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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 or media type you’re 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.
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:
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.
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.
How many crew positions pictured here can you do?
There’s an old axiom, “It takes money to make money.” What I’d like to explore is how much do you need to use your skillset and smarts to land work and when do you need to call in the experts and pay them to help you grow your business? No matter how you define your role in our business, whether that’s being videographer, producer, writer, director, DP, sound mixer, grip, gaffer or any of the other dozens of jobs that we deal with and do ourselves, at some point, you need to define exactly what your strengths are and what your areas of opportunity are. More specifically, when do you need to hire an expert?
If you have a constant flood of new business hiring you on an ongoing basis, that’s great. If, like most of us, you could stand to have more business or a big increase in new clients and projects, the end of 2019 is a good time to take stock of where you are and where you want to be in 2020.
Do you market yourself as a freelancer or your business if you have a production company or post facility? In 2019, what does marketing even mean? For me and for many others in our business, it boils down to a few different categories of how we generate work, clients, leads and how we get our name or our company front and center with potential clients.
This has always been the number one way that many, if not most of us in production, generate new business. Having a satisfied client “sell” you to another potential client gives you a tremendous “leg up” with actually landing a project or job.
This category has come to sort of complement and mirror word of mouth, except it’s word of mouth online. Social media has also come to be defined as several different things, from true “social” media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to more business-oriented social media like LinkedIn. All have their advantages and disadvantages.
Whether you run ads online, market straight to your audience or even post flyers or send direct mail, advertising is a whole entity unto itself as far as how to do it, when to do it, return on investment, long term advertising and numerous other fields and subcategories.
While we all know people who are successful in our business, and possibly, we may know some who are MASSIVELY successful, in general, for those trying to make a decent living in our business, times are tough and getting tougher. With the upswing of media consumption in general, you’d think that the increased demand for content of all types would have us pros turning away work because we’re so busy. Yet, this isn’t the case in real life. I’m not going to speak for the industry because there are plenty of articles, YouTube videos and websites that can give you the actual hard numbers of income, profit margins and overall demand in the production business, but as the opportunities the digital video age has brought have increased, the amount of competitors hasn’t only increased but have become insanely prolific. Anyone with a camera and a few lights is now a “production company.” I’d like to talk about some areas where I’ve discovered hiring experts has made a difference in my bottom line.
If you’re a professional editor, this doesn’t apply to you obviously, although if you’re a pro editor and don’t regularly work with an assistant editor (AE), hiring or making sure that your projects have been budgeted for an AE can elevate your work and in the long run, make you more income. Assuming you aren’t a professional editor though, there are many of us who are producers, writers and DPs who can actually make our way around Premiere, AVID, FCP X and Resolve pretty well. We know how to do things technically and may even be pretty good editors ourselves. But if editing isn’t your primary source of income, consider some of these factors you gain in hiring an expert, a pro editor:
As you’ll know if you’re a good editor, editing, as an endeavor, to do well and be organized and utilize your footage metadata to its full capability takes time. Lots and lots of time. The question you need to ask yourself is, “If I can hire a professional editor for say (arbitrary figure) $50 per hour and I can bill a client for $85 per hour for editing, I’m making $35 per hour profit (not including overhead and expenses obviously). If I edited myself (I know this isn’t a realistic number because there are numerous equipment, location, insurance and other numbers to factor in, but bear with me to get the point), I could make $85 per hour. Wouldn’t it be smarter to do it myself instead of hiring a pro editor?
Of course, like everything else in our business, it depends. If your client hired you to produce the project and they specifically hired you because they LOVE your editing style and want you to edit it, there’s your answer. Take the $85 per hour, minus expenses, and edit it. If your client doesn’t care who edits the project and only care about the end product, hire a talented pro editor.
Now that you can see where I’m going with this, let’s talk about some other examples in the same vein. Let’s say you are a professional freelance editor. You’re efficient, fast, creative and a great visual storyteller. You’ve been editing so long, you’ve picked up some skills in Adobe After Effects. You’re good at setting up comps, keyframing and you know how to get a serviceable, if not jaw-dropping result. Same scenario as above, you’re hired to edit a series of promo videos. The footage looks and sounds good; you know you can edit a masterpiece from it. But the script calls some tricky visual effects and a new custom logo designed for the ad campaign. You think you can possibly carry it off, but you’re on a tight deadline with a demanding producer and client.
Few in our business are experts in most of these areas. If they were, why would they bother to mess with production? Right? I’ve designed my own websites. They look adequate, not great, but most importantly, hardly anyone sees them. They have very low Google ranking, and I’ve almost never gained leads that turned into paying projects from websites, social media or marketing and advertising.
I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’ve hired a web designer and an SEO specialist and both are going to help me focus my company’s web and social media strategies in order to build new clients and more business. Everything I’ve read and heard says it will take a minimum of 3 to 5 months or longer to start to see tangible results from this effort and expenditure. New website. All new demo reels. New blog. Stay tuned, and I’ll report back on how this effort has worked in a few months.
I’m the king of the multi-hyphenates, I’ve been in the production business so long that I’ve evolved my skill set to include writer, producer, director, DP, sound mixer, gaffer, editor and sound designer, and I can sweep and organize a mean closet too. My point is, I’m honest with myself; I can do each of these jobs with varying degrees of mastery. I’m more skilled at some of these positions than others. I enjoy doing each job, some more than others. When projects come across my desk, I’m honest with myself and my clients about the skill levels needed to execute a given assignment. If it makes sense for me to do more than one position, I’ll consider it in the overall schedule, budget and project. If it doesn’t, I always advocate for hiring the experts needed for each position.
This is the whole point of this blog entry, part of what can lead you to success in this business is knowing a lot and being skilled at a lot of things, but most importantly, knowing when to tackle a given job yourself and when to hire an expert. It’s a fluid line that once you know how to balance upon, can make your job more profitable and give you a better quality of life, lower stress and more fun in your work. At the end of the day, isn’t that what most of us are after?
Earlier today, Sigma announced pricing and availability for two sets of lenses: The set of 10 Sigma Classic Art Prime Cine lenses, which will be available in early January 2020, and select /i Technology-compatible Cine Art Prime PL-mount lenses, which will ship in late December 2020.
The Sigma Classic Art Prime Cine lenses will only be available as a set of 10 lenses. The set will sell for $43,999.
The Sigma PL-mount i/Technology-compatible Cine Art Primes will be released in two batches:
For more, see the press release below
[[press release: ]]
The set of 10 Sigma Classic Art Prime Cine lenses will be available early 2020; Select /i Technology-compatible Cine Art Prime PL-mount lenses will ship in late December 2020
Ronkonkoma, NY – December 6, 2019 – Sigma Corporation of America, a leading still photo and cinema lens, camera, flash and accessory manufacturer, today announced pricing and availability for its all new line of full-frame Classic Art Prime Cine lenses and /i Technology- compatible Cine Art Prime PL-mount lenses. Available as a set of 10 lenses, the Sigma Classic Art Prime Cine lenses will be available in early January 2020 for $43,999 USD from authorized dealers. The Sigma PL-mount i/ Technology-compatible Cine Art Primes will be released in two waves; the Sigma Cine 20mm T1.5, 24mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5 and 85mm T1.5 will be available in late December 2019, and the Sigma Cine 14mm T2, 28mm T1.5, 40mm T1.5, 105mm T1.5, and 135mm T2 will be available in late January 2020.
Pricing for Sigma PL-mount i/ Technology-compatible Cine Art Primes is as follows: 14mm T2, 105mm T1.5 and 135mm T2 will retail for $5,499 USD each from authorized dealers. The 20mm T1.5, 24mm T1.5, 28mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 40mm T1.5, 50mm T1.5, and 85mm T1.5 will retail for $3,899 USD each from authorized dealers.
About Sigma Full-Frame Classic Art Prime Cine Lenses
Sigma’s answer to the demand for a classic, cinematic look from a prime lens is the brand new Full-Frame Classic Art Prime Line, compatible with 8K shooting with large format sensors, while achieving outstanding compact design.
Based on the Sigma FF High Speed Prime Line, the brand new FF Classic Art Prime Line incorporates more non-coated optical elements to achieve unrivaled expression while offering the highest resolving power in its class. It retains the high resolution capability that Sigma Cine lenses are well known for, and offers a unique combination of low contrast and artistic flare/ghost in the image. As with all other lenses from the FF High Speed Prime Line, it creates beautiful bokeh effects to improve creativity.
The FF Classic Art Prime Line has implemented newly developed coatings on the glass elements and offers consistent T value across the lineup (14mm and 135mm at T3.2 and the rest of the lenses at T2.5), greatly contributing to the effective workflow in post-production. It is compatible with the communication protocol of Cooke “/i Technology,”and thus is an ideal tool for shooting and editing with the latest technology, such as VFX, that call for detailed shooting data. A special coating is implemented on the front and rear elements so that the lens durability is ensured as with all other cine lenses from Sigma.
The Classic Art Prime Line is available only as a set of 10 lenses and will be available early January 2020 for $43,999 USD from authorized dealers.
More details are available at: https://www.sigma-global.com/en/cine-lenses/
About /i Technology-compatible Sigma PL-mount lenses
The new Art Prime PL-mount lenses from Sigma now support Cooke Optics’ /i Technology communication protocol. This is the latest addition to the Sigma Cine lens family for filmmaking in the FF High Speed Prime Line.
Optimized for large-format camera systems and 8K shooting, the FF High Speed Prime Line lenses deliver stunning image quality in compact construction. The new addition to this prime lens lineup comes with electronic contacts that supports Cooke’s /i Technology communication protocol for Art Prime PL-mount lenses. Customization service will be available to customers with existing PL-mount primes in the future as Sigma will begin phasing out the original PL-mount prime build.
By using an /i Technology-compatible cine lens with a cine camera that supports the same protocol, users can see and record lens metadata such as focus distance, focal length, and aperture. This helps streamline compositing in the post production process
Early versions of the /i Technology-compatible FF High Speed Prime lens were used for shooting “Top Gun: Maverick,” scheduled to be released in 2020, demonstrating that the new lens is already being used for commercial applications.
More details are available at: https://www.sigma-global.com/en/cine-lenses/
The post Sigma Sets Pricing And Availability For Two Sets Of Lenses appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Earlier this year, the website 24/7 Wall St, a financial news and opinion company, listed “photographer” in its story, 25 Worst Jobs in America. (It ranked number 25 on that list.) And in Kiplinger’s article 15 Worst College Majors for a Lucrative Career, “photography” was listed as the number one worst college major! That’s obviously not great news, but there are organizations working hard to buck this trend. One such group is Report for America, a national service program that places talented, emerging journalists—including documentary videographers and photojournalists—into local news organizations to report for one to two years on under-covered issues and communities.
In fact, last week, Report for America, announced a great opportunity for young, talented or emerging photographers: In a press release titled Report for America to Place a Record 250 Journalists in 164 Local Newsrooms in 2020 the program is looking to place 16 videographers and/or photographers in newsrooms throughout the country.
