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Wouter du Toit
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Articles written by Wouter du Toit

Plug In Your Robotic Arm

We love gear. But this is next level stuff. If you’ve seen the smoothness of the shots used to introduce the Microsoft Studio Surface, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The guys at Motorized Precision who introduced KIRA robotic arm at NAB 2017 are taking pre-orders for the MIA, their latest robotic arm. It’s smaller, about as portable as a fridge is on wheels, and can plug into any traditional single phase wall socket. It holds up to a 22lb camera package, the arm itself weighs 120lbs and it comes with a standard six-meter track. If you want to see what it's capable of go watch Thor: Ragnarok, which used the KIRA for many of their shots. The video shows what the KIRA 1.0 could do.

'How to Be Creative: How an Artist Turns Pro': Inspiring Video for All Creatives

Have you ever heard of the poem by Charles Bukowski that questions what it means to be a creative, and how to answer to that calling you have within? Are we supposed to listen to Bukowski’s poem when we consider becoming a photographer or taking our photography pro? This video starts off with the poem. Bukowski was a writer, but the insight can be applied to all creative professions. Have you ever had a day where you just had no creative voice within you? It’s happened to me, and after this video, I don’t feel so bad about it. No one can be switched “on” al the time. We need to let the creative juices come as they want to.

'Automatica':  Man and Machine Make Music Together

Instead of fearing the future where AI takes over and leaves us with nothing else to do other than oiling their machines, Nigel Standford made a music video and used this "man against machine" concept. It's a DJ, who also plays guitar. The machines take over. Who's making the music? If I had to take it one step further, was the camera filming on an electronic camera rig or was it held and controlled by a DOP?

Mistakes You Can Avoid Starting Out as a Video Editor

Many photographers I know have started making videos as well. It's a skill many clients and brands are looking for. Social networks have been developing the easiest way to watch a video on their platforms and if you look at the amount of time you spend browsing online, video takes a large percentage of that media you consume. If you want to start with video and don't want to make mistakes that can waste time or have you look like someone starting out, here is a video that lists the mistakes and how to prevent them so you are off to a good start.

Take Your Filmmaking to the Next Level

There are many ways to go about your video. You can just go at it, shoot away, and edit quick shots together, or you can think about what you want to shoot and use psychological composition to bring your story across in the best way possible. You can have progression of your hero moving from left to right throughout the film, or you can keep your villain to the left and your hero to the right to have them compete in your viewer’s mind. This video shares some smart ways to approach your next film or photography project, even if your project isn’t narrative based.

How ‘The Handmaid's Tale’ Uses Shallow Focus for Storytelling

Shallow focus was the go-to for us all when we first got our DSLRs that could shoot video. It looked so beautiful, and to a certain degree, it even looked professional. For a while. It was overused, and at some point, if your video consisted of only shallow focus, it was the determining factor to show whether you were a pro DSLR filmmaker or an amateur. But, it certainly has it's place, and the Nerdwriter shares how and why “The Handmaid's Tale” used it in this video.

How Easy Is It to 3D Print Gear?

One thing most photographers have in common is the love of gear. We know it's not about what's in your bag, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't value good design and ease of use when considering a tripod clamp or ND filter kit. But what if you could design it yourself, and have it produced? Film Look's latest video shows what they printed for themselves. I would never have thought about battery cases, but now I need it, and it would keep my bag much more organized.

The Main Colors Used in the Seven Seasons of 'Game of Thrones'

Color plays such an important role in photography and video. It sets the mood, creates the atmosphere, and leaves the viewer with an emotional impression of what they experienced. "Game of Thrones" is most likely one of the most watched series of the past few years. It has dragons, medieval-style characters, a wall, wars, and superb actions scenes and special effects. Vox analyzed every season by playing each episode back and taking a screenshot every 10 seconds.

Ten Predictions for the Future of Photography

It's always exciting to think what will be the next big thing in photography. What new piece of gear will hit the others out of the park and change the game. The argument can be made that the technological advances in sensors have made it harder for photographers to differentiate themselves from the #shotoniphone masses, but we all got in to photography to take pictures, with whatever tools we had available at the time. This video shows what could be the future of photography. There's only one way to find out whether it's right or not.

