Category Archives: Videos (that are not bar videos)

They are you tube videos that are not bar girl related videos.

Shooting fight video at Max Muaythai Pattaya Stadium

I’m shooting fight video while Big Daddy and I are sitting ringside at the Max Muaythai Pattaya Stadium watching 7 fights.

This Shooting fight video shows the fist is mightier than the leg
Maroan Hallal knocking out Mamai Por.Yuttapoom.  The video shows in this fight that the fist is more lethal than the kick

I’m concentrating on getting the video with my Nikon D750. Who’s winning? Where the prettiest girls are sitting? Which fighter is tiring the most? Big Daddy is fully aware of what’s going on. while I’m lost trying to get everything right with my camera.

The Nikon D750 is capable of shooting fight video of 4 k at 24 million pixels.

My lenses are the best that money can buy. But the camera is very complicated. There’s an entire 500 page book on how to focus the Nikon D750. I t’s that complex. Which is why I’ve been practicing shooting low light video for over two months now.  Usually in the confines of my condo with the lights turned off. So what’s going to give me the best results tonight?

Shooting fight video is easy for the professionals with the Fight Channel

Shooting fight video is a real challenge.  And there’s no way that I can compete against what’s already being done here at Max Muaythai Pattaya stadium.  There’s a robotic video camera circling over the ring that has a completely unobstructed view of the ring. It can zoom right over the heads of the fighters.   And it can veer far away for a perfect bird’s eye view.   There’s also two or three videographers who specialize in professional videography.   They use heavy specialized movie cameras that are built for one purpose only.   This being shooting movie quality video to be shown on international television.  The fights they are videoing tonight are being shown across the world on the Fight Channel.  There’s no way I can compete against those guys.  As for that terribly expensive overhead robotic camera.  There’s just no way.

But what I can do is, I can take you to the heart of the action the way the Fight Channel will never do. The sound is so loud here that the floors shake. The decibel level is so high that the distortion’s almost unbearable. To reproduce all that audible mayhem on the Fight Channel would be horrific bad taste. But try and tell that to the fans here. The speakers might be distorting as the stadium’s floor creates a mini earthquake. But it’s all pretty exciting.

There’s a huge movie screen way off to my left.  This screen reproduces whatever the production managers want to show their live audience.  The profiles of each fighter as he’s being introduced by the M.C. are displayed here.  These include the weight and height and record of each fighter.  As to be expected so is selected video footage of the actual fights.  Sometimes the footage is in slow motion whenever a knockdown occurs.  Then there’s all the pretty girls up in the stands.  Especially the Chinese and Thai women showing off for the video cameras as they dance to the music.

Most of the books on video technique will tell you that real videographers shoot in manual only. But if I try that, there’s no way that I can manually focus as fast as these fighters move. One moment the two fighters are just ten feet in front of me. Two seconds later they are thirty feet away. I cannot change the focus fast enough because my eyes are not up to this kind of challenge. Perhaps if I change my f-stop to f-10, I can get enough depth of field to keep the fighters in focus. But I know I’m too close to try that.

I cannot manually focus accurately and fast enough to change my target from the two fighters in the ring to a very sexy girl way up in the stands dancing for the Max Muaythai t.v. cameras.  So I must go with automatic focusing.  But which mode should I use? And at what speed or aperture setting?

Program mode is no good for shooting fight video.

And shooting with my Nikon 24-70 mm lens at 2.8 provides hardly any depth of field. I’m not doing very well at 2.8 which is what this lens excels at. But not when I’m shooting two fast moving fighters who are all over the ring.

Last week I set up my camera for continuous focusing for shooting fight video

instead of single server mode to that the Nikon could use all 51 focus points. But that didn’t work very well either. The problem was the camera would oftentimes focus in on the ropes instead of the fighters who oftentimes were twenty feet away from my focus point. The robotic camera circling overhead did not have this problem.

At first I set my focusing for a 4 point group focus mode. Theoretically this should work. I could set the little rectangle of 4 points between the ropes to zero in on the fighters instead of the English announcers sitting right in front of us. Would this work? I wouldn’t know until I processed my video the next day. So I shot a couple fights in group focus mode. Then I shot a couple more fights using automatic continuous focus mode using 24 focus points in a narrow horizontal pattern. Theoretically this might work just as well because I could zero the horizonal rectangle so that none of the 24 focus points rested on the ropes or the English ring announcers sitting in front of me.

What aperture should I be using for shooting fight video ?

