Cocktail Series – All Mixed Up – Brad Gubbins, SpiritHouse

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Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Cocktail Series – All Mixed Up – Oliver Stern, TTS

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“All Mixed Up”

Music: Kevin MacLeod

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Food Truck Eats – Peller Estates Winery – Timelapse

May 20/21, 2012 – Peller Estates Winery

Officially the largest food truck gathering in Canada was on a beautiful, sunny day at Peller Estates Winery. 16 food trucks were in attendence. The event was sold out and 6000 people attended over the 2 days.

For more info on Food Trucks:

Video/Technical thoughts: All manual mode definitely improves on the image quality. I’m wondering if the minor movement is helpful if there is any editing in the future (ie only use the x-axis movement for more dramatic movement).

Music by

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Street Food Block Party – Timelapse

May 5, 2012 – #SFBP – The Street Food Block Party, a joint event by the Toronto Underground Market (TUM, ) and Food Truck Eats (FTE). Over 3000 tickets were sold in a matter of hours and was held at the Evergreen Brick Works.

I made my own rail system w/ linear bearings and hardware and connected it to the Dynamic Perception MX2 Dolly engine and motor.

Mounted here is a Manfrotto 029 pan & tilt head with the D200+battery grip:

The rails are 3/4″ cold-rolled steel and come in lengths of up to 12′ (I cut in 2 for 6′ pairs)

The rails were mounted to light stands which are not that steady. Also, I need to machine bigger end blocks so that I can tension the block to the light stand head with a fastener (it’s currently too thin).

One key to this whole thing: run everything on manual – manual exposure, fixed white balance. It will reduce the flicker (which happens during the first part of the clip). There is a lot of tips I’ll need to apply that I learned from:

I’m currently working on a turning/2nd axis for this rig. I was playing around with the settings as I didn’t get a chance to really test it out before the event. Generally made exposures every 2-5 seconds. Ended up with ~6300 raw files from my Nikon D200. Need to get an exterior battery pack to get more life out of the rig (even with 2 en-el3e batteries in the battery grip, it last only a few hours)

Dynamic Perception:

For more details on TUM+FTE:
Ontario Food Trucks
Toronto Underground Market

Music: “Il Nascondiglio” by Digi G’Alessio (

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Cocktail Series – Sarah Parniak, Cold Tea Bar

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“All Mixed Up”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Cocktail Series – Robin Kaufman, Toronto Temperance Society

For the full story, check out website

Music: Kevin MacLeod

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Cocktail Series – Benjamin Deacon, Acadia Restaurant

After posting the random video of having drinks at Acadia, Gizelle introduced me to the online associate editor for Toronto Life. He asked if I would be interested in doing a cocktail series and naturally, I thought of filming Ben Deacon to start.

Used the 7d in a shoulder rig configuration, with my trusty Cinevate Durus follow focus. Used Canon 28mm and Nikon 50mm primes. Audio from G2 into the H4n.

Still learning some ins and outs of Avid Media Composer, it’s a completely different “logic” versus Final Cut Pro 7.

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The gear post.

In talking with Daniel Klein (Vimeo, web) of the Perennial Plate (@perennialplate on twitter) about recording audio with dSLRs, I resolved that I would write a post about the gear setup I’m currently using. I’ve been shooting a lot of events lately, which probably influences what gear I have. This is definitely not an exhaustive list (nor extensively detailed), but more of a conversation starter to the greater picture of work flow and video image & audio paths. I’ve definitely taken cues from Stillmotion, the internationally acclaimed cinema+photography team, based out of Toronto & SF. Here’s their gear post: stuff (Patrick uses a Red Epic now, but the post is definitely still relevant for most of us.. red epic:dream camera). Another definite influence is Bjørn Rørslett, a Norwegian nature photographer, with a massive lense review section: site

My setup, as of September 2012:

Camera: Nikon D800

A recent addition, it brings full-frame HD video to the arsenal. As well as an increase to 20+ minutes recording time (the 7d firmware update was supposed to bring the recording time to 29:59, but it hasn’t worked). It’s also a stills backup for the D700. Shot a wedding recently and having the 14-24mm f/2.8 mounted on the D800 gets some pretty dramatic views.

Camera: Canon 7d
I’ve been shooting with Nikon SLRs since my dad’s F2. When we went to Churchill, Manitoba in the fall 2009 to see polar bears in the wild, I wanted to shoot some dSLR video. At the time, Nikon had no full HD options and the 5d MKII had already begun changing the world. If I had known that I would be seriously into video, I probably would have picked the Mark II (for the full frame vs 1.6x crop with the 7d). With the release of the 7d, it gave dedicated recording controls, the 24p that I was looking for and pretty good high ISO results. There are quite a few options now and even the T3i line will get you solid results. Nikon is still playing catch-up, but at least the d7000 has 1080/24p now.

Occasional/Backup Camera: Panasonic AF100
I’m on the lookout for another camera for multiple angles & backup. The Canon 1Dx looks tempting but a bit pricey for me. I’ve been borrowing the AF100 from my friend Eugene (@yougenius73). It’s definitely a video camera with similar imagery to dSLRs. With XLR ins built in and a ton of functionality such has focus & zebra indicators, this is definitely more convenient and all-in one package vs dSLRs. It has dual SD card slots. It can record very long clips vs the 7d limitation of 12 minutes. One major downside is it’s 2x crop factor. May not work for some who already have lenses, but there’s single digit mm range zooms (eg 7-14mm f/4) out now for micro 4/3 systems. Also has a max of iso 3200.

