Sunday, October 3, 2010

Modeling and inspiration

Hello dear followers. Lots of love from UK.
Yesterday the weather was fantastic. We were walking in The Shire which looks EXACTLY like from the beginning of Lord of the Rings. Remember that scene where Frodo first sees the Ringwraiths?

As you know I have been focusing more on model photographing of late. Natalie and I had a fantastic 2 day session. I'm going to be posting images that inspire me and break them appart why they work. My home is that we can all be inspired and learn from these photos.

Lets start with the picture below:

So why does this image works?
- This image is all about contrasts. These strong contrasts sends conflicting messages to you making you wonder.
- The contrast between her bare nudity and the sharp shoes, mixture of smooth curves and then such a sharp spike.
- The composition. Notice the way the body is bending, almost like an s shape, all ending in her shoes which is like an arrow pointing straight down. Also notice that the shoes are in the exact center of the image.
- Story. She looks as if she is protecting herself from something. Is it from a lover, or is she just upset, maybe she is nervous about some performance she is going to do. Could she be working in Paris as an exotic dancer?
- Contrast between colors. For me what makes this really works is the contrast between black and white and the strong colors.

Now, what do you all think?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New Times

Hello dear art club members.
Every time we have met has been a great success and an amazing amount of fun. Thank you all for the good times!

So what have I been up to the last month? Well since I've been working with art I have made lots of artistic things. This little teaser movie is one of the projects I'm working with.
What my group creates is the snow, the water, the rain, the dust, the animations in the environment, the birds, the butterflies and water splashes glinting in the air:
(play it in 720 HD if you can)
It's fantastic when you see your creating create a breathing live world in front of your eyes.

So what is going to happen for the future? Anything exciting going on?
Well, here are the things planned from my side:
  • Much increased information on the blog. I want this blog to be a center place for artistic people. For learning, sharing, but also for finding new friends. You will soon see new things coming up here! If you have anything to share, cool paintings, drawings, photos, please do so and I promise to do the same. I have so much to share, I will soon begin with one at a time.

  • New Art Club Meeting. I'm proposing a new artsy meeting in the Copenhagen/Malmö Area. We just need to nail a date. I have some interesting ideas for projects we could work on. This could be either fall photography or it could be a continuation of our old drawing excersize.

Best wishes. Create art.... with passion!

But before we go separate ways, an image of inspiration...

This painting is based on La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keat. These old romantic paintings inspire me greatly, you have mystic nature, beautiful clothing and a heroic story in the background.


Monday, April 12, 2010

It's alive!

Apparently not only bears go to hibernation, but also certain art blogs. But luckily the spring is upon us and we are back with fresh ideas and inspiration!

So Saturday, the 17th of April we are going to have some very geeky artistic fun at my place in Malmö. Most of us can't seem to get over the experience of movie-making (still have vivid dreams of tearing teddy bears apart, going through the same quarrel scenes so many times that the bad words start to come up all by themselves, and not to forget the other very movie unrelated stuff that was recorded in uncensored pictures). So... after a very short discussion with Alyona, we came up with an idea of making a new movie!

See you all on Saturday! And a very special thought goes to our member of honor Andreas (who has traded us for England). We are going to miss you.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Canon 7D Video Analysis

I recently bought a Canon 7D.
For photographing it seems to be a wonderful camera. The auto focus works fine, and there is a ton of features that I'm sure will be very useful.

What is the purpose of this analysis?
- To find out strength and weaknesses of the 7D for filming. I'm focusing mostly on the negative sides since there is very little information about this on the net but tons of talk about how amazing videos it can create.
- make sure that people who consider using a 7D for video knows about the limitations.
- Illustrate problems so that Canon can find technical solutions to these problems.
- Find alternative cameras for filming.

Please do remember I love Canon cameras, but I do wish that the filming would be a bit more solid.

One of my main reasons for buying the 7D was to use it for filming nature films. Filming with an SLR compared to a camcorders have many benefits:
- short depth of field if you wish
- plenty of lenses to pick from. Zoom lenses, 50mm 1.4 etc.
- very high bitrate, almost 50Mbit.
- filters can be easily reused
- you can use it for both photos and filming.
- 1080p, 720 60fps slow motion.
- high quality images. Or is it? That is what we will look at.

Full Resolution
There are many videos on the net which shows videos filmed with 5D and 7D in very high quality. However almost all of these are shown in medium resolution like 800x600. What do these movies really look like in 100% resolution 1920x1080, 1280x720.

While filming with 500D I found many problems with the quality. Some of the problems are:
- extreme chromatic abberation. This means that there are very strong color shifts around contrast areas such as trees.
- alias. Jaggy corners and details.
- blurriness. The details are simply lacking.
- the camera is not so great as you would think in low light but feature strong noise.

High ISO
The image below shows ISO 3200 in a out of focus area. As you can see the noise is very strong, making it nearly useless.

ISO 100, 100mm 2.8 Macro at at f/6.
This lens is extremely sharp so the image should be as perfect as it can be.
The image illustrates that the details are blurry, there is chromatic abberation and in areas like the ceilings there simply isn't much detail.

1280x720. 60fps. Pretty high ISO (1000-2000 I think).
This images looks good. No problems here. Sometimes the films look fine and sometimes they look very weak. Not sure why, but it seems to have to do with contrast, light and patterns.
Market Details
1280x720 60fps can be nearly useless at times.
This market image has extreme aliasing, sometimes the pixels are double making a very chunky feel. Lines can also have a strong stair pattern. The details on the ground were also very weak and tiny stones kept popping in and out of the image.

Market Full Image
This is the full image of the market. 17-85IS. ISO is auto so it's pretty high. The lens may not be L quality but surely it should be good enough for shooting a scene in daylight without extreme alias artifacts.

As a summary the 720p 60fps creates often very weak material.
1080p is better but also has problems with detail.

What is the source of these problems?
The sensor of 7D has 18Mpixels, while the movie has only about 2Mpixels. The way the cpu deals with this is that it simply skips a lot of the lines or pixels in the sensor. So many pixels are not used, this will cause the jaggy lines and general lack of detail.

This was the first days testing of the Canon 7D. I hope to do more tests in the following week.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Macro Flowers

Hiya all. As you probably know I bought the Canon 100mm 2.8 lens a while ago.
I really like taking pictures of flowers, up close there is just so much beauty and detail that you never appreciate normally.

These are my latest macro works.

The picture below is about 4cm big in my mothers garden. I shot hand held used an aluminium foil reflector to create the strong glare of light in the water drops. Thanks mom for holding the reflector :D
The picture has been cropped pretty strongly so it's only about a third of the original size. I hope to process this in Photoshop quite extensively.

(click to see full frame)

A cute little blu flower, about 2cm big, this is the original size from the camera. I took some shots where the background is more blurry, I plan on replacing this background with the blurriness. I took about 50 different images of this flower because I could sense that there was a perfect shot in it. Another shot showing a bit of sky had even better composition but since that one was handlheld it wasn't sharp enough. I shot this picture with a tripod at f/16 ISO 100. I also used tiny ropes to hold the flower upright.
This flower is about 3cm. It's shot handheld and you can see a bit of the reflector to the left. I plan on painting it away. The reflector makes a big difference in the highlights.

Currently I'm investigating how to come even closer with Macro (without spending a fortune).
Any comments are welcome.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Canon 5D Mark2 vs 500D vs HF 200 video

The last year I've been doing nature filming more and more serious. The products I do I publish on blu ray in 1080p (1920x1080) resolution and because of this resolution the quality demands are very high. A picture from my latest Blu Ray about Norway (still in production).

It has proved to be nearly impossible to get a good understanding of what camera is indeed the "best" for filming, for this reason I've been forced to begin testing myself. These are the findings...

Edit: A few images cannot be shown in full size, this will be fixed later today.

I'm comparing:
  • Canon 500D ($900) (this is my current camera) with 24-105 F4 L lens
  • Canon 5D ($2700) with 24-105 F4 Lens
  • Canon HF200 ($600) Legria which one of canons latest camcorder.
The reason why I'm comparing these cameras is that they are all cameras I consider using. The 5D is the expensive solution which can both film and take amazing pictures. I only brought the HF200 for the test because a friend had one laying around and was much surprised by the results.

What are MY requirments?
Many filmers using 5D etc love the feature to make shallow depth of field. This means that the picture can focus at a detail and everything in the background is blurry. I mainly film wide landscapes and for this reason I don't need depth of field, instead I need the image to be as sharp as possible.

Why not use a video camera instead?
If you read this you may wonder why we shouldn't buy a video camera straight away. Well, that could be a good idea, but the slr cameras have many benefits for filming. For example video cameras that has replacable lenses are VERY expensive. By using a camera like 500D its possible to switch lenses without paying that much money. Also if you look for depth of field for doing artistic filming you must buy an expensive camera with a big sensor. The slr cameras of course also has the benefit of being super for taking photos!

Quality Problems
The main reason for my comparisons is that I'm having problems with the video quality of the 500D. The main problems are:
  • the video is always blurry. As you will see in the images below you will see that the images are far from sharp.
  • 1080 can only record 20fps, which makes any motion be a bit jerky. 720 is too low resolution for me.
  • No manual controls, this means that you have no idea what apperture, shutter time or iso the camera will select for you.
I filmed with the same lens (5D and 500D) and zoomed so that they would capture a similar area using a tripod. I set the 5D to F8 (possibly a bit higher, can't remember) and ISO 100 to get the maximum quality. For the 500D I tried to mimic the look of 5D as close as I could adjusting the exposure compensation. Every image has been focused with Live View at 10x to make sure the focusing is as exact as possible.

