Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shooting with the 7d and Profoto D1's Silicon Valley Roller Girls vs San Diego Derby Dolls and Tacoma's Dockyard Derby Dames

     The Girls from Silicon Valley had their first bout of the season tonight against San Diego Derby Doll's "Hard Corps" and Tacoma Washington's Dockyard Derby Dames. I've been wanting to test out Canon's 7d and the new 1d Mark IV along with Profoto's D1 Air system, so I rented the 7d and the D1's from in San Mateo. (The Mark IV was unavailable... I'll get to that camera soon) I found the focusing system on the 7d to be pretty impressive as I was able to track the skaters pretty easily as they were moving toward me. I seemed to lose focus as they travelled laterally in front of me around the turn. I think however it may have been due to low light levels and maybe a rapid change in direction of the skaters. I will test this further at the Santa Cruz Derby Girls venue this weekend which is well lit.  

     The Canon 7d has the ability to shoot Full Resolution HD video. I found it awkward to operate the 7d as a video camera having to look at the screen at the back of the camera instead of through an optical viewfinder. Manual focusing was diffilcult, especially when shooting a moving subject like Roller Derby. I think the best way to operate the 7d as a video camera is to set it up like a motion picture camera with a follow focus unit and an assistant to pull focus. Companies like Redrock Micro make  DSLR support systems that allows you to do this. This is something I definately will use due to my background in Cinematography. Overall the 7d is a remarkable camera, and is priced under 2K. I am pretty excited to get my  hands on the 1d Mark IV to see what that camera can do.

"Shooting HD Video"  Photo Courtesy of Jim Cottingham
     I want to be able to set up and control multiple lights wirelessly at the various Roller Derby bouts I shoot. Profoto's Air system I believe is the solution to what I want to do. I rented a pair of these lights and was able to control their intesities using a remote without having to go to each light physically to do so. This isn't a big deal in the studio, however if you have lights rigged high up or on tall light stands all over an arena it becomes to be a pain. Using Profoto's Air Remote I was able to dial in exactly the light levels I wanted standing on the track rather than running back and forth from the track to the light. Using Profoto's Studio air and the USB Air Remote, you can control multiple lights from your laptop wirelessly. This means I can have different lighting setups preprogrammed  and ready depending on where I want to shoot on the track.

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