Photojournalism: Mexico City Bike Ride


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Every Sunday’s in Mexico City, at Reforma ave, the streets are closed and get crowded with bikes, rollers, skates, people running, walking, with friends and pets, dance activities, families having fun and of course, some people make protests and sales of any kind of products.

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Special Picture Gallery: VOR Itajai Stopover Brazil, April 2012.

DSRL Movies


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Youtube link Chef Mariana Vincenzi:
My Vimeo link:
Cars Cake by Mariana Vincenzi from Ricardo Toledo on Vimeo.
Special thanks to Pastry Chef Mariana Vincenzi

Today my post is not about photography… But I’ll talk about another art: movies! Before you think I’m a traitor, let me explain why! This post is about movies made with a DSRL (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera! In other words, a photography camera, the same one that made the pictures in this blog (take a look in the pictures galleries in the previous posts).

Recently the DSRL cameras were improved in technology and today they are a great option to record very good films. Possibilities in controlling depth field, exposure, ISO, low light conditions and a lot of lens available make the DSRL cameras more common and preferred by several professionals and amateur film-makers.

In this way, I got motivated to make my first DSRL movie, in true it was my first complete DSRL movie but I had made one Time-lapse some months ago (see: Time-lapse post). It was a very interesting experience, a lot of knowledge learned and I think a good final result to someone beginner like me!

My camera is a Nikon D7000, a good DSRL in DX format. For the movie I took three different lens, a macro 60mm, 18-105mm and the telescopic 55-300mm. A basic knowledge about the camera movie functionality is very important (take your camera manual and eat it!), but the great deal is your planning, light, composition and photographic techniques (again?! If you have read my previous posts it’s possible that you think I’m repeating…).

In true, my planning in this movie was very bad. I started just recording some scenes to understand the camera and how I could control the lens and record parameters. I’m convinced my planning should be better, and so I hadn’t spent much time in the post edition neither a lot of dispensable scenes. First lesson: I must draw a good storyboard in the next time!

My first big challenge was the light control. My model, the pastry chef Mariana Vincenzi, was in her usual cake production and no thought in a movie production! So, to control the camera angles and the light condition was a big issue, one time there was a bad shadow in the main plan, other time her hand was so close to object, etc… I really took a lot of bad scenes to waste them! But, once again, the light condition, light sources, type of light (hard or soft), reflectors, white balance control were very important! I was concerned to record in low ISO and I took reduced noise scenes, my scenes were in ISO 320 and 800 maximum. I used two white continuous lights, soft box light, white umbrella and a 80 cm circular silver reflector.

The second was the editing. My knowledge in movie editing is very, very, very basic and I was surprised how simple is the iMovie software! I had test it in my time-lapse experience but not in editing large scenes and no developed pictures. It’s so easy and a couple of practice hours are enough to you get your first movie.

The last challenge was to choose the right music in my case. The movie looks like a video clip, I’m talking about a cake production, but no words are told, and I wanted a dynamic music to synchronize with the hands movements and the cars. I looked for musics in the Cars movie discography and together with pastry chef we chose one. It’s very important to consider the copyrights and to referrers clear and direct about the authors if you don’t want any problems to reproduce your movie.

I expect that you enjoy the movie and that my short experience could be a motivation to you! Have you made a DSRL movie one time? Please, feel free to comment and remember: keep shooting!

For further information, I suggest:

Vimeo DSRL Video School
The DSLR Cinematography Guide

Picture Gallery of March, 2012


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Time-Lapses, a photographic technique!


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TIME-LAPSE Pousada Vivenda Maria do Mar – Florianopolis Brazil. from Ricardo Toledo on Vimeo.

The video looks better clicking in: Time Lapse: Pousada Vivenda Maria do Mar, Florianopolis, Brazil.

In my last vacations in a wonderful island called Florianopolis, south of Brazil, I produced my first time-lapse video. I had never produced any kind of video before, and I am very surprised with the results when you have time and dedication to keep studying the technique (with a little portion of luck and feeling photographic!).

Once again, beyond of the time-lapse technique, the basic rules were very important. Some composition rules, colors, light and expertise with the equipment were wide applied in the video production. (I have told some post about them, take a look in the previous posts anytime).

The first step was choose the subject! It is obvious, but it isn’t simple when you need to consider music timing (how each video sequence is connected with the rhythm of the music), how is your principal message and how long is your video. I spent a couple of days with the planning, searching musics, thinking about the sequences, photo techniques, light, period to take photos, etc.

A time-lapse video is a direct application of photographic techniques. A lot of pictures are taken in seconds or minutes lapse between them. It results an effect very interesting and very fluid between video planes.

If the first step and principal rule is the planning, the second is the execution! You will need a good tripod to your camera, or a good and safety place to keep your camera immovable for a long time (usually few minutes or some hours, in agree with your project). In the video above, each sequence was taken with 20 to 30 minutes long, with the pictures taken with 3 to 10 seconds lapse. It results in sequences with 5 to 10 seconds long when you mixed them in 24 fps (high quality). In total were taken about 5,000 pictures.

It is essential that you camera has an automatic shutter timer controlled. Some cameras, like de D7000 Nikon has this feature included, or you can buy a timer camera control shutter (look at for a lot of models). It is also possible to use your computer and any software to control the intervals between each picture, connected directly in your camera (a good example is the Sofortbild software).

After you have taken your pictures, you need to start to compose your final video. For each video plan, I used the Lightroom software to develop the pictures and to produce the video plans with 24 fps quality. I had 10 video plans, and I mixed them with iMovie software in a MacBook Pro, and added the music and the video transitions.

This is the third big issue. To make the final video! The processing to adjust the timing music, video plans and transitions to make the final shape demands a lot of hours in front of your computer. Be patience and keep your focus!

The Time-Lapse is a great technique, combining photography and video to produce interesting movies. Take your camera, planning your project and remember: Keep Shooting!

For further information, I suggest:

And you? Have you produced time-lapse videos? Feel free to share with us your experience and comments!