Tag

how to

How to Film a Documentary in Remote South America with Xpeditions TV

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Meet Jerry and Kathy Willis, the photography/videography masterminds behind Xpeditions TV. They’ve spent years traveling throughout South America, documenting their exploration of amazing, infrequently-visited sites. They share their adventures on their site Xpeditions TV in the form of short documentary films. Because their work takes them to the most remote places, lightweight and adaptable gear is essential. On their last expedition they ditched their full-height tripod in favor of our GorillaPod Focus with Ballhead X. Here’s more about their travels, their work and their new favorite tripod! 

Cumbemayo-01

JOBY-2

First, can you tell us a little bit about how you got into photography/videography?

We started our tour company in 1992 specializing in trips to Peru. The trips were always between the Amazon jungle to the Andes mountains. At every stop we were surrounded by a vast wild landscape. It was during the first trip I realized how important a camera would be if I was going to share these adventures with others. By the time our second trip was scheduled I had bought a Canon A1 film camera for still photos, and a consumer level Canon 8mm video camera to capture the action. Our early documentaries were a record of the people we escorted through Peru, and events from the journey.

Since then we have expended our interests beyond tours. My wife Kathy and I now trek into remote areas looking for places few have traveled to. There are lost cities forgotten to time, people and their customs whose lives remain much the same as they were a hundred years ago, and fantastically beautiful places few will ever see.

JOBY-10

Tocache-01

Can you tell us about the project these photos/videos are from?

The photos were taken during our most recent shoot in Peru and Bolivia. We called this “The Tocache Expedition”, though we actually shot in two countries and multiple locations in each country. As usual, we were determined to document several ancient sites relating to research Kathy was conducting. For more about this best to check in at Xpeditions TV.

How has the GorillaPod changed the way you shoot?

The GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X have changed everything, and I really mean EVERYTHING. I’ll explain; For years we have carried a tripod with us. You have to if you want a steady shot for a stand-up narration, or if you film at night or while recording a time-lapse clip. We have several tripods to choose from, but even the best one we have is bulky. Most are heavy enough that you wish you didn’t have to have one along. Believe me, moving through the dense foliage of the Amazon or climbing past 14,000′ elevation on the steep slopes of an Andes mountain is challenging enough. Add a tripod and it becomes exhausting. We’ve done it, but were always looking for something more portable and more easily managed.

When we saw the GorillaPod and Ballhead X Kathy and I became very excited. We already knew JOBY made an exceptional product line. We had purchased a JOBY flashlight several years ago that attached to a small magnetic tripod. We still have it, and it was used during this last trip. It will be along with us wherever we go because it is so dependable. That thing saved our life one night while stranded on the Amazon river… but that’s another story. Needless to say, we have complete confidence in JOBY products. Because it is a JOBY we already knew the GorillaPod and Ballhead X is a well made, dependable high quality product. We quickly ordered one and it arrived two days ahead of leaving for our expedition. Without even considering, we left our expensive carbon fiber tripod at home. Good choice!

During the trip it was obvious this is the best tripod and camera mount we had ever used. Maybe the best addition to shooting that has EVER be invented! Sure, it doesn’t have extendable legs to get the height, but no problem. We were able to mount the GorillaPod and Ballhead X in trees, on fence posts, rocks.. anything we chose! We ended up with extraordinary shots that we would never have gotten otherwise! Adding the GorillaPod and Ballhead X to our kit improved our filmmaking by increasing the level of creativity always available, but never approached because of the limitations a normal tripod allows. We will use our old tripods in the future for studio work. But once we head out into the wild places we will not be without our GorillaPod and Ballhead X.

Cumbemayo-02

Nazca-02

What is your best tip for using the GorillaPod?

Avoid trees covered by ants! Haha… During one shot at “The Doomsday Stone” I decided to mount the GorillaPod in a tree for a stand-up shot where Kathy and I were discussing the archeological site. We were on location deep into the Andes mountain up the Rio Tocache. This region of the Amazon is where the jungle meets (and flows upon to) the Andes mountains. Because I was hurrying I hadn’t noticed there was a line of leaf cutter ants working this particular tree. They were busy cutting leaves and transporting them to their nest somewhere else in the nearby jungle. I quickly mounted the GorillaPod and camera in a high place, and set the shot. Once finished, I went to remove the camera. I was alarmed to see the GorillaPod and camera was covered with curious ants wondering what this thing was!

Aside from this, I suggest you take some time to become familiar with the GorillaPod and Ballhead X. Play with it, mount it, dis-mount it… Try it out in as many settings as you can. The GorillaPod and Ballhead X are easy items to understand and use. Experimentation is the key to using it. Don’t wait until you need to capture a shot to get familiar with it.

One last thing; You might want more than one size. We have the larger one, but there are smaller ones more specific to less bulky cameras. If your camera is big like ours, the GorillaPod Focus and Ballhead X is perfect. But if you have a smaller camera you might find consider one of the other GorillaPod models more specific for your camera size. You can be sure of one thing about any of these… Anything JOBY makes is the highest quality and will last for decades.

JOBY-4

Amazon-01

 

 Can you share a story of a time that your GorillaPod really came in handy from your past trip?

That’s a tough question! It came in handy for almost every shot we took! But there is one shot I could not have gotten without it.

I already mentioned the tree shot in the Amazon with leaf cutter ants. That was one shot that would not have ever happened if not for the GorillaPod. There is another instance I felt we were able to be very creative.

While hiking back through the jungle to camp Kathy decided it would be interesting if we could get an overhead shot as we passed by. As we were leaving the Doomsday Stone area she found an ideal place to shoot from high in a tree along the path. We always had talked about to do this but never had because there was really no way to secure the camera. I climbed a tree (no ants in this one!) and mounted the GorillaPod and camera about twenty feet above the path. The results are incredible… Had it not been for the GorillaPod and Ballhead X I would never have felt comfortable mounting our expensive camera like this. The GorillaPod gripped the branch like a vice and held it securely in place. It would probably still be there had it been left in place. It was really locked onto that limb! We shot it, and it looks fantastic. That shot was only possible because of the JOBY GorillaPod and Ballhead X.

Amazon-02

Cumbemayo-03

What is your best advice for aspiring photographers/videographers?

Anyone can shoot footage. The greatest issue many have is when you think you are not “qualified”, or good enough to produce something others will enjoy. Our advice is, don’t compare yourself to others. You are not them, and never will be, haha… You might think your idea or footage isn’t as good as. Don’t think this way. Instead, be yourself. Shoot what is interesting to, and inspires you. Compose a story, imagine how you can make it look like what you see in your minds-eye. Don’t worry about it – try it out. Sure, you’ll have disappointments. We all do! Use your mistakes to make the next shot better. If you’re unsure or stuck not knowing how to do something, ask for help. I know for sure someone has encountered your issue already and most are happy to pass on helpful information.

Finally, if you ask for an opinion and receive constructive (or otherwise) criticism, learn from it. Don’t be bummed out just because one person has something to say that disheartens you. We have had a lot of that! You might also face this. If you do, think about what was said and go forward. If you really believe you are right their opinion doesn’t matter. If you see their rational, improve from the experience. Don’t be afraid to ask, and expect judgement. Place judgement where it belongs…. in your intellect, not your heart.

Amazon-03

Nazca-01

Where can we find more of your stuff!

All our short documentaries are available at no cost at http://Xpeditions.TV.  We have been shooting for eight years. We have tried various cameras, editing techniques, and shooting styles. If you watch each episode you can easily see how our abilities have improved over the years.  We invite you to drop by, spend a few hours, and learn from what we have done. Have questions: how did we shoot  that, etc…?  Feel free to ask. We are always happy to share our knowledge and techniques. Maybe we can help you solve a shooting or editing issue : )

Thanks Jerry and Kathy for sharing your great tips and experience with us! 

