Posts Tagged ‘Richard Bolam Digital Media’

Articles

New Year and the tyranny of choice

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2012 by Admin Tagged: , , , , ,

Happy New Year. It’s quite natural to be thinking about new opportunities at the beginning of a new year and if anything, working in digital media, the problem is not what to do, but what not to do. The automation possible with desktop computers and the availability of high quality image capture devices means that it is very easy to shoot lots and lots and lots of material. But the real challenge is in post-production and critical choice.

My own tyranny stems from having too many ideas and too many options. Digital photography does not require me to be selective at the capture stage and I can always see more than one composition. Here are 3 shots of the same subject with different composition. Which one to use and how to crop? I’m still unsure which one I prefer.

My major challenge for 2012 is to clear my backlog. I have dozens of small projects, and a few large ones, that I shot on spec but need to find time to edit. And that does not include all the conceived projects that are fully formed in my mind but not even begun in production.

2011 was a bad year, cursed by technical failures, equipment losses and late payments, and much of my own work has been delayed.

Happy New Year and here’s to a more productive and prosperous 2012.

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Articles

There and back again: In-car timelapse experiments with CHDK

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , ,

Rain, plane and automobiles.

Here are a couple of timelapse video edits made from material I shot from in-car cameras, timelapse-enabled with the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK). The software is an amazing achievement and I use it regularly, although I only use a small part of its functionality. Installing it can be a bit fiddly and you need to spend some time with it, but I have found it extremely useful shooting timelapse and HDR.

Both videos were shot during car journeys that were at predetermined times so I had to accept the routes and weather conditions. One camera is on a suction mount on the inside of the windscreen on the passenger side. This position means that it is mostly in line-of-sight with the roof pillar and does not obscure the driver’s view. In the first video the other camera was mounted behind the passenger seat’s head rest, looking out of the rear passenger’s window.

Shooting through glass is always problematic, but there are ways of reducing the risks. Internal reflections can be reduced by masking internal features with blackout cloth, and/or mounting the cameras very close to the glass. Also, I use black cardboard masks to stop the camera seeing its own reflection. Cleaning the glass helps too. These two videos are just experimental and exhibit a lot of shooting faults.

I use CHDK on Canon Powershot cameras. I have several A560s and a few other models for various reasons. CHDK requires a different build of the software for each camera model so I mostly use several of the same model so that I can swap memory cards between them.

In unpredictable and and extreme conditions such as this, I mostly set the cameras to Program auto-expose and auto-ISO as it is impractical to change the settings during a shoot. This mostly works, particularly for video, as the movement hides a lot of the shooting faults.

I used the script Ultra Intervalometer and set the interval to 0 so the cameras shot as quickly as possible. This is about once a second for A560s. This depends on exposure time and they shoot slower in low light.

I performed various exhaustion tests on the batteries. I’m working on external battery boxes but running them on the two internal AA rechargeable batteries I get variable results depending on shooting period and interval.

Using fairly new Maplin 2,500 mAh rechargeable NiMH batteries (all numbers are approximate):

0 second interval – 9,000+ shots in about 4 hours.
5 second interval – 5,500+ shots in about 11 hours
10 second interval – 3,200+ shots in about 12 hours
20 second interval – 2,200+ shots in about 14 hours

To extend battery life I switch off the screen and this introduces a small problem that focus-lock is not preserved. This is not usually a problem for distant subjects but can be in some circumstances. Problems with the focus are apparent in the Jean Marc Calvet video, though not a big issue. When I’ve shot HDR timelapse, it is better to use external power so that I can lock exposure and focus in order to get higher quality results.

Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK)
chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

The music for both videos is by Jason Shaw.
audionautix.com

Articles

It’s a toilet invasion! – Pixelwitch JaQ’s Latrino Boyz

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Jacqui Bellamy aka Pixelwitch JaQ has a secret obsession with shooting beautiful people in toilet cubicles.

After three series of Latrino Gals, here are some stills and behind-the-scenes video from the first series of Latrino Boyz. The good, the bad and the fabulous from the music, arts and creative scenes around Sheffield and beyond.


There is a 2012 calendar available and the prints will be exhibited at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK from 11th December 2011.
rutlandarmspeople.co.uk

Contact latrinoboyz@gmail.com.

Special thanks go to The Common Room, Sheffield, UK for allowing us to use the ladies.
latrinogals.co.uk
common-room.co.uk

Articles

Through the eye of a duck (this must be the place).

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Here are some examples from my first test of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. I am using it on an EOS 550D digital SLR and so is equivalent to an 80mm lens on a full-frame 35mm equivalent sensor. It’s known to perform well beyond its price range.

If you click on the close-ups, you will see the 1:1 version at actual size. You can clearly see me and the geese reflected in the turkey’s eye. Below is the full captured frame.

