in videography, videos

Shooting the 2013 NW Chocolate Festival

I had the pleasure of shooting the Northwest Chocolate Festival this weekend, which was held at the Seattle Convention Center. Amazing chocolate and some really interesting people there, many of whom are using chocolate as a means of changing the world.

Some footage was shot at 60fps, and slowed down to 24fps (the final framerate of the video). All footage was graded using FilmConvert. Beyond my Canon 5D Mark III, here’s the other equipment that I used to make this video happen:

Manfrotto 561B monopodWhen I was just doing photography, I never thought I’d ever spend over $200 on a monopod. But as I’ve entered the video world, I’ve started to see what an amazing deal this Manfrotto monopod is. It’s lighter and more compact than a tripod, and allows you the flexibility to get shots that even tripods might not be able to get. Highly recommended. I can’t imagine living without it!

Kamerar 23″ slider – Bought this slider on the recommendation of Caleb Pike and it is really cheap, as far as sliders go (most other options are at least double this much, and often run into the $500-800 range). As a result of its cheapness, it often needs some finessing to get a decent shot – and by finessing, I mean many, many attempts at the same shot. The slider is a bit flimsy so making sure it’s balanced correctly and positioned for an even slide throughout can take some doing. But the lightness also works in its favor. It’s easy to carry around all day, slap it down on a table, and get to work.

Kinotehnik LCDVF Viewfinder – Essential for helping to make sure you’re in focus, but attaches to the camera using a magnetic stripe that you glue around the LCD screen. In use, I found that it fell off really easily with only minor disturbance. Still, can’t really beat it at the price.

24-70mm EF lens (1st gen) – This lens is rapidly becoming the bane of my existence. I have always had sharpness issues with this lens. Coupled with shooting in Flaat 10 Picture Style, this has often made focusing very difficult. I’m thinking of investing in alternate options but there are just so many that I’m having a difficult time deciding which one. But the fundamental problem is that none of the footage is ever remarkable. However, it’s always at least usable. It’s a trustworthy lens, but I can never take any shots that I think are particularly interesting. Thus, inertia keeps me from changing my setup.

Currently on my list of possible replacements: the Canon 24mm f/1.4 and the Sigma 35mm f1/.4. I’m also on the lookout for a Canon 135mm f/2, which I’ve heard has unparalleled sharpness. I’d like to move to primes to shoot as they are lighter and offer better optics, but just waiting for the right deal for this to come through.

70-200mm USM II lens – Spectacular lens that has served me well since forever. Probably the last zoom lens I’ll ever buy.

Zoom H4n – Acquired 3-4 years ago, this thing is still going strong. Used the onboard mics (90 degree mode), positioned close to the subject, to capture the audio for all the interviews.

Rode Videomic (1st gen) – Not a terribly good microphone, but good for getting a scratch track and a decent backup when all else fails.


In all, it was a pretty run-and-gun setup. But for five hours of shooting and a few hours of editing, I think the video came out pretty nicely! Your thoughts welcome.