 

How to Shoot Fireworks with Your Phone

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

With Independence Day upon us, I thought it only proper to give a quick tutorial about the how to best capture the fireworks displays that will be shooting up all over the USA. You don’t want to miss the shot because you’re fumbling with your iPhone or Galaxy SIV, right?

Fire at Night

So here we go …

1. Don’t forget a tripod!!! Bust out your iPhone or Android smartphone + GripTight phone tripod and position it appropriately to capture the action. Watch out for trees, buildings and other spectators who might block your shot.

2.  Turn off the flash! 

3. If you have an iPhone, use out our iPhone camera app GorillaCamPro. If you have an Android, check out Lapse It.  Set yourself up for success, which means lots and lots of shots. Set up the apps to take photos at a 1, 5, 10 or 30 second intervals, sit back, enjoy the show and let your phone do all the work for you!

4. Use a self-timer  to avoid camera shake when you hit the shutter button.

5. Test out long exposures. An app like SlowShutter or Dr. Light will do the trick.

the forth of july

What are your fireworks photo tips? Have a favorite fireworks photo? Share it with us on Instagram. We’re @jobyinc! Happy 4th!

How Photog Jordana Wright uses her GripTight Phone Tripod

By | Gorillamobile, Gorillapod, GripTight, How To, iPhone, Photography | No Comments

We sent our new GripTight phone tripod to a few of our favorite photographers, asked them to give it a whirl and then share their photos and experience here on the blog.  Jordana Wright is a photographer and teacher based in Chicago, Illinois. We first met Jordana when she embarked on a photography trip across the entire USA by train, taking photos, meeting people and teaching along the way.  Thanks Jordana for sharing your experience and photos! 

Jordana Wright
Chicago, Illinois | @jordanawright on Instagram
What is your favorite thing about the GripTight?  

The GripTight is super helpful, wonderfully compact, and totally versatile. I can really punch up my mobile photography by positioning my phone literally anywhere. Google hangouts and video chats are so much easier to do on-the-go, now that they can be TOTALLY hands free. When I’m shooting with my DSLR, the GripTight lets me pull up a shot list or other important information that I can easily display without fumbling with my phone.

IMG_20121001_111254[1]

IMG_8567

What is your best tip for getting great photos from a smartphone? 

My best tip is that it’s not always about the app! The angle, lighting, and subject matter can make or break a cellphone photo—just like every other type of photography. Play around because you never know what sorts of AWESOME you may capture. One of my favorite tricks is putting a piece of colored gel in front of my phone’s camera for a moody, colorized photo.

What are your favorite apps?  

My favorite apps are Instagram and Pudding Camera. Sometimes I shoot in one camera app, then open the photo and process it with another. In airplane mode, you can process photos through Instagram as many times as you want to get a unique look.

IMG_20121006_170623[1]

IMG_20120930_124154[1]

Have you found any alternative uses for your GripTight?

I’ve used the GripTight to keep my phone safe and in sight on my desk and on the kitchen counter. It makes my cell phone into a lovely bedside alarm clock, and it even came in handy for my husband who works in theatre. He borrowed it to more easily film actors auditioning for a show. In a pinch, you can even use your cellphone (when the screen is dark) to touch up your hair or make-up. The GripTight lets you angle it however you may need!

IMG_8558

Can you tell us about a time the GripTight really saved the day? 

I was driving using Google Maps on my phone, and the phone kept falling over in the car. At a red light, I realized I could use the GripTight Micro Stand to keep the phone exactly where I needed it on the dashboard for easier navigation. Fewer fumbles + knowing where I’m going = the happiest photographer.

