September 11, 2010

iPhone 4 handheld shooting mount

With the iPhone 4’s 720p video there is an explosion of people using them to make everything from corporate films and music videos, commercials and numerous experimental films.  When you use them in ideal conditions the phone can produce some pretty remarkable results, keeping in mind it is designed to make calls after all.

Soon after I got my phone I realized the ergonomics for using it as a video camera are far from ideal. So, like so many times before, I began scratching some sketches in a notebook and after everybody was asleep I found myself digging through a box of spare parts and heading to the workbench.

Not long there after, I had a working grip that made the phone feel more like a camera.  Getting your wrist under the phone instead finger tipping the sides makes for much smoother shooting. With the grip on the left you can one hand it, if need be without worrying about dropping it. 

Just about the same time I emerged from the basement, a friend sent me a link to the Owle Bubo, a commercially available product designed with a similar goal.  The Owle comes with a Vericorder mic (that is incompatible with the iPhone 4) and a silicone case that keeps it in the mount nice and snug.  Each corner of the Olwe has a ¼ 20-tripod mount that is great for mounting it just about anywhere and anyhow.  The unit also ships with a two-part macro/wide angle lens of pretty decent quality…for what it is.

My grip, while looking nowhere as svelte as the Bubo, uses a plethora of spare parts.  It is essentially a Metz handle mount bottom bracket with a Hasselblad ergonomic flash bracket handle topped off with a Stroboframe accessory shoe which is perfect for mounting an LED or Sennheiser MKE 400 microphone.  I should note that the Sennheiser mic works swimmingly with the phone without needing adapters.  Initially I had used a car mount to mount the phone but it didn’t hold it securely so I bought the cage portion of the Zacuto iPhone mount, which holds the phone perfectly secure.  Even though I’m not at all crazy about putting any lens whatsoever in front of the already tiny lens and sensor of the phone, I added a magnetic wide angle lens to the front which works OK…a bit dreamy when heavily backlit… I’ve already ordered a higher quality wide-angle lens.

September 7, 2010

The light at the end.....

I might be mistaken but I just might be done with the book.  I actually tried calculating how much PepsiMax I drank while I was writing and shooting.  While the gallon count may never be known but I have to say, it sure did the trick. 

My portion of book is done and will be out early December.  I have to say I would be nowhere if it weren’t for the amazing students that shared some of their fantastic imagery with me. 

Here is the portion from the acknowledgments in the front of the book where I get to thank them:

“A huge debt of gratitude needs to be paid to my students whose energy and enthusiasm makes every day at the college feel like a weekend.  I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate being able to work around you, with you, and for you each and every day. I especially need to thank a group of young professionals who were so kind to lend their fantastic imagery to this project. Your images truly make these pages jump! Not necessarily in order of appearance, the students whose images appear are Britton Black, Stephanie Remelius, John Karl Brewick, Nick Provost, Robert Vreeland, Ricky Kluge, and Tyler Lundburg.” 

Please click on their sites and check them out for yourselves:

Nick Provost:
Britton Black:
Ricky Kluge (for the cover photo):
Stephanie Remelius:
J. Karl Brewick:
Tyler Lundburg: