Monthly Archives: July 2012

Notes from the Manual: Squeezing the Picture Down 10 Times

Excerpt from the Canon Boot Camp Manual

As you squeeze down a 21 megapixel picture 10 times to fit the 2.0 megapixel picture High Def TV (HDTV) requires, lines of information begin to overlap. This is extraneous information not needed to form the much smaller HDTV picture.

Extra Info on a Smaller Frame Size

The HDTV frame size was so small that Canon could actually eliminate the two-thirds of information it was processing. This further reduced the demand on the circuit boards.

Reduced Frame Size

So Canon’s 5D (and 7D) circuits only output every third line and still retain a High Def TV (2.0 megapixel) picture.

5616 pixels wide / 3 = 1872 pixels wide

3744 pixels tall / 3 = 1248 pixels wide

Then, they worked a little magic and give or take a few pixels, Canon had a 1920 x 1280 picture.

RECAP: They reduced the volume of data coming off the sensor, making it possible for the circuitry to process HighDef, 30-frame-per-second video without putting cooling fans and faster processing cards into the Canon 5D. It’s called line skipping.

LINE SKIPPING: The 5D Mark II and the 7D are “line skipping” cameras when in movie mode. They skip two-thirds of the lines of information. The 7D’s sensor is physically smaller than the 5D’s but still holds 5184 x 3456 pixels.

Download the full Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual from our Facebook Page.

Notes from the Manual: The Canon EOS Camera

Excerpt from the Canon  Boot Camp Reference Manual

Canon EOS Cameras – The 1D, 5D, 60D, 7D, T3i, and T2i are in the family of digital still cameras. Hundreds of Canon lenses are available for these Canon cameras.

Canon EOS Cameras

Electrical Contact Points on EOS Cameras

EOS stands for Electro-Optical System. There are electrical contact points on these lenses so the camera’s computer can operate the lens f-stop and focus. Data about the camera settings also passes from the lens to the picture data.

The EF lenses have an “Electronic Focus” capability. Data from the sensor is transmitted to the lens to adjust focus until the sharpest picture is found. The EF lens is popular and other manufacturers make EF lenses.

Canon EF lenses are available all over the world. You can rent them easily and you’re never far away from a back-up lens if you need one.

Download the full Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual from our Facebook Page.

Women More Likely to Use Social Media

Women More Likely to Use Social Media

Does your marketing development strategy ignore women?

According to The Nielsen Company, the majority of visitors to social networks and blogs are of the fairer sex.  The highest concentration age-wise is the 18-34 year range. If you think about it, it makes sense because in real life women are naturally better networkers anyway. Well, at least the ones I know are better networkers!

Check out the messages going out on your Facebook Pages and the articles on your blogs. Would they be appealing to women as well as men? Obviously, if the entire site is dedicated to women already, there’s probably no issue. But what about business like auto repair, typically a male-dominated industry pre-internet, or even a sort of “neutral” business like pet stores?

I’m not suggesting that all of your enterprise social media posts and articles be aimed at women exclusively – just suggesting you review or audit current and past postings to assess who you’re really talking to 24/7 online.  And follow it up with content and altering your website to appeal more to women as well, if necessary. Because once people find your blog or social presence, landing on your website is usually just a link away. So the rest of your presence needs to be congruent as well.

Not sure how your content comes across? Well, ask your female friends for their opinion! Then listen to them and take action.

Two-Day Canon DSLR Workshop is Expanding!

The Canon Boot Camp

We have been busy busy at the Canon Boot Camp.

Three years of training hundreds of students, and boy do we have it down. We’ve been exceeding training expectations at our Canon DSLR 5D Boot Camp longer than anyone in town. This isn’t training for the faint of heart either! It’s fun and students really appreciate our hands-on approach.  The Canon Boot Camp is down and dirty training and students walk away with, not only “dirty hands,” but amazing footage they can use on their own reel.

And they get our Canon Certification as well as a listing on our website.

Check out our most recent short film,  a romantic one to boot, created from Canon Boot Camp footage, entitled, “The Sonnet.”  And there’s more short films on the way. Make sure to stay tuned and sign up for our newsletter if you’re not already getting our updates!

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Over the past three years, we have worked constantly to upgrade and improve the class as much as possible. There is a specific result we are going for in each student. We don’t want to just listen to ourselves talk. We’ve all been to one of those seminars, right? No, we want you to walk out the door with increased ability and a certainty that your money was well spent. So hundreds of hours (maybe even a couple thousand if you include the on-the-ground-work and training we’ve done) have gone into course improvements.

