Archive for August, 2011

Battery information and Nikon camera compatibility: Marshall 5″ HDMI monitor

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Reviews, Video on August 30, 2011 by William Hooks


I find that the only reliable battery power sources for this monitor- until the rear-mount battery accessory is available- would be either very recently charged AA’s or lithium AA’s.

The tech rep from Marshall in El Segundo, CA has shown me a prototype of the upcoming accessory, one version of which will accept the battery for my D300s (EN-EL 3a).

I experimented with rechargeables over a period of several days and they seem to lose enough power in approx 24 hr that they don’t run this unit well, or don’t allow startup at all. Lithiums seem excellent, especially nice because of light weight.


HDMI Live view issues:

Unfortunately, the Coolpix S9100 apparently doesn’t allow LV feed to an external monitor. The D5100 apparently doesn’t allow LV feed while in 1080p/ 30FPS mode, although it works well in 1080p/24 FPS mode. Both cameras allow LV feed at all lower resolutions, such as 720 HD.

Therefore, the most obvious workflow would be to use the D5100 ‘s articulated monitor or a SD monitor for that mode.  The S9100 works well on a slider or tripod.



China: Paintings, Broccoli and Hospitality documentary- nearly completed today

Posted in Captain's Personal Log, Music, Photography, Photojournalism, Reviews, Travel, Video on August 27, 2011 by William Hooks

All my thanks for the  music which helped inspire this documentary: THE SYMPHONIC SESSIONS by David Foster (The Ballet); soundtracks from INCEPTION  by Hans Zimmer,  CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON, and THE DEER HUNTER.

Most of the narration is complete. With a few modifications, it’s ready to send to my most helpful and gracious Chinese associates in Jinan and I ‘d love to return at my earliest opportunity.

I have to say that Premiere Elements 9 did the editing job well on my Fujitsu Lifebook computer- after some intensive care  to deal with crashes and glitches.

Nikon, you just make my projects so much fun and so easy… after over 40 years, I’m in awe.

Finally, to Rick Yen and David Wu I owe so much for the invitation to travel to a country I ‘d thought I might never be able to visit. Both of you get free mammograms for life.

Joshua Tree National Park- Planning short documentary on rock climbing, Sept-Oct 2011

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Travel, Video on August 23, 2011 by William Hooks

As the fall weather will arrive in JT, I’m  planning  a documentary on rock climbing at the park. A Model Mayhem model, Ashley Roa, contacted me during the summer to do a shoot and we had begun discussing JT as a setting.

I’m looking for a crew including audio, lighting/grips, second and third cameras, still shooters and possibly riggers to help me set up the above-ground shooting. I will have all required climbing gear for both the climbers and rigging ,other than possibly climbing harnesses (regarding fit). Any cameras are fine; I’d prefer Nikon only to make it easier to switch flashes and lenses, especially telephotos, within my system.

A backup Mac or PC laptop with any combination of Lightroom, Photoshop and Premiere Elements would be welcome if available.

For reasons of  logistics and efficiency, it would be best if those participating are prepared to camp at the park or arrange accomodations nearby. At least one planning meeting  for crew would be needed before going to the desert.

This is anticipated to be an unpaid project, regarding production. Distribution currently planned for internet and DVD, and compensation should there be sales can be negotiated.



Additional review information: Marshall 5″ HDMI and Sony 9″ external monitors

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Reviews, Video on August 22, 2011 by William Hooks

Having  used this monitor with AA rechargeables and the AC adapter for camera 1 and the 9″ Sony SD monitor/ DVD player for the jib camera on location, I have some comments.

First, for many uses a SD monitor of 9″ diagonal image size-especially one with a screen designed for both indoor and outdoor viewing-seems very sufficient. I find the swivel-type screen useful with this unit. Peaking and false color have been valuable on the Marshall and the magnification/zoom feature and flip are often very helpful, but for the present I’ve decided to continue with this combination rather than add a second Marshall for the jib cam. I run a 6′ extension cord to the AV camera cord for the D300s from Fry’s electronics, to maintain both audio and video at the end of the boom stretching up to about 10 feet from the monitor. I’m very pleased with the headphone audio quality from the Sony.