I tried shooting at F-7, then F-10 aperture to get good depth of field in case the camera was not up to focusing fast enough to keep up with the two fighters. But it seemed to me that I might be getting my best overall results shooting at around an F5 aperture which should let in plenty of light while still giving me a reasonable dept of field in case my focusing was sightly off.

But I also wanted to get a lot of digital stills. This meant going from live view to viewfinder mode. Trouble was, and I found this out too late. Shooting in automatic 24 point mode I ended up focusing on nearby objects instead of the fighters. Not always but often enough. I was also shooting in aperture mode so my shutter speed was oftentimes not quite fast enough to stop the action. The obvious answer to this problem was to start shooting in speed mode at 1/500th or even 1/1000th of a second.

So here I was, going from live view aperture priority mode at f5 while doing video to shutter priority mode and also having the change my focus mode. That’s a lot of fast changing adjustments to be making for shooting fight video

Now if I was really serious about shooting fight video, I’d be buying myself another Nikon D750 body

which I could set up for video while I kept the other camera body adjusted for shooting digital stills at say 1/1000th of a second. But no one’s paying me to do this. And no matter what I do I will never be able to compete with that robotic overhead movie camera let alone two or three video guys all covering for each other. There’s just no way I can shoot video at the same time I’m shooting digital stills.

Shooting fight video of these seven fights ended up being a real mish mash of modes and techniques.  But I’m still nowhere close to where I want to end up doing. One of my best friends keeps telling me that I need to go mirror less which will have a lot fewer focusing issues. Shooting full auto with my Panasonic LX7 and its leica lens is like shooting fish in a barrel. But I have some terrific lenses for my Nikon D750.  There’s nothing like what I can get with these lenses if I have everything dialed in just right.

Muay Thai Stadium Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled wallops Nueamek Sityaymeaw

We saw the Tunisian whirlwind  Fadi Khaled, put on one of the most exciting Muay Thai performances ever, from ringside, at Pattaya  Max Muay Thai Stadium.

Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled
The Intensity of Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled

An hour later, I would be videoing the unforgettable Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout, a fight that’s destined to become one of the most memorable classics of all time.

You’d expect the preliminary bout between Fadi Khaled and Nueamek Sityaymeaw to fade away into the obscure dustbins of ring forgetathons.  How could I even think about putting the two videos up side by side on you tube? Am I out of my mind?

I’ve thought about that before.  Many times.   I am out of my mind.  No, I’m not.  Although both Khaled and Nueamek have far less than perfect records as Muay Thai boxers, this was in its own right a classic fight.

Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled
The scorecards for both fighters show a mixed record.  Nevertheless, in this fight, the  Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with

I had never seen either boxer fight before.  But here I’m coining a new nickname, a moniker that should live on as the Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled to extol the Tunisian whirlwind as a fighting man’s fighter.   And because I think Fadi  embodies even more than what Muay Thai boxing is all about.  For me Fadi represents the true spirit of mano a mano fighting the same way Harry Greb did nearly 100 years ago.

Harry Greb the Pittsburgh Whirlwind

Enshrined for nearly a century as the Pittsburgh whirlwind in boxing legend, Harry Greb was perhaps the greatest middleweight of all time.   This is saying a lot due to  so many outstanding Middleweights who one could easily call, the greatest Middleweight in the history of the ring.  Men like Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and the most devastating Middleweight puncher of all time,  Gennadi Golovkin. And yet there’s not a single film of Harry Greb’s epic fights. He once beat the unbeatable future Heavy weight champion, Gene Tunney in a historic bloodbath that began a series of epic encounters between the two finest boxing tacticians the ring had ever seen.

But Greb was a true Middleweight, whose normal weight stood at around 160 pounds. Whereas Tunney wound up as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world at 190.  As for Jack Dempsey who was quite possibly the hardest puncher of all time, some have said that Tunney could never beat the Manassas Mauler in his prime. Others have claimed that Tunney was so good that Jack Dempsey could never have beat him.

We will never know the answer of whether a much younger Jack Dempsey could have defeated Tunney or not.

It is well known, however, that Greb totally dominated Dempsey as Dempsey’s sparring partner. Even though Dempsey outweighed the five foot eight Greb by 30 pounds, several times the pair almost met in the ring.

Jack Dempsey and Harry Greb
Jack Dempsey on the left with Harry Greb to his right. Greb defeating Dempsey, one of the most feriocious punchers of all time? You kidding? NOPE

Greb would wind up fighting 298 professional fights, yet not one of them survives today on video.

