Duclos Lenses 1:1 Demo Sessions

We all know that cinema lenses don’t come cheap. Duclos Lenses in Los Angeles, CA has begun offering free 1:1 demo sessions where you can test out lenses in a no-pressure environment. Throughout the year, Duclos Lenses will have “featured” lenses that will only be available to test for a limited amount of time.  Time … Continued

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Manfrotto’s New “Pro Rugged” Memory Cards Aim to Be the Strongest on the Market

Manfrotto’s “Pro Rugged” memory cards can withstand quite a beating from impacts, water submersion, and the harshest of elements.

When you think of Manfrotto, tripods and other camera support and stabilization gear might be the first things that come to mind. However, the Italian company has announced a new line of memory cards that are stronger than any out on the market right now.

The Pro Rugged line features SD, microSD, and CF cards that are reportedly three times stronger than regular SD cards. They feature a solid molded plastic design that allows them to withstand over 44 lbs. of impact, -25°C to 85°C temperatures, and water submersion for up to 72 hours (at least for the SD and microSD cards).

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MUAHS 2020 Awards Winners

The Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild held its seventh annual MUAHS Awards Saturday night at the NOVO by Microsoft at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. The guild, IATSE Local 706, handed out honors in 23 categories for the year’s best in film, TV, commercials and live theater. Bombshell, Joker, and Downton Abbey were […]

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Animating Photos with mPuppet and Motion

Last Fall the good folks at motionvfx.com released mPuppet, a mesh warp plugin for Final Cut Pro X and Motion. At that time I was on the road in Brooklyn and I did a fun and rather silly demo (which you can see here). I wanted to do a follow-up, both to show a more serious application of this very useful tool and to explain the additional things you can do when using mPuppet in Motion instead of Final Cut Pro X: specifically, access to keyframe interpolation and the ability to work in 3D space.

On Facebook I discovered that George Edmondson was using mPuppet in Motion for a documentary project about the state of Alabama, where he lives. So we did a Skype chat which I recorded where he described his process in detail. Due to the low quality of the Skype video capture, I replaced all the video with my own local screen captures so you can really see what George is describing.

Separating photos into layers, cloning in missing pixels, and animating those layers in 3D space is not a new technique, but Motion makes it very easy and mPuppet, when used sparingly, can really bring photos to life in a very engaging way. I am working on a follow-up more detailed tutorial that explains exactly how you can apply this technique for your own work using an image editing application like Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or Pixelmator in combination with Motion and mPuppet. Let me know what you think of George’s application of this technique – it’s a stylistic choice that, if the YouTube comments are any indication, isn’t for everyone! Although I think in small doses with very subtle movements it can be a very effective way of adding more visual interest to photos, particularly historical photos where no film or video was available.

Sony Ci now creates web-viewable proxies for Sony RAW & X-OCN files

Sony’s Ci software now automatically creates web-viewable proxies for Sony RAW and X-OCN files so users can safely upload and store source footage and have them readily available for preview instantly. For years, Ci has supported the upload of RAW file formats but the biggest difference is you can now create web-previewable proxies so you … Continued

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Sony Wireless Shooting Grip for Vloggers

Sony has announced a new Sony Wireless Shooting Grip for vloggers, filmmakers and photographers, called the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip. The grip is compatible with a variety of Sony’s latest digital cameras and it connects via Bluetooth. This allows users to shoot without having cables sticking out everywhere. The compatible Sony cameras that the grip works … Continued

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How to Set Goals That Will Improve Your Photography in 2020

How to Set Goals That Will Improve Your Photography in 2020

Setting goals is a great idea with anything you want to improve at. However, setting the wrong sort of goals can impact your chances of attaining them. Here is a guide to setting goals that will definitely improve your work.

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Is Fuji About to Release the X-T4 and Two Other New Cameras?

Is Fuji About to Release the X-T4 and Two Other New Cameras?

It appears that Fuji may have a busy couple of months coming up, with rumors that the X-T4, X100V, and X-T200 may be announced as soon as February 4. Is Fuji beginning to match Sony’s aggressive release schedule? Will we see some major changes to the successor of the incredibly popular X-T3?

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DJI Brings Back the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 One Year After Discontinuing It

Nearly a year after announcing that “a shortage of parts” meant it would no longer be able to produce its iconic Phantom drones, DJI has brought the lineup back from the dead and is once again selling the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0.

Though the drone was restocked on January 7th, news of its return was somewhat buried under a flurry of CES coverage. But that’s not to say this isn’t a big deal.

Ever since DJI announced the supposed end of the Phantom series in early 2019, users felt there was a gap in the DJI lineup between the consumer-grade Mavic series and the professional-grade Inspire series. And while the return of the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 means you now have two options with essentially identical specs—the Mavic 2 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro go blow-for-blow in almost every category—you can choose the form factor you like best.

In a statement to DPReview about the relaunch, a DJI spokesperson reiterated the fact that the Phantom was only ever discontinued because of a “shortage of parts” from a supplier, and apologized for the long wait.

“DJI sets high standards for the extremely advanced components in our products, which require advanced lead time and technical precision to manufacture,” reads the statement. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers, and we thank them for their patience as we ensure the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 will continue to meet their high expectations.”

The real question now is: does that mean there will be a Phantom 5?

(via DPReview via DIY Photography)

A Bit of Music Theory for Filmmakers

A Bit of Music Theory for Filmmakers

Do you love movie soundtracks? Do you know why you like the soundtracks that you do? Do you ever struggle to add music to your films that has meaning to the themes and stories of the production?

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Apple May Soon Release a ‘Pro Mode’ that Would Speed Up Your Laptop

According to some code uncovered in Apple’s latest Catalina beta, the company may soon debut something called Pro Mode: a setting that could boost the performance of your MacBook Pro, assuming you’re okay with less battery life and more noise.

The potential feature was spotted by the folks over at 9to5Mac, who found references to a Pro Mode in the source code of macOS Catalina 10.15.3 beta build.

The found code describes a feature that users could turn on and off, and includes the phrase “apps may run faster, but battery life may decrease and fan noise may increase.” It seems to be a pretty straightforward “fan speed limit override” (not uncommon among PCs) which you could switch on for a cooling boost when you need extra processing power. You could then manually turn it OFF or, according to the found code, the feature will turn off by itself in 24 hours just like Do Not Disturb.

Importantly, 9to5Mac says that this feature seems to be limited to laptops, and may only work with the new 16-inch MBP with its bigger fans/better cooling system.

But if you’re not interested in the 16-inch model, there’s still reason to hold out hope. 9to5Mac also points out that Apple has registered a new model of MacBook with the Eurasian Economic Commission, giving us hope that a better-cooled, better-keyboard, bigger-battery 13-inch (or 14-inch?) MacBook Pro may already be in the works.

(via Engadget)


Image credits: Header photo by DL Cade

Is It Time to Ditch Dials and Buttons and Replace Them With a Huge LCD Screen?

Is It Time to Ditch Dials and Buttons and Replace Them With a Huge LCD Screen?

It’s been reported that Canon has just registered an intriguing patent in Japan: a camera where the rear LCD fills the back of the body, removing the scroll wheel and incorporating it as part of the screen itself. With advances in touchscreen technology, is this what we can expect to see on cameras in the very near future?

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These are the Beautiful (and Tragic) Winners of the 2019 Ocean Art Photo Contest

The Underwater Photography Guide has announced the winners of their 8th annual Ocean Art Underwater Photography Competition: a selection that runs the gamut between beautiful, eye popping and, in the case of the Conservation category winner, tragic and unnerving.

This year’s contest attracted “thousands” of entries from 78 countries across the world. Some $85,000 worth of prizes were awarded to the winning photographers, who submitted images to one 16 categories, including: Wide Angle, Macro, Super Macro, Underwater Art, Conservation, and Reefscapes.

The overall winner or “Best in Show” was given to photographer Greg Laceur for his 1st Place entry into the Cold Water category. The undeniably eye-catching action shot shows a crab-eater seal moving between chunks of ice in the freezing water of the Antarctic:

Caption: During an expedition on a small sailboat, we explored the Antarctica Peninsula by diving below the surface. Although the conditions were extreme with a temperature of -1°C, we documented extraordinary marine fauna at home in a fragile ecosystem, such as on this image: crabeater seal. We also saw leopard seals, gentoo penguins, Antarctica fur seals, and wedded seals. All these marine animals are affected by global warming with the melting of the ice.

Despite the name, Crabeater Seals don’t eat Crabs. Krill make up to 95% of a Crabeater Seal’s diet. Crabeater seals have developed a sieve-shaped tooth structure that filters krill, much like whale baleen. They suck up water containing krill, close their jaws, and push the water between their specialized teeth, trapping the krill inside.


Scroll down to see the 1st Place winners of each of the remaining 15 categories, including two new categories that were added this year: “Blackwater” and “Conservation.”

1st Place, Wide Angle – Nicholas More

Caption: This photograph was taken in November 2019 during the last morning of a live-aboard trip to Raja Ampat, Indonesia. We were diving Saundereck Jetty when I came across this school of Yellow Ribbon Sweetlips at approximately 25m, over a patch of hard corals.

