Posted on Apr 28, 2011
Posted in BTS

I recently saw an article on www.cheesycam.com that showed a viewfinder for dslr’s that was cheaper than the regular brands out there by a few hundred dollars. But I guess the question is Does this viewfinder compare in quality? First of all I don’t have the expensive brand viewfinders and this was my first purchase. After receiving the viewfinder in the mail only a few days after buying it on ebay I was in complete amazement. The build quality is exactly what I was hoping for. It’s made from really thick plastic, has very clear optics for the diopter (-4 to +4), and comes with a bracket with double sided tape. I am using it on a T2i so the bracket covers a small amount on each side of the LiveView area on the camera which doesn’t noticeably cover any of the display metering info. I chose to also purchase a glass viewfinder eyepiece cover from ebay. This was also on cheesycam’s website awhile back. I got this in conjunction with the viewfinder so that I could permanently attach the “bracket” that came with the Seagull viewfinder to the glass protector/eyepiece. this way I would easily remove the entire thing if needed. Once I received the glass protector I decided to remove the glass in order to not lose any stops of light when viewing the LiveView through the viewfinder. This was kind of accidental since I broke the glass after sticking the adhesive side of the bracket slightly off center. It worked to my advantage. Both of these products work great together or separately depending on what you would want to do with the viewfinder. I can easily say the Seagull 3″ dslr viewfinder is crafter really well and by saving hundreds of dollars for those low budget/no budget filmmakers this works great!
Glass viewfinder protector: Glass LCD protector
Here is the ebay item by Seagull : Seagull Viewfinder
Here is the VF Prime on Amazon: VF viewfinder
If any Seagull purchasers need another bracket go here: VF bracket
Of course I have not purchased this bracket myself but it looks identical to the seagull brand found on ebay so purchase at your own risk. For $10 it’s not a bad deal to try if you need another bracket. I personally like the blue logo from Seagull rather than the VF brand orange color but that’s a personal opinion. Either way the product will be the same and you can’t go wrong.

Posted on Apr 25, 2011
Posted in Short Stories

I had the priveledge to be involved with interviewing the Mingus family with Randy Ksar. Matt has been given the title “Boy of the Year” because of his very recent history with Leukemia. He is in remission now and can easily be seen as a courageous young boy who fought this difficult battle and won. From the short time I got to hang out at his house I could tell he is living a very normal life as can be expected with a loving and caring family. After interviewing his mother Kat and hearing the very familiar details of what he had to go through at such a young age it makes me realize how much life is so precious. Taking just the little things for granted is something we all should strive not to do and instead enjoy everyday we have with each other.

So, now for technical side of this interview and story. I shot this with 2 Canon T2i’s, FD lenses, diy Igus slider, glidecam hd4000 (t-ball game), zoom h1 audio recorder, sennheiser mics, and a diy skater dolly. After filming the interview, getting shots of Matt playing xbox with his sister, and on another weekend his T-Ball game footage, I ended up with a very informative and captivating story told by his mom Kat. Here is the video and go to www.10kin10weeks.wordpress.com for more information on how you can get involved. Thanks for everyone’s support!

Posted on Apr 18, 2011
Posted in Short Stories

I have been helping with the promotion and video production for the nomination of Randy Ksar for the “Man of the Year” campaign for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I interviewed Randy a month or so ago at night in his front yard because of the ambiance of that location. Some of the gear I used for this shoot was:
2 Canon T2i’s
Igus Diy slider (http://igus.com/) with Friction Arm (Friction Power Arm)
2 can lights with clamps (from home depot)
1 LED work light (home depot) (Home Depot LED Work Light)
Z96 LED (Z96 LED)
55mm 1.2 FD Lens
50mm 1.8
135mm 3.5 FD Lens
Zoom H1 audio recorder
Sennheiser wirelesss mic set

A lot of my equipment was purchased due to Emm at cheesycam.com and his many helpful reviews on a huge variety of dslr production equipment.

The whole production recording was shot within an hour and Randy did an amazing job telling his story of how he became involved with LLS and Team in Training. I enjoyed creating this video for such a great cause that he has been involved in for many years and raised a lot of money for too. To find out more information on how to get involved or if you would like to help please watch his story and check out www.10kin10weeks.wordpress.com. Together we will find a cure for cancer. Thank you for your donations and sharing this video.

Posted on Dec 17, 2010
Posted in DIY, Kids

heavensentfilms.com has filmed 2 new babies using multiple lenses and a lot of production equipment with the Canon T2i DSLR. First off, these experiences filming babies other than my daughter has been very exciting and brought back those memories of my daughter growing up. Since heavensent films usually only films babies up to 1 year old I know that it’s more of a creative workflow than anything else to achieve a creative final movie. Both sets of parents have been the best to work with and really allowed me to use all of my techniques in filming their beautiful baby. The filming usually only took about an hour or so and if needed we would schedule another day with a possible location change. As you will see in one of the videos I was even allowed to film during a much needed nap time. I of course know how to be quiet around a napping baby but a few times I came close to being noticed by the napping one. In the end I enjoyed filming and creating these videos because it helped me step out of my comfort zone of just filming my daughter growing up.

