Author Archive: RollingShutter

EOS 550d Zebra Stripes Workaround

Many people have said that it’s a shame the 550d has no ‘Zebra Stripes’ and whilst this lack of functionality is certainly a pain for some people… it needn’t be! All it takes is a few seconds of pre-planning.

Now, to put this in perspective: I didn’t buy my 550d as a video camera, silly as this may sound. I’m a FILM maker and when shooting with an HDSLR, I treat them in much the way as when shooting on film, the only difference being the capture format so this small workaround fits in really well and is worth the few seconds it takes:

First, record a second or two of the scene, fully lit. Stop the recording and press the [Play] button.
The first frame of the image will display on the LCD.

Press the [DISP.] button (fig. 1) to enable the R.G.B. HISTOGRAM view (fig. 2).

fig. 1

fig. 2

With the true R.G.B. Histogram displayed, you can see the spread of light across individual wavelengths (a valuable feature of the EOS range) and you can immediately look for clipped colours.
Press [DISP.] again and it will also display the WHITE Histogram (fig. 3).

fig. 3

Being armed with this information is a step in the right direction, but we’re not done yet.
Press [SET] to play the clip you just recorded and if any areas are clipped, they will flash on the LCD to warn you, in much the same way as a Zebra stripe would (fig. 4).

fig. 4

A major benefit of this method is that clipping is measured from the Histogram, not the display (as with Zebra striped on almost every camcorder that uses them) so you don’t need to worry about your LCD screen being too bright and affecting the reading.

As I said, it’s a workaround that fits nicely into my workflow when working on a set or under controlled circumstances. Appreciate this isn’t ideal for everyone, but it’s better than nothing and, in some ways, better than true striping.

Hope it works for you too.


After many years in a drawer, I recently redscovered the first fully-fledged short ‘film’ I ever made which involved editing outside the camera, rather than an ‘in-camera’ assemble edit.

Shot on sVHS it was then digitised to my Matrox RT2000 powered PC in glorious QCIF (352×288), the maximum resolution I could work in without the PC crashing! Fortunately, QCIF blows up fairly well and resembles VHS quality.

The killer for me was watching this short projected in my local indie cinema. My pixelly little film on a 60ft screen… I think that’s when I was truly hooked on this film making malarkey!

Sci Fi London 48hour Film Festival Entry

This short was created for the 2010 Sci-Fi-London 48hour Film Challenge.
* Shot on Conon EOS 550d
* Music kindly licensed from

On the morning of Saturday, April 10th, we were supplied with a list of items which must appear in the film:

* A title: “Tinted Light”
* A line of dialogue: “Husband, Husband, what do you mean Husband?”
* Prop list: 4 Fluorescent glow tubes.

We then had 48 hours to make and upload a 3 to 5 minute Sci-Fi short.

Unfortunately, the first 20 hours were all but written off due to circumstances beyond our control. So… with only 28 hours to write, shoot and edit, it was a little manic, but we got there somehow.

Being brutally honest, it’s not going to win us any awards (except maybe worst in show), but it was a hoot to make under such mad circumstances and we hope you have fun watching it. Just don’t laugh too loud, we might hear you!

The Good Man

Original casting breakdown
ROLLINGSHUTTER Films are casting for an upcoming pilot: The Good Man.

Synopsis: After losing everything, Peter makes a series of poor choices which propel him deep into the heart of the underworld where he becomes the antithesis of everything he once despised.

Roles being cast:
PETER: Our protagonist is in his early thirties with the sort of face your mother would love. He is absent minded and stumbles into trouble at every juncture.
LYDIA: Peter’s wife (soon-to-be ex). Twenty-something, tall, with seductive lips and a ferocious tongue!
SYLVIE: Peter’s nemesis is a 6 year old ‘preenager’ who just won’t stop talking.
CASEY: Sylvie’s mother. In her late twenties, she is a Burberry-clad beauty with a volcanic temper.
DRELZ: A burly underworld leader with a thick neck and a short fuse.
TONY: An up and coming underworld thug with a keen dress sense (which is where his sense ends).
Also require various ‘underworld type’ extras.

Expenses and a copy of the film will be provided.

Please send resumes and photographs here

Originally planned for production in Summer 2010, this shoot has now been postponed until spring/summer 2011.