A Review of the Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Lens for Sony E Mount Cameras

A Review of the Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 Lens for Sony E Mount Cameras

The 40mm focal length has become a bit more popular the last few years, sitting between the classic 35mm and 50mm options. If you are looking for a unique focal length, check out this review of the Voigtlander Nokton 40mm f/1.2 lens for Sony E mount cameras.

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How to Shoot Your Own Film With Little or No Budget

How to Shoot Your Own Film With Little or No Budget

Filming a movie can quickly become a very pricey endeavor, and that can be frustrating if you do not have a huge budget but still want to create something. If you are interested in shooting your own film, this great video will give you lots of helpful tips for filming a movie with little or no budget.

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The Deity D4 DUO is a Tiny Mic That Really Packs a Punch

The D4 DUO is an on-camera microphone that cleverly adds a microphone input.

Deity has a new on-camera microphone, the D4 DUO, that features a dual cardioid microphone capsules that can capture the front and rear sound fields around the camera.

The microphone is designed for vloggers or journalists using DSLR, mirrorless, and smartphone cameras, capturing audio from both sides of the camera so users don’t sound muffled or distant when they narrate a scene or ask questions.

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Helpful Ideas and Tips for Black and White Landscape Photography

Helpful Ideas and Tips for Black and White Landscape Photography

When done right, black and white photos can be quite powerful, drawing the viewer in with their dramatic play between light and shadow. This excellent video will give you some helpful tips and advice for better black and white landscape photos.

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“I Always Panic… Panic is My Normal State”: Claire Denis in Conversation with Ira Sachs

On the occasion of Claire Denis’s birthday today, we are reprinting this Fall, 1997 interview from our print edition — writer/director Ira Sachs, whose first feature, The Delta, was in release, speaking with Denis around the U.S. opening of her Nenette et Boni. For the past ten years, the French director Claire Denis has been making a vital group of films which, with their mixture of intimate drama, sociological observation, and political acuity, have established her as an important influence on other independent-minded filmmakers around the world. After working as a crew member on Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law,Denis made […]

The Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

The Lyrid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

Tonight marks the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, with plenty of meteors visible from mid to late April each year, so get your camera ready and learn how to capture them in all their glory.

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Four Helpful Tips for Landing More Photography Jobs

Four Helpful Tips for Landing More Photography Jobs

You can have all the creative and technical talent in the world, but if you want to be successful as a photographer, it is crucial that your business abilities be sharp as well. This great video will give you four tips for landing more photography jobs.

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Creating a Text Message Animation in Motion

I’ve often said that Motion is Final Cut Pro X’s secret weapon, and recently I’ve been on a bit of a mission to prove it.

This week on MacBreak Studio I show you how to create a text message animation in Motion, using only behaviors (and a couple shapes and some text of course). This episode is a follow-up to last week’s, in which I animated some darts flying into a dartboard. This time I use the Overshoot behavior again, but also introduce the powerful Align to behavior for making all the parts “stick together” nicely. I also use the Link behavior, which can be used to connect the same parameters from different objects together – or even different parameters. With these three behaviors it’s short work to create a simple animation that you can then publish to Final Cut Pro X. And by selecting specific parameters to publish along with the title project, the Final Cut Pro user can do things like change the position and scale of the text message, the color of the bubble, and of course change and modify the text.

There is much more you can do, of course – I’m sure you’d want a bubble with the tail on the other side  – but this episode should get you well grounded in how to get around in Motion to accomplish something that you may find useful. Note that this project, since it is built completely with vector-based shapes and text, is resolution independent so can be easily scaled to any dimensions needed.

You don’t need any previous experience to follow along with this little mini-tutorial, but if it does pique your interest in discovering what else you can do with behaviors in Motion, we can help you with that. In the meantime, please let me know in the comments what you think.

‘GoPro’ Before GoPro: Shooting BMX Tricks with a Helmet-Mounted DSLR

French action sports photographer Hadrien Picard recently got in touch to share an old project he thought we might enjoy. We’ll call it: GoPro before there was GoPro—the story of how Picard and his friends shot some POV BMX trick photos using a helmet-mounted DSLR.

Picard stumbled across this old project the other day, while digging through some old hard drives. While looking through some shoots from 2006, he found a few photos he’d shot of his friend and talented BMX rider Romuald Noirot (AKA Bibi) with a Nikon D70 literally taped to the top of his helmet:

This immediately brought back a flood of memories.

“It was in 2006, and I really wanted to capture a photo that showed what the rider sees while doing a trick… and I wanted to do it at night, because it would look way more cool!” Picard recalls. “At that time, GoPro was at its beginning—I don’t even remember if the brand was already available in France or not. I checked Wikipedia and it looks like the Digital HERO from 2006 was a 640×460 camera… would be hard to print a full page with that!”

So, since GoPro was out, Picard did the only other thing he could possibly think of.

“The only solution would be to put a real DSLR on the head of the rider… and that’s exactly what we did,” he laughs, recalling the very ‘janky’ setup they came up with. “As you can see from the BTS pics (below), we put a Nikon D70 with the 10.5mm fisheye on a poly box, then taped it onto an open-face BMX helmet using a LOT of gaff tape.”

One problem, recalls Picard, is that the helmet was now both huge and heavy, but Bibi took to it without an issue. All that was left was to actually go out and try to get a photo using the helmet mounted camera.

“So here we were, at 11pm, in the South of France, in the backyard of Bibi, Alex Dropsy & Guilbert’s home, trying to make a photo of a rider with what looked like a PC tower on his head,” he tells PetaPixel. “The jumps were lit, but not enough for the photo so we had to use some flashes. I used four Nikon SB25s or 24s for that.”

“I know I should have used more powerful flashes and higher stands, but that’s all I had at this time,” continues Picard. “You can indeed tell the SBs were at full power since the back wheel is not perfectly frozen by the flash.”

The other major problem was timing: how to trigger the flashes and the D70 at the same time.

“The problem was that if I tried to trigger the flashes and camera at the same time from the Pocket Wizard transmitter, the flashes were always a bit faster than the camera,” he explains. “I thought about using one receiver and one transmitter on the D70 so I could trigger the flashes a second time… but if memory serves me there was no sync cable output on the D70, so it would had been too complicated.”

Instead, he decided to shoot a long exposure, and trigger the flashes himself.

“We needed a couple of tries to get the timing correct. It took 7 seconds for Bibi to hit the jump if he started from a stand still. So someone would start the 10 seconds timer, and I would ask Bibi to wait 4 seconds before going for it,” says Picard. “I set up a 4-second long exposure, so I knew the photo would start to be taken a second before he hit the jump, allowing me a margin of 3 seconds to trigger the flash.”

And… it worked! On the first try at that. After a few more practice runs, they used this setup to capture the photos below of Bibi doing a Tailwhip—that’s where you push the back of the bike and let it rotate 360° underneath you in the air… imagine doing that with a full-sized DSLR strapped to your head:

And here’s a photo of the trick in action:

Picard admits that the photos they captured are far from perfect.

“You can see the flashes and I cut off the right hand… but I don’t care,” he says. “I had a unique photo at that time, we had some fun, and nobody got hurt. In that kind of photography it’s all that really matters at the end.”

Truer words have never been spoken. A big thank you to Hadrien for sharing this story with us—and to Bibi and Alex Dropsy and Guilbert for helping to bring this idea to life 14 years ago. If you want to see more of Hadrien’s work, be sure to visit his website or give him a follow on Instagram.


Image credits: All photos by Hadrien Picard and used with permission.