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Tuesday, 12 May 2020


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You do have a fantastic video camera in the X-H1- I'm not sure if you have the option of using an external monitor, or using the Fuji Remote app as a display to see what you are recording? That way you could have an over the shoulder shot and still be able to see what you're recording? (And not feel like a goober with a a cube taped to your forehead)

The GoPro isn't going to cut it for me, by the way. The problem with a GoPro on my forehead is that I can't see what I'm recording, which wouldn't work for this. Well, that and the fact that it's got a wide-angle lens with lots of distortion.

Mike, they have an app for that (I linked to it in my previous post). You use an iPhone for the viewfinder. The app also takes care of the distortion problem. Five minuets of research, on your own, would have led you to that app. You are a classic case of you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

[Using the iPhone as a monitor isn't going to help because I need to have my hands free and move around, which is why I wanted the camera attached to my forehead in the first place. --Mike]

For the benefit of others who might be looking for a solution to a similar problem and who have equipment similar to yours, I would suggest mounting a DSLR or mirrorless camera to a tripod and pointing the lens straight down and parallel to a tabletop. Set the camera up for video + audio recording. Light the image area evenly. Adjust exposure white balance as necessary. To see what the camera is seeing, connect the HDMI-out from the camera to a monitor with an HDMI-input. To avoid rambling, script what you plan to say and keep it under a pre-determined amount of time. Push "start" when you're ready to begin recording and "stop" when you're done. If, after reviewing the video, you discover you screwed something up, fix it and shoot again. Consider it a learning experience, not a test of patience or character.

Hello Mike,
I am sure you already came across this Zack Arias post about video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7wpvJzyZWI
He talks about creating great youtube content with limited resources, which is quite refreshing because -as a professional photographer- he has quite a lot of gear available.

Sadly the Uptown is no longer open. This decision was made before the pandemic.


Thank God the GoPro isn’t working for you. I was dreading a new TOP video series “Mike’s Pool Tips.” :)

[Wow what a fabulous idea! --Mike]

Mike , you do not need a special camera to shoot a couple of videos
You have cameras that shoot video, and your iPhone shoots video (great video in fact). Just shoot it in clips and assemble edit it in iMovie
iMovie can size it for the intended use.
You don’t even need to appear in it if you don’t want to, just do the narration.
Or film an intro of yourself , then film the picture you are talking about.

GoPros have the option to switch the view of the camera. Super Wide or Wide or Linear. Linear would get rid of the distortion. How about using an iPad as a monitor off to one side. Connection can be made via the GoPro app.

Alternatively, the GoPro Max is a 360 camera where you can change the point of view after you've shot the video. This may work as there'd be no need to see what you're videoing.

I have to stress I've not done any of this so I may be talking rubbish.

Oh and you'll need a mic in order to talk. Something along the lines of the Rode Wireless Go.

Cheers, Andy

Why not do it as a screen capture video - using a photo of the print? Then in future maybe you could think about doing it online with some guests using Skype or Zoom. You can record the Skype or Zoom session and re-share it with everyone else

Using the iPhone as a monitor isn't going to help because I need to have my hands free and move around, which is why I wanted the camera attached to my forehead in the first place.

Why would you need to hold the iPhone?
Do it fancy.
Do it simple.

Me, I'd just lean the iPhone against something that's already on the desk.

You do know that you can control the GoPro with voice commands? https://community.gopro.com/t5/en/What-Are-the-Voice-Control-Commands/ta-p/390204

And an iPhone as well? https://www.lifewire.com/using-voice-control-on-iphone-ipod-1999169

This ain't rocket science ... 8-)

Mike, you do NOT want a GoPro on your forehead or anywhere else on your body for this. Many years ago, a very experienced videographer gave me some sound advice. "Don't pan, don't zoom." Of course, those aren't absolutes. But any camera motion, especially random-appearing motion coupled to your body, will draw attention to the camera move rather than the subject. You want attention primarily on the print, and secondarily on you, not on the bobbing and weaving of a camera mounted on your forehead.

Mike, Just for fun, check out all of the glasses cameras.


Do you really want a head mounted camera, or do you want to shoot videos that have a first person point of view?

It’s not at all the same thing. That said, I’d be happy to build you a head mounted rig.

If you just want to fly the camera around your space without the usual limitations of using a tripod, may I suggest a heavy duty light stand and boom combination with a light duty ballhead mount on the end.

