Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Greener Planet a Greener Conscience

Well it's been an interesting month and it all wound down with a few meetings involving some great alliances and great organizations. OCTOS, NOAA and DOTGREEN Foundation all came together and hopefully with a goal to improve communication as well as recognize and work with environmental hotspots on planet Earth and starting right here in the U.S.

The all too often scenario of environmentally concerned government agencies NOT WORKING TOGETHER is all to apparent these days and one of my missions is to end this paradigm. I firmly believe that 2014 will be a major wake-up call to the world's governments that it's citizens are outraged over the destruction and neglect of our planet.
DOTGREEN Foundation appears to be at the forefront of our planets needed mantra,  "Preservation, Restoration and Innovation" both in harmony with the philosophy of a Green and Sustainable world!

I feel as a natural history filmmaker that my mission is to not only capture nature's plight but also to promote, inform, demonstrate and motivate industry, government and the general public with meaningful films. The current events that have significant impact on the welfare of our planet and ALL that occupy it are the primary subject of the films that we set out to create!

Climate Change-Global Warming, Natural and Human-made disasters like the Gulf of Mexico, Fukashima and more are devastating our environment.

All of these events are disrupting our lives right now.  Radiation is in the food chain in the Pacific and on course for a worldwide tour... The Gulf of Mexico is experiencing health issues and more on the way due to the Deepwater Horizon spill. Rising seas are leaching toxins into our Oceans as well as breaking down the infrastructure along all populated coastal areas. Coral reefs are dying at accelerated rates! We have been warned for decades. The time to act is NOW. Procrastination is over!

Margaret Mead once said "look in your own backyard. " A great philosophy for our planet, a solid mantra for individuals to act and join hands through community efforts as well. One problem, we have gone far beyond a ground roots effort...We are running out of time. The mighty dollar will take a beating so there is no longer any excuse for the Governments and wealthy interest entities to sit back and say everything will be fine. That luxury is over, believe me, it's OVER. It's time to bring a world-wide united effort together to act!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tropical Storm KAREN and the GULF of MEXICO and the OIL

OK OK, so whatever happened to "Deepwater Rising"with all the Gulf footage we shot. Well we are still reeling over it, no pun intended...had to throw that in to honor good ole Mike deGruy's sense of humour! I have been i contact with many activists in the Gulf including Trisha Springstead, Riki Ott and others still fighting the good fight on our behalf. Recent events ie Tropical Storm Karen
may very well stir up the muck if it hit's the area hard, especially down at Grand Isle. Fact is the OIL IS STILL DOWN THERE in the deepwater so says Dr. Samantha Joye and other notable scientists. It is NOT going away anytime soon as many would have us believe. There are still severe health risks to those who live and partake near the areas that were bombarded by dispersants. Yes it's old news but weather and currents may very well make it todays news so standby....

Hopefully the information we gathered and the footage will be used in a more informative documentary based on the the Gulf of Mexico's history so again standby for that info too and we'll keep you updated...

Heading back to Kauai for more footage on Reefs

Cyanobacteria killing off Brown Rice Coaral
Well it's been a world wind Summer and now Autumn rolling in already! Heading back to meet with locals regarding the latest reef ravaging by hmmm let's see:


The flow of radiation from Fukashima
Looking for a rainbow in here somewhere and will help with a video to address the current situation and the need for testing, ie FUNDING! Looking at a music benefit as well to raise funds for testing. The sooner we determine the CAUSE(s), see list above items 1-6, the sooner we can figure out a remediation plan for the reefs.

Latest I heard was the EPA received over $7.25 million from fines levied against an offender on Kauai who basically killed off a watershed a couple years ago. So why is the EPA so incredibly non-responsive to what's going on with the Hanalei river and it's overdose of Mud? Why aren't they
removing all the HAU bush along the banks of the river?? For detailed info definitely click here.

I'll let you know how the trip goes...

