I've been using the Sony FS700 for several weeks now (in a variety of different shooting situations) and it has been a period of some adjustment for me in terms of  learning to wield the camera effectively in the situations that I will be requiring it most often, namely motorsports.

Unlike the Panasonic gear that I would normally use for action footage the FS700 is by comparison a cumbersome beast. However the FS700 has a redeeming factor for me, and a big one at that, super slow motion.

Staging with the FS700 on the start line at Hidden Valley Raceway - Image © Jeremy Horvath +HighRPM 

This camera brings pro quality slow motion capability to the table at a price that is relatively affordable for indie film makers or small production houses on a budget.  Yes it has some limitations straight out of the box in slow mode and the internal AVCHD codec might be considered weak for some production work but these factors can be worked around once you are aware of the weaknesses.

Admittedly the ergonomic situation of the camera is a bugbear with many who use it.  A lot of reviewers of the FS700 claim it is not for 'Run & Gun' style shooting as it is far too ungainly to shoot eng style footage, fair enough I say after all it is technically a 'cinema style' camera and they are entitled to opinon based on experience.  However as someone who has regular experience shooting high speed dynamic motorsports action with DSLR's I have very little to complain about when it comes to the FS700.

Sure there are improvements that could be made.  I'd love a better internal codec to work with, I'd love accessories like a high speed servo zoom lens, I'd love an out-of-the-box EVF solution that doesn't limit my position to being almost directly behind the camera but as long as I have two arms, dexterous fingers and an able body I have some great tools to work with to man-handle it in to position effectively.

Bang for buck with the capability this camera brings to the footage we get I am more than happy to find workarounds for ergonomics when needed and work my shooting to the limitations that I know about.
Shooting the FS700 / Glidecam combo with Amber Walker 
60 Days To A Sexy Soul
(visit 60daystoasexysoul.com) is the latest project from Amber Walker to hit circulation here in Australia.

Amber has been working with me on various projects on and off over the years and I was of course pleased as always to be asked to do what I do on this one.

With her schedule currently divided between the Gold Coast (working on the set of a movie currently in production that I can't mention at the time of writing the article) and visiting Darwin Amber will usually be in touch to book in a spare couple of days for any work we need to do together, and surprisingly we have made it work quite well this way as Amber will organise the scripts and concepts and send them ahead for review.

Luckily for us, as it was still the trailing end of the Territory wet season for this particular shoot, the weather behaved.  Although the clouds were hinting at some rain it held off long enough for us to get as much of the shot list as we needed to put together the message for the project.

The 60 Days To A Sexy Soul course is a holistic outlook on wellness and teaches you how to look after your body and your soul as one.  Amber has shifted her perspective recently from the pure fitness and dieting focus to a more all round approach that ordinary people can embrace and work into their lives with the underlying rationale that everyone is different and a 'cookie cutter' approach will not work for every situation.

With her track record of success inspiring and training people up to achieve amazing goals I am really looking forward to hearing some of the testimonials that are sure to be coming from this latest  adventure.

Ebony Daniels on set.  Darwin, Australia
Filming on "Once Belonged"
Ebony Daniels is a new model to add to my list of contacts.  Ebony originally moved from WA to Darwin with her family and has been modelling with the Muse agency here ever since.

Ebony is seen here working on the latest Darwin independent film project from +Salvatore Finocchiaro titled "Once Belonged".

They kicked off on the first day on location just last weekend and I tagged along with the crew to assist with some of the car camera placement and advice.  I also brought along the stills camera gear on request of the director as they had Ebony on set for day one.

The scene being filmed that day was a short 'bus stop' drive-by, a cut away scene from the main story, there were plenty of location moves on the day so the crew thought it would be great to get some nice portfolio shots in for Ebony between takes as a thank you for her involvement as well as a little extra promo to spread around on social media for the fashion demographic and her agency Muse Models.