Lighting Tips for Fashion Video

Are you considering taking some fashion video to complement your photos? Here are some great tips by Kazu Okuda, a filmmaker who has produced videos for Nike, Vogue, and the MOMA. In the video, he shares how he lights, what the differences are between lighting a feature film and a fashion orientated video, and how to achieve it.

Singapore Airlines Mixes a Travel Video With Its Safety Video, and It's Beautiful

Singapore Airlines' latest safety video mixes the regular safety video you'll see just before take-off with the dream of exploring Singapore. It's beautifully executed and shows how they'll push barriers to give you the travel experience you desire. Why is this important? Because it shows that the travel industry is really getting creative with their approach, and they are pushing the boundaries of just what's needed to evoke that curiosity and excitement of travel.

Food Tutorial Videos Shot in the Style of Famous Directors

Here we have food tutorial videos inspired by Wes Anderson of "The Grand Budapest Hotel", Quentin Tarantino of "Kill Bill", Alfonso Cuarón of "Children of Men" and "Gravity", and Michael Bay who gave us "Transformers" and "Armageddon". Take yourself out of your regular industry and client mindset and envision yourself in another niche, shooting something you wouldn't normally do. How would you make a food tutorial? How can you use your influences and own unique style to make a video about something different to your usual niche?

Still Not Shooting Video in 4K?

Recording in 4K is the rage these days. However, most of us and most of our clients will not be using a TV or monitor capable of displaying 4K resolution, so why bother? Peter McKinnon explains how you can use the large video size creatively and gives some tips, like how 4K footage down-sampled to 1080p looks much better that shooting 1080p.

How Christopher Nolan Uses the Shepard Tone to Build Up Tension in 'Dunkirk'

One of the ways the Hans Zimmer-produced score of "Dunkirk" maintained the growing tension throughout the movie was by using a sound that gives the impression of a build-up. What makes it strange is that the tension-building nature can keep going forever without ever going out of its original parameters and sounding weird. Tension and release is something needed in a production of a film, whether it's a short film or a full-blown blockbusting, award-winning movie. This video shows how it's done.

It's About The Work, Not the Fame

Shourya Pratap Singh Chauhan used Photoshop to simulate himself living a life as a billionaire, which was all for show. His following started growing from 200 to over 20,000 and it's mainly due to this portrayal that people started following and sending him direct messages. This matters in a big way. Firstly, have we become so gullible to believe it, and secondly, what can we as photographers and video makers learn from this for our own businesses?

How Christopher Nolan Gets Rid of Distractions on Set

Christopher Nolan continues to give us of the best movies ever produced. My first Nolan movie was “Memento,” and I surely realized that the theme of his movies, his way of telling a story, and overall character portrayal was something I've never seen before. His vision and talent has given us many after that. “Inception,” “Interstellar” and now “Dunkirk.” His way of doing what he does is worth paying attention to. And when I read up about him, I came across an interview where he mentions how he removes distractions from the set.

Google's AI Photographs and Edits Like a Pro

Google has trained their AI to go out using their street-view feature and snap images it calculated to work best for the task at hand. The calculation is based on multiple professional photographer styles, composition, and postproduction, and it's able to narrow down what "shot" would make the best photograph. It can then selectively enhance the image in certain areas that it wants the viewer to pay attention to.

Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

This video is a double-whammy. It's trying to uncover where ideas come from, and the conceptual and artistic execution of the video is so well done and it provides a kind of answer for the rhetorical question of where ideas come from. I've had creative block. You want to put the next portfolio piece together, but you don't know what to do exactly. You first need to come up with an idea, and then you have to nurture it to be something new but something that still contains your style and way of shooting.

How to Choose a Frame Rate Based on Your Subject

I’ve shot a lot of video. I’ve never been professionally trained, and I get most of the knowledge and how-tos from guys like Brandon Li who share crucial information with regards to shooting, editing, and making great videos. This video shares the importance of choosing the right frame rate for your project. It’s detailed, and if you’re starting out in video, this will give you peace of mind when you tell a client you want to shoot something for them.