Monday, May 27, 2013


UPDATE: You can add the Big Island to the mystery as well! Check it out here. The situation that is taking place on the North shores of Kauai reads like a movie thriller or a Clive Cussler novel. Real bad guys, government officials turning a blind eye to subdue the story behind a real pathogen wreaking destruction in the tropics and most certainly it will become a health risk to humans. Anini's reef system is collapsing as you are reading this.

Check out this video:

Kauai's North shore coral reefs are in severe peril, they are under attack and losing the battle at an alarming rate.  The suspects range from the Navy's underwater sonar blasting to leaching and runoff of heavy metals, pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals from previously used agriculture lands to global warming and rising seas! Perhaps all combined and breaking down the Corals resistance.

Terry explaining the situation to me.
A Blue-Green algae, aka cyanobacteria is the organism that is currently destroying the corals and leaving behind dead zones and brown ocean water with a pungent odor. It was first discovered by our local hero, Terry Lilley, a biologist, marine critter "Whisperer" and eco-minded whistle blower! For his efforts he has been rewarded with a beating resulting in a broken arm, shots being fired in his vicinity and the latest a mysterious heart attack. Mind you Terry is an avid surfer and diver in peak physical condition! He has repeatedly subjected himself to daily dives and water excursions in now murky and perhaps toxic waters on the North Shore.

Terry's portable roaming Lab
Almost on a weekly basis now entire coral habitats once thriving with an abundance of sea life and clear blue pristine waters are morphing into dead zones, oxygen deprived regions of ocean due to the die off. The bacteria is pervasive, it has jumped species from one coral colony to another and it even has company. Another bacteria that appears as a black band on the leading edge of destruction mowing down coral as voraciously as the host it precedes! The amount of reef consumed in a month equates to over 10-15 years of natural coral growth!

The story has been in the news and you can see by clicking on the active links. L.A Times, Hawaii Reporter, Garden Island,  on radio, on several network news programs and both NOAA and the USGS are now involved...

Terry's home & HQ
There is far more to this story then proverbial "Meets the eye" and On the Wave Productions is moving forward to seek out the cause along with Terry, NOAA, USGS and more scientists who are coming onboard! So stay tuned for more details! We were there in April, July and August and will return again in October for more filming and investigating!

Please check out Terry's foundation at and donate to this noble cause.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

AERIAL CAMERA COPTERS Cinestar 8, Quadcopter, Black Armored Drone, FlightCopter, Schiebel.

Which one's for you...
Having returned from NAB and seeing an incredible amount of aerial machines,  QUADs Hex, OCTO, ie. 4, 6, 8 & 12 blade copters soaring with everything from GoPro's to Reds to SONY cams I feel inspired, no make that obligated to take a quick look at some of them. Also from a human safety perspective I'd rather have my feet planted on good ole TERRA FIRMA after losing 3 good friends to helicopter filming accidents and let these incredible RC machines go up there and do the work!!

So fasten your seat belt prepare for Takeoff and.... oh yeah... that's right they're heading into the sky not I ! So many options and configurations and should I or shouldn't I BUILD IT! So let's take a look at the RTF, yep you guessed it Ready To Fly offerings:

DJI Phantom Quadcopter $679.00
A great place to satisfy your curiousity and wet your appetite for aerial photography and film. All you need is a GoPro to snap into it's mount and your all set. You can watch the copters flight through the eyes of the GoPro as it transmits it's video to your iPhone or iPad device.   After flying this you may be ready for next steps below...      

CineStar8Freefly Cinestar 8 $10800.00
Now Freefly is quite the innovator as they are the first to allow this type of multi-use technology between their copter and the Handheld camera gimbal the MoVI. At $10,800.00 you get pretty much everything you need. See earlier blog on MoVi.

Flightcopter FC12-950 HexaKoax-Cinema   $24,900.00 
At this price point rest assured that it's configured with EVERYTHING you would ever need to fly and shoot except for the camera of course.The FC12-950 HexaKoax-Cinema as well as the Octo Cinema are certainly our most high-end products. It gets cameras with a weight of 4kg (8.8 lbs)  airborne and still has ample reserve power. With its 12 motors it has the sound of a Formula 1 car and also provides a high degree of redundancy.