Gene Tunney fighting Harry Greb
Harry Greb won his first fight with Gene Tunney in a blood bath. Greb was about the only man to ever defeat Tunney who later beat Jack Dempsey for the world Heavyweight title and then defeated Dempsey in the rematch. Some say in his prime Dempsey would have won while others claim Dempsey could never have beat Tunney whose ring generalship was without parallel for his time. In many ways Tunney was like Andre Ward the current Light Heavyweight champion who hardly ever makes a mistake. But as the bloody matches with Harry Greb proved, Tunney could be a brawler when he wanted to be.

A Boxing Legend for all time

Greb remains today as one of boxing legend’s most unforgettable mystery men of all time. His untimely death at 32 on the operating table when he failed to wake up from the anesthetic hasn’t hurt his enigmatic image. But although the movie cameras never captured him in a real fight, there still exists at least one video of him training.

Back to the Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled

Which bring us to Fadi Khaled. Here you see him in training in Thailand.

At 140 pounds Khaled punches and kicks above his weight.  But unlike Harry Greb, we  have Khaled actually fighting in the ring.

The Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled is all over his opponent

In this bout against Nueamek Sityaymeaw the Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled demonstrates a full range of devastating martial arts weapons, including a full array of powerful kicks along with the punching power of a light heavy weight. Keep in mind that this little guy weighs just 140 pounds while light heavyweights are between 168 and 175 pounds. Notice too, how he flings his entire torso into the body of his opponent.

Big Daddy sitting next to me, put it this way, “I really don’t like the looks of him, but you gotta give him credit. He’s a very good fighter.”

I’ll give him more than that. This Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled represents what true fighting is all about. I’m sure Harry Greb would concur.

If you are interested in learning more about Harry Greb check this out.

Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout one in a million fight

Big Daddy and I are ringside for the epic Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout at the Pattaya Max Muay Thai stadium when the unfathomable happens.

English ring announcers during the Dorian Price double knockout
The Fight Sport television channel is viewed world wide.  Considering that many of the Muay Thai (Thai boxing) events come out of Thailand, most of the audience is Thai while the  ring announcer  is speaking Thai, to a primary Thai audience. The two Englishman in this picture are doing the international voice broadcasts in English.

Both of us being American, we favor the American fighter, Dorian Price over the Frenchman.  My pal, Big Daddy, who had once been a professional wrestler on international t.v.  wasn’t missing a moment of this unforgettable classic.  Whereas I was missing just about everything. I was too overwhelmed with shooting the video with my Nikon D750  trying to get everything just right.  I had the perfect lens for this event.

The Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout makes international headlines

This fight, this stadium, this one of a kind epic, is big stuff.  It just made U.S. Today.  And to think that I only have to drive 20 minutes on my motorcycle to cover these great fights.  Ironically, I just bought a new lens for my Nikon D750, a Nikon 2.8 24-70 mm that costs as much as my latest motorcycle.  The pictures this lens and camera can get are unworldly.  They are that good.  And the primary reason for getting it was to get an edge covering these fights.   Two weeks later, a one in a million chance occurs–the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout

Dorian Price double knockout
This picture from “Pattaya Today” shows how the double knockout occurred. Jonathan Lecat is actually dominating the fight when (in my opinion and Big Daddy’s) Dorian Price got lucky. Lecat’s elbow is driving right into Dorian’s face with sufficient force to knock him down. Simultaneously Dorian delivers a hard right to the Frenchman’s head which knocks him down for about 30 seconds. This is a once in a lifetime shot.  Unbelievable, but if you don’t believe it, take a look at my slow motion video on you tube.

I was so involved with my camera work that I didn’t even know that Lecat was winning until the Dorian Price double knockout occurred.

Shooting video, especially in low light, is extremely challenging.  For days on end I’ve been practicing, and I have yet to get the results I should be getting.  But tonight I think I hit the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  But I still never got to see the fight until I started editing my video.  I was that preoccupied.  As far as I had been concerned I had videoed the two fighters tripping each other up.  Then both had gone down together in a heap with neither fighter taking a major punch.

I take picture taking and doing video that seriously.  And since Dorian Price ended up winning I had thought him to be the dominant fighter.  Only later while editing my video, did I realize that Jonathon Lecat had been beating the hell out of Dorian when the once in a million double knockdown occurred.  A hundred years from now, this fight will be forever immortalized as the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout.

I had seen the two fighters go down.  About 30 seconds later, the American was able to rise to his feet while the Frenchman remained comatose, dead to the world. “In all my years following wrestling and boxing I’ve never seen this before,” Big Daddy, screamed at me.  “I have never ever seen a double knockdown.”

