Happy new year!


Welcome to a whole lot of new readers and followers on Twitter. Due to the overwhelming success of my video showing 2008 in a couple of seconds.

So far the video has been viewed 1,087,240 times on YouTube. 10,312 ratings and 9,579 comments. On Vimeo it has 314,193 views. It has been aired at ABC in San Francisco and been featured on countless web sites and blogs. I’ll get back to the details about that video later. I’m learning a lot by following how it spreads through the net, what people comment about, how people use it an so on. Tuesday 30th was most busy. Giving 28,350 page views and 20,708 unique visitors to this blog. I cranked my Dreamhost PS up to 4 GB RAM for this period of time and it handled the traffic fine.

Wrapping up 2008 on eirikso.com. 252,828 Absolute Unique Visitors spending 1 minute and 40 seconds in average on my site. Since I started using Statcounter back in 2005 a whopping 2,090,757 people have visited eirikso. And according to Google Analytics this is my most popular articles in 2008 (you find the 2008 page views in parentheses):

1. The Media Center Software List (169,361)
2. Direct hit to eirikso.com (35,709)
3. Free high quality streaming of movies and tv shows (30,584)
4. One year worth of images give some amazing videos (21,457)
5. Test clips from panasonic hdc sd5 (13,079)
6. How to program the buttons on your mce remote (12,593)
7. HTPC frontend roundup (12,481)
8. Pandora plugin for windows media center (9,349)
9. How to completely reset your series 60 nokia mobile (7,880)
10. They stole an image of my son and just had to pay $4000 (6,467)
11. HDR-photography (6,239)
12. An impressive yet simple photographic effect (5,649)
13. Perfect adjustment of your LCD (5,600)
14. TVedia an amazing networked media frontend (4,922)
15. Home theatre PC links roundup (4,893)
16. Web browser for media center edition (4,824)
17. Record your pandora streaming radio (4,674)
18. Canon EOS 400D – experience after one week (4,418)
19. Highpad media control pda remote for windows media center (3,867)
20. Silencing an XFN GeForce 6600gt with a Zalman VF700cu (3,696)
21. How to make illustrations even if you can’t draw (3,635)
22. Test clips from Canon HF10 (3,563)
23. Recommended HTPC hardware (3,299)
24. HDR from one single image (3,275)
25. Time stopped at 10:09 (3,255)

What does this tell me? That pretty boring articles about Home Theatre PCs (HTPC) will give you traffic from Google for years…

Anyway, this is a nice place to give me directions for 2009. What do you want more of? Less of?

Happy new year!

One year worth of images give some amazing videos

I made three new videos of 2009 with my 5D Mark II last year.

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

So far I’ve made two videos of the images I describe in this article. The one here at the top and another two minutes version. Read on to learn how I did this, to see the other video and to download the videos and images in high quality. And if you want to watch this video here at the top in HD quality you have to click through to Vimeo.

The story

Back in 2005 I did an experiment shooting images out of my window for one year. It turned out pretty cool and in the end of 2007 I decided to do the same. But in much better quality.


So I started shooting images with my Canon 400D. From the same spot each time, but not through my window. I found a spot outside that gave more or less the same framing each time I placed my camera. So, I went out on our balcony snapping some images at pretty irregular intervals all through 2008 .



Each time I snapped the following images:

3 exposures @10mm (Canon EF-S 10-22 F3.5-4.5 USM)
3 exposures @17mm (Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM)
3 exposures @55mm (Canon EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS USM)

All images shot in RAW. The three exposures where: normal, +2 EV and -2 EV.

In addition to the images I decided to record some audio at the same place. Using my Canon S2 IS and my Canon HF10 I recorded simple background sounds trough 2008 as well. Not with exact connections to each image. More with a focus on getting audio from winter, spring, summer and autumn.

All together giving me a pretty decent range of material to put together some experiments.

Then what? The videos…

Link to this video in HD on YouTube.

At the top of this article you find a 40 second version that show one year. Using the 10mm wide angle images. Right above you find a two minute version made from the 55mm zoomed in images.

First I used Photomatix to make HDR images of the ones I decided to use. Mostly because the HDR effect makes the images flat so that the difference in light and shadows won’t disturb the transitions in my video.

Then I used Photoshop to align all the images. Placing the camera manually at the same spot each time won’t give the exact same spot. So I needed some fine adjustment. Photoshop does this. Here’s how:

First load the images you have chosen into layers by using “File->Scripts->Load files into stack

When you have found all your files make sure to check “Attempt to automatically align…

Give your computer huge amounts of time and get back when it has finished. Now Photoshop has adjusted all the images and put them on separate layers in one file. The next thing you have to do is to crop the image. Because of the adjustments the images are not the exact same size. A crop will do the trick.

When the computer is done cropping you export the layers to files. “File->Scripts->Export Layers to files

Now you have a folder with a bunch of images with the same framing. I decided to do simple dissolves between them.


And ended up with a project in Final Cut Express that looked like the image above. I didn’t want one dissolve at a time. I wanted to make some kind of flow where one dissolve is taken over by the new one before it is finished. As you can see from the timeline my dissolves overlap.

The free downloads

First of all: please comment here or contact me if you use the images. I’ll link to all cool projects made from these files!

All the images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license. In other words: Use them non commercially as long as you give me credit and as long as you share the work you do under the same license.

For commercial use please contact me. Or you can simply buy non exclusive royalty free use by purchasing the full quality file here: OneYear40seconds1920x1080.30p.H264.mp4
It’s $99,- and the money will be spent on hosting for my projects.

For commercial use of the full quality non branded still images you can buy the complete package of high resolution stills here: EiriksoStills.zip


And where are the files?