Now onto my production equipment. For both films I used my collection of DIY video equipment which worked flawlessly for the most part. My DIY slider from Igus.com worked but has a tendency to vibrate the camera if I am sliding at an angle or off center from the rails. On my slider I use a “flexible friction power arm” as seen here http://cheesycam.com/flexible-friction-power-arms-for-dslr-accessories/ This arm is amazing on a slider. It allows me to shoot upside down, as high as the arm can extend, as low as the arm can fold, or at different angles. It’s a really strong arm to use and holds the T2i just fine at any angle. The problem comes up with the slider not allowing me to use as many angles as I want with the arm and camera. With the Igus slider you really have to center your camera on the sliding platform in order for it to be a smooth slide across the entire rail system. I now know the limitations but I do know that I can film at creative angles if I slide slowly and by putting an even amount of pressure from my hand I can get some amazing shots. Now for the glidecam hd 4000 and filming babies. I enjoyed this the most out of all my production equipment. The only thing I need to do is practice practice practice because I am nowhere near perfect filming with this yet. I know the shots I want but somehow I don’t think I have everything balanced perfectly yet to get those shots exactly the way I want them. I have tried more weights and less weights while extending the center post of the glidecam but still get some wobble in the image while I am filming. The technique using the left hand to barely stabilze and turn the glidecam could be where I am having issues but I don’t know for sure. I really just need this balanced perfectly first and then work on my technique. It’s just going to take time and practice.

The FD lenses I used during these shoots were the Canon FL 55mm 1.2 (my favorite), Canon FD 100mm – 200mm, and the Canon kit lens 18 – 55mm on the glidecam. There are many other lenses which I will be using on my next baby films now that I have an FD to EOS adapter with a diopter for helping get these lenses to infinite focus. I had been using a standard metal adapter without a glass element but I couldn’t achieve infinite focus with any of the FD lenses. Now with this new adapter all of my FD lenses work like they should and look amazing when filming with them. Here is a link to check it out http://cheesycam.com/the-cheaper-road-to-a-lens-with-f1-2/ The cheesycam website is a definite go to place for all of your production needs and questions you might have. He answers everything from DiY video equipment projects to actual products on the market for DSLRs.

Here are the 2 baby videos heavensent films has done and thanks for watching

Posted on Dec 17, 2010
Posted in BTS

found a nice Fd to EOS adapter withal glass element to help achieve infinite focus on my T2i. All of my FD lenses now work perfectly on the new Canon T2i. My favorite lens is still the 55mm 1.2 FL Canon lens which I randomly found in an antique store for $30 with 2 other lenses. Of course the 55mm isn’t a true 55mm on the crop sensor of the T2i buy it still creates an amazing image for video.

Now for my latest addition to my production equipment. It’s a Rokinon 14mm lens for Canon digital EOS cameras. I found it on amazon.com thanks to Emm at cheesycam.com. He talked about lenses to use while flying on a steadicam or glidecam like I have. I have also researched the prices of both the Rokinon 14mm and the Bower 14mm lens. They are identical lenses but the Rokinon is about $50 cheaper. The quality is really great and it’s all manual controls when used on the T2i which I prefer. I am already used to manual lenses because of the FD lenses I have been using over the past 2 years. I will have some video soon but for now here are some images.

Posted on Nov 11, 2010
Posted in BTS

So I think I finally figured out how to balance the glidecam and T2i a little better. First I added weights to the top of the T2i because it seems to be really light with the kit lens I am using right now. I added 2 glidecam weights to the hotshoe adapter and added 2 more weights on each side of the glidecam bottom sled. So total weights on the glidecam sled comes to 4. Two on each side. I guess I am really trying to figure out how to get the glidecam completely balanced. My first try was with the T2i (with giottos QR) on top of the glidecam and only 2 weights on the bottom sled so 1 on each end. This seemed fine but the heavier I make the glidecam the smoother my footage seems. The only drawback is my arm being kinda weak holding this whole thing. I can easily do a minute run before taking a break by grabbing the glidecam with my left hand to help prevent my right arm from falling off. Actually, I think it’s more like 30 to 45 seconds but I will round up to 1 minute of flying to make myself feel better. If there is anyone else flying an HD 4000 with a light dslr, specifically the Canon T2i, please let me know how you have this setup but only if you have it perfectly balanced. I don’t even know if that is possible with my setup. It seems to be statically balanced because I can go from the ground up with no problem with it tipping. I can also go side to side, forward, and backward without too much tipping on top or bottom now. But the issue is really the dynamic balance I believe. When I go to spin the center column while holding it I notice a slight tipping action when watching the gimbal and camera. So maybe I don’t have the center of gravity figured out yet. Seems impossible even with the Giottos QR which has 2 bubble levels to help with balancing the T2i so it looks straight ahead. Here are some pics and there is a new video of my daughter showing off the glidecam flying but with less weight on it in those scenes from what I remember.

