Shooting and Shooting

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Whenever the opportunity arises to fire a rather large gun at watermelons and 2-liter bottles of soda, you do not hesitate. You take the job right away.

We recently shot a ballistics test video for our client, UPI Manufacturing, featuring a high-powered weapon and their ballistics material. To show the results if you were not using their product, we used watermelons and soda bottles. An explosive demonstration to say the least.

Of course we had to bring our RED ONE along to capture it in beautiful 120 frames per second. This gave us the chance to show these marvelous explosions in slow motion. We compiled the footage and delivered to UPI for use in a trade show environment.

From the beginning of the project we could feel that this video could be more “movie trailer”-like with suspenseful music and an aggressive color grade. It fit perfectly for the shots we captured that day and turned out great.

Enough talk, I’ll let the video speak for itself.

September 16, 2013 · Posted by in video  

It’s been a while since I posted about making a camera mount, but since I made another one this week, I thought I should share.


Maybe you saw this photo over on our Facebook page, or maybe you saw Jason on the slopes at Grand Geneva. Either way, you may have noticed some weird camera things going on.

The first one is the Nikon D800 he’s holding, which has a GoPro camera mounted on top of it. I made that one a few months back, partly as a joke, but knowing full well it would come in useful someday.

Helmet Mount

GoPro actually sells a lot of great accessories, including some adhesive mounts that work well on helmets. Jason wasn’t sure he wanted to stick one on his helmet so we came up with another solution.

Female Mount

I’d 3D printed a few of these female mounts before, but they also expect you’ll be using some adhesive to stick them. I left the office around 6pm and told him I’d have something the next day.

Female Mount with Plate

I figured Jason might be OK with some zip ties attached to his helmet, so I spent a few minutes doing some 3D modeling and added a plate beneath the mount. I then printed it on a RepRap 3D Printer, and had a nice camera mount for him to use just a few hours after we first talked about it.

I totally guessed on the size of the plate and the placement of the holes since I didn’t have a helmet to test it with. We ended up drilling two more holes to get a good fit on his helmet, but adding more holes to the file and printing it again would be trivial.

3D Printing really is an amazing technology. You might say to yourself “Why would a branding firm need a 3D printer?” Take it from me, once you have one, you find a lot of uses for it. :)

March 28, 2013 · Posted by in misc, photo, video  

It’s heeere… after quite the wait, Z2’s highly anticipated Nikon D800 is in the house (office). And it’s been worth the wait. The D800 has created a huge buzz in the video community and we’re proud to add it to our collection. The camera features the latest technology, including superb light sensitivity, high quality drop focus, and increased lens compatibility.

The D800 rounds out Z2’s full range of video capabilities, from on-the-go social media videos shot with an iPhone to the cinema quality capabilities of the RED ONE. Here’s a quick look at some videos we’ve shot with our various equipment.

iPhone. Behind the scenes footage from a photo shoot for Hilton Milwaukee. Shot and edited same day.

Panasonic HD. Holz Motors Gotta Dance Music Video.

RED ONE. Glue Dots DRTV.

Can’t wait to see what the D800 can do for our clients!

July 3, 2012 · Posted by in video  

There are no photos involved like last time, but I still consider this a certain sort of a challenge.

In my years at Z2 Photo I’ve learned that being a photographer means being resourceful, and sometimes that means solving problems quickly–really quickly–like, before anyone else even realizes there is a problem.

So with that in mind, I tweeted the following question:

photographers, you're in a hotel room, you have just your camera & speedlight... quickly name 5 items you could use as a light diffuser. Go!

I had already thought of a few items I would use as a light diffuser, but was really interested to see what others might come up with.

More Tweets

I’m not convinced that every item listed would function as a “diffuser” but it was great to see the ingenuity of people. :)

Thanks to everyone who answered my question!

April 7, 2011 · Posted by in misc, photo  

Just over one week ago, I decided it was time to ditch the Blackberry Curve for something a little more, well, up on the times. Sorry Blackberry, but you just haven’t been meeting my technology needs. This girl needs apps!

But I didn’t just choose a new phone on a whim. I did some serious research. Okay, I hassled my tech-savvy friends into doing research for me and took their opinions seriously.

I left Verizon feeling pretty darn happy about my little device: the HTC Thunderbolt. And then it hit me – with a 4.3-inch screen and 8MP camera with dual-LED flash, I can pretty much say “adios” to my little digital camera.

Why would I carry around an extra device when my phone can basically do the same job just as well? Oh, and my phone has built-in memory of 8MB and a microSD card with 32GB of storage. So I’ve got plenty of room. Plus, I can upload to Facebook and Twitter right from my phone, which is more than I can say about my weeny point-and-shoot.

Oh, and my phone has something else that my camera doesn’t – apps. Photo editing apps. Now, I haven’t had a ton of time to play around with these apps, but the following photos were taken using a few that I’ve discovered and liked. Oh, and since I don’t like paying for, um, anything… they’re all free apps.

Meet Todd, today’s photo model. He was a present from @MKEnerd, who you should be following on Twitter for a daily laugh or two. This photo was taken with Camera360, which offers a variety of photography modes, including color shift, effects, scenery and even funny effects. What’s nice is that you can edit pictures later, after you’ve taken them. Not nice? The constant pressure to buy the premium app for $4.

I’m a sucker for anything that looks old, so I was pretty psyched when I was able to make Todd look like he came from, well, the Jurassic Period. Yes, I know they didn’t have cameras back then. Go with it. Anyway, this was taken with Little Photo, which also gives the user a bajillion options for effects and such. Sharing the photo on FB or Twitter is also really simple with this app.

Purple Todd! This photo was taken using Vignette, one of the most talked about photo apps. Although I do like this app, you don’t get to preview what the photo will look like with a certain effect before you commit to it. I found myself going back again and again to pick different looks. Granted, there are a lot of effect options. And I bet the user experience is better with the paid versions. Darn teaser free versions!

And last but not least was a photo taken with the picplz app. This one requires you to set up an account, unlike the others, but it’s really conducive to social sharing which is nice. It has less effect options than the others, but the user experience is really nice. The photo takes up most of the screen, but on the right you can scroll through thumbnails of different effects, which I like. And it looks like I can use this in conjunction with Camera360 or Vignette, but I’ll have to do a bit more playing around to see how that works.

And yes, I’m very aware that I’m a writer, not a photographer. So please don’t judge my photo-taking skills too harshly!

Anyway, with simple (and free) apps like these and the higher quality cameras on smartphones, are you also saying “farewell” to your point-and-shoot digital cameras?

April 5, 2011 · Posted by in misc, photo  

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