Video conferencing gadgetry

I’ve recently become a little obsessed over my video conferencing setup and the quality of my streams. I spend quite a bit of my week in online meetings with the various teams I work with – usually on Zoom, Google Hangouts or FaceTime .

I thought a couple of my recent gadgetry additions might be worth sharing…

  • RØDE NT-USB Microphone – This has actually been my trusted desk companion since 2015. It provides crispy clean audio. Alongside online meetings I’ve tried to ensure I capture sporadic audio snippets of conversations with the kids as they grow up and their voices evolve. For posterity.
    (I recently bought the studio boom arm to clear more desk space as it’s a fairly chunky unit)
  • Logitech C922 Pro Stream Webcam – I’m still on a 2014 5K iMac. I still love it. But the webcam is awful. And especially terrible in low-light. The C922 provides much better HD quality, focus and control. There are better webcams out there, but this is a notable improvement for me. I’m quite keen to explore the Elgato Cam Link 4K (to use an SLR as a webcam)
  • Elgato Key Light Air – I’m a pasty pink human on screen. I also have an office space that provides an abundance of backlight. The Elgato light provides great foreground lighting – with much flexibility over light intensity and color balance.

Categorized as Tech

The Internet of Woo Things

I was unable to attend WooConf 2016, held in Austin, Texas with the arrival of Malakai in March. Luckily there is a fantastic video archive of all the WooConf presentations.

Bryce Adams, one of Woo’s very own developers gave an interactive and eye opening presentations of the future of WooCommerce and what can be achieved using it’s open and robust API framework, bridged with some smart hardware.


With some gutsy live demos, one involving propellors, it’s so exciting to see how far one can push the boundaries of what is possible with our platform.

We encourage our community to think outside of the box and innovate – proving that the future of ecommerce can be shaped outside the R&D teams of bohemoth ecommerce companies.

Watch the video

Experimenting with Canon 7d video

Once I purchased my Canon 7D in October last year I knew it would be the start of a new hideous lens and camera accessories addiction.

I purchased my first prime lens – the Canon 50mm 1.4f in December to experiment with more portrait photography. Love it. However, I find myself currently fascinated by the new infinite possibilities of videography with the 7D and more wide angled lens. I embarrassingly spend every spare moment I have watching beautifully captured short films on Vimeo and YouTube.

It seems I’m not the only one getting slowly sucked into the world of story telling though DSLR video, both Lisa Bettany and Cameron Moll are both bulking up on Canon kit and producing some great content. Not forgetting to mention this beautiful (albeit somewhat techy) video I found on YouTube about Patrick Murphy-Racey, a seasoned photographer experimenting with DLSR video with masterful results:

Geek kit I’m after

Tokina ATX 116 PRO DX AF11-16mm F/2.8 Canon

An ultra-wide angle lens with a fast 2.8 aperture for better photography in low-light situations.

Rode Microphones VideoMic

The on-board Mic of the Canon 7d is very basic, with a directional shock-mounted mic you get far better audio without the body noise and low frequency rumble.

Litepanels Micro

Good lighting is a must for more professional looking videos, bringing a character to life without the unwanted shadows.

Steadicam Merlin

Offering light, agile, seamless shooting for today’s videographers. I’d love one of these one day, but it’ll have to wait for now as a seemingly basic piece of equipment like this costs a lot of money.

See some footage taken with the Tokina lens and a Steadicam Merlin here.

Zacuto Z-Finder

The Z-Finder is an Optical Viewfinder that allows DSLR cameras to have the correct form factor for video. The larger viewfinder allows you to ensure perfect manual focusing at all times.


  • I’ve always been inspired by the multi-talented Hillman Curtis, an early flash designer, turned digital designer, turned film maker. Do yourself a video and watch some of his short films.
  • More recently I discovered Philip Bloom – an evangelist of DSLR film-making who’s short films and DLSR video tutorials/reviews have influenced many. Even George Lucas is interested in Philip Bloom’s DLSR video skills and recently flew him over to discuss techniques for a new movie.
  • VBS.TV – a great source of short films covering all sort of subjects. I’m sure some are shot on DSLRs.


I’ve done a fair amount of research and hope to make some of these purchases soon, but would really appreciate some feedback from more seasoned Canon DSLR photographers. Also if there are any 7D short films you’ve seen and enjoyed please provide some link love below in the comments to feed my addiction 🙂

My latest toy

I’ve had my Canon 350D for about 3 years now, and it’s served me well, but it was getting tired. As I’ve developed more and more of an interest in photography I’ve been looking for an upgrade. Since the launch of the Canon 5D Mark II I’ve been saving pennies to get hold of it. It’s a SIGNIFICANT upgrade. Then the Canon 7d was released.


There is loads of discussion online about the Canon 5D Mark II vs the new Canon 7d, launched late September here in the UK. The big, noticeable difference that justifies the more expensive 5d is the full frame sensor vs the 7d crop sensor. Not sure about the difference – read this article. Apart from that though it seems the Canon 7d boasts some newer features that’s got 5d owners quite jealous.