Although conditions during the filming times were tough (try harsh contrasty lighting and blistering humidity) I'm always up for the challenge though.   Keeping Ebony in the support car's condition until needed in front of either of the cameras was a definite 'must' to avoid melting her makeup.

I got a few nice samples of Ebony's shots from the day to share below.

Ebony Daniels Ebony Daniels

Ebony Daniels

Ebony Daniels Ebony Daniels

Darwin Motocross 2015 Thumper Series TV Commercial

Darwin Motocross has started it's season off with the Darwin Motor cycle Club's 2015 television advertising campaign for their Thumper Series.  The series is the biggest motocross event on the DMCC calendar so when we were asked if it was possible to get a TVC out to air in under a week before their first round, we had to do some very quick calculations ... and luckily the answer was YES.

Footage collecting with some Darwin motocross action
Photo by Edmund Forman HighRPM
Ordinarily I'd be able to spend a little more time on animations and all the pretty bits to make the TVC a little more memorable, but given the short turnaround required, some creative premade AE templating (thanks Pond5), our speed dial access to the super fast voiceover guru Wayne Cottle who we use for a number of commercials, and the fact that +Edmund Forman  and I keep a huge archive of motor sports footage on file saved the day.

Thank goodness for large disk storage solutions, they've proved to be more than their worth of easy storage and quick file access for situations just like this when we don't have time to gather footage for event advertising.  We make sure to archive decent footage from events we film at during the motor sports seasons up here as you never know when stock video might come in handy.

If you are local or visiting Darwin during the series you should got take a peek!  Plenty of dirt action for those that love their motocross, and the DMCC host a great crowd of both fans and families at their events.
Auto Power On - Jumper Position for Power Recovery Enabled
Inside the MINIX NEO Z64 (Fig 1.)

With the recent release of the Z64 and the Bay Trail processor goodness it brings with it,  I saw a great opportunity to try out a new windows capable mini PC to hopefully act as a low cost, low energy pseudo server on the home network.

Of course a server's functionality is greatly increased if it can automate computing and schedule various tasks around the clock, so some sort of recovery after power failure feature is needed.

The Z64 does not do this straight out of the box, however knowing that some of the other models on offer from MINIX have on board jumper settings to achieve this I had to take a look.  Some of you who have bought this great little piece of kit will be dismayed that you will be required to open it up to enable this, but I found it was relatively easy to do.

*Standard Disclaimer: Please note if you care about your warranty at all, DO NOT OPEN YOUR device, or do so at your own risk.

If you are still reading and do want to try this out, make sure you have good quality mini screwdriver (Phillips head) available, those little screws feel like they will strip easy if you have a cheap one!

1. Unplug the power and any other items you may have inserted into the device (eg USB's, MicroSD, Cables)

2. Flip the device over.  You will need to peel off the 4 small rubber feet located on its underside as the screws are located there.  I found they retained enough stickiness to place back on without using adhesive - your experience may differ.

3. Take out the 4 holding screws - use a firm grip and applying good downward pressure so as not to strip the head of your screws.  I found mine to be rather tight.

4. The board should lift out easily with the connecting wires still attached. You will be able to flip it over, locate the PWR_MODE jumper and then set it to the position as shown in Fig1.

5. You are done.  Put everything back together

I have done some initial tests and listed the results for you; here is the behaviour you can expect from your Z64 after setting the jumper in the steps above.

1. Conditions: NEO Z64 is on, power supply to device is momentarily cut then resumed (unplug/re-plug power cable).
1. Result: device powers up automatically

2. Conditions: NEO Z64 is manually shut down from within windows, power supply is maintained.
2. Result: Device powers down and stays shut down.
- 2a. If device power button is pressed in this shut down state, device will start back up.
- 2b. If the power is cut to device (unplug/re-plug power cable) in this shut down state, it will start automatically as if recovering from power failure.

Next on my list of things to do is work out how I can image this little beast with a server O/S like 2008. The Windows 8.1 install on here is pretty good (and runs well on the Z64) but the extra functionality of a server would be the bomb!  If anyone has any tips on how to do this it would be very much appreciated!