Take the Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual, for example. Did you know you can get a preview of Pro Level I before you take the class, for FREE? Yes, you can download the Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual right from our Facebook Page, at no cost to you.

Once you’re at the class, we take a lot of care to ensure each person, beginner and pro, really understands AND CAN APPLY the course information.

During this 3-year developmental period, we have kept the cost of the class low. But now we find that in order to expand, we must raise the investment required by each student slightly so we can continue to improve and expand. So the cost of each boot camp will raise incrementally by $75 each month until January 2013, where it will stabilize at the new higher amount.

We’ve created registration forms for each class from now until Jan 2013. If you’ve been considering coming to a Boot Camp, you can still get in at the current investment of just under $700 (covers both days, including lunches) by attending the August Boot Camp. But after the August boot camp the amount will go up.

If you’re reading this prior to January 2013, the upcoming events are all listed on the right side of this blog. Just find the date you’re interested in and click on it, and you’ll be able to access the new pricing. And of course, you may always contact us via email or by phone.


Introduction to the Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual – Part 1

Canon Boot Camp Logo

Considering signing up for the Canon Boot Camp, but wondering what we cover exactly? Read the Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual and find out!

We are into our third year of training people on the Canon HDSLR. As part of our mission to educate amateur and industry pros alike, we have created a reference manual to accompany our hands-on “Active Learning” method. It was written just before the Canon 5D Mark III came out, so most of the references are to the 5D Mark II. The cameras don’t vary that much in the topics being discussed. A Mark III does shoot at 60 frames per
second and the Mark II can only shoot up to 30 frames per second. Other characteristics mentioned are not that different between the cameras.

The Purpose of the Canon Boot Camp Reference Manual

Canon Boot Camp Reference ManualThe purpose of this reference manual is to prepare students for the Canon Boot Camp, orient you to the HDSLR, and lay the groundwork for the drills we’ll do. It may answer questions you’ve always had about this area. It also includes an appendix with useful information pertaining to the Boot Camp, but the appendix is only available to students who sign up for the two day class.

Have you ever been in a class where the words go in one ear and out the other? That happens when you’re unfamiliar with something the person is talking about. This reference helps keep that from happening. It prepares students for the Boot Camp, orients them to the HDSLR, and lays the groundwork for the drills we’ll do. Download your own free copy of the Reference Manual from our Facebook Page.

Why don’t we just tell you what to do?

We don’t like people who tell others what to do. You’re not a robot. How well you can use your camera depends on your understanding of it. Plus, another person’s solutions may work in certain situations, but they may not necessarily work for you. You should decide for yourself, based on your own understanding. That way you’re at cause over the camera, and not a robot. That’s why we do hands-on learning with our course checklist.

You’ll “learn by doing.”

Lectures can be boring. We take a different route to learning—a revolutionary route. The Canon Boot Camp is all about you learning the camera by doing drills. Doing the drills ensures that you understand and can apply what you’ve learned.

What is a checklist?

When you take the Boot Camp, you’ll be given a course checklist—a list of the steps you’ll take to complete the Canon Boot Camp Pro Level One. We’ve included a checklist for this Reference Manual too. It’s designed so you can go through it at your own pace and understand each step. the classes are a lot of fun and I hope we’ll see you at the next Canon Boot Camp.

What’s the end result of the Boot Camp?

It’s simple—the end result of the Boot Camp is a student who knows and can successfully apply the knowledge contained in this course to operate the Canon HDSLR effectively. But don’t take our word for it! Our graduates will be happy to tell you themselves:


How to Beat Consumer Advertising Overload and get Your Message Across

In these modern times, every step seems to bring us vis-à-vis with yet another advertisement. Some ads are cool, some are boring and some are lame, but we are subjected to them just the same. I’ve heard the average American will see 3,000 to 6,000 marketing messages just in a day.

Whole industries have come about just to help us avoid getting interrupted. The latest I’ve heard about is The Hopper, from

This DVR can record up to 6 HD channels at once and skip ads altogether. No more fast forwarding. Cool! Now if I only watched TV, maybe I would get one. But my point is this; it’s only a matter of time before consumers fight back when they are constantly interrupted in the middle of something they like. This puts advertisers in a difficult position, apparently. The old method of advertising, the “tried and true” is to interrupt your victim briefly with your ad in the hopes that he or she will bound to the telephone and immediately purchase.

