Is the Future Here Already?

Shawn banned me to the beach for a bit on this Op. Boats in the background. Good times.

I am frequently asked this question: “What is it that you do, exactly?”

It is actually a pretty fair ask, though I am never quite sure what to tell people. I am involved in a lot of rather unique trades and projects.

One of the things is that I operate camera as a specialty camera operator in marine environments. I have been able to create a body of work that is incredibly vast in stills, yes, but also in Motion Picture. The work has gone everywhere and I fondly and flippantly refer to it as digital litter these days. But really, it was a fight to get there.

You see, when I started out in pursuit of Cinematography, everything was being shot on film. For me the Holy Grail was slow motion. In the trade we term that high speed motion picture. Real time equals 24 frames per second. So real slow motion (High speed) begins at around 10x real time, or 240 frames per second.

My first gigs were shot on ex military type 16 MM cameras supplied by Photosonics in Burbank. I seem to recall that I was shooting at 240 FPS. The cameras had no viewfinder. What you would do, prior to loading was attach the lens you were using for the shot to the camera body, then drop in a removable “bore sight”, look through it and “define frame”. That meant you needed to memorize where the edges of frame were. You then set your shutter and aperture, loaded the film and installed the camera in the housing. I was using 200 foot loads in those systems. 1 second on the trigger at 240 fps equaled 1 minute on the screen. You obviously do not get many trigger pulls with a 200 foot load. Made camera operators get very precise about prep and technique. So many things could go wrong and you had a motion picture crew there watching if you screwed up.

I should probably write more about all of that some time.

But let’s look at today. All of this happened within the last week or so.

New digital camera systems costing under 1700 that literally appear to be the dreams of Cinematographers decades ago, come to life.

The resolution is there. The frame rates are there. Options exist. They are small, light and inexpensive.

My film cameras weighed anywhere from 18 to 68 pounds, loaded housed and ready to splash. A single lens cost as much as all three systems linked below. It was not uncommon for a specialty camera DP to have 250K into his kit. The barriers to entry were very high. All that has changed.

I am just going to drop the links in below for what Go Pro and Sony have introduced as they walk by most of the Industry in specialty and POV cameras.

Aloha all.…

The Samsung NX1 designed around 2014, fires at up to 15 FPS in 27 MP raw and 120 FPS in 1080 resolution. The former bar for mirrorless camera systems it stomped Canon and I began to see where we were headed.

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