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Five Trends For Creating Visually Authentic Movies

No matter what your subject matter is, if you’re behind the camera, the search for visual authenticity is one of the hottest topics for 2020.

What does “visual authenticity” mean to a film or video maker? In 2020, the term can mean many things. But, in short, visual authenticity is a catchall term that reflects the looks filmmakers and videographers are striving to create to make their work stand out, look contemporary and current, and, most significantly, bring a deeper level of meaning to their stories.

The following is a list of five trends visual storytellers are using right now in their quest for visual authenticity.

Trend 1—A Return To Shooting Film

The first is very interesting since it’s really a retro trend of sorts, technologically speaking: Many filmmakers have gone back to shooting film.

One reason it’s intriguing is that most digital cinema cameras today, with a few exceptions, have settings that attempt to emulate film, with film-like image knee and gamma curve response in how the image is presented; they are capable of shooting digital video in 23.98 and 24.0 frames per second, which are standard frame rates for film cameras.

Here’s another example. The most highly coveted digital cinema cameras for the past several years have been ARRI’s digital cinema cameras, which use ARRI’s ALEV III CMOS sensor technology. Most would agree the footage captured on these cameras most closely resembles film, almost more than any other sensor technology on the market.

So, if you are seeking visual authenticity, shooting film removes all doubt about your attempt to present a more “authentic image” to tell your story. Of course, actually shooting film (instead of digital, even on an ARRI camera) is more involved. It’s also more limiting, technically speaking, and can be more expensive than if you shoot digitally. But for some award-winning filmmakers, it’s important. In fact, at the Academy Awards this past year, five of the 10 films nominated for both Best Picture and Cinematography were shot (or partially shot) on 35mm film.

Director Steven Soderbergh
Director Steven Soderbergh shoots a scene for his Netflix NBA drama “High Flying Bird” with an Apple iPhone 8.

So although digital technology moves forward with massive technological advancements, the gold standard for visual authenticity seems to be either in shooting film or utilizing digital cinema cameras that best emulate film.

Trend 2— A Throwback To Shooting Anamorphic

Shooting an anamorphic film began as a technique (in the 1950s) for capturing and projecting a wider aspect ratio on 35mm film. Today, cinematographers covet the unique characteristics anamorphic lenses bring to moving images. For instance, anamorphic images are presented in an ultra-wide rectangular aspect ratio and feature long horizontal lens flares and oval background out-of-focus elements. Regular (spherical) lenses project a circular image onto the camera sensor or film, while anamorphic lenses project an oval-shaped image into the sensor or film stock. These lenses also squeeze more horizontal information from a given scene onto the image recorded. The resulting footage must then be stretched horizontally in postproduction or with an anamorphic lens fitted to the video or film projector.

Anamorphic lenses also typically have a 2X squeeze—meaning that the lens captures twice the amount of horizontal information as a spherical lens. So, when they’re stretched, a 2X anamorphic lens used with a standard S35 image sensor or film frame results in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The ratio is often referred to as CinemaScope, a format that first appeared in mid-to-late 1950s.

With digital, the ratios are a bit different: When shooting with a typical digital sensor, a 2X anamorphic lens produces a super-wide 3.55:1 ratio and, with a 1.5x anamorphic lens, will produce an aspect ratio of 2.66:1. To produce a traditional Cinemascope ratio with a 16:9 sensor, you need a 1.33x or 1.35x anamorphic lens.

But is it still popular? According to many of the cinema camera forums I comb through, it certainly seems to be. For instance, one of the first questions that pops up on camera forums with the introduction of a new digital cinema camera is often, “Does it support anamorphic?” (What this means is does the camera have the capability to digitally squeeze the image for recording and de-squeeze the image for monitoring?)

The trend is a throwback to wide-screen spectacles like “Lawrence of Arabia,” which were shot and exhibited in widescreen formats. For others, it’s the generation of filmmakers like J.J. Abrams and Quentin Tarantino whose embrace of anamorphic shooting has served as inspiration to fuel their anamorphic obsession.

But if most content is consumed on 4-inch phone screens and filmmakers even can buy inexpensive anamorphic lenses for phones, one might question the relevancy of how visually authentic anamorphic films can be. Of course, it really depends on the filmmaker’s audience and subject matter, and how the project will be seen.

It’s a fine line between a deliberate filmmaking technique intended for theatrical projection and an anamorphic style that becomes more of a cheap “effect.” For instance, does viewing content on a 4-inch phone screen with heavy letterboxing for an ultra-widescreen look lend more visual authenticity or less? It’s a question that every artist should consider before committing to anamorphic.  

ARRI ALEV III CMOS sensor
The ARRI ALEV III CMOS sensor is widely acknowledged by many to come closest to emulating the look and feel of film in digital cinema cameras.

Trend 3—Revisiting Lenses With ‘Character’

The most straightforward way to explore lens character is to think about what digital cinema and video lenses were in the past and what they have evolved to today. In the past, lenses used in filmmaking and television were categorized, generally by budget. You had fully manual lenses used in filmmaking with manual focus, iris and zoom controls. These lenses were mounted on film cameras and typically adjusted and focused by a camera assistant or, in the case of documentary and 16mm filmmaking, more often the camera operator used the lens controls themselves.

With television cameras, the lenses were generally B4-mount servo-zoom lenses, where the camera operator would usually control at least the focus and focal range, with the iris control often relegated to an engineer who controlled this remotely, using a CCU (camera control unit). None of these paradigms have shifted radically in higher-end production, but what has shifted in the evolution of lenses is the quality of the lenses and images they reproduce. With the advent and popularity of first HD video, then 4K and currently 6K to 8K and eventually 12K to 16K digital video, lens manufacturers have had to up their game considerably as far as technical specifications and reducing lens defects.