Mike, I'm sorry but I've forgotten why you need live video at all for this project? I mean as opposed to making a video out of still images, or shooting video later?

I think I understand that you want to relay the experience of encountering a print and getting to know it and think about it. This could be recorded with just audio, and the video (or stills) made later.

I'd argue that you can show a print much more clearly and cleanly with a still camera than you could with live video, especially when focusing on fine details.

All non-linear video editors these days (including iMovie) make it very easy to use still images for video. You can easily adjust how long each photo is on screen, how they transition, etc.

If you really need motion to make a point, shoot a short video clip and drag that onto to the same time line in your editor.

Yes, you can also zoom and pan within those stills a la Ken Burns. Even that's easy these days. Some would say: too easy.

Frankly I wish many more youtube vloggers would edit their narration, or even rewrite and re-record it. Many how-to or demo type videos could be so much more pithy and effective, and far less time-consuming to watch, with just a little post-production.

Having gone that far, I have to ask: does it have to be video at all? You could take those same still images (and occasional video interjections) and... write your impressions?

I bought a GoPro with the expectation it could be used snorkeling underwater in the Galápagos, much as I use my fancy Canon dSLR for nature photography. This GoPro was a cube (a 5?) with 2 or three buttons that one uses in sequence to chose various options for imaging. I set it up and practiced on dry land and found the images wanting in quality. The incredible wide angle that movie enthusiasts appreciate for filming their X-games like exploits just did not work for me. I see with a narrow angle of view to isolate things. But the trial ending disappointment was if one chose stills as the preference, snapped some photos, let the camera sleep, and woke it up to take more stills. After sleep it reset and awoke to the default of video and the careful memorization of appropriate steps to use it as a still camera failed. I have a series of dizzying and amusing videos of the camera bouncing along on my wrist filming sea lions chasing me and playing tag with my flippers from behind. Maybe I just did not understand. Somebody on Craigslist got a helluva deal.

It’s your first video, keep it simple use an iPhone
It’s not live, you have do overs. Do it until you get one you like.
Put it together in iMovie.
Put the iPhone on a tripod, don’t have a mount? Tape is the answer.

Make it as simple as possible, you have 6 to do.

Don't have any good ideas to solve your video problems. But I wanted to say that I think Mixcloud is finally sticking for me after you last post. Did some more exploring, and totally see the appeal. In fact, it's ind of what I've been missing, curated music shows. My wife loves it too.

I totally understand not being into the Home Theater craze in the'90's and early aughts. Two channel sounds great to me and why ruin it with more speakers and boomy woofer boxes.

Remember the quad sound set up in the '70's? It's like the industry just wants to sell more speakers.

Use the iPhone as the video camera and upload straight to Instagram or Facebook? Millions of teenagers do it every day. :)
You should even be able to edit the video on the phone.

[My 15-year-old niece operates her iPad so quickly her fingers are often a blur. I'm not nearly as sharp as a teenager when it comes to vids! --Mike]

I’m guessing what you want is a customisable “Ken Burns” effect Zooming in and out of the image as you talk. You might be able to do it all in software - maybe even something as basic as Apples iMovie.

Hi Mike -

My daughter liveS in DC - walking distance to the Uptown. She saw Star Wars there in early January. Sadly, the Uptown announced it was closing early this year - before the pandemic.


If CV19 kills cinemas, which it may, it will be as major a loss as if digital photography had killed prints, which it, probably, nearly has. I have spent thousands (tens of thousands?) of hours in cinemas, and watching films at home is not going to replace that experience any time soon. I miss walking around cities, I miss making prints, and I miss cinemas, almost equally.

Of course just because I love those experiences dies not mean they will survive. Quite the opposite, as we barrel down the road to our own doom, lead by idiot psychopaths.

In the mid-70s, I had a teacher who managed to con my high school into including a short-movie production course as an optional part of the English curriculum. As you can imagine, it was popular. I enjoyed it and learned a lot, not least that my film photography skills didn't have very much to do with Super-8 or 16 mm cinema production. (I can't speak for digital video, as it didn't exist then, and I've never tried again.) I was pretty bad at it. But I wasn't as bad as my friend and allocated buddy for the course - I'll call him Joe - who wouldn't or couldn't understand that turning the camera on its side for vertical framing didn't work. We were failed spectacularly amid hilarity when, at the end of the course, our turn came to show our completed "short" to the class for critique, and a good half of it was running sideways across the screen. Amazingly, Joe still didn't see there was a problem - it looked just fine to him - apparently, he rotated the images in his head. Joe went on to a brilliant career as a public and constitutional lawyer, which must mean something, I just don't know what.

