Dave and Naomi Estment - Co-owners of OV&P

View From The Top

Standing at the top of a 50m tower is definitely not your average angle on life, but all in a day’s work here at OV&P, as part of the ongoing capture of a 15-story construction project by our valued clients at FWJK. The skinny, temporary tower has been erected in Illovo, Johannesburg, in order to provide a platform for Dave to create a time lapse video that combines spectacular aerial perspectives shot from our drones with vibrant ground-based photos and videos.

I joined him under some duress last week, since our fabulous freelance cameraman, Chris (pictured below) who usually accompanies Dave up the tower, wasn’t available. Can’t pretend I wasn’t stressed . . . and frankly scared! It took longer to climb with me, thanks to stopping a few times for me to rest and reinforce my courage. Apart from moral support, two people are needed to carry kit and complete various tasks like downloading images, replacing memory cards, as well as setting up and repositioning the camera.

Cameraman Chris Duys on 50m Tower

The innovative time lapse setup – provided by Action Gear – utilises a GoPro camera mounted inside a mini, all-weather pelican case that includes a tailor-made cutout to accommodate the camera lens. A small solar panel is attached to the outside of the case, powering the camera battery to facilitate taking thousands of photos over extended periods, with intervals selected as required.

This can contribute a special element to an ongoing visual legacy that showcases great work. It is particularly powerful for long term, large scale projects that involve expansive perspectives – and height really helps for maximum impact. How about your legacy? A 50m tower is a rare exception to the rule, but what do you do to share the story of your work and how it serves your market? To discuss ways to do this via compelling, creative photos and videos, give us a call. We’re standing by to help.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro, photographed by Naomi Estment

Drone Technology Marches On

It’s been challenging getting my DJI Inspire booked onto aeroplanes, due to its size and controversial looks, which caused airport security to give me a hard time – as if I were about to highjack the plane or something sinister like that. To address this issue, it was time to look for a smaller drone that could up the game technologically and produce even better imagery.

The Inspire has served us faithfully for the last three years, producing world class HD video at up to 120 frames per second for amazing slo-mo footage that has blown our clients away. However, in my opinion, the image quality of the photos could be improved, particularly in low light. Don’t get me wrong, the images are more than acceptable for the purposes required, but I’ve been hoping for DJI to provide a new, large sensor camera on a smaller frame that would improve the video quality even more and produce higher grade photographs. Guess what? A couple of weeks ago DJI launched the Phantom 4 Pro. My prayers were answered.

Just in time, because we are doing a long-term time lapse video of a massive development project by Fortress Income Fund on the old Clairwood Race Course, near Durban. Fortress is one of our esteemed, long term clients who is leading the way in the warehousing and logistics industry, and since this is a 3-year construction project, we’ll be doing quite a few trips in the foreseeable future. Their compelling visual portfolio will include traditional ground based progress photos and videos, as well as regular aerial coverage.

It was a pleasure to check in at the airport yesterday with my Phantom 4 Pro, which performed perfectly during the morning to capture this early stage of development. Here’s one of the aerial photos that I took, to show you the image quality:

Aerial View of Fortress Construction Site

The Phantom range of DJI drones have been the most successful in the short history of stabilised flying film and photo platforms, but they have always been the bridesmaid to the amazing Inspire range of professional DJI drones. That has just changed, as if the engineers at DJI sensed my dilemma and worked overtime to deliver a new Phantom that fully qualifies as a professional filming drone, good enough to be used in Hollywood feature films. 4k video at 50 FPS and a bit rate of 100 Mb/sec! Yes please. It is half the size of the Inspire, ideal for hand luggage in its discreet carry case that holds 4 batteries and all the bits required for shoots.

The tech specs and smart functionality are mind blowing, enabling even more precise flying and route planning than before. The inspire doesn’t come close – sorry Inspire 🙂 My favourite features on this little powerhouse include a camera sensor (ALMOST 5 X BIGGER than previous ones), manual aperture, shutter, ISO and exposure control, manual and auto focus, plus a host of setting options. The bit rate of 100 Mb/sec ensures that all the data is accurately captured and the new route planning functionality such as Tripod Mode, Draw, Tap Fly and obstacle avoidance will certainly assist me in complicated route planning and camera control.

Thank you for the new P4 Pro, DJI. And thank you Action Gear team for your support. May technology keep marching on . . . I love it!

Nikon Camera Gear

Occasionally, Less is More

We have plenty of cutting edge camera gear that enables us to get the best out of any given circumstance, with a view to creating world class video and photographic galleries for our clients. Buying this equipment is a rather expensive exercise, but well worth it in the long run because it is more durable, has all the manual controls one requires for professional results, and the components like lens glass and focus mechanisms are the best in the business. Continue reading “Occasionally, Less is More”

Devon Els of OV&P with Panasonic Camera and Osmo

Rocket Science

Without doubt, one of the most exciting bits of tech for video makers over the last 5 years has been the 3 axis video stabilising gimbal. Video Gimbals have been around for quite a while, but they were often huge helicopter based monstrosities that cost an arm and a leg. They still have an important role to play where large distances have to be covered and the client has the budget, but since aerial drones have turned the filming world upside down because of their compact size, affordability and manoeuvrability, gimbals have provided the silver bullet to these amazing filming platforms. Continue reading “Rocket Science”

KTM 450 Dakar Motorcycle

Playing with Big Boys’ Toys

I got a call from my good friend Gary Franks, owner of the popular magazine Enduro World, to ask if I would like to join him and his team testing the latest and greatest, full spec KTM 450 Rallye Dakar racing motorcycle. It was going to be entered in the 2017 Dakar event in South America – the most arduous, mentally challenging and physically demanding motorcycle race on planet Earth. What a question? Continue reading “Playing with Big Boys’ Toys”

4K Panasonic Cameras

A World First

Due to the variety of genres we shoot for our clients, we have a wish list for the gear we invest in, to make sure it meets the stringent requirements to produce world-class results. We have been fast approaching the switch from small sensor Full HD cameras to large sensor 4K cameras, and that time arrived very recently. The decision as to whether to switch brands has been made easy by Panasonic. Continue reading “A World First”