Sony A7R for Wildlife Video

As Spring warms up our Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, wildlife activity in general does pick up.  I am mostly resuming where I left off last year with local wildlife videography in attempts to challenge myself, and also to entertain viewers.  My “new used” Sony A7R has been my primary camera of late, and for wildlife jaunts, I have my trusty Canon EF mount Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens paired using a Fotodio Pro adapter.

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Below are three recent wildlife shorts that I have filmed and edited in various natural areas in New Jersey.

 

March Waterfowl at the Manasquan Reservoir

 

Wood Duck at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

 

Tree Swallows at the New Jersey Meadowlands

 

More recent wildlife photography and videography is viewable on Dave Blinder Nature Photography on Facebook

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American Goldfinch DSLR video; filmed in Cape May, New Jersey

It was a real treat to get some close footage of our vibrant state bird recently.  I knew that I would want footage from several different angles to create diversity… even in a short wildlife video.  Varying the focal lengths and my angle of view on the birds was how I tackled that challenge.

Footage shot in 1080p at 30fps on the Canon EOS 7D with the tripod mounted Tamron SP 150-600mm VC zoom lens.  DSLR was set to the desired shutter speed of 1/60th of a second and I adjusted the aperture and ISO value to get as good of an exposure as possible for each clip.  Unfortunately it was a windy day so I had to strip the audio of the birds interacting and feeding.  I don’t think anyone would have enjoyed listening to the hissing and popping caused by the wind hitting the microphone outdoors.

Fingers and Fretboard

A short guitar video (of myself) that I recorded and edited recently in New Jersey.

Manually prefocusing two cameras on the position my guitar would be at was a challenge in itself.  I actually took a cardboard box from a photography light stand and laid it in place as a marker for focusing.  Took me about 3 tries to really guess exactly where my Ibanez guitar would be.  I had external microphones from both cameras wired fairly close to where my small guitar amplifier was on the ground.

After setting the manual video exposures on both cameras, I started rolling and slid myself into position.  Took me about 7 minutes on this take to get a 45 second musical passage that I was happy enough with.

Video post-processing first involved syncing the full 7 minute clips by matching peaks on the audio waveforms.  After that, it was a matter of cutting to whichever video feed I wanted to be viewed for the guitar part being played.  I did some color corrections, highlight tweaks, and selective saturation before rendering out the AVI file.

 

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Macro flash and video LED setup

Macro flash and video LED setup

Canon 7D + Tamron 180mm SP Macro lens. A straight flash bracket is attached to the camera body, my Canon Speedlite 270exII is mounted on top of a Giottos mini ballhead. The Speedlite head is covered by my homemade diffuser (actually a plastic coffee “tin”), and today I glued a cold shoe mount on top of the diffuser to mount a Manfrotto ML120 Pocket-12 LED Light for shooting macro videos at night.