Monday, 26 December 2011

Explaining Aperture for my Aunt, Caroline

Aunt Caroline is doing a filmography course, and she recently decided to get a DSLR Camera (Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera) as a way of learning about the technical side of photography and filming. So she asked me the other day to explain what the aperture is. I'm no expert but I've read up enough and experienced enough to at least know the basics. So here I made a small crappy tutorial (left click it, then right click, view image to save):

About Bokeh
More information about Aperture

Video comparing Auto Focus and Manual Focus when video recording:
This is using the 18-55mm kit lens with my Canon 550D. Set at the lowest f/n (f/3.5-f/5.6).

While it requires more effort, you can clearly see and hear the benefits of manually focusing your camera when filming. This is when you can also take Aperture into consideration. If you set your aperture to a high f/n (so there is a wider depth of field) you will get less blur in your capture than you see in the above video. And therefore have less problems with focusing.

Video Mode

To do this with your Canon 550D or 600D, look for the video setting 'Movie Exposure' and set it to Manual. Then it will follow your manual settings. You can change your ISO and Aperture like usual. To preview your settings when in Video Mode, gently hold down the snap shot button.

This of course entirely depends on the capability of your lens and the conditions you are shooting in. If it's very dark, you probably won't be able to widen the aperture all that much. Also recently I discovered (since I don't film much with my DSLR) that the camera will stop your video if the conditions are really too bad to film in (aka you've set it so that the film is too dark). I suggest taking a bit of time to fiddle and experiment in the area you are filming. I hope it's in sunny weather!

For good Camera and Lens reviews, I recommend this!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas! Hot Pot?

Every Christmas, we gather our friends and family at our take away shop to set up something called Hot Pot. My friends keep asking me what it is. So this year I decided to film it and explain in a short video. This usually happens at around 12midnight of Christmas Eve, so we eat well into Christmas Day and pack up by 2AM, to play Mahjong. Well, my parent's friends play mahjong not me.

We had two cool special guests this Christmas; Christian and Peilin came to join us.
From left to right, here is Christian, Andrew (my small cousin), Peilin (my brother’s online friend from Holland) and Darren (my brother). My dad is at the back enjoying his Hot Pot meal!

Around 2AM, Peilin and Darren were ready to go, but we stuck around a little since Christian wanted to view the ‘pros’ playing Mahjong- he was pretty impressed and even thought that the moves they were making seemed accidental, but was just their way of moving tiles quickly.

My parents' friends playing Mahjong, well until early morning.

On the same night, my pretty Aunt Caroline asked me to teach her a little bit about the DSLR. This is probably a post I will make for the next day on a different blog.
Finally another post, for our dinner on Christmas night, I’ll be showing what our special Chinese dinners are like.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


Today, I tried out a Cintiq 21UX at my university (which quite ironically do not let students use). And I was amazed beyond amazed. This stuff costs almost £2000 if you can get it somewhere else, it can even be £1500 but still... Jesus. I felt skeptic towards the Cintiq, now I see why it's such a big deal.

When I came back home, I went straight onto my Intuos4 tablet (medium size), to try to quickly compare. And obviously it completely dominated it. However I have not too much trouble with my current tablet, I notice whatever I draw on the Cintiq is quicker, and comes out correctly. Unlike trying to draw without seeing, or when your monitor is a different widthXheight ratio as your tablet. I realise.... Cintiq is totally the way to go.

12WX is a smaller and cheaper Cintiq, and I was considering saving for that but the 21UX was so bloody impressive, I don't know what to think.