 

How photographer Eric Wood uses his GripTight

By | Gorillapod, GripTight, iPhone, Photography | No Comments

We sent our new GripTight phone tripod to a few of our favorite photographers, asked them to give it a whirl and then share their photos and experience here on the blog. Eric Wood is a New York-based photographer who first inspired us with his HDR photography. He’s shared his HDR technique for DSLR photography on the JOBY Blog last year and now he’s back to share his thoughts on smartphone photography.

Eric Wood
Hoosick, NY | @snaplove on Instagram

What is your best advice for using the GripTight? 

The GripTight is awesome for holding my Galaxy SIII nice and still while I fire off a couple shots. One of the most valuable tips for succeeding with the GripTight has to do with your phone. Set your phone’s camera to fire using a timer. That way you can trigger the timer and wait for the shutter to fire without actually touching the phone. The result: super sharp photos!

Number-6

Can you share a time when the GripTight came in handy recently? 

Last weekend, I was walking around a New England church and there was the first red leaf of fall on the ground. I didn’t have my DSLR with me but I had my phone and GripTight. I set it up on the ground and got a great shot of the leaf.

Number-7

 

What is your best advice for new photographers? 

My best tip is to just shoot. I think lots of people have a belief that you need a big, bulky DSLR to take amazing photos. Any photographer will tell you the best camera you could have is the camera you have with you! In lots of cases that is going to be your phone. Don’t hesitate to use it.

Number-5

What are your favorite apps for shooting? For editing?

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop, Instagram is awesome. It’s quality, fun and social. If you prefer to break it up a little, grab Adobe Photoshop Express and use the sharing platform within. I love it! The new mobile Flickr app has some potential too.

 

Have you found any fun or unique uses for the GripTight? 

When I am on the road, I usually wrap my GorillaPod around my rearview mirror and put my phone in the GripTight so I can see the navigation in my view. Works awesome!

In-Progress Number-4

 

How to take Better Phone Photos & Videos with Jay and Varina Patel

By | Gorillamobile, Gorillapod, iPhone, Photography | No Comments

We sent our new GripTight phone tripod to a few of our favorite photographers, asked them to give it a whirl and then share their photos and experience here on the blog.  Jay and Varina Patel are landscape photographers who teach photography workshops all over the globe. They also have a series of E-Books and tutorials to help aspiring photographers improve their shooting and post-processing technique.  Thanks Jay and Varina for sharing your experience and photos! 

Jay and Varina Patel
Twinsburg, Ohio 

What is the best part about using the GripTight? 

We’ve been really happy with the tiny combination of the Grip Tight Mount with the Micro. They fold up small enough to stick in a pocket or attach to a keychain, so I don’t have to carry around bulky gear. When I want to get some video of my kids when we go swimming in the river or hang out at the park, I can set up my phone quickly and grab a fun video of the kids having fun.

soccer_7401

soccer_9309

When have you found the GripTight particularly useful? 

As landscape photographers, we often produce short, on-location educational videos with our mobile phones. The GripTight Mount and GripTight GorillaPod Stand provide a perfect lightweight solution that we can use to produce smooth videos with our mobile phones. We secure the GorillaPod stand on a tripod or stand it up on a rock, and we are good to go!

The Making of an Instructional Tutorial with Photographer Varina Patel from JOBY Inc on Vimeo.

Can you share a time when the GripTight really saved the shoot?

We planned to do a quick series of videos in a beautiful park several miles from our home, but we forgot our Grip Tight Mount. All our attempts to stabilize the mobile phone using our tripods or hands were unsuccessful. We shot a video anyway—but it’s completely unusable. The camera shake is pretty annoying! The following week, we took our cameras to the soccer fields to shoot another video. This time, we used a tripod topped with the GripTight GorillaPod Stand and the finished video is smooth and steady.

What are your favorite apps? 