The pictures are screen grabbed from Quicktime (5D and 500D) and saved from Photoshop with 100% quality Jpegs. The HF200 is captured from the latest version of VLC with deinterlation turned on.

The Canon 500D Image looks like this (click to see full size):



As you can see the images look quite different. The 500D is a bit brighter than the other cameras, if I would film again I would try to make it a bit less bright. I'm also using 1 step extra sharpness and saturation on the 500D. I later learned that the contrast can insert big artifacts so I'm not using the extra sharpness anymore.

Lets look at the images in more detail:

Tree Image
The HF200 has a very nice image. It looks much like real life. Maybe there are some details that feels a bit off, I think this is because of the deinterlacing. The 5D looks nice, but you can see that it's a bit more blurry than the HF200 even though its supposed to be in focus.
The 500D suffers from very strong blurriness. Look at the leaves, it looks like they are smeared together.

Tree Trunc image
I don't think any of the pictures below looks very good. The HF200 looks the best once again. Both the 5D and 500D has a blurry tree trunc while the HF200 looks like a sharp line. Also the high lights in the bushes are too sharp in the picture from 5D and the grass doesn't have the same amount of detail as HF200. The 500D looks horrible, like an oil painting maybe. If you look closely at the tree trunc there is noise visible, blue and red splotches to the right of the tree trunc. It also looks a bit like chromatic abberation which doesn't make any sense at all. In other films I've done I noticed chromatic abberation that I never see in photos and also light shadows around details with high contrast.

Bike and sand
The HF200 looks better for the most part. You can see some bleeding around the red details on the bike. There isn't that much detail in the sand for the HF200.
The 5D sand has plenty of detail but the tree leaves are not sharp, the bike isn't very sharp either, especially the tyre.
The 500D is very blurry like the other images and there is very little detail on the sand.

Why isn't 5D and 500D better?
They both have some of the best glass in the world while HF200 has a very cheap glass, they also have super big sensors so one would think that the images should look fantastic. The 5D takes pictures in 24Mp, the 500D in 15Mp, this is where good glass is the most important, however for filming only 2Mp is used so the good glass is almost "wasted". It's only when you reach high megapixels that you will begin to see the problems with cheaper glass.

What makes a far bigger difference is:
  • how the sensor captures light for the film. No information exists about this outside Canonbut it is known that Canon doesn't use all the sensors while capturing film. I read that 5D uses every 3rd sensor and 500D uses every 5th. This of course means that the sensor is not at all as efficient as one may think judging by its size.
  • The 500 suffers greatly from having manual controls. I suspect that the 500D picks 16F apperture and iso 1600 or higher even for daylight situations. This would explain the strong noise and blurriness.
  • Film technology is not mature on slr cameras. This is also shown in the settings and also reflected in the quality.
In this example the 500D showed that its film is not comparable at all to cheaper camcorders when it comes to sharpness. Remember that the 500D can still do many things a camcorder cannot (like switching lenses and having shallow depth of field). However this goes both ways, a camcorder can also do many things like focusing automatically which the 500D cannot. I have used the 500D for many months of filming and this behaviour of blurry images and chromatic abberation is very consistent.

For this situation the 5D is also having problems with sharpness. If you have done other films in other areas please don't hesitate to show your results and conclusions for me. I think that in general the 5D will not be able to create super sharp images in videos at a 1:1 zoomed in 1080p movie.
The Canon 7D comes with several new features, hopefully it can film sharper images than the 5D by using 2 chips to process hopefully even more sensors.

How can this test be improved
Testing hardware to give a fair comparison is not an easy thing. This test is quite good, but there is always room for improvement. To give a more clear comparison these are things that could be done:
- Low light environment. I found that the 500D was very poor in low light which I had not expected. A 2 year old Canon camcorder beat it big time. I expect the 5D to be the clear winner in dark areas.
- Comparing with a still picture. I should have one for this test and will update if I find it. It's very illuminating.
- Different environments. For example humans.
- P on camcorder and not interlaced if possible
- Adjust the sharpness and saturation sliders so they are more aligned.
- Take more care in making the strength of light identical.

So what Camera should I buy for filming?
Personally I'm still confused. It's clear that the 500D isn't good enough. The 5D is much better but still has some problems and is very expensive. Myself I will probably get a Canon HF200 and next year invest in Red Scarlet, a video camera that can record in 3k resolution with 120fps in raw format. It will cost about $4000-$7000 equiped which of course is very expensive but should also have a way higher quality than the Canon cameras (only time will tell).
If the 7D is a bit sharper than 5D then it's worth considering to upgrade to this camera also.

If you have any comments or more information please don't hesitate to contact me.
/Andreas Öberg

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Hello dear followers!

Saturday, the 29th of August there will be held a very cool competition in Copenhagen - Photomarathon! I will definitly participate, but it could be cool to join forces together to come to the top or just to have lots of fun. I hope you will find it interesting :)

Here is the homepage with all information needed:

Hugs, Natalie