The following list includes newsrooms where Report for America is hoping to place content creators. (Assume the position is for a photographer. Videographer positions are called out):
I promised that I’d talk about a better way to make proxies that work. In this case, I refer to a proxy workflow in Adobe’s Premiere Pro that allows you to switch between proxy playback or camera original playback at the click of a button. Flipping to proxy playback reduces load on the computer and helps if you drop frames during playback. If done correctly, the difference between viewing a proxy vs. viewing the original isn’t too distracting.
Previously, I talked about problems that occur when you try to build proxies outside of Premiere Pro. These are centered primarily around linking the proxies to the original clips. If the files don’t match properly, they won’t link automatically, or, in the case of mismatched audio channels, they’ll never link up.
However, there’s a fairly easy remedy to all these problems. If you use the tools available in Premiere Pro when you ingest your footage, you’ll have success. During ingest, you can bring your footage in and at the same time create proxies that are automatically linked to the clips.
When I ingest footage in Premiere Pro, I always use the Media Browser tab, rather than clicking in a bin and using the import function. I do this regardless of whether I use a proxy workflow. This method helps with things like long takes that may span multiple files due to camera card limitations. (RED and other cameras use spanning.) Simply importing those files may result in duplicate clips or clips that don’t match what was shot.
When you use the Media Browser, there’s a checkbox for Ingest. Click it to bring up the project Settings window where you can set your ingest parameters. This setting tells Premiere Pro how you want it to bring in your footage. There are several ingest methods available in a pulldown menu.
The first option copies the footage to another destination with or without verification. Use this if you’re copying from a portable drive onto your edit storage drive. Verification assures that all the files are copied properly.
The second option transcodes the files while copying them. This works well for files that come from cameras that use codecs that are difficult to work with. You can transcode to ProRes files as they’re copied to your edit storage drive. Note that these files aren’t connected to the original footage files like a proxy would be.
The third option is where Premiere creates proxies and links them to the original footage. The original footage stays where it is. But if you want to copy the footage over to your edit storage, there’s a fourth option that copies the footage and creates proxies.
These last two options take care of making proxies and linking them to the footage. Select the files you want to ingest, and Premiere brings the footage into your project, launches the encoding application Media Encoder and starts creating proxies.
You can start editing right away. As the proxies are created, they’re linked and will be used when the viewer windows are set for Proxy playback mode. But you must make sure you’ve set the proxy ingest preset properly. More on that next time.
As LED Lighting continues to mature, more and more users are searching for LEDs that can replace HMIs.
LED technology for video lighting is in an interesting place right now. I’ve been shooting video and digital cinema with LED lighting now for more than a decade, as many of you have also been. My older Tungsten video lights like my beloved Arri Softbank IV kit are seeing less and less use. I now only pull out my Arri fresnels possibly once or twice a year and the tungsten lighting is almost never used on talent, they’re mainly used for lighting backgrounds in interviews and narrative scenes. More on why this is later.
My first pro-level LED video lights were the Coollights LED panels. These were made in China by a small company ran by an American businessman. I spent some time speaking with him about the lights and giving feedback on how they worked in the field on real shoots. I used the Coollights for quite a few years as they worked well, despite the limitations of relatively low output and they had a very distinct green spike in the output that we tried to mitigate through the use of minus green CC filters, which worked okay.
Once I decided to replace the fading Coollights with some new LED panels, I researched the subject and ended up, after much renting and trying out friends’ LED panels, with a pair of the Aputure LS-1S Lightstorm panels a few years ago. They were much more powerful than my Coollights and had more options like wireless control, built-in external heat sinks and the light, control box and power supply were modular, so the power supply was able to be placed away from the light fixture itself, meaning that when the panel was 10 feet up in the air, the controls for the panel weren’t, and I could place the lighting control unit down at ground level where I or various gaffers I work with could access the light’s controls. The Aputures were a step up, they had probably three to four times the output of my previous panels, they were daylight balanced and the wireless control was very handy when I was shooting alone and didn’t have a gaffer to man the light.
The Lightstorms are far from perfect. Their configuration requires that you have an AC cable that goes from the AC outlet to the power supply, which is a small, rectangular box that sits on the ground. You have a four-pin DC cable that goes from the power supply and plugs into the light’s control box that’s usually placed hanging from the light’s yolk or lower down on the light stand if the light head is placed high in the air. There’s then another Hirose-type cable that must be run from the control box to the Lightstorm fixture itself. Once all of this is set up, if you have to move the Lightstorm on its stand, you have to also move the AC cord, the power supply, usually sitting on the ground, along too. Frankly, it’s a pain and messy. But most challenging of all is the lack of sheer output, the Lightstorm is still an LED panel. LED panels typically have hundreds of 5mm LED bulbs installed and the resulting shadows from these hundreds of individual bulbs cast hundreds of separate micro shadows on a subject and on walls behind the subject. You end up needing to run most (not all) LED panels into some sort of diffusion, softbox or diffusion frame. This further reduces the LED panel’s output.
Up until a few years ago, we really didn’t have single source LED video lights. The technology hadn’t yet evolved to a single large LED emitter being possible, largely because of heat buildup and dispersion and largely because there hadn’t yet been enough demand for a single source LED from the non-video lighting markets. Eventually, single source LEDs came to the video market. One of the first and most successful more affordable single source video lights also came from Aputure, the 120t. This was a single source LED instrument that was first only available in Tungsten 3200k versions, but it was relatively power, affordable and had a whole lineup of accessories available for it including an attachable Fresnel lens that meant the 120t could be used bare for output to a parabolic or traditional softbox or diffusion panel or the Fresnel lens setup could be mounted, giving users a focusable, high-quality LED Fresnel spot source.
There were many other single source LEDs that began flooding the market as well from various lighting companies, many of them established like Altman, Arri, Mole-Richardson, as well as many others from startups, Kickstarters and many various Chinese companies with brands you weren’t familiar with. Soon the market was relatively flooded with different LED single source open face and Fresnel lights. Some challenges soon became apparent when trying to choose which LED single source lights to rent or buy. There’s no standardized set of measurements on exactly how to rate an LED light’s color accuracy or output. We arrived first at using CRI (Color Rendering Index), but using that spec alone soon proved to be close to useless as wild, unsubstantiated claims were made that upon careful examination, didn’t hold up. Using just CRI soon evolved to adding a second color rendering spec, TLCI (Television Lighting Consistency Index) that, although not an approved international standard, is recommended by the EBU and is finding success among manufacturers.
As far as lighting output though, I’ve found that the standard output ratings of LED instruments vary widely. This isn’t always the fault of the manufacturers either, LED lights behave differently and the output varies in many ways from the output of traditional Tungsten and HMI video lighting sources. LED instruments, in comparison, consume far less wattage and amperage than traditional video lighting for supposedly equivalent output. I’ve heard formulas that manufacturers and users utilize such as, “Take the LED’s wattage consumption and multiply it by three to four times to derive it’s output when compared to a traditional Tungsten light.”
Through experience, I’ve found that these formulas and manufacturer suggestions on actual light output are completely unreliable. Using my light meter and measuring output at 1m is fine and will give me a rough idea of the light’s actual output, but the fall off of LED light output is different than Tungsten or HMI. So the actual light output that falls on my subject is dramatically different than the normal lighting output falloff that I’d experience with a Tungsten or HMI light in the same situation.
Case in point, a couple of months ago, I was hired to DP a set of interviews to be shot on set of a national TV commercial. Talent was all celebrities/actors. If you’ve worked with name-brand talent before, you know that when you’re going to shoot interviews or scenes with them, they come to set with managers, agents, publicists, their own hair and makeup team, personal assistants and sometimes a load of other entourage. As the DP, none of this matters to me, but in a way, it totally matters as my producer expects me to have the set completely lit and the background squared away well in advance of talent because we’ll often only have them available for as little as five to 10 minutes total to shoot their interview or scene.
There were numerous challenges such as the house the commercials were shooting at was physically small and there was literally no room to set up our interview set, so the Ads relegated us to set up in the front yard. These interviews were to be shot in bright, 2 p.m. daylight, so we couldn’t merely set up a camera and single-source bounce card. In order to make the talent look their best, I had to remove the overhead sun from the equation and then light the talent. I utilized an 8×8 frame with a heavy silk overhead to remove most of the overhead sun, side negative fill to give me back some contrast and I then needed a key source that I was going to utilize camera left, placing my talent in their chair camera right and my interviewer just to the left of my lens.
We performed this same shoot the week before at a different location and because of a lack of budget, I had utilized a 6×6 Ultra Bounce as my key source, which had worked well from a light perspective but from a talent perspective, some of the talent had been squinting too much from having a large reflective source lighting them. I’ve found that talent varies widely as to how light-sensitive they are, and my producer and editor requested that on the next round of interviews, I mitigate that issue by not using an Ultra Bounce as my key source. I was able to get the client to give me a little more budget so that we could rent a large LED source to use as a key source. We needed to rent an LED as we had no budget and resources for a generator for a larger HMI or Tungsten key light.
After doing some research and looking at the photometrics, I chose to rent the Mole-Richardson Mole Senior (5K Equivalent) Varicolor Fresnel. This is a top of the line LED Fresnel with 2700 to 6500k color temp adjustment range unit with plus and minus Green adjustment, DMX, Wireless control. Its power consumption is 800 Watts. Notice how the light is advertised (by the rental house, not Mole) as a 5K equivalent? The first question is that comparison to a 5K Tungsten or a 5K HMI light? Assuming they mean a 5K Tungsten light, that would mean a 6X output factor when compared to the Tungsten instrument. I’ve shot with 5K Tungsten lights for exteriors, and if the Mole had the equivalent output, that would be enough for how I needed to use it to compete with the high ambient levels. I was skeptical, though, but only had enough budget and resources to rent the largest, most powerful LED instrument I could find for the budget the client had given me.
We needed to see plants and trees and some set stuff happening behind talent as these interviews needed to look like they were shot on set. So that negated being able to build a “box” of Duvetyn around the talent to knock down all of the ambient light, so I did the best I could with some negative fill on the sides. The Mole Senior was a nicely constructed light with a 10-inch lens. It was also a fairly large and heavy light, requiring a junior pin light stand, but at 800 watts power consumption, it could be plugged into the house AC, which was necessary because even the production didn’t have a generator, they too were using LEDs and HMIs that could all be ran off of house current.
I had originally wanted to key the talent with the Mole using my Chimera Medium Quartz softbox, but I quickly found that with the high levels of ambient light I was fighting, I didn’t have enough lighting “horsepower” to achieve the light level I wanted to use the softbox, so I had my gaffer move the Mole more to the side and just put a sheet of diffusion over the bare LED source with the Fresnel lens moved out of the way.
In this way, I was able to achieve the output I needed without blinding my talent, the setup worked and looked good, but I wasn’t able to use a softbox in front of the Senior because it simply didn’t have the horsepower that the rental house claimed it had, at least in a real-world situation. In my experience, the output was roughly the same as a 1.5K HMI, which for our situation, wasn’t enough. After using the Mole, it was a nice light with great lighting quality, but for working outside, I needed an instrument with more output to achieve my lighting plan.