Some of the most common defects in lenses have traditionally been:

Chromatic Aberration: This refers to the failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same point and is caused by dispersion: The refractive index of the lens elements varies with the wavelength of light. The refractive index of most transparent materials decreases with increasing wavelength. Since the focal length of a lens depends on the refractive index, this variation in refractive index affects focusing. Chromatic aberration manifests itself as “fringes” of color along boundaries that separate dark and bright parts of the image.

Spherical Aberration: This aberration occurs because a spherical lens refracts light that enters near the edge more than light that enters near the center. A point of light seen through a spherical aberration will have a fairly large halo effect, and the effect is seen in the center as well as the edges of the image. As a result, the image cannot be focused to a sharp point.

Canon K-35 25-120mm t/2.8 zoom
The Canon K-35 25-120mm t/2.8 zoom is a popular vintage lens for those who seek “lens character” to their projects.

Coma: This complex aberration affects only light rays from a point that passes through the lens at an angle. With coma, the rays don’t refocus to a point; they flare out from the point. This makes points of light look like a comet with a blurred tail, hence the name.

Distortion: Images that deviate from rectilinear are considered distorted. Distortion doesn’t necessarily affect sharpness, but it can affect how straight lines appear in an image. The two most common types of distortion are barrel and pincushion distortion, both of which look like you would imagine them from their names.

Flare: This defect manifests itself in two ways: as visible artifacts and as a haze across the image. The haze makes the image look “washed out” by reducing contrast and color saturation (adding light to dark image regions and adding white to saturated regions, reducing their saturation). Visible artifacts, usually in the shape of the lens iris, are formed when light follows a pathway through the lens that contains one or more reflections from the lens surfaces. Flare is typically exacerbated by very bright light sources.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of lens defects, it represents the most common ones the casual user will notice. But lens designers and manufacturers have upped their game in the past couple of decades, producing still lenses and television lenses that all look better than they ever have, with fewer and less-severe optical defects. While these defects are still common, the amount of defects visible in newly designed lenses has slowly and steadily decreased. Plus, significant amounts of new optics on the market are praised for having a “neutral” look and feel because these lenses have reduced or masked their optical defects well.

However, some filmmakers actually want these defects! For some users, neutral-looking lenses appear visually “boring and characterless.” So, for those filmmakers seeking visual authenticity, they’ve embraced lens defects and applied the term “lens character” to older lenses that are rife with optical defects, or even modern lenses that have purposefully included what used to be considered lens defects in their new, modern designs. The common refrain is that modern lenses appear “too sterile, too neutral.” Rental houses and lens specialists have embraced the demand for these imperfections and regularly offer old, obscure and specialist lenses that they have rebuilt and rejuvenated for the rental market and for sale.

But lens character remains controversial for some and a norm for others.   

Luxli Cello
RGBWW LED Lights like this Luxli Cello offer color flexibility and features never previously available.

Trend 4—The Emergence Of New LED Lighting

So, finally, we have a relatively “new” trend that isn’t a renaissance or retro trend.

The emergence of LED lighting has coincided with the democratization of cameras. As new types of LED lighting (LED tubes, flexible LED mats, single-source LED spot and Fresnel instruments) have become commonplace, the search for visual authenticity seems to have also had a hand in how these new tools are being deployed. And one reason LEDs have been so popular is the modern digital cameras are much more sensitive than in the past.

What’s interesting is that DPs and gaffers are using LEDs much more subtly in how they design their lighting. New RGBWW LED instruments offer presets that emulate every lighting gel available, which can be applied to the scene in interesting and innovative ways. Light emulation modes with these lights easily reproduce flashing emergency vehicle lighting, lightning, TV flicker, campfire flicker and many other modes, including color cycling, as well. The newer generation of LED lighting, when paired with more light-sensitive sensors in cameras, allows more latitude and dynamic range in the image.

Consequently, hair and hard-rim lights appear to be less popular since they call attention to themselves in many situations. They also tend to make a scene look “lighted,” and it seems more content creators want to achieve a more naturalistic, low-key look. And it’s a trend that’s at this point a widespread style, appearing in projects from small-budget wedding videos all of the way up to large-scale Hollywood features.

New LED lighting tools
Striving to emulate natural light utilizing the new LED lighting tools available has become a popular lighting style. Notice how this shot has no hair light, and the only rim is being provided by window light behind the talent.

Trend 5—Embracing RAW And Log Video For Better Quality

This last trend—which is really two technology trends grouped together—is definitely a non-retro trend, since RAW video and log video rely on the very latest digital video technology.

When it comes to shooting RAW video, the best way to think of shooting in this format is to think of it as the digital equivalent of a film negative. Shooting RAW is generally accepted as the “best” quality format, but it has stringent requirements. For example, RAW requires processing, and it shifts much of the processing of the image from the camera to the computer in working with the footage. In other words, a RAW file must undergo significant digital “development” before it’s visually usable. This provides unprecedented flexibility in post, as you may convert or tweak the footage to fit any color space or other image fidelity specifications, but it can be a lot of work to produce.

The other trend is shooting log video: One of the reasons log recording has become so prevalent is that it is often associated with the idea of better image quality. In short, recording using a log picture profile preserves more of the image’s dynamic range and tonality by redistributing the digital exposure value representations over the entire value set using a preset logarithmic function.

