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.

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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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Carew Castle, South Wales, UK

While in the UK over the summer, I managed to get down to South Wales where they have some fantastic castles. One of my favourites is Carew Castle in Pembrokeshire and as the weather was so good I got out my trusty Canon XA10 and started shooting.

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Hawaii Rainbows

Well, this is the last of my recent Hawaii videos. One great thing about Hawaii is that there always seems to be a rainbow after a bit of rain. I did post some rainbow video after my last trip earlier this year but as rainbows always seem to bring a smile to everyone’s faces, I figure no harm in adding one more rainbow to the collection!

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Hawaii Sunset

As promised, here’s another video from my recent trip to Hawaii. This was one was taken at the beach outside the hotel Hale Koa, where I was staying. I had planned to make it a timelapse with the sun slowly dripping over the horizon but the beach was too busy and people kept walking in front of the shot so I eventually gave up and just filmed random scenes instead.

I had two versions made up with different background music but eventually decided on this one as it caught the mood better. Choosing the right music is always a big deal as it can really change the atmosphere of a clip. I have a big collection of royalty free music from Music 2 Hues, which is great as then I can choose music that fits the length of the video almost exactly – all I have to do then is choose which conveys the right mood for me. And that explains why you might sometimes hear the same piece of music on different video clips!

All the shots were filmed with a very lightweight travel Manfrotto tripod that I have but it’s really only good for static shots as there’s not enough accurate control for any other type of shots that I might want to try. It would be great if I could bring a slider with me on these trips but that just takes up too much room and I was already overweight with my luggage anyway!

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Hawaii Timelapse

Hi there! I’ve been a little inactive recently because of numerous overseas trips, with little opportunity to do much filming. I have, however, just come back from another trip to Hawaii and thanks to the jet-lag, I managed to wake up early enough to film a couple of morning timelapses to go along with the one’s I did during my last visit in April this year.

As always, I just let the camera run although I used a higher resolution this time as the morning colours looked fantastic and I really wanted to capture that. For some reason, there was a bit of stutter in the shots this time which I guess may have either been wind shaking the camera or perhaps the occupants of the next hotel room shaking the balcony when they went out to look at the sunrise too. I know it wasn’t me as I went straight back to bed after setting the camera to record! I managed to iron-out most of the stutter in iMovie with the stablization function but it’s still there if you look closely.

I’ll have a few more videos to add from Hawaii and my trip to the UK in the summer over the next few days once I add the final touches to the edits and post them up on Vimeo.

 

 

 

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Hawaii Scenes with the Canon xa10

This is the last of the Hawaii videos that I did, and was filmed mostly while visiting Kailua Beach Park, with a few additional clips from the beach facing the so-called Chinaman’s Hat, about 40 mins out of Honolulu..

Although I have another trip planned to Singapore in May, I doubt I’ll have much chance to do any filming so the next big trip will be in July when I visit the UK, so posts may be a bit sporadic for a while unless I can get out and about at the weekends here in Hong Kong.

 

 

 

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