Even Hitler…

I’m definitely not going to try promote the 7d as a better camera than the 5d, but seeing I’m not a professional photographer and prefer my wildlife and sports to portrait and landscape photography I don’t necessarily need a full frame sensor.

Why the 7D? It has a dual processor, one specifically dedicated to dealing with noise reduction, an 18 mega pixel CMOS sensor, 100% view finder coverage, captures images at 8 frames per second, and has improved movie capturing facilities shooting beautiful full HD movies with options for 24 fps to create the cinematic feel that I can’t wait to play with. It also has a built-in flash, that the 5D lacks, meaning you need to carry a bulky flash wherever you go, OK for the pros, mission for us more amateur photographers.

I bought the camera with the 18-135 kit lens which compliments my 70-300 IS tele-lens very nicely and beats my old 350D kit lens hands down <puke>. It’s a lens that has a range that is hugely multi-functional and means less time inter-changing lens. Although I’m definitely still planning on getting a 50 or 60mm lens for them close ups.

More photos on Flickr
More photos on Flickr

I’ve already had a play with the camera and the 24p HD video functionality this weekend at a local rugby match between Richmond and Henley, watch the movie on Vimeo in HD. Excuse the newbie no-no’s. Next time I’ll use a tripod.

I’m in love.

MIH Print Africa feeds the Afrigator

Today is a pretty exciting day for the Afrigator team. We can finally announce something that we have been working passionately towards for the past 2 years now – that being an investment partner who can help take Afrigator to the next level with a reach of a much bigger African audience.

Afrigator Acquired

MIH Print Africa, a division of Naspers, have secured a majority stake in Afrigator. The exciting news is that Justin and Stii will be relocating to the South African tech epicenter of Cape Town (or as some prefer to call it Silicon Cape) working from the swanky new Afrigator headquarters with our first official employee, Product Manager Lester Hein. Mike and myself will still be working very closely with the Afrigator team. Expect to see lots happening over the coming months.

Turbo charged

MacBook ProI am proud to say I am no longer a Windows LG notebook user, I’ve converted to the dark side and am now turbo charged with a Leopard Macbook Pro.

I’ve spent the past week painstakingly moving all my documents, files and folders, iTunes music, design applications and instant messenger tools across to my new love affair. All I need to do now is move my archived mail folders. Eeeek 🙁

The StumbleUpon effect

This month has seen a nice surge in website traffic, this is not attributed to the Digg effect or the Slashdot effect, but the ever growing StumbleUpon effect.

I’ve written about StumbleUpon before, when I first discovered it through my web stats almost a year ago now. It continues to impress me, both in the content it finds me, and the hits it sends me.

“According to eBizMBA, StumbleUpon ranked at number 6 for the 30 most popular social bookmarking sites for July 2007. The site was ranked above both Slashdot and Reddit but still is one of the least appreciated sources of traffic. The reasons for this are because people misunderstand the nature of the site. Because StumbleUpon was conceived as, and continues to be a site that is heavily used to explore content consisting of art, design, and photography, people think that other kinds of content cannot become popular on the site. “

Source: The unappreciated Stumbleupon effect – Pronet Advertising

Categorized as Tech

Afrigator Beta – It’s lurking beneath the water

Something’s lurking just beneath the water. It’s grown, it’s matured, and it’s about to get snappy. That something is Afrigator Beta.

That’s right folks, I’ve been very busy along with Justin, Stii and Mike planning for the next phase of the Afrigator project. I’ve spent numerous days submerged in Photoshop pixel pushing. I’ve agonised over placement of new kick ass functionality in a new slick interface and I’m really excited about what lies ahead.

Rush on over to Afrigator and sign up to be a part of the Afrigator Beta testing. You’ll be a part of something very special.

Categorized as Design, Tech

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

This post is an update on the one I wrote a month ago on the subject of tele lenses for my Canon 350d.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

I would like to say a huge thank you to the people who left comments and helped me to make an eventual easy decision on what to buy. Although the lens I opted for was out of my initial lens budget, I took the good advice left by Tristan Owen, The Pete and Peter and invested a bit more for a nifty feature, Image Stabiliser.

Categorized as Tech

Tele lenses for Canon 350d

I’m hoping some photographer gurus read my blog and can advise me on what lens I should be looking for if I am after a tele lens for my Canon 350d under 250 pounds. I specifically want to use it for sports and wildlife photography (wildlife is something I very rarely see over here in London, apart from the occasional park deer, and garbage-eating fox, but something I want to cater for when i get back to South Africa) so I suppose it needs a quick focus speed and good image stabilisation (without having to pay huge amounts for the “IS” feature). I’m not that fussy on Canon, Tamron or Sigma, but I am pretty clueless when it comes to my little toy SLR camera, and value any comments.

Categorized as Tech