Week 46: Unum

My friend Erick got the Ollo Clip 4 in 1 Lens System for his iPhone6 as a Hanukkah present, and he was nice enough to let me borrow it to test out. So I decided to make my test shots this week film.

The Ollo Clip has 4 Lenses, a fisheye, a wide angle, a 10X macro and a 15x macro. It costs around $70 and you can get them at your big box stores.

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The Ollo Clip.

The lenses clip onto your iPhone and give your images and video the look of the various lenses. The set up is easy, it snaps right in, and the results are good.

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Simply clip it on to your iPhone and your ready to go.

There are two lenses on the clip itself, and then two lens that screw into the clip. They work with both the front and back cameras on the iPhone.

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The clip and lenses.

Since I was using my friends iPhone I only had a little bit of time to play around. So I decided to shoot a penny. It was quick and easy, and I thought it would be cool to see the detail I could get with the macro lenses, as well as, test out the iPhone 6’s 240 fps slow motion feature. I was impressed with both.

I set up the EZ Cube Light tent, and lit it with 3 Lowel Rifas, and a Arri 650.

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My set up.

I used a piece of white acrylic for my surface, I wanted a shiny white surface to contrast the penny.

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White acrylic for my surface.

I shot for about 20 minutes and used all 4 of the lenses. The fisheye, and wide angle didn’t do much for me. But I really liked the 10x and 15x macros.

The cool thing about using them with the iPhone is that you can really get close to your subject matter. The iPhone is so small it can go almost anywhere. The thing that surprised me, was how close you had to get to the subject to get an image in focus. Especially with the 15x Lens. I literally had the camera an inch (or less) away from the subject, any further my image would go out of focus. The detail I was getting was pretty crazy.

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I was impressed with the detail, all the scratches and imperfections really showed up on the penny.

The iPhone 6’s slow motion is awesome. That’s all I need to say. But there are a few things you need to know about the footage. First, when you export the footage, it will play back at normal speed. The frames are all there though. I set up my timeline at 24fps, the iPhone recorded the footage at 240fps, so to get the slow motion I slowed the clips down to 10%.

The second thing you need to know is that when you record at 240fps under fluorescent lights, the frame rate is faster than the light. Fluorescent lights pulse (or turn off and on) at 120HZ. It’s faster than the eye can see, but the iPhone will pick it up at 240fps, and it will look like the footage is flickering. I knew this, but I forgot about it when I was shooting, and I definitely saw it in my footage. On a side note, you won’t see the flicker if you are shooting outside with natural light, it’s only with fluorescent light.

The third thing you need to be careful of is camera shake. When you are using the macro lens you are extremely close to the subject, any and every movement you make results in camera shake. It would be best to use some sort of iPhone tripod or a stabilizer. I didn’t have one, so I saw a lot of shaky footage. I’m pretty good at keeping still, so I was able to get some nice shots. Stabilizing the footage in post is a good idea, I did.

The fourth thing to be careful of is white balance. There’s no way I know of to change white balance on the iPhone. Most of my footage was very yellow. I did a little reading on this, and found that some iPhones have this issue, but not all. It’s something I had to fix in post. I couldn’t find any solutions to fix it in the iPhone itself, if anyone knows of one, please post it in the comments.

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Yellow tone of footage.

Speaking of post, I decided to try editing in FCP X one more time. I figured since I used the Apple iPhone, I’d use their software as well. I really like the color correction tools in FCP X. When I imported the footage I selected analyze for balanced color and stabilization. It did a pretty nice job. I also used the color match feature for a few of the clips. It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn close.

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Color Match in FCP X.

I loved the old FCP, and I would move back to it in a second if they came out with a new one. It would be great to have the speed and color tools in FCP X incorporated in the old FCP, but I don’t think that is going to happen. As far as the rest of the program, it was a complete pain in the ass. It was hard to work with, annoying, frustrating and not at all intuitive like other Apple products. I spent 3 hours editing, it should have taken 30 minutes. The magnetic snapping has to be the most annoying feature in the history of video editing, why anyone would ever want this is beyond me. To get rid of it, I had to edit on the second track, which worked OK but was still a pain. I highly doubt I’ll give FCP X another shot, at least not until some major changes are made.

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FCP X Timeline.

I got the song from Audio Jungle and it was called “Upbeat Electro Dub Step”. I edited it for time.

46AudioJungle

Audio Jungle website.

I also used the natural sound from the recording. It was crazy sounding and I really liked it. The sound of the vibrating penny on the acrylic was nuts in slow motion, it was a high shrieky glass like sound. It worked well with the dub step music, so I kept it. I’m a big fan of keeping natural sound in my videos. I know a lot of people take out the natural sound and just add a music track. For me the natural sound adds depth and character and just makes for a more interesting sound track.

I played around with the name for awhile, I had many titles I was thinking of, Abraham, Copper Penny, Lincoln, Penny etc…. But none of them really jumped out. Then I started to think about the saying on the penny “E Plurubus Unum”. Which means “Out of many, one”. The “Unum” meaning “one”, tied in with “one” cent, so I decided to go with that.

That’s about it for Week 46. Thanks to Erick for letting me use his gifts. They were pretty cool to play around with.

You can watch Week 46 “Unum” here.

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