That is, if they aren’t interrupted by another ad while on the way to the phone.

How in love are people with being constantly interrupted? I don’t know of anyone who enjoys interruptions. So how to get around it?

By using the two biggest tools in your marketing arsenal. If these two big guns are sitting on a shelf in your closet, it’s time to get them out and dust them off:

  1. Google Search
  2. Email Newsletters and Event Marketing

Google Search

Search the World with GoogleIf you have a person who’s able to access the World Wide Web, you have someone who’s at least somewhat familiar with searching on Google. Pretty much regardless of age. They may not know all the tips and tricks of search, but they know they can write what they are looking for in the little white box, and get a bunch of instant (and free) answers back. There’s only two questions you need to be able to answer “YES!” to after that search happens:

  • Do you know what search terms your potential customers use when Google searching for a solution to their problem? A solution they would pay you to provide if they could find you?
  • Does your web presence show up in the top 10 results for search phrases relevant to your business?

Google search is an important tool because everyone online uses it.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing Keeps you in Touch This one is even more important if you’ve been around for awhile and have an existing customer base.

Ask yourself: What’s the first online tool you wanted to have that would allow you to communicate almost instantly with other people, instead of waiting for a letter to be mailed across the country (or across the street).  Did you think of AOL? “You’ve got mail!” Yep, that’s it. An email account, right? Email has been around a LONG time. So long, in fact, that pretty much everyone has an email address, even if they don’t use the Internet for anything else.

An email address belonging to a potential customer OR a past customer is extremely valuable. It puts your company in the driver’s seat because you can reach out and, without interrupting, tap people on their virtual shoulder to remind them you’re available as a resource. If current and potential customers don’t have a way to sign up for information they are interested in, you are throwing money out the window when you market and attract interest.

Email marketing is an important too, because everyone has an email address. Even if they aren’t on Facebook (God forbid!).

Social media is great, but it has a couple of built in problems.  In most cases, the profile accounts are free, so you don’t own your account. It could be deleted at any time. That would be awkward. And the social media landscape is only going to get more cluttered as the “Big Budget” companies crowd in on the small business owners who managed to get social first.

The Solution? Blogs and Email Marketing.

The simple explanation is that blogs show up well in search results (even if you suck at SEO you can still get good results by writing engaging content relevant to your audience).

Email marketing puts you in control and can help you drive business to your sites and offers as long as you have a valid email address and a product or service worth offering.

Stay tuned to this blog to learn more about email marketing and content creation tips, or feel free to comment below with your questions or areas of concern.





Canon Boot Camp: A Shot by Shot

Fletcher Murray, President of The Association

So what do we do at boot camp? What do we learn? How do we learn it? If you had any of these questions in your mind, then you’re in luck! although the class is far more detailed than the breakdown below, this will give you a general idea of how our December 10th Pro Level l day went, so that you can see what goes on in the workshop! 

12:00 – Fletcher Murray, President of the Association and one of the boot camp teachers, introduces himself, his apprentice and aid Celine Duong, and cinematographer Tom Myrdahl. We explain what we at The Association actually do and our boot camp’s purpose. 

12:15 –  Fletcher shows us a video about what the company does with the 5D/7D. Right after that, we ask you what your reason for taking the class is so that we can get to know you and understand your specific needs. 

12:30 – Camera Orientation! Our teachers go through, in detail, the basics of your camera and have you demonstrate as we go along. 

1:00 – Camera Operation! How do you set up your camera to get a good shot? You get to demonstrate this after the lesson to let us know you understood it. 

2:00 – Break 

2:20 – *The Drill* How to keep your cool in a high anxiety situation. We’ll teach you how to stay focused when a producer is on you tail while you’re trying to fiddle with the camera. 

3:20 – Our assistant teacher, Celine Duong, teaches our students how to offload shots to hard drives . 

4:00 – Break 

4:20 – Guest Speaker Dana Christiaansen talks to students about his work, gives us tips, and shows us a cool film he DP’d that demonstrates the EOS C300. Q & A afterwards. 

5:20 –  We  talk to our students about Digital Filming workflow. 

5:30 – We go over a list of things that could really screw you up, and teach you how to avoid them!

5:45 – Time to take your exit exam and demonstrate how much you’ve learned.

6:00 – You’re done. We take a group picture and you get to display you’re awesome certificate.  

Our students left with much more knowledge than they came in with, and were able to demonstrate that knowledge. We really believe in this program, not only because we make sure to include every relevant lesson you can think of, but because it produces great results. We really hope to see you there!

Zabolights Shine at the Canon Boot Camp

Zabolight Logo

As the Producer of our Canon Boot Camp events, I always look forward to the contributions of our sponsors. We just recently added a sponsor, Zabolight, and received two 1X1 panel lights just before our last boot camp. And we put them to good use!

Thomas Myrdahl, our DP extraordinaire, mentioned Zabolights to us after using them on a shoot, which was how we came across them in the first place.

“I used the Zabo lights on a web commercial. We were in a mixed light environment, and the Zablolights with their variable kelvin dial and dimmer allowed us to work fast and keep our look constant. I really like the Zabolights.”  Tom Myrdahl, Director of Photography

Zabolights are getting popular, and for good reason. We really enjoyed having them on the set for the Canon Boot Camp. They are extremely portable and lightweight, being LED lights. The battery pack lasts forever, but you can still use the adapter to plug in if required. The  built in dimmer switch saves us time and being able to dial in more tungsten color or daylight color with a knob is especially handy.

Here’s a short video highlighting a couple aspects of the Zabolight, such as it’s bicolor feature.

When I looked into these lights further, it turns out they are already being used on a number of productions. I just wished we’d heard about them sooner!


What do you get when you put a Canon 5D in the hands of an Adventure Filmmaker ?

You get interesting footage. Or footage of moving people.  But in the case of Dominic Gil, you get interesting footage that moves you. 

“Take a seat,” Dominic says. If you take him up on that offer, you might end up on the beach in Argentina, or in the desert somewhere in Egypt. Does that sound fun to you, or absolutely crazy? Apparently, there were enough crazy (or fun – up to you) people to take a seat on Dominic Gill’s tandem bike to make not one, but three documentaries around his adventure-travel journey.

In his first documentary, Take a Seat: Alaska to Argentina, Dominic traveled on a tandem bike from Alaska to the bottom of Argentina alone, and invited locals to pedal with him. In his second documentary, Take a Seat: Sharing a Ride Across America, Dominic shared the joy of biking with 10 disabled individuals across America, where he learned that “life is full of adventure, but it’s the people you meet along the way that make the difference”.


Take A Seat Trailer from Dominic Gill on Vimeo.

In his upcoming project, Take a Seat: Egypt, Dominic grabbed a bike, and a Canon 5D Mark II, and asked 7 locals to join him on his expedition. Not only does he explore the kindness of humans, but he also learns about Egypt in the midst of revolution.

TAKE A SEAT EGYPT (TEASE) from Dominic Gill on Vimeo.

Dominic came to our June 2012 Canon Boot Camp with issues regarding the Canon DSLR cameras he had encountered while filming Take a Seat: Egypt. Some issues he came across included moiré and lighting in outdoor environments. Our Chief Instructor, Fletcher Murray, and the Canon Boot Camp Team addressed his questions during our two-day workshop. He also walked away with in-depth knowledge of the camera’s complex menu options.

Hear what Dominic has to say about our Canon Boot Camp:

Dominic Gill's experience at the Canon Boot Camp from The Association/Canon Boot Camp on Vimeo.


Take A Seat: Egypt airs October 2012. See what amazing challenges Dominic put his 5D Mark II through and watch his adventure unfold through beautiful imagery. 

Meet the latest HDSLR Master, Christopher Smith

Chris Smith at the Canon Boot Camp from The Association/Canon Boot Camp on Vimeo.

Our Canon Boot Camp caters to many types of people: the inspiring director, the cinematographer, the industry pro, the teacher, the student, the still photographer, and the hobbyist. Though they come from all different backgrounds, our participants have some things in common. They are curious, eager to learn, and they all walk out of our Canon Boot Camp a Canon HDSLR Pro.

Christopher Smith is a reality show editor. Essentially, he’s a storyteller. Currently the editor of the Tia & Tamara show, Chris aspires to be a director. Before taking the leap, he wanted to master the Canon 5D Mark II to be able to offer his team guidance in terms of technology and aesthetics. Chris came to our Canon Boot Camp a week after buying his Mark II and became a pro in two days. At our boot camp, he learned everything from setting his camera menu for optimal video performance, to lighting and composition. Being one of the less experienced participants, Chris made connections with his fellow-classmates, which included directors, filmmakers, and producers. Having a strong sense for storytelling, Chris now has the technical background to ensure him a successful career:

“I definitely liked the Boot Camp, especially someone with no experience. It taught me more than I could have expected.”