Blog Archives

What I’ve Been Working On

Here is the latest video I produced.

We came up with the idea in a few hours, then my co-producer/writer wrote it out and our writer’s room did a critique and we fixed it up and shot.

We shot the entire episode (part 2 is still in post) in only a few days. I edited entirely in FCPX including the green screen. I’ll have more on that in a later post.

Enjoy! Any feedback is helpful!

DSLR Video of the Week.

Yes, I’m starting DSLR Video/film of the week. Every week I will choose a video that is posted on line shot with a DSLR and post it here.

This music video was shot by a friend of mine and I really like it. They used a 5DmII and a 7D.


An interesting fact is that for the choruses shot at 60fps they actually had the band play the song much faster so it would sync up in slow motion…pretty cool huh?

Also, check out the band: SCIENCE is a MAN

JuicedLink Slider Coming Soon.

JuicedLink a company that offers great audio solutions for DSLR’s along with brackets and other “DIY” items is soon going to be venturing into the slider market. There concept looks interesting. It is different than the popular Konova and friction budget sliders. I am not sure how smooth this will be, but it looks like it might be smoother than the friction sliders. There are no details of pricing yet, but their blog says it will be available this month.

I had recently returned the Opteka slider and ordered (currently awaiting) the IGUS pre-drilled/tapped one. The IGUS has much wider rails and I will post a video review once I get it.

Entry Level DSLR Canon 60D Vs. T3i

If you’re starting out in DSLR video the options can be overwhelming, and if your on a budget you may not know which features are worth having or not. Canon is one of the most popular brands in DSLR filmmaking for their video features. Now, I’m not saying that the other brands don’t have anything to offer because they do (some of the Sony autofocus systems for video are outstanding compared to Canon’s), but when you buy into DSLR your investing into a system and brand for many years.

The Options

Canon currently offers the T2i, T3i, 60D, & 7D for full HD video on APS-C sized sensors. The APS-C sized sensors are best on a budget and currently range from $ 600-1,600. Two of these cameras, however, offer a great feature: the swivel screen. The 60D was the first to offer the swivel screen and the T3i followed. If you don’t care about the swivel screen, although it does come in handy, trust me, I would recommend buying the T2i because the price difference between that and the 7D is very large.

Why Not the 7D?

All of these cameras offer the same exact sensor. Same megapixels same great low light performance etc. So the video that is created on the T2i will be the same as the video on the 7D (provided the same lenses are used, same ISO, shutter speed etc). The 7D, however, does have a dual chip processor so it can shoot stil images faster. If you are a photographer this means a lot, but if your a videographer that doesn’t mean quite as much. The only other differences between the 7D and the others for video are a few buttons here and there. For example, on the 7D you can switch into video on any mode instead of having to switch to it on the dial. Also, the 7D is fully weather proofed and made of stronger materials.

60D Vs. T3i

So now to the point. You want a swivel screen, you want canon. There’s the 60D and T3i with about a $200 difference. It is hard to see the difference on the surface and whether the 60D is worth the $200. The two biggest things that the 60D has to offer is Kelvin white balance and more buttons. Kelvin white balance is the option to dial in a specific color temperature for color balance. This is more useful than one might think. With this mode it is very easy to change on the fly and get the exact color you want. On the T3i you can manual white balance, but even when using a white balance card you may not get the result you want. More buttons is also a big deal from the T3i to the 60D. I’ve used both and on the 60D you can control all of the camera controls: ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, all without looking at the camera or going through menus. Using the T3i it was much more difficult to cycle through all of these options quickly because the lack of the dial on back and buttons on the top of the camera. Also, you can use interval ISO settings on the 60D and you cannot on the T3i, but that is not a huge deal for me.

So, unless you are REALLY strapped for cash I would recommend spending the extra on the 60D.

More on the Opteka Slider

So the video I recently uploaded on the Opteka Slider was featured on OliviaTech’s site!

She offers some more insight on the Opteka Sliders and some examples of the 23″ slider.

Check it out!

