Thursday, January 14, 2010 - Know Canon Your Glass, See What It Can Do.

I could spend all weekend reading about camera equipment, but I always found most of the lens listing sites out there a little lacking in areas, so I spent the past three days putting together this initial version of It's not that complex right now, but believe me, I have plenty planned for future releases.

As it is, you can see Canon's full lens line-up with some basic information about each lens, a link back to its specifications page on Canon's website, a link to Amazon so you can check its current price, and one to a Flickr group pool, where you can see what people are using shooting with each it.

I'll post major site updates to this blog, and welcome any suggestions or comments - please email me, or call and leave me a voice message using the widget on the right side of this page.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Just My Luck" - Lensbaby Video With Plastic Optic on Canon 5D Mark II

(View on Flickr in high res)

I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I have been meaning to spend more time tinkering with my Canon 5D Mark II's video capabilities. When my car wouldn't start in the bitter cold* this morning, I decided to take the opportunity to shoot some clips with my new Lensbaby Composer and plastic optic lens system.

First, if it's not yet obvious, I'm no video-processing guru. In fact, this short clip took exactly three times as long as it should have to put together - about two and a half hours in all. It's the most complex video work I've done with iMovie 09, and I'm just now starting to see why advanced users complain about its lack of features and move to Final Cut Studio. You can probably accomplish most of what you need with iMovie, but you may have to jump through hoops to do it. Luckily, it's very easy and powerful for general purposes.

This was shot with a single camera from three different shots:
1. stationary shot with the camera on the seat
2. dashboard shot of the flashing lights
3. death scene with the sun flares

The stationary shot was the longest, so I detached its audio and used it throughout the whole video. I tinkered with iMovie's precision editor to achieve realistic transitions between the different clips. You can nudge around +/- 0.1 second in either direction, and if you're as neurotic as I am, you end up spending quite a good bit of time nudging.

I must say that I'm now hooked on the Lensbaby Composer. Its optics really give you creative freedom. A significant portion of a normal lens' cost goes into its ability to reduce flare. Sometimes, like in the death scene here, flare is beautiful, and boy can you achieve it with the Lensbaby plastic optic! For the dashboard scene, I wanted to draw attention to the flashing lights, so I bent the lens to keep the lower right corner of the video mostly in focus while blurring the rest to hell.

I imagine I'll be flooding my Flickr stream with a tad too many Lensbaby shots over the next few months...

* I consider 21 degrees Fahrenheit to be bitter cold... your milage may vary...