And that’s the reason I grouped RAW and log together—The goal in both is to produce better quality video.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Even relatively inexpensive cameras like this Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K now offer RAW recording.

But they’re not the same. Generally, RAW video takes up much more space on recording media and needs more processing power in post than log video does. But the idea behind shooting RAW and log video is to preserve the most dynamic range and image latitude possible when the signal is converted to REC. 709 color space for mass distribution.

The quest for better image quality is evolving quickly: Look at ARRI cameras and Sony’s PXW-FX9. They can shoot in S-Cinetone Gamma, which has better dynamic range and provides more latitude when editing in post. Using S-Cinetone Gamma on those cameras also allows you to record those signals to a high enough quality internal codec your video will keep all of the latitude and dynamic range intact. You’ll then only need a simple color correction and grading.

That’s why shooting RAW or log video are popular ways for those searching for visual authenticity—they can present a more natural, realistic and lifelike image. But remember—in the upcoming years, as HDR displays become more common, we may be able to obtain just as much, if not more, visual authenticity by simply shooting and editing in newer, more advanced color standards and workflows like HDR, ACES, REC. 2020 and REC. 2100.

The True Path To Authentic Storytelling

The search for visual authenticity encompasses more than just the momentary, fleeting trends of digital cinema/video production. It’s a search for a way to make your content special and extraordinary. You’ll need the right tools, of course. And those that are presently being used in production continue to evolve at a dizzying pace while prices continue to spiral downward, as capability and features rise. But, in the end, visual authenticity goes beyond just finding the right tool. It’s a search that combines the right gear with techniques and mindset, which, when combined, will let you tell the stories you want in the most engaging, interesting and innovative ways possible.

The post Five Trends For Creating Visually Authentic Movies appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Canon Unveils Full-Frame EOS R5 And R6 Mirrorless Cameras, New RF Lenses And More

Canon’s new products include the Canon EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera (top left)

Earlier this year, Canon announced that it was in the process of developing a new flagship camera, the EOS R5 for its EOS R series system. Today, it made good on that promise, while also expanding other parts of the system: Canon has announced the next two models in its full-frame mirrorless camera system—the EOS R5 and EOS R6.

According to the release, the EOS R5, which is the new flagship model in the EOS R series lineup, features a new 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and uncropped 8K video recording up to 29.97 fps. The EOS R6 has a 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and 4K video recording up to 59.94 fps.

In addition, Canon also introduced four RF lenses, two RF-lens compatible teleconverters and a new professional inkjet printer as well as some new accessories.

Here’s a list of the new lenses, teleconverters and printer:

  • Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM zoom lens
  • Canon RF600mm F11 IS STM lens
  • Canon RF800mm F11 IS STM lens
  • Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens
  • Canon RF 1.4x Extender teleconverter
  • Canon RF 2x Extender teleconverter
  • Canon 13-inch imagePROGRAF PRO-300 professional printer
Canon EOS R5 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera
Canon EOS R6 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

Canon EOS R5 & EOS R6 Cameras

Although each new Canon full-frame mirrorless model is targeted at different markets—the Canon EOS R5 is being targeted at professional photographers and content creators, while the EOS R6 is being marketed to advanced amateurs—they do share a number of qualities, including: 

  • Enhanced features to accurately capture fast-moving subjects and track the eyes, face and bodies of humans and animals, such as dogs, cats and even birds.
  • A continuous-shooting mode that fires up to 12 frames per second with the mechanical shutter and 20 fps with the silent electronic shutter.
  • Some of Canon’s most advanced imaging technology, such as its Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology and its in-body image stabilization systems, which Canon says provides up to as much as “8 stops of shake correction.”
  • Enhanced operating controls as well as built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology: The EOS 5 has both 2.4/5GHz wireless connectivity; the EOS 6 has 2.4 GHz.
  • Two card slots: The EOS R5 has a CFexpress card slot and a UHS-II SD slot; the EOS R6 has two UHS-II SD card slots, but no slot for CFexpress cards.
  • Each is powered by a new high capacity, LP-E6NH battery.
Canon EOS R5 (top view)
Canon EOS R5 (side view)
Canon EOS R5 (back view)

Here are a few of the many differences between the two models:

The EOS R5 uses a 45-megapixel CMOS image sensor and comes with an ISO range of ISO 100 to ISO 51200 (expandable up to ISO 102,400). It can also capture 8K UHD RAW video as well as 4K up to 120fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 with Canon Log or HDR PQ, using internal recording and AF for all formats. Canon says that when “in DCI modes, the 8K and 4K video recording is uncropped and Dual Pixel CMOS AF II is available in all 8K and 4K recording modes.”

Additionally, in terms of live-view displays, the EOS R5 has a built-in 0.5-inch OLED electronic viewfinder with approximately 5.76 million dots and a 119.88 fps refresh rate, and 3.2-inch 2.1 million-dot swiveling touch-screen LCD. It also comes with weather-, drip- and dust-sealing features on par with the EOS 5D DSLR series.

The 20-megapixel EOS R6 also comes with a CMOS image sensor, but it’s only 20 megapixels. However, it does have a slightly higher sensor sensitivity than the EOS R5, with an ISO range of ISO 100 to ISO 102,400 (expandable to ISO 204,800). But it can’t capture video with the high resolution found on the EOS 5D. Instead, it captures 4K UHD video up to 60fps as well as 1080p HD video up to 120fps 10-bit 4:2:2 with Canon Log or HDR PQ, using internal recording and AF for all formats.

