video tech

New firmware fixes D600 HDMI output. (Also, updates for almost all of Nikon’s current other DSLRs)

Yesterday, Nikon released new firmware for almost all of its current DSLR line-up, namely for the D4, D800, D600, D3, D3s, D3x, D7000 and D3200. Most of these updates only add full compatibility to the exotic new 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens – a lens very few people will ever see or use.

D600Bits

The highlight, for me, is the fact that Nikon has now finally addressed the uncompressed HDMI bug that frustrated D600 videographers. This issue used to be a reason for DSLR videographers to get the more expensive D800, and seemed like a lame up-selling scam on Nikon’s part. No more, it seems!

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Freeky Roger Ballen inspires “Die Antwoord”

Being a South African myself, I am proud of the waves Die Antwoord is making – there are few (if any) other South African bands that are on the bleeding edge like this duo is.

In the video “I Fink U Freeky” for their new album Ten$ion, Die Antwoord worked together with famed US / South African  photographer Roger Ballen to create something exotic. Love it or or hate it, you just have to admire the way the result captures Ballen’s photographic style and transforms it into a powerful audiovisual tour de force. (warning: NSFW / video contains mature content)

Examples of Roger Ballen's iconic work

Music videos inspired by photographs and paintings are of course no new thing. Examples include Live – Turn My Head (inspired by John Register paintings) and more infamously, Rihanna’s S&M video that effectively plagiarized the work by photographer David LaChapelle.

In this case it is great to see an established pro photographer (a veteran with 50 years’ experience) collaboratively creating something beautifully Freeky on youtube.

Moby gets (partially) electrocuted

Seems like Moby’s electric problems go the other way too. In 2008 I blogged about how his laser show fried my camera’s sensor (video), and now the tables turned when he was partially electrocuted at a performance in Amsterdam!

However I’m baffled by how (what looks like) a 12V DC light fixture could have caused him any harm. Methinks this a publicity stunt. But maybe Moby is a robot after all…

Youch… What would Eminem say about this?

The world's first μ4/3 professional video camera

On Sunday, Panasonic announced that they’ll be making the world’s first professional micro four thirds video camera.

The Panasonic AG-AF100 professional video camera, due for release end 2010

The AG-AF100 will be able to use any of the existing lenses available to the μ4/3 system, but of course it is especially well suited to Panasonic’s silent designed-for-video Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm lens, which was announced along with their GH1 camera.

Up to now the world of large-sensor video cameras, inhabited by exclusive cameras like the Red One, has been staggeringly expensive. A body would set you back something in the order of $17,000, and then you still need to add lenses which can easily go for $4000 a pop. Micro 4/3 system lenses are much, much cheaper than this, and most of them are razor sharp, easily providing enough detail for a resolution-hungry 12 megapixel sensor, let alone lowly 2-megapixel HD. Large-aperture primes like the 20mm f/1.7 pancake should also provide sufficiently shallow depth of field for some creative possibilities.

Professional large-sensor video cameras like the Red One were traditionally unaffordable. Is this about to change?

I’m not really into videophotography, but the point I want to make here is that all signs point to a ever growing overlap between mid-rage digital photography and mid-range professional videophotography. The shallow depth-of-field and excellent low-light ability offered by large sensor cameras was always unaffordably expensive to the video community, whereas photo cameras just couldn’t deliver the sustained resolution of HD video at proper video frame rates. With microprocessors getting faster and memory cards getting cheaper, these two limitations are now all but history.

To show you how far digital still camera technology has intruded into the realm of video, you need only to look at the news. Today I read that the season finale of the popular US TV series “House” was filmed entirely on a Canon 5D MkII DSLR, thereby giving the producers the ability to get some beautifully shallow depth of field.

If it indeed proves popular in the video community, the AG-AF100 will provide yet another boost to μ4/3 system, inspiring more lenses and wider use. Folks, Panasonic might just have a winner!

An exquisite tribute to film and architecture

A friend of mine recently directed me to the beautiful tribute to architecture and its (video)photographic representation, “The Third and The Seventh” by “Alex Roman” on Vimeo.

Below is an edited shortened version on youtube (I still recommend the full 13 minute version linked to above)

If you want to read an interview with the creator of this amazing piece of art you can follow this link.