Obama Screened “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” in White House


Forthcoming biopic “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” has been generating a lot of buzz lately…the words “Oscar” have definitely been thrown around the last couple of day. And Mandela’s biopic is getting more buzz as President Barack Obama has set a date to host a special White House screening.

This biopic chronicles Nelson Mandela’s early years, from his childhood in a rural village to being chosen as the first democratically elected president in South Africa. The film is backed up by Harvey Weinstein and stars Idris Elba as Mandela.

On Monday, Weinstein commended Obama, “Knowing what a strong relationship President Obama has with President Mandela, it’s an honor for this film to be shown at the White House.”

The film opens on Thanksgiving weekend on the 29th of this month. What do you guys think? Will you go watch it?


Who woulda thunk?!

Things we do every single day…

Everyone has their own little habits, quirks, pet peeves, etc… But sometimes you just do things because you are taught once by someone and that’s the only thing you know. Welllllll…. for every time you’ve eaten at a restaurant and had some ketchup in a paper cup, you were wrong. Take 30 seconds to watch this video that is not only going to change your view on condiments, it’s going to blow your mind!


So next time you go to a hamburger and french fries joint, make sure to utilize the ketchup cup the correct way! Don’t make the mistake that so many do. Be ahead of the game and show your friends just how cool you are! Something that they like to calls “ketchup ignorance.” Who knew there was such a thing… We sure didn’t!

Starbucks.. Pay it forward.

We all know Starbucks is the biggest and baddest coffee shop in the world, but why is that they are so successful? Not just because they can make a mean pumpkin spice soy extra hot latte, but because they are run by people with some common sense and honorable intentions! And of course, there is no coincidence that it comes during the time of the government shut down….
In case you haven’t heard about it yet, they are currently running a special this week based around “paying it forward.” CEO and president of Starbucks Howard Schultz decided to encourage lawmakers to come together during uncertain by offering free coffee to customers.
In “this seemingly unending cycle of dysfunction and doubt,” Schultz announced that Starbucks’ customers could buy “someone else their favorite beverage” and get a free tall brewed coffee in return from Wednesday through Friday of this week.
This sense of paying it forward allows people to find a little bit of comfort in these uncertain times. A nice little boost of confidence in humanity and common decency.
Paying it forward for is a little something that an individual can do to make someones day, but in the end, it makes your day too. How about taking this Starbucks paying it forward mentally and implement it into your day. May just change how you feel about the little things…


How To Photograph Surfing

Australian surf photographer Eugene Tan has been documenting the surf experience at Sydney’s Bondi Beach every weekday morning for well over a decade. Initially having sent an email of his favorite pictures to friends, he now manages the Aquabumps ocean photography brand and his pictures are seen by more than 90,000 people each morning, be they subscribers to the Aquabumps mailing list or followers on social media. Visitors to Sydney can also explore his work at the Aquabumps Gallery in North Bondi. Here Eugene shares his tips on how to master surf photography and explains the understandable appeal of a working life spent on the beach and in the water.

What equipment will you need to photograph surfers?

Firstly, you have to make a decision about whether you want to shoot in the water or out of the water. I much prefer shooting in the water as I feel like I’m a part of the action. Standing on the beach shooting is easier, but less rewarding. Professional equipment is very important. Buy the best lenses you can afford – good optics make great photos.

For shooting surfing from the water you will need:

• A DSLR – I recommend Canon EOS cameras. Something that shoots plenty of frames per second; say, five frames per second. The models I like are Canon EOS 1DX, Canon EOS 5d Mark III, Canon EOS 1d Mark IV, Canon EOS 7D, Canon EOS 60D
• Water housing. I use Aquatech Housings, they’re great.
• Wide angle lenses, 15mm, 14mm, 50mm, 24-70mm all Canon L Series lenses.
• A wetsuit (for cold water)
• Flippers. I usually use Bodyboarders fins as they stay on in big surf.

Shooting surfing from the land:
• A DSLR – I recommend Canon EOS cameras.

• A long lens to zoom into the action from the beach. I recommend a minimum of 400mm; 600mm is ideal; 800mm is a luxury.

What are the optimal weather conditions and times for surf photography?

You need waves – good waves. Good waves make good photos. Good clean waves with offshore winds are what you should hope for, ideally with some sunshine and clear skies too. Secondly, good light is crucial. Light is everything in photography. I love strong backlit early morning light or afternoon sunset rays. Clear skies are great for shooting surfing, especially in blue oceans. Clear water is also a bonus if you’re shooting underneath the surface. The water is more likely to be clear when it hasn’t rained for ages.

Where do you recommend taking surf photographs from?