Mole rates the output of the light at 19,000 lux at 6500k at 10 feet, but when I added ambient sunlight and diffusion in front of the light, I simply needed more horsepower to get the job done. We made it work, but it wasn’t ideal. Lesson learned; when in doubt, it’s always best to have a surplus of horsepower and turn it down than to have not quite enough.
Just beware that new Firmware Updates may not always result in your happiness as a user.
Fujifilm recently released a new firmware version for the XT-3 mirrorless camera, V3.10. This new firmware version claims to improve some existing bugs and allows for remote control of the Fujifilm XT-3 via gimbals from DJI and Zhiyun, as well as control when mounting the XT-3 to various drones. I have very mixed feelings about firmware updates in general. When we purchased the XT-3 in the fall of 2018, the camera came to us with firmware 2.0. The camera seemed to work fine overall. We only use the XT-3 for video shooting, so we generally disregard all of the new features coming out for the still shooting functions, as they don’t matter for video use.
A few months later, Fujifilm issued firmware 3.0, which claimed to have focusing improvements over 2.0 with better face recognition and eye detection. Generally, we mostly utilize zone AF-C and manually move the focusing zone box when following moving subjects, which has worked OK for us. A few times I tried using the face and eye detection feature on the XT-3 for sit down interviews, but even with a relatively still subject, we’ve found that the performance of the face and eye detection simply can’t be counted on. When it locks on and tracks correctly, it works amazingly well, but if it loses lock on the subject, as it often does, the entire image can’t go radically out of focus—not a good thing to have happen in a high profile interview for paying clients, much less on your own projects.
I’ve been in the production business for quite a long time and I can relate lots of stories about how many times I, as well as colleagues, clients, friends and total strangers, have been completely hosed by new firmware and software updates, not just on cameras, but on editing systems, PC and Mac OS updates, smartphone updates and many other devices.
I’ve learned that patience is a virtue when it comes to updates. It’s almost always best to let all of the eager guinea pigs update the day the manufacturer issues the update. They can be the company’s free beta testers to find out of there are any unforeseen circumstances when updating the device. More often than not, if you research it, watch YouTube videos and read stories, it’s common for new firmware updates to fix things that were previously bugs or problems but at the same time, the updates often break things that were working perfectly fine. Case in point, our Fujifilm XT-3.
The XT-3, under Firmware 2.0, worked pretty well, it was stable and the AF, face and eye detection worked reasonably well. They weren’t functionally perfect, but they worked to a degree where the results were mostly usable. Fujifilm promised that Firmware 3.0 “Strengthened the accuracy of face/eye detection AF performance. The AF algorithm has been improved along with the accuracy of face/eye detection AF. The ability to detect faces in the distance has been enhanced by approximately 30 percent and AF tracking is now more stable, even when an obstacle appears in the way. The improvements in AF are applicable to both still photos and video recording.”
This was verbatim the number one line item in the firmware update writeup on the Fujifilm site. To be prudent to wait to see how the new firmware performed for users in the real world, I even waited a couple of months and kept reading feedback on the Fujifilm forums and user groups. Generally, the reaction was positive, but I still waited a few more weeks to update my firmware. The XT-3, like a lot of electronics, can’t have it’s firmware “down-versioned” by the user and the body has to be sent to Fujifilm for repair, which generally means being without the camera for a period of a few weeks to, at times, a few months. Unless you’re willing to not be with your camera for a significant amount of time, you’re stuck with the new firmware.
After waiting months, I finally sat down and updated the firmware on our XT-3 from Firmware 2.01 to Firmware 3.0. Once I had updated, I checked the new function list on the Fujifilm website to make sure that I had correctly updated the firmware. I sat down to do some tests, and to me, the performance of the face and eye detect seemed about the same. I double-checked the firmware version to make sure the update had “taken,” and it did. What was more distressing is over the ensuing months, I kept noticing that the AF (not the face/eye detect, just regular AF) on the XT-3 seemed to have a sort of “twitching.” Usually, when AF doesn’t work correctly, it will try to focus the lens with a wild swing between macro and infinity, repeatedly, until it locks onto a subject and rests.
What I was experiencing on the XT-3 was nothing like this. The AF was locking onto the subject fine, but if you shot a subject that was completely stationary, like a vase of flowers on a dining room table with the camera on a tripod, hands-off, with no change in lighting, the camera seemed to be frantically trying to micro-adjust the focus ALL OF THE TIME! These weren’t large swings of AF, this was a busy little tiny “twitching” of the focus that wasn’t very noticeable on a moving camera with moving subjects but was incredibly noticeable on a stand-up interview or tabletop shoot. Using the scenario I just talked about, I put my hand on the XT-3’s lens (in this case, the XF16mm f/1.4 WR), and just as I had suspected, I could feel the focusing motor on the lens. Despite the stationary camera, subject and lighting, the camera/lens NEVER stopped adjusting the focus.
I used the XT-3 on two client projects, both times, luckily for me, as a second angle camera, and I noticed that even with perfect lighting, the camera was constantly slightly going in and out focus. Thankfully, with the main camera angle looking good, the focusing issue didn’t cause our shoots to fail, the footage from the A camera salvaged it, but the editor could only use very small snippets of the second angle from the XT-3.
It’s been difficult to even explain this issue to other users, it’s a subtle problem and if the footage is only ever displayed on a 4-inch smartphone screen, many people won’t notice or see it. I began to see it when viewing my 4K footage on my 27-inch iMac Retina screen and once I saw it, it was impossible to unsee it. Since the discovery of these defects, many others on the Fujifilm users’ groups and boards have seen it and experienced this defect. Fujifilm has promised to issue a new firmware update that will reduce or mitigate this issue in January of 2020. Time will tell if the new firmware will fix the issue. In the meantime, our XT-3 has become a less used and valued camera as we pretty much can’t count on the AF anymore and can only shoot with the XT-3 using manual focus. For handheld and tripod shooting, manual focus can work. For gimbal and motion control work, the primary purposes we bought the XT-3 for, AF is integral to the work.
Firmware updates aren’t always just used for fixing bugs and issues with newer cameras. Some manufacturers, Sony being one of them, regularly update their cameras with new features via firmware updates. Sometimes these updates are to install features that were promised at product launch. Sometimes these updates just generously “give” the user new functionality with their cameras; most famously the Sony F55 and F5 have both received firmware updates for years with a continuous flow of new features and refinements. Sony is also known for selling new features via firmware updates as they have recently for the top-of-the-line Venice digital cinema camera.
I have mixed feelings about this. Generally, I believe that manufacturers should tell their sales and marketing departments to just wait on releasing a new camera if key features of that camera aren’t ready. Sony isn’t the only company that engages in this practice. My own C200, when it was launched, could shoot proxy low bandwidth video files when shooting the camera in its native 4K Cinema RAW Light format. The idea was that an editor could use the .MP4 low-resolution proxies, perform the edit and then conform the project with the RAW files, only having to ingest the exact files used in the edit.
Problem was, at camera launch, the .MP4 proxies and the 4K RAW CRM files had different naming conventions, requiring the tedious workaround of having to rename either the proxy files to match the CRM files or vice versa. Canon promised a new XF-AVC version of the proxies, but it took them more than six months to actually deliver the new XF-AVC version of the firmware so that the proxies could be used in lieu of the RAW files and then have the RAW files conformed. Canon did eventually deliver on their promise for the XF-AVC version of the codec, but in the meantime, a lot of C200 users were frustrated with the workflow challenges.
I’m all for manufacturers making the products we buy and earn a living with better via updates. As a user though, here are few rules that I use that may apply or be helpful to your situation.
I hope you found these observations about firmware and software updates helpful. Proceed with caution.
Building a cage, like this SmallRig cage system, not only adds weight, but it can increase versatility. For instance, we can add an Atomos Ninja V recorder if we have a client who prefers us to shoot ProRes over the X-T3’s internal H/265 codecs. But if we have to shoot in a tight space, where there isn’t room for the Shinobi monitor, we can just use the X-T3’s LCD screen.
If you look at the camera market this past year, it’s hard to deny the influence high-quality mirrorless cameras have had on camera choice: Models like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, Sony a7R III, Canon EOS R and Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, as well as the Fujifilm X-T3, offer 4K shooting with high-quality images, removable lenses, professional features like LOG recording, DCI 4K, IBIS and a host of other tools. It’s no wonder cinema cameras that used to cost between $6,000 and $10,000 have been replaced by mirrorless models priced under $3,500.
But it’s not a perfect scenario. For example, if you’re coming from a professional video-camera/digital-cinema camera, you’re sure to notice missing features that you’d have taken for granted on larger, more professional cameras, including built-in ND filters, waveform displays, time code i/o, XLR audio connections and more.
There are other things I personally miss when shooting with a mirrorless camera, such as size and weight. The body on our Fujifilm X-T3 weighs a little over a pound. But even when you add a lens, it doesn’t really significantly affect the overall weight. Our Canon C200, when fully rigged for shoulder-mounted shooting, can weigh as much as 22 pounds or more, depending on the lens mounted. That extra weight can be fatiguing to carry and shoot with all day, but it does add the bonus of smoother handheld shooting. The extra weight actually smooths out shake and jitters that would be visible on a smaller, lighter rig. Plus, movement becomes smoother and more fluid with extra weight.
While most of us love how lightweight mirrorless cameras are, as well as their portability and lower profile, when it comes to creating smooth handheld movement, too little weight isn’t good. It’s more difficult (although not impossible) to achieve smooth handheld moves with no micro jitter if your camera package is too light.
Ironically, when operating handheld, you, as the operator, have to have a lot more skill and apply more concentration to achieve smooth, jitter-free camera work with a 2-pound camera rig than with a 7-pound rig.
There’s also the challenge of where to attach various professional accessories on a small mirrorless camera body. What if you want to attach a monitor? Sure, you can put a small ballhead on the camera’s hot-shoe, but what about if you then want to add a microphone? An EVF? A light? All mirrorless cameras are pretty much limited to a single hot-shoe.
One popular solution these days is to create a camera cage, which is a metal series of bars with holes tapped into them that not only encloses the camera, offering more protection to the camera body, but also gives you numerous places to mount various accessories.
My company bought the Fujifilm X-T3 for a variety of reasons, but one of the most significant was that we needed a 4K-capable camera that would be small and light enough to mount on a gimbal. We’ve been using the camera for the past several months, often to shoot lifestyle footage of our documentary subjects we’ve been shooting for an upcoming docuseries called “Year On The Water.” The X-T3 has performed very well, but as we’ve continued to shoot, we’ve run into several situations, particularly when operating the camera in vehicles where mounting the camera on our gimbal actually becomes a less-effective way of capturing the footage.
The decision was made that besides using the X-T3 on our gimbal, we wanted to expand to shooting a lot more handheld footage.
While the screen on the X-T3 is decent for an on-camera monitor, we found that often when shooting exteriors, the ambient sunlight overpowered the screen, making shooting, composing and checking focus difficult. We knew that we needed to add a monitor.
While we try to wire our subjects with small recorders and wireless lavs and use a boom mic to record them, there are often situations where we need to pick up audio from our subjects or others near them so that we can hear them on-camera. We also like a clean ambient audio track when shooting with outboard recorders. So mounting a mic on the handheld rig was desirable. The last design criteria on our handheld rig was to figure out a better solution to protect the flimsy and fragile Micro HDMI video output connector of the X-T3. (More about this later in the story.)
We did some research and found one of the most popular camera-cage systems on the market is from a Chinese company called SmallRig. I own quite a bit of camera support gear from Zacuto, Shape, Wooden Camera and others, but I also have several SmallRig accessories, which have always worked quite well for me. And while they’re not cheap, they’re significantly less expensive than a number of popular brands of camera-support gear.
This meant we could spend just a few hundred dollars without breaking the bank. (Keep in mind: Every item mentioned here—short of body, brands and models of specific cages—are modules that will work well with cameras from other brands.)
The camera cage for these systems is the first building block. It’s the “base” that you work upward and outward from. So it’s an important choice.
There are two SmallRig cages for the X-T3 (which, by the way, is a mirrorless camera that lacks robust battery life). The only difference between the two cages is size: The larger cage (SmallRig 2229) accommodates the X-T3 body as well as the VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip (which costs $329). The smaller cage only holds the X-T3 body. So, we bought the SmallRig 2229. We also decided to buy a slightly used VG-XT3 grip for just $200.
The following accessories include the SmallRig cage and additional accessories we attached to that cage:
There are other handles available, but I liked that the 1984 handle was bare metal with serrations for a sure grip. The coolest feature is that the handle has an integrated magnetic slot that contains a built-in channel for an included Allen wrench, for affixing or detaching the handle to the cage or accessories to the handle.
There’s a milled slot that also contains two spare Allen screws that are out of the way yet easily accessible.
Of the three connections, the Micro HDMI Fuji included on the X-T3 is the worst. It’s tiny, fragile and flimsy and generally wears out quickly. So, the best we can do is affix a cable clamp to the connection, which holds the connection in place and offers some protection to the connector and cable.
SmallRig offers several clamps, each designed for a specific camera and cage. Buy the one recommended for your gear. For our cage, SmallRig recommends the 2156 model, which affixes to the cage via two small Allen bolts. There’s also a small slot screw to affix itself to the cable. The only downside is that it’s time-consuming and awkward to remove the camera and then re-insert it back into the cage again using the clamp.
As a plus, the 2093 side handle has a cold-shoe on top, which is perfect for our Røde Video Micro microphone since the distance from the microphone to the 3.5mm-audio input on the X-T3 left panel was only a few inches away. That meant I wouldn’t have to worry about running straight audio cables all over the rig. I could just use the stock Røde short-coiled mic cable, which will minimize overall cable clutter on the rig.
Like the top handle, the SmallRig side handle also features a magnetic slot for carrying an included Allen wrench/spanner, very slick design.
We found that the string of ¼-inch 20 sockets on the right side of the cage worked perfectly for quickly threading on the Cinevate mount and attaching the Shinobi SDI to it. The dual articulating ballheads make positioning and adjusting the monitor’s position quick and simple.
The only downside of the Cinevate mount has more to do with the Shinobi monitor’s single ¼” 20 receptacle: The monitor constantly comes loose from rotating counter-clockwise so you have to spend time retightening it
Overall, we found our rig worked very well and is an improvement for shooting handheld. For instance, we increased the weight from 1.19 pounds to 6 to 8 pounds (depending on the lens, as well as what other accessories we used). The increased heft allowed our camera movements to be significantly smoother and more fluid. Also, the addition of the 2093 Universal Wooden Side Handle let us grip the whole rig with our right hand on the cage/battery grip while using our left hand to zoom.
Also, we come from a traditional background of using film and higher-end video/digital cinema cameras. And since the Fujifilm X-T3 is our first mirrorless camera, we felt caging it made sense: It allowed us to produce consistently steadier and smoother handheld footage, even when we were operating the X-T3 on a tripod. The additional weight made creating smooth pans and tilts easier.
For us, building the SmallRig setup only cost a few hundred dollars, and the end results are noticeably improved over shooting with only the body and a lens.
Fujinon just demonstrated their UA 107×8.4 AF Outside Broadcast Lens with Auto Focus at InterBEE 2019, the first box lens with stand-alone AF technology.
The past couple of years in camera technology have been kind of amazing if you look at the tools we’re now using objectively. One area that has grown in leaps and bounds is autofocus technology. At InterBee 2019 outside of Tokyo, Fujinon showed a fairly revolutionary lens. They were demonstrating their UA 107×8.4 AF Outside Broadcast Lens with Auto Focus for the first time. If you’re not familiar with what a box lens is, think about those pedestal-mounted large 2/3-inch broadcast cameras that are typically used to shoot live television. We’re used to seeing lenses in a cylindrical shape, but box lenses are so large and have such large glass elements, motors and electronics that it makes more sense to enclose all of the internals in a box-like rectangular housing, hence the name. This type of lens is large and heavy and would never be used handheld; they’re used in the realm of televising live sporting events and that sort of thing.
What was revolutionary about this new box lens that Fujinon demonstrated was that it’s the first lens of its kind that utilizes autofocus technology. The UA107x8.4 AF broadcast lens utilizes a brand-new phase-detection autofocus sensor; Fujinon says fast, sharp focus images with a response speed as quick as 0.5 seconds. Keep in mind the huge weight and diameter of the lens elements that the lens motors are moving to zoom and focus on a fast-moving subject. The UA107x8.4 also features the company’s image stabilization mechanism and a 107x ultra-magnification zoom that covers focal lengths from 8.4mm to 900mm (1800mm with 2x)! Think about that for a second—an 8.4-900mm zoom lens with autofocus. The fact that this lens will retail for $212,000 is beside the point. The fact that it’s this type of lens with high-quality AF technology, which operates independent of the camera, is kind of amazing as there are no broadcast 2/3-inch removable lens cameras that have any sort of built-in AF. This is a lens company acknowledging that some of the highest-end televised events in the world can benefit from AF technology.
What’s also interesting to me is that this technology is the same AF technology that’s used in my mirrorless Fujifilm XT-3 camera and my favorite Fujinon XF16mm f/1.4 WR lens. Talk about two opposite ends of the production spectrum, right? It’s unusual but not unheard of for high tech features like AF to migrate from an $899 consumer lens and $1,400 mirrorless camera body to a massive 52 pound, 24-inch long box lens; it kind of makes you think that there’s something new afoot here with this “used to be consumer” AF feature, doesn’t it?
Besides the Fujfilm XT-3, the other professional video camera that I own is the Canon EOS Cinema C200. In my time with the C200, I’ve had a chance to use many different lenses with it, from an inexpensive Canon 24mm f/2.8 pancake lens all the way up to some high-end cinema lenses that cost many times what the C200 itself costs. Here at HDVideoPro, I had a chance to use the Canon CN E 18-80 t/4.4 and CN E 70-200 t/4.4 servo zoom lenses with the C200 and the C300 MKII cameras. The one distinguishing feature that makes both of these lenses unique is that they’re high-quality servo zoom lenses that utilize Canon’s excellent dual pixel autofocus system. The CN E compact servos aren’t really cinema lenses, they have no hard stops and are geared more toward documentary and event shooters, but the fact that they are $4,600 high-quality lenses that utilize AF is notable. Not that long ago, fast-paced event and documentary shooting were both types of production that used to be the sole domain, on a pro level at least, of manual focus lenses. Now, we have choices.
As I write this, I’m waiting for Sony to ship us out a review copy of its brand-new full-frame digital cinema camera, the PMW-FX9. The FX9, from preliminary reports from our colleagues in Europe, has some outstanding new AF technology built in that was adopted from the A7 mirrorless line up. Once again, AF technology is migrating upward. If you take a look at the menu of the FX9, you can see options for AF transition speed. AF responsiveness, Face detection AF and lots of other settings and parameters to fine-tune the FX-9 with.
It used to be that most AF systems utilized either contrast detection, which didn’t always work very well on low contrast or low-lit subjects or phase detection, which reads the differing contrast ratios between adjacent pixels. With the new AF technology, Sony has figured out a way to layer a phase and a contrast-detection AF system over one sensor, which by all accounts gives you the best of both worlds.
The current Sony version offers a combined 824-point AF system that provides seamless AF that locks onto the subject earlier than other systems and tracks more faithfully through all kinds of lighting and contrast conditions.
While us medium to lower-end production users are enjoying and using different types of AF technology to help us shoot sharper and more in focus images, in the high end of narrative filmmaking and digital cinema, today, in 2019, ACs (assistant camera operators) mostly utilize wireless FIZ controls (Focus/Iris and Zoom) that, when paired with a small wireless video monitor, allows the AC to faithfully track focus. There’s a lot more to focusing the camera than just acquiring a subject and faithfully tracking it in narrative filmmaking. There’s a lot of emotion, drama and intent that the AC brings to how they focus the lens, how long the focus takes and when to shift focus from one character to another that just can’t be programmed to be taken care of by a camera’s electronics. At times, the challenge is just how to keep a subject in sharp focus with shallow DOF as the subject and camera move. That is an art and a skill, and many are skeptical about if any kind of autofocus will ever replace that.
Keep in mind, though, that this sort of creative, artistic focus pulling isn’t needed or used all of the time in narrative filmmaking. In some instances, creative focus pulling is a requirement, but in many other circumstances, there’s little need to be creative with focusing; the director mainly wants the main subject in the frame to stay in sharp focus, period. I’m personally convinced that autofocus technology is coming to high-end cinema optics, but it will probably be external rather than integrated into the lens body as it is in the lower end. This will allow current high-end optics to still be used, but in different ways: AF for some shots and sequences, manual focus with the AC for others. The future of the AC’s job description will undoubtedly shift in the coming years, from the fully manual focus pulling of today, often with digital distance finders/digital focusing scales, to the AC minding AF systems and then switching back to manual focus when needed.
There are focus pulls that I’ve seen that would be nearly impossible for a human AC to nail and had AF systems nail, but conversely, autofocus systems lack the human touch, visual signature and discernment. Yes, I’m of the opinion that what ACs do can be artistic, not just technical, and for autofocus to replace that is many years away with AI and learned behavior. In 2019, this aspect of filmmaking still required the human touch, but stay tuned, it’s evolving.
The proxy workflow designed into Adobe’s Premiere Pro is a great way to work when you deal with footage that taxes your computer during playback. When set up properly, a click of a button underneath the source or program monitor windows toggles between normal and proxy playback. Since the original footage is available with a simple click on a button, you can instantly look at the original footage if you question any artifacts you see. And when you render effects, the original footage is used as the source.
To make all this work, it’s important that you create the right proxies. I previously explained how to enable creation of proxies during the ingest process. During that setup, you need to select an ingest preset, a special preset created in Media Encoder. It defines what happens during ingest (copying and/or transcoding). Choosing the right ingest preset is critical to switching seamlessly between proxy and original clips.
The ingest preset is based on Media Encoder settings and contains all the settings for video and audio encoding—things like resolution, frame rate, audio channels and more.
