The new Panasonic AJ-CX4000 4K/HDR Shoulder-Mount camcorder will be available in late December for $25,000.
There are obviously cinematographers and filmmakers who prefer cine cameras with a small, compact footprints. Yet for others, a larger cinema camcorder, like an ENG camera, will be more appealing, particularly those that shoot certain types of documentaries or some corporate work, which is the target audience that Panasonic is aiming for with its AJ-CX4000 4K/HDR Shoulder-Mount Camcorder.
The camcorder was announced earlier this year at IBC, but this week, the company announced pricing and availability: The company says the pro camcorder will “be available at the end of December at a suggested list price of $25,000. Ideal for network news, sports, blue-chip nature films and travel documentaries, the AJ-CX4000 follows the handheld AG-CX350 to expand the CX Series of 4K camcorders.”
Panasonic said it also shares key imaging features with Panasonic’s AK-UC4000 flagship studio camera system, including being equipped with a large-sized 4.4K image sensor that “facilitates ultra-high-definition resolution (horizontal, 2000 TV lines), high sensitivity, low noise and a wide dynamic range. Also common with the studio camera system is LSSIEL technology, allowing a 2/3 lens to be used without an external adapter, with the internal lens specially designed for large sensors.”
Panasonic AJ-CX4000 has a long list of impressive technical specs for this model, which including:
Plus, the camcorder includes various network connections: Gigabit Ethernet with locking connector, wireless LAN (option) and USB 3.0 connector. It also has NDI|HX compatibility (requires license purchase) and wireless remote from an ROP App (iOS/Android).
For more information, see the press release below and go here
[[ press release ]]
December 03, 2019—NEWARK, NJ (December 3, 2019) — Panasonic announced that its new AJ-CX4000, a 4K/HDR shoulder-mount camcorder with B4 lens mount and interchangeable lens, will be available at the end of December at a suggested list price of $25,000. Ideal for network news, sports, blue-chip nature films and travel documentaries, the AJ-CX4000 follows the handheld AG-CX350 to expand the CX Series of 4K camcorders.
Offering many of the features and formats of the AG-CX350, the AJ-CX4000 shoulder-mount also shares key imaging features with Panasonic’s AK-UC4000 flagship studio camera system. Like the AK-UC4000, the AJ-CX4000 is equipped with a large-sized 4.4K image sensor that facilitates ultra-high-definition resolution (horizontal, 2000 TV lines), high sensitivity, low noise and a wide dynamic range. Also common with the studio camera system is LSSIEL technology, allowing a 2/3 lens to be used without an external adapter, with the internal lens specially designed for large sensors.
The AJ-CX4000 features HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) for recording of HDR (High Dynamic Range) video in compliance with BT.2100 and BT.2020 standards, and is equipped with such HLG recording assist functions as SDR Monitoring Gamma, HDR/SDR Parallel Output, VF/LCD HDR/SDR Selector and eight-mode Gamma selection.
The AJ-CX4000 has a fast, connected workflow, including RTMPS and RTSP for live streaming and NDI/HX* for live production. In addition, its HEVC codec offers extended recording with 4K/10-bit high image quality, all while keeping bitrate and storage size low. The AJ-CX4000 records MOV files that are highly compatible and easy to use. This file format is the same as that used on the AG-CX350 and Panasonic’s AU-EVA1 compact cinema camera, and supports long file names with up to 20 characters, allowing recorded video clips to be easily managed. The AJ-CX4000 also supports the MXF P2 file format for broadcasting, enabling AVC-Intra or AVC-LongG HD recording with fast, reliable expressP2 cards, cost-effective microP2 cards, or low-cost SDXC memory cards.
The camera supports high-quality 24-bit/48 kHz four channel digital audio recording. The audio source for each channel can be selected, choosing from mic-in, line-in and wireless receiver. A LAN terminal with a lock mechanism is provided, enabling IP remote control. The AJ-CX4000’s NDI|HX mode allows video transmission and camera control via IP connection, without using an external converter. When connected to a system configured with Panasonic’s AV-HLC100 Live Production Center and HN/UN series PTZ integrated cameras, the AJ-CX4000 realizes end-to-end live video production as well as web distribution.
The standard 12G-SDI output terminal delivers high-image-quality UHD 60p (50p) 10-bit 4:2:2 output. Also provided are XLR audio input (2CH) terminals compatible with +48-V phantom power supply, as well as HDMI OUT, TC IN/TC OUT, GENLOCK IN, USB3.0 (DEVICE) and USB2.0 (HOST, wireless module) terminals.
The AJ-CX4000 can be controlled remotely and wirelessly using the tablet/smartphone app “CX ROP” (downloadable for free from the App Store** or Google Play), allowing the user to display camera information and change camera settings. The CX ROP provides a wealth of remote functions for output signal selection, USER button setting, REC S/S and many others. The app can also be used to select which camera to control from up to eight cameras in the CX Series.
The camera’s standard 3.5-type color LCD with approximately 2.76 M pixels allows for high-definition color monitoring, with a touch panel enabling easy operation. The 2.4-type black-and-white organic EL display offers high brightness and clearly shows the status information—such as the timecode and audio input level–even in outdoor environments.
The AJ-CX4000’s shooting assist functions encompass: two optical filters, ND and CC, with four positions each; Chromatic Aberration Compensation; Dynamic Range Stretch; Advanced Flash Band Compensation; 2x/3x/4x digital zoom boost; Focus Assists–“Expand”, “Peaking” and “Focus Square”; Shockless Automatic White Balance (AWB); simplified WFM/Vectorscope display on LCD and VF; High-Brightness Zebra Display; Y-GET to measure brightness at center and display numerical data; Lens Files to store settings for interchangeable lenses; Setup Files; Mode Check to display a list of the camera settings on VF and LCD; Rec Check; and five assignable User Buttons.
* NDI|HX, a technology of NewTek, Inc. To use this function, an activation keycode from NewTek is required.
** The Apple App Store is a trademark of Apple Inc. registered in the United States and other countries.
The post Panasonic Reveals Pricing And Availability For AJ-CX4000 4K/HDR Shoulder-Mount Camcorder appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Walter Mercado appears in the documentary, Mucho Mucho Amor, by Cristina Costantini and Kareem Tabsch, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Earlier today, the Sundance Institute announced its showcase of new independent feature films, selected across all categories, which will be shown at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival from January 23 through February 2, 2020 in Park City, Salt Lake City, at Sundance Mountain Resort. The festival is Sundance Institute’s flagship public program and is widely regarded as the largest American independent film festival. According to the institute, it’s attended by more than 120,000 people.
The festival will highlight 118 feature-length films, representing 27 countries and 44 first-time feature filmmakers. Of the 65 directors in all four competition categories, comprising 56 films, 46% are women, 38% are people of color and 12% are LGBTQ+. Also, 23 films announced today were supported by Sundance Institute in development and 107 of the Festival’s feature films, or 91% of the lineup announced today, will be world premieres.
These films were selected from a record high of 15,100 submissions including 3,853 feature-length films.
All feature films included in the festival are categorized in one of the following ten competitions: U.S. Dramatic Competition, U.S. Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, NEXT (for bold films distinguished by innovative, forward-thinking approaches to story-telling), Premieres, Documentary Premieres, Midnight (for provocative films that range across many genres and subject matters), Spotlight (for films that premiered previously before Sundance and have debuted elsewhere in the world) and Kids.
Here are some highlights from several of those competitions:
Minari, directed and written by Lee Isaac Chung, appears to be, according to the Sundance Institute, a fascinating story about David, a 7-year-old Korean-American boy, who gets his life turned upside down when his father decides to move their family to rural Arkansas and start a farm in the mid-1980s in this charming and unexpected take on the American Dream. The cast includes Steven Yeun, Han Yeri, Youn Yuh Jung, Will Patton, Alan Kim and Noel Kate Cho.
The 40-Year-Old Version, directed and written by Radha Blank; BLAST BEAT, directed by Esteban Arango; Charm City Kings, directed by Angel Manuel Soto; Dinner in America, directed and written by Adam Rehmeier; The Evening Hour, directed by Braden King; Farewell Amor, directed and written by Ekwa Msangi; Miss Juneteenth, directed and written by Channing Godfrey Peoples; Never Rarely Sometimes Always, directed and written by Eliza Hittman; Nine Days, directed and written by Edson Oda; Palm Springs, directed by Max Barbakow; Save Yourselves!, directed and written by Alex Fischer and Eleanor Wilson; Shirley, directed by Josephine Decker; Sylvie’s Love, directed and written by Eugene Ashe; Wander Darkly, directed and written by Tara Miele and Zola, directed by Janicza Bravo.
One of the “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling” is Omniboat: A Fast Boat Fantasia, directed and written by The Daniels, Hannah Fidell, Alexa Lim Haas, Lucas Leyva, Olivia Lloyd, Jillian Mayer, The Meza Brothers, Terence Nance, Brett Potter, Dylan Redford, Xander Robin, Julian Yuri Rodriguez and Celia Rowlson-Hall. The Sundance Institute says of this film “It’s not just a speed boat ride, it’s a Miami adventure. The cast includes Mel Rodriguez, Finn Wolfhard, Casey Wilson, Adam Devine, Jessica Williams and, yes, Robert Redford!
Other films in the NEXT program are Beast Beast, directed and written by Danny Madden; Black Bear, directed and written by Lawrence Michael Levine; I Carry You With Me, directed by Heidi Ewing; The Killing of Two Lovers, directed and written by Robert Machoian; La Leyenda Negra, directed and written by Patricia Vidal Delgado; The Mountains Are a Dream That Call to Me, directed and written by Cedric Cheung-Lau; Some Kind of Heaven, directed by Lance Oppenheim; Spree, directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko and Summertime, directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada.
One winning entry highlighted this year in the Documentary Premieres category is The Go-Go’s, a documentary about this legendary pop/punk all-female LA band, which scored a number one album in the 1980s. It’s directed by Alison Ellwood. The cast includes Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin.
Other winning films in this category include Aggie, directed and written by Catherine Gund; Assassins, directed by Ryan White; Disclosure: Trans Lives On Screen, directed by Sam Feder; The Dissident, directed by Bryan Fogel; Giving Voice, directed by James D. Stern and Fernando Villena; Happy Happy Joy Joy – The Ren & Stimpy Story, directed and written by Ron Cicero and Kimo Easterwood; Okavango: River of Dreams (Director’s Cut), directed and written by Dereck Joubert and Beverly Joubert; Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, directed by Laurent Bouzereau; Rebuilding Paradise, directed by Ron Howard; Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, directed by Lana Wilson; Untitled Kirby Dick/Amy Ziering Film, directed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering and Vivos, directed and produced by Ai Weiwei.
This section of the festival features a wide array of film genres, from horror and comedy to works that defy genre classification. But the common thread in all the winning films is that they’re provocative. One of the featured films here is Run Sweetheart Run, a film directed and written by Shana Feste. The plot involves a blind date that turns violent, and the woman has to return home through Los Angeles, with her date in pursuit. The cast includes Ella Balinska, Pilou Asbaek and Clark Gregg.
Other Midnight films that won this year are Amulet, directed and written by Romola Garai; Bad Hair, directed and written by Justin Simien; His House, directed and written by Remi Weekes; Impetigore, directed and written by Joko Anwar; The Night House, directed by David Bruckner; The Nowhere Inn, directed by Bill Benz; Relic, directed by Natalie Erika James and Scare Me, directed and written by Josh Ruben.
According to the Sundance Institute, the Spotlight program is “a tribute to the cinema we love from throughout the past year.” One of the winners is The Perfect Candidate, a film directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, which depicts a determined young Saudi doctor’s surprise run for office in the local city elections, which sweeps up her family and community as they struggle to accept their town’s first female candidate. The cast includes Mila Alzahrani, Dhay, Khalid Abdulrahim and Shafi Al Harthy.
This year’s Spotlight films also include And Then We Danced, directed and written by Levan Akin; The Assistant, directed and written by Kitty Green; The Climb, directed by Michael Covino; Collective, directed and written by Alexander Nanau; Ema, directed by Pablo Larraín; and La Llorona, directed and written by Jayro Bustamante.
As the title of this competition, Kids, suggests, the target audience for these films are children. One of the winning films is Come Away, directed by Brenda Chapman, with a cast that includes Angelina Jolie, David Oyelowo and Michael Caine. The storyline is pure fantasy: Before Alice found Wonderland, and Peter became Pan, they were brother and sister. When their brother dies in an accident, they seek to save their parents from downward spirals, until finally they’re forced to choose between home and imagination, setting the stage for their iconic journeys into Wonderland and Neverland.
Other winning movies in the Kids competition are the Belgium film, Binti, directed and written by Frederike Migom; and Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, an American film directed by Tom McCarthy.
For more on all the winning films, go to sundance.org/blogs/news/2020-sundance-features-announced.
For more on the festival and other events, go to sundance.org/festival.
The post Sundance 2020 Film Festival Features 118 Films From Around The World appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the stories that have caught our attention in the world of cameras and photography.
Sony Takes The Lead: Two new reports show Sony’s camera market strategy appears to be working. Or at the very least, Canon’s and Nikon’s strategies are not working as well as Sony’s. First, earlier today, DPReview’s Brittany Hillen published an article “Sony Overtakes Canon And Nikon To Dominate The Full-Frame Camera Market In Japan.” In the story, Hillen writes: “Sony has overtaken Canon and Nikon to claim the top slot for full-frame camera market share in Japan, according to BCN Ranking. Sony showed growth in the overall full-frame, APS-C and fixed-lens digital camera categories from November 2018 to October 2019, as well.” DPReview says Sony’s “total full-frame camera market share in Japan increased from 31.6% to 38%.” Canon dropped to 36% market share and Nikon plummeted to 24% of the full-frame market.
Second, over the weekend, Michael Zhang published the following story on Petapixel: “Sony Now #2 In Digital Camera Sales As Nikon Falls To #3” Zhang writes, “There’s a changing of the guard at the top of the camera market. Sony has reportedly become the #2 brand in overall digital camera sales behind Canon, dropping Nikon to #3.” Zhang also writes that Nikon will soon suffer “its first loss in its core Imaging Products business.”
Panasonic Exits Making Image Sensors: Late last week Reuters ran a news story titled “Panasonic To Sell Its Chip Unit To Taiwan’s Nuvoton For $250 Million”. According to the tech website anandtech.com, “Panasonic has announced plans to almost completely withdraw from semiconductor business and sell all of its related assets to Taiwan-based Nuvoton Technology,” which it had been active in since the 1950s. Among the many division that Panasonic will sell to Nuvoton Technology includes its image-sensor division.
