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the success of your video does not depend on the brand or model of camera you use


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cinematographer • photographer • filmmaker


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Video Camera Training

Video Cameras

Still to Motion

For Business

For Journalists

Student film

Student film shoot

Randwick College Advanced Diploma group has completed the shooting stage of their short film "Surprise"



smallgroup workshop

 Last weekend - the small-group workshop wraps

Thanks to this great group of willing participants who joined me last weekend for a few days of shooting around the streets of North Sydney. It's a great location with its little lanes, old terrace houses and parks. We finished up the course with a lighting session at the ACS National HQ, North Sydney. The perfect place for our base camp.

Congratulations to everyone for making it one of the best.

New workshop

Join the August small-group workshop

Sydney dates Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th August. For rundown sheet, please see here. The workshop will have around seven participants, so email early to reserve a place. For this small-group workshop, the cost is $375 + gst per person per day. The training workshop will conduct at the ACS National Clubhouse, North Sydney.
Btw, for news of upcoming workshops, and to keep informed of innovations in cinematography and lighting, I invite you to visit If you like it, please "Like" it, and I will keep you up to date.

Lights for video

What lights do you need?

I have just added a new article which may help you to choose a few lighting bits and pieces to add to you kit. Download it here

"Lighting is at the heart of all photography regardless of the format. It’s about using your camera to tell a story and the way that you, as the storyteller, use light to enhance that story.

Photographers and videographers alike observe natural light and the way it impacts on things. It could be harsh summer sunlight that casts strong overhead shadows, or a ray of warm late afternoon light that rakes across a room after a rain shower. Light, and the way it falls, sets a mood. One challenge for the videographer is to be able to observe these naturally occurring moods and recreate them with artificial lighting." 


Canon followup

Follow-up on the workshops

I've completed a month of workshops, travelling around the country with colleague, photographer Nick Rains. Our thanks go out to everyone who attended, and for the challenging Q&A sessions. Nick and I enjoyed it and we will be back again to run further training in your city. Here are just a few comments about the events:

"The full day event captured the intended audiences attention for the whole time which isn't an easy task"
Kym Meaney, Adelaide

"I thought the workshop was great. It gave me the answers I was looking for and much more"
Phil Cooper, Sydney

I'd happily recommend this to anyone just starting or wanting to expand their knowledge of using DSLR's and film production" 
Rich Wainwright, Perth

"Great venue, great speakers - fantastic day!" 
Paul Kane, Perth

more here


EDU Melbourne

As a guest speaker at the Exposed Down Under conference held this year in Melbourne, I found lots of guys, largely wedding cinematographers keen for lighting tips.

There is intense interest in large-sensor video cameras and the quality of work on show was stunning.  Lemac Melbourne supplied the lighting kits for the day and are always ready to chip in, so thanks.
Thanks also to Abraham Joffe and Dave Cowling for inviting me to address the event.

Sydney seminar

Sydney DSLR video workshop

From co-presenter Nick Rains
Piet de Vries and I did our first Canon video workshop last Tuesday to a full room in the Sydney Masonic Conference Centre on Goulburn Street. We have already had some excellent feedback so it seems we delivered the goods. It's always tricky to know at which level to pitch these sorts of talks so Piet and I decided to assume everyone came from a stills background and set our level accordingly.

I covered the technical stuff (as is my usual style!) and Piet explained the very different thought processes necessary to shoot compelling video - and showed a video of a wedding shot by a collegue that blew everyone away with it's sophisticated editing and shooting style. It was both intimidating and inspiring at the same time.

We still have places for the other four venues, coming up next week and the week after, if you want to find out more about shooting video with your DSLR.

Sony PMW-F3 review

The Sony PMW-F3

The newest camera on Sony's block has been in my hands and on my tripod for a few weeks. Here are some comments.

The first thing that I noticed was that the camera was familiar and after turning it on I understood why. The menu layout is similar to the Sony PMW-EX1 and the EX3. You’d swear that you were looking at those menus and this makes things easy as I’m on familiar ground. Already I'm sensing that this is a "Just Get Out and Do It" kind of camera.

There is abundant information online detailing the technical specs of the camera, however I’m more intrigued by its potential in a range of productions and the possibilities it creates to take my corporate and doco work into a new realm.

Sony suggests that the PMW-F3 is suited to television, commercials, music and promotional budget productions however, based on my two weeks of toying around, I see much more in store.

The numbers

Let's get the specs out of the way.

  • The F3 is based on Sony’s XDCAM EX workflow. The codec is MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:0 8 bit, 35 Mbps and uses Sony’s recording format based SxS ExpressCard. 
  • The Super 35mm CMOS imager delivers appealing shallow depth of field with high sensitivity and low noise levels.
  • It offers a wide range of options for creating images, and the ability to edit F3 images seamlessly with material shot on Sony’s F35 by using an HD SDI dual-link output and making external recordings. This is nice given the mature and straight forward nature of the XDCAM workflow.
  • The F3 records naively to the on-board SXS cards in 4:2:0 at 35Mb/sec transfer rate. 