Like the EOS R5, the EOS R6 has a built-in 0.5-inch OLED EVF, but with just 3.69 million dots, although it has the same 119.88 fps refresh rate and the LCD is a 3-inch, 1.62 million-dots, swiveling touch-screen LCD

RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM zoom lens
RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens
Canon RF800mm F11 IS STM lens
Canon RF600mm F11 IS STM lens

Lenses and Teleconverters

Canon also announced four new RF-series lenses for its full-frame mirrorless system. Here are a few details on these lenses, all of which include optical image stabilizers:

  • Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 IS USM lens: This lens is a dust-and-water resistant superzoom lens that has a very long reach to its range, but it’s still a relatively compact and lightweight lens. It has a minimum focusing distance of 2.96 feet and includes three different image-stabilization modes, including standard, panning and during exposure only. It also includes two Nano USM motors for high-speed, smooth and quiet auto focus, a rotation-type zoom ring and torque adjustment and a customizable control ring. The lens also includes Canon’s L-Series grade dust-and-weather-resistant construction with a fluorine coating
  • CanonRF85mm F2 Macro IS STM lens: This lens is a lightweight, compact prime, with a bright f/2 aperture enhanced bokeh. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet, employs Hybrid image stabilization features to compensate for angular and shift camera shake when shooting macro photos. It also comes with a control ring and has a nine-blade circular aperture 
  • Canon RF 600mm and Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM lenses: Both of these lenses are designed to have a fixed ƒ/11 aperture, which may not suit every photographer, but the upside is that this pair of lenses are designed to be very affordable, for  super telephoto prime lenses, and are also compact and lightweight—The RF600mm weighs approximately 2.05lb and the RF800mm weighs approximately 2.78lb. On each, the lens barrel can retract and are locked in place when not in use. The design of these primes includes diffractive optics technology, which reduces the number of lenses used to make the primes. Each also offers four to five stops of optical image stabilization (five stops for the RF600mm and four stops for the RF800mm of shake correction). It also has a customizable control ring and are compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders (see below).
  • Teleconverters: Canon has also introduced two new high quality RF lens teleconverters—the Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x, which are also drip and dustproof.
Canon RF 1.4x Extender teleconverter
Canon RF 2x Extender teleconverte

Printer and Accessories

In addition, Canon has a new professional 13-inch inkjet printer, the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300, which is designed to be 15% smaller than its predecessor. The printer includes a number of core features, including:

  • 9-color Lucia Pro channels of ink, plus a chroma optimizer ink.
  • A new matte black ink that Canon says offers “greater black density, smooth gradations and details in darker areas.”
  • High-speed printing options (up to approximately 4 minutes and 15 seconds for a 13 x 19-inch print).
  • Improved media compatibility with the additional capability to support panorama-sized paper, and multiple feeding methods for media of varying thicknesses. 
  • A new 3-inch LCD display.
  • Canon says it’s also included technologies to “help prevent print failures such as a nozzle recovery system and a skew correction function.” That means the nozzles are “carefully checked by sensors, and if a clog is detected in one nozzle, others will automatically compensate for it.”

Additionally, Canon is introducing a Premium Fine Art Rough paper, which has a rough surface texture and is available in a variety of sizes.

Lastly, Canon announced three new accessories: a new battery grip (BG-R10), a high-capacity battery (LP-E6NH) and a high-performance wireless file transmitter (WFT-R10A)

Canon’s 13-inch imagePROGRAF PRO-300 professional printer (front view)
Canon’s 13-inch imagePROGRAF PRO-300 professional printer (top view)

Pricing And Availability

All the products that Canon announced today will be available at the end of this month, except the EOS R6 (which will be available the end of August), the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens (which will be available the end of September) and the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens (which will be available the end of October).

The following camera bodies and lenses are priced according to several configurations:

  • Canon EOS R5 ($3,899, body only; and $4,999 with RF24-105mm F4L kit lens)
  • Canon EOS R6 ($2,499, body only; $3,599 with RF24-105mm F4L kit lens or $2,899 with RF24-105mm SRM kit lens)
  • Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens, $2,699
  • Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM Lens, $699
  • Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM Lens, $899
  • Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM Lens, $599
  • Canon’s new battery grip (BG-R10) for $349
  • Canon’s new high-capacity battery (LP-E6NH) for $79
  • Canon’s high-performance wireless file transmitter (WFT-R10A) for $999
  • Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO-300 Printer for $899
  • Canon’s new Premium Fine Art Rough paper for $44, letter size; $109, 13 x 19-inches; and $169 , 17 x 22-inches.

For more information, see the press release below.

[[ press release ]]

THE SECRET IS OUT: CANON OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCES THE CANON EOS R5 AND R6, THE COMPANY’S MOST ADVANCED FULL-FRAME MIRRORLESS CAMERAS EVER 

The Company is Also Announcing Four RF Lenses, Two RF Lens Extenders, and a PRO Printer

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 9, 2020 – With anticipation at a fever pitch, Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is excited to introduce the company’s next generation of full-frame mirrorless cameras – the EOS R5 and EOS R6. These groundbreaking cameras are the result of many years of collecting and listening to feedback from Canon users and are sure to meet the needs and demands of a variety of creators. The EOS R5 is a camera designed for professional applications featuring a new 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and uncropped 8K video recording up to 29.97 fps. The EOS R6 is geared towards advanced amateurs featuring a 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and 4K video recording up to 59.94 fps. The addition of the EOS R5 and the EOS R6 cameras within the EOS R series lineup further solidifies Canon’s commitment to providing the equipment needed for users to bring their content to the next level.