When you look at the built-in ingest presets, it really isn’t apparent which one you should use. You’ll see various codecs like Apple ProRes 422 Proxy, H.264 and GoPro Cineform. I like using the ProRes codec, but I recommend you try each to see which works best for the image quality and performance of your setup.
You’ll also see various resolutions. The resolution choices are all about the aspect ratio. It’s critical that you use the right aspect ratio when you generate the proxies. If you don’t the image will stretch or compress when you toggle between camera original and proxy display.
You’ll see several different resolution choices, such as 1280×720, 1024×540 and 1536×790.1280×720 is 16:9 aspect ratio, which matches HD and 4K UHD. 1024×540 is 1.9:1, which aligns with 4K for cinema. Lastly, 1536×790 matches the aspect ratio of some cameras capturing with 6K sensors.
You can create your own ingest presets with other codecs and settings. In fact, you’ll have to if you work with other aspect ratios like 3:2. If you do, the resolution must be lower than that of the original footage. Although it seems attractive to use the same resolution and go with a more compressed codec, that idea doesn’t fly in Adobe’s current proxy ingest workflow.
If you want to create your own preset, you first have to create an encoding preset in Media Encoder and then select that preset when you create the ingest preset—also in Media Encoder.
The best method to avoid the problems with proxies’ audio channels that I talked about in the past is to use the ingest workflow built into Premiere Pro. It also confirms my preference for always bringing in footage to Premiere Pro via the Media Browser.
Panasonic’s new HC-X2000 pro-level camcorder
Today, Panasonic announced three new camcorders—HC-X1500, HC-X2000 and AC-CX10, which according to the company are the industry’s smallest and lightest 4K 60p camcorders. All three camcorders will be available in late March 2020, but no pricing was available at press time.
Each of the models, which have a newly developed fan and a heat-dispersing design that allows them to be very compact and lightweight, come with a long, powerful 24x optical zoom lens that ranges from 25mm wide angle to 600mm tele. In terms of optical performance, Panasonic says the 4-drive lens system “controls the lens groups independently.” The three camcorder has a 5-axis image-stabilization system, which combines O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization) and electronic IS in both UHD- and FHD-resolution modes.
In FHD mode, you can enable slow-motion recording at 120 fps (for 59.94 Hz)/100 fps (for 50 Hz). 10-bit recording is also supported, and full-frame images with the image area uncropped are obtained even at high frame rates. Additionally, auto focus can be used in this mode
The new models have a variety of professional functions, such as two manual rings, an ND filter (1/4, 1/16, 1/64, and Clear) and the ability to record 24-bit linear PCM audio. Plus, all three 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording (up to 4K at 30 fps). It also comes with the new, high-efficiency HEVC codec, and built-in Wi-Fi, which supports HD Live Streaming without additional equipment. Additionally, the HC-X2000 and AC-CX10 includes a built-in LED video light, and the AG-CX10 supports the broadcaster-targeted P2 MXF file format.
Models also come with a 3.5-inch monitor with 2,760K-dots of resolution, an electrostatic touch panel, a 1,555K-dot tiltable viewfinder, focus-assist functions and a battery rated for 4.5 hours of continual operation.
Panasonic says its Face Detection AF/AE provides “precise focusing and sufficient exposure for subjects, and together with the precise focus lens drive achieves superior focusing speed, stability and tracking performance for both 4K and Full-HD. In addition, subject tracking with color recognition can be activated on the LCD panel.”
As for file formats, in addition to MOV, MP4, and AVCHD, the AG-CX10 also supports the ideal P2 MXF for the editing system for broadcast stations, and recording by the AVC-Intra/AVC-LongG codecs is supported
Pro videographers and cinematographers will also appreciate the two SD memory-card slots available on all three models.
For more information, see the press release below.
[[press release: ]]
PANASONIC ANNOUNCES HC-X1500, HC-X2000 and AC-CX10, THE INDUSTRY’S SMALLEST AND LIGHTEST*1 4K 60P PROFESSIONAL CAMCORDERS WITH A WIDE-ANGLE 25MM*2 LENS AND 24X OPTICAL ZOOM
Las Vegas (January 6, 2020) – Panasonic is proud to announce 3 of the industry’s smallest and lightest 4K 60p camcorders. Not limited by their compact and lightweight designs, the HC-X1500, HC-X2000 and AC-CX10 offer a high standard of on-site mobility and portability, as well as the high-quality 4K 60p recording capability demanded by professionals. The Wide-Angle 25mm Lens and 32x i.ZOOM (4K recording) achieve high-spec optical performance thanks to Panasonic’s exclusive high-precision AF, which also provides high-speed, accurate focusing for both 4K and Full-HD shooting. The new models have a variety of professional functions, such as Two Manual Rings, an ND Filter, a Built-in LED Video Light*3, and 24-bit High Resolution Linear PCM Audio Recording. Users can further customize the recording formats according to the shooting environment or preference.
The HC-X1500, HC-X2000 and AC-CX10 all support 4:2:2 10bit Internal Recording*4 and the new, high-efficiency HEVC codec, and built-in Wi-Fi supports HD Live Streaming without additional equipment.
In addition, the AG-CX10 supports the broadcaster-targeted P2 MXF File Format. Ethernet HD Live Streaming and an NDI|HX*5 compatible IP connection function are equipped, and connectivity is provided for use as a live camera.
*1 For a camcorder with an integrated lens capable of 4K 60p recording
(as of January 6th, 2020. Panasonic research).
*2 35mm camera equivalent.
*3 Except the HC-X1500.
*4 Up to 4K30p.
*5 Requires license purchase
Precise Optical Performance
The 4-Drive Lens System controls the lens groups independently. This integrated lens offers a remarkably powerful optical 24x zoom that ranges from 25mm* wide angle to 600mm* tele. i.ZOOM achieves 32x at 4K resolution, and 48x at FHD.
Equipped with a LEICA Dicomar Lens world-renowned for its high standards of lens resolution, contrast, and quality, the camcorders produce stunningly beautiful images while suppressing flaring and ghosts. Two Manual Rings are provided, one for focusing and the other for zoom or iris operation. The Manual Rings are different sizes, so the appropriate ring be accurately identified by touch. ND Filters can be selected from 1/4, 1/16, 1/64, and Clear, while glass is newly used as a countermeasure against scorching from sunlight condensation.
* 35mm camera equivalent.
High-speed, High-precision AF Including Face Detection AF/AE
Face Detection AF/AE provides precise focusing and sufficient exposure for subjects, and together with the precise focus lens drive achieves superior focusing speed, stability and tracking performance for both 4K and Full-HD. In addition, subject tracking with color recognition can be activated on the LCD panel.
5-Axis Hybrid O.I.S.
For both UHD and FHD modes, in addition to O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilization), Electronic Image Stabilization operates to detect and correct handshake in 5 axes, including rotational blurring. The Ball O.I.S. System reduces friction on the drive section, achieving delicate correction even for small-amplitude handshake. This produces beautiful images with suppressed handshake even at high, 24x optical zoom.
Industry’s Smallest and Lightest Camcorder
A newly developed fan is at the center of Panasonic’s new heat-dispersing design, creating the industry’s smallest and lightest camcorder with integrated lens capable of 4K 60p recording. By borrowing air from the rear panel of the camera and efficiently dispersing heat from the front panel, reliable, extended shooting is achieved.
High-Quality, Versatile Recording
The Venus Engine, found in almost all of Panasonic’s LUMIX cameras, is also incorporated in these camcorders. This enabled 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording with maximum 29.97p in UHD, and maximum 59.94p in FHD.
When set for 10-bit recording, the camcorder delivers 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output, enabling high image quality capture with an external recorder. New, highly efficient HEVC recording (LongGOP/10-bit 4:2:0/MOV) is also supported for recording 59.94p at a high bit rate of 200 Mbps. As for file formats, in addition to MOV, MP4, and AVCHD, the AG-CX10 also supports the ideal P2 MXF for the editing system for broadcast stations, and recording by the AVC-Intra/AVC-LongG codecs is supported.
* AVC-Intra100/50 codec support is planned for the future. Recording by all P2 formats requires a microP2 card.
Super Slow-Motion Recording
FHD mode enables slow-motion recording at 120 fps (for 59.94 Hz)/100 fps (for 50 Hz). 10-bit recording is supported, and full-frame images with the image area uncropped are obtained even at high frame rates. Additionally, auto focus can be used in this mode.
Professional Functionality and Design
*1 The optional handle unit (VW-HU1) is required for HC-X1500.
*2 Recommended: 850-nm wavelength light
Double SD Card Slot
Two SD memory card slots are provided and with unlimited Relay Recording, the device switches automatically and seamlessly from Slot 1 to Slot 2. * Simultaneous Recording or Background Recording is also selectable to match the workflow and card necessity.
* Maximum file size that can be recorded over multiple SD cards is 96 GB. Recording will not stop even when the data size exceeds 96 GB.
48-kHz/24-bit High Resolution Linear PCM Audio Recording
+48V Phantom Power Supply/MIC/LINE Selectable XLR Audio Input with Manual Volume is equipped for each of 2 channels. Also supported is a 24-bit linear PCM system (MOV/P2 MXF*1), 16-bit AAC (MP4), or Dolby Audio system (AVCHD) high-quality 2-channel audio recording. The optional handle unit (VW-HU1) is required for HC-X1500.
*1 AG-CX10 only
Versatile Network Functions
A Wi-Fi module is built-in, so there is no need for a separate wireless LAN module, and Wi-Fi connection is possible without additional equipment. Using a tablet application HC ROP, wireless remote control, including camera settings and lens control, can be set. RTSP/RTP/RTMP/RTMPS-Compatible HD Streaming allows direct connection and streaming over Facebook, YouTube, etc., of concerts, sports events, and news flashes.
In addition, the AG-CX10 has an NDI|HX mode, so an external converter is not needed for data transmission and camera control via IP connection.
Other Network Features:
* USB micro AB-Host Cable (included) is necessary for the connection.
Optional Handle Unit
An optional Handle Unit (VW-HU1) is easily detached and equipped with a 2-channel XLR Audio Input, audio control, and LED light. Operation of the zoom lever attached to the Handle Unit maintains a constant zoom speed, which can be set in 7 steps from the menu.
All three camcorders will be available in late March 2020.
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Canon’s new 20.1-Megapixel EOS-1D X Mark III DSLR with the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM zoom
Last October, Canon made a development announcement of its new flagship DSLR, the EOS-1D X Mark III, which provided some details, but didn’t give us the complete picture of the new model. But early this past January, Canon officially launched the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, which should currently be available for $6,499 (body only). That launch included the specs and features photographers had been looking for.
The new flagship has a lot of impressive capabilities, but one spec might disappoint some photographers: The new camera comes with only a 20.1 megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, a smidge smaller than its predecessor, the EOS-1D X Mark II, which had 20.2 megapixels. Some photographers may have been hoping for at least a 24-megapixel sensor. Plus, there are several high-end mirrorless models that have higher megapixel counts, like the Sony A7R IV full-frame mirrorless camera (61-megapixels).
However, Canon emphasized during the product press briefing that the new DSLR has many improvements to many of its systems, including the autofocus, processing, algorithm, communication systems and, not surprisingly, its image sensor, or more accurately, the imaging system.