Big Daddy was an international televised professional wrestler

Well, Big Daddy might have been one of the Assassins appearing on television as a professional wrestler, but I had always been a boxer. And I didn’t have the slightest idea of what Big Daddy meant by a double knockout. The concept was impossible for me to grasp. The whole idea of Muhammed Ali and George Foreman knocking each other out in a single second or two was unimaginable.  But here it was, the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout preserved for eternity in my  video.

While I was a wanna be college boxing idol

And although I never fought professionally, I had been in more fights than I could count while growing up. Although I had been in several street fights as an adult, I wasn’t really into street fights. But I sure loved putting the gloves on to box strictly for fun. Boxing was my sport.  Always had been and always will.  In my fifties I kept a platform bag setup and heavy bag in my private gym that I had created from a one car garage.  In college I was the best boxer in my dormitory which selected me to fight the best boxer from another dormitory. That wasn’t much of a fight. The gloves were huge and well padded so neither of us were very successful at getting through the other boxer’s guard.  But it wasn’t long after that that I had a very short lived time of glory.

Jack Corbett, promising university Middleweight makes the front page of the Chicago Tribune

I was in the dormitory study room, when a couple of my dorm mates brought in a copy of the Chicago tribune. There I was on the front sports page of the Chicago Tribune. The newspaper had devoted an entire paragraph about me, extolling me as an exciting middleweight boxer from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  “This would be one of the most exciting Golden Gloves tournaments in Chicago’s History”,  the Tribune had printed. And it was because of exciting young boxers like me, a college boy, who’d soon be fighting in a sport that was devoid of College men.

But it was all a big joke–on me

I was foolish enough to go along with it all.  Most of the guys in my dorm got very excited about one of their own fighting for the glory of Lawrence University in the Chicago Golden Gloves. Suddenly there was a lot of talk about hiring a tour bus to take everyone down to Chicago to watch me tantalize the Chicago crowds with my blazing speed.   It turned out that one of the Freshmen in my class, Scott Lewis, had gotten an application for the Golden Gloves and had signed me up as a joke.

I would have done it. And my classmates were just crazy enough to get up enough money for a tour bus. Then one of the Lawrence wrestlers got a hold of me in the gym while I was suiting up for a Cross Country team practice run.

Jerry Nightingale star Lawrence University wrestler saves me from myself

I still remember exactly how he  looked at me and his exact position as he explained the facts of life.  Jerry Nightingale was a black guy from Chicago.   He was a welterweight, weighing 145 pounds or so, which was about 15 pounds less than me.  Jerry was extremely quick and agile.  Which is why he had  won most of his matches.  Not only was Jerry a very good wrestler, he was also the epitome of cool.

They are going to kill you in Chicago if you compete in the Golden Gloves

“You go down to Chicago and they are going to kill you,” Jerry warned.

“Why do you think that?” I asked. “I’m fast.  And I’ve got an excellent punch. I think I have a  good chance of winning the first round or two in the elimination.”

“These guys in the Golden Gloves are from the ghetto. They’re poor. Most of them are uneducated. The only way out for many of them is fighting.  They will really hurt you if you go in the ring with them,”

Jerry Nightingale becomes my Guardian Angel

I sure as hell respected Jerry Nightingale.  He was a fine athlete.  He had a good head on his shoulders and he was a good guy.  Although I really enjoyed boxing, and was faster than nearly everyone else, the prospect of fighting even faster guys who would relish cutting my face to ribbons  wasn’t appealing. I immediately banished the thought of tour buses and of being the school idol out of my game plan.

For me, boxing is still the king of all sports

Now I’m an old guy.  But I’m still running 12 kilometers in the sweltering heat along Pattaya Beach. I can do it, but I’m exhausted by the time I finish.

But God, I sure love boxing. Even if I’m not doing it anymore.  I’m an avid fan of top boxers like Andre Ward, Sergei Kovalev, and Gennadi Golotkin. I can hardly wait for the Andre Ward Kovalev rematch. I’ve got a few Russian friends now, not to mention a few other Russians I don’t know who I run into at the Centara Hotel physical fitness center. Russians take exercise seriously. Or at least a sizable percentage of them do. That’s why the Soviet Union usually won more gold medals than the U.S. did in the Olympic.

There was more to it than those Communists boarding their best athletes like cattle in modern gulag training camps where they fed them steroids every day. Russians are tough and they pride themselves on their athletic ability. I think they always were this way.  Which is one of the reasons they could defeat the U.S. in the Olympics during the bad old days of the U.S.S.R.   There were also more Soviets than Americans to choose from to field all those Olympic teams. Since the breakup of the U.S.S.R. Russia now has a population of only 140 million compared to 325 million Americans. But I do like having the Russians around because they take fitness as seriously as I do.