Canon is also introducing four RF lenses and two RF lens extenders: The Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM, Canon RF600mm F11 IS STM, Canon RF800mm F11 IS STM, and RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lenses. All four new lenses were designed to meet the ever-expanding demands of the skilled creatives who capture amazing imagery using EOS R series cameras, including the new EOS R5 and EOS R6. In addition to the lenses, there are two new RF lens extenders, a 1.4x and a 2x model, allowing for users to take their compatible RF lens focal lengths even farther, and a 13-inch professional printer, the imagePROGRAF PRO-300, to bring photos to life through the power of print.

“For all of the Canon research and development team members who worked tirelessly on the production of these new products, today marks the culmination of a long journey. For those people looking for the next great tools to work with to expand their creative possibilities, the door is now wide open,” said Tatsuro “Tony” Kano, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Canon U.S.A.’s Imaging Technologies & Communications Group. “The industry has asked for new products that can push their levels of creativity to new heights, and we are confident that the EOS R5 and EOS R6, alongside the new lenses, lens extenders, and the pro printer, will fulfill those needs and more.

Canon EOS R5 and EOS R6

Both the EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras have the ability to capture the action of a variety of fast-moving subjects with impressive accuracy and speed. When using the mechanical shutter, each can shoot up to 12 fps and up to 20 fps when using the completely silent shutter. Both cameras are the first to be outfitted with Canon’s advanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF II which utilizes up to approximately100 percent coverage of the AF area and EOS iTR AF X incorporating AF tracking algorithms using deep learning technology and enhanced readout speed of the CMOS sensor and processing speed thanks to the DIGIC X image processor. The 1,053 automatically selected AF Zones are made even more potent by the ability to detect the human eye, face or head as well as the eye, face or body of animals such as dogs, cats and even birds[i].  Adding to the feature set is  the 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilizer, having coordinated control with Optical Image Stabilizer in IS equipped RF lenses. This provides up to 8 stops[ii] of shake correction, a feature that many creators have long asked for from Canon. Both the EOS R5 and R6 cameras come with a new LP-E6NH battery with a higher capacity than the previous model.

As the new flagship model in the EOS R series lineup, the EOS R5 camera has features that pack a punch for a variety of users who create both still and video content. It has a powerful 45-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and is driven by the speedy DIGIC X image processor, giving wide dynamic range as well as boasting an ISO range of 100-51,200 that is expandable up to 102,400[iii]. In a camera full of eye-popping features,  one that really stands out is the ability to record uncropped 8K RAW internal video recording up to 29.97 fps and 8K internal video recording up to 29.97 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). The camera can also record 4K internal video recording up to 119.88 fps in 4:2:2 10-bit Canon Log (H.265)/4:2:2 10-bit HDR PQ (H.265). External recording in 4K is also available up to 59.94 fps. When in DCI modes, the 8K and 4K video recording is uncropped and Dual Pixel CMOS AF II is available in all 8K and 4K recording modes. Additional features of the EOS R5 camera include:

  • Dual-card slots: 1x CFexpress[iv] and 1x SD UHS-II[v]
  • Built-in 0.5-inch OLED EVF with approximately 5.76 million dots and a 119.88 fps refresh rate[vi]
  • 2-inch 2.1 million dots vari-angle LCD touch screen
  • 5GHz/2.4GHz Built-in Wi-Fi®[vii] and Bluetooth[viii] Technology with the ability to utilize the image.canon application, as well as optional WFT-R10A wireless file transmitter with Ethernet support
  • Enhanced operating controls such as rear-dial, multi-controller
  • The ability to voice tag photos and videos
  • Weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 5D series

The EOS R6 camera is well-equipped with a host of new features to push the limits of creativity for imaging enthusiasts. The combination of the EOS-1D X Mark III based 20.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and the DIGIC X image processor produces an ISO range of 100-102,400 and is expandable to 204,800. Internal video recording at 4K is capable up to 59.94 fps or 1080p up to 119.88 fps in 10 bit 4:2:2 Canon Log(H.265) or HDR PQ(H.265). The camera also features a built-in 0.5-inch OLED EVF with approximately 3.69 million dots and a 119.88 fps refresh ratevi. Additional features of the EOS R6 camera include

  • Dual UHS-II SD card slots
  • 3-inch 1.62 million dots vari-angle LCD touch screen
  • 4GHz Built-in Wi-Fi®vii and Bluetooth Technologyviii with the ability to utilize the image.canon application
  • Enhanced operating controls such as rear-dial, multi-controller
  • Weather, drip and dust sealing on par with the EOS 6D series

Battery Accessory

The optional BG-R10 battery grip accessory will be available for both the EOS R5 and EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless cameras. The BG-R10 accommodates up to two batteries and is compatible with the new LP-E6NH, LP-E6N and LP-E6 batteries. The convenient BG-R10 grip accessory can also improve handling for users while capturing portrait photography.

Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM

The Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM is a high-performance and versatile super-telephoto zoom lens that will find its way into the bags of many photographers. The compact and lightweight lens features optical image stabilization of up to five stops* of shake correction with three different IS modes, including standard, panning and during exposure only. Two Nano USM motors are at the heart of this lens and provide users with high-speed, smooth and quiet auto focus with a minimum focusing distance of three feet. Additional features of the Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM include:

  • Rotation-Type zoom ring and torque adjustment allows for precision control and feel
  • Customizable control ring that enables photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter      speed, aperture or ISO
  • 12-pin Communication System
  • Canon L-Series grade dust and weather-resistant construction with a fluorine coating
  • Lens hood with side window allows specialty filters to be adjusted even while Lens Hood is attached
  • Compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders (from 300 to 500mm focal length)

Canon RF600mm and 800mm F11 IS STM

The Canon RF600mm and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses are the first fixed focal length super-telephoto RF lenses and are incredibly compact and lightweight. The portability of the new lenses is made even greater due to the ability for the lens barrel to retract and lock in place when the lenses are stowed away and not in use. Diffractive Optics technology helps to reduce the necessary number of lenses and greatly diminish the cost of the lenses, making them affordable for a broader group of photographers. Additional features of the Canon RF600mm and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses include:

  • Lightweight – the RF600mm weighs approximately 2.05lb and the RF800mm weighs approximately 2.78lb, respectively
  • Compact size, RF600mm measures approximately 7.85inch and RF800mm with measures approximately 11.09inch when retracted, respectively
  • Fixed f/11 aperture
  • Optical image stabilization of five stops* for the RF600mm and four stops* for the RF800mm of Shake Correction
  • Lead screw-type STM enables smooth auto focusing for still-image and video shooting
  • Customizable control ring that allows photographers to adjust exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture or ISO
  • 12-pin Communication System
  • Compatible with the new 1.4x and 2x RF lens extenders

Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM

The third RF85mm lens in the RF lineup, the Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM is compact and lightweight, featuring a bright f/2 aperture helping to capture images that have exceptional bokeh. The lens features a maximum magnification of 0.5x and a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet, providing users with macro-photography capability. Additional features of the Canon RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM include:

  • Optical Image Stabilization with up to five stops* of Shake Correction
  • Hybrid IS compensates for angular and shift camera shake during macro photography
  • Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes.
  • 12-pin Communication System
  • Nine blade Circular Aperture

RF Lens Extenders

Lens extenders have long been a practical and useful tool for a variety of photographers. That story continues with the introduction of the Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x. The new lens extenders inherit the same high image quality, precision AF and reliability, such as being drip and dustproof, of EF lens extenders. When used in combination with the newly-released compatible lenses, the capturing range can be dramatically increased, providing consumers with additional use cases for their existing RF lenses. 

Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300

Completing the lineup of professional printer options from 13 inches through 60 inches, Canon also unveiled today the new 13-inch Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-300 Inkjet Printer along with a new Premium Fine Art Rough paper. Providing an improved workflow and high-quality output within a smaller footprint compared to previous models, this new printer excels at professional printing performance. Combined with the new Premium Fine Art Rough paper that features a textured surface to express the depth of an image, the printer along with the paper and new EOS R5 or EOS R6 camera introduces a new powerhouse professional imaging trio that meets creators’ demands.

Pricing and Availability

The EOS R5 full-frame mirrorless camera is scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $3899.00 for the body only and $4999.00 for the R5 and RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens kit**.

The EOS R6 full-frame mirrorless camera is scheduled to be available at the end of August for an estimated retail price of $2499.00 for the body only, $2.899.00 for the R6 and RF 24-105 F4-7.1 IS STM lens kit or $3,599.00 for the R6 and RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens kit**.

The BG-R10 battery grip accessory and WFT-R10A are both scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $349.99 and $999.99**, respectively.

The RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens is scheduled to be available in September 2020 for an estimated retail price of $2,699.00. The RF600mm F11 IS STM and RF800mm F11 IS STM lenses are scheduled to be available at the end of July 2020 for an estimated retail price of $699.99 and $899.99, respectively. The RF85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens is scheduled to be available in October 2020 for an estimated retail price of $599.99 **.

The RF Extender 1.4x and 2x are scheduled to be available at the end of July for an estimated retail price of $499.99 and $599.99** each.

The imagePROGRAF PRO-300 Printer will be available later in July for a suggested retail price of $899.99. Premium Fine Art Rough paper will also be available later in July for a suggested retail price of $44.99 for Letter size, $109.99 for 13” x 19” inches and $169.99, 17” x 22” inches**.

[i]  Effectiveness varies depending on the subject. In some cases, dogs, cats or birds may not be detected, while some animals other than dogs, cats or birds may be detected

[ii] Based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) standards. Combined with RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM lens at a focal distance of 105mm. IS equipped RF lenses available prior to July 9th, 2020 will require a lens firmware update to utilize coordinated IS control. Please check the Canon website for the latest firmware updates.

[iii] For still images

[iv] Type B compatible

[vi] Display may be grainier

[vii] Compatible with iOS® versions 9.3/10.3/11.2-11.4/12.4/13.2, Android™ smartphone and tablet versions 5.0/5.1/6.0/7.0/7.1/8.0/8.1/9.0/10. Data charges may apply with the download of the free Canon Camera Connect app. This app helps enable you to upload images to social media services. Please note that image files may contain personally identifiable information that may implicate privacy laws. Canon disclaims and has no responsibility for your use of such images. Canon does not obtain, collect or use such images or any information included in such images through this app

[viii] Compatible with select smartphone and tablet devices (Android™ version 5.0 or later and the following iOS® devices: iPhone 4s or later, iPad 3rd gen. or later, iPod Touch 5th gen. or later) equipped with Bluetooth® Version 4.1 or later and the Camera Connect App Ver. 2.5.10. This application is not guaranteed to operate on all listed devices, even if minimum requirements are met

*Based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association) standard

The post Canon Unveils Full-Frame EOS R5 And R6 Mirrorless Cameras, New RF Lenses And More appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Using The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro Without Streaming

While the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro was conceived primarily as a live streaming tool, I propose that it has so many intriguing features that, for me, it’s becoming an indispensable tool for all kinds of non-live streaming shoots.

