This was one of those busy×2 weeks… after focusing just on the studio for the last two (three?) weeks, I had two clients come at the same time with fast deadlines for video projects. So off we go!

Post Focus in San Francisco

I spent Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco, shooting for a video on the newly announced (when I went I couldn’t say why, but it was just announced Friday so now I can) “Post Focus” feature for select Panasonic LUMIX cameras. This is a really cool new 4K Photo feature, where you get to select a focus point after the photo is taken!

It works like this… while shooting in 4K Photo mode (which is basically 4:3 4K video, @ 8 megapixels per frame), the camera racks focus from the closest to the furthest subjects in the scene. So from a single capture, ranging from less than a second to a few seconds (depending on the lens used and how much depth there is to your scene), you get hundreds of frames to choose from, each at a very slightly different plane of focus. The interface in the camera makes it super easy to select and save which frame(s) you want from the “video”. You can also select and extract the frames on a computer.

For example, here’s a 4K Post Focus “video” file…

…and here are two stills extracted from it!

I have many really cool examples of this that I shot, but I’ll save those for the video. If all goes to plan that’ll be available next week. There’s another fantastic use of this for a pretty specialized use case called “focus stacking”. I’m actually doing two videos for Panasonic, and the focus stacking possibilities are the second one.

Scripting, shooting, editing

Wednesday and Thursday I was in the studio, writing scripts and doing “beta” recordings for the Post Focus videos. My editor-slash-motion-graphics-artist came in and started assembling the pieces and designing the custom graphics we’ll need, including recreating camera interfaces in After Effects. Also, I’ve added an Atomos Ninja Assassin (great product names) to the mix, allowing me to capture 4K video from the Panasonic LUMIX GH4 I shoot all my video on, in 10-bit ProRes 422 straight to an SSD drive. Speeds up the workflow and increases image quality. Great stuff.

Crave Coeur Camera Expo

Friday and Saturday were spent in Creve Coeur (St. Louis), Missouri. 5:30am flight out on Friday, working Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, then a flight home Saturday night landing at midnight (ouch). I attended an “Expo” event at Creve Coeur Camera which is something like a mini trade show with opportunities for hands-on experience. There were representative from all the major camera brands, there to answer tough questions and help customers make buying decisions. There were also several studio setups with still life and live models so customers could play with any of the gear on hand (there were a LOT of toys in the room). As a Panasonic LUMIX Luminary, I was there to help out in the shooting arena, when customers wanted to play with our cameras and lenses. 

I wasn’t aware of it in advance, but the Post Focus feature that I’m working on a video for was actually announced on Friday, the day the Expo started. The feature won’t be available to the public until next week, but since I had it installed on my camera, I was permitted to show it to customers. And wow, what a reaction! It was awesome to explain and show it to folks and see the overwhelming excitement around it. I think this will be a great feature for the LUMIX cameras.

I posted a few shots of models from the event, showing both Post Focus and general 4K Photo mode. 

I also played with the new Pentax Theta S 360˚ camera… man that thing is fun! Here’s a video of me walking around the store floor. Click and drag in the video while it's playing! (If you're on a desktop computer, the 360˚ playback only works in Chrome or Firefox, not in Safari. If you're on a mobile device, long-tap it to open in the YouTube app, and tilt the device up and down to view different angles!)

Next week is Thanksgiving so it’s a short week but we have a deadline. There’s still a TON of work to do so, you know, who needs sleep.

And I better go get that turkey and start prepping for The Big Meal.

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