Just a thought: Why does it have to be a video? Why not make a PDF or other electronic copy of a print, mark that copy up electronically or may hand and post the marked up copy, and then have an accompanying audio critique file linked? It almost takes longer to type this than to do it.

The glorious Uptown Theater was shut down by AMC in March 2020, before the pandemic shutdown.


But they don't own the building, but can the owners find anyone to operate it?

Of course now AMC itself is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Just to pick a nit (a quarantine is a great time to do this), it's film noir, not noire.

[Ah, thank you! (Editors love being edited.) --Mike]

Being an old New Englander, I've always heard the old *Maine* quote "you can't get theyah from heah".

Guess it just depends on wheah you are when you heah it ;-)

GoPros have a rectilinear mode that deals with distortion. Yes it is a fixed wide angle lens, though. Angle it right and you'll more or less see what it's recording (think of it as a TLR with your eyes as one of the L). You can do the same with a phone and head mount of some type.

I'd record with two cameras- have your GoPro on your head, chest, or wherever and capture a fixed wider shot (over the shoulder or of the whole scene) with one of your many video capable still cameras on a tripod.

Record audio using a lav mic and sync the files based on the waveform (clap at start and end).

I do very little video. It is difficult to do it well. Very difficult. Any half serious production has several people involved. It is not possible to do it well by one person. Impossible if the same person tries to operate the camera and be the model/actor at the same time. I would suggest not to waste time on the impossible and to get help instead. That is why I do very little video. Just my opinion/suggestion.

For the Print Crit feature, wouldn't just having a static picture of the photo with a voice over be enough, with perhaps the occasional pointing and circling of specific parts of the image? Essentially a podcast with accompanying static images

[Yes, that's close to what I envision. I want to be able to give a sense of ENCOUNTERING a print, as if it were an occasion. --Mike]

> "The problem with a GoPro on my forehead is that I can't see what I'm recording..."

If you want your hands free, that would mean spectacles with a built in viewfinder, or something small enough to hang before one eye, with built in EVF or with a (home made?) screen loupe.
Or, have I misunderstood?

What about mounting a thin rectangular wire frame on your spectacles a few cm in front of one eye as an OVF for a forehead camera?
It would take some experimentation and adjusting, of course. And you'd need some simple way of always mounting the camera identically.
If it has a live video output (mini HDMI e.g.) you'd just need to lead that to a screen before each shoot.
- - -

> "..wide-angle lens with lots of distortion.."
If I remember rightly, I once read about one Gopro Hero (4?), that it had a setting that eliminated the distortion by firmware?
* * * * *

Alternative to the Gopro:

For higher quality with a less wide angle of view, check Sony DSC-RX0 ( I or II ), stills and video.
( 24mm-eq. f/4 on a 15Mpx 1" sensor, digital IS, mike + mike input, 132g.)
Ming Thein writes about it (as a stills camera):

It's about the same size as the Gopro Hero.

I just found out that
there is a possibility for changing lenses on a Gopro:

“ Using the iPhone as a monitor isn't going to help because I need to have my hands free and move around, ”. But you don’t need to hold the phone it can be on a stand/tripod/clap.

I'm like you when it comes to video - don't much care to make or watch it. However, I have seen a few videos posted by artists/cartoonists at work, and it seems they set up a camera over the work bench, pointing vertically down to see the work. They then sit back slightly and it allows the viewer to see the work and their hands in action.
I'd suggest looking up cartoonists & artists for their video techniques, appears to be in the line you want.