We use SmugMug’s Camera Awesome app. Camera Awesome allows for independent control of focus point and exposure. It’s great for macro shots and producing on-location videos. We edit our movies with iMovie, which allows us to put clips together quickly, add audio and music, and create a decent finished product. We love Snapseed for processing photos. This app has “U-Point” technology that allows us to make selective adjustment to our photographs.

 

How to take Better Phone Photos with Allan Hinton

By | Gorillapod, iPhone, Photography | No Comments

We sent our new GripTight smartphone tripod to a few of our favorite Instagrammers, asked them to give it a whirl and then share their photos and experience here on the blog. Lodon-based photographer Allan Hinton does wonders with an iPhone. His photographs first caught our eye a year ago because of his knack for capturing the atmosphere and emotion of a scene. He also has an amazing eye for color. Thanks Allan for sharing your thoughts and photos with us! 

Allan Hinton
London, England | @chaiwalla 

photo-1

What is your best tip for using the GripTight?  

My biggest tip is to always have the GripTight in your possession, in your bag or chained to your key ring.  It is portable enough to not take up too much room in your pocket. Most of my photographs are spontaneous while I am on the go and I’m often inspired by moments in time that I cannot plan for.

photo-2

Tell us about a time that you really stretched yourself creatively because of the GripTight?

I haven’t done this yet but I was thinking the GripTight would be perfect for taking photographs at my local swimming pool. I have a bulky waterproof case for my phone and the GripTight would have no problem in gripping around my iPhone and its case. I could then place the phone steadily at the edge of the pool and get creative with multiple exposure shots!

photo-3
What are your favorite apps for shooting? For editing? 

My favorite app to edit photos are Snapseed, PicFx and Blender. Blender this is a great way to blend two of the same image together if you can’t pick which edit you prefer – sometimes a slight blend of the two can result in a perfect finish.

photo

What is your advice for someone just starting out as as photographer? 

Be brave enough to try something new and enjoy being a beginner and making early mistakes. You will feel proud when looking back at early photos and seeing how far you’ve come. It’s very easy to feel insecure when comparing your photos to someone with many followers on Instagram. It’s likely that they’ve been photographing for years and have had their own time to grow.

 

 

Stop making shaky Vine videos: Use a tripod already!

By | GripTight, iPhone, Photography | No Comments

After Twitter introduced Vine, it seemed like the most common adjective that I saw tied to Vine videos was “shaky.”  When you’re holding your iPhone and shooting, there’s always a bit of shake. The fewer parts of your body that are stabilized, the more magnified the shake becomes. Things like breathing, slight shifts in posture, the distance your hands are from your body, etc all contribute to shakes in your videos. Vine makes video even more twitchy because when you press down on the screen to shoot, the pressure moves your phone a bit. You might not notice all the shake when you’re shooting, but it becomes pretty obvious when you watch your video playback.

Here’s our first attempt at doing a Vine video:

Not a lot of shake, right? That’s because we’re using our GripTight tripods to capture the shot. Our GripTight mount holds any iPhone, and you don’t even have to remove your case. It also allows you to use accessories like the awesome Olloclip iPhone lens for even more unique Vine videos. Plus, they are tiny —you can easily fit them in your pocket or your bag—and easy to set up. Taking a minute to set up your tripod will save tons of time by eliminating the hassle of retakes because of annoying camera shake.

But, which GripTight should you use for your Vine videos? Well, it depends on the equipment that you have and how you think you’ll shoot.

 

Want to shoot shake-free Vine videos with any camera tripod?

Use our GripTight Mount which can attach your iPhone to any tripod uses a common ¼-20” screw mount (which means it also fits on any GorillaPod that you have!) They fold up nicely and won’t snag on anything in your pocket or backpack.

JOBY_JM1_stand-300

Need an iPhone tripod for Vine that’ll always be with you?