It icludes a 2-Axis Head (only Pitch and Roll) or for an extra 400.00 they'll add a 3-Axis Head (Pitch, Roll, Pan) and you will need a second cameraman

Black Armored Drone $53000.00
Who are these guys?"We googled them and got only one hit?? We spotted it at NAB 2013 hanging from above in RED's booth!

It's truly an awesome looking machine but $49000 base price ? No camera gimbal system or video downlink included, chalk on another 4000.00 to get it fully functional. Seems a bit ridiculous to me looking at the price to functionality ratio. Their website has no useful information not even a spec sheet...How about some payload discussion people...From the website:"The payload capacity is extraordinary – professional camera and lens combos with filters and follow focus (e.g. RED Epic + Masterprime + rods + follow focus + filter)." How about the actual weight in LBs, KG for payload...

 They're asking twice the price of their nearest competitor, which can support almost 10lbs, RED, SONY F55 etc...or 5 times the price of the Cinestar 8!
OK they were in the RED booth, RED=CLOUT !?!?V  ery surprising that they have no marketing collateral to backup from their brief description what must be the most incredibly built copter to date. Yes I am purely basing this assumption on the price point. They're website does not have enough information about the product to explain why it would be so worthy of this kings ransom. Why is that? so in summary, well, we really need more info from your company. How about it...

SCHIEBEL CAMCOPTER S-100 ! Wow way out of my league and I'll assume yours but so worth looking at and mentioning the Schiebel Camcopter S-100. Highly versatile and reliable. Come on we can all dream BIG! Yeah that's what I'm talkin about! Rent it for 400.00/hour!

OK so here's a checklist to help you with making your purchase decision.
  1. Can I fly it? Am I qualified. Training?
  2. How many operators required to fly & operate camera
  3. Overall Ease of use, assembly, pack up and repair
  4. PAYLOAD-What can it safely carry like my dog or cat...oh yeah the latest greatest camera
  5. Motors-Wattage, more can mean higher payload
  6. Airframe:Larger Carbon fiber arms needed for bigger loads
  7. Remote video downlink included, extra?
  8. Flight Range Altitude (Vertical) & Distance (Horizontal)
  9. Flight time
  10. Low Battery Warning
  11. GPS return to liftoff point, hands free operation
  12. SAFETY RECORD...Hey it's got my 10,000.00 camera hanging on it. OK I don't expect a report from the FAA or NTSB but what is the MTBF, mean-time-between -failure
  13. Replacement parts
  14. Balancing, calibrating, navigating etc...
Hopefully you now have some tools to better determine the PRICE to FUNCTIONALITY/VALUE ratio for your specific needs.

Oh yeah, that's right, you can just go out and rent any of these from Aerial film companies from $1000.00-$3500.00/day... Here's a few:
BRAIN FARM...everywhere
Mi6 Films in So Cal.
Skycam USA in NY

Just go out and rent a Schiebel at 400/hour !!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

MōVI M10 Camera Gimbal takes flight

Camera Gimbals have been around a LONG LONG TIME...You've seen them on the RC Helicopters slinging DSLR's underneath them high into the air for those great aerial shots. Well now a company has taken that mechanism and turned it into a handheld system that can support up to a 12LB camera ! Meet MōVI M10 from Freefly. Good old Vincent Laforet knows something revolutionary when he sees it.

Just as he did for the Canon DSLR with his film Revell he's worked close with Freefly with the same dramatic flare as his Canon DSLR campaign to introduce this "GAME CHANGER" to the world of Indie filmmakers! Bravo Vincent! Rather than write a detailed story regarding the MōVI product just check it out here on Vincent's blog!

This product only weighs 4lbs far less than the cameras it flys 12lbs!! Think of all the support gear you use to make the same shots this can make! Kind of like Fusion vs Fission, in this case you really do get back more than what you put in, lol...Off to NAB!