Second, the onboard rechargeable battery for the Sony has a 7.5 hour life per charge- excellent. For the Marshall, I swap out AA’s  which are kept charged during downtime and that works well; life seems about 2 hours  at normal temperatures. 

Third, I highly recommend the sunhood for the Marshall- mine came with the unit. I find it to be excellent even in bright sun, with such a bright monitor image already provided. Its contrast and resolution are impressive. If someone has found a resonably priced sunhood to fit the Sony, I’d be appreciative.

Of course, for studio use these monitors can be reversed if I want the larger image for the main camera.

Standard Camera 3 setup: D300s on jib

Posted in Photojournalism, Video on August 21, 2011 by William Hooks

Camera 1 is the Red Rock rig, generally using a Nikon D5100. Camera 2 is the slider setup using mostly either a D3s or Go Pro Hero 1080 HD.

For Camera 3, this is my standard setup with a light stand, a boom with clamp, a camera clamp with articulated quick release, and a monitor- whether a SD Sony 9″ or swapping for a 5″ HDMI Marshall with long HDMI cable. For counterweight, up to 25 pounds of sandbags can be used; I normally just use the 10 pound bag with the long arm of the jib in moderate position.

When needed, the Go Pro becomes an underwater/rain camera.

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A few more images of RedRock Micro rig setups

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Video on August 16, 2011 by William Hooks

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This style of rig is good for a situation where a camera person is stationed behind the main camera (as shown), and there is an audio person at right rear mixing and leveling the ambient and mic’d sound input; a lighting/grip person  booms a microphone, while a wireless lav mic is also used for the talent.

A focus puller would work at the left front position managing the external monitor/s; a still photographer and slate operator would complete the crew.

Of course, there can be additional crew managing a second or third camera, most likely with a slider and jib respectively; put an interviewer and talent in the mix, shake and you’re ready to bake…..

Smaller configuration of RRMicro video rig

Posted in Photojournalism, Travel, Video on August 15, 2011 by William Hooks

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This is a setup similar to what the company calls  its Field Bundle. It will travel better and is good for many PJ applications.

The changes include deleting the matte box, one of the 3 rear counterweights and offset riser with dual rods, attaching the 4X variable ND filter (77mm fits many of my video lenses) at the front of the 17-35mm f/2.8 D Nikkor for use in bright daylight to allow wide apertures, and relocating the Zoom H4N digital audio recorder with stacking a second LED light on the right front arm.

Red Rock Micro DSLR Cinema rig- modified

Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Video on August 12, 2011 by William Hooks

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Here’s the most recent configuration of my full video rig. I use RRM Micromounts with 1.5″ short arms to position the Marshall monitor and either an LED light or a microphone, and the adjustable hotshoe mount for other components as needed.  This setup works either as a shoulder unit or on a fluid head/tripod.

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In some of these shots, the D3s is shown mounted on the slider I made and described in a recent post.

Marshall V-LCD-50 HDMI external monitor: initial impressions

Posted in Photojournalism, Reviews, Video on August 12, 2011 by William Hooks

This monitor was obtained with a sunhood, AC adapter, and AA battery charger as well as a hot shoe adapter.

I’m pleased to say that its combination of small form factor, light weight, and features including peaking for precise focus and false color for exposure are very promising for my kind of shooting.

There are bonus features I especially like: first, not running on CCCCCCCCCanon batteries (I’m a Nikonian) but rather on AA alkalines available almost anywhere, and either rechargeables or on AC; and second, the ability to flip the image if the camera is positioned inverted. This comes into play for some sliders and for some boom/jib applications, for example.

The battery life verdict is pending…. overall, for c $500 I’m optimistic that it will meet most of my needs right out of the box. And with the future release of a small  splitter accessory in the next few months, one would be able to send HDMI to a secondary monitor- such as my 25″ Proscan TV.