Nikon and Sony DSLR Production May Be Delayed

Nikon and Sony DSLR Production May Be Delayed for Months Due to Thai Floods.

The factory that made 90% of Nikon SLR cameras is underwater, and the plant that makes Sony DSLRs is apparently surrounded by flood waters but not, itself, flooded. (Another report says the Sony plant is underwater.) The Canon inkjet printer factory is underwater. Saw a Getty Images photos showing the plant underwater.

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“How smartphones are changing digital photography”

How smartphones are changing digital photography: Digital Photography Review.

Smart phones are largely replacing the point and shoot low end cameras. Will they move further up the camera tree to higher end functionality? Probably. But in the mean time, a lot of smart phone customers are now looking at the higher end “bridge” cameras that include many manual overrides, long zoom lenses, and generally better photo and video capabilities.

Stereo shot gun mic test clip

Test of my stereo shot gun mic set up – handholding the shotgun mic array in my left hand and holding my Canon HV30 and Beachtek audio mixer in my right hand. Not ideal, but an amusing little test clip. These birds were about 30 feet away from me, with a several hundred foot cliff just beyond. Pointing the long shotguns in that direction picks up some background noise – just noise – that is the city, miles away, bouncing off the cliffs. There is also a good sized stream behind me – they call it a river – which creates some background noise too.

I’ll try to eventually get a photo of the shotgun array set up. It’s two AT835b, 18 inch long shotguns, mounted in the crossed XY configuration. The mount is made from some PVC plumbing hardware, a piece of wood, and a paint roller handle – super high tech, the latest bit of Hollywood gadgetry, for sure. Or may be not. But its cheap and it works!


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Sound recording – and the need to avoid screaming kids!

An Audio-Technica AT815a shotgun microphone
Image via Wikipedia

As I have decided to pay much more attention to the sounds in my environment, today I took a pleasant hike along a meandering river – more of a big wide stream, really.

From a sound perspective it had great potential – burbling water, crickets, frogs, squirrels and chipmunks chirping, ducks and birds. Now that I pay attention to sound, I begin to hear interesting things everywhere.

But as my luck would have it, being a Sunday afternoon, I managed to time my hike in between several groups of screaming children. They had only one volume – FULL. A full quarter mile away and I could hear them fine with my own ears.

Twice I stopped to set up for sound recording – with a shotgun mic, a Canon HV30 camcorder, a Beachtek audio mixer, and an 18 inch shotgun mic. And twice I had to give up. If my ears could hear the screaming, imagine what that sounded like in a sensitive mic.

I learned something today – if trying to record natural environment sounds, I need to so so on weekday mornings, free of screaming kids. I had not planned today’s hike out very well, from an audio standpoint.

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NeatVideo version 3 is available has introduced version 3 of their fantastic noise reduction application and plug in for various video editing systems.

Version 3 is available as a half price upgrade for most version 1 and 2 users; recent purchases of version 2 in 2011 may be eligible for an even greater discount. Contact them for information if you fall into that latter group.

From my first quick tests version 3, on my quad core editing system, seems to run about 4x faster than version 2. Prior to this upgrade, NeatVideo required almost an hour per minute of HD video. With version 3, this now runs in just over 15 minutes. Of course, for any lengthy video noise clean up, I let the process run overnight.

NeatVideo examines the noise characteristics of your camera (as reflected in a noise sample of the video) and uses that information to produce excellent noise reduction on most scenes. My own experience is that it works best on film-like grain, the very fine bits that dance around and are especially noticeable in dark areas or in broad areas of contant color (like the sky).

Most noise reduction techniques are primitive in comparison to NeatVideo. Most NR methods just average pixels together within a frame or between frames, which tends to reduce the resolution, turning images to a seemingly plastic look. NeatVideo does not work that way and does a far better job.

I have not used NeatVideo on high ISO (high video gain) images. I know that some use it this way and are pleased with the results. Regardless, if you need to clean up some image noise or, like me, you like clean video whenever possible, I very much recommend use of NeatVideo, with the caveat that for HD, in particular, a multi-core processor (and now supporting GPUs too) and plenty of time is needed for best results.

Usage suggestion: Because NeatVideo takes a lot of time, and editing can require cleaned up video clips to be re-rendered and cleaned up again, I do all my editing first. And then typically apply NeatVideo to the final video just prior to output.

If I only apply NeatVideo to selected short clips, I do not worry about this. But when lengthy clips or an entire video could use some cleanup, I apply NeatVideo as my very last step in the editing workflow, before I produce my output files.

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