Finally I’m having some success. As I pointed out in Part 6, as a last desperate measure I’d ordered an inexpensive powered Saramonic SR-M3 directional microphone (shotgun mic) to see if that would alleviate my need for the Olympus LS-14 audio recorder. It arrived and I have to say that I was apprehensive given that there was so little information available with regards to this microphone when it came to use with the BMPCC4K. Actually, I couldn’t find anything informative. Every review was about it’s use with a DSLR or mirrorless camera for vlogging purposes, something that wasn’t going to be its intended use. I wanted to use it as a field microphone for general use on my rig, which may not have been ideal, but that’s what I needed. As an aside, for once a product was available locally at considerably cheaper price than anything available overseas. I never cease to wonder at these price variations. There are plenty of general reviews of the Saramonic, so I’m not going to do a general review but will go straight into testing
No sooner had I thought that Part 5 was the finale, I made a few more adjustments and modifications that I thought would be beneficial to describe and record. It’s possible that this could go on for some time as things change and as I get used to using the camera rig and finding better ways to do things. I guess that’s the benefit of a camera rig that can be modified to suit one’s needs, but it’s also a double edged sward as you get tempted to modify things perhaps too much at times. Though I must admit, the changes that I’ve made have been for the better, especially as far as handling goes, and that’s the important thing over anything else. Mind you, I haven’t made that many changes to the overall structure of the rig, so it’s not like I’m moving the furniture around hoping for a better arrangement to arise. Continue reading
Last year VicRoads decided to start using South Gippsland as a proving ground for some ridiculous ideas that could potentially be expanded to the rest of rural Victoria if they proved successful, which no doubt they would, given that no one would be able to dispute the findings. What happened is that the speed limits on several of our roads were reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh and what’s bizarre about the change is that the decision was supposedly based on statistics dating back to the 1990s suggesting that these roads had an unacceptably serious accident rate (I lost the link to this reference and I think it’s now been carefully removed, but I saved a PDF copy). The thing is, the statistics that I found revealed nothing of the sort. Additionally, long-term residents who have lived 20 and more years along these very roads have no recollection of such accidents. In a relatively small community, that’s generally a far better indicator of reality (which I’ll cover later). But from much anecdotal evidence, this change has nothing to do with accident rates.
I wasn’t going to post a part five to this series after Part 4, but as I’ve remedied a few issues such as the poor audio levels of the BMPCC4K as well as some tripod woes, I thought I’d do a more in-depth coverage of how I’ve addressed the things. My problem with the audio arose because I use a Rode VideoMicro microphone that requires power to operate and the BMPCC4K doesn’t provide power through the 3.5mm audio input socket which is odd, as even my Olympus E-M1 MkII provides such power (with an option to turn on/off) and the VideoMicro works very well. The other issue is low audio levels when a microphone is plugged into the camera, so a powered microphone wouldn’t fix that problem. The second issue was my fluid head, which was beginning to show signs of fatigue and imminent failure.
As with our boy’s trips during off long weekends and weekdays, which we call High Country Cruises, we like to do family camping trips in much the same way. We used to do Christmas camping trips over the Christmas holiday periods, but that’s become difficult as many of our favourite camping places have been closed and campers are now pushed into large open areas where there’s no peace or privacy for anyone. So over the last few years we’ve been doing a sort of pre-Christmas week of camping during a time when it’s more likely to be relatively quiet and with campsites free. So we did this again this year, this time travelling to the Dargo region which is slightly closer and easier to get to than our previous forays to the Nunniong Plains area and offers much better river options.
No, not circadian rhythms, but the rhythm of Cicadas. While enjoying a pre-Christmas camping break, Cicadas were emerging from their long-time underground domains to transform into short-lived flying insects. Some areas where we went to collect wood had already experienced a burst of new arrivals and the sound was very loud in places as male Cicadas tried to attract females before their short lives ended and the cycle began once more. Our campsite was, thankfully, not yet inundated with noisy Cicadas, but they were slowly emerging and looking for any place to climb and begin their moulting process. So it was that we spotted one such Cicada and I’d always wanted to record the full process as it happened and this day I had the opportunity to do so. And having a new video camera to do this with made it even more satisfying.
As the transgender debate rolls on and society comes to grips with the concept that men can be women and women can be men, and everything in between, the world of sports has also had to adjust to these new social norms. As a result, transgender men are increasingly featuring in all manner of competitive sports traditionally associated with people genetically disposed as women, up to and including the Olympics. Now the Olympics is the pinnacle of world sporting events, so lately there’s been an extra level of scrutiny and science applied when it comes to women who were traditionally men and wishing to enter the various competitions. However, that’s not the case with many other sporting events at lower levels of competition, so things can get a little difficult when it comes to sorting the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. This has caused some consternation.
I thought I’d do a further chapter to this story following Part 3, now that I’ve managed to put the BMPCC4K to use in somewhat arduous conditions such as we experienced on our last Cruise. The Cruise subjected the BMPCC4K and the rig to heaps of dust, heat as well as significant and constant vibration and jolting over five days while on our journey. I was somewhat worried about how the whole system would stand up, but I needn’t have been concerned as everything held up very well. The camera performed perfectly and the only issues I had was me trying to make sure that I’d thought of everything before pressing the record button. That was the biggest issue apart from trying to get into a cinematographer’s mindset and not stay in a photographer’s mindset.
Having missed last year’s event, as I was away at the time, I was glad to be able to cover it once again and this year the weather was also much better than what I remember it being last year. I can’t quite remember where I was last year, but I suspect that it was on another High Country Cruise. I was also under the impression, earlier in the year, that the event had been cancelled for some reason, but that rumour turned out to be untrue. I’m not sure where that rumour came from, but when I did some checking it was clearly just a rumour. And just so that I didn’t forget, I made sure that it was entered in my calendar as a reminder. It’s not the first time that I’ve forgotten something, only to remember at the last moment, or not.
Throughout the year we get all manner of wildlife in our backyard and while it’s mainly birdlife, we also get the odd possum and of course our regular Echidnas. But one creature we haven’t seen previously is a Koala. So it was the last thing I expected to see when I came out to chastise our two hounds that were barking at something. It wasn’t the usual manic barking that indicates an Echidna is about, so I thought it must have been someone passing by and walking a dog. As always, I go outside and chastise them if they keep up too much of a ruckus, as I don’t want them barking at things without purpose. So as the two hounds were running back and forth along our fence, I assumed that it must have been an Echidna afterall and that it had disappeared into the neighbour’s bushes as they often do and so the barking stopped.