What I found really beautiful about the scene was the cloud of Convict Blennies swarming all over the reef. Ribbon Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus polytaenia) are nocturnal hunters but during the day they form dense schools on the reefs of Raja Ampat, sheltering from the strong current. Capturing this classic schooling behaviour was at the top of my photographic hit-list.

To allow the sweetlips to be centre of attention, I used a slow shutter speed and accelerated panning to blur the background. This effect also helps to reinforce the unity of the school moving as a group, in the same direction.


1st Place, Macro – Stefano Cerbai

Caption: This photo was taken in Puerto Galera, in the Philippines. During a daytime dive I saw this seahorse, and I decided to put the flash behind him with the “Snoot”, creating a backlight.


1st Place, Marine Life Behavior – Paula Vianna

Caption: Pink whip rays catching a ride on a small-eyed ray. The theory is that by doing this they seek protection from predators, save energy and also get leftovers from the big ray.

This rare behavior was captured on the SS Yongala shipwreck, on the Great Barrier Reef off Ayr, in Queensland, Australia, and has been registered on the same dive site for around a decade, with different individual small-eyed rays… Could this be passing on through generations?


1st Place, Portrait – Virginia Salzedo

Caption: During a night dive I met this nice seahorse. I was immediately surprised by his punk hairstyle.


1st Place, Nudibranch – Jenny Stock

Caption: The Mooloolah River is a rich treasure trove of nudibranchs. Over 350 species have been found along the 600m river bank. The real challenge is to get a photograph that depicts the stunning form of these tiny creatures. I fell in love with flabellina lotus in particular.

I returned to the river every weekend for four months to try to achieve an image where the flabellina’s vivid purple cerata popped against a jet black background.


1st Place, Supermacro – Paolo Isgro

Caption: There are three key components that resulted in this photo…

  1. I used a 24 mm lens and an electronic reverse ring adaptor + 40mm extension ring to get a great magnification. 5 mm fills the long side of the frame – this means 4.5X optical magnification on my cropped Canon 7D sensor (22.5 mm).
  2. My friend and dive master Ajiex Dharma in Tulamben was able to find these clown fish eggs and assist me during the shoot holding the snoot in the right position.
  3. A lot of patience to manually focus and composing this shot

1st Place, Reefscapes – Eduardo Acevedo Fernandez

Caption: Sweet lips are very common in the Raja Ampat area. You can see them in popular dive sites such as Kape Cree and Sawandarek jetty. But this time, I was lucky.

I was able to find a small group of this fish in shallow water, around 14 meters deep, with full cover by glass fish. The conditions were perfect, clean water, not too deep, and sunny. It was a great opportunity which I’ll always remember with this incredible photo.


1st Place, Blackwater – Fabien Michenet

Caption: The observation of juvenile deepsea fish is possible during blackwater drift dives offshore as some species begin their life in the epipelagic zone (between the surface and 200m).

Finding and photographing these juveniles is certainly one of the most fascinating aspects of these dives above the deep sea bottom.

This individual is called a Snaketooth deepsea swallower (Champsodontidae -Kali macrodon). It lives its adult life posed on the deep sediment waiting for preys passing nearby. With a very large head and very develloped pelvic and pectoral fins, it has a very different morphology from the adult.

As soon as they are disturbed, these fish could tend to let themselves sink to the deep. Before taking the first shot of this beautiful juvenile, I took care to reduced the intensity of my focus lights and properly orient the flashes so as not to overexpose the shiny eyes and properly illuminate the fins.


1st Place, Conservation – Shane Gross

Caption: My dive buddy came to me in tears talking about a poor turtle that was already long dead, tangled in fishing line. She didn’t have time to remove the line so she told me where it was and I went back. I didn’t want any scavengers to also become entangled.

I took my camera because images like this can become warnings for the future. We don’t want any other turtles, or any creatures, to become doomed to the same unfortunate fate: drowned and wasted thanks to our negligence.


1st Place, Underwater Art – Francisco Sedano

Caption: No description provided.


1st Place, Novice Wide Angle – George Kuo-Wei Kao

Caption: I was taking a photo of a cute school of sweetlips at about 28 meters deep. I couldn’t get a satisfying composition until my guide showed up and looked like a shepherd of the school.


1st Place, Novice Macro – Julie Casey

Caption: I’ve been taking videos of baby seahorses for about 3 years but only recently changed over to still photography. I picked up a second hand TG4 early in 2019 & I’ve spent almost every day in the water with it since.

