Monday, 15 February 2010

A Sea of Air

The weather in the UK circa February is not usually very photogenic. It is neither bright and sunny enough for bikinis, nor snowy enough for fur boots. Instead, it is grey and dull. Fortunately this Sunday there was a burst of sunshine, and I took the opportunity to have a go with my 5D MkII again.

This was shot predominantly with an Olympus 21mm f/3.5, the slower and cheaper of Olympus' two 21mm lenses. The f/3.5 is a tiny ultra wide angle lens that I will write about at some point. It's sharp in the centre, decent in the corners but only at f/8 and f/11, has a problem with deep purple fringing around the edges, but in its favour it appears to have very little distortion. Also, it's tiny. It has a 49mm filter thread, which is problematic because all the filters I have vignette. This is minimised when shooting video, because the 5D crops off the edges, but it's still obvious, especially in the final shot. Did I mention that it's tiny?

The third shot was taken with a Zenitar 16mm fisheye lens which I use all the time. As before, the video was converted into an editable .AVI by MPEG Streamclip, and then the individual sequences were processed with VirtualDub to make them black and white. And run at twice the speed. The clips were sequenced with Windows Movie Maker, and the soundtrack was something I composed ages ago, with the original version of GForce's M-Tron Mellotron recreation.

The Mellotron was a tape playback keyboard that was heard on hundreds of psychedelic records from the 1960s, plus lots of electronic stuff from the 1970s - Planet Mellotron is the definitive online guide - and M-Tron is essentially a re-recording of the Mellotron's original tapes, wrapped into a VST instrument. Best of all, it's reasonably priced. Unlike most audio software, which costs hundreds upon hundreds of pounds.