In fact, Canon said it had included three “newly developed” elements in its imaging system—a 20.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 16-point lowpass filter that will provide “improved sense of resolution” and its Digic X processor for better sharpness and noise reduction. We’ll see if this translates into a significant increase in image quality when we get a chance to test the camera.
In terms of processing, Canon claims the new model is about 3 times faster than its predecessor. Canon also said the 1D X Mark III is capable of HDR PQ HEIF 10-bit recording, which Canon says is a high efficiency file format that provides bright images, smoother gradations and vivid colors in highlights.
Canon believes videographers and cinematographers will be enticed with the video quality and versatility of the new flagship. For example, it will include 4K-resolution at 60 fps, both uncropped and cropped as well as Canon Log 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 and 5.5K RAW (both using in-camera recording). However, some will be disappointed to see that in all 4K video modes as well as 5.5K RAW and at Full HD at 119.90 fps, autofocus does not function.
Here’s a brief list of other claims, capabilities and features:
Additionally, Canon announced a new wireless file transmitter, WFT-E9, which will cost $649 and be compatible with the new DLSR and also be available now.
For more, visit Canon’s website: usa.canon.com
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The new D780 full-frame DSLR with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR kit lens
In the past year and a half, Nikon has aggressively promoted its Z-line of full-frame mirrorless system. However, the company made its name producing SLRs, and is still introducing new models. Case in point: Today, they announced the new D780 full-frame DSLR, an update to its D750, which the company says was its most popular full-frame DSLR ever.
They look similar, but there are some major differences: For starters, Nikon has significantly changed the sensor. The D780 has a 24.5-megapixel backside-illuminated (BSI) FX-Format full-frame CMOS sensor, which no longer has contrast-detect AF points on the sensor. In its place, you’ll find the more robust 273-point phase-detect AF system, which works in live view and for movies as well as still imaging.
Other enhancements and new features on the D780 include the following:
The Nikon D780 will be available in late January in two configurations: The Nikon D780 DSLR (body only) for $2,299 and the Nikon D780 DSLR (with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR kit lens) for $2,799
In addition to the D780, Nikon has introduced two lenses: The AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR superzoom and the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S zoom. They’re each for different interchangeable-lens systems, but they share something in common: They’re the first Nikon lenses to feature the newly developed SR (Short-Wavelength Refractive) lens element for highly precise chromatic aberration compensation.
The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S zoom, for Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, has a 21-elements-in-18-lens-groups lens construction, provides 5 stops of built-in optical VR image stabilization and employs a stepping motor for extremely quiet autofocus operation and reduced focus breathing. It also has a very close minimum focus distance (with just 0.5m wide and 1.0m telephoto), a 9-blade diaphragm, Anti-Reflective Nano Crystal and ARNEO coatings, a Fluorine coating that resists dirt, a rugged design, two customizable function buttons and a custom control ring.
The AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR superzoom lens, for Nikon full-frame DSLRs, is a versatile, professional lens that has a weather-sealed construction with a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture. It uses an anti-reflective ARNEO coat for superior chromatic aberration compensation, has 4 stops of image stabilization due to its built-in VR and also includes a Sport VR mode for rapidly moving subjects. Plus, it has a zoom ring, focus function buttons, a tripod collar ring and additional controls.
Lastly, Nikon has also announced the COOLPIX P950 advanced bridge camera: It’s a refresh of the COOLPIX P900. The new camera still has the same 83x optical zoom lens superzoom found on the predecessor, but with some enhancements, including the ability to shoot RAW files and capture 4K-resolution video.
The COOLPIX 950 and the two lenses will be available in February. The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S Lens will cost $2,599, and the AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR Lens will cost $9,499. The COOLPIX P950 advanced bridge camera will cost $799.
For more on the four products, see the press releases below, or go to nikonusa.com.
[[ press release for the Nikon D780: ]]
The New Nikon D780 Will Exceed Expectations with the Ultimate Combination of Speed, Powerful Performance and Premium Features at an Uncompromising Value
LAS VEGAS – CES 2020, BOOTH #14018 (January 6, 2020 at 9:00 P.M. ET / 6:00 P.M. PT) – Today, Nikon Inc. unveiled the D780, an exciting new FX-format DSLR that makes vast improvements to the highly-revered D750, Nikon’s most popular full-frame DSLR ever, while inheriting pro-level features from the powerful D850 and flagship D5. The much-anticipated D780 delivers the most sought-after features to give enthusiasts and professionals an agile camera for capturing high-resolution photos and 4K UHD video with the added benefit of fast, accurate phase detect autofocusing. While the D780 retains the rugged reliability of its predecessor, the camera has been turbocharged with Nikon’s latest EXPEED 6 processor, touch operability, advanced autofocus capabilities, extensive video features, a valuable assortment of in-camera creative options and much more. The new D780 is more than a worthy successor to the beloved D750, it’s a proven performer that transcends any creative endeavor.
Nikon cameras and lenses are world-renowned for their usability, reliability, performance and impressive image quality. With the addition of the innovative new Z mirrorless system, together with a robust and proven lineup of DSLR’s and decades of the finest NIKKOR lenses, Nikon is uniquely positioned to fulfill customer’s needs no matter how they want to capture still images or video.
“The Nikon D780 is not only a huge leap in technology over the D750, but it also integrates Nikon’s latest cutting-edge technologies to offer the best video feature-set and imaging capabilities in a full-frame DSLR,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President of Nikon Inc. “A demand exists for a successor to the D750, which offers the unbeatable combination of versatility, image quality and value.”
The Nikon D780 sets a new benchmark in DSLR performance, vastly improving upon the capabilities of the D750 by incorporating the newest technology and some of the popular features seen in the Z series, making it powerful and versatile enough to capture anything from fast-action sports to beautifully detailed night skies. The D780 is a seriously capable camera and offers the distinct advantage of being comfortable in the hands of a photo enthusiast, as well as being a popular pro-grade tool for weddings, wildlife, and production environments.
The D780 delivers the best video capabilities of any Nikon DSLR, incorporating technology found in the Nikon Z 6 mirrorless camera.
The D780 sports an innovative and useful feature-set that empowers professionals to explore their creative potential by affording a more efficient workflow coupled with unique effects.
The Nikon D780 will be available in late January for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,299.95* for the body-only configuration, and $2,799.95* for single-lens kit configuration with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens.
[[ press release for the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR superzoom lens, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S zoom lens and the COOLPIX P950 advanced bridge camera: ]]
The New NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S Redefines a Quintessential Photographer Favorite for the Z System; The AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is a Ground-Breaking Pro Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens; The COOLPIX P950 Packs an 83X Optical Zoom to Bring the World Closer
LAS VEGAS – CES BOOTH #14018 (January 6, 2020 at 9:00 P.M. ET / 6:00 P.M. PT) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced three new innovative products that affirms the imaging brand’s commitment to bringing optical excellence to all levels of customers. First, the new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is the latest in the ever-expanding Z mount lens line, giving users of Nikon Z series mirrorless cameras an indispensable workhorse lens for capturing action and portraits. For professional sports and wildlife photographers, the new AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is an enticing high-performance, professional super telephoto F mount NIKKOR lens. Finally, the COOLPIX P950 is a powerful new addition to Nikon’s superzoom bridge camera lineup, offering creators a spectacular 83x optical zoom and a myriad of innovative features to take their creativity to new heights.
“Nikon continues to innovate and push the boundaries of what’s possible in imaging and lens technology,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “The new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S takes advantage of the next-generation optical system offered by the Nikon Z mount to create a versatile 70-200mm lens with astounding sharpness and clarity, cementing this S-line lens as a staple for those who demand only the best from their lenses.”
An essential pro-level telephoto zoom lens re-imagined to take advantage of the optical potential of the Z series, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is the latest addition to Nikon’s rapidly growing lineup of mirrorless lenses. The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 represents a pivotal lens for the Z series and a must-have for those shooting action, weddings, events, news, wildlife and portraits. Equipped with a versatile focal range, fast f/2.8 aperture and an impressive 5 stops of built-in optical VR image stabilization1, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm gives mirrorless shooters the flexibility to capture astoundingly sharp images and videos in a variety of scenarios. Additionally, multimedia and content creators using the lens will appreciate the stepping motor (STM) for extremely quiet autofocus operation and reduced focus breathing.
The NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S demonstrates the technological benefits of the Nikon Z mount to reinvent a classic lens, while including new features to make this photographer favorite even more superior for Z series users. Parfocal support maintains focus when zooming, while a reduced minimum focus distance (0.5m wide, 1.0m telephoto) vastly increases versatility for photos and video. When used in combination with the in-body stabilization of the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 promises unparalleled stability with additional optical stabilization. Like other S line lenses, the NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 boasts a premium optical design complete with a 9-blade diaphragm as well as Anti-Reflective Nano Crystal and ARNEO coatings for maximum image quality in any light, with a Fluorine coating that resists dirt and smudges. In addition to a rugged weather sealed design the lens is ready to tackle any assignment with a dedicated Info Panel, two customizable Function buttons and an additional custom control ring.
The new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S and AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR are the first Nikon lenses to feature the newly developed SR (Short-Wavelength Refractive) lens element, a specialized-dispersion glass lens featuring characteristics that greatly refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue. By controlling short-wavelength light that is difficult to compensate, the lens can more effectively collect light of various specific wavelengths and achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation.
The all-new AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is a versatile, professional lens for the Nikon F mount with a large focal range and fast constant aperture. It’s ideal for sports, wildlife and portrait photographers seeking a bright and fast telephoto lens that offers sharp image quality across a wide range of focal lengths. Thanks to its extensive 120-300mm focal range, the NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8 provides users with a pro-level single lens solution, replacing the need to carry multiple lenses. With Nikon’s reliable weather-sealed construction, the NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8 is equipped to handle any shooting scenario whether on the sidelines or in the wilderness.
Users will appreciate the constant f/2.8 aperture which offers incredible low-light capability and depth of field that draws emphasis to a subject. The impeccably sharp image quality, beautiful bokeh and enhanced AF performance of the NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8 offer speed and sharpness reminiscent of a prime. Engineered with Nikon’s cutting-edge technologies, the AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR is the first NIKKOR F mount lens to adopt Nikon’s new SR lens element as well as Nikon’s anti-reflective ARNEO coat to deliver superior chromatic aberration compensation and effectively reduce ghost and flare. The built-in VR function provides an effect equivalent to a shutter speed 4.0 stops1 and includes a Sport VR mode for rapidly moving subjects.
Ready for professional use, the lens is sealed to resist the elements and is engineered for maximum usability, even when handheld. The zoom ring, focus function buttons, tripod collar ring and controls are all designed to ensure superior operability for more comfortable shooting
With an unbelievable 83x optical zoom NIKKOR lens, the 16-megapixel COOLPIX P950 is a powerful new addition to Nikon’s superzoom bridge camera lineup, which delivers unprecedented image quality from extreme distances. Beyond the staggering 24-2000mm lens, the COOLPIX P950 packs an advanced feature-set complete with Nikon’s renowned NIKKOR optics and advanced stabilization technology with 5.5 stops of VR image stabilization, allowing stargazers and birdwatchers to capture high-quality photos or 4K UHD videos at extreme distances with ease. Plus, by using the COOLPIX P950’s 166x** Dynamic Fine Zoom for far-away subjects and Macro Shooting capabilities to get as close as 0.4 inches, adventure-seekers can bring the unimaginable closer than ever.