Big Daddy and I are still fighters in our hearts

So here we are, Big Daddy and I,  among all our friends who really enjoy fighting. We are at the right spot  to experience first hand that one in a million fight when both boxers go down for the count in this Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout classic for the ages.  We have already seen another top notch fight between the Tunisian Fadi Khaled and Nueamek Sitjaymeaw of Thailand.

Living here in Thailand I get to experience first hand what the Fight Channel  broadcasts on international television.  My condo’s only 20 minutes from the new Pattaya Max stadium.  It is no secret that many Muay Thai top events come out of Bangkok.  But I’ve just learned that the Pattaya Max Muay Thai stadium is handling just as many top ranked fights. This stadium has a seating capacity of nearly 3000. The men  in front of us are doing the international English television broadcasts that are seen worldwide.

But back to the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout. Dorian Price won the fight.  Barely.  But when they meet again, I’m betting on the Frenchman.  It promises to be a great fight.  But it’s going to take years for anything to measure up to this Jonathan Lechat Dorian Price double knockout classic.

LX7 Panasonic vs Nikon D750 for low light video

LX7 Panasonic vs Nikon D750 for low light video.  You be the judge. Here’s a pair of videos I shot at the Pattaya Siam Siam night club.

LX7 Panasonic vs Nikon D750 for low light video
While shooting the video with the Nikon D750 I got this picture. There is nothing like using a professional SLR camera when you are using the best lenses. The Nikon 17 by 35 mm 2.8 lens is one of the finest pro lens ever built as this picture attests. The question is, Will my Nikon D750 deliver when it comes to low light video? Until tonight, automatic focusing issues have kept this camera from delivering on its promise.

Here’s the first video.  This one’s with the Nikon D750 using the Nikon 17-35 mm 2.8 lens.

And here’s the second.  I used the small Panasonic LX7 camera to shoot this 2nd video.  This camera is an overachiever.  I can’t think of another compact camera anywhere near  this size that’s got a fast 1.4 lens.  The lens is a Leica to boot from Germany, and this camera has always delivered no matter how low the lighting situation was.

But there’s nothing like using completely professional equipment.  Canon’s just as good as Nikon.  But I got started with Nikon and I already had a pair of Nikon’s finest and most expensive lenses–a Nikon 28-70 2.8 and its sister lens, a Nikon 17-35 mm wide angle 2.8.  From everything I’ve ever read nothing out there tops these two lenses, but they are both god awful heavy and cost big bucks.

I’ve shot video in restaurants down on the beach and in bars with my Nikon, and I’ve practiced for days on end in my condo trying to get the automatic focus to work right.  The cameras got a mirror and I’ve been informed by people who are supposed to be in the know that SLRs like mine will not do a good job on automatic focus at night. But My Panasonic Lx7 has no such problems.  It works like a dream.

Shooting with the Panasonic LX7 at Siam Siam

So here’s the story on these two videos.  A couple of weeks ago a group of condo owners and their girlfriends who live in my building celebrated my girlfriend’s birthday at the Siam Siam night club in Pattaya.  Well let me tell you, this place is a treasure.  The views up on the top floors of Pattaya are absolutely stunning as both videos will show.  At my girlfriend’s birthday I’m shooting with the Panasonic LX7.   Rory, is there with his Hong Kong girlfriend, and so is Rod, an Englishman with Mai, a young willowy Thai beauty whose personality just doesn’t stop.  My girlfriend, May May is here too–well of course she is….she’s the birthday girl.  Viewing Pattaya from the Siam Siam night club’s upper floors is a lot like Hong Kong.  That’s where Rory and Iris live when Rory’s not here in Pattaya, and they both tell you in this first video that Pattaya’s a lot better than Hong Kong.

My birthday at Siam Siam shooting my Nikon D750 in low light

But I’m itching to do a new video at Siam Siam with my Nikon gear.  This time it’s my birthday.  The camera came out great in the video I shot at the Muay Thai boxing arena, but later on, the focusing failed me down at my favorite Pattaya beach restaurant.  I spend hours Saturday afternoon practicing with three different lenses shooting in different shooting modes in my condo, and I’m still in my underwear when the door bell rings.  It’s Mai coming down to visit with my girlfriend and to wish me a happy birthday.  Normally I don’t come to the door wearing only my underwear shorts.  It scares people too much having to view my nearly naked body. But hey, I take my photography and my video seriously and there’s no time for false modesty.