Opteka 47″ Slider First Glance/Review


So, There are a number of cheap or DIY sliders out there available to DSLR filmmakers. On the more expensive end you have the Konova Sliders. Which offer roller bearing sliders which should create a smoother glide and handle more weight. On the cheap end you have the Opteka Sliders. These sliders do not have roller bearings sliders, but are similar the to popular IGUS slider tracks that many DIYers (yes, now that is a word) have tapped holes into with a drill press to make it into a slider. The Opteka ones are very similar, and at around the same price (plus free shipping if you have amazon prime) this would be the best budget option because they are already drilled. There is also the Motion Sliders, which are a tad more expensive. Indie system also has a wide range of sliders from $99 to over $400. Phew, that’s a lot of options. I decided to go with the Opteka because of the price point even with a 47″ inch rail.


So, I have only really used the slider for a few hours, but I am pretty happy with it so far. I was initially disappointed because I was not able to attach it to my Ravelli bowl mount tripod. Or at least I thought I wasn’t. I had initially wanted to mount the slider onto the sticks and use the fluid Head on the slider. That was a no go, because the only way to attach a head on top of the slider is via the 1/4″ screw, or use the 3/8″ adapter it comes with. Of course I could have figured some way to make it work the way I had originally thought, but I came across this article on CheesyCam. Basically, this was a better solutions to sliders, using two heads gives you so many more options for interesting shots with a slider (probably even able to recreate some Jib movements). Of course, I do not own another fluid head so I think I will order this one. In the mean time, I mounted the slider onto my tripod (via sliding plate) and I mounted an extra manfrotto sliding mount (going to be used for a DIY glidecam, eventually) onto the slider. I did not want to mount the screw in the slider directly to my camera, I was afraid I would strip the threads in my camera because you need to tighten the screw with an allen wrench, and it seemed finicky to me, but that is just me. Either way this was limiting because the Camera was stuck static and I could only get the plate tight in one direction (more on that later).

Unfortunately, I did not spend too much time with the slider. It was also over 100 degrees outside today. Anyways, I am positive I can get better slides out of this slider (than in the video below) for a few reasons.

1) Balance: Because I could not get the slide plate facing the right way on top of the slider, I could not Balance the weight of the camera, this would make slides much easier.

2) Practice: It is not easy having a consistant slide, especially with how long the slider is. This is only the first hour that I had it, I feel once I practice I will get nice slides. I was also trying many different ways to slide: using the camera, holding onto the base, using the camera straps, etc.

3) Mounting: For some of the shots, I had it on the tripod, and well, the slider is a little too big for just one tripod to support. When the camera (Canon 60D) reaches either end, the tripod begins to tilt, even though it is fully locked. Of course you could mount it on the tripod the other way, so that the slider would not be in line with the tilt axis, but then the sliding plate interferes with the slider.

4) Camera Strap: I attached the camera strap when I got my camera, and haven’t removed it since, this was a very big pain while I was doing these tests because I was focusing on that some of the time.


This is some of the best footage a shot today.

I thought it was important to use different lenses, because not only do they balance the camera different, the focal length has a huge impact on how shaky the footage will be. I used the tamron just to see how much it really shook. The last clip was probably at over 200mm (and that lens does not have any kind of stabilization). I was kind of surprised though, because if you added some stabilization to that last clip I think it could be usable.

I think that the “Nifty Fifty” footage came out the best overall (this lens does not have an stabilization either, although the 18-135 does). I believe this is because it is not a very far focal length (sometimes I was zoomed further than 50mm with the (18-135) and because the lens is much smaller, so not only is the camera ligher, but it is more balanced. I was even able to get a decent dolly in on the coffee mug (did about 6 or 7 takes). I was surprised at this because I was focusing on racking the focus as well as keeping the slide smooth.

Overall, the slider build quality is very nice, it feels strong. There are holes every so often so that you can use the provided allen wrench to adjust the mounting screw and mount a camera or tripod head. There are also three places on the tripod to mount to a tripod  (all with both 1/4″ and 3/8th threads). 47″ is long, it is just a bit to large to mount onto one tripod, I would recommend using two tripods with this, or go with the smaller version. The length is nice to have, you are never limited to a short slide. The sliding itself is pretty smooth, there are a few rough spots, but I think with a little use they will wear in, they are hardly noticeable.

The Good:

-Cheap Price Point

-Can achieve smooth slides

-47″ gives you plenty of slide

-Multiple places to mount a tripod

The Bad

-No roller bearings, less smooth and handles less weight than sliders such as the konova.

-Needs more than one tripod to use the full length. (at least I would recommend using two).

-Will not always get a perfect slide. It will take practice to get a nice slide.