I am just finishing up the grade on some video I shot a few weeks ago in Indiana. This was one of the most interesting locations I have ever been too. This project is still under wraps / being fiddled with so hang tight for a little bit. Check out the creeper dolly move.
I have recently upgraded one of the machines in the studio. After a long and careful debate, I decided to purchase a full-sized Dell workstation. I have no plans of dumping my Apple hardware any time soon, but am becoming more and more open to the thought of having a mixed OS pipeline. With the current state of available software, this may not be as crazy as it sounds.
Back in December, I decided to explore some "non-Mac" options, specifically for video editing, color correction and finishing. Actually, I have always had a pc box around. Most recently I have had a small Dell Dimension that drives various printers and the Graphtec plotter in my office.
There are far too many details about the two manufacturers to discuss in a single post, but in general, the differences between the way the two systems work are very minor. Perhaps the Mac is more user friendly, but this only really matters if you are doing generally consumer tasks, and my use goes well beyond that most of the time.
The idea behind Windows is that it is pretty open to any hardware you want to use. This means that there are a lot of junky $600 laptops running Windows, but it also means that there are A LOT of options when it comes to high-end hardware. Even better, there is a huge amount of used parts floating around online. If you take the time, you can put together a pretty sweet machine for about $1000, which is about what I spent here. (before I started making upgrades).
The last thing holding me in my Mac seat was the expense of re-licensing all of the software that I use, and up until recently, that would have been a very expensive. With the introduction the the Adobe Creative Cloud, that issue has been resolved. Licensing is agnostic, and very affordable, Adobe has also expanded its range to include key pieces of workflow software that was missing from it's line, or missing altogether on the Windows side of the isle.
This particular machine is probably overkill for many users. If you rarely go beyond PS and Lightroom you may be better off picking up an iMac or something of similar spec from Dell or HP. But if your work includes rendering out large, high resolution files, or real time performance is important, it is hard to beat the T7400 in the bang for buck category. If you don't believe me, look up the current price on an 8 core Mac Pro.
The video here is just an overview of the machine that I bought/built.
More to come. - J.H.
I mentioned a while back on the JHP Facebook page that I had purchased a Dell Precision T7400 workstation and have been messing around with Windows 7 a little bit. One of the main reasons why I did this is because I wanted to run DaVinci Resolve, but a Mac that you can stick a decent graphics card in is stupid expensive. The Dell is in it's infancy, but I have been grading a few samples with it. Below is some footage that I shot last spring in Sheboygan, WI. Nothing fantastic, but you can see the power that comes with using a dedicated grading package like Resolve. The first video is a before/after split and the second one is the graded footage. You can see that I over exposed some of the shots, but the end result shows some of that sky detail pulled back.
More to come. -J.H.
I missed out on the official Midwest opening day at Trollhaugen on Saturday, but I did make it out to Going Big in The Bay last weekend in Green Bay. There should be a story on THETEAMLAB.COM shortly, but for my part, here are some pixels.
Mike Altobelli, The Teamlab / RVCA
Jason Contreras The Teamlab / Candy Grind
The Teamlab / Chemish Clothing Co. Tent.
The most people I have ever seen at a Wisconsin skate comp.
Quite a few kids stopped by to check out the booth.
Unknown. Somebody find me a name.
Jason, Max Boileau. The Teamlab
Zach from Chemish Clothing Co. and his lady, Lauren hanging out at the booth.
More to come. -J.H.
TheTeamlab.com crew and myself went up to Green Bay this weekend for the skatepark fundraiser. Tons of people stopped by the booth to check in and pick up some of the new TheTeamlab.com and Joe Horvath Photography stickers.
Zach from Chemishlifestyle.com was there as well. Here is a quick video of a young skater attempting a 5 minute headstand for some Chemish and The Teamlab stickers.
More to come. -J.H.
I wanted to take a minute to share with you guys something that I have been using and working on all spring. I will call it the Dual-Use Skater Dolly.
First, I will say that this is not the least expensive option for a slider/dolly available, especially for a DIY project. I settled on this design for the dolly based on the materials that I had laying around, and at panic about a job that I won with 24 hours notice, that called for bunch of smooth camera moves. I would estimate the total cost for the project to be around $100, not including the head, and assuming you have all of the tools necessary for construction. The rails and end blocks cost about another $50. You may be able to lower the cost a bit by using zinc plated hardware and using stacks of washers instead of spacers.
If you are not the DIY type, there is a guy who will build you something similar to this (without the head) and ship it to you as a kit for less than $100. I can't seem to find the site, but google "cinemover" and you will eventually find it. His design is a bit less robust, but is flexible in a way that mine is not. I will explain this further down the page.
I already had few sets of skate wheels from a previously constructed tripod dolly, enough that I originally build two of these, one for myself and one for a friend. The construction of the wheels and axles is pretty simple, a wheel, a pair of press fit bearings, a 5/16" bolt and a couple of washers and spacers.
The axles each mount to a set of square nickle plated tubes, I used some pre-drilled tubing from an old wire rack, but you could use aluminum tubing and drill the holes yourself if you have the tools. I would highly recommend a drill press for this, as it would be difficult to drill holes precisely enough with a hand drill. Drill pilot holes first or the bit will wander. I had some little plastic end caps that I used to protect fingers and other gear from the sharp metal edges of the tubes. They also help give a finished look to the unit.
The two wheel assemblies are held to the proper spacing with some lengths of threaded rod. In theory, you could adjust the spacing to accommodate different sizes of track (this is what they did with the Cinemover dolly). I chose to lock everything down once I had it adjusted for the track I was using.