Later my girlfriend and I head to Siam Siam.  It’s just the two of us, off celebrating my birthday, but wait, it’s a threesome after all.  I’ve got my Nikon D750 with me.  So it’s Panasonic vs Nikon.  If the Panasonic LX7 wins out, I’m getting an even more capable Panasonic LX model when I visit the U.S. a few months from now.  THe LX100 with is larger sensor looks like the answer to my shooting the best video I can.  But  I know that nothing can beat my two Nikon lenses when it comes to making my subjects jump right out of the picture and delivering the richest color possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Nikon D750 Thai boxing video

Nikon D750 Thai boxing
You can’t beat a good SLR for capturing the action. Carrying all that extra weight around can really be worth it if it’s quality you are after

I shot this Nikon D750 Thai boxing video at the Max Muay Thai Stadium Pattaya using a Nikon 28 by 70 2.8 lens.  This is the same lens I used shooting digital stills of strippers and feature entertainers with a Nikon D-1 X.

Nikon D750 Thai boxing
Nikon D750 Thai boxing I shot a sequence of these shots using burst mode You can’t do this with a smart phone.

The Nikon D750 has awesome video potential

Weighing in at a full 2.2 pounds on that professional Nikon SLR with a powerful flash–this was a lot of weight to be carrying around on one’s neck all night long.  So I understand how the Nikon 28 by 70 2.8 lens earned its nickname, “The Beast”.   The lens was also very expensive.  But I noticed that this lens almost produced a three dimensional effect that lesser lenses were incapable of achieving.

My new Nikon D750 camera is an awesome piece of equipment.  Its resolution is four times greater than my old Nikon D1x.  Although it can function as a point and shoot, it has so many features that it would take me a lifetime to master them.   My main problem was that I could never shoot decent video with it.   Yet this camera had outstanding video capabilities according to all the photography reviews I had read.  I just couldn’t get it to change its focus when I went from short range to long range subjects.  But my little Panasonic LX-7 with its superb Leica lens came through every time.

But so far shooting video with it has ended in abject failure

All my video experiments with the Nikon D750 wound up in failure.  Then I found a one and a half minute video on you tube that pointed out a very important step I had never taken.  Suddenly all my focusing problems seemed to go away.  And tonight I was going with Big Daddy to the Max Muay Thai Pattaya Stadium.   There would be sufficient light at the stadium for accurate focusing of the camera.  While in the ring there would be a lot of fast moving action to challenge the camera’s focusing ability in video mode.

The Nikon D750 Thai boxing video vindicates the camera’s potential

For the first time my Nikon D750’s video performed up to expectations.  The Thai boxers were all over the ring, moving from its opposite side to only a few feet away from me.  Big Daddy and I had first row seats.  Being so close to the fighters did pose two challenges, however.  There was a post right in front of me, which would obscure my subjects from my camera whenever they moved behind it.   The second challenge was the ring’s ropes.  I’m sure that my camera was constantly focusing on the ropes instead of the fighters.   I could at least edit out those portions of the video that had the two fighters going at each other behind the post.  But there was no way getting around having to shoot between the ropes that formed the perimeter of the ring.    The camera would often tend to focus on the nearest object.

Overall, I think the results were outstanding.  The twin stereo speakers in the Nikon D750 reproduces very strong audio bass.  I think that the series of 20 odd digital stills at the end of the video show that there is really nothing like a good SLR camera when it comes to zeroing in on the action.  Nikon D750 Thai boxing

 

 

Testing Nikon D750 video capabilities here in Thailand

Nikon D750 video
The Nikon 750 like most professional cameras can capture the perfect moment with split second timing to get what lesser cameras nearly always miss

Getting terrific low light  Nikon D750 video is a huge challenge especially when I compare my results to what I can so easily achieve with my Panasonic LX-7 with its extremely fast Leica 1.4 lens.   But, if I can ever get it down, I just might produce video that cannot be matched by lesser equipment.  Here’s two examples of low light Nikon D750 video.  The first is   from a New Year’s Eve party at the Surf and Turf Restaurant on Wongamat Beach.  I shot the second the following day at the Naklua Pen Bar.

Shooting either video with my Panasonic LX7 camera would have been easy.

The Lx7’s focusing in a wide variety of situations and lighting is exemplary.  But notice how fuzzy the video becomes in the first video  when I zeroed in on Rory, Iris and May May at close range with the Nikon D750.  The same thing occurs when I zoom in on several of my Russian friends who are sitting much closer to the water.  But so long as I’m shooting my video at mid to long range with the Nikon D750, the results are spectacular .

The lens I’m using most of my Nikon D750 video is nicknamed  “The Beast”.