Sunday, March 31, 2013


OK so you keep reading everywhere that you can use your Canon EF glass on the new SONY F55 and F5.So lets look at two types of solutions, PASSIVE and ELECTRONIC, that are available today!

Off I went to BandPro to buy the F55 with the intention of using all my L glass on this 4K monster. Looked like metabones was the electronic panacea answer, oops, WRONG! Not shipping yet, shades of BIRGER! No solution from my dealer so now what, passive MTF adapter? No aperture control and after spending over half a day there I walked out with my new F55 and no way to attach an EF lens to it, bummer!

OK good old eBAY where I previously found a KIPON EF to MFT adapter with a built-in manual aperture control for my AF100 Panasonic. Hey... Why not? Here's one that says CANON EF to SONY FZ !!

WOW! Two weeks later it arrives from China so I slapped it on. Hmmm not really working too well, pretty much vignetting on most of my L Glass. $300.00 bucks, what the heck. I missed the vignette warning in the text describing the adapter, my bad. This adapter worked great with my AF100 so why such a huge difference in using the same concept. More on that in the next posting re:Sensors...


P+S Technik 
Kipon which has a BUILT-IN 14 blade manual aperture/iris control.
Metabones may be introducing a smart & speedbooster related adapter for F55

How can I store the Aperture setting when using with this type of manual adapter??
First understand that with these type of adapters it is necessary to mount the EF lens on a Canon DSLR and set aperture and in some cases set the focus too! (50mm & 85mm f1.2 L glass)
Here's the procedure:

1. Mount the lens on the DSLR
2. Turn the DSLR ON
3. Set to desired Aperture.   
NOTE: If your adapter has a built-in Aperture control set lens to WIDE OPEN.
4. While holding down the "Depth of Field Preview" button, press the "Lens Release" button on the opposite side of the lens. The aperture setting is now stored.
5. Mount on the SONY F55, F5, F3 etc...

I tested the following EF lenses with  
KIPON's EF to F3, F55, F5 FZ Adapter with built-in 14 blade Manual Aperture

LENS                                           ADAPTER   # of STOPS before
                                                                                          signs of Vignetting
Canon EF IS USM 15mm         Compatible             5.0 stops
Canon EF IS USM 16-35mm    Compatible             1.5 stops
Canon EF IS USM 24-70mm    Compatible             1.5 stops
Canon EF IS USM 24-105mm  Compatible             4.0 stops
Canon EF IS USM 70-200mm  Compatible             1.0 stops
Canon EF IS USM 85mm          Compatible**       5.0 stops
Canon EF IS USM 300mm       Compatible              1.5 stops
Canon EF IS USM 300mm/2x  Compatible              1.5 stops

**The Canon 85mm f1.2 requires POWER for both Focus and Aperture (IRIS) control. You need to follow the steps above for setting FOCUS as well as aperture on a DSLR.

See Vignette video example below in OBSERVATIONS section.

One very interesting GREAT feature is the fact that all the ZOOMs tested held focus from Wide to XCU no OOF issues as have been seen using the same glass on the Canon C300 & C500! These are all varifocal not parfocal lenses so the optics on the SONY F55 do not appear to create the disparity as seen on the Canons...


UPDATED !! OPTITEK WIRELESS Prolock-i and Optitron MARK 2

Jacek from OPTITEK just clued me in on this very cool electronic solution which can also provide WIRELESS control for both **FOCUS & IRIS! It now runs off the camera's power, LESS CABLES! WOW! I believe it also powers up Canon's  "Image Stabilization" too. You will now see a readout of the IRIS settings & Focal lengths native on the F5 & F55 too! This is a GREAT IMPROVEMENT. The adapter is precision machined in fact Jacek showed us at NAB how it locks in place without rubbing metal to metal like a stock EF lens! One thing to note is that the buttons on the ProLock Mark 2 are not in an optimum position so you may very well be better off adding the Optitron remote for quick and efficient IRIS& Focus control.

You can watch the product video HERE.

