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Video | PIXscotland | Page 2

CategoryVideo

Tutorial and event videos.

Barnes and Noble, Nook Simple Touch. Initial review.

I recently bought the Nook Simple Touch made by Barnes and Noble as a simple and cheap alternative e-book reader. I currently have an iPad2 which works just fine but it sometimes seems just a little big and heavy.

I commute most days by bus and find the Nook to be a great little reader. The PDF support on it is, well sketchy though. It’s fine for reading documents but anything that has a layout of fonts and images tends to get a little messed up. This detracts from it’s use, however I find it very useful for loading camera equipment manuals and e-books onto. Reading Kindle books (more later!) and EPUB format books is perfect though.

The design of the Nook is great. A simple e-ink screen with a good contrast ratio from the light grey background and the near black text makes reading in anything above average light good. If it gets too dark though the screen does struggle a little as the basic Nook Simple Touch doesn’t have a backlight. Of course this is also an advantage as the reader only needs charged once a month.

I decided to play around with the Nook a little and load some unofficial firmware onto it. The device now supports the basic functions of  the Android Operating System (2.1 I believe) which allows be to install Dropbox.com, Amazon’s Kindle Reader and other “near essential” tools. This is a great improvement. I keep lots of documents in Dropbox and have plenty books on the Kindle platform so these two make the entire machine worth the small £29.99 I paid for the device at Sainsbury’s.

I made a simple unboxing video of this Nook which I’ve posted below. Hopefully you will find this useful if you are considering buying such a device.

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Making a Facebook cover image in Photoshop.

This is a quick video and template to help you make a Facebook cover image in Photoshop.

The template will easily help you align and crop your image as required by Facebook.

 

Download the template here.

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DIY Video Slider project. Part One.

This is part one of my DIY Video Slider project.

The key features and needs for this slider are as follows:

  • To allow the camera to me moved cleanly and easily along a linear path.
  • Travel distance to be around 0.8m for the first design but to be easily adaptable to longer or shorter lengths as required.
  • Easy design with minimal parts.
  • Simple or zero set-up.
  • Low cost.
  • Easy to reproduce with minimal machine tools required.
  • Easy to obtain parts.

The slider will consist of two parallel rails held together by end-pieces. Everything will be made from aluminium which will be held together using standard steel bolts.

Each end-piece consists of a block of 6060 Aluminium approximately 25mm x 19mm x 100mm in size. These blocks have two 16mm holes drilled into them with 60mm centre-centre measurement.

The two end-pieces may be mounted onto similar end-pieces to increase the overall height and to allow add-ons such as motors, pulleys, controllers, legs and more.

The slider trolley will consist of a set of SBR-16UU linear-bearings. The design may use 2 or 4 of these depending on the required weight handling and smoothness required.

 

Raw Materials:

That’s it for part one as I’m still waiting for some key components to arrive.

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Shooting video on a DSLR

I recently bought another small camera for some video work.

Recently I have been working as First AC (crossing over to Second Director of Photography) for a small Indy film being shot here in Scotland.  The shooting has been taking place in various locations around Dundee, with the main shots all taking place in houses or offices. There’s been little outdoor work so the challenges have been in controlling the lighting to ensure the scenes look pretty, realistic and functional for shooting.

The main cameras used for this movie are Canon DSLR’s. There’s a Canon 5DII and a couple of 600D‘s around pretty much all of the time and it’s been interesting to compare them. For actual use I prefer the Canon 5DII as has a cleaner interface and produced slightly better video, however it’s not all that clear if it is “worth the difference.” Financially there’s quite a bit between the two cameras as you can buy four 600D’s for the price of one 5DII. A better choice would be to buy two 600D’s and a nice L lens for one of them. That’s what’s been going on here.

We’ve mainly been shooting with multiple angles for each scene. If two people are facing each other chatting we’d have three cameras going; two in close-up (CU) and one a bit wider a Medium Close Up (MCU). Given the fact we’ve been shooting different cameras and different lenses it’s been quite interesting to compare the results and, more importantly for me, to learn how to choose the right set-up for each shot.

The experimentation and learning time I’ve had with this movie has made up my mind. I’m quite happy to say I bought the 600D. It’s a very capable camera given the right lighting. Yes, that does mean the video quality falls off a bit when the light drops and that the camera just can’t be pushed as far as the 5DII, but the 600D holds its own well enough. It’s also pretty capable of normal stills shooting, but the interface is a bit complicated and not suitable for anything fast moving. Maybe my opinion will change in time, but I think not. The Canon 600D is a consumer grade device and as such it just doesn’t handle all that well when under pressure. I’m loving the ability to use Magic Lantern on this thing though. Breaking out of Canon’s menus and adding new features is certainly interesting and does offer assistance when shooting. I’m currently checking out the HDR video function with proves promising, given the right situation.

I for one am seriously enjoying this shooting movies on a DSLR. There’s a big learning curve, but I’m well up for that.

More information and sample video from the 600D will follow. Once I get clearance I’ll post some video from the Indy-Movie and link to the trailers.

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Rallycross revisits Knockhill.


I was invited up to Knockhill Racing circuit this weekend to take shoot some images for a rallycross team. The weather was quite interesting that day, due to the heavy rain in the morning and the nearly-sunshine in the afternoon. I got there early and shot some images for the team and their promoters while under cover from the rain. The images came out fine and everybody is happy with the results, which is the most important point.
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