What Is A RAW Photo & How Do You Use It?

      I uploaded a tutorial video recently showing people how to edit RAW photos in Aperture. In this post I will go more in depth about what RAW is.

What is RAW?

       RAW is an image format that is favored by most professional photographers. To sum it up, it is an uncompressed photo. Think of it like this, when shooting JPEG the camera uses a compression system to lock all the detail into a JPEG, a RAW image completely bypasses that compression system and goes straight from the sensor to the memory card. This produces an image with incredible amounts of detail.


     The benefits RAW gives the photographer is flexibility in post processing. The photographer can change everything about the image after it has gone through the lens: white balance, ISO, and contrast. When I edit my RAW photos I enjoy going back them and making dramatic changes to the image's appearance. I've pulled off HDR's, recovered highlights, fixed white balance in certain areas. Shooting in RAW is the way I go.


     Aside from all these great things I have mentioned about RAW there is one downside to shooting in RAW. It uses huge amounts of memory. On my Canon 70D a RAW photo can take anywhere between 25MB-30MB per photo, a JPEG is usually less than 12MB per photo. This will cause the photographer to need bigger memory cards and spend more money getting them. I personally do not have this issue because I own two 32GB SD cards, one of these cards can hold up to 1200 RAW photos.

Tokina 11-16mm - Is This The Best Wide Angle EF Lens?

     I've been an avid user of my Canon T2i for videography and personal use and I have collected a number of lenses over the years. But when searching for a good wide angle lens I've tried a number of solutions. I tried the Canon 10-22mm lens as a first solution and then bought the Tokina 11-16mm. Here's why.

     In March 2013, I was offered a gig to make online ads about six apartments in San Diego. At the time of receiving this ofter I didn't have any wide angle lenses which is a MUST for real estate videography. So here's what I did, I went to my local photography store after trying the Canon 8mm for a few minutes everything seemed very distorted obviously because it's a fish eye lens. Then I tried the Canon 10-22mm which is also considered a fish eye lens but with wide look instead of a fish eye look. I ended up renting the Canon 10-22mm for the first day of the gig. When I arrived to the property I was going to film it was a dream come true to use and while I was editing the first ad that night I wanted to own a lens that wide but I a little better. The Canon 10-22mm had decent build quality, it felt like your average kit lens. I did my research and I found the Tokina 11-16mm, for only a little over $500 on Amazon I could own my own ultra wide lens. After a couple weeks I had completed all six apartment ads and got fantastic feedback, I had then purchased my own Tokina 11-16mm simply because the price was a lot better than the Canon 10-22mm, $650 vs. $500.

     When I received my Tokina lens the first thing I noticed was the amazing build quality, this lens is solid! I took some video test shots and noticed the Tokina was very sharp. The Canon 10-22mm had a noticeable issue with color fringing around the edges while the Tokina hardly had any color fringing at all. The aperture was big improvement over the Canon lens. Canon has an aperture of f3.5 at 10mm and then f5.6 at 22mm, the Tokina has a constant aperture of f2.8 which means the aperture is always f2.8 on all the zoom lengths which makes it much better for low light shots especially using a T2i with noticeable ISO noise starting at ISO 800. Not long after purchasing this lens I got a gig to shoot a luxury home so I ended up using this lens.

Shot using the Canon 10-22mm lens and Canon 28mm f1.8.

Shot using the Tokina 11-16mm and Canon 28mm f1.8.

New Short Film! Tale of Two Heroes - Live Action DayZ

    In honor of the release of the DayZ Standalone (Alpha), me and my friends produced a DayZ live action short film. No there are no zombies in this one but we plan on making more episodes in the near future that will include zombies. Tale of Two Heroes tells the story of two survivors who struggle for supplies and their own trust. Enjoy!

GuitarJack 2 USB Review

     The GuitarJack 2 USB is SonomaWireWorks newest hardware, it is the ultimate solution to high quality input and output audio for Android, iPad, Mac, and PC users. At first glance it's the same as the GuitarJack Model 2 for iOS except it has a Micro USB port instead of the 30-pin iPhone port. It includes the 1/4" input for guitar and bass, an 1/8" input, and a headphone output.

How does it sound?

    After running many tests on the GuitarJack 2 USB I think it sound fantastic. I tested the guitar input quality using an iPad running Ampkit and my MacBook Pro running GarageBand and Amplitube. I don't have an Android device so I couldn't test using the GuitarJack with that. I recorded my own soundtrack using the GuitarJack with my iPad running Ampkit and MacBook Pro running GarageBand and Amplitube. I also tested using it as an audio interface for listening to music, monitoring audio, and editing audio for videos and it works great and sounds much better than the built in inputs and outputs on my MacBook Pro. I used Velcro to stick the GuitarJack 2 USB to my desk and I use it everyday when I'm at home for all my audio needs. You can listen to the recordings I got out of GuitarJack in the video below. When using GuitarJack 2 USB for listening I noticed the output is much louder and cleaner than what you would get out of the built in input on your computer.

Build quality.

      As expected from SonomaWireWorks the build quality is excellent! It's got a solid metal design so it is more than safe to carry around while traveling and incase you are worried about scratches the GuitarJack 2 USB includes a nice soft travel pouch just like the GuitarJack Model 2 for iOS did.

Who is this for?

     The GuitarJack 2 USB is for musicians who play guitar or bass and people who do voice over work. It is great for general use if you need an audio interface that is small and high quality. I would definitely recommend this to a friend who is looking for an audio interface that is compatible with Android, iPad, Mac, and PC.

Video Review:

Using an iPhone To Record High Quality Audio For Videos

     Ever wanted to record audio externally for DSLR video without buying expensive audio recorders? This video will show you how! All you need is an iPhone, any guitar interface, and a professional audio recording app.

     In my video on how to record external audio for DSLR video I use the GuitarJack Model 2 for iOS, RODE VideoMic. Of course you can use any interface such as the iRig, AmpKit Link, Apogee JAM. I chose to use the GuitarJack Model 2 because it's the highest quality interface I own. The app I used was FourTrack by SonomaWireWorks but you can use Garageband as well.

Step 1: Plug your interface into the iPhone.
Step 2: Plug your Mic into the interface.
Step 3: Launch FourTrack and select a track to record on, adjust the track level to prevent peaking, and slide the bottom red slider to record. In GarageBand for iOS create a new track by tapping the "+" button on the bottom left corner of the track view and hit record.
Step 4: (Exporting), in FourTrack simply open iTunes on your computer and click on your iPhone as if you were going to sync it. Navigate to the "Apps" page, scroll down to the "File Sharing" section, find FourTrack, and you will see a folder called "Sessions", click on that once to select it and click the "Add To" button, select the location you would like to save your recordings to and click save.

Welcome to Mental Radiation Films!

This blog is where viewers of the Mental Radiation Films YouTube channel can view blog posts about the products I review, helpful tips on film making, and tutorials. Thanks for visiting Mental Radiation Films!