It only has a focal length of 28 to 70 mm  yet it weighs a full 2.2 pounds.  This lens is frightfully expensive.  It is also too heavy  to carry around all day long.  I have a companion lens for this lens, a Nikon 17 by 35 mm which is equally as good.  But for these videos  I’m using “the Beast” which I find to be more versatile than the 17-35.

Ken Rockwell has this to say about  the Beast

“This 28-70/2.8 offers spectacular performance, and the price you pay is huge size and weight”

“The Beast”  has always been able to create images that produce a three dimensional effect.  And the Nikon D750 produces deep and rich sound from its twin internal stereo microphones.  Although my pocket size Panasonic LX7 produces excellent sound there is simply no comparison to what this Nikon D750 does without any audio editing whatsoever.

In the New Year’s Eve video I shot down on the beach

I at least have some decent light to work with.  But the next night at the Pen Bar, I simply did not have enough light to do a decent job with the bar girls dancing in the background when I was shooting near the stage.  Again, the Panasonic LX7 would have done far better in these extreme low light situations.   Perhaps if I had changed the settings on the camera  I might have achieved much better results.   Using spot metering might have helped here.  Or changing the ISO might have made a big difference.  But I think you can see from both videos that the video potential of this camera, especially with this high a quality lens, is enormous.  But it’s going to take a lot of practicing on my end.

In the coming months I will continue to experiment shooting low light video with my Nikon D750.  I expect to be fully challenged, and possibly overwhelmed.    But whatever the outcome when it comes to testing the Nikon D750 video capabilities, it’s competence at getting the finest digital stills is evident from the slide show photos during the final half minute of the New Year’s Eve Surf and Turf restaurant video.

Update

Although I’ve kept the Beast, I recently purchased its newer and better Nikon 24-70  2.8 lens

I just bought Panasonics latest and greatest small camera, the Panasonic LX10

I used both cameras to shoot my latest action packed video at the Pen Bar.  Put this video on the largest screen you have to spot the differences between what these two excellent cameras can do shooting low light video

 

 

Roman Pila and the Roman Gladius gave Roman soldiers the edge over their opponents

Immortalized as Roman Pila   these spears gave the Roman soldier a huge battlefield advantage over his opponents.  But it was the combination of the short sword and the Pila that made him so deadly.

Immortalized?  You bet.  That’s because as far as I was concerned a Roman soldier had a Pilum and a  short sword called the Gladius.  My Latin grammar taught me that  Pila was the plural form for more than one pilum.   While  two swords or more were gladii.  A dagger was a pugio, and a sword was a scutum.  But a gladius was not just any sword.  It was a very special short sword that typically had a 20 inch blade that was absolutely devastating at close quarters.

As for the Roman Pila, no spears came close to being as effective

Roman soldiers trained  intensely to use the gladius and pilum in deadly concert with each other.

Roman PIla
This is the difference between what a top American craftsman such as Mark Morrow creates as the total embodiment of what Roman soldiers actually used over 2000 years ago and what Indians and Chinese typically produce for the tourist market.

You will find that when it comes to bowie knives, swords, kukris, and firearms that

I am a purist who insists on the utmost historical authenticity.

I had to take three years of Latin.  Each month all of us had to take a 200 question test in Latin grammar and vocabulary.  If we didn’t score at least 90 %, we’d have to spend two hours after school the next Friday correcting each of our mistakes over and over again.  Because of such intense study of Latin and my deep love of History that I revere what is truly authentic.

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When I bought my first pilum that had been made somewhere in India, I was totally disgusted.

I found out how fraudulent the Indian made   Roman Pila were.

So help me God, if I am to be over 90 percent accurate with my gladii, Roman pila,  scuta and pugios, I demand that all historical weapons I put on my wall are just as authentic.

I have a lot to say about both  Roman pila and gladii.  But I’ve said it already in my Looking Glass online magazine.  I invite everyone who’s sincerely interested in the gladius and Roman pila  to visit the following two links where you will also find my you tube videos.

the Roman Pilum

The Roman short sword or Gladius.

 

 

Time for a Guiness Naklua Surf Turf Restaurant

When Pattaya goes too far off the rails, it’s Time for a Guiness at the Naklua Surf Turf Restaurant

Time for Guiness Naklua Surf Turf Restaurant
Naklua Surf Turf Restaurant.  It is time for Guiness.  But a Sangria for the lady.

I don’t think there’s a better place in all of Thailand.  The restaurant’s just 150 yards from my condo.  But I am one lucky guy.  Naklua Surf Turf Restaurant is being rated here as the number one beach side  restaurant in all Pattaya.  And if you think I’ve cherry picked the Internet for a great review just because I love this place to death, think again.  And we’ve got the place call to ourselves.