Other Industry Stories and News:
Hi-8 was actually a fairly popular analog videotape format in the early to mid-1990s.
I’ve been on eBay, looking for the right playback device. What kind of playback device? Hi-8, of course. What, might you ask, is/was Hi-8? If you’ve been in professional video for more than probably 10 years, you may have encountered the Hi-8 format in the wild, or in the machine room of a duplication house, post house or school. Hi-8 was an analog videotape format from Sony that used 8mm cassettes with metal evaporated (ME) or metal particle (MP) tape. Introduced in the early 1990s with 400 lines of resolution, Hi8 was an improvement over the original 270-line Video8 format as well as VHS tape. Hi8 also supported a digital audio track. Digital8 superseded the format.
It’s funny, even in the early 1990s, when I first got into professional video, Hi-8 was clearly a consumer format that had aspirations of becoming a prosumer format, used by lower-end professionals. Hi-8 was never that format for me; it was simply a way to shoot home video with a small Handicam form factor. At the time Hi-8 came around, I was shooting professionally with a big, heavy, expensive Sony Betacam and an Arri Super 16 film camera mostly, neither very conducive to carrying around Disneyland or to the park for the kids’ soccer game. I bought the Sony Hi-8 camera and began using it to shoot essentially home movies of family events. Most of the footage I eventually transferred to other formats that I ended up using professionally, formats like ¾” SP, then DVCAM. I recently came across a stash of old Mini DV, DVCAM and Hi-8 Camera Masters in storage.
I realized that I still owned our DVCAM deck, the Sony DSR-40, so that would take care of playing back the Mini DV and DVCAM tapes. But what about the pile of Hi-8 tapes? Many of them aren’t labeled either, so I have no idea of what’s on the tapes in some cases. Unfortunately, the Sony Hi-8 camcorder that I used to shoot these Hi-8 videos on broke down in the early 2000s. I kept it around for a few years and it became more and more difficult to even find a repair facility that could find the parts needed to do repairs. I eventually threw the camera into the recycling bin; it’s tough to give away or donate an older video camera that doesn’t work any longer.
Unfortunately, the transition from analog to digital has only accelerated the pace at which new formats become the state of the art and yesterday’s format becomes passé’, then outdated, then an antique. I think of all of the various formats I’ve worked with, shot, edited with and used as dubbing tape masters over the years and it boggles the mind. 1” D1, D2, D5, MII, ¾”, ¾” SP, Betacam, Betacam SP, Betacam SX, MPEG IMX, Digital Betacam, HDCAM, HDCAM SR, DVCPRO, P2, P2 Express, Mini DV, DVCAM, the list goes on and on.
I thought about sending these Hi-8 tapes to a transfer service. They transfer them for you to the digital format of your choice and you can then view, copy and edit all of your old precious memories. It gets expensive though, especially when you aren’t sure of what’s on at least a good chunk of these tapes. I’ve now gone down the rabbit hole on eBay of searching for the best deal on a used Hi-8 deck or camera that I can use to transfer the Hi-8 master to a more modern format. There are quite a few different Hi-8 decks but amazingly, many of these decks, while they’re obviously outdated antiques, are still selling for $400 all of the way up to $1,000, sometimes even more for the nicer prosumer models with all of the bells and whistles. Some of these decks have S-VHS and even a few have component analog video outputs, which would result in a better quality video than merely using the composite video output.
My aim, though, is to merely play back the Hi-8 tapes, viewing them as they copy to either a better, more modern tape format like DVCAM or to simply ingest them into my editing system so that I can cut down all of these undoubtedly too long and boring camera masters. Hi-8 was never a great format to begin with. It looked okay for its era, but I recall being constantly plagued with analog tape dropouts. It used to drive me crazy, especially when editing to a more robust professional format like Betacam SP. At this point, I’m not even sure if all or any of these Hi-8 tapes will playback.
Fortunately, for me, there’s a large surplus of Hi-8 camcorders on eBay, many in pretty good condition around or even under $100. It’s confusing, though, many of the models, the owners have posted on eBay that they were Hi-8 playback and not just Video 8, the previous iteration and not Digital 8, the successor to Hi-8. Got all that? So I have to look up the old Sony owner’s manuals online and cross-reference if the camera model number the seller has listed can “actually” play back Hi-8. Sony, not to mention Samsung and a few other camcorder brands made dozens of the different models, some of which could shoot and playback Hi-8, many of which couldn’t play back the Hi-8 but are listed on eBay as being Hi-8 compatible. It’s mind-numbing, trying to figure out what is what.
What my Hi-8 experience has taught me is that no matter which video file, codec, media type you are shooting today, if the material is to last and be accessible in 20 years, you need to think ahead. Transfer your digital files to different, new and alternative formats, if possible. If the card reader, drive reader, etc., is inexpensive, buy a few of them. Unlike analog Hi-8, which if I can find a camera to play them back on, the tape and image quality will likely be degraded, digital signals, if you clone them digitally are lossless. So keep on cloning those digital files to new digital formats if possible. Most of the work I was shooting 20 years ago isn’t very precious to me; I don’t care if I ever see it again. But special events in the life of your family are irreplaceable. Fingers crossed that I can find the right Hi-8 camera to rescue this footage.
It’s that time of year again, when cinematographers and content creator look for great deals on cameras, lenses, software or accessories. If you’re looking to pick up some gear during this Black Friday 2019 week, check out the following list for rebates, sales, price drops and more.
The post Black Friday 2019 Deals: For Filmmakers & Content Creators appeared first on HD Video Pro.
This blog is really about wireless spectrum, not wireless gear itself, but alliteration is so much catchier in headlines and titles, isn’t it? It’s been a while since I’ve written about wireless spectrum, and in the time since I last wrote about what was happening with the spectrum, the world of wireless has evolved quite a bit. A few years ago, when we talked about wireless in production, we were generally speaking about wireless microphone systems and the FCC’s over-reaching, frustrating and continual selling off of the space in the UHF bandwidth.
To bring you up to speed if you aren’t a location sound mixer or very audio-centric, in June 2010, the FCC instituted regulations that made it illegal to operate wireless microphones within the 700 MHz frequency range in the United States.
With the transition to digital television, TV broadcasters vacated a large section of the UHF spectrum (from 698 to 806 MHz) so the FCC auctioned the 700 MHz band to the highest bidders (including AT&T and Qualcomm) to facilitate the development of wireless broadband internet service throughout the United States. There were a LOT of expensive UHF wireless microphone systems that were basically made worthless in the United States by this FCC move.
So a decade ago, we lost the entire 700 Mhz band for wireless microphones. What’s been happening with our wireless spectrum since then? This quote from the FCC website helpfully explains, “Wireless microphones that operate in the 600 MHz service band (the 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz frequencies) will be required to cease operation no later than July 13, 2020, and may be required to cease operation sooner if they could cause interference to new wireless licensees that commence operations on their licensed spectrum in the 600 MHz service band.” Basically, we’ve lost another sizeable chunk of the UHF spectrum, this time to T-Mobile.
It seems sort of unfair that the government can just arbitrarily pull the rug out from underneath our feet a second time, only a decade later, but that’s what has happened. Many of us always thought of wireless spectrum as something owned by the populace our country/society, you know, “By the people, for the people,” and regulated through governmental oversight and enforcement of FCC rules. What many of us now realize is that the FCC essentially has decided, on their own and through a series of weakly publicized hearings and memos, that they can basically auction off any spectrum they’d like to the highest bidder. While many people use wireless spectrum, the amount of Americans who actually need to must be numerically low because, throughout both of these incidents, there has been very little public protest or outcry from citizens or politicians.
Besides wireless microphone users—most typically location sound mixers, live venue sound mixers and video users who utilize wireless microphones in their work—what other factors have come into relevance since 2010? Think about it, the answer’s right on the tip of your tongue, the camera department. Which accessories used to be fairly rare and not used by most low- to mid-range users? How about wireless focus, iris and zoom control systems? What about wireless video monitoring? If you’ve been paying attention or buying camera accessories over the past few years, wireless follow focus, iris and zoom controls (often referred to as FIZ) have become de rigueur in the camera department. As cameras have become smaller, lighter and easier to move thanks to the incredible popularity of gimbals, Steadicam-like devices and sliders, wireless monitoring has also made leaps and bounds from once an extremely expensive, not that high performance tool for high-end production to a relatively low cost, much higher performance tool that’s accessible to almost everyone.
Teradek Systems recently introduced the Bolt 4K, a wireless video monitoring system capable of transporting a 4K video and audio signal from camera to monitor wirelessly at distances up to 5,000 feet with less than 1ms delay. The Bolt 4K is at the high end of the cost/performance spectrum and retails for around $10,000 for the top-of-the-line system. Contrast that with devices like the Accsoon Cineeye, a small 5G wireless video transmitter. The Cineeye can only send up to 1080 60p signal about 300 feet. No audio and the signal is 5G, so viewable on smartphones and tablets, not video monitors but the real kicker is the Cineeye retails for a mere $249.00. When you have a market with products that are effective with a price range of $249.00 to $10,000.00, I think it’s fair to say that wireless video (and audio) monitoring is fully in the mainstream.
In order to understand which spectrum these new reasonable cost wireless devices are using and what it means to wireless microphone users, some context may help. Most wireless FIZ units seem to be operating in the 2.4Ghz spectrum. Does 2.4Ghz sound familiar to you? It should because 2.4Ghz is where wireless Internet lives. The wireless Internet router you have in your home is beaming its Internet goodness out all over your home at 2.4Ghz. How does a wireless FIZ unit using the same spectrum as wireless Internet work? Turns out surprisingly well. Most people on set tend to have a smartphone sitting in their pockets so you’d think that wireless FIZ units would suffer all kinds of interference and clashing with all of the wireless Internet routers and devices that often surround them.
Some audio companies saw the writing on the wall a few years and were able to come up with a new type of wireless microphone system utilizing the 2.4Ghz spectrum. It seems counterintuitive to think that a wireless microphone system that utilizes some of the most crowded, commonly used spectrum available could work, but the 2.4Ghz microphone systems seem to work pretty well in the real world. Part of the key is these systems utilize a 2.4GHz digital transmission with 128-bit encryption, the system is able to constantly monitor and hop between frequencies to maintain the strongest possible signal level at a range of up to around 100 yards. I purchased the Røde Video Wireless system a couple of years ago and it has worked surprisingly well, even on a crowded trade show floor in San Francisco for a computing convention. The 2.4Ghz systems lack the range and signal strength of professional UHF wireless systems (up to 250Mw for a UHF transmitter is allowed in the United States), but for a lower cost prosumer type product, they can be surprisingly effective, often at locations where UHF systems that cost much more aren’t usable because there is too much interference in a particular area.
If you think about it, in the United States, for UHF wireless microphone systems, up to 2010, we used to have the 700MHz spectrum, but the FCC sold that off, and today we have the 600MHz spectrum, but will be losing that in July 2020 thanks to the FCC. In the UHF spectrum, that means there is very little spectrum left. Most of not all of the former 700MHz spectrum and soon, the 600Mhz spectrum users have now all been crowded into the remaining A1 (470 – 537MHz) and B1 (537 – 607MHz) spectrum. The result is, in many areas of the country, it can be nearly impossible to find a clean, unused portion of the wireless spectrum for wireless audio microphone systems. Hundreds of thousands of users have now been crammed into a space that is less than half the size of the spectrum was in 2009. UHF, when there’s usable spectrum, is still your best bet to record a clean, strong, noise-free audio signal wirelessly. But if you have a single or multiple UHF systems, you bring them to a given shoot location and do the frequency scan and there is nothing open that is available to you, what do you do?
Thankfully the wireless audio manufacturers like Lectrosonics, Wisycom, Audio LTD., Sennheiser and others haven’t been asleep at the wheel since 2010. They’ve known these huge changes have been coming to the industry to for our use for location sound recording, there have been some interesting and intriguing innovations that provide some alternative to the shrinking UHF spectrum. I’ve been using a three-tiered approach that looks like this:
I prefer to try to use UHF wireless as a primary technology on set.
For when UHF wireless spectrum simply isn’t available or reliable, I carry three of the 2.4GHz systems as alternatives that will sometimes function perfectly when UHF won’t.
As a third tier, my sound kit contains three small, wireless lavaliere sized Tascam DL-10R recorders.
Zaxcom holds the U.S. Patent on a wireless microphone system that can record to a separate internal SD card while it’s transmitting to the receiver.
Other manufacturers (Lectrosonics, Tascam, Deity, just to name a few) are introducing various models wireless microphone systems that can record internally but because of the patent in the U.S. that Zaxcom has, none of these units can record and transmit simultaneously, in the U.S.
It’s reassuring to see that even though the FCC is kind of acting irresponsibly in selling off UHF spectrum without involving the majority of population that needs to use wireless spectrum, there are alternatives to keep on recording location sound effectively. Stay tuned for more new audio innovation throughout 2020.
Do you experience dropped frames either from using an underpowered computer or from editing higher resolution files with harder to process codecs? Using proxies for playback while editing can help but getting them to work can be difficult.
I previously talked about a proxy workflow with Adobe’s Premiere Pro. There are a couple of ways to start the process. This blog covers using proxies that were created either during the shoot by the camera or after the shoot by a DIT or someone else.
Once the proxies are created, it’s just a matter of attaching them to the already ingested/imported files. Even if your files are named correctly, as discussed in my previous blogs, you may still run into issues because the proxies’ audio must exactly match the camera originals’ audio.
One of the common errors is not matching the number of audio channels. If the camera file has two channels, the proxy must have two channels. If there are 5 channels in the original clip, you can’t attach a 2-channel proxy.
Beyond audio channels, you also must make sure that the type of audio channels is correct. That means a proxy with a single stereo audio pair layout will not attach to a camera original with two channels of mono audio. Why? I can only guess, but I think it relates to the way the audio tracks will be inserted into a sequence. A stereo pair has to be treated differently than two mono audio channels.
For example, if you edit a stereo clip into a sequence that has stereo tracks, everything lines up. But what if you want to edit a clip with two channels of mono audio onto those stereo tracks? How should the mono tracks be laid out? Should they be panned left and right, or not panned at all? If they are not panned, should they be summed together and put on both tracks? And if that is done should the tracks be reduced in volume?
Maybe you have answers to all those questions. But what happens when you switch between proxy playback and original playback? You can’t expect the software to change the audio routing on the fly.