By now, you’ve probably read at least one of the pieces I’ve written for HDVideoPro or seen a YouTube video or read elsewhere about live streaming using the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro. I have an interesting value proposition for you to consider about who should be using the ATEM Mini Pro. Here it is. Even if you’ve never considered, aren’t presently and have no plans in the near future for live streaming, I still think you should consider spending $595 for the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro. Why? It’s pretty simple: it’s too handy for its multi-view monitoring function.

Getting Into Multi-Camera Shooting

Perhaps if you only ever shoot single camera, you may not need the functionality that the ATEM Mini Pro provides. Do you ever shoot multiple cameras though? Besides live streaming, my business has lately been embracing the convenience and flexibility that comes with shooting multiple cameras. There’s something to be said for the speed and flexibility that shooting with two, three or four cameras offers that’s not possible with single-camera shooting. If it’s a narrative piece, these are most often shot with a single camera “film style” as we used to say.

This means working with professional actors or spokespeople who are skilled enough at learning and delivering lines and being able to repeat them a great number of times with relative accuracy. Then you can light each angle perfectly, shoot the performance from one angle and then move the camera to shoot an alternative angle as the talent repeats their performance. Classic cinema/single-camera episodic shooting. If this is how you shoot, you may not gain the advantages of the ATEM Mini Pro for monitoring. 

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro
Does a broadcast camera like the Sony HXC-FB80KN look familiar to you? This is an archetypical live broadcast camera. With the addition of the ATEM Mini Pro, some of the functionality in a broadcast camera like this is now possible with all kinds of other cameras.

Alternately, if you have two, three or four cameras, you can often shoot a scene just once or twice and because you have multiple angles in camera, it can allow you to move much faster than shooting single-camera style. There are of course compromises to be made shooting multiple camera. More cameras, more gear, more cables, more tripods.

If you’re carefully lighting a scene cinematically, with multiple cameras, depending on where they’re located and what they’re shooting, the lighting can be a compromise because the DP then has to light the scene in such a way where multiple angles look perfect instead of just one angle. Let’s take a look at one way of shooting that usually still can work with more cinematically lit scenes, shooting two or even three cameras from the same angle.

If I’m shooting a dramatic scene between two actors, the first instinct might be to have one or two cameras on each of the actors. This would require lighting both angles at once which, while not impossible, takes longer, adds more grip and lighting gear to the scene and, generally, most DPs feel it would be a compromise in the lighting, especially for anything dramatically lit.

However, if we scale the shot back to just two cameras stacked, both from the exact same angle, one wider and one in a close up, if we were shooting with a single camera, that would be at least two takes, one for each frame, right? Multiply that to several takes in the same setup to get the perfect performance, it can be difficult for an actor to match their performance between multiple takes perfectly. Even if they nail the line and delivery each time, there might be continuity differences about where their eyeline is, the tile of their head, what they’re doing with their body, etc.

If you shoot it with two cameras, you mitigate any of these minor continuity variations. You could have two monitors for the director, writer, script supervisor and other department heads to see. Here’s where the ATEM Mini Pro starts to come into play though.

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro
The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro Multiview is the secret weapon that makes it such an extraordinary monitoring tool on set. It’s very handy to be able to see what all of your cameras are seeing on one monitor.

You can run the HDMI output (not every camera outputs HDMI of course. Higher-end cameras often only have SDI outputs, but most low-end to mid-level cameras have HDMI out and many mid level cameras have both HDMI and SDI outputs) into the ATEM Mini Pro. Using it’s Multiview function, you can then see the feeds from up to four cameras at once on a single monitor. Each camera will also have its audio output levels superimposed as well. That function itself has previously been possible but expensive and complicated.

The ATEM Mini Pro is ridiculously easy to set up and use. You can hook its output up to an inexpensive computer monitor or up to an expensive, high-end huge 65-inch monitor as long as it has HDMI inputs. If you expand the equation out to three or even four cameras, you can see all three or four angles at once. You can instantly go full screen with any camera to check focus or framing or look for lint on your talent’s wardrobe or any out-of-place hairs.

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro
The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro allows for not only live switching but recording the program output to any correctly formatted SSD or hard drive.

Here’s Where It Becomes Really Powerful

The ATEM Mini Pro can not only shoot up to four camera inputs on a single monitor, it also allows you to hook up an SSD to the program output and record it. What this means is that not only can you monitor the output, you can actually do a line cut. What’s a line cut? It’s a switched feed, a “rough cut” of the scene being recorded. Think about the possibilities for directors and editors. This gives the ability to record a switched cut.

What if your timing is a little off and you want different timing in your final edit? You’ll be shooting isolated recordings in each camera that will be your source material. What if you can walk away from each scene with at least a rough cut of your multiple angles cut together? That rough cut can be given to an editor to put on their timeline as a “rough” assembly. The camera media can then be loaded and it becomes simple to slip or slide the timing if the person controlling the ATEM was off a little in their timing.

The ATEM Mini Pro has a 3.5mm audio input, so your rough assembly of each scene will have sound from your sound mixer on it or you could hook up a small TC generator like a Tentacle Sync E to the audio input of the ATEM Mini Pro with the TC matching your sound mixer’s recorder so it all syncs up to match your camera source and sound time code. 