10mm wide angle aligned HDR images in this flickr set.
All the images from that Flickr set in a ZIP file.
55mm zoomed in aligned HDR images in this flickr set.
All the images from that Flickr set in a ZIP file.

The audio as WAV in a ZIP file

40 second movie, 8 mbit/s H264, 1280×720 25p
Two minutes movie, 8 mbit/s H264, 1280×720 25p

But I know what I’m doing and want the full resolution RAW files to make something really cool!

Please comment here or contact me and I’ll provide you with what you want. RAW files, video footage, more audio from the same spot etc…

Whats’s next?

Eh. Well. I just upgraded my camera to a Canon 5D Mark II. Giving me a possibility of getting even higher quality footage from this nice view of some trees… Guess I’ll snap some images on my balcony through 2009 as well. :-)

One year worth of images give some amazing videos

How wide is wide?

About as wide as this:

Wide angle test
Link to a bigger version of the image.

I snapped the same image with the following lenses:
Canon 15 mm f2.8 fisheye
Canon 16-35 mm f2.8 L USM II @16mm
Canon 24 mm f1.4 L USM II

And marked the reach of the different lenses on the 15 mm image. But I also wanted to see how a Sigma 8 mm circular fisheye did:

Link to a bigger version of the image.

So now you know. That’s the difference between these different lenses on a Canon 5D MkII fullframe camera. And if you don’t like the distortion of the fisheye you can remove it.

How wide is wide?

How to remove distortion on a Fisheye image


I recently bought the Canon 15mm f2.8 Fisheye for my new 5D Mark II. It’s extremely wide angle and gives the characteristic fisheye distortion.

Here’s a gallery of images shot with that lens:

In some images you want the fisheye distortion, but in other images you might want to remove it.

15mm Fisheye Original

And there are several applications that can help you with that. Regardless of what fisheye you’re using.


The most common way to remove the distortion is to squeeze the image in the middle. Something like what PTlens will do for you. In addition you can adjust perspective, rotation and a couple of other settings.

But this leaves you with an image that has to be cropped and if there are people along the edges of the image they will look very distorted.

Another program called Fisheye Hemi aim to fix that problem. And will try to remove the fisheye distortion using advanced algorithms to keep as much as possible and do the adjustments but keeping people and other details in the image without distortion.

I’ve made a simple flash animation to show the different images. Click the buttons below the image to change from original, to the one corrected with fisheye hemi to the one corrected with PTlens.

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://eirikso2.com/flashfiles/FisheyeTest.swf” height=”400″ width=”500″ /]

There are a lot of programs that is made to help you adjust lens distortions. I’ve also tried DxO, but simply found it too difficult to use. For people using Windows I’ve heard positive remarks of RectFish.

Please leave a comment if you have a favourite that I haven’t mentioned.

How to remove distortion on a Fisheye image

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO – Explained visually


First of all: my entry into visualization using Flash in my last article was less than perfect. Mainly because I didn’t shoot every image in my sequence with the same aperture. Meaning that the background changed because the depth of field change.

So, I’ve made a new ISO-test of the 5D Mk II. Slightly better. At least the aperture stayed at 5.6 at all ISO values. The flash file is big, and I’ve not made any kind of download indicator. So when you click the link you need some patience while the page load.

Link to: Flash animation showing ISO-change


But what about that aperture stuff? Did you say depth of field? Yes. When you change that thing called aperture on your camera things happen to your image. To put it short: a low value, like 1.4 gives more blur in your image. A high value, like 22 gives less blur. The detail that you focus on will stay sharp, but the amount of detail around that point change.


Huh? Exactly. This is easier to show with an image. Or, actually several images. In an animation like the ISO-experiment. Where you can click the row of f-numbers at the bottom and see the image change. And it’s the same as with the ISO-animation. When you click the link you have to wait a while for the page to load.

Link to: Flash animation showing aperture change

Shutter Speed


But hey! I can also adjust something called “shutter speed”. Yes, in addition to ISO and aperture the shutter speed adjust the amount of light you will let in at the CMOS- or CCD-chip. And the effect on the image? A long shutter speed gives motion blur. And if you are shooting without a tripod or something to support your camera a long shutter speed mostly means a completely blurred image.

To show the difference that the shutter speed makes I did the test again. With a train moving in the image. So now you can see the effect of both the shutter speed and the aperture. And you know what? When you click the link you need patience. Let the page load…

Link to: Flash animation showing aperture and shutter speed change

But your flash animations are crap

Indeed. I haven’t coded flash since 1999 and used Apple KeyNote to make these. So, if you want to make them better I have provided you with all the original images. Full resolution:
ISO-test Originals
Aperture Test Originals
Aperture and shutter speed test Originals

These are zipped archives of the images. And please let me know in the comments if you use these images. They’re licensed under a creative commons license.

Aperture, shutter speed and ISO – Explained visually

Quick ISO test of the Canon 5D Mk II


People keeps asking about test images to show the low light performance of my new Canon 5D Mark II. So far I find it pretty amazing. The image above is a comparison of my old 400D at iso 1600 and the new 5D at iso 1600. Both images shot in RAW and converted with Canon DPP.

Because the 5D looks so good at iso 1600 I also did the same with the 5D at iso 6400.


In addition to this I have put together a flash animation that shows you the same image at different ISO values. You can click the image to browse through the different values, or choose directly with the buttons.

[kml_flashembed movie=”http://eirikso.com/flash/ISOtest2-500.swf” height=”375″ width=”500″ /]

The example embedded here is small and doesn’t really show the images very well. If you have some patience and wait for the loading, I have also published a bigger version. And no, I’ve not made any fancy “loading-animation”. You just have to wait for the page to finish. And I know: Not very smart to let the camera change the aperture. Apart from the fact that it gives a nice demonstration of how the depth of field change…

Quick ISO test of the Canon 5D Mk II