Author Archives: Aaron Maguire

About Aaron Maguire

Welcome to my photography site. For information on my videos please check out my video site www.melbournedslr.com My photography covers street photography using my fujifilm medium format camera, portrait, wedding, animal and sports photography utilizing my canon 7d and it's powerful accessories. email: aaron@aaronmaguire.net mob: +61 402 743 663 Studio16 River Studios West Melbourne 3003

Cranes and Jibs for Corporate work

IMAG1064-2Welcome the first of many gear reviews.My background is corporate training films, Short films with mates, DIY gear building and spending too much money on unnecessary expensive bespoke gear.

Cranes or Jibs are used for obvious purposes but can also be useful for giving an organic feel to your corporate PTC shoot. My very good friend and Gaffer, Colin ‘Willy’ Williams once told me to ‘get the camera off the sticks, the shot looks stale’ so I tried a dollie but found that that caused too much tracking movement and required a focus puller so I looked into using my Glidecam HD400 but that was no good, especially when you’re trying to hold a 7d and a teleprompter for any length of time, so I thought why not use a jib to give some mild movement that keeps the audience engaged but doesn’t  make them feel sick.

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The other advantage I found was that with some clients being on camera for the first time we (the crew) were able to sit way back and allow them the space they needed. I mean no one likes cameras, lights and crew all staring at you, especially when you’ve never been on camera before.

This weekend I went to the Digital Show in Melbourne and found a couple of good looking cranes/jibs on show by Protog and Dragon Image.

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These 2 units were both a good size, length and weight and similarly priced at $739 and $895 but very different in design.

The Protog version (Varavon MiniJIB T2) had the tripod mount and camera mount located on the side in an L shape design and was able to be tilted via the tripod fluid head.

The Dragon Image version (G-Ka DV Jib) had it’s mount directly over the centre of the tripod and the camera was the same with a bowl mount for a tripod head.

CONCERNS:
My concern with Protog’s jib is that it’s mount is similar to the Kesller crane KC-lite which I used recently on a corporate shoot with my Canon 7D and Telepromter. I found the L shaped mount tended to twist and make my shot skewed. I’d tried beforehand to make my own jib from Bunnings parts but found the same issue.

I think the G-Ka DV Jib would work a lot better by eliminating the skewing of your frame.

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G-Ka DV jib

The G-Ka DV Jib has it’s limitations such as only a bowl and no camera mount, no tilt adjustment and appears better built but heavier than the Protog Jib.

I think I’d rather use the G-Ka DV Jib over the Protog simply because I don’t want to have skewing issues eating into my shoot time especially when my clients are the ones in front of the camera and aren’t familiar with the film process and get quite anxious quite quickly if no shooting is happening.

 

For the jobs that I do it’s all about get in and get out but being prepared for the unexpected. On my last shoot along with my skew issues and us (the crew) all running around trying fix it, the client’s product consultant hadn’t reviewed the autocue script and wanted to change it on shoot day adding to my stress as the producer but hey, that’s the world of corporate filmmaking so it’s very important to ensure that all your gear works well before the shoot.

HIRE or BUY
This is where the question comes in. hire a Jib or buy one. The KC lite was $66 to hire from Lemac or $800 to buy. I hire a lot of my gear but when it comes to supports and rigs I’ve been stung with dodgy dollies and skewing Jibs so I would say that buying a jib at the Protog and Dragon Image prices would be a good choice, you could simply grab 4 mates which works out to be $200 each for a solid piece of kit that benefits everyone and ensures the client is going to get a great finished product with very little post production nightmares for your editor/you.

So I think I’ve just persuaded myself to buy one…just need some friends.

Feel free to drop in and chat to the team at:
Protog – 19 McKeon Rd, Mitcham
Dragon Imageo - 72-74 Cromwell St, Collingwood VIC, 3066

Cheers Aaron
Photos supplied by Vidi Chandra – concentriccircles.com.au

MelbourneDSLR 2012 Xmas meet/Wrapup

Well what a year it’s been.

Full of ups and downs, learning curves and experiences that will forever change our lives.

PHILIP BLOOM TOUR DOWNUNDER

We started the year with a bang. Meeting once again, filming and hanging with Philip Bloom and the team which included Ric Creaser if the Pin mic heritage. Truly an honour and a super nice bunch of guys…. and girl (Sarah) Cheers. We learnt first hand the importance of shooting, editing and distributing a piece within a 48hr period as explained quite honestly by Philip to our member and editor for this project, Ben Sengsouvanh.

Please see the video we produced.
Philip Bloom Tour 2012

 

 FACEBOOK PAGE

Next was the creation of our private facebook page which allowed us to talk and ask questions without broadcasting it to the entire world, Direct Tweeting each other as some of us don’t use Twitter and some don’t answer mobile texts.

This was setup by Caspian Kai Pantea and has been an invaluable tool for the club so thank you Caspian.

This has also allowed us to get some perspective on some difficult shoots and to vent our frustrations.

 

GRADUATES

A special mention has to go out to Ben Sengsouvanh from Crisp Media Productions which he runs with another of our members Kenny Nguyen along with some others.

Ben recently graduated with a Masters in Film and Video/Masters of Arts (Creative Enterprises) and has recently taken a position at PurpleMonkey shooting weddings in the weekends.

We are super proud of his accomplishment and since graduating has been busy writing, shooting and editing short films, one of which was with one of our earliest members, Rob Easton a true technician.

So I guess we could call Ben the ‘Master of Arts’.

 

TOP SECRET MISSIONS

There is one member who will remain nameless that has actually appeared on 60minutes and flown to Africa to assist in reducing the senseless killing of Rhinos and Elephants for their Ivory in order to allow some inferiority complexed, tiny penised man have better sex….or something like that. Really I never.

