A 30,000$ Camera Symphony ft. Nikon

By on June 30, 2013

While getting a tour of the amazing facilities of Nikon Professional Services and chatting with an employee and now friend Elvis Do we came up with the idea of composing a piece using nothing more than Nikon equipment… 14 cameras and a little brainstorming by composer Andrew Kesler later, this was the result:

The Behind the Scenes:

The original “composition” came together after Andrew and I went to visit Elvis at his house on a Sunday morning to record some sound samples and experiment with the various cameras he had with him and see: How many different sounds could we actually generate from the devices we had?

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By experimenting with the custom “CL-Continuous Low” settings, we were able to set the cameras to 1, 2, 3 fps, etc… which gave us a nice base to start off on.

That wasn’t enough, however to create enough musical and sound variance so that’s when we started experimenting with a couple other functions – Live view up/down, Mirror-up/down, and even the custom beep volumes within the various bodies we had available.

Taking the wealth of sounds that we had captured from Elvis’s place, Andrew composed a quick draft and after a couple back & forths we had this cute little draft prepared to submit to Nikon:

Nikon symphony plan

Try as we might, we couldn’t get Nikon to give us a D4 to drop despite how durable their flagship cameras are made but we did manage to score ourselves a fully refurbished and functional D3 to toss about (see us dropping it around at 2:02 in the BTS video).

It turns out that our ambitious idea of dropping a camera at the end of our piece may have been slightly too ambitious. Since we wanted to do everything in one take, and couldn’t figure out a reliable and consistent way to drop the camera so that the mirror was facing the recording D800 with the resources we had available, we finally settled with “simply” slamming the D3 down into the apple crates.

Pop quiz: Identify the trigger that sets off the D7000?

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FAQ:

    • So… why the Nikon Symphony ?

Well, Canon tossed out a pretty nifty Shutter Click video comparison and we decided to do something better. Ner ner. Balls in your court Canon :P

    • What’s that light you got on your video rig?

It’s actually the modelling light of my Elinchrom Ranger Quadra Li-Ion Kit! We didn’t have any video lights available and just needed a little splash of daylight balanced light to help fill the shadows. To make sure that we could see the mirrors flipping up and down, we strapped a simple headlamp on the lens-axis to add a little shine.
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    • Whats that big octobox for? It doesn’t look on?

We simply used it as a big reflector. The studio, graciously provided to us by my agent Suzy Johnston + Associates had some huge windows which was great for flooding the room with some beautiful overcast lighting.

    • I WANT THAT AS MY RINGTONE! Where can I download it?

First 100 downloads are free! After that click on the “buy now” to support our future crazy projects :)

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Credits:

Announcements:

  • Just got the most amazing tripod ever from 3 legged thing. Check it out.
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  • Finally got some prints up for sale on 500px!

Special Gear used:

See what else is in my camera bag when I travel!