It’s only a guess, but that’s my thinking on why there is such inflexibility when it comes to attaching proxies and not matching audio channels. So, you must make sure that your proxy audio matches the original audio or it won’t work.
This can be frustrating. There are cameras out there that can create proxies, but if the proxy audio layout doesn’t match the original files, the proxies won’t work unless you recompress them with the correct audio. At that point you might as well create new proxies.
Even if you recompressed, you might still run into a problem. Let’s say you look at an original camera file, see that it has four mono audio channels and then set up an encoding preset that creates reduced resolution proxies that have four mono audio channels. After spending several hours rendering proxies for multiple days of footage, you try to batch attach proxies and realize that at times no audio was recorded. Perhaps this was because of a different frame rate, or maybe the audio recording was simply turned off.
For whatever reason, now you have to search through the footage and figure out which files have audio, and which do not. It might be just a couple of files, or maybe there are a lot. So you could have just a little work ahead of you, or you may have a lot.
Next time, a better way to create proxies that work.
Olympus has updated its lens roadmap with two new zoom lenses: The ED 12-45mm F4.0 PRO standard zoom lens and ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS super telephoto zoom lens.
Today, Olympus announced it will be adding two new zooms to its M.Zuiko digital lens roadmap, which provides an overview of what new lenses the company will be producing for its mirrorless camera-bodies, like its flagship OM-D E-M1X or the new E-M5 Mark III. The two Micro Four Thirds lenses Olympus is developing are the ED 12-45mm F4.0 PRO standard zoom lens and the ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS super telephoto zoom lens.
Since this is a development announcement, Olympus didn’t offer specific details beyond the names of the two new lenses and that the company would make a more official announcement on each lens, with detailed specifications, sometime in 2020. When the new zooms do come to market and we get them in for testing, we’ll be sure to report on how well each performs.
For more, visit the Development Announcements page on the GetOlympus.com website, found here: getolympus.com/roadmap
Hive Lighting’s new CX line: The Wasp 100-CX and the Hornet 200-CX
Hive Lighting has just recently announced two new modular CX-series LED lights: The Wasp 100-CX and the Hornet 200-CX. According to the company, the new CX line is “the new affordable version of Hive’s original C Series. The CX models are all single-point source, single shadow, full-spectrum ‘Omni-Color’ LEDs, with full white light and fully saturated color control.”
At the moment, the new line comprises two lights: The Wasp 100-CX, $799 and the Hornet 200-CX, $1,299. Hive Lighting says that the two new lights are very modular “with Fresnel, Par Reflector and theatrical Leko Spot options as well as fully Profoto compatible.” That means they can work with a wide variety of third-party softboxes and modifiers, according to Hive Lighting.
Here’s more detail on each lighting unit:
The Wasp 100-CX
The Wasp 100-CX draws 75 watts and uses Hive’s proprietary Omni-Color array. It’s compatible with all Hive C-Series and Profoto modifiers, and features a new, enhanced Bluetooth range. Here are some additional tech specs for the Wasp 100-CX:
The Hornet 200-CX weighs just 2.2 .lbs and draws 150 watts. Like the Wasp, it’s compatible with all Hive C-Series and Profoto modifiers, and features a new, enhanced Bluetooth range, as well. Here are some additional tech specs for the Hornet 200-CX:
Both models can be controlled via the company’s free wireless, Bluetooth mobile app (available for both Android and iOS iPhones). Both models should be available soon direct from the company or at various retail outlets. For more, go to hivelighting.com/
The post Hive Lighting Unveils Two New Modular CX-Series Lights appeared first on HD Video Pro.
The Atomos Shinobi SDI is plenty bright indoors, but I was interested to see how it would perform outside.
Several years ago, when we moved to using the Canon Cinema EOS C200 as our main camera, we avoided investing in a new camera monitor. That’s because we simply used a Hoodman H400 sunshade with the C200’s touchscreen, a set-up that worked effectively for most shooting situations.
However, times—and gear—continue to change. We began looking at some of the recent 5-inch camera monitor introductions. But the price needed to be right since we were pairing it with more budget-level gear: Fujifilm’s X-T3 mirrorless camera ($1,400) and the Crane 2 gimbal ($500). In other words, a $2,000-plus camera monitor wouldn’t make much economic sense. So, we set our budget at $500 for a monitor and started our research.
I read through the specifications on the Shinobi SDI, and it sounded like a good candidate for what we were looking for. However, one downside was that the Fujifilm X-T3 only comes with a Micro HDMI output, and it’s the only way to get video output out of the X-T3. Still, our Canon C200 has SDI out as well as HDMI. So I knew that I could use the SDI output when using the Shinobi as a small client monitor with cable runs of 20 to 50 feet, as required.
The Shinobi SDI features a full-sized HDMI input (no HDMI loop-through, unfortunately) as well as 3G SDI input and loop output.
Another concern was the brightness of the Shinobi screen. Shooting under direct, bright sun, there’s really no substitute for brightness output from a monitor. The Shinobi is rated at 1,000 nits, which is bright. But I wouldn’t characterize it as “super bright,” as many other camera monitors now advertise. The two other monitors I was considering—the PortKeys LH5 HDR and the new PortKeys BM5—are both considered “super bright” or “daylight viewable” with the lower-cost LH5 HDR rated at 1,500nits while the more expensive (also $499) BM5 monitor is rated at 2,000nits.
One of my buying criteria was weight. Since I planned on using this monitor mounted to the Zhiyun Crane 2 extension handle, every additional ounce was a concern. It’s one thing to try to operate a small mirrorless camera on a gimbal smoothly. But it’s another to consider a small mirrorless camera, the gimbal, extension-mounting arm, a monitor, monitor battery, sunshade, an external microphone, cables and filters.
All of this extra weight really can add up, and it affects how long you can actually hold the camera and gimbal steady for long periods of time. That’s important since I mostly shoot documentaries, and I generally follow my subjects through their day-to-day experiences.
To get a better sense of how the Atomos Shinobi SDI compared to the competition, I first considered price, weight and build materials between the three monitors before buying:
All three monitors are powered by Sony NP-F batteries or DC, and all three have the ability to load custom LUTS.
But I wanted to compare other features, as well.
Atomos Shinobi SDI:
PortKeys LH5 HDR:
The fact that the PortKeys BM5 wasn’t shipping in time for a big out-of-state shoot I had coming up really ruled it out.
And even though having high brightness was appealing to me, since I’ve been shooting outdoors so much lately on our docuseries, I didn’t like that I’d have to deal with a potentially clunky and unintuitive menu system on the PortKeys monitors. I also wasn’t looking forward to the additional weight of the PortKeys BM5 model for use on our gimbal.
In the end, though, I needed a monitor for an upcoming production that would largely be shot on the road, shooting an ultramarathon in the Florida Keys.
I ordered the Atomos Shinobi SDI for $499, along with $90 AtomX Sunshade. I really wanted a higher brightness monitor, but I had hoped that the sunshade would allow me to use the 1,000nit screen under bright sunlight. And so far, it’s worked: I’ve been shooting with the Shinobi SDI for a couple of months now, and my overall impression has been very favorable. Overall, it’s a very handy tool.
The Atomos Shinobi is basically just a Ninja V without the recorder. But let me qualify that: One major structural difference is that the Ninja V recorder has an aluminum body, while the Shinobi SDI uses polycarbonate.
The downside is that aluminum construction has a more robust and tactile feel than polycarbonate. Aluminum is also a better passive heat conductor.
But the Blade is a recorder, while the Shinobi is merely a monitor. So I didn’t anticipate that heat buildup would be an issue with a monitor.
The upside is that polycarbonate is lighter, significantly so over the PortKeys BM5. For my use, primarily on a one-handed gimbal with a small mirrorless camera, secondarily on our Canon C200 and rented cameras mostly on tripod, occasionally shoulder-mounted, the minuscule weight of just under 8 ounces was a definite selling point.
The Shinobi toolset is deep, and the monitor includes many features with useful functions that help you make sure your images are properly exposed. It also ensures your camera audio is recorded at the proper levels—for example, the basic on-screen toolset Waveform, RGB Parade in black and white, Waveform with RGB, Vectorscope, Vectorscope Zoomed, Histogram, Histogram With RGB, Zebra, several Frame Crop modes and more.
The Shinobi SDI has two ¼-inch 20 mounting points, one on top of the screen and one on the bottom. Unfortunately, the Shinobi lacks the same ARRI accessory mount that the Ninja V has: a mounting system that has anti-rotation pins to keep the monitor from rotating once mounted.
On recent shoots, with the monitor mounted on our gimbal, we found that the anti-rotation function is sorely missed
The screen on the Shinobi has accurate colors, and with the addition of HDR and LUT support, you get what seems to be a fairly accurate representation of what your images will look like back in the edit bay. In my opinion, a camera monitor should be close to broadcast accurate, but I also know that a real, broadcast-accurate monitor for an edit bay can easily cost $20,000. So I’m realistic about how color/gamma-accurate a $500 camera monitor will be.
I loaded in two LUTs for our Fujifilm X-T3 for when we are shooting F-Log and three different LUTs for our Canon C200. The Shinobi’s intuitive and simple menu system makes it quick and easy to choose between the LUTs you want to apply to your signal. The LUTs are loaded into the Shinobi via an SD card slot on the right side of the monitor. The process was simple and painless.
The Shinobi SDI screen is a full 1920×1080 at 427 ppi. The HDMI input can accept a 4K or 1080 signal, but the SDI input is only 3G SDI, not 12G, so it only accepts a 1080 signal.
When it’s in use in the field, I find that you don’t gain anything by feeding a 4K signal to a 1080 monitor screen. It looks fully detailed and precise enough to judge focus with a 1080 input signal since it’s just a 1080 native screen.
In a 5.2-inch display, even if it was a true 4K screen, it wouldn’t matter; you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. (If you haven’t seen it, this online TV monitor viewing distance calculator, stari.co/tv-monitor-viewing-distance-calculator, is a handy reference guide for where resolution and distance converge and are a factor in the degree of sharpness apparent in a monitor.)
Battery life on the Shinobi SDI is excellent. Using one of my large Sony 7800mAh NPF970 batteries, the monitor ran for about eight to nine hours.
Navigating the Shinobi menus and tools is a pleasant, intuitive experience, and it’s one of the primary reasons I chose the Shinobi over either of the PortKeys monitors. With the Shinobi, all of the functions are accessed through two screens of icons at the bottom of the screen. It’s very much like perusing the controls on your phone. It feels intuitive and natural in comparison, and I could easily do it while holding the gimbal without having to put it down.
The Shinobi has a new “Analysis” tool that I find handy for a quick “all systems” check. You tap it and instantly see a slightly shrunken version of your subject, flanked by a waveform at the bottom, histogram to the right bottom, vectorscope to the right and audio meters above the vectorscope. This is a great way to get a quick check of every most commonly used monitoring feature all at once.
One of the coolest options is that you can adjust the brightness level of the scopes, making the lines thinner or thicker for checking the resolution of the measurement.
With the Shinobi’s 1,000nit screen, if you decide to purchase it, you’ll also want to purchase the AtomX Sunshade. Buying it was a bit confusing because the sunshade is marketed as being only designed for the Ninja V, but, rest assured, it also fits the Shinobi SDI perfectly. While I bristled at the price ($90 for a small plastic ring that clamps to the monitor and a small folding sunshade that inserts into grooves in the ring!), I must say that functionally, it’s easily the best sunshade I’ve used.
In the bright Florida sun, with the addition of the AtomX sunshade, I was able to view the monitor, compose and easily nail focus and exposure. The shade is small and light enough to not really be a factor as far as weight and size, but its depth shades the monitor screen an adequate amount to make viewing in most circumstances practical.
One advantage of the 1,000 nit screen is that colors are generally a bit more accurate (super bright monitors typically compromise color accuracy for brightness). Additionally, a 1,000 nit screen uses considerably less energy, prolonging battery life and shooting time.
At $499, the Shinobi SDI is an exceptional value, and I don’t regret choosing it over any of the other competing monitors available in the sub-$500 price range.
For me, the Shinobi offers the simplest and easiest-to-use software/interface of any monitor on the market I’ve seen, paired with proven reliability and solid LUT and HDR support.
Its 1,000 nit rating means that it’s useful for shooting outdoors on cloudy days or in indirect sunlight sans the sunshade, but in bright sun, the sunshade is a must. I was impressed enough with the Shinobi that I bought one, along with the AtomX sunshade, and have been using it the past two months in a variety of situations. It’s been a valuable addition to our camera packages.
The Shinobi SDI will be useful for gimbal shooting, as well as with almost any camera I rent, borrow or own. Unlike cameras that seem outdated every few months, I anticipate that the Shinobi SDI will give me years of useful performance, and if my experience with it is anything like the past four years I’ve had with the Ninja Blade, it will have been a wise investment.
If you need an affordable camera monitor, I strongly recommend this Atomos monitor. It’s an excellent choice for a versatile monitor for shooting projects on a tight budget.
This week, Rode announced a new model in its VideoMic line of on-camera mics: The new VideoMic NTG is a lightweight, versatile, on-camera shotgun microphone. According to the company, it’s a hybrid microphone that “brings the signature broadcast-quality sound of our NTG shotgun range to a compact, feature-packed VideoMic.” It will be available at the end of this month for around $250.
Rode says that the new mic includes a number of impressive features, including:
The microphone also includes a headphone output, digital switching (controls high-pass filter, -20dB pad, high frequency boost and safety channel), dB peak warning light, built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery and more.
For more information, see the press release below. Or go to vmntg.rode.com
Introducing The Videomic NTG
The Most Versatile VideoMic Ever
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Wednesday, November 20, 2019—Introducing the latest addition to RØDE’s best-selling VideoMic range, the VideoMic NTG. Released fresh off the back of the NTG5, which set a new standard for broadcast shotgun mics, the VideoMic NTG is yet another gamechanger from RØDE – an incredible-sounding, supremely versatile on-camera shotgun microphone unlike anything else out there.
RØDE VideoMics are the original and the best. We pioneered the compact on-camera microphone with the release of the very first VideoMic in 2004; and over the past 15 years, we have continued to reinvent the category with groundbreaking products like the VideoMicro and VideoMic Pro+, which have become the go-to for filmmakers of every ilk. Today, when creators think video mic, they think RØDE.
WHAT IS THE VIDEOMIC NTG?
“It’s in the name,” says RØDE Founder and Chairman Peter Freedman AM. “The VideoMic NTG is a hybrid microphone that brings the signature broadcast-quality sound of our NTG shotgun range to a compact, feature-packed VideoMic.”