The proLock-i mounting system sells for $1650.00. The OptiTron Remote is at present a hardwired controller which costs $1850.00.  It features a nice tactile slider for IRIS control and a precision knob/dial for Focus! IRIS will increment by 1/3 stops, you are still stuck with stepping and not smooth IRIS control, on all EF Lenses.

The wait at present is about 4-6 weeks. ABELCINE is selling the Prolock-i right now.



MTF Live Canon EF to F3 adaptor with Canon EF Control Unit

 So MTF always seems to be the first one out there with an amazing repertoire of adapters. This one should work with the F5 & F55 and consists of the Adapter for around $530.00 USD and the Control Unit selling around $980.00 USD so together its close to 1600.00.

The amazing thing about this controller is the claim to increment stops by a mere 1/8 increment, roughly half that of the internal step motors capability from within the lens itself. Mike Tapa showed us this product at NAB and if you move change the IRIS at a fair pace it's difficult to see it stepping! The only glitch is that if you turn on IS on the lens it resets the aperture to wide open. Easily remedied and readily displayed on the LCD readout of the Control Unit. For the full spec on these products you can click here: MTF

Got a quick response from MTF's Mike Tapa regarding 1/8 increments: "According to Mike all Canon EF lenses are all capable of 1/8th stop increments, its generally the Canon body that usually restricts this to 1/3rd stops." Jacek from Optitek mentioned their product is utilizing the built-in electronics of the Canon lens itself so 1/4 stop increments are inherited from the lens. This may also depend on the canon camera body being used. 

We'll need to get this clarified as to the actual INCREMENT capability with EF lenses and these 3rd party adapters from Canon and report back.



The KIPON adapter tests surprisingly yielded minimal effect on DOF, Depth of Field mainly due to it's inability to reach beyond a few stops without vignetting on most of the lens tested. So right now you pretty much need to set these lenses to the f-Stop desired for your shot to get the shot and look your after. So it's a manually intensive time consuming task wielding the lens back and forth from a DSLR to the SONY Camera. If you have NIKON lenses you won't have this annoying problem unique only to CANON! Great glass but all internal electronic iris! DUCLOS also makes a fantastic wide zoom cine lens out of a 11-16mm Tokina which I highly recommend. The KIPON is available on eBay, click here for under 300.00 !

PS...Viewfactor is up to something in the electronic category as well with their new OPTIMO solution!

The choice is yours! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013


On Location in Nevada
Just got back from Nevada and heading straight to L.A. to checkout my future purchase! Amazing new products from SONY so off we went to Sony Motion Pictures Sound Stage 7, aka DMPC. Sony Electronics new showroom, designed by none other than Bruce Dobrin, was a great place to see the new F5, F55 alongside the F65. The F55 definitely stands tall amongst it's bretheren. With 4K recording to on board SxS, GLOBAL SHUTTER that's right no more Rolling Shutter and snap on Digital recorder it's easy to say that RED and CANON will be shaking in their boots as market share may very well head back to the original red SONY.
Checkout Jon Fauer's EXCELLENT review on the F5 & F55, 96 pages worth here. Curtis Clark ASC was on hand during our play time with the Cameras and then off we went to see Sam Nicholson's MAHOUT (shot on F55) and Curtis Clark's El Dorado (shot on F65) on the new SONY 515 4K projector. Garret Smith and myself brought some of our own DCP footage as well.

Here's some of my reel from the Gulf that unfortunately did not get queued up! Next trip!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Our Sponsors we thank you!

Eric Kessler of Kesslercrane
Well 2012 sure blew by like a hurricane! Just wanted to thank a few of our sponsors over the last few years. Because of their generosity we were able to get some incredible never before seen footage! Their ingenuity in creating these fine products allows us to get those impossible shots! So big thank you's go out to:

Steve Weiss & Jens Bogehegn of Zacuto

Jens B. and Steve W. of Zacuto
Susie Gross & Richard Schleuning of ZEISS
John Rodriguez of Panavision
Matthew Duclos of DUCLOS
John Brainerd & Prasen Bose of SAMY's DV
Eric Kessler of Kesslercrane