All these images are post-processed with Adobe Photoshop, using the Topaz Adjust plug-in to enhance the perception of detail, and also sharpened a little. However, software cannot add detail although it can increase your perception of it. all the detail is in the original shot and there is no substitute for good lenses.

Larry the Llama

These shots were taken at the rare breeds farm at Graves Park, Sheffield, UK. I think the turkey is the best of the shots and the goose the least good, but all very successful for a grey day and a bit of random shooting with a new lens.

Graves Park, Sheffield, UK
gravesparksheffield.info
Canon Camera
Canon.co.uk
Topaz Adjust
topazlabs.com

p.s. None of these animals are ducks.

Articles

Shooting into the light – Experiments in HDR

In Uncategorized on December 1, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , ,

I have been experimenting with high dynamic range (HDR) photography since 2008. I first became interested when I was researching for an application for artist-in-residence at The Lowry Theatre, Salford, Manchester, UK. I was searching for reference images on Flickr.com and came across HDR photos and was struck by the increased perception of detail and colour depth.

At first, it was a very frustrating technique to use and it took me a while to get any results that I was in the least satisfied with. Just to make things even harder for myself, here are a few recent examples of my experiments shooting directly into the sun.

I use Photomatix Pro for post-processing 3 exposure bracketed images with +/- 2EV. I mostly shoot hand-held and find that the combination of Canon image-stabilised (IS) lenses and the software correction of Photomatix Pro (usually) compensates for my WobblyCam shooting.

Lots more HDR photography on my Flickr account.

Photomatix Pro is available here:
hdrsoft.com

Articles

More Cake & Less Movement – Doc vs Promo

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

New Manor Ware by Frances Priest

Here are two edits of a documentary video I have just completed for Edinburgh-based artist Frances Priest. She has just completed a residency at Yorkshire Artspace’s Manor Oaks Studios and the video was commissioned to document her work and cover an event at Sheffield Manor Lodge, UK.

The Turret House at Sheffield Manor Lodge

We originally agreed to make a subtle documentary edit with primarily timelapse video and sound design. However, the event was such a success, and the live video so good, I decided to make more of a promo edit that attempts to represent the event and all the organisations involved.

However, we agreed that an alternative edit, closer to the original brief, would be more in keeping with Frances’ existing online presence. “More cake and less movement” was my direction.

Both versions were made with the same material but edited very differently.
francespriest.co.uk
artspace.org.uk
manorlodge.org.uk

New Manor Ware is an artwork by Frances Priest, commissioned by Yorkshire Artspace, UK. The designs are based on elements from the ceiling in the banqueting room of The Turret House (1574) at Sheffield Manor Lodge.

The time-lapse was captured using the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) using Canon PowerShot A560 compact cameras. The still photography was shot on a Canon EOS SLR and post-processed with Photomatix Pro from 3 exposures.

Camera and edit by Richard Bolam.
richardbolam.net

Articles

Double Exposure – The Art of Commerce

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2011 by Admin Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunrise at The Quadrant, Sheffield, UK

I am both a commercial media producer and a fine artist. As an artist, my ambition is to make beautiful, meaningful and lasting work for a general audience. I make my work for the world-at-large and I see no conflict of interests in being a commercial artist and also a fine artist. In fact, this is a very traditional approach, and I see myself as a traditionalist, although I use very modern technology and techniques.

This week has seen success for me in both worlds with my work being acknowledged as a commercial success and also being selected for an international film festival.

Still from The Quadrant video promo

Recently, I completed a job for The Quadrant, a managed workspace in Sheffield, UK, and this is a good example of how the two worlds of art and commerce can benefit from each other. I was commissioned to make a commercial promotional video and was given 24-hour access to their building. I saw an opportunity to make something of my own at the same time. Not instead of, but as well as.

I have been experimenting with techniques to capture high dynamic range (HDR) time-lapse video since 2008 and I saw an opportunity to test my workflow. I shot a number of views of the building as the sun moved during the day, and used the open-source Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) to enable Canon PowerShot compact cameras to shoot multiple-exposure time-lapse. For the promo I mixed these shots with other timelapse shots of activity within the building. The Quadrant are very happy with the promo I made for them, particularly as it is markedly different from the usual commercial promo, and this is what an artist can bring to a project, a high degree of innovation and a different way of looking at the world. Here is the finished video, music by Laurence Alexander:

I used the clips of HDR time-lapse to make a completely separate piece of work that is an artwork rather than a promo. This is part of an ongoing body of work called “The Secret Life of Buildings” and is a collection of video works that attempt to capture the essence of the building, rather than to simply document it.

Still from The Secret Life of Buildings #6

This work has been selected to be shown at the Chronos 2011 Film Festival of time-lapse, slow-motion and stop-motion in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and here is The Secret Life of Buildings #6 with music by Erik Satie, played by BL Underwood: