While enjoying the last days of summer I finally had a break and decided to roll up my sleeves and edit some video footage that's been sitting on my hard drive since June. For the most part everything was shot hand-held with my Sony A7s II in different neighborhoods throughout NYC. Editing this video was a breeze since I did a full computer rebuild for 4k video editing. Although I don't expect to work with 4k soon I thought it would be a good idea to future-proof my PC just in case.
I don't have a big collection of lenses but for most of mine street style videography I use the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS with the image stabilization off and in-camera steady-shot enabled which I think does a better job for smoother hand-held footage. I also used the Canon EF 100mm F/2.8 for portrait, 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 for sniper shots and my favorite lens the Carl Zeiss 50mm F/1.4 to get creamy bokeh. Last but not least is the Tiffen variable neutral density filter I never leave home without it unless it's an after hours shoot. Graded with Filmconvert and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro. Anyway summer is over and I didn't get the perfect tan I had hoped for the good news is I have 270 days left to work on my beach body:-)
It’s been a while since I shot a video with my daughter Shaheen the last time was back in 2011. For this video I had an idea for a story which included some voice-over and ambiance sounds however as soon as I started filming the Rode Videomic Pro broke off the hot-shoe so I had to scrap my original idea and go with the flow.
I’ve always wanted to film in Grand Central Terminal it’s one of the most beautiful and busiest terminals in the world. With the heightened security here in NYC because of the bombing a few weeks ago I decided to bring just the camera and nothing else. You can photograph and film in the terminal but showing up with a huge backpack is a bad idea you would probably end up getting tackled by NYC finest. For the music I used Filmstro Pro it’s very intuitive and user friendly for those who are not musically inclined. Color graded with Filmconvert, Magic Bullet looks.
It’s been a while since I posted my last video which was back in November 2015. I've been experiencing tremendous ankle pain caused by a sport injury years ago so I needed to take time to rest. On top of that I had sold my Sony A7s in December and decided to upgrade to the A7s mark II but I decided to wait until NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) to see what new camera goodies would be released. Two Sony cameras caught my attention the 6300 and the Cyber-shot RX10 III. I checked out both cameras at B&H but neither one offered the professional features I was looking for so in the end I went with the A7s Mark II which was the camera I was planning on buying anyway.
So I decided to shoot at Washington Square Park with my new Sony A7s II. To avoid lifting weights all I took with me other than the camera was one lens the Canon 24-70m F/4, the Metabones adapter, a variable ND filter and the Zacuto Z-finder. One of the thing I like about this camera is its ergonomics and its small form factor. It has a larger grip than the A7s so it feels solid and secure in my hand. Anyway I was able to get some good candid shots of people at the park enjoying the day. Graded with Magic Bullet Looks and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.
I am drawn to the human face it's been my main interest over the years for both photography and shooting film. I also like candid shots where people are just being themselves but I really enjoy when people look straight at the lens and smile there's something psychological going on, for me I feel connected and more deeply in response.
All shots were taken with the Sony A7s here in my home town NYC and during my visit to Japan early this year. Anyway I hope you enjoy my reel as much as I enjoyed creating it.
With such wonderful weather here in NYC I decided to get out and catch a glimpse of nature's splendor and film the fall foliage in Central Park like I do every year. I shot in two days in the late afternoon until sunset to take advantage of the beautiful golden light but because the days are shorter this time of the year I had to shoot quickly.
My first day of shooting I ran into a big problem. I was working alone and so I had to carry a lot of heavy gear with me. While I was walking down the steps that leads to the ice skating ring my camera
mounted on my tripod and hanging over my shoulder got loose and splattered on the concrete floor.
It was the most horrible sound I have ever heard. I'm extremely careful with my gear I've never had anything like this happen to me but accidents do happen. Anyway I didn't even bothered to look at the damage since I was sure that everything was destroyed including my Canon 24-70m and my Zacuto EVF Z-finder. When I got home I examined my camera and to my surprised nothing was broken I couldn't believe it. That's pretty incredible since everything fell from a height of about 7 feet. I returned two days later to continue the shoot but this time with the help of Mrs. N
Anyway this time of the year Central Park is a blanket of vibrant colors of red, yellow, and orange hues. There's really no way to screw up your photographs unless you point to the overcast skies which I avoided like the plague. The dramatic Central Park landscapes is stunning to behold and inspirational. If you're in the neighborhood go out and get that great photo the park is almost at peak foilage.
Gear: Sony A7s, Sachtler FSB-4 tripod, Canon 24-70mm, 100mm, 70-300mm, Zacuto EVF, Metabones adapter, Filters include Polarizing Filter, Graduate, Variable ND fader, and Kessler quick release plate. Edited with Premium Pro CS6, graded with Filmconvert, Redgiant Colorista 2 and Magic Bullet Looks.
Last weekend over a hundred brave nude models and talented artists gathered at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for the annual nude bodypainting day event organized by Andy Golub. I've been wanting to attend this event for some time but didn't have the chance to go until last week . A friend gave me the heads up a few days ahead of time but unfortunately I was unable to secure my videographer's pass to film at the staging area so I ended up shooting most of the video outside next to the frenzy crowds and rookie photographers. It was only at the very end just before everyone started to march towards the U.N. that I was able to get inside and get some tight shots of the models which is the way I normally shoot.
When I was a kid I work at the historic Meat Packing district on 14th st back then I never imagined that this place would one day become an urban Oasis. The High line is an elevated park over a mile long that snakes through the Chelsea's neighborhood in the lower West Side in NYC. I find myself walking through the park whenever I want to head quickly from 14thst to 34th st and be distracted at the same time. There is constant construction going on at certain sections of the park but you would never notice it with all the landscape design, lush greenery gardens, paintings and beautiful flowers to look at. It's a great place to unwind, sit around the park and relax while taking in the evening sun and getting a prime view of the Hudson.
Last weekend I was off from work so I decided to come by and re-shoot the park. I had filmed the High Line when it opened in 2009 but I felt that I could do something a little better now. Filmed in 3 days with 3 different lenses. For the most part I shot in the late afternoon until sunset. Tripods are not permitted so I used a monopod but even that might get the attention of the park rangers. Hand-held is the best way to shoot at the park just get a lens with image stabilization.
Gear: Sony A7s, Canon 24-70mm F/1.4, 100mm F/2.8 and Zeiss 50mm f/1.4. Zacuto Z-finder, Manfrooto monopod, Tiffens variable ND filter. Varavon T1 baby tripod. Edited in Adobe premiere pro cs6 and graded with Filmconvert.
"In the end, only good memories will prevail
and all other things will be forgotten."
I can't imagine NYC without the iconic Central Park it would be like Paris without the Eiffel Tower it's a beautiful place to photograph or film in any season but especially in the spring and after the long dreary winter we had here in NY there's nothing like Spring in Central Park with its stunning show of Cherry blossom trees. Over the years I've filmed Central Park many times around Bethesda Fountain, Belvedere Castle, Central Park Reservoir and Turtle Pond to name a few. What I love about the park is there's a little something for everyone. If you want to get away from the noisy crowd there are quiet zones where you can relax and contemplate but if you looking for some action there's plenty of that at the mall and the great lawn.
I didn't have an idea or mood for this particular piece until I saw a guy riding a boom box bike playing the music of the French cabaret singer Édith Piaf although he wasn't blasting 'La Vie en Rose' but that's what I chose it's her signature song and the one most people are familiar with. I filmed in two day towards the late afternoon. Saturday's weather was brisk but Sunday was warm and sunny. Avani posed for me a few times but most of the footage were just candid shots of people walking around and enjoying the day.
When I shoot alone I try to keep the gear down to a minimum especially if I'm walking around a lot so on the first day I shot hand-held with my Sony A7s and took along two prime lens the Canon 24mm F/1.4 and the 100mm F/2.0. I also had my Tiffens variable ND filter and Zacuto Z-finder. The second day Mrs N helped me out and carried my Manfrotto 561 monopod, Varavon baby T1 tripod, and my favorite lens the Zeiss 50mm F/1.4. Graded with Filmconvert, Colorista II, Magic bullet looks and edited in Premiere Pro.
So after a long flight from the states I finally arrived in Tokyo Japan in one piece more or less. While the plane started to descend I lost nearly all hearing on both ears due to changes in elevation which lasted for about 24 hours. I've experienced this many times before but never as bad as this. I'll never travel again with nasal congestion and sinus pressure. Gradually over the next 4 days my hearing was slowly restored. It was a little scary at first since I though I had ruptured my ear drums and caused long term damage it was very painful.
So now moving on how was my much needed vacation to Tokyo? Absolutely amazing! The Japanese people are extremely friendly and eager to help foreigners even with the language barrier. I was struck by the degree of how all the shops we visited were neat, clean and orderly and by their work practices. I plan to make an effort in learning basic Japanese in the next few months to avoid having things lost in translation and to simply make more friends:-)
Anyway I'm still suffering for jet-lag but for now I put together this short video of the "Strangers" Rockabilly dancers who dance to good 'o classic rock and roll music. Filmed in Yoyogi park adjacent to Harajuku Station and Meiji Shrine in Shibuya. From what I hear they have been doing this for around 20 years every Sunday. I saw a video of them performing years ago on the net and thought they were amazing so I shot this video exclusively to this legendary group of dancers. My next Japan travel video will be focusing more on the things that move me and that I care about as well as all the wonderful places and people I met while I was there so stay tuned.
Gear: Sony A7s, Metabones adapter, Canon 24-70mm F/4L and 100m F/2.0 hand-held. Zacuto Z-finder and Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter. Edited with Premiere Pro and Magic Bullet Looks.
A potpourri of images I put together of beautiful people, wonderful places and amazing moments I captured with my camera in 2014 using both the Sony A7s and the Canon 7D. Comparing both cameras you can see the images off the Canon 7D are much softer and the Sony is tack sharp even when you have sharpness in camera dialed all the way down. Greece, the Botanical Garden and the Mermaid Parade were shot with the Canon 7D everything else with th Sony A7s.
I created the music with Propellerhead Reason software together with Big Fish audio loops. If you have any comments or questions about this video please post them on my Vimeo page. Anyway looking back at the footage I am reminded at how quickly time flies. Anyway I look with pleasure in capturing more compelling images in 2015.
It's been a while since I did my last portrait video so when Karina asked me if I would be interested in producing a short video for her I thought it would be a good opportunity to do another one. For the location we decided to film in Central Park. This time of the year the fall foliage made for a colorful backdrop but the peak foliage came a little late this year so I had to come back the following week without Karina to leaf-peep and shoot some B-rolls. The concept I initially had for our video was too elaborate so I decided to scale down and keep it short and sweet. Karina came up with the idea to shoot in her workout clothes while doing some yoga stretches.
I usually do a lot of planning before any film shoot but we didn't have much time and she was getting ready to leave town so I decided to go with the flow. I was carrying a few prime lenses with me but I opted for the flexibility of my Canon 24-70m F/4 zoom lens. I had to shoot in a hurry and didn't want to swap lenses for each shot and fiddle around with different adapters out in the field. The lens also has image stabilization which for me is a big deal especially when I'm shooting hand-held. As a side note when filming my preference is to have the camera locked down to a tripod and to take my time framing and composing my shots but that's not always possible.
A few other things I took along on the shoot was the Metabones smart adapter, Manfrotto 561 monopod, Varavon Baby T1 tripod and a small hybrid Redrock rig to move and shoot quickly with my camera. To nail focus I always use my Zacuto EVF. For color grading I used Filmconvert along with magic bullet looks. Click here to see my Filmconvert settings. Although I'm not a big fan of Indie music it's a little too bland for my taste I did like "Hiding Places" by Holly Mayer which I found on The Music Bed it blends nicely with the piece so I used it. All in all I'm pleased with the results considering the short time we had shooting the video and without any preparation.
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember.
I do and I understand." -Confucius
This was the first video I shot with my Sony A7s you can read the camera review here. Filmed in different neighborhoods throughout NYC but mostly shot around Wall street and Chinatown.
Last week I finally had a chance to go leaf peeping in Central Park. Although I missed full peak colors this year I was still able to spot a few remaining trees with red and yellow leaves which looked beautiful. Sorry I don't know the name of the trees I'm not that nerdy. I've been filming Central Park for many years throughout the seasons and I never get tired of seeing nature's spectacle.
