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Winter Cold and Serious Infections

Apologies for new articles and news items being slow to appear here recently on Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success.

We have succumbed to the coldest cold snap since 1971 and the gauntlet of people “soldiering on” while explosively sharing their diseases in public, and have been battling with serious primary and secondary infections from which we have yet to recover.

Meanwhile work continues slowly but surely on our self-financing effort via the subdivision of our land. When it is completed and pays off, one aim is to make this house a more fit place in which to live and work.

Too many Australian houses tend to have little to no insulation, no central heating and no cooling, leading to poor health outcomes. In winter, temperatures inside these houses are lower than outside. The homes in the suburbs where we live are no exception, even the largest and most expensive.

Visiting Rose Seidler House on a day of harsh low winter sunlight. Still frame from video footage shot on Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Olympus Digital ED M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens with GenusTech ND Fader and Breakthrough Photography brass step-up ring. Video made with V-Log L customized with Paul Leeming’s settings for Leeming LUT One for GH5 then post-processed with Leeming LUT One for GH5 and Basic Brighter looks LUT.

Way back in 1949, the great Austrian-Australian architect Harry Seidler began work on his very first house, for his parents Rose and Max Seidler. Rose Seidler House in eastern Wahroonga showed Australians how to create modern, affordable, eminently livable houses.

Mr Seidler added two more such houses for other family members to the compound, each sharing traits that he had explored in his parents’ house such as a centrally-located fireplace.

Although Rose Seidler House rapidly became “the most talked about house in Sydney“, and many self-builders in the area were inspired by Seidler’s vision of modernism in architecture, few seemed to have learned his lessons about lighting, heating, cooling, insulation, kitchens and space. Our previous house, inspired by Rose Seidler House and built by the father of a female Australian expatriate movie director, was an example of that.

Links:

3 Legged Thing: Why things cost what they cost… – UPDATED WITH COMMENTARY

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-things-cost-what-danny-lenihan

“In the last couple of weeks my little brand, 3 Legged Thing, launched a brand new Universal L Bracket – the QR11. For the most part, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Then, somebody sent me a link to a well known forum, where a conversation had started about the press release for the QR11. The comments were almost wholly negative with more than one contributor stating “You can buy this from **insert website name** for $7″ or “I got one from China for $5 and it works just fine”….”

Commentary:

The above excellent and informative article by Danny Lenihan of 3 Legged Thing is partially in reference to 3 Legged Thing’s QR11 Universal L-Bracket aka L-Plate.

I have been looking for an L-Plate for my still-current Panasonic Lumix GX8 camera for some time and thought I had finally found a good solution in Really Right Stuff’s BGX8 L-Plate, only to discover to my deep disappointment that it was discontinued six months ago. Images below.

The GX8 is a brilliant camera for portraiture and even if the GX9 eventually appears with IBIS and Dual IS per the GH5, I will continue to use my GX8 for tripod-mounted portrait and landscape orientation environmental portraiture due to its lovely sensor.

Why throw away something that works well and keep feeding the camera GAS churn cycle when perfectly good cameras can keep performing for years to come?

An L-Plate would make shooting in both orientations much easier and surer, quickly swapping from vertical to horizontal and vice versa in a way that is simply not possible by flipping the tripod head from one to the other.

Relying on third party manufacturers to supply custom solutions to common problems that should, perhaps, be attended to by camera makers is prone to all sorts of problems.

A universal L-Plate is a good solution in theory so long as it is designed in such a way that access to all your cameras’ functions are not impeded.

It seems that 3 Legged Thing did not have access to Panasonic Lumix cameras so may not have designed their QR11 L-Plate to fit it, and has not rated it for usability with the GX8 or other Panasonic cameras, or Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 for that matter.

I have managed to obtain a half-baked solution to my problem with the GX8 by purchasing SmallRig’s Cage for Panasonic GX8 1844 but a camera cage is hardly the same thing as an L-Plate.

I can understand camera-users resorting to Chinese cut-price copyists – I have had to do that myself in the absence of decent local product supply or in the presence of situations like this one with Really Right Stuff, but one thing remains constant – every Chinese-made item I have bought so far has failed spectacularly, or has been poorly-made, or is mediocre a best, or is just a lousy copy of the real thing which I have not been able to obtain for whatever reason.