Users can rely on the P950 to photograph life’s most unique subjects with incredible accuracy and focus thanks to its Target Finding AF capabilities, 7 fps continuous shooting and ISO sensitivity up to 6400. A great option for photographers of all skill levels, the COOLPIX P950 features user-friendly controls alongside an intuitive menu system and a 2359k-dot EVF, making it easier to review and capture one-of-a-kind shots. Using dedicated Bird-Watching and Moon Modes, photographers can effortlessly snap photos of their world and beyond. The new P950 also adds RAW (NRW) photo recording, an enhanced high-resolution electronic viewfinder and Nikon SnapBridge2,3,4 to seamlessly share images or remotely control the camera.
The COOLPIX P950 is also equipped with an accessory shoe to enable compatibility with a variety of useful accessories, including the optional DF-M1 Dot Sight, which helps users locate subjects and compose shots from far-away distances.
The new NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S lens and COOLPIX P950 will be available in February for suggested retail prices (SRP) of $2,599.95* and $799.95*, respectively. The AF-S NIKKOR 120-300mm f/2.8E FL ED SR VR lens will also be available in February for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $9,499.95*.
Specifications, equipment and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.
-Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc.
-Wi-Fi® and the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED logo are registered trademarks of the Wi-Fi Alliance. The N Mark is a trademark or registered trademark of NFC Forum, Inc. in the United States and in other countries. The
Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Nikon corporation and its Affiliates is under license.
*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.
** At the maximum image size. The maximum zoom ratio varies by image size. Dynamic Fine Zoom magnification is calculated from the maximum wide-angle position of the optical zoom.
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I’ve often joked that projects I work on are never finished, they just run out of time and money. In the past, that was more of a joke, but with the ever-pressing need to produce more and more content with less and less resources, the humor in that statement is somewhat diluted.
The challenge in post is being able to match the edit to everyone’s expectations of time, budget and creative. So when I talk with the key players for the shoot—a director, DP, DIT or a producer—I really need to stand up for the whole post-production process. If I don’t, some of the decisions made could have a great impact on my part of the project. They could cause long days and nights, missed deadlines or simply failure to achieve the result everyone envisioned.
For example, with an HD or 4K finish, if the DP wants to shoot 8K instead of 4K, I’ll have twice the amount of data to work with. The same goes if they want to shoot 60p instead of 24p.
Just look at all the options you can choose from on the RED as shown in the image at the top of this article. A DP could make a case for any of those settings. During setup on the camera, those choices are accomplished by a simple switch, but they represent complications in post.
They mean longer ingest times. They mean more time creating proxies. They mean I need to account for more storage space during the edit and in archiving once the project is complete.
All of those changes affect the time I have to get the edit done. So, when I have that conversation in the project’s initial stages, and the key players suggest they want to shoot 8K, I’m upfront about that impact.
Just as a DP wouldn’t want an editor to demand additional days for shooting, I don’t want production adding days to my edit schedule. That’s particularly true if I’ve already agreed on that schedule and a budget.
It’s not that I’m inflexible, I just want the whole team to work together to produce the best show, given the time and budget. In my experience, that’s what works. What doesn’t work? When you hear, “They’ll fix it in post!”
Earlier today, the 92nd Oscars nominations were announced in all 24 categories. From January 30 through February 4, active members of the Academy will vote for the winners, which will be announced on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood and televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Joker leads with 11 nominations, but three movies—The Irishman, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood and 1917—follow close behind with ten nominations each. Not surprisingly, each of all four movies, which combine inventive storytelling with powerful and provocative visuals, have nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Directing and Best Motion Picture Of The Year.
Here are some selected highlights of the Oscar nominations:
For a complete list of nominees, go to oscar.go.com/news/nominations/oscar-nominations-2020-list-nominees-by-category
Every year, I make the trek to the desert to join 170,000 other attendees so I can walk nearly 3 million square feet of exhibits presented by about 4,400 exhibitors at CES, the technology show put on by the Consumer Technology Association. (They don’t call the show the Consumer Electronics Show since not all technology is electronic, I guess.)
It’s a quiet little week. This year, it was filled with artificial intelligence (AI) helping you decide what to wear and what to eat, as well as the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting everything from toilets to potatoes. Oh, and there was 8K. Lots of 8K.
Exploring all the exhibits is daunting, and a majority aren’t really relevant to what I write about or to my edit work. But there are booths here and there that strike my fancy. Certainly, all the hype about 8K and HDR is something I pay attention to.
There was good 8K and HDR and there was bad 8K and HDR. After a while, it got slightly depressing because I think we still need to perfect the 4K going into our homes before we get 8K.
But my tired eyes lit up as I saw more recognition of “Filmmaker Mode.” Filmmaker Mode turns off pixel processing such as motion smoothing and makes sure content is displayed with the original frame rate and aspect ratio. It’s also supposed to preserve the color and contrast intended by the content creator. The UHD Alliance (UHDA), in combination with CE companies and studios, and in consultation with creative communities like the Directors Guild of America (DGA), developed the standard.
If a display is advertised as having Filmmaker Mode, the display will engage it either manually when the user presses a button on the TV’s remote or automatically by reading metadata from the content displayed. This means that the user won’t have to dive deep into menus to turn it on.
Although Filmmaker Mode wasn’t introduced at the show (it was announced last August), several display manufacturers announced they’ll fully support Filmmaker Mode in their televisions. For example, LG announced that every new 4K and 8K set they introduce this year will support Filmmaker Mode. Samsung and Panasonic also announced they will have a display supporting the feature.
These announcements weren’t buried at the bottom of a press release. They were front and center at the press conference for the world press. For me, it was a step in the right direction, replacing vague pronouncements about superior picture quality and immersive experience.
You can learn more about Filmmaker Mode here. Unfortunately, the website isn’t very consumer friendly, and it quickly jumps into other topics like Ultra HD Premium and Mobile HD Premium. Still, you can get a little idea of the people behind this standard.
Now if they’d just have a button to set the content creator’s intended screen size…
Hasselblad’s new 45mm f/4 Lens, the XCD 4/45P lens
Hasselblad has launched its latest lens for its medium-format system: The XCD 4/45P. According to the company, the lens is designed to be portable and very lightweight. In fact, Hasselblad says it’s the most lightweight and compact lens in the XCD system, weighing only 0.7 .lbs and measuring just 1.85 inches in depth. That can be valuable for photographers that use a medium-format system, since that format tends to have larger product builds.
You can order the XCD 4/45P lens now for $1099, and it will be available later this month.
The XCD 45P includes two aspherical elements in its optical design. Hasselblad also said it’s designed the autofocus motor and leaf shutter to have less audible noise. Additionally, the lens has a minimum focus distance of 13.8 inches and also includes a mechanically connected focus ring, which the company says “gives the lens a responsive and accurate manual focus experience.” It’s built-in leaf shutter also allows for flash sync up to 1/2000s.
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
Press information – For immediate release
Gothenburg, Sweden 15 January 2020
Designed to further the capabilities of all X System cameras* by taking high quality imaging even further out into the world, Hasselblad launches the new XCD 4/45P. Designed for the utmost in port- ability, the XCD 45P stands as the most lightweight and compact member of the XCD lens family. Weighing only 320g (0.7 lbs) and measuring 47mm (1.85 in) in depth, the XCD 45P is the world’s lightest digital medium format autofocus lens on the market today.
The XCD 45P allows photographers to bring high quality optics on any adventure, ranging from travel photography across deserts and up mountains to urban exploration and documentary. Minimal weight combined with superior image quality, the XCD 45P coupled with the X1D II and Phocus Mobile 2 lets creatives go physically further with their creative visions with lighter gear in their kit and a highly portable workflow.
“We’re extremely proud we could produce a lens with as high optical performance as the rest of our XCD lenses in such a compact form,” said Hasselblad Lead Optical Designer, Per Nordlund.
The XCD 45P features an optical design incorporating two aspherical elements, resulting in state-of-the art optical performance within compact dimensions. The XCD 45P has been designed with discreet portability in mind and thanks to evolved designs, both the autofocus motor and leaf shutter have been reduced in audible noise. Photographers will find that the new XCD 45P leaf shutter is less audible than many focal plane mechanical shutters.
With a minimum focus distance of 35cm (13.8 in) and a maximum image scale of 1:5.2, the XCD 45P is even suitable for food or still life photography. Its mechanically connected focus ring gives the lens a responsive and accurate manual focus experience. Just as the other XCD lenses, the XCD 45P is uncompromising in its build quality, technical excellence, optical performance, and balance in handheld use in addition to its built-in leaf shutter that allows for flash sync up to 1/2000s.
The XCD 4/45P has an MSRP of €1199 / £1030 / CNY¥8999 including VAT and $1099 / JPY¥130000 excluding VAT. Ordering is available now and shipping to begin in late January 2020.
Discover the XCD 4/45P at www.hasselblad.com/x-system-lenses/xcd-4-45p/
*Support of XCD 45P for X1D-50c to be enabled in upcoming firmware update
The new Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE prime lens
Earlier today, Tokina released a new telephoto prime: The atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE lens, which is designed to be compatible with full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras. It’s also the first lens in Tokina’s atx-m mirrorless lens series, which will be compatible with multiple lens mounts and sensor formats.
You can order the Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE lens now, and it will start shipping on February 7.
The new prime has a lens-barrel constructed of anodized, semi-satin black metal and includes an optical design of 10 glass elements in 7 groups, including 1 SD (Low Dispersion) lens that offers excellent resolution, sharp edge-to-edge results and well controlled chromatic aberrations. According to Tokina, the fast f/1.8 aperture is “perfect for portraits, low-light shooting and produces beautiful bokeh.” The company also says the lens comes with its Super Low Reflection Multi-coating, which “provides natural color and excellent contrast along with superior water-, oil- and dust-repellant properties.” Additionally, in terms of performance, the lens has a new ST-M auto-focus motor, which is quiet, fast and accurate in both still and video modes.
Tokina says the atx-m 85mm FE was developed and manufactured in accordance with Sony-licensed specifications, which means photographers should expect that the lens will communicate properly with the Sony camera bodies. It also means that photographers should also expect to take “full advantage of the latest Sony features, including 5-axis image stabilization, Face/Eye Priority AF, Real-time Eye AF, MF assist and electronic distance scale.”
More information is available at tokinausa.com as well as below in the press release:
[[ press release ]]
Kenko Tokina Announces Release of the NEW atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE
New Series, New optics, New look – The atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE lens for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras.
Huntington Beach, CA, January 17, 2020: Kenko Tokina, Japan’s leading manufacturer of premium camera accessories, is releasing the Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE lens for full-frame Sony E-mount mirrorless cameras. It is the debut lens for Tokina’s atx-m series of mirrorless lenses that will include lenses for multiple mounts and sensor formats.