“This is the next chapter in the VideoMic story, combining decades of research and development of high-quality microphones for professional filmmakers and broadcasters with a deep understanding of the needs and wants of the modern content creator. With the VideoMic NTG, we have once again redefined what on-camera microphones are capable of.”
KEY FEATURES OF THE VIDEOMIC NTG:
Revolutionary acoustic design – first introduced with the NTG5 – which delivers unmatched acoustic transparency and a natural, uncoloured sound.
Highly directional supercardioid polar pattern and very flat frequency response – it sounds superb in a wide range of filmmaking, broadcast, and content creation applications.
Unique infinitely variable gain control, allowing the user to precisely adjust the mic’s output, from mic level to line level to headphone level.
Auto-sensing 3.5mm output automatically switches between TRS and TRRS to accommodate both cameras (TRS) and mobile devices (TRRS) – no need for adaptor cables.
USB output – turns the VideoMic NTG into a fully-featured USB microphone that can record direct to a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Headphone output – for seamless audio monitoring (while using the USB output).
Digital switching – controls high-pass filter, – 20dB pad, high frequency boost, and safety channel.
dB peak warning light – to ensure distortion-free audio.
In-built rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides 30+ hours of recording – more than enough for the most demanding shoots. Charges via USB-C in just 2 hours.
High-quality Rycote® Lyre® shock mounting with cable management, plus a sliding rail mount to adjust mic placement on a camera cold shoe.
Lightweight (just 94g) and rugged – aerospace-grade aluminium construction.
SHOTGUN SOUND, VIDEOMIC SIZE
The VideoMic NTG features the same annular line tube technology as the NTG5, our new broadcast shotgun mic, which employs acoustic perforations along the length of the microphone in place of the linear slots found in other shotguns and on-camera microphones. This revolutionary acoustic design delivers unmatched transparency, and a natural, uncoloured sound.
Add to this an incredibly flat frequency response, highly directional supercardioid polar pattern, and very low self-noise, and what you have is a compact on-camera microphone that contends with the world’s best shotgun mics. It sounds simply stunning.
THE MOST FEATURE-PACKED VIDEOMIC EVER
Building on breakthrough developments made with the VideoMic Pro+, the VideoMic NTG serves up an array of powerful tools to ensure users can easily adapt to any recording situation.
These include a switchable high-pass filter (at 75Hz or 150Hz) to curtail troublesome low frequencies from wind, traffic, air conditioners, and other environmental noise, plus a high frequency boost to enhance detail and clarity – particularly useful when using a furry windshield. There’s a switchable -20dB pad for recording very loud sound sources, and for added security, a switchable safety channel that records a separate channel at -20dB in case the main channel clips—an absolute lifesaver.
The unique infinitely variable gain control on the rear of the mic allows users to precisely tailor the output level to their recording device. This is an active control that has a greater output range than any other microphone on the market – it can deliver anything from mic level signal all the way to a headphone level output, providing incredible flexibility and improving DSLR sound quality.
An auto-power function automatically switches the mic on when the camera is turned on, ensuring it’s always ready to record, and also helps conserve battery life by switching the mic off when it’s unplugged or the camera is turned off. Speaking of battery life, the VideoMic NTG contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that provides 30+ hours of recording – more than enough for the most demanding shoots. This is charged via USB-C (empty to full in 2 hours), meaning continuous recording is possible with a power pack.
On top of these features, an auto-sensing 3.5mm output intelligently switches between TRS and TRRS to accommodate both cameras and mobile devices – no need for adaptor cables! Finally, a handy dB peak warning light indicates when the internal preamp is clipping – this is particularly useful when recording loud sound sources. In these situations, the -20dB pad can be quickly engaged to attenuate the incoming signal.
The VideoMic NTG is also a fully-featured USB microphone. Its class-compliant USB-C output allows users to plug directly into a computer, tablet, or smartphone, turning it into a studio-quality desktop USB mic, perfect for recording voiceovers, podcasts, gaming or livestreaming.
If that weren’t enough, headphones can be plugged into the 3.5mm output for seamless monitoring of audio while using the USB output. The headphone level can be adjusted by the variable gain control. This also means the VideoMic NTG can be used as a desktop headphone amp!
THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF MICROPHONES
The VideoMic NTG is so much more than just an on-camera mic. With its high-quality shock mounting, sliding cold shoe rail, and integrated cable management, it’s perfectly at home atop any DSLR or mirrorless camera. But it’s also light and compact enough for use with smartphone rigs and small cameras, and rugged enough to be used on a boom pole or pistol grip on-location, and it can be used on a desktop as a USB mic.
Never before has a microphone packed in so many features. The VideoMic NTG is a do-it-all, Swiss Army Knife microphone that is capable of handling anything thrown at it. Forget what you thought you knew about VideoMics. This changes everything
Earlier this week, Shutterstock announced a new unlimited music subscription plan for its royalty-free music service, Shutterstock Music. According to the company, the plan is “geared toward digital content creators, including YouTubers, podcast producers, and social media managers, offering a cost-efficient solution to licensing unlimited high-quality tracks at $149 per month.”
The company also announced that in order “to meet the needs of short-form content projects, Shutterstock Music now offers shorter tracks for all license plans.” This could be particularly useful for videographers who create very short-length videos for social media channels, for example.
“Shorts, or shortened versions of a song (15, 30, and 60 seconds in length), and loops, a segment of a longer song that repeats indefinitely, are now available with every license purchased at no additional cost, enabling users to save time on edits after purchase.”
For more information, see the press release below, or go to shutterstock.com/discover/shutterstock-music-subscription
Shutterstock Announces Unlimited Music Subscription and New Features
Content creators now have access to a range of track lengths as well as flexibility to license as needs arise
New York, NY, November 19, 2019 – Shutterstock, Inc. (NYSE: SSTK), a leading global technology company offering a creative platform for high-quality content, tools and services, today announced the launch of an unlimited monthly subscription for Shutterstock Music . The new plan is geared toward digital content creators, including YouTubers, podcast producers, and social media managers, offering a cost-efficient solution to licensing unlimited high-quality tracks at $149 per month.
Additionally, to meet the needs of short-form content projects, Shutterstock Music now offers shorter tracks for all license plans. Creating content for digital and social media channels requires tighter budgets, shorter timelines, and attention-grabbing messaging. Shorts, or shortened versions of a song (15, 30, and 60 seconds in length), and loops, a segment of a longer song that repeats indefinitely, are now available with every license purchased at no additional cost, enabling users to save time on edits after purchase.
With over 11,000 tracks, the Shutterstock Music library includes world-class music curated by professional musicians. The platform offers powerful filtering tools that allow users to search by genre, mood, popularity, among others. With hundreds of tracks added every month, the content is always fresh and Shutterstock Music publishes curated playlists of popular genres and regions. All Shutterstock music tracks are royalty-free and the standard license covers web-based and business usage, including conference presentations and trade-show booths.
“Today’s creatives are often working across multiple channels to create content for various projects and audiences. We launched the music subscription to make their lives much easier,” said Christopher Cosentino, VP of Product at Shutterstock. “Whether creating a social video, a conference presentation or a podcast, our new unlimited licensing option empowers creators to license music as their needs arise and frees them to focus on the creative vision rather than worrying about budget.”
Learn more about the new Shutterstock Music offerings here.
The post Shutterstock Announces Unlimited Music Subscription Plan appeared first on HD Video Pro.
I’ve gone through several posts on various ways to use proxies and how to make sure that workflow is successful. But, I haven’t talked about using proxies side-by-side with your original footage on an edit workstation.
You might ask, “Why use proxies if the real files are available?” As camera resolution has increased, the load on edit computers has increased as well. Throw in raw recording—and the need to debayer each frame on the fly—and you’re asking a lot of your hardware. (If “debayer” is a new term for you, keep reading my posts. It will be covered in a future one.)
Instead of using the original footage, proxies—with their reduced resolution and, if representing raw files, the elimination of debayering—reduce the load on the system. But you’re not locked in with viewing only proxies. The workflow I’m talking about still keeps the original footage available at a moment’s notice.
Note: I’ll be talking about Adobe Premiere’s method, but Final Cut Pro X and Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve also have similar methods they refer to as using “optimized media.”
The concept is to “attach” proxies to the original camera footage in Premiere. Then, via a button under the source or record window, you can toggle between playing back the proxies or the original footage.
Switching to proxy playback frequently lessens the scourge of dropped frames. But viewing the camera original is just a button push away—no need to disconnect the proxy. And, fortunately, when you need to render or export your sequence, Premier uses the camera original file.
If done right, proxies are a great way to work when your computer can’t keep up. How do you do it right? That’s for next time.
Much like a modern-day Indiana Jones, join me as I dig through the relics and remnants of production laying around our office.
I’ve been doing some straightening and organizing around the office lately. Upon excavating several storage boxes that I haven’t looked through for quite a while, some of them it’s been even years since I have gone through them, I’ve discovered that I have quite a collection of miscellaneous bits and pieces that I had forgotten about. It kind of makes me wonder why I bought all of this stuff, what I used it for and why I’m no longer using it. More than just a random collection of junk, going through these crates revealed some memories of not only older gear, but older projects that were fun and interesting.
Once you’ve been in our business for a while, you realize how much of what we do centers on gear. It’s all gear, all of the time for many of us. Much of that gear is used for a short time, then it’s cast aside when your gear or configuration changes, often with the vague thought of, “Oh, I should put that on eBay or Craigslist,” but I find that for me, selling small, low dollar accessories is often an exercise in hassle and frustration. Especially when you factor in shipping and the accompanying trips to buy packaging, packaging it up, driving to UPS/FedEx/Post Office, time is so much more valuable than recouping a few bucks on something you bought a few years ago and no longer use, if it’s a relatively low dollar item. Hence I find myself with lots of these smaller things lying around, too valuable to throw in the recycling bin but not valuable enough to put the hours and efforts into an earnest sales drive.
Without further ado, here are a few candidates:
I bought this about four or five years ago when I bought our company’s first 4K capable camera, the Panasonic GH4. The GH4 had a super fragile Micro HDMI output jack. Unfortunately, here we are years later and our current mirrorless camera, the Fujifilm XT-3, is still using this infernal connector. Micro HDMI is so bad, so fragile, it’s like a joke of a connector, even for a consumer, much less for professional use. The Lockport was a plate that attached to the bottom of the GH4 and inserted a micro HDMI connector into the port, made a 45-degree turn and output a full-sized HDMI connection. It was great and worked well. It protected the super fragile micro HDMI connector on the camera and gave you a better, more robust full-sized HDMI “A” connection to hook up to your external recorder or monitor.
I recall I had the Lockport listed on Amazon, eBay and some boards and it wasn’t cheap, I think we paid around $150 for it, but even at half price, nobody was interested in it, so rather than give it away for free, we threw it in storage. Here it is, four years later and it’s still in storage. Anyone want to buy a Lockport for their GH-4?
Wow, I had no idea we still had this in storage! We sold off all of our Nikon cameras and lenses quite a few years ago, but this was small enough that it must have slipped through the cracks. It’s a quaint reminder of when Nikon, Canon and other camera manufacturers used to offer “high tech” infrared remote controls to release the camera shutter and take a picture. Today, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras almost exclusively use Smart Phone apps for camera remote control and monitoring. The amount of control that these apps have, via Bluetooth, is quite amazing in comparison to what was offered versus simple, primitive remote releases like this one. This remote even had this cute little woven fabric bag to carry it in, although it was so small that it was definitely easy to lose.
We were an early adopter of the DSLR that started the “DSLR Revolution,” the Canon EOS 5D MKII. At that time, we were mostly shooting with our Panasonic HVX-200 and HPX-170 P2 cameras. Both were HD capable but fixed lens with tiny 1/3-inch sensors. This meant they were extremely difficult to obtain any kind of shallow depth of field with. At the time, when we wanted shallower DOF and a better picture, we would rent 2/3-inch sensor cameras like the Sony F900 and the Panasonic first-generation Varicam. When the 5D MKII came out, we were kind of blown away, like everyone else, by the shallow depth of field and color science of the sensor. This was a wired shutter release that we also forgot to include when we sold the 5D MKII, just a few years ago. I’m sure we paid a good amount of money for it, but since we hardly used it, we had put it into storage. Imagine, a “WIRED” shutter release. Isn’t everything wireless in 2019?
Why did we not end up using this? Why did it end up in the assorted odds and ends boxes? As I recall, we bought this in an effort to build a usable shoulder-mounted rig a few years ago for our Canon EOS C100 and C300. As you know, neither of these cameras and even our present-day EOS C200 are very good shoulder-mounted cameras. But we seem to run into situations where we need to shoot with these cameras mounted on our shoulder. Mainly scenarios where more mobility and movement is needed than can be gained from just shooting from tripod, which you can get with the Canons by shooting handheld cradled, but shooting with the camera held out in front of your body, especially with bigger, heavier lenses, monitors, external recorders, wireless mic receivers and other “stuff” that must often be hung off of our cameras, shooting “cradled” soon turns into an exercise in cramped and fatigued muscles, so up onto the shoulder the camera must go.
Unfortunately, almost all popular digital cinema cameras these days are NOT designed to work very well shoulder mounted. If you think about, a large percentage of cameras that people shoot with today are really, really terrible on the shoulder. REDs, Arri Alexa Mini and Mini LF, all of the Canons, the Panasonic EVA-1, even the Sony FS7 is no joy to shoot shoulder mounted with, although it can be done. We bought this adapter to attach a handgrip to some 15mm rods that we were using for lens support, extension handles and other operations on the Franken rig we created to support our C100/C300. After using the rig on a couple of long shoulder-mounted shoots, we came to the realization that we needed a better balanced and constructed solution, so we upped our game and moved into the Zacuto VCT Pro Baseplate Shoulder Mount and built out a better shoulder-mounted rig from there. It’s still not perfect, but it’s leagues better than our first attempt, which this fitting was used to help construct.
I stumbled across this interesting looking, expensive silver keychain that I received from the producers of the Cosmos TV series. It’s pretty cool, the keychain itself is shaped like the “ship of the future” that Neil DeGrasse Tyson rides around the universe in in the series. I had some great times working on that project, and looking at this souvenir brings back fond memories. The problem with actually using it as a keychain was that it was too nice to use. It’s polished silver in a fancy, black-velvet-lined box, and if I actually used it as a keychain, it would become all scratched up and I’d probably eventually lose it. Usually, I have no problem using gear and it getting worn, but this was different, it was a thoughtful gift in recognition of my contribution to the series.