Before making any consideration of this native spec, look at the images that come from the camera. They have a earthy, organic feel and I would be happy shooting straight to the SxS cards for most of the time, but this camera is up-scalable. 

I would consider stepping up to the 4’s and 2’s, recording at 4:2:2 at up to 280Mb/sec using the compact nanoFlash external recorder. The front end of the F3 has the Super 35mm CMOS imager and some excellent lenses all held by a solid PL lens mount and you can’t help but notice this quality in the final production.

The PL-mount of the PMW-F3 can both take PL and zoom lenses and is compatible with a variety of cine lenses such as Cooke, Arri, Fujinon and Zeiss.

Most cinematographers will appreciate that this camera creates a very new and special category, so when would I shoot with it and what is it actually like to use?

Continue Reading

aftrs VJ training

Journalism students get some basic video skills

Getting some basic video camera skills was part of the five day course for a group of students of the APM School of Business & Communication at the Australian Film Television and Radio School this week. I've been working with the schools's Open Program.

Four Corners

Two weeks of training for ABC Television

Recently completed running a series of video camera training course at the ABC's Four Corners production unit.

AFTRS Hobart

A Back-to-Basics workshop in Hobart

Back from Hobart having run an Australian Film Television and Radio School weekend workshop for eleven Tasmanian video professionals and enthusiasts. 
A varied group of video shooters including a team from the University of Tasmania and two ABC television producers, Justin Murphy and Tracey Smith. Surfers and geologists were also represented. 
It rained both days and the old sandstone Salamanca Arts Centre was a cosy venue with no shortage of good coffee shops
"Almost every question you've ever pondered is answered, and always with good humour and enough repetition until you get it. And then he followed up some days later with a terrific set of notes. It was the best, most confidence-giving training course I've ever done."

Justin Murphy "Collectors" ABC Television Hobart

Top ten tips

A new article is available

Wherever you point your camcorder, you are placing a rectangular frame around a particular part of the scene. You have the choice to record some parts of  the scene and to exclude unwanted parts. Choose to include an object or person in the frame and it becomes important to your audience. Leave it out and for your viewers it will never exist. 
You become totally responsible for what will be on the screen. The edit begins before the card or tape even leaves the camcorder.
I have added a new article containing my Ten Top Tips. This artilce was also published in Better Digital Camera Magazine.

Workshop success

A successful DSLR workshop - more are planned

Twelve participants enjoyed Nick Rains and myself at the Newport Mirage Resort on Sydney's northern beaches last weekend. Great food and sweeping Pittwater views were the backdrop to a weekend of hands-on training on the large-sensor cameras currently doing the rounds.
Those attending the workshop commented that they had a valuable two days, saw lots of gear and mentioned that they had learned more than they had ever expected. 
There are more workshop events planned for Sydney and Melbourne and other Australian cities. Nick and myself would like to thank Lemac, Canon, Genus, Panavision, Foto Riesel, Sony and sound recordist James Nowiczewski for their support.

Kino workshop

The Kino Kabaret masterclass

I conducted a special Sony Kino Kabaret masterclass this week - a solid way to kick off seven days of fabulous filmmaking for Kino Sydney Film Festival. Thanks to all of the filmmakers who came along with their great questions.
A low-budget filmmaking movement born in Montreal and gone global
The Sydney chapter of the Kino movement. Also refers to the monthly screenings
A special edition of Kino where films are made under 48 hours alongside international participants and with the benefit of a Kino Lab
Anyone. From people who've never made a film before to Oscar-winners
They are not. While there is no pre-selection, feel free to act as if there was and make the best film possible. Come have a look at other films first, if you think you've got what it takes then take the plunge. Register to screen a film and that film will be screened, provided it obeys The Rules

Available light

New tutorial now ready to download

Photographers and cinematographers alike observe light and the way it influences things. It could be harsh summer sunlight that casts strong overhead shadows, or a ray of warm afternoon light as it rakes across the landscape after a rain shower. Light, and the way it falls, sets a mood.

The challenge for the cinematographer is to be able to see and take advantage of these naturally occurring lighting conditions.

I have added a new tutorial on Using Available Light. This article was published in Better Digital Camera Magazine.

Sony NEX-VG10

Sony's NEX-VG10: the little video camera with a BIG sensor 

UPDATE: Sunday, 12 September 2010

The design of cameras that shoot HD video will not stay trapped in a traditional stills camera body for much longer.

I now have my hands on the only demo model of the new NEX-VG10 and I've been shooting tests this weekend. Aimed squarely at the video enthusiast, the big WOW factor for me so far has been ISO performance at 21+Db Gain and not trailing too far behind, the range of high quality interchangeable lenses, top mic clarity and best of all, it's comfy usable form factor.

With a CMOS sensor that's roughly 19.5 times larger than those used in conventional camcorders, will this model put the cat among the pigeons for video cameras at this level? I'll be posting my impressions soon.




With Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 zoom

        Fitted with a Zeiss 24-70mm f2.8 zoom