For the deck of the unit, I used a sheet of 1/2" PVC. Again, I had it left over from a previous project and I felt like it would help dampen any vibration from the wheels before it reached the camera. PVC is plenty rigid in this thickness and can be easily machined with wood cutting bits and blades.
Two words of caution (actually three). Wear safety glasses when cutting the stuff, it will heat up pretty quickly and is very painful to get in the eye. You are at risk for burns and abrasions from the sharp chips. I would also recommend a respirator, PVC does off-gas. The health risks are debatable, but at the very least it smells bad when you cut it. Lastly, use compressed air to cool the workpiece while you cut if possible, PVC like to reweld and will leave an ugly edge if it heats up to much.
You could use acrylic, or any number of other plastics if you can't get PVC. In fact, I would recommend either HDPE (cut up a plastic cutting board) or nylon (order on line) both are a bit more "waxy" than PCV and probably easier to work with.
I cut a suitable piece and drilled and inserted a variety of helicoids for 3/8"-16, 1/4"-20, and #10-24 as well as pass-throughs for those sizes. I know I went a bit overboard on the mounting points, but it adds a bit of flexibility to the unit. I added the helicoids so I could attach an articulating arm directly to the base to hold a monitor or other accessory. All you really need is a single 3/8" or 1/4" hole in the center to mount the head of your choice.
Speaking of heads, I am using a Manfrotto 502HD head on mine. It is probably a bit of overkill, but it is very solid and allows for smooth pan and tilt moves along with the standard dolly movements.
I also built a set of custom track blocks to mount my track (1" tubing) to a set of tripods to allow for use on uneven ground. Although I primarily use this dolly with the track, one of the great features is that you can remove the vertical guide wheels and use the dolly for tabletop moves, it is limited to linear moves, but still very useful.
I used the dolly to shoot the Spring Sale TVC for Outdoor Outlet last month and I am very pleased with how smooth it tracks. I am planning to change a few more things on it to make it more user friendly, after I finish it I will post some more detailed pictures.
More to come. -J.H.
As I mentioned last week, I am in the process of building up an HDSLR rig based around a Nikon D300s (and eventually a D7000). Back in the day, I had a pretty sweet (at the time) Prosumer HD rig with a DOF adapter, matte box and filter setup, remote monitor, etc. It truly was a frankenrig, pieced together with bits of used 35mm gear and hardware store hacks, the thing was a pain to shoot with, but I remember being so happy with it at the time.
Remember, this was before the "HDSLR Revolution" so pretty much the only companies who were selling "affordable" stuff were Letus, Redrock Micro, and Zacuto. Jag35 was offering DIY plans for cheapo DOF adapters, and there were really no components being imported from overseas yet. I think the most affordable (probably only) HD monitor you could get was made by Marshal Electronics. The only viewfinder loop was made by Hoodman.
It is certainly a different world we live in today, people whine about 'overpriced' monitors at just a few hundred dollars, there are several dozen companies making affordable parts for these great little cameras, and several times that number of clones being imported on the cheap.
What you see here is a sort of first iteration of a rig that I am working on. Nothing too extreme yet, but there are a few things worth talking about.
First, I am a Nikon shooter, which means that until recently the motion capabilities in the cameras available to use. The newer entry level dSLRs have better manual controls, and the newly announced Nikon D4 is supposed to catch up on some of the features that Canon cameras have had for a few years now. As it stands, I have a D300s so there are the same limitations that you would have when working with a consumer camera. Come on Nikon, give us a firmware update for manual aperture and shutter control.
Second, the rig pictured here is one of a few different configurations that I have been testing that are made by Gini Rigs. This particular one is a cage that I think may be a prototype of some sort, it is huge. I'm not really a fan of how much extra space there is around the camera body, but this rig has been a great platform to test some of the stuff that I have been working on. One thing that is nice, is that the uprights are far enough out to protect the connectors and ports on the camera body from damage.
I may decide to get rid of this cage once one of the newer compact models arrives and I can test it out, but for the time being it is a convenient base to test other gear.
There are quite a few features that I do like about this cage. I am a fan of the 15mm rods used as uprights, they are on 60mm centers, so any existing lightweight standard gear that you have have will work perfectly with them.
The top and bottom plates are nicely machined and finished black anodized aluminum. There are a ton of mounting holes taped in alternating #10-24 and 1/4-20 threads. There are large slots machined in the top and bottom, presumably to save weight, but I kind of wish they were solid for more mounting options.
Gini doesn't have standard configurations per say, the same rigs are sold with different handles, clamps, knobs, etc. Gini seems to always have products in beta, and certainly doesn't seem shy about making silent upgrades whenever possible.
Everything in these photos except for the EVF and arm came in the same package. Once the rest of my gear arrives I will build this into something a little more practical.
So I guess I got into a little more detail than necessary about the rig, I could go on even further but I will save that for a future post. The real subject of this post was supposed to to be the EVF.
You can look back at the pictures to see what the thing looks like from different angles. This is something I have wanted to build since like 2008. At the time there wasn't really anything like that available, now there are several options, but I still wanted to build something my self.
The unit is based on a 3.5" tft screen with a composite input. Anything commercially available uses HDMI but only a few of the very high end ones actually display a resolution high enough to make use of a 720p signal. The screen that I am using is fairly low resolution, and is only really suitable for framing, this is not as limiting as you would think.
A standard VF loupe is attached to the screen and the whole unit is mounted to a monitor arm via a little brass insert on the back of the unit. The monitor is powered by 12v DC, I have yet to build a 12v system for the rig, so I currently have it powered by an AC adapter. Hopefully this week I will be able to solder up some proper power and signal cables for the thing to tidy up the look a bit.
This is very much still a work in progress and I hope to post some updates about this little project as I make more changes and get things buttoned up.
More to come. -J.H.