Nikon Lens to Canon Mount Adapter Rings
Because I have a reasonable amount of Nikon F-mount primes, I use cheapo F-mount to Canon EF rings like these: ebay. With the G Lenses (mainly zooms for me), you can’t manually control the aperture so I’ve been using the version 2.0 of this adapter: (current versions now made in collaboration with Novoflex) 16:9 Nikon G Adapter

Before the dSLR craze, I picked up a lot of manual Nikon primes from eBay and other outlets quite inexpensively. I’ll list the most commonly used lenses first as well as zooms.

Nikon AF-S 14-24mm ED
Many consider this to be the finest wide angle zoom lens ever made. Many Canon still shooters will even sacrifice auto-focus with adapters to use it. My current favorite on the shoulder rig and steadicam for most shots. The only downside for some (mainly still shooters, aside from the speed) is the lack of ability to use screw on or drop in filters. By adding a matte box, there is a fairly easy work around.

Canon EF 28mm f/1.8
This lense is my generic go-to lense on the 7d. When I don’t have a rig with me, the 28mm is usually mounted, especially for stills. I usually use this for “medium close up”/upper half body framing. Thanks to S. Hung for the long-term borrow!

Nikon 50mm (multiple)
I have a variety of 50mm lenses such as the AFS f/1.4, as well as manual gems like the f/2 AIS and pancake f/1.8. These are very compact lenses and have really solid imaging with good speed.

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 Ver 1
One of my favorite lenses to use while shooting shoulder-up shots.  Some are critical of it’s vignetting while on FX, but on the 7d, no-problemo.

Nikon 105mm f/2.5 AIS
When I don’t have a tripod or want to go fairly mobile, it’s my telephoto lense of choice.

Cinevate Durus Follow Focus
Cinevate is a cinema design company based out of Thunder Bay, Ontario and make a lot of well thought out and “tank” like gear. Their follow focus is CNC machined (on of my side hobbies) out of aluminum and has no cheap plastic parts (especially in the gear box like some other companies). It has virtually no backlash and pairs with either 15mm or 19mm rail systems using a single clamp to mount. I bought it as the “Spartan” package, which comes with 15mm rails+blocks.

CA Vision shoulder rig RSA1580D-SPE
Another borrowed item from Eugene, this is a great tool when you have don’t have the luxury of tripods and want the documentary/field look. I’ve used this at many events and it can look really smooth in terms of motion. With my recent purchase of the Durus Follow focus, I’m going to be moving away from the CA Vision and I’m only a shoulder mount away from having an interchangeable and quick release system to go from a shoulder rig to Steadicam, which would be ideal in fast changing events. My only complaint is that the tightening isn’t always perfect and can get a little loose.

Steadicam Pilot
Tiffen/Steadicam’s entry level vest/arm/sled offering is one of the most versatile tools in the kit, especially for solo shooters like me. Paired with a wide angle like the Nikon 14-24mm, you can create pretty dramatic pans and get a very movie like feel and very stable shots. Just a note that this can only support rigs that are 2-10lbs on top of the sled. If you upgrade to a slightly higher model, you can support a bigger system, but some note the quality of the vest improves vastly, something important on long shoots.

Other Support
Tripod Legs:
Manfrotto 055
Carbon Monopod

Marshall M-LCD7-HDI

Beachtek DXA-SLR
BeachTek Audio
If you have a dSLR and shoot video, you’re probably aware of the “ugly” auto-gain function (AGC) of the 5d, 7d and others. Because there isn’t any manual gain control, the AGC basically cranks up the gain with low input levels (along with some ugly baseline noise) and lowers the gain during loud passages. The DXA-SLR was created to “trick” the camera via a 20khz constant tone. This works most of the time, although the level indicators are quite coarse (I’m used to dB level readings of some sort). The major weakness of this audio chain is that the 7d files have compression on the audio. This is where the Zoom steps in. Btw, it uses a 9V battery which lasts long enough for most projects/events.

Zoom H4N
Will write a bit more later, but my dedicated audio recording device. Only shortcoming is the battery life, although it sounds like many units like this are similar. Will probably make a dedicated battery pack for it.

Power Considerations
As you can see, the rig starts getting unwieldy with all these accessories and various batteries that are needed. I’ve made a box with a variable DC in, with varying outputs, such as 12V, 5V, 7.3V (adjustable to power the 7d)

Sennheiser G2 EW100

Wish List (really too long to list):
Nikon 24mm f/1.4 – have rented, absolute must in ultra low light.
Cinevate Cyclops or Zacuto Z-finder
f/1.2 and f/1.4 primes or the new cinema lenses from Canon (Nikon, where art thou?)
Matte Box
Battery system similar to Anton Bauer

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Benjamin Deacon: Acadia Restaurant

After some Friday Night Volleyball League playoffs and a quick bite, we headed over to Acadia (@AcadiaToronto) for some drinks.

Vanessa (@tongueandcheek) and I asked Ben (@benjamin_deacon) for some “plays” on bourbon. Gizelle (@TorontoEats) ordered the “Cabrera”.

Basic grading in Avid MC 5.5 and some noise reduction. Iso 3200/4000 with the Canon 28mm f/1.8.

Forgot my cable to hook up to the Beachtek, so just 7d auto-gain audio.

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Introducing: The Cream Brewery

Took a jaunt down to Dufferin Mall to check out The Cream Brewery: a liquid nitrogen ice cream kiosk.

Check out the full Toronto Life story here:Introducing: The Cream Brewery

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