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Monday, May 2, 2016

••◊ LED Light Update

The LED Light is slowly progressing.  I finally fired up actual LED's today at full power and blinded a few people in the office at lunch time.  It's been a good experience so far.  I've only destroyed one component and that was because of an incorrect solder job.

The photos below show both the system and the illuminated blue LED's.  I actually had to turn the exposure compensation down on the camera 2 stops just to take a picture, otherwise the lens would be completely flared out.

The next step is to make a "bulb", or multiple strings of LED's since each driver board can drive up to 8 strings of LEDs.  Depending on how I wire it I can have either an RGB light, or a remote phosphor "pump" (i.e. just a bunch of blue LED's with a phosphor panel in front of them).  If I designed my own custom LED panel I could also make a "white" LED array or a bi-color array.  It's all about firmware now.  At the moment I'm "recycling" from a stash of old scanner LED's that we had sitting around the office collecting dust - which makes things a bit less expensive for experimentation.

The cool thing is that I can also have up to seven driver boards.  That's 56 strings of high power LED's!  My end goal was to create a light in the 500W to 1kW range since most LED lights I deal with seem to be quite wimpy.  I want something I can use in a daylight lit room.  What you see below is just the very dim start of things to come.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

••◊ Big Bear Lake

I was assisting on a shoot up in Big Bear yesterday.  We were freezing our tails off at 8am next to Big Bear Lake when I decided to take out a camera and shoot a quick panorama of the sun just coming up onto the lake.  I always feel at home in the mountains, so hopefully I'll go back one day.  Click the picture to see the entire panorama.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

••◊ LED light

Just for fun and to have an activity that keeps me out of trouble, I decided to work on an LED light project.  So far I have the controller up and running.  The driver board is next, but an issue with procuring some of the necessary ICs may cause a delay in that development.  I know it looks like an IED at the moment, but it's completely safe.  I haven't even blown up a component on the board (yet) - cross my fingers.  The only issue I've had is that that old LCD display I'm trying to recycle has a burned out back light.

Dom has kicked me to turn curb, as far as new blog videos are concerned, for the next few months while he finishes up his college degree.  So we'll resume a more normal production schedule sometime in May (likely).

Monday, February 15, 2016

••◊ LA Confidential Grammy Party Photos

Friday night I was invited into the LA Confidential Magazine Grammy Party at the Exchange LA with Mark Ronson through a friend of a friend who works for the magazine.  This was my first LA industry party, but what I was more excited about is that they filmed the night club scene in The Social Network here!  I think that alone made me not cool enough for an LA party, but it was something to experience just once.  The problem we had was trying to find a decent restaurant in the surrounding blocks! 

Anyway..., here are some point and shoot pictures from the swanky event.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

••◊ New Work: Color Correction for Lomics Commercial

Dom, who you may know from my Video Gear tutorial posts, recently directed a commercial for a mobile app called "Lomics."  Having recently purchased a color grading monitor, I did the color correction for his spot.  With his default FCP-X LUTs it looked like something out of a Tim Burton film at first.  My sense is more toward naturalism, so that's what I tried to create here.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

••◊ The Purpose of a Cinematographer

I saw an American Masters documentary about Mike Nichols today and he said one of his early mentors, Elia Kazan, had a saying, "the purpose of a director is to turn psychology into behavior."  That really resonated with me because it also translates to, "the purpose of a cinematographer is to turn psychology into photographs."  It's something for me to remember on each shoot and take to heart.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

••◊ How to Exposure Your Camera for Log Gamma (part 2) - tutorial video

I ran into some difficulty when using S-log3 on the Sony FS-7 because my images always seemed to be under exposed, even though I was using a light meter.  Part 1 of this tutorial series was mainly about looking at why lenses don't behave ideally and how to use an 18% gray card to get "correct" exposure.  In part 2 I wanted to eliminate the need for a gray card - which I knew would just get lost or destroyed on set - and start to be able to trust my light meter again.

So I read the Sekonic manual and it gave me a way to compensate the exposure reading.  Then I went into Video Gear and lit up a gray chart and found the correct compensation offset for each of my lenses.  The end result is that I can use my light meter again with more trust - because it's been verified!  That's what this video is about.

Most of my lenses are about half a stop darker than ideal.  What really surprised me was that the optically excellent 21mm lens is almost a stop darker than ideal!  I ran into this problem in post on the car mount video and the results of the color correction was frustratingly as good as I could get it.  I won't have that problem anymore.

So here's part 2 of 2 of our log gamma exposure tutorials - shot in S-log3 on the Sony FS-7.