I am hoping upon hope that 3 Legged Thing’s QR11 can work well enough with the GX8 or better yet that they will update it to work with the GX8 without impeding its full functionality, but the fact remains that L-Plates (and cages) customized for each specific camera are the best solution by far.

I would have thought that the whole point of contemporary CNC machining is that products can be made at any time, without having to produce in big batches, and so making even just one more Really Right Stuff BGX8 on demand should not be an impossible or insanely costly task.

Or do I have the wrong end of the stick? Independent in-demand solutions providers like Hejnar Photo prove otherwise.

As the destruction of the incredible and unique Samsung NX1, NX500 and Galaxy NX cameras proves, well-established manufacturers can and do make lousy decisions all the time and small manufacturers like Really Right Stuff are no exception to this.

Or, for that matter, Manfrotto, with their unique but tragically killed-off Lino Manfrotto Collection and Fig Rig product lines as well as other equally unique products like the Xume filter attachment system that appears to have been blessed with some pretty lousy marketing and distribution.

Museum of Sydney: The Moderns, European Designers in Sydney

https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/exhibitions/moderns-european-designers-sydney

“The Moderns: European Designers in Sydney, coming soon to Museum of Sydney, explores a forgotten aspect of Australian modernism, highlighting the direct connections between Sydney and the European design centres of Vienna, Berlin and Budapest….

While Austrian-born Harry Seidler AC, OBE became justifiably one of Australia’s most famous architects, the large, robust and interconnected community of European designers who were his contemporaries was all but forgotten….”

Museum of Sydney: Marion Hall Best Interiors

https://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/exhibitions/marion-hall-best-interiors

“Best’s career spanned four decades from the mid–1930s, a period of transition from the department store decorators and art furnishers of the 1920s, to the independent professional designers of today….

Best introduced the latest of international modernism in design to Australians through her shops in Rowe Street Sydney and Queen Street Woollahra, which were an inspiration to the local design profession.”

Visiting the SMPTE17 Movie and Television Trade Show in Sydney’s Darling Harbour

“It will be a sausage fest,” my best friend warned me when I told her I was planning on rising from my sickbed to visit SMPTE17 earlier this week.

She is an industry trade show veteran, having long worked as one of the most in-demand research and development engineers for famous brand name global corporations before quitting due to overt male bias and male versus female pay differences. 

SMPTE17 is the first movie and television industry trade show to be staged at Sydney’s revamped conventions and exhibitions complex, ICC Sydney, in Darling Harbour. 

In the long years between the previous conference and exhibitions centre being torn down and ICC Sydney kicking into operation late last year, this city has been without the trade shows upon which photographers in particular depend for their all-too-rare hands-ons with new and essential equipment.

Since moviemaking, photography and television went digital, there has been steadily growing overlap between the hardware and software needs in these related industries.

Visual storytelling is their other common component and practiced storytellers have been crossing the borders between since I began learning cinematography and photography the hard way as a kid in the middle of the west of nowhere.

The idea of separating one set of visual storytelling applications from the other two that are increasingly closely related is becoming more absurd as the years go by.

ICC Sydney in Darling Harbour is a more suitable venue than SMPTE15’s windy, soggy, distant Hordern Pavilion in Moore Park and the day I attended this year’s iteration benefited from excellent weather and cold-hued laser-beam sunlight.

With this winter being one of the most challenging for vicious influenza infections and bacterial secondary infections untouched by the annual quadrivalent injection, the usual injunction to keep one’s distance from in-your-face sneezers and coughers carried extra weight, so I was on my feet dodging disease vectors on the trade show floor.

I was travelling light with the benefit of Cosyspeed’s excellent Camslinger Streetomatic+ in black, a waist-mounted camera bag for fast and easy camera egress and ingress.

Two Think Tank Photo Stuff It! organizer belt pouches hung off the Streetomatic+’s waist belt, balancing the load consisting of a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5, Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS standard travel zoom lens, spare battery, cellphone and Lenspen DSLR Pro Kit.

The Streetomatic+ more than proved itself and I hope that an Australian importer/distributor will step up to the plate to make Cosyspeed’s camera bags available here.

Being a moviemaker and photographer, my attention was largely focussed on those vendors at SMPTE17 whose products served both fields well.

SMPTE is traditionally aimed at the heavy guns in the movies and TV, as proven by previous iterations of the trade show.

For example, I had attended SMPTE15 hoping to see all relevant products from vendors but the artificial divide between so-called professional and enthusiast product ranges held sway then and only those products deemed “professional” were available.

At SMPTE17, that silliness was not so much in evidence.

Panasonic’s AU-EVA1 fills the gap between Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 and its Varicam line. The EF-mount AU-EVA1 is cause go looking at EF-mount lenses. I am inclined to consider primes and zooms from Sigma’s extensive range given that Canon’s EF L-series lenses are showing their age and the EF 24-105mm f/4L lens shown here suffers from expensive-to-repair problems with its internal circuitry that can suddenly render it unusable. I have one sitting here and am debating whether to save up and repair it or sell it.

This year, brands like Panasonic and Sony acknowledged reality by showing their mirrorless stills/video hybrid cameras alongside their camcorders and cinema cameras.

Panasonic smartly invited Lumix indie mirrorless documentary moviemaking pioneer Griffin Hammond to man the GH5 stand and present workshops and floor talks.

I would have loved to have attended them but remain ill from severe influenza and the last thing I want to do is risk spreading it about.

The overt male bias at SMPTE15 and its predecessors was slightly less in evidence this year thanks to foreign staff manning foreign vendors’ stands or Australian staffers who work the world trade show and special event circuits for their Australian headquartered globally-focussed employers.

The aforementioned sausage fest remained in evidence throughout, though, with blokes dominating hands-on opportunities such as those on the Sony stand stand’s APS-C/Super 35 and 35mm mirrorless cameras and lenses.

I had hoped to try out the Sony α9 camera to see what all the fuss is about but had to go away disappointed after several attempts.

We have a looong way to go before moviemaking and photography approach anything like equal opportunity.

There were other disappointments.

The glass display cabinet containing Movcam’s popular camera cages and other accessories remained locked and unmanned with none of the C. R. Kennedy staffers having possession of the keys.

The Manfrotto display focussed only on a new tripod range and some accessories and bags.

I have long been wanting to see, try and potentially heavily invest in in Manfrotto’s Xume fast-on, fast-off filter system that foreign colleagues insist are absolutely essential.

The staffer there barely knew what I was talking about and it was the same or worse with other brilliant Manfrotto products like the Fig Rig and the Lino Manfrotto professional clothing range. Ah well.

Vitec Group plc’s apparent reluctance to practise the fundamentals of vendor education and good marketing and public relations seems to filter down throughout their distribution chain.

Product distribution and retail has been average to mediocre in this country for some time, leading directly to reliance on online sales going to US-based retail giants like B&H Photo Video.

Things might be different if we had something here approaching the B&H store and I can understand why so many of my photography and video colleagues shop overseas, online or, increasingly in person.

I would love to support local retailers and importers/distributors by buying locally but experiences like the one later the same day when trying to procure some essential hardware items from local retailers mitigate against that.

Listening to every camera and pro store assistant tell me to go online to order from B&H has its effect and it is cumulative and, often, permanent.

I strongly suspect the store assistant chant of “get it from B&H” will turn Amazon’s way when the global supply giant establishes its national warehouse and delivery network throughout Australia.

The phrase “they will eat your lunch” kept coming to mind in every store I visited in a quest that ended in the inevitable online order to B&H as soon as I returned home.

There were some highlights at SMPTE17 such as Rotolight UK’s Barry Grubb attending the C. R. Kennedy stand to show off the brilliant Rotolight Aeos hand-and-stand photography and video LED-plus-flash light system alongside the equally brilliant Rotolight Neo and Rotolight Anova LED lighting systems.

I rely on my Rotolight Neo 3 Light Kit with barndoors and Chimera soft box for stills and video, and have been long hoping for a more powerful, wider-beamed, portable LED light to use in one-light or two-light portrait and interview set-ups on location.