There’s this saying that the best camera is the one you have and that’s definitely true with iPhone tripods too. Maybe even more so because people don’t really associate tripods as something you’ll always have with you. But part of the fun of Vine videos are the spontaneity of it so you really need a tripod that’s small enough to take with you automatically. Our GripTight Micro stand is the iPhone tripod you’ll never leave home without. It folds up nicely to fit in your pocket which makes it the most compact iPhone tripod out there (and tough too with its aluminum legs!).

JOBY_JM2_closed-400

JOBY_JM2_urban-500

GripTight Mount + GorillaPod flexible legs = iPhone Vine domination

The GripTight GorillaPod iPhone stand is easily our best-selling GripTight product out there because it lets you attach your iPhone to branches, rocks, pipes, etc. and lets you stabilize your iPhone on almost any uneven surface. Shoot your Vine videos in portrait, landscape, or any angle you want.

JOBY_JM3_stick2-400

You can also use our GripTight GorillaPod Magnetic for a flexible iPhone stand that now has magnetic feet! Why would you want magnetic feet for your iPhone? We’ll let Safe Solvent demonstrate:

Joby GripTight Demo 4 from *safe solvent™ on Vimeo.

 

Want to do a lot of smooth panning Vine videos?

That would be our GripTight GorillaPod Video. Now you can pan and tilt seamlessly thanks to a mini ballhead and guide stick. Plus, it comes with the same flexible legs and the magnetic feet of our GorillaPod Magnetic.

gorillapod-video-griptight

Now go out there and make the world a better place by showing off your shake-free 6 second Vine masterpieces!

Share your masterpiece with us by tagging them #gorillapod. We’re @jobyinc on Vine if you want more GorillaPods in your feed!

Last minute gift? How about a macro photography eBook!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Need last minute gift ideas for the photo-obsessed in your life? How about a gift that is just a download away! Check out the newly released eBook by photographers Jay and Varina Patel The Workflow Series: Details and Macro, part of their series of eBooks that delves into their photography techniques and how to become a better photographer. PLUS, use code joby6022 for a 10% discount on any ebook order greater than $20! 

In The Workflow Series: Details and Macro, you’ll join professional photographers (and JOBY Pros!), Varina and Jay Patel, as they discuss their vision, their thinking process, and the post-processing workflow they use for six of their most popular macro images.  Learn about circular polarizers, focus stacking, depth of field, and so much more! They’ll show how you can use a wide variety of techniques to create stunning macro and detail photographs!

The Vision – Varina and Jay invite you to join them in the field as they explain their thought processes and the challenges that arise when they are shooting. You’ll find tips and suggestions for improving your own photography! This is the next best thing to learning on location!

The Process – Take a look at rarely seen, un-processed images, and pick up tips and hints as the pros walk you through the process of preparing and finishing a photo!

The Result – When all is said and done, take a look at the finished product. Compare it to the original, scrutinize the changes that were made, and think about the decisions the photographer made in the field and while processing the image.

Check out the sample pages below and take home your copy (or give as a great last-minute gift) today!

 

 

Get Better Photos of Your Kids This Holiday

By | Gorillapod, iPhone, Photography | One Comment

It’s holiday portrait time and photographer Eric Wood has a great solution for getting the perfect smiling photo of the little ones in your life. Pair your GripTight Mount with a 1/4″-20 flash shoe mount, stick that it on your DSLR, turn on their favorite TV show or the front-facing camera and you’ve got yourself a portrait-ready smiling kiddo!


Find the GripTight Mount here.

And here’s a tripod hot shoe adapter for just $4.00.

How to Scout in Crowded Cities, plus UltraFit Sling Strap Review!

By | Camera Straps, How To, Photography | No Comments

Professional travel photographer Elia Locardi shares how he scouts and shoots in busy European Cities with his favorite gear configurations, including the new UltraFit Sling Strap! Learn how to scout and shoot in very crowded cities, plus check out a great review of our new strap and enjoy some awesome photography of Venice from Elia on his website Blame the Monkey!

Questions about our camera straps? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.