Category Archives: Video

Making films, television, and more

Gorgeous HD Parasailing Video Shot on Canon 7D

Gorgeous colors, beautiful movement, rich light. All from the new Canon 7D.

(The interview shots are done on the Panasonic HVX 200 – an awesome camera and something I’d love to own.)

I’ve been meaning to post about the new Canon camera for a couple months, and this parasailing video finally me to do so. The recently released Canon 7D is the current pinnacle of video-enabled digital SLR cameras. Perhaps because they’ve got a history in the video segment, and understand it better than Nikon does, Canon has made some desirable moves in video functionality on their cameras with each new release.

  • The 7D finally gives video makers a range of framerates: 23.97, 29.97 50 and 60
  • An impressive bitrate of 50 mbps
  • Manual exposure control
  • And the price is totally reasonable: just under/around $2000 (check it on Amazon)

This camera is a filmmaker’s dream. The APS-C sized sensor does tasty things with the background blur, and works great with older Canon lenses by dropping the fringy edges from the shots – something that a full frame sensor would pick up.

DIY video expert Eugenia Loli-Queru posted a great 7D entry on her blog with additional information and excitement.
Here’s another great wrap-up of 7D info, with a wish list for the next generation (autofocus being #1)

Makes me think about selling my Nikon.

Anvil Launching: How-to video

Take two anvils, a couple steel plates, a cardboard gasket, a length of fuse and a lot of black powder. Voila: anvil launching. Watch as Gay Wilkinson, champion anvil launcher, blasts his solid iron anvils 200′ in the air with this setup.

Note: Please do not take this post as a recommendation that you should attempt to launch your own anvil (or anything else, for that matter). Black powder is terrifyingly explosive – even the hardiest professionals are frightened by it.

Build Your Own Camera Gyro-Stabilizer With a Spare Hard Drive


Universal, 2 Gyro Image stabilizerMore DIY How To Projects

The most extreme camera operators use a gyro attachment for their camera to get smooth, steady shots. This applies to both still and motion (video) photography. The attachment works by two internal gyroscopes spinning in opposite directions, creating an X-Y stabilization pattern. In an rough, rocky environment (helicopters, boats, Deadliest Catch), the gyroscopic effect holds the camera steady, resulting in a much smoother shot.

You can buy camera gyros from places like Kenyon Laboratories, however such high precision results in a seriously high price tag – they can easily cost over $10k. Or, if you have a couple external hard drives laying around, plus some USB phone chargers and a few scraps of wood, you can assemble your own lightweight gyro assembly following the steps in this great Instructable.

Two things to try:
-Use 2.5″ laptop drives for size (they may not have enough mass to stabilize anything larger than the smallest pocket cameras)
-Putting the drives in-line instead of a 90º offset

Continue reading Build Your Own Camera Gyro-Stabilizer With a Spare Hard Drive

My Interview with Diana Eng in Wired Magazine

(Shortcut to the article here.)

A few years back while working at Wired magazine, I put together a “Project Runway Fantasy League” so that the staffers and I would have an interactive way to discuss the show during our breakfast TV recaps. It was a fun and challenging competition that I designed to lampoon the boneheadedness of sporting fantasy leagues. And it was a huge hit in the office.

This led the editors asking me to find and interview Diana Eng, the awesomely techie P.R. contestant/designer from RISD who was striving to meld fashion with technology. The overview: with no budget or time constraints, what would her three top design projects be?

Turns out that Diana was a big Wired fan (no surprise) and happy to contribute. Her answers were wonderfully geeky and she sent in gorgeous sketches of the designs, which got the article a full page in the magazine. It’s still one of my favorite accomplishments. Here is the content of the article.

When aspiring designer Diana Eng got bumped from the fashion-design reality show Project Runway a couple months ago, geeky hearts sank. Who else could turn an interest in wearable computing and a flair for biomimetics into a chance to hang with Heidi Klum? Now that Eng’s out, she’s thinking about what to do next. We seized the opportunity and asked her to come up with three fantasy outfits that take advantage of technologies still in the lab – free of budget restrictions and 12-hour deadlines. – Mike Senese

HOT-DATA DRESS: This is a party dress, Eng says, with graphics that change based on motion -- think of a comic-y BAM! Sensors would be woven into the fabric so if they're bent slowly or suddenly, it would process that data.
HOT-DATA DRESS: "This is a party dress," Eng says, "with graphics that change based on motion -- think of a comic-y BAM! Sensors would be woven into the fabric so if they're bent slowly or suddenly, it would process that data."
THE WINDBLOWN LOOK: The fabric could perhaps be controlled by electrostatic forces or magnetism so it always looks pretty and fluttering, Eng says.
THE WINDBLOWN LOOK: "The fabric could perhaps be controlled by electrostatic forces or magnetism so it always looks pretty and fluttering," Eng says.
PUTTING IT ALL ON DISPLAY: "The color and pattern change, depending on the surroundings, so the wearer becomes the center of attention," Eng says. "It would need a really flexible LCD or a bunch of tiny screens embedded in fabric."
PUTTING IT ALL ON DISPLAY: "The color and pattern change, depending on the surroundings, so the wearer becomes the center of attention," Eng says. "It would need a really flexible LCD or a bunch of tiny screens embedded in fabric."