DIY sound blimp test

Testing the sound blimp I built here. Pardon the audio noise/hiss; I didn’t want to try to low-pass it out since it might mess with the comparison

MovNat Combatives certification course in Houston

This past weekend I flew to Houston, TX to attend an excellent course for trainers of self-defense in the MovNat organization. This is not martial arts, but rather combatives, meaning it’s all about being practical and nothing about being fancy or even “fair”. To give you an idea, the key targets to best survive a real street fight are: 1) eyes, 2) throat, 3) groin. This quote by our humble yet incredibly qualified and competent instructor Cedric “Vic” Verdier also sums things up:

I don’t want to cause pain; I want to break their bodies.

I brought my gear to capture the event and get some portraits, the results of which can be seen by clicking below:

DIY sound blimp assembly

Got almost all the way on the sound blimp project today; only the front window is left to finish! The Lexan turned out to be surprisingly clear, so I’m going to try using that for the front as well. I shot through it a few times and couldn’t tell the difference between that and without in the resulting photos, so it seems promising. It’ll certainly be a lot easier to cut it into a circle with my Dremel than actual glass! More rugged too.

DIY sound blimp project, commence

Scott and his Jacobson

Scott and his Jacobson

Having worked on a few sound stages, sets, and studios now, I felt the need for something to effectively suppress the rather loud shutter actuation and mirror slap of my D800. The “quiet mode” on that camera is a bit of a joke, and definitely does not cut it when sound is rolling on set. This limits when I can get behind-the-scenes/production shots without the audio crew wanting to murder me.

The classic solution is the industry-trusted Jacobson Sound Blimp, one of which Scott McDermott used on an on-location set of the NBC show The Moment that I assisted him on recently. It makes your camera look like something straight outta The Great War, which is both awesome and awful. There are no controls other than the shutter release button, and they cost almost a grand to buy.

Alternatively, and less effective, is a soft camera muzzle that I’ve seen ‘togs use at classical music concerts in auditoriums etc. The upside is that you can stick your hands into them and use all the controls. The downside is that you can still hear the mirror slap a few paces away. And you look like a sock puppeteer.

I cast about for other solutions, and came across several DIY tutorials based around a Pelican case, the best of which was this one. I love the fact it supports a removable extension tube for different-length lenses, so I can go long with my 70-200mm when I need to reach, or stick to my physically shorter 85mm prime when I want maneuverability and max light (both in photons and atoms). The fact that the whole rig ends up being completely waterproof is another huge plus for me (pool shoot ahoy!). So, without delay I ordered the Pelicase from B&H and raided my local Home Depot for the rest of the components needed:


Read More»

Green Street Realty Runway Show

Green Street Realty partnered up with Phoenix Fashion Week and put on their second fundraising fashion show on their offices’ lovely rooftop patio last month. The beneficiaries were Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Homes for our Troops, and everyone in attendance that spring evening.

Click below for the full gallery: