- Camera: Sony A7S
- Lens: Rokinon 24mm T1.5
- Mic: Rode VideoMic Pro
- Monitor: Atomos Ninja Flame
- Streaming: Teradek VidiU Pro
Throughout the wintry months up in the northern hemisphere, the night skies are filled with one of the most vivid and spectacular sights in the world. The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is most visible between the months of August and April, which makes for some visually stunning photo and video opportunities.
Sean Kurdziolek is no stranger to these lights. Serving as active-duty military and also a permanent resident of North Pole, Alaska for the past 17 years, Sean owns and manages his own photography studio in town which specializes in aurora photo shoots. The studio does everything: portraits, lifestyle, landscapes - anything that encompasses the Northern Lights or nearby snowy backgrounds.
“The aurora borealis is an amazing and awe-inspiring natural wonder. Witnessing the aurora in Alaska in the early 2000s was the very thing that inspired me to take up photography. It’s something that even the greatest poet couldn’t put into words. I wanted to capture it and share it with the world,” explained Sean.
Going Live with the Northern Lights
Recently, Sean has been venturing into a new venue for sharing his love of the lights: live streaming. On nights where the auroras are especially illuminated, Sean assembles his outdoor photography set complete with a Sony A7S camera equipped with a Rokinon 24mm T1.5 lens.
Instead of shooting photos though, Sean connects his Vidiu Pro streaming encoder to the camera via HDMI. At the same time, his Atomos Ninja Flame 7” is connected to the camera for better live feed monitoring and UHD 4K recording. After that, he connects his Rode VideoMic Pro to the camera’s audio in so he can easily communicate with viewers and respond to comments.
Once the equipment is ready, the VidiU Pro is connected to Sean’s Galaxy S7 mobile hotspot and configured to stream to his studio’s Facebook Page. Take a look at his live stream, which reached 46k views:
The VidiU Pro can stream HD 1080p video at up to 5.2 Mbps to any online live platform (Facebook, YouTube, Wowza, etc.). Combined with the Sony A7S’s superb low-light capabilities and the Rokinon 24mm lens (favored amongst astro and aurora photographers), the VidiU Pro sends a pristine and vivid 720p live stream (Facebook max) to Sean’s viewers, capturing breathtaking aurora imagery.
“It was only recently that the video technology to do this was made available. The Sony A7S made professional-grade cameras accessible to everybody, and live streaming only became viable for people in the last 2 years,” said Sean.
“Before this, you’d need a whole broadcast truck with expensive camera equipment to go live from out here. Now it’s possible with a tiny box connected to the camera. It’s pretty incredible.”
With more people engaging with live videos now than ever before, it’s become an excellent way for content creators to bring attention to their interests. For Sean and his family-operated studio, it not only allows him to share his passion for the Northern Lights with the world, but also attract people to his humble town of Fairbanks, Alaska, one of Alaska tourism’s top 3 locations for aurora viewing.
Check out his beautiful work at http://seankurdz.com.
More samples of his photography below: