SHOOTING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 2015: BMCC & NIKON 80-400MM

20/03/2015 - POSTED IN

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SHOOTING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE 2015: BMCC & NIKON 80-400MM

There is something magical about an eclipse.

The solar eclipse of March 2015 is an event which won’t occur on this scale in the UK again until 2026, so I thought worth filming and documenting this.

The question is which camera to use – I could use one with a Super 35mm sensor, however, the focal length on longest lens is 400mm (with the 1.5 x conversion would equals 600mm in full-frame 35mm terms.)

I want longer. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K has a crop factor of 2.3 x. That’s bumps my Nikon 400mm up to the equivalent of 920mm in full-frame 35mm terms.

The eclipse is due to happen in 20 minutes – I need to move quick.

I’m set up in a field in the North of England, the light dims slightly, and a small crowed gathers around the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (this camera always draws attention.)

Spotting the eclipse isn’t that easy. To begin with, you don’t want to burn out your eyeballs staring at the brightest part of the sky, trying to work out where to point the camera. Slowly I scan the sky, watching the screen, I’ve got it.

Locked onto the sun I film, adjusting the exposure between the light and dark areas in the sky. I’ve got loads of dynamic range, I’m shooting RAW, and film over the period of 40 minutes or more. I’m having fun, seeing what I can get.

The results, for me, once processed and corrected, are mesmerising. The light and shadow, create a beautiful texture across the sky as the clouds obscure and reveal the sun, in shadow from the moon.

The small crowd around the Blackmagic Cinema Camera got a safe view of the eclipse without staring at the sun.

So the filming served 2 purposes: safe on-screen viewing of an eclipse, live as it happened; a record of the event for my own archive and the world to see.

Enjoy the results. I sure enjoyed filming it.

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