Thanks for going through this super exciting, one of a kind, adventure through the detritus of my time in production over the past few years. As they say, everything and everyone tells a story, sometimes it’s fun to reminisce and recall what you were doing in production when you look at something from that era.
Apple’s new 16-inch MacBook Pro laptop
Today, Apple unveiled its new line of 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops, which replaces its current line of 15-inch MacBook Pros, the powerful and portable workstations you’ll most likely catch cinematographers and professional content creators carrying around with them. The new models, which will be available in two impressive, but pricey configurations, for $2,399 and $2,799, will go on sale later this week.
Physically speaking, the new laptops have merely gained an inch in size. But what will really entice filmmakers of all genres are the many new upgrades, features and capabilities inside the new MacBook Pro. It’s why this could be a very significant product introduction for Apple, one that might even be called a game changer for cinematographers and creatives of all sorts.
Here’s why: According to Apple, the new 16-inch MacBook Pros come with “an immersive 16-inch Retina display, a new Magic Keyboard, dramatically faster performance, an awesome sound system and new pro options in system memory, video memory and storage.” Those features and enhancements are all well and good, but during a two-hour meeting I attended in New York with Apple, a day before the official product launch of the new laptops, I got a chance to see exactly how the new mobile workstations performed in a number of scenarios, and how in many cases the laptops breezed through challenges and roadblocks that generally slow down most other laptops. (I’ll also be testing the laptop shortly to see how it performs.)
The 16-inch Retina display is the largest-ever Retina display on a Mac notebook, Apple says. It delivers “an immersive front-of-screen experience and the P3 wide color gamut delivers brilliant, true-to-life images and video.” It has a pixel resolution of 3072 x 1920, with a total of 5.9 million pixels. It also has a higher pixel density of 226 ppi than previous screens. Overall, I found it to be quite an impressive display, although I haven’t yet done all that much testing on it yet.
Apple has seemingly fixed its keyboard problem. No more butterfly keyboard design. Instead, this MacBook Pro includes a keyboard called the Magic keyboard, which was “inspired by the keyboard that comes with iMac Pro.” Apple is promoting it as a very comfortable and satisfying typing experience. Plus, they brought back a dedicated Escape key.
The laptops have other significant upgrades, including a 6-core and 8-core Intel processors: Apple says the MacBook Pros have the “latest 6-core Core i7 and 8-core Core i9 processors and feature Turbo Boost speeds of up to 5.0GHz, for performance that’s up to 2.1 times faster than the fastest quad-core 15-inch MacBook Pro.” Another very intriguing development on this new line is that Apple says it overhauled the architecture of the laptop, providing a new thermal design, which cools MacBook Pro more effectively. Apple says the design allows the MacBook Pro to run with 12 watts more of power.
Other performance and storage specs include: an AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics GPUs with GDDR6 memory deliver up to 2.1 times faster performance on standard configurations. It’s also available with 8GB VRAM. You also get a faster 2666MHz DDR4 memory, and is now configurable up to 64GB, for the first time.
In terms of storage, at 512GB and 1TB, the SSDs on standard configurations are “double the capacity of previous models, with a new 8TB SSD option—the largest SSD on any notebook.”
The new laptops come with a very impressive 6-speaker sound system that really cranks out the bass and mid-range tones when playing music. It’s hard to image that these woofers would sound as good in a laptop this thin. Plus, the 3 internal-microphone array that come with the MacBook Pro offer impressive quality with very little hiss (at least for the demos I attended)—in fact, Apple claims it’s 40 percent less hiss.
Not surprisingly, Apple tweaked its battery in order to better handle all the increases in hardware and software. Even so, Apple says it designed a new battery—a 100-watt-hour battery for 11 hours of battery life. Additionally, Apple says it “redesigned the adapter to deliver 9 more watts of power. However, the new 96W USB-C Power Adapter is the same size as the previous 87W adapter for the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Yet despite all the changes on this new model, it’s still only 4.3 pounds and is only about .6 inches thick.
Filmmakers, videographers and cinematographers should be happy with the new system. Apple says “The new MacBook Pro lets video editors edit 11 multicam streams of 4K video simultaneously. And they’ll also enjoy smooth real-time playback of videos with complex color-grading effects applied.” That’s due to the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M graphics with 8GB of video memory. Also, Apple says that you can add more Amp Designer plug-ins when composing or playing music in the Logic Pro X14
Additionally, Apple provided more details today on its powerful workstation, the Apple Mac Pro, as well as its Pro Display XDR Monitor. For starters, Apple said both would be available this December, although no word yet on pricing.
Stay tuned for my additional tests on this new MacBook Pro, along with several “test” multimedia projects that I plan to try on this system.
New Supreme Prime Radiance lenses from Zeiss
Today, Zeiss introduces the Supreme Prime Radiance lenses, a new set of seven high-end cinematography lenses. According to the company, the lenses “are based on the high-speed Zeiss Supreme Prime lens family with the benefit of the new T*blue coating, which offers a distinctive look and consistent flares without any compromises.” This line comprises the following seven focal lengths: 21mm T1.5, 25mm T1.5, 29mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, 85mm T1.5 and 100mm T1.5.
The new line also seems to be in keeping with cine lenses from other brands, including models announced from Canon and Sony, in which “optical qualities” like lens flare, previously seen as optical elements you didn’t want in your footage, are now promoted and marketed.
But according to the company, filmmakers are looking for such effects. In response to demand, the company says it is integrating “flares to ensure greater creative freedom with the lenses.” Zeiss also says it is creating tools that “would allow this effect to be achieved at any time and in a controlled manner.” According to Zeiss, it’s the T* blue coating that allows filmmakers to create flares in the right light without any loss “in contrast or transmission.”
As noted earlier, the new line comprises seven primes with focal lengths of between 21 and 100 millimeters. Each lens has a maximum aperture of T1.5, which Zeiss claims will make it “possible to capture subtle nuances, even in poor light.” Zeiss also says the lenses have a smooth depth of field and elegant bokeh, plus they have an image circle diameter of 46.3 millimeters, which means they can cover the current large-format cinematography sensors, including Sony Venice, ARRI Alexa LF and Mini LF and RED Monstro. The lenses also have a front diameter of 95 millimeters, and weigh around 3.3 lbs. on average.
Zeiss Supreme Prime Radiance lens set will hit the market in April, 2020. You can order the set now through March 31, 2020, but you have to buy all seven focal lengths. At press time, there was no pricing on the set.
For more, see the press release below or go to zeiss.com/cine/radiance
[[ press release ]]
ZEISS Unveils New High-End Cinematography Optics: ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance Lenses
A Modern Lens, based on ZEISS Supreme Prime lenses, with Controlled Flares
– orders possible by 31st March 2020!
Oberkochen/Germany, 7 November 2019–ZEISS has unveiled the ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses, an exclusive new set of seven high-end cinematography lenses. The lenses are based on the high-speed ZEISS Supreme Prime lens family with the benefit of the new T*blue coating, which offers a distinctive look and consistent flares without any compromises.
“The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses deliver stunning, consistent flares across all focal lengths that cinematographers can create at will,” says Christophe Casenave, Product Manager for Cinema Products at ZEISS. “The new lens family has been infused with ZEISS’s experience and passion for premium-quality cinematography lenses – combined with its aspiration to support filmmakers throughout the creative process,” says Casenave.
Controlled images that exude artistic flair
The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses are available as a set of seven focal lengths of between 21 and 100 millimeters, all with a maximum aperture of T1.5. This makes it possible to capture subtle nuances, even in poor light.
“When we spoke to filmmakers and industry experts, we took a close look at the appeal of flares and their unique impact on the atmosphere of a movie,” says Casenave. He describes how ZEISS is responding to users’ needs to integrate flares to ensure greater creative freedom with the lenses: “We didn’t just want to reproduce the effects, but to create tools that would allow this effect to be achieved at any time and in a controlled manner, and so the T* blue coating was born.” The new coating allows users to create flares in the right light without any losses in contrast or transmission – and in the high quality that customers have come to expect from ZEISS.
The versatility of the lenses can be used to create this visual look, which is due to the smooth depth of field and elegant bokeh, thus meeting users’ every artistic wish – from a blockbuster to a high-end commercial or a film d’auteur.
In addition to their flare behavior, the new lenses offer all the benefits of the ZEISS Supreme Primes. Thanks to their image circle diameter of 46.3 millimeters, they cover the current large- format cinematography sensors and are as such compatible with the latest camera models, such as the Sony Venice, ARRI Alexa LF, and Mini LF and RED Monstro. Moreover, they feature a front diameter of 95 millimeters with consistently positioned focus and aperture rings. They weigh around 1,500 grams on average.
The lenses are equipped with the ZEISS eXtended Data metadata technology launched in 2017, providing frame-by-frame data on lens vignetting and distortion in addition to the standard metadata provided using the Cooke /i technology1 protocol. This simplifies and speeds up workflows, particularly for VFX and Virtual Production.
The ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses are available to order from announcement until March 31st, 2020. The seven focal lengths – 21 mm T1.5, 25 mm T1.5, 29 mm T1.5, 35 mm T1.5, 50 mm T1.5, 85 mm T1.5 and 100 mm T1.5 – are available exclusively as a set from ZEISS Cinema dealers. The lenses will be delivered from April 2020 after the end of the ordering period.
From November, 9th -16th ,2019, ZEISS will be unveiling its ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses for the first time before a large audience at the CAMERIMAGE International Film Festival in Toruń, Poland. The short film R&R by Rodrigo Prieto (DOP of movies like The Irishman, The Wolf of Wall Street and Brokeback Mountain) shot with ZEISS Supreme Prime Radiance lenses, will also be shown at the festival. After CAMERIMAGE, ZEISS will be running a series of events at various rental houses around the world to give cinematographers the chance to try out the new lenses.
To find out more, please visit: www.zeiss.com/cine/radiance
1: /i is a registered trademark of Cooke Optics Limited used with permission.
Previously, I talked about creating proxies to use for remote editing. The original footage remains in one location—not linked to the project—and only the proxies are used. I emphasized that you should make sure that the proxy files are created in such a way that they easily and faultlessly link up with the original footage. You can’t just assume that you did it right because if you didn’t, it may not be an easy fix.
Before you start any editing, it’s important to test to ensure everything will link. In addition, it might prevent you from having to take some of the drastic steps I mentioned last time, like changing filenames or timecode.
Testing is simply following the steps you’ll use to finish the project. Ingest your proxies into the edit software that will be used for the offline cut. Put all your proxy clips onto a timeline and then export that timeline via whatever method your finishing software requires: XML, project, etc.
Next, using another edit machine, import the sequence into your finishing software and relink to the original footage. Did the software find all the clips? And did it find the right clips?
Using another machine should accurately simulate what will happen when you finally relink the footage to the sequences. Moving to another machine ensures that all the links are “broken” to start with. But if you don’t have a second machine to simulate the workflow, try things like removing your original footage drive or renaming proxy folders and original footage folders and originals and then see if you can relink.
When you point to different folders, it might take a few steps to relink. Usually, the software finds all the clips in the selected folder and also in subfolders. I don’t consider a few steps like that a failure.
A failure is if you have to manually relink lots of files, one by one. A failure is if files link to the wrong clips. And a failure is if some clips can’t be linked at all. While doing this testing might seem tedious, it’s not as tedious as relinking files one at a time. Believe me.
If you’re using a specific application and have found a proxy workflow that tests well, don’t assume other applications will work just as well with that workflow. In my experience, two applications perform better than others in relinking footage:
But even with those applications, testing is still important.
I’m not through with proxies. Next time, I’ll talk about using them to reduce the performance requirements on your edit machine.
Sigma’s new 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens
Today, Sigma announces a new Art lens, the 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens, which is the second newly-designed Art zoom from Sigma, which follows the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art zoom for mirrorless cameras. The new 24-70mm lens is a large-aperture standard zoom for full-frame mirrorless camera systems and is available as a Sony E-mount or L-mount lens.
The new Sigma zoom includes three aspheric lenses (to minimize axial chromatic aberration or sagittal coma aberrations), a super multi-layer coating and Sigma’s proprietary Nano Porous Coating. It also features a dust-and-splash-proof body, plus a zoom-lock mechanism for preventing the lens barrel from extending unexpectedly. The minimum focusing distance is about 7 inches at the wide-angle end. Other features include an 11-blade rounded diaphragm, a high-precision, rugged brass-bayonet mount and a lens hood with a lock.
Sigma says the 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art will be available in L-mount and Sony E-mount versions in mid-November 2019, but at press time offered no pricing information.
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Sigma Announces New 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art Zoom Lens for Full Frame Mirrorless Cameras; Available in Sony E-mount and L-mount
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art Lens
This second newly-designed Art zoom lens from Sigma is a large-aperture standard zoom for full-frame mirrorless camera systems and is available in Sony E-mount and L-mount. The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 offers best-in-class performance due to a sophisticated optical design that delivers high resolution throughout the entire zoom range. This new Art zoom lens from Sigma follows the debut of the lauded 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art zoom for mirrorless cameras.
Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art lens exerts superiority in mirrorless camera-dedicated designs, resulting in a reduced lens size and weight while achieving uniformity and high resolution from the center to the periphery throughout the zoom range. Compatibility with the latest mirrorless camera bodies and functions assists in various photographic environments and meets the high demands of both professional and advanced amateur photographers.
Key features include:
The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art will be available in L-mount and Sony E-mount in mid-November 2019 through authorized US dealers. Pricing will be announced at a later date.
More details are available at: http://www.sigma-global.com/en/lenses/cas/concept.
The post Sigma Introduces 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art Lens For Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Over the past six months, it’s been a season of new camera releases, each more tempting than the last. The latest crop of mirrorless hybrids and digital cinema cameras present some compelling new features and innovations designed to make shooting more efficient and the output, to me, more impressive.
The past few months have seen several new cameras announced, but the ones that come to mind immediately as the most interesting are:
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K — $2,495
Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H — $3,997
Sony PMW-FX9 — $10,998
Canon EOS C500 MKII — $15,999
Within such an enormous price range, what features make these cameras so interesting? Let’s review what makes the latest crop of cameras compelling:
One of the new cameras feature 6K sensors with 4K recording (the Sony PMW-FX9), while the other three cameras all feature native internal 6K recording.
