No Rise No Fall

This year fall has been very beautiful. It already started when we were traveling through the German Eifel region in October and arrived a bit later here in Holland. In order to capture the dreamy fall atmosphere in our garden, I used the Lensbaby Composer lens for a short video improvisation, accompanied by the piano music of Alexander Franke.

No Rise No Fall from Harald Walker on Vimeo.

Free eBooks for DSLR filmmakers

Today I cam across two free eBooks for the DSLR filmmaker.

Jag35 Shoulder rig for the Canon DSLR line with Jag35 DSLR Cage by NJVA

The first one comes from the German media designer Denny Moritz. For his final bachelor report he wrote a book about DSLR filming, from a professional and passionate view. DSLR – Beyond The Still includes a buyers guide, technical information, example pre- and post-productions workflows and some handy DIY tips. The PDF of the book is available for free (donations are of course welcome!) but you can also purchase printed versions.

The DSLR Cinematography Guide is a book from the NoFilmSchool, a site for DIY filmmakers and independent creatives. The site focuses on tools and technology relevant to filmmakers, writers, directors, editors, producers, cinematographers, bloggers, designers, and entrepreneurs. The PDF book is updated and expanded from the online version of the guide, which includes technical and practical information.

Blog post photo: Jag35 Shoulder rig for the Canon DSLR line with Jag35 DSLR Cage by NJVA via Flickr

Review: Glidetrack Shooter

Two weeks ago I got myself the Glidetrack Shooter, a camera slider for small camcorders and video DSLR. As additional bonus the Glidetrack Shooter can also be used as a shoulder support. It ships as SD and HD version at 0.5m to 1m lengths. Compared to SD, the HD version has a wider support feet so that it can support larger cameras or long lenses. I chose the smallest 0.5m SD version as I am mostly using short lenses on my D300S and my HD camcorder is also very compact. The 0.5m also seemed to be most suitable for traveling.

Glidetrack Shooter

The Glidetrack allows you to make smooth dolly or truck moves. In contrast to pans, tilts or zoom, the camera is actually moving, which is like taking the viewer on a physical ride and give the video are more natural and organic feeling. The dolly move is a movement towards or away from the subject without changing the focal length of the lens (combining a dolly move with a zoom is of course also possible). A move in can be used to combine a wide shot of a scene with a tighter shot and to focus the viewer’s attention to the subject in dynamic way. The truck move (also referred to as a tracking shot) is a sideways (left or right) movement. By changing the viewpoint it can give the viewer a better experience of the three-dimensional space of the scene or slowly reveal new information. The truck move is most effective with foreground objects.

Pi in Almere City from Harald Walker on Vimeo.

For my short test video I went to the parking garage in the center of Almere. Next to the parking garage the number PI has been painted in large white characters on the ground. I brought my Nikon D300S as well as the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC and Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lenses. As video head I used the Manfrotto 700RC2 mini video fluid head. In order to transport the Glidetrack Shooter with the rest of the equipment per bicycle I had to dismantle it again, so you have to watch those screws and bring tools to put it together.

After a few tryouts I quickly got a feel for it for the Glidetrack and the movement of the carriage. It is important to push the carriage, not the camera. When the load is not shared evenly across the bearings, it can result in uneven running. You can see it the video at 00:52. In this scene the camera was titled down to film the sign.
As I was using my regular DSLR camera I had a silly practical problem with the straps, which often got in the way when moving the camera. Nothing to worry about, I just have to pay more attention. I didn’t use this Glidetrack as shoulder support yet but am very pleased so far with the build quality and the first video result. I am certainly looking forward to using it more often.

Update:
Regarding Frank’s question from the comment. Yes, the pan lock lever of the Manfrotto 700RC2 mini video fluid head hits the carriage but it can be adjusted.

Manfrotto 700RC2 on the Glidetrack carriage

An additional quick release adapter might solve this problem and an adapter like the Manfrotto 357PL with its 80mm sliding travel of the plate might even help to get the camera with lens better balanced.