The atx-m 85mm f1.8 FE lens features a clean design with high quality optics housed in a beautifully anodized, semi-satin black metal lens barrel. The fast f/1.8 aperture is perfect for portraits, low light shooting and produces beautiful bokeh.
The optical design has 10 glass elements in 7 groups including 1 SD (Low Dispersion) lens that offers excellent resolution, sharp edge-to-edge results, and well controlled chromatic aberrations. Tokina’s exclusive Super Low Reflection Multi-coating provides natural color and excellent contrast along with superior water, oil, and dust repellant properties.
The new ST-M auto-focus motor is quiet, fast, and accurate in still and video modes and thanks to an all-metal focus unit and high-quality lubricants; manual focus is tactile, smooth and precise.
The atx-m 85mm FE is developed and manufactured in accordance with Sony-licensed specifications and communicates all required data to the camera to take full advantage of the latest Sony features including 5-axis image stabilization, Face/Eye Priority AF, Real-time Eye AF, MF assist, and electronic distance scale.
“This is a very exciting new lens series for Tokina” says Yuji Matsumoto, President at Kenko Tokina USA. “The mirrorless camera market continues to expand and the atx-m series will address the needs of photographers using different camera mounts and sensor sizes.”
Worldwide sales of the Tokina atx-m 85mm f/1.8 FE lens will begin on February 7, 2020 with authorized Tokina USA retailers taking pre-orders January 17, 2020. Estimated USA Street Price of $499.
More information is available at https://tokinausa.com.
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María Mercedes Coroy and Mara Teln appear in “La Llorona,” a film by Jayro Bustamante, which is also an official selection of the Spotlight program at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Filmmakers, from returning directors to up-and-coming artists, submitted a record of 5,100 submissions this year to Sundance 2020 across its program, with selected films representing 27 countries in all. Diverse stories fill the slate and include some impressive work from independent artists that have already attracted buyers.
This Friday, festival attendees can take in Josh Ruben’s feature directorial debut “Scare Me” and Jayro Bustamante’s Venice-Award-winner “La llorona,” which were both quickly nabbed by AMC Networks’ genre-streaming service, Shudder, ahead of their respective screenings.
“Scare Me” seeks to send shivers up festival-goers’ spines during its world premiere at Sundance’s Midnight Section. The film follows two strangers that swap scary stories during a power outage in the Catskills. The more the duo commit to their tales, however, the more the stories come to life in their dark cabin haunt. We’ll see if it makes for a good scare at its late-night premiere.
“La Llorona” also arrives with much heat, after winning the Venice Days Director Award. Featured in the Spotlight category, it follows Enrique, a retired general who oversaw the Mayan genocide but is now haunted by his devastating crimes of the past. The intense genocide revenge drama re-interprets the Latin American folktale of “La Llorona,” a weeping woman doomed to haunt the earth mourning her dead children.
It’s important to note that the festival doesn’t purposely sidestep stars. But what separates the festival films from the rest of Hollywood mainstream is that star power is used to lend distinctive voices to the work. A great example of this is the film, “The Father,” starring Anthony Hopkins and Oscar’s favorite Olivia Colman. It’s billed as a universal prophecy of loss that comes with age. What’s more is that the film attracted Sony Pictures Classics, which acquired rights for its US and international release before it screens in the Premieres category.
Sony Pictures Classics also nabbed “Charm City Kings,” a film of note in the U.S. Dramatic Competition and billed as a gutsy coming-of-age story that follows fourteen-year-old Mouse, who desperately wants to join an infamous group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders hailed as the Midnight Clique who rule the summertime streets.
Elsewhere in buys this year: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” garnered Focus Features’ attention, buying a film that plays as an intimate portrait of two teenage girls in rural Pennsylvania that make a trek across state lines to New York after one of them unintentionally becomes pregnant. We’ll review this compelling film when it plays during the U.S. Dramatic Competition.
Netflix also arrives with a host of titles, including their high-profile Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana” from director Lana Wilson, playing in the Documentary Premieres section. Netflix also offers the intriguing doc “Into The Deep” in the World Cinema Documentary Competition. Billed as a profile of amateur inventor Peter Madsen, the documentary ends up turning into something darker when Madsen is discovered to have murdered someone aboard his homemade submarine.
Sundance Alumnus Dee Rees returns with the much anticipated, “The Last Thing He Wanted.” Rees was the first black woman nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for “Mudbound” back in 2017. Her latest film features Anne Hathaway as journalist Elena McMahon, inadvertently finding herself in the middle of a series of unfinished and unsavory arms deals and suddenly wrapped up in the very story she’s trying to break. Ben Affleck and Willem Dafoe co-star in this thriller.
Other top titles generating buzz include “On The Record,” a documentary focused on accusations of sexual assault against music mogul Russell Simmons. The film comes from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, two-time Emmy Award-winning and two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmakers. “On The Record” seeks a buyer after Oprah Winfrey backed out of the project, originally set for release on Apple TV+. Its compelling subject matter is sure to attract attention when it plays in the Documentary Premieres section.
While films cover a large part of the festival, we’ll also focus on lectures and events. We will be at several informal chats with special guests, including filmmaker Ron Howard, as well as interviews with a diverse range of cinematographers, directors, editors and more as the festival rolls. So, stay tuned…
The post Sundance 2020: What To Expect At This Year’s Film Festival appeared first on HD Video Pro.
Previously, I mentioned that CES isn’t supposed to be called the Consumer Electronics Show. That’s according to the Consumer Technology Association, the entity that puts on the show every year in Las Vegas. It’s now just CES.
I thought about this as I walked the exhibit floors and passed booths showcasing TV displays that are bigger than most people’s living rooms or touting AI or 5G or IoT. As I recall, the reason for the “name” change was to take the focus off electronics and to put it on technology.
Yet “consumer” is still a big part of the show. Sure, you’ll find exhibitors there talking about self-driving fleet vehicles and enterprise-level hardware and software. But for the most part, CES is about technology for consumers.
On the other hand, in our industry, that same “consumer” equipment is used in professional settings. I was reminded of this during a press conference detailing the next standard for HDMI—HDMI 2.1. The standard is preparing to deliver 4k at 120 fps and 8k at 60 fps and allowing for dynamic HDR.
During a Q&A period discussing the new HDMI Ultra High-Speed cable spec, a reporter brought up the issue of non-locking connectors. HDMI cables—including the HDMI Ultra High-Speed cable—don’t include a locking mechanism to keep the cable from accidentally being pulled out. (You can add devices to connectors to achieve that goal, however.) Other cables have this feature. For example, a standard size DisplayPort cable has this mechanism—something I’ve forgotten on occasion.
One of the presenters was quick to point out that HDMI is a consumer spec, that it was never designed to be used in the professional space. Not having a locking connector helps prevent damage to a TV or streaming box when little Sean goes running behind the TV and trips over the HDMI cable. Because it’s not a locking connector, the cable pulls out of the TV, rather than the cable pulling the input connector—and maybe more—out of the TV set. Sure, you’ll lose sound and picture for a moment while you give Sean a timeout and reconnect the cable. But at least you won’t have to dip into Sean’s college fund to replace that new 75-inch roll-up OLED with the impossibly thin bezel that you just bought.
Consumer or not, we still use HDMI in our profession. Sometimes the cables are used in “less critical” situations, such as monitoring, where a brief signal loss might not be the end of the world. Other times, the cable might be the critical link between a camera and an external recorder.
Is that a bad thing? No. Just as we might use a practical light on set that’s a consumer device, I don’t see a problem using HDMI for routing video and audio, as long as we understand that we are using consumer-grade technology.
Just as we wouldn’t expect a practical light that was purchased from a local lighting store to perform as well as a Litepanels Gemini, we shouldn’t expect HDMI to perform as well as professional video transport. And, in this case, by “perform” I don’t mean HDMI degrades video and audio. I’m referring to the example above—the cable being accidentally knocked out during a take and causing loss of recording.
We can’t forget that sometimes we use “consumer” tech. Tech that was never designed for what we use it for. We must remember its true limitations and how those limitations might affect our work, many times when we least expect it. If we keep all that in mind, then we can make use of consumer technology.
Ricoh’s new HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mm F4 ED SDM WR telephoto zoom lens
Today, Ricoh announced that it’s adding a new telephoto zoom to its product line: The HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mm F4 ED SDM WR zoom lens. It’s designed for cameras with a Pentax K-mount and features “a compact, lightweight body with weather-resistant construction for great portability in a variety of outdoor applications.”
Yet despite its long reach, with a 70-210mm zoom for full-frame Pentax DSLRs or 107-322mm on Pentax APS-C DSLRs, it’s still a compact and lightweight lens, which is important if you’re doing a lot of traveling and need to carry your gear with you. It also has a nine-blade, round-shaped diaphragm, a constant f/4 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range and a weather-resistant construction.
The lens has an optical construction of 20 elements in 14 groups, and include multi-layer HD coatings, which assist in providing edge-to- edge sharpness and minimizing flare and ghost images in backlit situations. It also has a minimum focusing distance a little over 3 feet and comes with a two-step focus-range limiter.
Ricoh says the new HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mm F4 ED SDM WR telephoto zoom lens will be available in mid-February for $1099. Learn more about the telephoto zoom on B&H.
For more information, see the press release below.
[[ press release ]]
New HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mmF4ED SDM WR provides great portability in a variety of applications, from nature and scenic photography to active fieldwork
PARSIPPANY, NJ, January 22, 2020 －Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mmF4ED SDM WR zoom lens for use with PENTAX K-mount digital SLR cameras. This high-performance telephoto zoom lens features a compact, lightweight body with weather-resistant construction for great portability in a variety of outdoor applications.
Featuring a highly portable design, this high-performance zoom lens covers the image circle of 35mm full-frame digital SLRs, and provides a focal length range of 70mm to 210mm ideal for handheld outdoor photography. A constant f/4 maximum aperture ensures consistent brightness throughout the zoom range and enables increased control over depth of field for selective focus effects. When used with an APS-C-format camera, its focal length range is extended to the equivalent of 107mm to 322mm in the 35mm format. The new lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0.95 meters and a maximum magnification of 0.32 times, providing greater macro coverage than previous models. It also features a Quick-Shift Focus System that enables an instant shift to manual-focus operation after locking a subject in focus during autofocus operation.
This lens is ideal for active field photography in a wide range of outdoor applications including scenic photography, landscape shooting with a beautiful bokeh effect in the fore- and background, close-up photography of animals and plants, and sports and wildlife photography where its outstanding portability really comes in handy.
A high-grade, multi-layer high-definition (HD) coating has been applied to the optical elements of the lens, enabling the capture of high-contrast images with edge-to-edge sharpness and minimizing flare and ghost images. A super-protective (SP) coating, highly repellent to water, grease and dirt, has also been applied to the lens’ front surface, making it easy to wipe off stains or fingerprints.
The HD PENTAX-D FA 70-210mmF4ED SDM WR will be available for sale on February 15, 2020, at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com and retail outlets nationwide for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1099.95.
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