Sydney Timelapse Videos

As promised in my last post, I did a few timelapse videos from my hotel balcony as well as Darling Harbour and then spliced them together to make them a little more interesting. My hotel room was a bit lower than the last time I stayed in Sydney so the view wasn’t quite a expansive or as impressive but I did at least have a shot overlooking Darling Harbour and the occasional bad weather did make for some spectacular effects with the clouds.

There were a couple of major thunderstorms over the days I filmed making it a bit risky to leave the camera outside, so I filmed through the windows a couple of times, which explains the occasional flashing red light reflected in the shot! 

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Sydney and Darling Harbour Scenes

I finally got around to finishing my Sydney video edits so I might as well share them here. I’ll start with the two videos I did of Sydney and Darling Harbour – two of my favourite places to hang out when in Sydney because the views are stunning, even on a bad day. Lucky for me, I had great weather, which made shooting a breeze.

My hotel was just a short walk to Darling Harbour so I usually started off there. It also makes getting to Sydney Harbour easy as they have a reasonably priced ferry service between the two locations, which gives you some great shots of both the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the Sydney Opera House.

I did also do a couple of timelapse videos from my hotel balcony so I’ll post them next time round.

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The Rocks, Sydney

Although there seems to be quite a big gap between my posts, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing any filming (although that could also be true too!!). In fact, I did quite a bit of filming while I was in Sydney but I wasn’t able to post any of my footage as I hit a gremlin when I tried to edit it once I was home and that set me back for quite a time while I tried to figure out what the problem was.

Essentially, when I tried to put my downloaded clips from the Event menu to the Project menu, they kept disappearing, no matter what I seemed to do. It became even more frustrating because I later filmed a school graduation and that all seemed to work perfectly!

Finally, in desperation and as a last resort, I copied all the footage from my Events folder to an external hard drive then reimported it back to iMovie. That seemed to do the trick as I was finally able to edit the footage in the Projects menu. Phew!

The clips that caused me all the problems to begin with were filmed in The Rocks, Sydney, so I guess I should post that one first!

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Cheddleton Steam Railway, UK

In the great tradition of Blue Peter, “here’s one I prepared earlier”! While in UK last year I drove up to the Steam Railway in Cheddleton hoping to take one of their train rides as I’m a big fan of steam trains.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t operating the day I visited so I had to contend myself with just a few shots of the trains in the sidings, which is why the video is pretty short and which is why I decided to go ahead and post it.


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E-Image 500KF Mini-Jib in Action

After going to all the trouble of dragging my new jib back to Hong Kong, it took me quite a while before I actually took it out for a spin! In the end I took it to one of my favourite places for filming: Peng Chau Island.

As the promotion material promised, it was really easy to set up as there are only really two parts to worry about: the tripod legs and the jib itself (quite a few of the other portable jibs only have the jib arm as they assume you’ll have your own tripod to attach it to. Personally, I like that everything is there in one easy package).

It did take me a while to work out the best weight to balance the jib but as I essentially used a couple of water bottles to put in the provided weight bags, it didn’t take long to adjust it so that it was balanced nicely. However, I did find that the weight bags did tend to swing a little when moving the jib so I had to make sure that the jib movements were as smooth and light as possible to avoid this happening as it really spoilt the shot if there was too much sway.

I did find that the camera head had to be monitored carefully though as it sometimes moved out of alignment and even twisted a little to the side, which again spoilt the shot. I was a bit disappointed that the jib range wasn’t as big as I’d hoped but when I later viewed the footage, I found that you didn’t really need a very long jib movement to have a pleasing jib effect.

Having the jib certainly added quite a few new shot movements to the scenes so I’m hoping to get out a bit more with it so I can get used to using it a little more. Obviously jibs aren’t very common here in Hong Kong as it generated a lot of stares from passers by who wondered what it was!

Here’s a video of my first effort, with hopefully more to come in the future!


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Video Gear Shopping Spree in Sydney!

Just got back from a week in Sydney where I went on a video shopping spree! You’d think, living here in Hong Kong, that I’d find everything I’d need video wise, but it’s really more geared to camera geeks than video geeks. There are a few good places if you know where to look but they’re often in far flung places and, with the space limitations, there’s only so much stuff you can find on display.

Which is why I love Sydney as they have a few really good video shops all in the Central Business District (CBD) area that have quite a good range of video products. The staff there are really helpful too. Perhaps a bit too helpful as they told me to go and visit Dragon Image, which is a short train hop away on Herbert Street (between St Leonards and Artamon stations).

They have a pretty good showroom there with a wide range of products on display so I immediately went into retail therapy mode and bought a bunch of items. My biggest purchase, though, and something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while was a jib. They had a nice lightweight E-Image 500KF Mini-Job Kit, which came complete with tripod legs and managed to fit into a nice, handy carry bag.

Despite some um-ing and ah-ing, I decided to go ahead with the purchase since the chance of me finding such a nice tidy package without having to get it sent over to Hong Kong from overseas (with all the additional postage costs!) was likely to be pretty remote.

I didn’t get to use it whilst in Sydney but I certainly plan to run it through its paces now that I’m back in Hong Kong (and once the weather improves!).


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Soho Scenes, Hong Kong 2014

Well, it’s official! Unless I’m either on holiday or on a trip, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to getting out my XA10 and doing some filming! I’ve been meaning to get out over the winter months to take advantage of the great weather but I seem to keep getting way-laid either in coffee shops or in the house!

But not anymore! With another great day last Sunday, I decided to head up to Soho in Central, Hong Kong, to do some filming along the mid-levels escalator. I’ve used it before and it’s a fun ride but I never had the XA10 with me so this time I made a concerted effort to get some decent shots.

It’s quite a popular location for big international movies (there’s a small clip in the Batman 2 movie, with Christian Slater) so it’s a well known photogenic spot. That said, it’s quite clumsy filming there as it’s always so busy and you do get some funny looks when you try to set up a shot.

That’s the great thing about a XA10 as it’s suitably discreet but still manages to get some great footage. It would have been nice to have a longer telephoto zoom (I don’t like using the digital zoom) as it would make catching some long distance shots even easier. Of course, the new XA20 and XA25 have a 20x zoom but I haven’t saved up enough to make the upgrade yet (and anyway, then I’d have to start this blog all over again as the XA20User!!).

One thing I really need to enhance my shots is either a jib (but what a rigmarole that would be and goodbye discrete shooting!) or one of those new brushless gimbals. Unfortunately, they are still pretty expensive but I’m checking the websites to see if the price goes down once they become more popular. I do have a slider and a portable steadycam but rarely take them with me as I have enough trouble going out with just the XA10.  Still, the stablisation function in iMovie does the trick (most of the time) and if it doesn’t I just get rid of the shot.

Anyway, here’s the latest video for your viewing!

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