Testing 4 different underwater video lights with Nikon AW-1

All four lights
All four lights

I managed to get 4 different video lights to my underwater testing with Nikon AW-1
Epogue EL-1000Video
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Ikelite Vega
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS(Previous version)

This is not by any means official test nor technical one. Only my thought what I think about them. Please do consider also that Sola’s 2000FS is obsolite and 2100FS have replaced it.

All four ligths side by side
All four ligths side by side

First from the left
Light and Motion Sola Video 2000FS
Price: 979€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Second from the left
Ikelite Vega
Price: 495€
Max power: 2000 lumen

Third from the left
Epogue EL-1000Video
Price: 195€
Max power: 1000 lumen

Fourth from the left
Underwater Kinetics UK Aqualite
Price: 270€
Max power: 600 lumen

At least Epogue and Sola lights are currently on sale so the price is actually bit less, but the price category is the same still. In this test there is actually two kind of flash lights. Higher and lower. Around 200 euros you will get pretty nice light that has replaceable battery and attachment to use either flex mount or ball mount system.

My current main system is using ball mount but I have used flex mount also. The main difference with those systems are that flex mount can handle only limited weight and ball mount much more. My main flashers Ikelite DS-161 are just way too big to flex mount. Flex mount main benefit is speed, you can very easily change the light position.

Epogue EL-1000Video
Epogue EL-1000Video

Let’s start by Epogue EL-1000Video which is the cheapest of these, but not by far the weakest. You have to remember that you can get 4-6 of these lights for the price of one Light and Motion Sola Video Light. Giving you 4000 lumens all together and multiple ways of light your subject. So the price is just amazing. There is of course downsides as well. The shaft of beam is very sharp and the switch is not so well thought as it does not have any lock positions. It is just magnetic switch that turns 360 around the lamp.

Epoque underwater
Epoque underwater

In total darkens it’s very difficult to change the light into correct power output, there is no led lights telling what is the power and you easily turn of or turn off it just by accident. UK Aqualite has much better power switch, you can easily set the correct output power even with your eyes closed.

Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite
Under Water Kinetics UK Aqualite

So in short for the cheaper dive ligts the main difference is power output and power switch implementation. I would say that you can live with either one, just have to know about them and prepare. These cheaper lights had still actually one advantange over the Vega and Sola, replaceable battery, 18650 battery that the use are coming as standard and you can by them for a cheap price and have several with you on your dive trip.

Ikelite Vega Controls
Ikelite Vega Controls
Ikelite Vega
Ikelite Vega
Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels
Ikelite Vega underwater with snorkels
Ikelite Vega underwater
Ikelite Vega underwater
Sola Controls
Sola Controls
Sola Video 2000SF
Sola Video 2000SF
Sola underwater with snorkels
Sola underwater with snorkels
Sola underwater
Sola underwater

Lets then go to the more expensive lights Vega and Sola. Both of these lights has integrated battery so when the battery is out, it’s finish and you can’t do anything with the light until you have charged again. The battery life is good but if you do several dives in a day, it might be a problem. Ikelite Vega is pretty strait forward, it’s easy to learn hot to use and clear light indicating the power output and battery life. Sola has more funtions, it has software keylock and spotlight funtionality. Although it’s not that difficult to learn how to use but still much more complex that Ikelite’s Vega. Ikelite’s Vega is still missing the spotlight functionality that can be handy when photographing macro. Ikelite’s shaft of light is bit more narrower than Sola’s. The only case when this would be an issue is when photographing or shooting video with very wide angle lens, but some might say that you will get more power into subject if you can get light closer the subject.

One thing Sola 2000SF have clearly over Ikelite vega is to be able to use spotlight. The benefit is that you get intense beam into one area, and something like macro photography, it really matters.

Sola using spotlight
Sola using spotlight
Maro shot from ring
Maro shot from ring using 10 times makro filter

Conclusion:
There was benefits and cons in all the lights but the price point of Ikelite and Epogue is excellent. If you consider only quality, the Sola is winner but not much as the Ikelite comes close. As the price goes up you will get more power and more features, but are those important to you, I can’t tell. I probably will get at least one Ikelite light to myself, and switchable battery on Epogue is very nice but as I have already the UK Aqualite I’m not sure will I get one.