The Aeos appears to be it, and is about to become available as a two-light kit in a backpack with barndoors and soft box to follow. Yay!

The trade show floor was brightly and unevenly lit so it was a stretch to see the full effect of the Aeos’ output – if we ever have a B&H-style superstore here a studio to judge the quality of lights surely would be an essential.

But, even with the room’s ambient light the Aeos showed enough brightness and colour control to add it up high on my movie and photography lighting wishlist.

Other highlights included the SMPTE-first presence of a G-Technology stand showing off the company’s excellent location and editing suite media storage products, some intriguing moviemaking microphones from also SMPTE-first Azden and some great products from established Australian brands Atomos and Blackmagic Design.

SMPTE17 was the best iteration of the trade show I have attended so far despite non-attendances by brands and distributors that I had so hoped would be there.

We are at a critical stage in Australia with the ending of the photography trade shows, a dearth of the travelling hardware show-and-tell events and workshops that go on overseas, the lack of Australian-based brand ambassadors and product demonstrators, and the ever-looming shadow of Amazon.com.

Like winter, Amazon is coming and one has to hope that its imminent presence will radically improve the importing and retailing situation for moviemaking and photography hardware for practitioners at all levels.

That situation will improve radically yet again if Amazon sets up some rumored bricks-and-mortar show, tell, try, buy and educational workshop experiences throughout the country and especially here in Sydney.


To My Readers:

In order to get this article online in a timely manner I have had to skip some content and put off processing some photographs, adding captions and other data and so on.

I will be adding those currently missing bits as soon as I can but I am still seriously ill with this wretched dual virus-plus-bacteria infection that I contracted while in the city to shoot some product review footage weeks ago.

iTWire: Rebuild of NBN inevitable, say Patton and IA

https://www.itwire.com/telecoms-and-nbn/78948-rebuild-of-nbn-inevitable-says-patton-and-ia.html

“NBN Co has effectively admitted what Internet Australia has been telling the government for some time now. When the rollout is completed in 2020 much of it will need to be rebuilt because it will be out of date,” Patton says.

Is Photographing in Public a Crime?

There appears to be a growing assumption here by some members of the public that people making photographs or video footage anywhere in public are somehow automatically committing a crime by doing so. To put it simply, no such crime is being committed. So please, vigilantes, cease your harassment. 

I have put up a reference page with links to a couple of useful pages and a downloadable document on relevant Australian law as well as notes on some surprisingly common vigilante harassment situations:

TEDx Talks: Sharpening your senses | Anderson and Low | TEDxLondon

“Jonathan Anderson describes three remarkable and diverse photographic projects, all of which encourage us to see the world differently.

Photographers Jonathan Anderson and Edwin Low have been collaborating as Anderson & Low since 1990, and are known for bringing drama and mythic qualities to their wide-ranging work.”

Zack Arias: My Bag of Cameras

“In my last video I went through my bag of lights. For this video I walk you through my bag of cameras and lenses. I’ve spent a lot of time streamlining my gear to the essentials and it has really helped clear my head and make life easier for me. I was constantly moving from bag to bag and one set up to another depending on the job at hand. I wanted to simplify my photographic life to a bag of cameras and a bag of lights.

While I feel my bag of lights is complete, I’m not so sure yet about my bag of cameras. I’d really like to add the Fuji GFX to this kit to be a back up to the Phase One and to be my run-n-gun camera. I’m still trying to decide if that will be the best option for me and the work I do….”

Zack Arias: My Bag of Lights

“Over the years my lighting kit has evolved from one system to another. I’d have this brand of hotshoe flashes and this brand of strobes. This one worked great, that one was ok, etc. I’ve been searching for one cohesive system and I finally settled on Phottix gear.

The one thing that has really simplified my life is having one trigger that works seamlessly between hotshoe flash and strobes. I know there are several systems out there these days and I looked at all of them and settled on Phottix for the balance of price, durability, and ease of use.

In this video I walk through my lights and modifiers that I use for location photography. Here’s a list of the most important parts of the kit….”