DSLR Video Talk at Exposure Roanoke

I was very honored to be invited by Jon Beard, the über-creative and adventurous photographer behind Exposure Roanoke, to speak at their weekly event today. The primary topic: getting into DSLR video as a still photographer. I used my trip to the pacific northwest and the video I created this past December as a framework for discussing various equipment, techniques and thoughts on making videos that highlight your still photography. Today’s format was the casual, somewhat Q&A-driven format that I prefer when speaking with groups and I got a lot of good questions both during the talk and afterward.

I told the group I’d follow up with links to some of the equipment and software I mentioned today, so I’m using this post to fulfill that promise to the best of my memory.

First off, a lot of what I discussed can be found on my perpetually updated equipment and software list found in the Pages menu at the top of this page. Some of my past blog posts from before and during the trip will recap some of what I discussed today as well.

The most time-sensitive item I mentioned is the forthcoming 50-Dollar Follow Focus (note: be sure to watch the video on that page) that is currently being funded on Kickstarter. The funding window closes this Monday (Feb 13th) at 10 AM EST. I’m sure they will be available for purchase afterward, but I don’t know the timeframe for delivery… though I would assume that, unlike some Kickstarter projects, the post-Kickstarter price would remain the same since it’s built into the name. 🙂 I was really pleased that one of the group members, Robert Bryant, had a different rail and follow focus kit with him to demonstrate the concept. I’d invite his links to the one he demo’d as well.

The follow focus kit I recommend does not include the mount and rails, but the designer, Wiley Davis, emailed me yesterday to recommend one from Jag35 that I think I will probably purchase once my 50 Dollar FF arrives in March. I also found this one at Amazon in a similar price range (which, now that I see it again, looks remarkably like the one Robert Bryant was demonstrating today, at least in its larger kit version).

The digital audio recorder I showed today was the Zoom H4n, but I also recommended its less expensive and extremely-capable little brother. I couldn’t remember the model number at the time, but have since remembered that it’s the Zoom H1. A worthy competitor that falls in the middle of these two price-wise is made by Tascam.

For Macintosh users just starting to experiment with video, I highly recommended the iMovie that likely shipped with your system. The latest version is iMovie ’11 in the event that you wish to upgrade from an older release. There is nothing lacking in iMovie for creating a tasteful, HD-quality video based on stills, video or any combination of the two. The upgrade path, should you really fall in love with editing, would be Apple’s new Final Cut Pro X.

For Windows users (and Mac as well), one of the most powerful and affordable packages for starting out (and beyond) is Adobe’s Premiere Elements, the smaller sibling of Final Cut Pro’s main competitor, Adobe Premiere Pro.

One of the competitors to the GoPro Hero camera we discussed today is made by Contour. They demonstrated a WiFi-enabled model at CES recently called the Contour Connect, but I don’t see any major promotion of it on their website just yet.

I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting, so I invite questions and reminders in the comments section and I’ll add updates to this post as needed.

Sadly, the audio quality today in the theater really did a nasty number on the music and ambient audio, so I invite you to watch the video again on your own system if you’re so inclined. A small copy is embedded below and a choice of larger versions can be found on my vimeo page. A quick note: the video (especially the 1080p version) requires a decent bit of bandwidth to play without buffering, so if it stops on you, simply pause it and let it load to completion before resuming.

I really enjoyed meeting everyone today and having a chance to geek out on a topic I really love. I look forward to shooting with many of you during future Exposure Roanoke events!

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