All the pictures in this post have been taken either Nikon 1 AW-1 or Nokia Lumia 1020

Strange fish at the pool
Strange fish at the pool

Small underwater light test from Juhani Väihkönen on Vimeo.

Workshop with Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner and Sebastian Wiegärtner

I participated at June to Mallorca workshop that was organized by Philip Bloom, Nino Leitner and Sebastian Wiegärtner.
Although the time was limited for only 3 days, I still learned a lot. Mostly about working in team and
how videography is in the end totally different word that photography.

Our team shooed this video in one day and edited it in second day.

I had my underwater housing with me of course and used that for those underwater shots. Still in our team case the most time consuming was the figure out some idea for the movie, and of course the idea changed a lot during the workshop. The best option would have been to have ready made script that we only need to shoot it and decide more of the artistic side.
Then we would had missed totally the the whole process of making the movie. That’s why I will be concentrating on the stories more from now on.

The place was of course excellent had got really nice memories from that. Still I have to say that the biggest
gain from that was the people. Nothing compares to that of having whole group of similar people with the same passion.

My new video – Loneliness

 

This video was originally started by wanting to participate Moby’s music video competition but they didn’t accept this. The idea of behind this was to express feelings of leaving my social cat at home always.

It started about year ago but this year I figured out that I have some kind of allergy for the cat so I had to let him go. I’m currently more and more away from home so I trust he is now better in his new home.

When Moby added his original version of "Wait for me" song to the MobyGratis, I decided to re-edit it and upload it. I love the song. Most of the clips are shooed year ago, only one this year.

Maybe get some pointers to make it better.

Music is licenced from MobyGratis.com and it’s the song called "Wait For Me"

Travelling in Sydney

I was traveling in Australia and New Zealand for a month, taking pictures and shooting 3D videos with my rig. This started my project to get one short film from every city I visited. This is the video I made in Sydney.

After the airplane, next scenes are filmed in Hyde Park and in there I met Michael from Germany. He is the bicyclist that told me that where ever he goes, bike comes with him. 🙂

After Hyde Park the next scene are from shopping mall and another park following scenes.

Just next to Sydney Opera house there was these music artist with didgeridoo. I really liked his music, bough one CD and filmed him a bit. I also got permission to use his music in my video.

After that scene there is the strange person that I don’t know what he was doing, but as far as I understand he tried to earn some money to start some kind of religion. He had lost his foots in somehow.

The beach is Bondi beach.

In the end Sydney was kind of nice place for as a metropolis.

Making a 3D-Underwater camera from GoPro Hero HD camera.

I love 3d movies and as soon as I figured out that I could start shooting 3d video I started to study how to do it. As many know, I also shoot underwater stills and videos so my need was of course underwater possibility. So as I had already one GoPro HD Hero camera and I noticed that GoPro had announced a 3d-housing for their camera, it was time to buy a second camera.(Please check NAB 2010) After many failures with different types of rigs I soon figured out that the simplest solution is the best. Until I really have a 3d-housing I need to use something else, this is what I made. I just connected the two cameras with iron barn.

3d_rig-1

First I used Cineform NeoHD program with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 to edit my 3d videos. I did get some nice videos with this solution but because of some odd software problem(NeoHD crashing), it was really difficult to get any good example file.

I had to gave up from Cineform because I got info from them that it’s known bug. Cineform was able to pinpoint my problem in their software and provided me an update where this problem was fixed. I need to test it separately.

I found easy way to watch my 3d movies. First I open them in QuickTime, edit the file so that it will start from my sync point and then I save as reference file. I can play them directly in Nvidia Vision 3D Player just by opening two videos, though FullHD was too much for my hard drive, now I need to update my computer 🙂

I will update the workflow of editing 3d footage into here

Anyway I found much more simpler solution. I edited the video directly in Premiere Pro CS5. I made an sequence that is double the wide of my footage and imported all video in there. Then I just offset right video to the left side and left to right side, YouTube wants it in this format. After this I edited it, added sound and exported it. Here is the final solution.

premiere3d

As you can see from the video GoPro Hero HD out of focus problem really becomes an issue in 3d so I need to find a solution for that.
I made blog post about this to Here
Edit:
Here is my first actual edited 3D video, if you want to see the 3D menu, you need to click the video to go to youtube. There you can select the format where you want to see it. There are several other as well.