Nothing beats shooting surfers in the water – swimming with your camera, you get close-up action shots from within the actual wave. If conditions are suitable I will always choose to shoot from the water over standing in a boat, on a jet ski or on the land.

How good a swimmer do you need to be to confidently practice surf photography?

It’s not for the faint hearted and you have to be a strong swimmer if you want to shoot breaks like Hawaii’s Banzai Pipeline or in big swell – which I do. I feel very comfortable in the ocean, even when it is rough, but you need to be strong in the water for sure.

 Is it helpful to be able to surf yourself?

Definitely, you know where the waves are likely to break; you become familiar with currents and rips as a surfer too.

What are the main challenges to taking photographs on the water versus on land?

Conditions are ever changing and big waves can pin you down for minutes at a time, there are razor sharp reefs below most great breaks and you need to watch out for surfers with boards – not to mention ocean life and rips. The ocean itself is rough on humans also – it damages your eyes and ears – and the sun scorches your skin.

What are the main advantages?

You have more control over angles and can get closer to the surfer. You can capture the formation of waves from below the ocean and the power of waves is more apparent in photos. I feel good after shooting in the water – it sets me up for the day.

What risks should surf photographers be aware of?

Rips – being sucked out to sea
Sharks – a photographer’s nightmare
Reefs – being pounded on a reef is like falling off the top of a building. Shallow reefs – you need to be on your guard.
Sun – you will spend a lot of time in it and need to protect yourself from skin cancer.
Surfers – getting hit by a board hurts.

What is it you’re trying to capture when you photograph surfers?

I am trying to capture the climax of the action. For example, if a surfer is doing an aerial manoeuvre, I want to capture them at the peak of the action, mid-air. I am trying to capture that moment that all surfers are addicted to. I’m trying to capture the emotion of being in the ocean – and how good it makes you feel.

 What steps can surf photographers take to develop a signature style?

Be innovative; think of new angles and locations where no one has shot before. I started shooting from helicopters years ago in search of a new and fresh angle. Also I shoot a lot underwater, behind the waves, to give a new perspective.

Should surf photographers be mindful of certain etiquette when photographing surfers?

A good surfer will work with the photographers to get a good result. Hopefully they won’t run you down if you’re shooting in the water with them…and then they will do manoeuvres close to you, making your photos more dramatic. I try to get close, but I don’t get in the way – especially if it’s a surf competition.


What other advice would you give an aspiring surf photographer?

Shoot a lot. I shoot every day. I love it and believe I will always shoot daily. Be consistent. Work with good surfers. Use technology to your advantage, especially social media. It’s the best way to find an audience so promote your work on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. It’s such an exciting time to be a photographer. You can share your work with anyone, so easily and freely.

What makes Bondi Beach special?

It’s one of the most famous beaches in the world, but what I love about it is it’s also a little village. Home to lots of young creative people from all walks of life, the beach to me is always beautiful whether it’s packed in summer with thousands of people or if it’s just me and a lone walker in the depths of winter. No day is ever the same – and I know because I shoot Bondi Monday to Friday pretty much 50 weeks a year.

Where else do you recommend surf photographers visit for the best shots?

Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Indonesia, basically anywhere in Australia, Mexico, South America, New Zealand and the Maldives, just to name a few. There are so many options these days.




Article by John O’Ceallaigh

Canon introduces EOS 70D DSLR, says its autofocus changes the game for filmmakers


Canon’s impact on amateur filmmaking shouldn’t be understated — its 5D Mark II made incredible image quality and portability affordable, easily making it one of the most important DSLRs ever. Canon is calling on that pedigree today as it introduces the successor to the EOS 60D. The EOS 70D is a mid-range DSLR that’s built for video, and Canon thinks it has something that can change the game once again: an all-new focusing system that it says will allow autofocus to work beautifully while shooting video.

In most areas, the 70D is a modest but welcome improvement over the 60D, which it’ll be replacing when it launches sometime this September. The 70D adds Wi-Fi and NFC sharing, it brings touch capabilities to its 3-inch LCD display, and it has a slightly higher megapixel count on its APS-C sensor, bumping it up to 20.2. That all makes for the type of fine upgrade that you’d expect, but it’s the camera’s new “Dual Pixel CMOS” focusing system that Canon thinks will really make a difference.

Traditional autofocus systems are built around photography: they make one quick jump to get nearly into focus, and then a second small adjustment to perfect it. That works great when speed matters the most, but on video it creates an unpleasant stutter that has long made autofocus unusable for most filmmakers. Canon says the 70D should fix that: the new autofocus system is meant to move into focus smoothly and on the very first try. In our limited testing of the camera, it appeared to do just that.