Capturing 6 baby seahorses all facing in the same direction while sharing a piece of weed is an extremely challenging shot. These babies will often pull in different directions & face away from the camera. So I’m absolutely delighted to be able to share such a split second in time before this scene changed dramatically.

Under Blairgowrie Marina has become a popular nursery for the birth of these baby Short Head Seahorses and also the Bigbelly Seahorses. I’ve seen as many as 20 babies sharing the same weed. You only have a short window of opportunity to capture this because their survival rate is so low.


1st Place, Compact Wide Angle – Talia Greis

Caption: I had never seen or even heard of this magnificent king of camouflage prior to taking its shot, as it’s a rare sighting that requires an equal balance of luck and persistence.

The yellow crested weedfish can be found deep amongst the kelp gardens of Shelly Beach, and is so similar in appearance to its environment, that finding one requires active investigation. Its movements sway like the seaweed it buries itself in, its color almost identical, making it the ultimate master of disguise.

The only way to capture this moment was to hang back, remain still, and wait for the perfect moment it decided to surface and analyze my presence.


1st Place, Compact Macro – Stan Chen

Caption: These Lemon Goby parents spawned their eggs on a glass fragment that caught my eyes. I decided to take shot to record this because it presented how fish can coexist with human garbage.

The Lemon Goby parents were very shy and they kept moving around. So I held my breath carefully and waited about 40 minutes and finally, the goby parents gathered together and protected their eggs. I immediately took the shot and captured this unique picture.

It was an unforgettable moment for me to see how great the goby parents are to utilize human waste for their hatching eggs. And life continues….


1st Place, Compact Behavior – Ferenc Lorincz

Caption: I was taking this picture at a cleaning station. The fish let me approach as they were focused on cleaning the fish. At the house reef this was observed on several dives. The cleaning station is an excellent scene for the underwater photographer.


To see all of the Top 5 photos from each category, as well as some spectacular Honorable Mentions, head over to the Underwater Photography Guide website. The contest admitted that the images submitted this year were exceptional, making judging “very difficult,” and proving that “the winning images are some of the best in the world.”

Looking through the winning images, it’s hard to disagree with that statement.


Image credits: All images used courtesy of Underwater Photography Guide/Ocean Art Photo Contest

This Weird Gadget from Kessler Lets You Power Your Camera Gear with Power Tool Batteries

Got a bunch of DeWalt batteries in your garage? Turn them into batteries for your camera gear with Kessler’s new adapter.

Who doesn’t love a weird gadget? Well, Kessler has come out with one that seems, yes, kind of weird, but also pretty useful.

Meet the Mag Max 3A, a battery adapter that essentially allows you to charge your camera gear with DeWalt 20v Max and 60/20v Flex Volt batteries.

This thing allows you to power pretty much anything you bring to set, including DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, follow focus systems, wireless video transmitter and receivers, motion control systems, audio recorders and mixers, LED lights, monitors, and even your smartphone. (However, if you’re trying to power a Blackmagic Ursa Mini, RED Dragon, or any device that has a 3amp draw or higher, the Mag Max 3A won’t work for you.)

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Paul C. Buff launches LINK 800WS plug-and-play LED flash unit

Paul C. Buff Inc., the company known for its professional lighting products, has introduced LINK 800WS, a new portable flash unit that features up to 800 watts of power, multiple shooting modes, 1 to 10 adjustable f-stops and a digital LCD. The product’s name refers to the company’s effort to link its ‘past products with currently photography needs,’ according to the PCB.

The LINK 800WS flash unit is Paul C. Buff Inc.’s most powerful and versatile light ever launched. The product packs a daylight-balanced LED modeling light and detachable battery into an all-metal housing; the model supports umbrella rods up to 9mm and has a stand mount that supports up to 5/8in stands. The portable flash unit is fairly compact at 16.5cm x 12.1cm x 32cm (6.5in x 4.8in x 12.6in) with a weight of 3.9kg (8lbs, 7oz) including the battery.

In addition to HSS / TTL modes, the LINK 800WS also features an Action Mode and a Color Mode. Other features include 3.5s recycle time, 8.8cm (3.5in) LCD, plug-and-play support for 100 to 240 voltages, +/- 100K color consistency at any power level, support for speeds up to 1/154,000s and an included magnetic rubber diffusion dome.

The LINK 800WS is currently listed on the Paul C. Buff Inc. website for $895.95, but the company says it won’t be available to purchase until Spring 2020. The light will work with the new HUB remote and BUFF mobile app on iOS and Android. Buyers will have the option of choosing a LINK 800WS bundle that includes the flash, charger, battery, and the HUB remote for Nikon or Canon (or, later on, Sony) for $1,196.