This all started when I was asked the question: How do you pronounce Quinoa?

How to Pronounce Quinoa
Image: www.aukihenry.com
A bit of history tends to ensue when I answer this question for people.  The back story is important to the topic and will give you some basic facts about Quinoa that are at the very least mildly interesting, but will also let you decide if you want to pronounce the word based on its origins or based on what you hear around you.

On that note, what is Quinoa? It is referred to often as a 'pseudocereal', it's not really a cereal, and is also not really a grain as some mistake it to be as it does not come from a grassy plant.

The Quinoa that we eat is a seed from a leafy plant that is native to the mountainous Andes region.  It is often touted as a 'superfood' (bleh, don't lets get started on the overuse of the term superfood in foodie circles nowadays).

There is so much huff-and-fluff about this word and the correct way to pronounce it, accompanied by a good measure of patronizing superiority when people hear what THEY think is the incorrect pronunciation of the word, so here's the basic background that might help you not be THAT person ... the pronunciation snob.

'Quinoa' is the Spanish version of a Quechua word kinua or kinúwa.

The Quechua are a people comprised of several indigenous ethnic groups from South America, predominately the Andean region, they have cultivated and eaten the crop  for thousands of years and it is still a staple of their modern descendants today.

When saying Quinoa / kinúwa both individual vowels are pronounced.  As the Quecha pronunciation this will be sounded out phonetically as kee-NOO-ah

The Spanish variation of the word is very close to the original with less emphasis on the drawn out "oo".  The pronunciation follows the basic phonetic rules of the language.

 - "Qu" is pronounced as a short and soft "K" sound.  Think Cat, Kettle, Car, Kite.  "Qui" - with the addition of the weak vowel "i" this is pronounce "KEE". Think Keep, Keel

 - Strong vowels when placed together in Spanish are sounded out as separate syllables.  This is important to the pronunciation of "noa" as it is properly pronounced as NO and Ah.

Hence the Spanish derivation Quinoa is pronounced kee-NO-ah.

The last pronunciation that has been popularised by the trendy foodie blogger set and TV chefs is a highly Anglicised version.  This permutation of the original has slurred together the two distinct syllables for the vowels resulting in the approximation of KEEN-wah.

Regardless of how YOU choose to pronounce it people ... just remember, pronunciation snobs are #LAME so smile, be happy and don't bring that party down by dissing on the way someone says the word if you know what they mean.

That being said I hope this has given you a little education in the origins of the food that even I will admit to eating from time to time.

Darwin Motocross Video with TEMCC rider Phillip Bodey
© +Auki Henry  & HighRPM

Cleaning the GoPro  'orbit cameras' during a break.
On location for +HighRPM - Photo © Ed Forman

What a better way to get the new gear christened than a baptism-by-fire stress test in typical Darwin conditions, shooting some sweet Motocross action in wet season humidity?

The new gear I am talking about is our Sony NEX-FS700RH rig that arrived recently and the sweet Motocross action I am talking about was a sponsors photo shoot with local rider Phillip Bodey at the Top End Moto Cross Club's track out at Palmerston over the weekend.

I had been waiting for the FS700 to become just that little bit more affordable before grabbing one and was delighted that the Christmas sales last year made that happen.  Picking one up for a (relative) bargain was a bonus that just sweetened the prospect of plenty of slow motion action footage that can now be planned for this 2015 production season.

The particular session for the weekend was originally planned around a sponsors photo shoot that +Edmund Forman had arranged with Phil,  and as usual when I was invited along it evolved into a stills AND video affair ... it inevitably does when we are on HighRPM duties though we just love grabbing the action when the opportunity presents itself, otherwise what kind of media team would we be calling ourselves really?

There are already some more engagements lined up for the FS-700 in the near future and not all of them are motorsports.  You'll have to come back to check them out soon!