Here is the latest heavensent films video.

Posted on Oct 23, 2010
Posted in BTS

Ok, so most of my ideas come from www.cheesycam.com but that’s what it’s there for right? So here is my latest stabilizing idea created for my T2i and shooting video. First I have my monopod with a Giottos ballhead and quickrelease plate. This allows me to go from one thing to the next quickly without unscrewing the camera from each item like my slider to the monopod to the cage to the skater dolly ect ect. I have the same quickrelease plate on all of these items so I can do this quickly while shooting events or anything else that needs to be shot quickly. Now for the top handle on the T2i I used some extra part which I received after purchasing either the Z96 LED light or friction arm off ebay. At least that’s what I can remember from the last few things I purchased based on again cheesycam.com(found it here). The handle is off of an old tripod head and sticks called Velbon Videomate 500. As of right now the handle kinda moves around because it doesn’t tighten all that well but I can figure that out later. The side handle is from an old SLR camera for mounting a light I believe and giving some stability to the photographer. I also added the neck strap to give some extra safety and stability while using the monopod as suggested by cheesycam.com. The cool thing is that with the top handle and the side handle attached I can still fit it inside my diy cage (from JustBasl). Of course it kinda looks silly with 2 top handles and an extra side handle inside the cage but at least I don’t have to take everything off in order to fit it inside the cage. Here are some pics (low quality iphone pics).

Posted on Oct 15, 2010
Posted in BTS

I have been testing out a “Magic Arm” type device that articulates in any direction you want and then locks into that position with a heavy dslr camera attached. This is the strongest articulating arm I have ever seen or used. I can film with the camera upside down to get really low shots off my slider. I can also film with the camera really high up on the slider so that you don’t see the slider track for forward or reverse shots. Here is the website I found it on and then bought it on ebay for cheap. http://cheesycam.com/flexible-friction-power-arms-for-dslr-accessories/

Posted on Oct 15, 2010
Posted in Macro Movies

In this video I found a few of my interestingly detailed toys laying around the house to shoot.  There were a few lenses used in the making of this short video along with the bellows adapter to achieve that really close detailed shot of each toy.  The only drawback again is that when the bellows adapter is used it removes any antishake/stabilization built into the lens or camera.  Even on a tripod or slider it can be very difficult to achieve that smooth non shaking movement while filming.  After multiple takes I usually end up trying the “smoothcam” filter in Final Cut which sometimes helps smooth out most of the shaky shots if done right.  Again if anyone missed the last posting of where I find great ideas for filming and equipment go to www.cheesycam.com and just look at all of his posts because there is a wealth of information for both the video professional and the hobbyist.

Historical military toys can be found here: http://www.sierratoysoldier.com

The video an be found here: http://vimeo.com/15638890

Posted on Sep 12, 2010
Posted in BTS

Ok, it’s been way too long since my last blog entry. I am so excited about my new company and the new tools I have created and purchased to help with production. I have been looking at dslr cameras as a stand in product to use before the RED Scarlet comes out and found the Canon T2i to be cheap enough and still have the production quality I have been trying to achieve with 35mm adapters on my video cameras. This dslr is awesome and can also use most of my old canon FD lenses with an adapter. I say most of the old lenses because some don’t allow infinite focus because of the adapter that is being used to attach these old lenses. But Macro focus does work with all of them. This new camera will help give me a way cleaner look to my film projects rather than the Jag35 adapter which causes huge light loss when using any lens. I love the Jag adapter because it gave me the film grain look I was trying to achieve and the Depth of field from the lenses used.

Now onto my favorite new website called cheesycam.com.
DIY DSLR full cage
This site is awesome because if you are trying to figure out best pricing, reviews, and other random video production things for yourself it has everything you could ask for. I love DIY projects which allow me to build video capable rigs for low cost to my pocket book. The latest build was for a camera cage with parts found at home depot and a skater dolly with parts found at my local Big5 sporting goods. The deal I found for creating the skater dolly was a sale for a beginner skateboard. All I needed was the trucks, wheels and bearing to help create this awesome skater dolly for my camera. The camera cage parts were easily found at home depot but I made the mistake of buying the items shown in the DIY video instead of asking if those were the actual parts needed. This meant multiple trips to the depot before assembling the cage. Also, my brother in law Donald Reeb is a pro bike rider who I hit up for some much needed bike grips for the finishing touches on the cage. I have pictures added for both these items.

On another huge note, I now have an up and coming new company called Heavensent Films. This company is based off of my daughter and her being the miracle baby to my wife and I. And during her almost 2 years now I have created multiple videos of her growing up during this time. I have found my new passion in life creating baby videos and want to share this form of creative videos with other families to have of their new born babies. I do believe these videos will be something to cherish for the whole family and fun to look back on and watch as they get older. Stay tuned for the website and more info. http://www.heavensentfilms.com
Heavensent Films