Gates releases housings for Sony CX550 and XR550
Gates Underwater Products has announced that they are now shipping their housings for the Sony XR550 and CX550 camcorders. Both housings feature mechanical controls and use the cameras 3.5” LCD monitors, via large viewfinder windows, as framing and focusing screens. The controls give access to the touchscreen functions on the camera, including white balance and Telemacro functions, and a range of port options are available.
Animals are being set up to succeed: Chris Palmer
The Washington Post has reviewed and commented on Chris Palmer’s book; Shooting in the Wild. The article cites examples from the book, and from the wildlife film industry, wherein animal behavior has been manipulated to get the filmmakers desired outcome. It cites the proliferation of channels and communication media as causing much tighter deadlines, which in turn forces filmmakers to come up with footage in a much shorter time. Maggie Burnette Stogner, an environmental filmmaker who works with Palmer, says:
“When I first started at [National] Geographic, filmmakers were in the field for three years,” and goes on to say “Now it’s compressed to ‘Go out and get it in a month.’ Well, it doesn’t happen that way. The sharks don’t show up.”
The Post article also mentions the genre of “reality” nature programs, where the traditional documentary emphasis on animal behavior is replaced by showing a persons interaction with nature, and points out that this shift tends to give program makers more latitude about how they use animals. In many cases the animals being portrayed as wild are tame, and the human “hunting” activities are staged by pre-positioning the prey. Palmer feels that this should be pointed out to the audience, but as the article states:
“Who wants to watch a tame nature film?”
Dr. Sylvia Earle calls for more Marine Protected Areas
In a Time magazine special, Dr. Sylvia Earle has renewed her appeal for the establishment of more Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). She highlights the fact that while 12% of the earths land is protected in some way, this applies to less that 1% of the oceans. MPAs would serve as “sanctuaries for everything that swims”. She goes on to state her belief that we have treated the oceans as a “supermarket and a sewer” and that the change in the oceans chemistry due to climate change and acidification will have disastrous consequences.
More information about Gates LED lights
Gates Underwater Products debuted two new LED video lights at the recent Blue Ocean Film Festival. Called the VL8 and VL24, the lights were developed in collaboration with Sub Aqua Imaging Systems, are designed to be self contained and can hence be detached from the housing. They are designed to be neutrally buoyant, so will also be suitable to use with video DSLRs.
New housing Leak Detectors available
Underwater Leak Detector has just expanded their range of housing leak detectors. These simple devices can now be fitted to a wide range of compact and DSLR housings, including models from Canon, Nikon, Olympus and Sony. The Leak Detector comprises a self-install kit, with a very bright flashing LED that will warn of leaking or excessive moisture in the housing and full installation instructions. (Via DivePhotoGuide.)
Adobe launches Photoshop Elements 9
At Photokina, Adobe has announced the release of Photoshop Elements 9, which incorporates some of the new features from its larger sibling, Photoshop CS5. These include an adaption of the content aware fill feature, that so excited underwater photographers as a solution to backscatter removal. Element 9 also incorporates layer masks for the first time in this package, and is available for Mac users.
Panasonic announces GH2 micro 4/3 camera
Panasonic has announced the successor to it’s popular GH1 micro 4/3 camera: The GH2. The camera builds on the GH1’s ‘hybrid’ stills/video philosophy but adds a new sensor, with an 18Mp multi-aspect ratio offering 16Mp output and an ISO range of 160-12800. The camera offers HD video at 1080/60i (50i in PAL versions) and 1080/24p native at 24mbps. In addition, it offers variable frame rates for under or over cranking, fast AF and live view, with the later operating at 60 frames per second.
The GH2 will be compatible with the new Panasonic 3D interchangeable lens and is due to be available from early December.
Gates add underwater monitor to DSLR
Gates Underwater Products has announced that they can mount their EM43 external monitor to DSLR housings. The company has successfully attached the monitor to an Aquatica Canon 5DMkII housing and can now do so with other housing brands or models. Gates will require the housing and camera for one week and thereafter can advise feasibility, lead time and cost. This modification will further blur the boundary between video and still cameras, and will allow underwater filmmakers to view the video being captured at a reasonable size.
People planning to do so should be aware that it may void their manufacturers warranty, although Gates are at pains to stress that they will stand by the quality of their work.
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