That aside this founding member has made me very proud to be his friend. He is too generous with his time and I owe a great deal to him. We have had our ups and downs but I still love him even though he prefers women….haha gotcha.

 

OVERSEAS IMPORTS

Finally we were privileged enough this year to shoot Pausefest 2012…..and meet Samuel Richards a veteren (old) of 20 years as a sound recordist in NZ. It’s been great to have met him and I have had the pleasure of working with him on a couple of corporate jobs as a soundy/B camera.

So Kia Ora Bro.

 

 

 

 

 

This was MelbourneDSLR 2012.

Philip Bloom Aussie Tour

Facebook Page update

www.melbournedslr.com – The Website

4in1 Documentary competition

Gear review Channel

Pausefest 2012

Graduations

New Members

Saving the World

Beers and Meetups….

Your best camera is the one you have on you

 

As a kiwi boy who can’t stand any temperature over 25 degrees it was anxiety provoking to go to Darwin where temperatures were constantly 29-30 degrees all year round.
My wife and I left a bleak and cold Melbourne and took a connecting flight to Brisbane then onto Darwin. It came as such a huge shock when the captain said in Brisbane ‘we will be landing in Darwin in 4hrs and 10minutes’ that I couldn’t help but verbally express my disapproval. That and the fact that I can’t stand flying. Irrational fear.

We finally landed in Darwin after I had to sit next to a lady who was so large, she instantly fell asleep and began to flow into my seat. 5:30am to 1:45am was too long to be up and Darwin better be worth it.

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MelbourneDSLR – the new direction.

Things will be changing for MelbourneDSLR shortly and for the better for all involved.

We will be introducing member profile pages, contributors, clients, videos and photo galleries.

It will be used as a database for members and users to find crew and ultimately allow us all to get work.

I will be using it as my video page and I’ll be encouraging others to do the same.

We will be grateful to Joseph and Ben who built this site to build these great additions and Caspian to continue with the graphics and animations.

There will more information on this shortly so stay tuned.

Cheers

 

Aaron Maguire

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Street Photography

The digital age is upon us however I still prefer the old school world of film for certain jobs – Street photography for one…actually just street photography.

Digital photography has it’s place and I use it in my business for the quick turn-around projects and my filming work but when it comes to information in a photograph or resolution and quality, nothing beats film for the money.

I own a Mamiya RB67 and a Fujifilm GA645Zi.

These medium format cameras take spectacular photos with super sharp lenses and cost around the $500-$600 mark. The equivalent digital medium format camera would be something like the Pentax 645D for $13k.

Film photography in Australia is highway robbery compared to the US. To get a roll of 120 film processed and scanned onto disc costs upward of $40 in Melbourne compared to $12 in New York. On a recent trip to New York I was astounded at the cost of everything film. It really encouraged me to shoot so I did. About 15 rolls in 7 days. Unfortunately I returned with about 7 rolls still to be processed. I may have to invest in a 120 film scanner and a light box. It’s really sad that this is happening here.

Shooting with film can be scary when you first start out or like me pick it up again. Not being able to immediate review my photos was initially scary but I soon calmed down and now it’s like xmas time when I go and pick them up. If my roll has 30% keepers, I’m happy.

You need to have patience  when shooting film. Knowing your settings; light, f stop, shutter speed and composition need to be right, not perfect but right for what you want. Processing your own films will allow even more control but I’m not about to go there.

Film photography takes you to a quiet place. You can sit for a while waiting for that shot and people see you with a big, strange camera and leave you alone. It’s strange. The bigger and uglier your camera is, the more anonymity you possess. (although while in New York the phrase of the day by camera-geeks was ‘what kind of camera is that?’).

 

So if you’re thinking about getting a new camera and you’ve thought about film…do it. It teaches you respect and patience and appreciation for photography.

Don’t get me wrong, I love shooting with my Canon 7D and iPhone4. I shot all my holiday picks on my iPhone4, edited in the Camera+ app and uploaded to rave reviews on Facebook and Twitter but there were some medium format shots in there too which actually blew people away. The sad thing is they never knew it was taken with a Fujifilm GA645Zi until I told them.

FIGHT TO KEEP THE FILM ALIVE.

Cheers

Aaron Maguire

 

May 19 picks 9

The Invisible Photographer

 

Four Paws is a highly successful dog obedience school and the brainchild of Trish Harris and her husband Stuart. They meet rain hail or snow in the west of Melbourne every saturday morning with their dedicated crew of qualified trainers.

I met Stuart when he managed the Sunshine branch of Petstock, a large chain of pet stores. I walked in one day and said ‘I shoot pets, need any photos done’? I had limited knowledge of how to work a camera and had heard people say, ‘never work with children or animals’ Since that first meeting I have made myself the regular photographer at Petstock even though Stuart doesn’t manage it anymore.

I approached Trish one day and asked if I could pop by one saturday to shoot some pets in their natural surroundings. Since then I’ve been named the Invisible Photographer by the way I fly in and out without people knowing. It helps having a 640mm lens. I shoot on my 7d with my 70-200mm i L series lens with a 2x extender which allows me to get in close whilst being about 60m away.

More recently I’ve joined up with SmugMug to sell my photos. The site seems to work really well and the support is excellent.

I’m not a web designer and even struggle with some tech talk specs about cameras and lenses however I manage to take a good photo which pleases people and myself which is the main thing to me.

In conclusion it’s been great to know Trish and Stuart and the team at Four Paws. They have really welcomed me into their team and push my photos on their Facebook page.

If you’re starting out and want to shoot animals at events, simply contact the organisers, set up a cost effective service and a way in which you can get your name out there. My way might not work for you as I’ve learnt from my competitors.

 

Good luck.

Aaron Maguire