On the DIY videos- the majority of videos I watch are on guitar playing so the people who make them are predisposed to entertaining others in a personal setting. They seem naturally at home with the video-making task. But lately I’ve been onto another pursuit- sewing and sewing machines (because masks) and I’ve acquired a boatload of knowledge from a YouTube community that loves this topic too. I’ve been impressed with their diversity and their enthusiasm for imparting the things they enjoy.. and I’ve noticed some common traits.... they are natural teachers and they are talkers... they just like their voices and they like to vocalize. I’m an introvert who likes to vocalize so I can see this from both points of view. I’d say if you don’t relate to your voice as a friend doing videos is going to be harder. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it though. It costs nothing but time and pride to practice and we’ve all got plenty of both these days. Record, analyze, recalibrate, record again. Build some techniques. Copy other people. Learn to cut and edit in iMovie, it’s not hard.
It might be more worth the effort these days because like it or not we’re all going to be talking heads for a few years. & look, we already know lighting, right?

Mike, please keep your blog video free.
Too many videos on the net, too little time.

Why would 2 channels be the best way to record and play music?

I think stereo was a breakthrough compared to mono because well done stereo can present a soundstage the is much closer to a live presentation or what happens (or used to happen) in a studio. But it was only two channels because it was already difficult and costly enough at the time.

Like in so many things, digital changes that. Multi-channel recording and diffusion are obviously much more capable to reproduce sound of a concert hall. If only for live music, multi-channel is or can be a breakthrough.

Also, pure two-channels stereo tends to be a pretty selfish or at least solitary pleasure. It tends to work at a pretty small place in the room where you could have two people provided they are intimate enough but 3 or 4 people cannot really enjoy great stereo together. Here again, multi-channel helps a lot.

film noir vs. noire:

I had a film history professor who had a joke that femme fatale films like Double Indemnity , Sunset Boulevard, and Lady in the Lake (1947) were noire, a joke no one but the francophones noticed and it took a while for them even.
Lady in the Lake was filmed to look like it was shot with a camera on Robert Montgomery’s forehead by the way. It was the first film he directed. He also was the star but is hardly seen more than a second or two. I’m pretty sure that the camera was not really attached to Robert Montgomery’s forehead, but it’s worth seeing. More recently Hard Core Henry was shot in first person.
Watch them and it’s sort of obvious why first person POV is so rare. Both films are spectacularly weird.

Changing to a different but related subject, last week was the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe, so I felt that it was appropriate to watch "Downfall".

It is a far from cheerful film, but very well done, IMO, and the historical accuracy is good.

Aside from the connection to your article above about creating video, you may remember that among the large number of satirical clips created from one of its scenes of Hitler in a rage was the one about his supposed disappointment with a new Nikon camera.

- Tom -

Why do you feel you need to move around in order to do print reviews? Why can you not make the frame large enough in order to do that, w/ the camera on a tripod?

A few people to look at, as much for their production values, as their content:

8x10 landscape photographer Ben Horne;
travel photographer Brandon Li;
sound and lighting educator Curtis Judd;
landscape photographer Simon Baxter;
video gear nerd on a budget Caleb Pike

Some are more entertaining than others, but they've all mastered visual storytelling. Please don't do video with a GoPro strapped to your forehead. That's about as rank amateur video as you can go. (Other than portrait video w/ a phone.) But we won't expect you to be Jordan Peele or Bong Joon Ho for the first year of video output ;-/

I always find head mounted camera work to be... discombobulating. Why not use a fixed overhead camera looking down onto a table. Put the print on the table and point to the areas you are discussing. Bonus is that you don’t have to appear in the video, though your hands will probably become youtube stars.

The Digital Digest youtube channel has the overhead camera thing down to a “T”.

The pure GoPro approach I didn't like, but it still might work to provide the POV insert shots. And some or all of them are 4K -- and is there really any need for more than 720p? For most YouTube uploads? Which means you have huge room for both stabilization and cropping in how you use the footage.

Your phone, and some of your cameras, all shoot magnificent video, so it's easy to set yourself up with a complicated editing challenge. The basic trick is, you put a camera somewhere because you can, rather then because you need to.

There are a surprising number of useful instructional videos on YouTube that are a single take with the presenter in front of a fixed camera. Many of them look horrid. They're still useful.

If you're going to do post-production, the question is what software suite. Useful answers are several to many hundreds of dollars, or $50/month (Adobe). Plus a learning curve worse than Photoshop (there's so much more there).

For print crit, I'd have a camera pointed at my face and a camera pointed at the print, and I'd cut them together later, just quickly. Print close enough that I could gesture with my hands and have that show on the print camera. (Or you could do it live in OBS studio which is free software, but that means you're thinking about two conflicting creative things at once; for me that's not a recipe for good outcomes.)

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