Two of the cameras (the Blackmagic and the Canon) allow for internal RAW recording. The Sony and Panasonic will both allow external RAW recording, which, to me, is a non-starter. Once you’ve shot with internal RAW recording, shooting RAW externally seems like a step backward, but it’s nice that all four cameras at least have the option to shoot RAW period.
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K can interface with a Blackmagic external battery grip, which goes a long way to solving its too short internal single battery life. The Panasonic S1H can interface with the same optional Panasonic external audio interface that the GH5 and GH5S have utilized over the last few years.
Both of these lower dollar cameras pale in comparison with the Sony FX-9 and Canon C500 MKII when it comes to modularity. The Sony will interface with an accessory back that allows for various additional external interface functions, and the Canon C500 MKII has a whole new lineup of optional EVFs, camera backs and other accessories that will allow you to customize the cameras connections and interfaces to a degree that no other C Series camera has had before.
Some customers require certain bit rates and data rates. It’s fair to say that 8-bit video recording is now considered passé’, at least on pro digital cinema cameras, although 8-bit recording is still common with mirrorless cameras. All four of these cameras offer a minimum of 10-bit recording with some offering 12-bit recording and even 16-bit output. All four of these cameras offer data rates that are impressively robust and would have been unheard of just a few short years ago. As the recording media has improved, so too have digital cinema and mirrorless cameras ability to record in higher and higher data rate formats, including RAW, which records at up to 5.9K (5952 X 3140) at an astounding 2.1 Gbps, which requires the new CFexpress card format.
I ‘ve shot with two of these four new cameras, the Blackmagic and the Panasonic. Unfortunately, the Sony and the Canon aren’t yet available to review, but based upon previous experience with the Sony PMW-FS7 and FS7 MKII, the Canon EOS C100, 100 MKII, 300 MKI and MKII and that I own the C200, I can surmise at least roughly at how the Canon and Sony will perform. In my opinion, we’ve finally reached the point where any new cameras hitting the market will be better, but how many of us really need a better camera than this crop of technology?
A question I see being raised repeatedly on discussion boards and in digital cinema forums is the assertion that we’re basically already at the saturation point for new digital cinema technology in cameras. What do we mean when we say “saturation point”? In order to answer what a saturation point is, let’s take a look at what customers and clients are looking for when they hire you to shoot either footage for them as a production services provider or when they hire you as a production company to shepherd their project all of the way through the creative process, from idea to final product.
Now that the latest crop of cameras has hit the 6K barrier, perhaps it makes sense to take a look at what real clients in the real world are actually asking for.
In our personal experience over the past two or three years, the majority of clients in the markets we shoot and produce in predominantly are still requesting 1080 acquisition. Wait, aren’t we in the era of 4K video already though? Well, yes and no. What we’re hearing over and over again is that many of our client’s internal workflows for editing, monitoring, archiving and outputting are mostly still optimized for 1080.
4K is four times the size of 1080, creating a resolution profile that’s two times wider and two times higher than 1080 HD, thus giving a total screen resolution that’s a bit over 4 times larger overall. Some of these clients are fine shooting a project in 4K UHD, but the final output still needs to be 1080 for the majority of projects we’re hired for. About 35 to 40 percent of the time, the clients don’t specify which format and frame size they want to shoot in, and we often recommend shooting a project UHD (3840×2160) even if we’re going to edit the footage in a 1080 timeline. In this way, at least the client’s footage, if not the edit, will be somewhat “future-proofed” as they could always go back and re-edit the project in UHD resolution. About 20 percent of the time, clients specify and request that the project be entirely shot and delivered in UHD.
What conclusions can we draw from what our customers are telling us? Simple. The sum of all projects being shot in at least 4K and delivered in 4K is still quite a bit smaller than many in our industry would have projected just two years ago. If we look at where we are today with shooting and delivering 4K, does it make sense to be buying any camera based upon its ability to shoot and record in 6K resolution? What about 8K? That’s a question you have to ask yourself. We now know that with Bayer sensors and the DeBayering process, to obtain the optimal down-sampled UHD 4K footage, it helps if the sensor in the camera can shoot at a native 5.7k to 5.9K resolution since you lose resolution during DeBayering. If a 4K native sensor is used instead, the DeBayered image will be lower than UHD resolution and will always fall short of fulfilling the potential of a UHD specification. Of course, this is all resolution discussion and not image quality or image characteristic talk, which is a totally different set of criteria.
A lot of your decisions and my own decisions about when to buy a new camera and which camera to buy should center on the business case. Here’s an example. Right now, in 2019, in our market, which is centered in Los Angeles, mostly in the entertainment media, shooting EPK, BTS and documentary type footage mostly, with some occasional corporate work and event work thrown in for good measure, we’re able to charge clients a day rate for the camera package of around $450 to $650 per day, which includes the camera, media, batteries, charger, tripod and a zoom lens. We can add wireless video transmission and a monitor, better and longer length lenses and external recording to Prores HQ as options that take the base $450 rate to the upper rate of around $650.
Looking at our clients, their needs and preferences, our current C200 package fulfills most of their needs, most of the time, so we can surmise for the majority of our clients, our camera, or a similar one like it (Panasonic EVA 1, Canon C300 MKII, Sony FS7/MKII) would fill their needs nicely. A Canon C200 or any of the competitors would cost around $6,000 to $7,500 new for the camera body only. While I find that the two new digital cinema camera offerings, the Sony FX-9 and the Canon C500 MKII would be a delight to shoot with and either would offer superior features in some areas over our C200, I can say with some confidence that none of the features either camera would offer would motivate our clients to pay more than the current $450 to $650 per day for our camera package.
In extrapolating this financial strategy, I’ve come to the conclusion that it won’t be worth it, from a business perspective, for us and our clients, to upgrade from our C200 to the FX-9 or the C500 MKII in the near future. This is not to say that the entire situation couldn’t change and evolve, but viewing the situation through a lens of today’s work with today’s clients with their current needs, we feel no immediate urge to sell off our year-and-half-old C200 to update to the latest and greatest successors.
If we were new to buying digital cinema cameras, we might find the new features offered by either to be very appealing and either could prove to be the right choice as our new first digital cinema camera. For quick turnaround day playing, the Sony FX-9 seems as if it will be a very worthy successor to Sony’s immensely popular FS7/FS7 MKII cameras. For higher budgeted, more involved projects that will be color corrected, graded and have longer production timelines, the internal RAW capability will make the C500 MKII appealing for a large population of users, clients and projects.
The real question is, what’s your business case for buying a new camera or for trading up from your current camera to the latest and greatest?
Matthews Studio Equipment’s new rugged on-set Rock n’ Roller Wheel Sets
Matthews Studio Equipment has introduce a new accessory: Rock n’ Roller wheel sets. According to the company, Rock n’ Rollers quickly and simply slip on and are ready to “smoothly roll over rocks, power cables, cable crossovers, gravel, asphalt, uneven concrete, and soft grass.” The company says the new accessories were designed by request and input from DITs, Steadicam ops, video assistants, grips and gaffers.
The new Rock n’ Roller wheel set accessory includes:
The unit is available in 3 versions and pairs with the Monitor Stand II and Slider Stands, or with any stand with a 1” square tube leg. For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Rugged Movement On-Set With Matthews Rock n’ Roller Wheel Sets
Burbank, California – Matthews Studio Equipment, known for smart solutions that ease life on set, introduce new Rock n’ RollerTM Wheel Sets. Already becoming an essential addition to Matthews’ hallmark grip and lighting stands, Rock n’ Rollers quickly simply slip on, ready to smoothly roll over rocks, power cables, cable crossovers, gravel, asphalt, uneven concrete, and soft grass.
Designed by request and input from DITs, Steadicam ops, video assistants, grips and gaffers, these useful add-ons feature 3 foam semi-pneumatic tires, 3” wide by 8” diameter that won’t go flat and enhance stability. With 360-degree rotation, they maneuver in any direction yet can maintain a straight line when rolling across the set. The dependable, face locking pedal brake features an adjustable pad to ensure strength throughout the life of the wheel. A dual-lock mechanism, it secures both wheel rotation as well as caster swivel. The smartly engineered round top plate is a real foot-saver, keeping pointy corners out of the way when engaging and disengaging the brake. Plus, Matthews’ proprietary Spring Steel Sleeve attaches the wheels to the stand for a secure fit without damaging the legs’ sidewall.
Available in 3 versions to suit every situation, the Monitor Wheel Set pairs with the Monitor Stand II and Slider Stands. The Combo Wheel Set goes with Matthews Combo Stands or any stand with a 1” square tube leg—a real benefit for moving large lights like 18Ks. The Mombo Combo set is compatible with 1-½” square tube leg stands so it’s a workhorse when breaking down huge overheads whether moving the it only a couple of feet—or across the stage.
Rock n’ Rollers are available through Matthews Studio Equipment dealers. For more information visit www.msegrip.com
Premiere Pro’s Auto Reframe Feature
Today, Adobe announced a slew of updates and upgrades to the apps in the Adobe Creative Cloud service, the company’s subscription based set of applications and services. There were several updates targeted at cinematographers, filmmakers and content creators, including updates to Premiere Pro, Audition and Premiere Rush. For each app, Adobe was looking to improve performance and stability. Adobe said the new version of the Creative Cloud would include “faster and more powerful products spanning multiple surfaces.”
The news was announced in conjunction with Adobe’s annual Adobe MAX conference, which will run from November 4 through 6, 2019. What’s intriguing to note is that Adobe has been working to add artificial-intelligence features into its apps and services. (Adobe Sensei is the company’s banding for artificial intelligence and machine learning technology.) The new features that include Adobe Sensei-like features include, “Auto Reframe in Premiere Pro, Object Selection in Photoshop, Auto Tone in Photoshop Camera and Live Brushes in Fresco, as the company continues to enable creatives to work faster and smarter than ever before.”
Auto Reframe and Enhancements to audio on Adobe Premiere Pro: One of the things video editors and content creators often need to create are new formats for existing videos. Which is we they need tools that streamline the creative process and empower them to deliver better stories faster. “The latest release of Adobe Premiere Pro (version 14.0) helps you do that with workflow refinements, performance improvements and new Auto Reframe,” say Adobe. What ‘s ice about the Auto Reframe tool, is that it “automates the process of reformatting video in Premiere Pro for square, vertical, cinematic 16×9 or custom aspect ratios.” It can also be applied to individual clips as an effect or to whole sequences. Adobe says that Adobe Sensei uses “AI and machine learning technologies to accelerate production workflows, automating manual tasks without sacrificing creative control.”
Additionally, Adobe has enhance Premiere Pro’s audio performance as well: Audio gain in Premiere Pro is now available up to +15dB, on par with Audition. For more, go here: https://theblog.adobe.com/streamline-video-editing-and-deliver-better-stories-faster/
What’s new on Adobe Audition: Adobe has just announced it has improved routing for multichannel effects. According to Adobe, this enhancement “could reduce hours of time setting up complicated track configurations for broadcast and immersive sound mixing to just a few clicks…. This new functionality in both Premiere Pro and Audition provides support for third-party audio effects to be queried for their channelization options, and route specific audio clip and track channels in and out of those effects.” For more, go here: https://theblog.adobe.com/sound-is-half-the-experience/
Sharing Adobe Premiere Rush on TikTok: Adobe has just announced that it is partnering with TikTok, a social media video app. So, now, users can use Premiere Rush, Adobe’s “all-in-one, cross-device video editing app” and then directly share that video to TikTok. For more, go here: https://www.adobe.com/products/premiere-rush.html
The post Adobe Updates Premiere Pro, Audition And Premiere Rush appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Wireless video has become the latest must-have?
Not sure if you’ve felt that distant or perhaps not-so-distant call yet, the siren song of wireless video? What exactly do we mean when we say wireless video? It’s a somewhat amorphous term in the production world but generally, wireless video transmission is used by either:
A. Assistant Camera operators to pull focus, iris and/or zoom or DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) who’ll also monitor picture, tweaking the camera settings as the shoot progresses.
B. Directors, to see what the camera operator is shooting
Of course, there’s also video village, which if you’ve never been on a larger production set, you may not be familiar with the term. Video village is usually one or more video monitors that are set up and receiving the video feed from one or more cameras on multiple camera shoots. Depending on the production and the size of it, video village could just be the director and possibly producer, all the way up to good-sized video villages that may be occupied by a script supervisor, producers, writers, ad agency people on commercial shoots, along with clients and possibly the DP on larger shoots where the DP may not be operating a camera. Outdoors, video village is often placed under a pop-up tent and may have walls of curtains or Duvetyne to make the environment inside conducive to viewing the monitor(s) in ideal lighting.
This is all on the receiving end, but what about on the camera end—how do you send your video signal to the various people on set who may need or want to view what your camera is shooting? Just a few short years ago, wireless video systems were pretty costly and were really the exclusive domain of higher-budget Hollywood shoots. Since then, like every other form of technology, the costs for wireless video systems have steadily fallen while the quality and features have just as steadily climbed. Wireless video systems have become the cool thing to have on the many different types of sets.
Even on small documentary shoots, for instance, if you’re a camera operator working in close quarters with a sound mixer, it can actually improve the sound that the sound mixer is capturing. How does wireless video improve sound? It’s simple, if your boom operator has a small monitor they can view as they boom, they can carefully ride the frame line, placing the microphone as close to the edge of frame as possible, making sure using the monitor that they can see when their boom mic intrudes into the shot. The closer the mic can be located to talent, the better the signal to noise ratio, which can give you better sound.
Hair and makeup artists, production designers, wardrobe and countless others can all benefit from an occasional look at what the camera is seeing as well. But there isn’t usually room for the entire production team to hover around a monitor in video village. Now that we’ve established how wireless video can actually improve the end product on set as projects are shot, let’s take a look at:
I recently shot BTS footage on a series of commercials. I was shooting on closed sets where space was at a premium. As the camera operator, I was able to carve out a tiny space, underneath some grip gear on set to shoot BTS footage of the commercial being shot. Unfortunately, the space on set was so tight; there literally was no place for my producer to be on set, so she had to wait outside the set. I realized that it would be valuable if my producer could at least see the shots I was shooting on set to offer her feedback and notes and to give me direction on other potential shots she wanted me to shoot.
I did a lot of quick research for this article and realized that even for the lower-end option, I was looking at probably over $3,000 to get set up with a wireless transmitter, receiver, monitor, battery system for all, cases, cables, sun shades, etc. Unlike on some higher-end projects we shoot, I didn’t think the client for this project would be willing to pay additionally for wireless video. If you can’t bill out the wireless system as a line item, you aren’t paying it off and eventually gaining profit from renting it to your clients, it’s just an expense. Sure, if we were shooting the commercials themselves, the client would pay for things like wireless video systems because the spots have higher budgets. But for BTS coverage, based upon our experience, the client would probably not want to pay for wireless video.