Filmed with the Sony A7s II with monopod and a few filters including the ND variable, Polarizing, and Graduated filters. I also took along my Canon 24-70 F/4 and 100mm 2.8. Edited in Premium Pro CS6 and color graded with Filmconvert and Magic Bullet Looks. Anyway if you live around NYC and haven't been to Central Park yet the fall foliage finale will be over soon. If you go don't forget to stick around for an autumn sunset... and bring your camera!
Since the weather has been nice over the past few weeks I decided to get out of the house and shoot some video around Wall Street and ground zero. I haven't been to the old World Trade Center since 9/11 2001. The huge Memorial fountain that outlines where the twin towers once stood is simple yet powerful and somber. I think they did a wonderful job it's beautiful. The footage was shot in 3 separate days in the late afternoon under various weather conditions. Matching shots was not an easy task and I don't claim to be a professional colorist but I did my best.
I love filming tourist they're always in a good mood and eager to be photographed. Although I don't understand their fascination with the Wall Street bronze bull statue it's fun watching them take candid photos of themselves and rubbing their bare fingers on the bull's testicles. Shot with the Sony A7s II and a few Canon lenses, 100-300mm f/4.0, 100mm f/2.8 and the 24-70mm f/4.0 mostly hand-held. Edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.
This past weekend I had a chance to try out the new Yi 4k+ action camera here in Time Square. The camera was mounted on a Zhiyun Rider-M, more on this mini gimbal at a later review. I filmed for about an hour toward the late afternoon. Since my camera and gimbal is so compact I basically went on shooting unnoticed. The only people paying attention were the half naked painted women and other panhandlers who were plaguing the tourists.
Most of the footage was shot in 4k/60fps. For the edit I did some color correction using Red Giant Colorista II just minor things like adding more contrast, saturation and white balancing. Edited in Premium Pro CC but no grading. Hopefully Filmconvert with come out with preset for the Yi 4k+ at some point. Even though the camera has a built in microphone I used a portable Tascam audio recorder then I sync the audio with Plural Eyes. I created the music with Propellerhead Reason 9. I will try and do a proper in-depth review on the Yi 4k+ when I get more hands on experience but for now he's a little teaser for you guys.
I was impressed and inspired by the countless mountain peaks and crystal clear waters of the Lauterbrunnen area of the Swiss Alps valley. We were there for a week and spent most of our time getting up early to go on a hike. Every morning I woke up to a a view of breathtaking landscapes surrounded by magnificent mountains peaks from my hotel window it was surreal.
For this trip I decided to ditch the heavy stuff and travel light. The only camera gear I took along was the Sony A7s II, Canon 24-70mm F/4 lens, Tiffen variable ND filter, Rode video mic pro, the new YI 4k+ action camera, Zhiyun-rider M, selfie stick amd the Tacam DR-22wl audio recorder. Some of the opening shots were filmed in Munich, Salzburg and the village of Hallstatt but for the most part everything else was shot the around the Swiss Alps.
There's a an old folk saying, but whoever said it first just might be onto something "If Heaven isn't what it's cracked up to be, send me back to Gimmelwald (or Murren)." I have to agree this place is magical.
I've been playing around with the Yi 4k+ since May and I'm really loving this sleek little camera. As promised yitechnology has been releasing numerous firmware updates over the summer with the latest version (as of today) v1.3.11 . My only complaint with the Yi 4k+ is that there is no filter thread on the front of the camera lens so there is no way to attach an ND filter. To get around this problem I shoot in the shade, early morning or late in the afternoon. Hopefully the next generation will add the threads to the lens. Also voice command does not always work but that's not a big deal for me, I just use the bluetooth remote on my selfie stick to record video and take pictures. I haven't tried the live streaming yet that should be fun.
There's some additional accessories that I purchased to use with the Yi 4k+, as mentioned the Yi Selfie stick, the Zhiyun Rider-M gimbal, the USB type-C microhone convert cable and the silicone housing case to protect the camera body and lens. The silicone case can be used together with the selfie stick but not when the camera is attached to the Zhiyun gimbal. Well that's all for now.