It’s cool down at  Naklua Surf Turf Restaurant with the ocean breeze blowing.

I can walk just forty meters uphill from the restaurant and notice the difference in temperature.  The music’s tasteful.  There’s none of that Dah Dah noise that passes for music that you keep hearing down on Walking Street.  And there’s no cars or motorcycles trying to run me over.  Or polluting buses full of Chinese tourists.  Here the staff looks out for me and my friends so I usually am able to get one of the best tables.  The beer on draft is Singha and it’s good and cold.  We normally get it in pitchers so there’s no waiting for the next round.  But for some reason I keep going back to drinking the Guiness usually getting it in the large size bottles.

Tonight, am I here for the beer or is it because I”m testing my new Nikon D-750 camera?

I’ve got my tripod in hand, and I’m using the Sigma 50 mm F 1.4 lens.  It’s going to really blur my backgrounds if I set the aperture for 1.4, but I also want to test its video capabilities.  Unlike my trusty little Panasonic LX-7, shooting video with it is very tricky.  I have to set the camera just right and I don’t know just how to set it to do the best video yet.

This is absolutely my number one place to practice shooting video with my Nikon 750 and Panasonic LX 10 cameras (which just replaced my Panasonic LX7)  .  We spent New Year’s Eve here as I shot this video.    I keep getting better and every time I try, at least I have the Guiness to fall back on.

Tora Blades Mk1 Kukri, the World War 1 model 1903-1915

Does the Tora Blades Mk1 Kukri beat the craftsmanship of Himalayan Imports finest kukris?

Tora Blades Mk1 Kukri and the Mk2
The blades of the Mark 1 and Mark II are polished to a mirror finish that rivals or even exceeds the Himalayan Imports M-43

It’s almost impossible to beat the craftsmanship of a Himalayan Imports  Kukri, but the Tora Blades Mk1 Kukri  is of equal quality. That’s saying a lot because the HI kukris are simply superb.

Tora makes History come alive in its creations.

Tora Blades puts History into each of its creations.  In this respect Tora Blades eclipses the competition.  Himalayan Imports and Kurki House are either unwilling or unable to create Historically authentic blades.

Now, I’m not about to say that the Himalayan Imports M-43 is better or that it falls short of the models from Tora Blades.  It is what it is.   The  M-43 performs exceptionally well at chopping down big trees and cutting large logs almost  as fast and effectively as an axe.

But the historical M-43 was actually a later version of the Mk2 that was used during the World Wars.  The military M-43’s and MK2’s had much thinner blades than the Himalayan Imports versions and were normally about 10 ounces lighter in weight. The HI M-43 is a leviathan  in comparison.

 I invite you to watch my you tube video, Battle Blades 2,

to  view the Tora Blades Mk1 Kukri  in its full glory.  This video’s in full HD resolution.  So it’s going to look good on a large screen t.v.

I’ll tell you a little secret.  I don’t use the smart t.v. internet features of my 55 inch television.  Instead I hook the t.v. up to my computer with an hdmi cable to duplicate my computer screen on my 55 inch t.v.   This is much more effective than  using the smart t.v. internet features.  It’s also a faster and less complicated  way to watch you tube videos.

My Tora Blades Mk1 Kukri You Tube video

 

HI M-43, Gelbu Special and Tora Blades Mark II battle blade


Mark II battle blade and HI M43 kukri
Which Kukri is the best battle blade, a Tora Blades Mark II battle blade, Himalayan Imports M-43, HI World War II model, or HI Gelbu Special?  I have all four, and each one has unique strengths that make it superior to the other three.

The HI M-43 is the biggest, baddest and most devastating Kukri

on trees and the most capable of severing heads.  But it weighs a porky 36 ounces  That’s as heavy as most swords.  So you’d think this is the one you’d want for combat or week long expeditions into the wilderness.  Himalayan Imports closely patterned the M-43 after the Mark II kukri that the Nepalese Gurkha soldiers  used during World War I and II.

But the HI M-43 is a far cry from the Mark II battle blade that Gurkas actually carried.

The Tora Blades Mark II, that weighs barely more than half the HI M-43 just might be a better selection.   The curves of the M-43 closely imitates  the historic weapons of both World Wars.   But that’s where the resemblance ends.   Tora Blades takes the prize for historical authenticity for wartime kukris.   And the Tora Blades Mark II is about as close as it comes to the blades that actually saw combat in both conflicts.  Then there’s the Himalayan Imports Gelbu Special which doesn’t even pretend to be designed as a battle blade.  To find out which is the best battle blade of them all this video just might give you the answers you seek.