It seemed that wireless would help my producer do a better job and would ensure that I was shooting all of the shots she wanted and would make the end product closer to the producer’s vision for the shots she wanted. After doing some digging, I discovered that an interesting product that was shown at IBC 2019 was finally shipping, the Accsoon WIT08 Cineeye. I immediately ordered it to try it out to see if it would solve my issue.
There were two things that made the Cineeye extremely interesting to me, the first being that it was inexpensive. Perhaps too inexpensive, I bought it from B&H Photo Video for a mere $219. The second thing was that the Cineeye has no receiver because it uses wireless internet video instead of HDMI or SDI output, which is plugged into a video monitor. To view the output of the Cineeye, you merely download an app to your phone or tablet; select the Wi-Fi signal that the Cineeye is transmitting and you have live video in the palm of your hand. Amazing. And the app is no slouch as it has lots of different viewing tools and options, and you can even download LUTs into it to view LUT corrected output.
I ordered the Cineeye after the first day shooting when I discovered it might be helpful on set. It arrived before the day two and three commercial shoots the following week. The packaging was nice, the unit came with a ¼” 20 female socket on the bottom that would provide easy mounting points. The unit came with a variety of cables to adapt full-sized, mini and micro HDMI output to the full-sized HDMI input on the unit. The internal battery on the unit is rated to last around 3 to 4 hours, but the good news is the unit can be used as it charges. I first ran the Accsoon Cineeye with the D-Tap from my V-Mount battery powering my camera, but on the next shoot, I instead mounted a small Lithium-Ion candy bar battery to the rear panel of the Cineeye to save space and stretch the run time for the unit to all day.
I happened to have an iPad laying around that I used to use with our drone but replaced it with a Crystal Sky Monitor for the drone, so I decided to turn the iPad into a dedicated client monitor. I even happened to have a Hoodman for it and a ¼” 20 mount so it could be mounted to a light stand, allowing the iPad to be used in direct sunlight with the sunshade.
I put the Cineeye to work over the next two days of the commercial shoot and then the following week on a live event with three cameras so the other two camera operators could see my shot to make sure their shots were significantly different and editable against my shot. I attached one of my inexpensive Anker batteries to the back of the iPad holder so that the iPad could also operate for long periods of time. On both shoots, the clients were happy and impressed that I was able to provide them with a wireless video feed, quickly and painlessly.
If you mostly work in higher-end production, wireless video has almost become a given. But for BTS, EPK and documentary shooting that I often work on with lower budgets and leaner resources and crews, wireless video often has remained out of reach as many of these types of clients actually need wireless video for their shoots but haven’t yet become conditioned to budgeting for wireless video transmission. This will evolve. Once clients have used wireless video, they’ll want it and will value it.
The Cineeye is far from perfect. It uses a decent amount of battery power to run. The app isn’t great yet, but it’s very functional and usable. The transmitter is one more thing you have to hang off of your camera rig and one more source that you need to power. When you turn your camera and the Cineeye off to save battery, you sometimes have to reboot the app to see the live feed again. The Cineeye only accepts HDMI video, not SDI, so luckily our A camera has both types of outputs, but this does mean one more cable on your rig as well.
The range of the Cineeye is limited, around a 300-foot line of sight, but considerably less if there are walls between you shooting and your viewing audience on their phones and/or tablets. Speaking of which, the Cineeye supports being viewed by up to three devices at once. The app is available for iPhones, iPads and Android, although from what we’ve read, the performance on Apple devices is better. The picture is surprisingly good, but the Cineeye only transmits video, not audio, so your viewers will be able to see what you’re shooting but won’t be able to hear what your camera is recording.
The way I look at it, it was a very handy, easy, simple and inexpensive way to dip my toes into the wireless video experience. If it begins to pay off, it could be time to invest in a higher-end, more capable system, but if it doesn’t pay off, it’s still one nicer feature/service we can offer with our day rate that can be incredibly helpful in certain situations. I suggest picking one up and trying the wireless video thing, if you never have. It’s quite handy.
As I mentioned previously, there are lots of uses for proxies: dailies/client viewing, transcriptions and more. But they’re also used for editing. I’m an editor so proxies for post is what I care most about, and I’ve had both successes and failures with them.
There are several reasons to use proxies in editing. For example, when you don’t want to send out original footage. Maybe the amount of footage is such that somebody editing offsite won’t have the storage required.
Perhaps you’re spreading a project across multiple editors in different locations. Or you’re traveling and want to work on a laptop. Because the proxies are compressed copies of the original footage, storage requirements are reduced.
Another reason for not sending out the original footage is to protect it from misuse. You might use proxies compressed with watermarks and/or timecode burned in to minimize—or at least track—unauthorized usage.
In the above examples, the workflow starts with ingesting the proxies rather than the original footage. Then—after the edit sequence is “locked”—the original footage is linked to the clips in the sequence, replacing the proxies. For that to happen, there has to be a specific link between each camera-original file and its proxy.
To ensure that link, you must make sure proxy filenames are accurate and unique. Accurate, meaning they resemble the filenames of the original clips that they represent. Unique, in that you don’t have folders and folders of CAM01.mov files.
If the filenames aren’t accurate, you could have a mess when you go to finish. A “clip” in your sequence named Proxy_WilmaIntvw_01.mov won’t automatically link to the original clip if the original is named Interview_Wilma01.mov, let alone A002C001.mov. And if the clip names aren’t unique, CamA_008.mov in one folder might be confused with CamA_008 in another.
While I’m not a fan of renaming original footage, renaming might be necessary in order to relink the work. But the time to rename is before any editing starts.
Timecode becomes important particularly if you aren’t able to address unique filenames. If some of your clips were shot by a camera that starts timecode at 1:00:00:00 for every take, you could have multiple drone01.MOV clips that start at 1:00:00:00. To editing software, these clips appear to be identical.
In situations like this, relinking the original footage stops being an automatic process and moves into a tedious “one clip at a time” operation. Easy enough for a few clips, but if you have multiple days of shooting with multiple cameras, it can turn into a very long relinking job. And this all needs to happen before you can even start finishing.
Of course, you could change the timecode, especially if you want to transcode files to another codec. For example, you might have some h.264 files that you know won’t perform well during edit and that need to be converted to another format—like ProRes. During that process, you could also change the starting timecode to something other than zero.
But how can you ensure that the original footage relinks correctly? Test, test, test!
More on that next time.
DJI’s new Mavic Mini
Today, DJI, a market leader in producing drones, introduces the new Mavic Mini, which is the company’s smallest and most lightweight drone, weighing just 249 grams or a little over half a pound. Because it’s a drone targeted for consumers, its lightweight form factor makes it much more likely to be a safe drone, according to experts, says DJI. The new model will cost $399 and will be available November 11.
The Mavic Mini includes a variety of photography and video features, including:
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Take To The Skies With Mavic Mini, DJI’s Lightest And Smallest Foldable Drone
The ultra-light Mavic Mini makes drone flight easier and safer than ever
October 30, 2019 – DJI, the global leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, today opens a new frontier in drone possibilities with the DJI Mavic Mini, an ultra-light folding drone designed to be the everyday FlyCam. Weighing just 249 grams, Mavic Mini is portable, easy to fly, designed for safety and perfect for everyone who wants to experience the fun of flying.
Mavic Mini builds on the technological innovations in DJI’s renowned series of folding Mavic drones, from the original Mavic Pro through Mavic Air and Mavic 2, to pack professional-quality drone features into the lightest possible frame. That puts Mavic Mini in the safest drone category, which in many areas exempts it from regulations that apply to other, heavier drones. Drone pilots must always understand and follow local laws and regulations.
Mavic Mini’s high-grade camera captures compelling footage in high definition, and its new DJI Fly app’s suite of creative features seamlessly transforms photos and videos into professional-quality productions. Its enhanced, stable flight performance provides more opportunities to explore using one of the longest flight times for a drone of its size. Users can unleash their imagination with Mavic Mini’s exciting accessories, including a DIY Creative Kit and a 360° Propeller Guard for added safety.
“To design a drone as lightweight, compact yet capable as Mavic Mini was one of the most challenging projects we’ve ever tackled at DJI,” said Roger Luo, President, DJI. “Distilling top-of-the-line features into a palm-of-your-hand drone is the culmination of years of work, and we are ecstatic to bring a new class of drone to the DJI lineup. Mavic Mini’s long flight time, ultra-light weight and high-quality camera makes it DJI’s everyday drone – and most importantly, it’s easy to fly, no matter your experience level with drones.”
Portable and Safe
Mavic Mini is the smallest and lightest DJI drone ever made, and is the perfect creative tool for life’s daily adventures, whether seeing your everyday world from a new perspective or capturing incredible views of your getaways with friends and family. Mavic Mini incorporates DJI’s renowned safety technology, including geofencing to help drone pilots avoid restricted areas; AeroScope remote identification to help protect sensitive locations; built-in altitude limits; and automatic return to the launch point if the drone loses connection to the controller or reaches critically low battery level.
Mavic Mini is the first DJI drone to weigh below 250 grams, which aviation regulators around the world consider to be safest category for drone flight. In many countries, drones below 250 grams are considered safe enough that they can be used in new and exciting ways. Users should consult their country’s drone laws and regulations to learn more about what they can do there with Mavic Mini.
An Optimal Flight Experience
Created to be the drone for everyone, even those new to drones, Mavic Mini is simple to operate and fly using the dedicated remote controller. The ultra-light design and high-grade motors provide Mavic Mini with up to 30 minutes of flight time, giving users with more time to explore and capture content. A Wi-Fi transmission signal[] delivers stable control and an HD live feed for a clear, confident flying experience. GPS receivers and downward visual sensors detect the ground below Mavic Mini, enabling precise hovering, stable flying and accurate landing both indoors and out
Quality Content Captured with Ease
Mavic Mini offers pilots the ability to capture high-quality footage including 2.7K video at 30fps, 1080p at 60 frames per second, or 12-megapixel photographs using the 1/2.3-inch sensor. A three-axis motorized gimbal supports and stabilizes the camera, ensuring the footage is smooth and cinematic, making it perfect for sharing on social media.
Advanced Features Created to Inspire
The new DJI Fly app is intuitively designed, simplifying the flying and content capturing experience so that pilots of all skill levels can make the most of Mavic Mini. Dedicated tutorials are included to help new pilots learn about flying, and pre-set editing templates add a new level of creativity to the footage. New pilots can choose to fly in Position (P) mode for basic operation, more experienced pilots can unlock more capabilities in Sport (S) mode, and content creators can choose CineSmooth (C) mode to lengthen braking time for smoother shots and more cinematic footage. Pilots can also choose from several pre-programmed flight maneuvers known as QuickShots. Simply tap the desired mode and Mavic Mini will automatically create stunning, cinematic content:
Get Creative with New Accessories
Exciting and unique accessories allows pilots to get the most out of their Mavic Mini. Customers can choose from options including:
Price and Availability
Mavic Mini will be available for pre-order beginning October 30 at store.dji.com, flagship stores and authorized retailers and partners. Mavic Mini will come in two purchase options, the standard version which includes Mavic Mini, remote controller, one battery , extra propellers and all necessary tools and wires for $399 USD. Or the Mavic Mini Fly More Combo which includes all of the components from the standard version with the addition of the 360° Propeller Cage, Two-Way charging Hub, three batteries in total, three sets of extra propellers and a carrying case for the price of $499 USD. Mavic Mini will begin shipping on November 11. Accessories for Mavic Mini will be available for pre-order beginning October 30. For additional information on both Mavic Mini and its accessories, please visit: www.dji.com/mavic-mini
Detailed information on these accessories can be found here: www.dji.com/mavic-mini
 Mavic Mini Wi-Fi system has a maximum range of 4 km when unobstructed, free of interference, and FCC compliant. Maximum flight range specification is a proxy for radio link strength and resilience. Always fly your drone within visual line of sight unless otherwise permitted and check local laws and regulations in the region being operated.
The post Mavic Mini Is DJI’s Smallest And Most Lightweight Drone appeared first on HD Video Pro.
The new Olympus E-M5 Mark III
There are various features I could write about on the new OM-D E-M5 Mark III mirrorless camera, but one of the most intriguing aspects of this camera has more to do with industry competition and whether a brand follows the pack. I found it fascinating that Olympus continues to buck the trend that most other camera manufacturers embrace, which is making mirrorless cameras with full-frame sensors and large bodies.
In some ways, Olympus is smart to offer a very portable, travel-style camera to those photographers who might not need full frame or super-high resolution.
So, with this model, Olympus continued its tradition of keeping the camera body small, which extends to the lenses, since the E-M5 Mark III is based on a smaller Micro Four Thirds image sensors. In short, you can buy a much smaller telephoto lens than you’d have to with a camera with a full-frame sensor.
Plus, that Micro Four Thirds imaging sensor, is a 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor—one-third the megapixels you’d find on the new 61-megapixel Sony a7R IV. That’s a downside for some photographers. But others may not need 61 megapixels. And those with the E-M5 will find their hard drives filling up with files less quickly.
The E-M5 also has other important features, including:
But there’s more. The E-M5 Mark III is also weather-sealed as well as being dustproof and freezeproof, which can be an important factor for some photographers, particularly when traveling!
There are tradeoffs. The E-M5 Mark III controls can be a little too small for those with larger-sized hands. Or that 20-megapixel Live MOS image sensor may not be enough if your workflow includes extensively cropping your images.
Still, there will be some photographers who will find a lot of value in the new Olympus E-M5 Mark III, which sells for $1,199 (body only) or $1,799 (with the M.ZUIKO ED 14-150MM f4.0-5.6 II zoom kit lens).
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
The post Olympus Unveils New OM-D E-M5 Mark III Mirrorless Camera appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Earlier today, Canon made several product announcements. The most significant for pro photographers and content creators was the news that Canon is developing an update to its flagship pro DSLR: The new model is the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR, which is the successor to the EOS-1D X Mark II, introduced in early 2016.
Because this is a development announcement, Canon couldn’t provide all the features and tech spcs for the new 1D X Mark III, but they did deliver a pretty impressive list of features.