 That means that filmmakers should be able to achieve a smooth transition between subjects without carefully turning a focus ring by hand. To make it work, Canon effectively built a phase detection autofocus system onto the imaging sensor itself. It uses each pixel to make two measurements at once, combines the data, and then uses it to calculate focus correctly on the first try.

The camera can still return to quicker autofocus modes when shooting photographs — but Canon wouldn’t be quick to suggest it. The company hardly mentioned basic photography when explaining the new camera, despite it being a DSLR at heart. And while the 70D is aimed straight at filmmakers, its new focusing mode is unfortunately short on creative options: while it’s easy to focus using the touch screen, you can’t select how quickly or slowly the focus will transition between subjects. Using the 70D’s autofocus may be easier and more convenient for most amateurs, but it’s not about to kill the manual focus ring.

The 70D will be available body only for $1,199, with the 18-55 STM lens for $1,349, or with the 18-135 STM lens for $1,549. That places it above Canon’s consumer-oriented Rebel series, but beneath its prosumer cameras like the 7D. The 70D will also include Canon’s Digic 5+ image processing, built-in image and video filters, and continuous shooting of up to 7 frames per second. That all makes Canon’s latest look like a fine camera — but whether a fancy autofocus system is enough to set it apart from the company’s more-affordable Rebel models will be a tough question for filmmakers on a budget to answer.



Product of the Week: Video Ice S-120 Vest Dual Arm Carbon Fiber Camera Stabilizer Steadycam DSLR Rig

Video Ice S-120 Vest Dual Arm Carbon Fiber Camera Stabilizer Steadycam DSLR Rig


The Video Ice S-120 is a Carbon Fiber, lightweight, hand-held camera stabilization system designed for compact cameras weighing up to 6 kg / 13 pounds. This system works so well that it allows you to shoot incredibly smooth and graceful shots even while going to extremes like running up and down stairs. This amazing stabilization system will provide professional results previously out of reach for low budget video and filmmakers.

The camera platform moves back and forth, and side to side, to quickly allow you to adjust the cameras horizontal balance. By varying the amount of counterweight disks on the base platform you adjust the camera’s vertical balance. When balanced properly the camera floats, always balanced, isolated from your hands undesirable motions and ready for you to move into action.

With the Video Ice S-120 you no longer need a tripod or a dolly. All you need is your Imagination! It is quick and easy to set up and balance. Allows unrestricted Booming and unrestricted 360 degree Panning. It Can also be used as a Monopod, no-tools telescoping base, with positionable weight discs that allow you to Achieve Dynamic Balance.

The Video Ice S-120 has a telescopic post which can be extended from 70 cm / 27″ to 120 cm / 47″. Its height can be adjusted according to the weight of the camera.

For your convenience it includes rods and connectors for a matte box.

This system is especially useful for professional and Pro-sumer Video Cameras and video capable DSLR cameras.  It will work with most cameras weighing up to 13 lbs.


An Articulated Arm system is designed to absorb shocks and bumps. It is durable, and lightweight. The Shock Absorber Springs are adjustable for taking high end and low end shots.

The arm has manually adjustable tension springs which maintains the position of the stabilizer depending on the combined weight of whatever camera you’re using. The arm itself is very light in weight and easily removed from the vest. There’s a universal stabilizer mount which is inserted and locked into the arm without the need for tools.


This load vest is simplified, with a thinner chest plate and a single knob to adjust its height, making it more flexible to operate.  The Comfort load vest is completely foam padded in both the back and the front. The Vest is very versatile and very light-weight which makes it very comfortable for long term shooting.

————— FEATURES —————

  • Easy to install and uninstall.
  • Made of high strength and light weight carbon fiber.
  • The length of the stabilizer can extend quickly for more features and functions.
  • Allows high and low angle shooting.
  • Height adjustment improves weight ratio and reduces the need for base weights.
  • High precision bearings and low friction joints.
  • The quick release plate can record the dynamic balance of different equipment.
  • Pulling the adjusting knob can separate the quick release plate from the base.
  • Counterweight plate comes complete with weights.
  • The fixing knob can be used to adjust height of the vest.
  • With two connection arm and one shock absorption arm.
  • The load arm can be inserted into the slots of the vest easily.
  • The inner diameter of handle is 16mm, which connected with the arm pin.
  • Magic arm with elasticity adjusting knob.


  •     Maximum Length: Approx. 120cm / 47”
  •     Minimum Length: Approx. 70cm / 27”
  •     Quick Release Plate: 60mm / 2.4”
  •     Base Plate: 15mm / 0.6”
  •     Stabilizer Body weight: Approx. 1800g / 4 LBS.
  •     Weight Bearing Capability:  6 kg / 13 lbs.

Visit VideoGearDirect.com to view this product and a wide variety of high quality, affordable video equipment.