed dolly. Today's product is also a mount, but this time you have to be the person to do your own dirty work. Actually, in cinematic terms it won't be dirty at all - because this clever gimbal unit will make sure that the footage you get is a lot steadier than you can do unaided. The Feiyutech WG2X has the ability to render your images steady and correctly orientated in several planes - just like other gimbal units - but this one does it on such a small scale that it is actually wearable. Illustrations show it mounted on a motorcyclist's helmet and also on handlebars of various types. the literature mentions a chest mount as well. Of course the mount is configured for the most popular of action cameras. Light enough on the head? The mount is only 238 g so if you can hold up...

I wonder if the lawyers for the Hasbro Toy company are on to this one? I thought I had seen that word before but I couldn't put my finger on it. Google turned up the answer - the Weebles were a tipping toy produced by Hasbro in the 70's for Playskool. They could be tipped over but rocked back upright as soon as you let go. Did this influence the designers of the Zhiyun Weebill Lab? It's a video stabilising rig that could conceivably be said to right itself as well. It also can be programmed to do a number of actions with a DSLR or mirror-less camera attached to it. Another suggestion that avoids the suits is that it is named after a small bird - and this is related to the fact that the same company makes a larger gimbal rig that is called a Crane. That's a nicer idea. In any case it is a device for dedicated video shooters who want steadiness in shaky situations, the ability to pan and tilt to order, and the sort of ergonomics that...

Have I got this right? Can I fit any lens to the Fujifilm X-H1 and whirl it around on the end of the strap and still get pin-sharp pictures of the moon? Is that how the system works? Well, I shall find out, though I cannot wait until the next full moon - I'm going to experiment with the thing in broad daylight. The idea of a stabilisation system in a lens is no new thing - that's been on DSLR lenses as well as the mirror-less lenses for some years now. And it works - lots of times marginal shots have been saved by the lens being steadier than the photographer. And some makers have gone step further - putting stabilisation systems unto the bodies of their cameras so that any lens attached gets the benefit of the increased steadiness. Some have systems that combine the efforts of both lens and body to increase the effect. All these are to be applauded - particularly if you need to take steady pictures while you are clapping. The Fujifilm system up until the X-H1...

What do you do when you run out of arm? When you cannot hold a camera high enough - or low enough - or far enough outside a railway carriage - to get the shot you need? Why you hire an assistant who is built like a giraffe or a toad - and is disposable enough that when the railway train goes through an unexpected tunnel you need not worry. Or you get yourself a Zhiyun Crane 2 - the gimbal arm that adds extra function to itself. The gimbal as a means of stabilising a video or still shot was covered in one of the previous posts. It's principle is simple - it is slippery enough in several planes and can be programmed to keep you camera pointed where you specify even if you do not have your eye on the viewfinder or your hands on the body. It can smooth out the jerks and swoops that you make as you film a scene. It is the small version of the big apparatus that Hollywood uses to stabilise cinema cameras (...

We were always expected to maintain a stiff upper lip in school - even when the various pedants set above us had descended to throwing chalkboard erasers and hitting us with sticks. It was meant to show character. I was fortunate in that I had none - and therefore the scornful commands had no effect. As far as stiff upper anything in photography, the closest we come to it is a large tripod anchored in concrete. Useful, but limited when you want to take it down to the beach or out to a race track. The Chinese firm Zhiyun have a couple of alternative suggestions - one of which is seen in today's column: the Crane Plus. If you are going to use your camera for video work you are probably going to have to take it elsewhere and move with it as you shoot. The possibility of shaky images and jumpy screen shots increases  as you get more imaginative and faster moving. Here's the answer for the DSLR or mirror-less user - the Crane Plus. You charge the batteries, load them in...