Canon said the new flagship would have vastly superior performance to the previous version, shooting up to 16 frames per second (with AF/AE tracking) and a RAW max buffer that will be five times faster than the 1D X Mark II. Also, Canon said the new AF algorithms will be improved using artificial intelligence-like technologies. The camera will also have a wider dynamic range than its predecessor. Additionally, Canon said when using the optical viewfinder the camera will use a new autofocus sensor, with approximately 28 times the resolution in the center of the EOS-1D X Mark II.
Other features include:
Today, Canon also introduced two new lenses, the , Canon RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM Lens and the RF 85MM F1.2L USM DS
Here’s a short list of some of the features and specs on the Canon RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM zoom lens:
And here’s a short list of some of the features and specs on the Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS:
There were no availability dates for the new EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR. For the two lenses, Canon said the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS lenses are scheduled to be available late November 2019 and December 2019, respectively, for an estimated retail price of $2,699 and $2,999 respectively.
For more information, click on the links to the press releases below:
The post Canon Makes Development Announcement of EOS-1D X Mark III And Introduces Two Lenses appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Today, Tamron introduced four new lenses, which are designed to work wiht Sony E-Mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. Three of the lenses—20mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2, 24mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2 and 35mm F/2.8 Di III OSD M1:2—are close focusing. The 20mm will be available in January 2020, but the other two primes will be available late November. All three will cost $349.
The fourth lens is a development announcement on a high-speed telephoto zoom lens, also for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. The 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD will be availability in the Spring 2020.
For more on all of these lenses, see links to the press releases below.
The post Tamron Announces Four Lenses Sony E-Mount Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Last week, filmmakers, producers, audio engineers and content creators flocked to the Javits Center in New York City to see new hardware, software, apps and services in the world of video, cinema and audio.
But it wasn’t just to attend one show—there were actually two shows taking place: The first was the NAB-NYC show, the smaller New York-based version put on by the National Association of Broadcasters of the larger Vegas-based show that takes place in the spring each year. Like the larger show in Vegas, it’s a hodge-podge of vendors, from broadcasters and streaming services to lighting and cine camera makers.
The other show was the annual AES show, which is put on by the Audio Engineers society, and focuses on audio, including microphones, audio interfaces, speakers, audio-editing systems and more.
Here are a few products that caught my eye from both shows:
Blackmagic Design: At the NAB-NYC show, the Australian digital cinema company and manufacturer had one of the largest booths and was demonstrating its DaVinci Resolve video-editing software. They also had two of their cinema cameras on display—the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and the latest version of the URSA Mini Pro, the G2.
Sound Devices: There were a number of audio companies at both shows, but most were at the AES show. Sound Devices has always been of particularly interest to cinematographers and movie makes, and they had three very intriguing updates to its MixPre line of audio recorders: At their small, but very busy booth, content creators could see the MixPre-10 II, MixPre-6 II and MixPre-3 II. What the new update means is that you can now record audio in “superior quality—all the way up to 32-bit float bit depth and a 192 kHz sample rate.” The company claims the new design provides “increased performance and an astounding 142 dB of dynamic range.”
Maxon Software: The maker of Cinema 4D software—3D modeling, animation and rendering software—had a nice crowd at their booth. As digital imaging and video continues to change, the interest in motion graphics, visual effects, visualization and 3D modeling continues to morph along with it, and Maxon is right there in the mix.
Lighting at NAB-NYC: Cinematographers and content creators continue to require more versatile lighting systems. Luckily, the industry continues to change. For instance, take BB&S Lighting, which was showing a number of impressive lighting systems at NAB-NYC, including the brand new Area 96 Color (left, the large red-colored light), which is twice as wide as its popular Area 48 Color (right, blue), which is their popular full-color LED panel light, which ranges from 10,000K to 2500K, with 13,000-lumen output and which draws 160 watts.
Another lighting company showing at NAB-NYC was Westcott. They had a few lighting systems on display as well, including its versatile Solix Bi-Color LED unit, designed for convenience and professional performance. According to the company, the LED has just a “single control dial with digital display is used to adjust color temperature and intensity to eliminate any guesswork.” It’s also adjustable 3200K tungsten to 5600K daylight and complements any environment.
Check in later this week as we report on the news from PhotoPlus Expo.
Many users are looking for the ideal high quality, light and affordable tripod package for their mirrorless camera, like this Fujifilm XT-3.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been searching for a certain tripod package for a long time. Since the beginning of the DSLR revolution, I’ve been on the lookout for a smaller, lighter-weight but still smooth, fluid tripod head to go with my DSLRs or my mirrorless camera package.
Even when paired with some larger Canon lenses, the standard package still only tips the scales at around 3 to 5 pounds when shooting with the Fujifilm XT-3, one of the smallest and lightest-weight on the market.
Mounting it on our huge, heavy Sachtler/Miller in-house tripod combo isn’t always a good match, as the Sachtler/Miller package negates the benefits of our small-sized, lightweight XT-3.
The tripod we’ve been looking for would need most of the following:
In reviewing some new products that were shown at NAB 2019, I came across a press release for a new two-way fluid head that Italian manufacturer Gitzo was introducing to the market.
The Gitzo brand has always been well regarded by still photographers but not very well-known by video or digital-cinema shooters because they primarily make still ballheads that just aren’t well suited to video shooting.
I looked up some of the specifications of the GHF2W head, and they intrigued me:
If you aren’t familiar with what a Swiss Arca plate is, I recommend you acquaint yourself with this type of plate. Here’s why: Unlike still shooters, many video users mount our cameras on a variety of different devices each shoot.
For instance, with our Fujifilm XT-3, we use the camera on tripod, gimbal, slider and in a cage for a handheld rig. Each of these devices commonly comes with its own proprietary tripod plate. When switching the camera back and forth between devices, you may find yourself trying to hurry, laboriously switching out tripod plates to switch between devices to mount your camera on.
A few years ago, we switched all of our small gear, like DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, over to Swiss Arca tripod plates, simply to ensure universal fit on all of our devices. The good news is that the Gitzo GHFW2 head comes standard with its own rather wide Arca plate, but the tripod head will accept any Swiss Arca plate.
For all of our proprietary tripod heads and devices, it’s a simple matter to affix a Swiss Arca receiver to each, making it quick and easy to mount our Fujifilm XT-3 onto almost anything.
As far as the load capacity, 8.8 pounds sounded like plenty of capacity for our XT-3 with most of our lenses, other than perhaps our Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, which itself weighs 3.3 pounds. More on this later, but in my experience with gimbals and tripods, always take weight ratings with a v grain of salt. Few devices function at their best when they’re even remotely near their maximum weight capacity.
The Gitzo GHFW2 heads weigh 1.3 pounds, which sounded promising. I decided to ask Gitzo if it could set me up with a review copy of the new head and an appropriate set of CF legs for a long-term review, where I wouldn’t just review the package but actually put it to work on some client projects and real-world testing.
Gitzo sent me a GHFW2 head, along with a set of its GT2543L carbon-fiber tripod legs. I unpacked the head and legs, and immediately began playing with the controls and was struck by several first impressions: First, the build quality on both head and legs is excellent. Interestingly, the included Swiss Arca plate is larger and wider than the ones that I already had my camera set up with. The specs on the actual mounting part of the plate were standard, but overall, the Gitzo Swiss Arca plate had some overhang that could prove handy on some larger camera bodies.
Also, the Gitzo plate has a small, curved lever on the tie-down knob, allowing you to tighten and loosen the knob without tools, which can be handy in certain situations. The tripod handle affixes to the head using a standard, conically shaped, threaded tie-down knob, allowing you to determine the angle the handle connects to the head quickly.
One feature I really liked was that the Gitzo GHFW2 has both the pan-rotation and tilt-resistance knobs clustered together, the larger inner ring allowing you to set tilt resistance, the smaller outer ring allowing you to adjust panning resistance.
On our other tripod heads, these two knobs are typically placed in two different locations on the head, making adjusting one or the other less convenient since your hand needs to dart from one tie-down knob to the other.
The Gitzo arrangement shows that the designers were thinking of ways to streamline the operating process for camera ops—a nice touch.
One feature the Gitzo head lacked was a flat-base head, meaning that the only way to adjust leveling the head and camera is to individually adjust the height of each tripod leg until the head and camera are level.
To be fair, I’m not singling out the Gitzo on this; almost all sub-$1,000 tripod heads are flat base, too, but coming from decades of shooting with both 75mm and 100mm video ball heads where adjusting level takes just a couple of seconds, to go back to having to adjust the legs to level just feels backward.
Gitzo has also included a fluid counterbalance control on the GHFW2 head. This allows you to balance your camera and lens on the head even when the center of gravity is off-center, as it often will be depending on the size and length of the lens you have mounted to your camera. Basically, the counterbalance control allows you to perform smoother tilts.
Gitzo specifies that the counterbalance will balance on off-center loads of up to 5.5 pounds. There’s a catch to weight ratings, though: The head is rated to hold up to an 8.8-pound load but will only counterbalance to 5.5 pounds.
I found that in real-world shooting, my XT-3 with smaller and lighter lenses like my FUJINON XF 18-55mmF2.8-4.0 OIS, the counterbalance helped smooth out shots and made it so that if I left the tilt lock loose, the camera wouldn’t tip forward or backward on its own just from the weight.
However, conversely, if I mounted larger, heavier lenses, like my Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 IS II or my EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II, they’d fall forward or backward if I neglected to tighten down the tilt tension.
Once again, my expectations here have been possibly clouded by decades of using heads like our Sachtler that allow up to 10 manually selected levels of spring counterbalance. Of course, our Sachtler head cost many times more than the Gitzo, but it would be nice if Gitzo had engineered in two or three counterbalance levels.
The counterbalance on the Gitzo head is fixed; you cannot lighten it or make it heavier than the preset. Depending on the total weight load you intend to use, the counterbalance could be effective and helpful, as I found it with the XT-3 body and the kit lens, but I wouldn’t encourage using long, large and heavy lenses on this head. Regardless of the total package weight, the head performs much better with a mirrorless camera with smaller and shorter-length lenses.
Overall, I found the motion characteristics of the head to be fairly smooth as long as I was well under its weight limits. I liked that the head features a counterbalance scale as well as a rotational scale for when you’re panning. These allow you to observe starting and stopping points when panning and tilting and trying to create repeatable moves.
Another feature I liked was that the entire Gitzo head and all of the metal fittings on the tripod are covered in Gitzo’s speckled “leopard-like” finish, which is covered with a nice, clear coat that makes handling the head and center column height adjustment easy, even when wet or when your hands are cold.
All edges have been cast and machined to be smooth. There are no sharp edges to cut you when adjusting the head.
I had a chance to use the Gitzo head and tripod in several client shoots, all in varying conditions, including covering a runner competing in a 100-mile ultramarathon through the Florida Keys, and the tripod and head performed admirably in the rain, the searing heat and wind the same day (it was Florida, after all!).
I also used the combo on a shoot gathering b-roll all day around a couple of southern California cities using various size and focal-length lenses.
Lastly, we used the combo on three different shoots at beaches, covering boat racing, where I often had the tripod legs buried in the sand and around saltwater all day each shoot. The Gitzo head and legs performed well in all of these situations, and the sand and salt washed off both the legs and head easily.
Besides being made of high-quality carbon fiber for weight savings and rigidity, the Gitzo GT2543L tripod also had nicely designed three-way leg locks, allowing you to position your camera lower to the ground quickly, but the center column of the tripod precluded being able to position the camera lower than about 18 inches off the ground.
The center column post has a metal hook at the bottom, allowing you to place your backpack or a sandbag as a stabilizing weight on the tripod.
Also worth mentioning are the Gitzo G-Lock legs, allowing you to rotate the lockdown collar just a fraction of an inch to extend or lock the legs, which saves time.
The Gitzo GHF2W head and GT2543L carbon legs met the criteria we set for our ideal mirrorless tripod in specs. The head is easily detachable and light, the legs have a 24-inch folded length, extending all of the way to 70.3 inches so it will easily fit in our luggage for traveling. The combo does have a true fluid head with counterbalance, although I wish it had some variable counterbalance settings.
The combo is capable of smooth pans and tilts, but only if your camera package is under the 5.5 pounds counterbalance rating. If you are over it but under the total head-weight limit of 8.8 pounds, it’s more difficult to obtain smooth pans and tilts.
The combo came in at just under our $1,200 budget, with a street price of $1,190. If you are looking for a solid tripod package and you have similar criteria, I would definitely consider the Gitzo GHF2W head and GT2543L legs as long as your total rig weight is under 5.5 pounds and your rig is well balanced.
The post Review: Gitzo GHF2W Head And GT2543L Carbon Fiber Legs appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Previously, I wrote about what can happen when someone asks for proxies without talking about what they’d be used for.
In my example, the proxies were to be used by a transcription service. The issue was file size. With all the uploading and downloading, very small files would have been helpful instead of the 1920×1080 mp4s provided.
However, there’s another issue to consider: timestamps. Transcripts usually have a timestamp at the start of a bite, change of thought or change of speakers. The times come from a counter that is started at the beginning of the file.
Transcripts that have timestamps that start at 0:00 can’t really match up with the original footage unless it also starts at timecode 00:00:00:00. If you’re working on only one clip, this might not be an issue. If you have several hours or days of interviews, it can be a real issue.
Although you could try to modify the timecode of the original clip so that it starts at 00:00:00:00, that can get messy as you move through the post-production workflow. It’s better if you try to keep all the metadata unchanged.
There are also ways to enter timecode at the transcription service. But if you have multiple clips, that’s a lot of work. An easier option is to use a transcription service that can sync transcripts to the timecode of the clip instead of just starting at 0:00.
In other words, the transcript of the start of a sound bite will use the actual footage timecode, like 13:25:14:00, as opposed to simply 0:00. That way you can easily track bites within your footage. Some editing applications even allow you to attach the transcripts to the clips in your bin.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is, if that’s what actually happens. But if you merely send “a proxy”—a generic, one-size-fits-all proxy—to the transcription service, there’s a good chance it won’t work. It won’t have timecode. Why? If the proxy maker created a typical mp4, it won’t have timecode.
Note: There is a way to get timecode into mp4s, but it’s not easy. Even then, it might not be supported by the transcription service.
But, if the proxies that are created are QuickTime movies (.mov), there’s a timecode track in the file that can be used. The QuickTime movies can even use the h.264 codec (like you would for an mp4) to reduce the file size.
By sending a QuickTime movie that has the timecode of the original footage embedded in it, you’ll be able to get transcripts with all the bites timestamped properly. No need to add a timestamp offset—it just happens.
All of the above is just another reason for people to ask a few questions when someone “needs proxies.” But what about proxies for actual editing? Next time.