Very simple short shot using one of my favourite lenses, the Canon 100mm F2.8L IS macro

I spent the weekend in Michigan and then Indiana with my great friend Eric Kessler, maker of the Kessler Crane gear. I was there to just chill out and relax but for me relaxation is actually filming, so I did a few timelapses of the beautiful area and when I saw Eric’s fish tank I had to shoot it. I didn’t shoot much. Maybe for about 30 minutes, but enough to put something together for him.

It was all shot with one lens, easily one of my favourites. The 100mm Canon F2.8L IS Marco and a 7D. So my equivalent 35mm focal length is about 160mm, so a nice long macro. The 60p was conformed to 24p to give perfect slow motion. I rarely use the 60p of the 7D due to the hideous aliasing, as long as you avoid fine detail and deep depth of field you are ok with it. The slow motion helped with the fast moving fish and added an graceful air to everything.

Music is by the great John Williams from the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”. This film is just a personal film so the music is not licensed which I do for all paid work.

I have to say Eric’s tank is stunning, the coral is so beautiful and when seen close up with the macro it’s simply incredible. One thing though when shooting a fish tank, shoot straight on, if you shoot at an angle then the distortion of the glass is quite apparent…I also sharpened in post using the built in sharpen tool set to 9% and it is graded with Magic Bullet looks. 20% off at checkout for that with code bloom20.

I have made this piece available under the new Vimeo creative commons licence. You can download it and use it but only for non commercial purposes and with full credit.. Read below for more.

As the water… from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Very simple short film of a fish tank that I had to shoot when I saw it as it was so beautiful.

It’s not as sharp as it could be simply due to me shooting through the tank…but it still looks pretty good. That lens is sweet…

All shot at 60p conformed to 24p and using the Canon 100mm F2.8L IS macro using a 7D.

Music is by John Williams from “Memoirs of a Geisha”


  1. Very cool video! Nice colors and motion! Looks so serene. 🙂

    Thank you for releasing the video under the CC-BY-NC-SA license btw. It can help re-mixers with their art projects! I license most of my non-music video work under the CC-BY too. CC is a good set of licenses. [[BTW, currently the license for your video is not set on the Vimeo system.]]

  2. Dear Philipp,
    One important question: So you have to say that 60p on 7D is crap? So what is the best way to shoot slow motion on 7D or 5D? Could you give some advise please?

  3. Hi Philip, nice vid. really like the beautiful macro.
    Today I’m going to rent the 7D for the first time, with a couple of lenses.
    Although it rains the whole day, I better find myself an indoor subject to film hahahah.


  4. I think my favorite part of the video is the final (wide) shot because it shows what you saw as potential for a relaxing and vivid video and then think, “Man, that’s pretty cool.”

  5. Dear Philip

    I admire your work and have always appreciated what you have done. All your shorts are incredible, capturing the essence of anything. However your fonts or horrendous. Seriously you need to step up your text design game.

  6. hey philip,

    i gad real issues on getting my 7D footage look that bright!
    how are you gettin´ it that lightend up?

    i´m using 2.8 lenses, 50 shutterspeed on 25fps,
    but my footage always looks kind of flat or better to say foggy!
    especially when it gets to lower lights!

    how do you get those shoots like venice people that bright?

    need help, 🙂

  7. Hi Philip, am looking at buying the 60d when it is released and can afford just 1 or 2 lenses. I’m looking at getting the Tokina 11-16mm but think the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM sounds like a very good buy. Have you used this lens on a crop sensor before?

    Or perhaps the Tokina 11-16mm coupled with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM is a better way to go? Although, the Sigma 30mm doesn’t appear to have an in-built stabilisation device…

    Any advice would be appreciated more than you can possibly imagine!


    1. hi James, best to check out my blog on lenses. it talks about what I think are essential lenses, never used that sigma but a wide angle and a fast standard lens would be very useful…

  8. One thing I keep meaning to find out. Do you keep a 180deg shutter with 60p for slow motion? So it’d be 120th/sec? I guess you’d get unwanted blur in each frame otherwise?

  9. very nice – as usual perfect track choice.

    curious to know how it would’ve looked with the 5D and slowed down with twixtor.

    nice short with amazing colours – 1:34 = James Cameron favourite.

  10. Phil i love it keep giving us your random video clips they are awesome! one thing though that i notice a lot. Your typography sucks! but as for everything else, really just amazing. keep up the good work.


  11. I’ve done quite a bit of 50p with the 7D and never had any real aliasing probs, but then than has mostly been CUs of faces and simple objects.

    On the subject of aliasing I was walking by a fence t’other day and noticed my eyes ‘aliasing’ (Honest!!). Which reminded me that the human brain is designed to recognise patterns out of what it sees, so maybe cameras showing aliasing artefacts is simply more ‘authentic’ 🙂

  12. Your ability to choose the perfect piece of music for your short films is as impressive as your other obvious skills. I’d love to have a peek at your itunes..

  13. Hey Phil, I just uploaded a video a couple of weeks ago that has some shots from an aquarium we visited over the summer, it’s really interesting to see your work having experienced shooting something similar. Really great shots you got, very vibrant and the slow motion effect really works with the footage, I didn’t do that in mine, going to try it next time.

    Hope this isn’t hijacking your site, if it is please don’t publish this post, but maybe you could check out my video.

    I have a lot of aquarium footage that I didn’t use in this edit, I think I’ll have to revisit it now.

  14. Nice!

    It’s one of our favorite lenses too (one more reasong why we put so much efforts on the reports of the “IRIS jitter” issue found in Firmware 2.0.4 which also appeared on 1D Mark IV, 7D and T2i/550D, that Canon fixed a bit later than the on 5D Mark II)

    Just in case someone didn’t know about that issue:

    Glad Canon fixed it releasing Firmware 2.0.7 for the 5D Mark II, and also newest versions for the other models. So everyone got a fix.

    Glad that you Philip helped on that regard too, posting about our 1st report when we released the new. Thanks a lot for that, very much appreciated.

    Everything to fix and improve these wonderful cameras are always great and appreciated by all users and Canon customers.

    Best regards.

  15. Nice and I’m about to purchase the latest version of that lens myself.

    That said I can’t help to wonder if the lack in the sharpness department is due to some other reason than the fact that the footage is shot thru a tank.

    Here’s a similar video from a guy shooting with an EX1:


  16. Hi Philip,

    Great short, lovely visuals and accompanying track.

    A random side question on the music – you’re using the john Williams track unlicensed? I always thought that was a big no-no even on vanity projects?

    Thanks, look forward to your next piece

    Gary BS

      1. Cheers for the reply.

        I suppose it’s the context its being used in – it’s not like your festival/broadcasting it. I’ve been tempted with a few tracks in the past that were just PERFECT to accompany a random days shooting but just didn’t have the balls to do it.

        If I was John Williams I’d be quite flattered!

  17. Hello – I love your use of music with your imagery. Can you tell me how I can go about accessing music from people like John Williams and Eric Satie for use on my own personal projects (ie non-commercial). I am aware of Creative Commons but don’t know how you find out whether a track is signed up to it or not.

    Many thanks

    1. It’s one of those things that is incredibly difficult to advise on. I use them purely for personal projects, credit the artist and hope for this best. All my work on Youtube has been tagged with itunes links and been left up. But anything that I get paid for I use licensed music. I don’t know if that helps or not? P

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