ATEM Mini Pro
Here’s a BTS still of a recent shoot we used the ATEM Mini for monitoring and recording the client’s laptop output, which was integrated into their finished videos for their social media channels.

Different Use Cases

I’ve covered a use case above for narrative production. Let’s discuss a few other scenarios. I shoot documentaries. As you know, interviews are generally the architectural framework that’s used to assemble a typical documentary. Shooting multiple cameras in documentaries presents many of the same lighting and gear limitations as in narrative but if you’re using a small crew or even doing a one-man-band shoot for a documentary, it can be incredibly helpful in your framing and lighting to see and record your setups even if you’re only shooting with two cameras.

Imagine if your camera one is on a motion-control slider with an MCU shot of your talent. Camera two is locked off on a wider-angle shot of the same. Perhaps camera three is getting a complete different angle profile shot. With this setup, you could be conducting the interview and be viewing all three of your camera angles as well. Having a rough assembly of the three cameras can be tremendously helpful as well. It takes more time to set this up than a single camera, but the end result may save you time in post and is immensely helpful in doing a rough assembly of a given scene.

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro
This Pearstone high-definition video and digital audio HDMI cable is shielded and gold-plated, and provides 10.2 Gbps of bandwidth with 4K x 2K resolution and 3D capabilities. To fight signal error and dropouts prone to long passive HDMI cables, the cable integrates a RedMere booster chip, which provides a reliable signal boost for high-definition video.

Think the same about doing live events. The ATEM Mini Pro becomes a powerful tool for weddings, live concerts and musical performances. I’ve used it to record a laptop’s output for a client project; the quality for the screen recording was excellent. A limitation could be HDMI, which isn’t especially good for doing long cable runs, so SDI is better. We’ve used HDMI runs to 50 feet with high-quality cables. The ATEM Mini Pro can only record up to 1080 60p, so it won’t record UHD or DCI 4K or higher. I’m proposing using it as a monitoring and rough assembly recording tool, which is where it shines.

The ATEM Mini Pro lacks a headphone jack, so although it shows you audio levels on the meters on screen, you have to monitor your audio elsewhere, from the camera or recorder, but that’s a minor issue.

Even if you never plan on live streaming, Blackmagic Design has built so much interesting functionality into the ATEM Mini Pro that I think the product will be incredibly useful for all kinds of productions. Take a look at your situation; the ATEM Mini Pro could be a useful multi-function tool for your kit.

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Sony Introduces New Ultra Wide 12-24mm Zoom Lens

Sony’s new 12-24mm F2.8 GM zoom lens

Today, Sony has unveiled a potentially groundbreaking new zoom lens, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM, a large-aperture ultra-wide zoom lens for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. The new E-mount zoom is a G Master series lens—its 11th G Master lens in the series and fourth G Master zoom with a constant F2.8 aperture—includes many of Sony’s latest mirrorless lens innovations and technologies. Moreover, Sony claims the new lens is the “world’s widest full-frame constant F2.8 zoom” in the market place, which, Sony also states in a promotional video, has an angle of view that is “wider than the human eye.”

In the world of ultra wide primes and zooms—that is, any lenses that has a focal length wider than a 24mm lens on a full-frame format digital camera—there are a few lenses that have either a 12mm (or wider) focal length or a constant F2.8 aperture. But Sony says only this new lens achieves both a wide-angle focal length of 12mm (which translates into a 10 degree angle of view advantage over primes and zooms with a 14mm focal length) and a constant F2.8 aperture (which takes in twice as much light as an F4 aperture lens).

Pricing And Availability

The Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM zoom lens will be available in mid-August for an expected street price of around $3000, which is very pricey for a lens, although ultra wide-angle lenses tend to be expensive across brands. However, despite the high price, the zoom might be one of the most sought after lenses of the year by every type of shooter, from street and architectural photographers to commercials and sports shooters as well as photographers of nightscapes and starscapes.  

The Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM zoom lens on the Sony a7R IV camera body.

Specialized Optical Design

The optical design of the new zoom uses 17 elements in 14 groups, including 3 XA elements, 1 aspheric element as well as 3 ED and 2 Super ED elements. It also utilizes 4 XD linear motors for outstanding autofocus speed, precision and tracking, including Sony’s real-time eye AF. The construction of the lens also uses a floating focus mechanism.  

Additional Features

The camera includes a variety of additional features, including:

  • a lens diameter that was under 4 inches;
  • a minimum focal distance of 11 inches;
  • a 9-blade circular aperture mechanism;
  • a relatively lightweight, compact design, weighing 1 lbs. 14 oz.,  
  • a new lens coating: Nano AR Coating II;
  • a dust and moisture-resistant design;
  • a focus hold button and manual-focus ring;
  • and a rear filter holder (by the lens-mount end of the zoom) for sheet-type ND filters

Because it’s an E-mount lens, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM will also work on Sony mirrorless cameras that use APS-C-sized sensors, although it will effectively turn the zoom into an 18-36mm zoom lens.

Learn more about the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM at B&H.

The new lens has a rear filter holder (by the lens-mount end) for sheet-type ND filters.

Optimized For Video

Sony says the lens is also optimized for video, and is “optically designed to minimize critical issue of moviemaking,” including focus breathing, focus shift and axial shift while zooming. But Sony also noted the lens doesn’t include a power zoom on the lens.

Like many Sony wide-angle lenses, the Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM doesn’t have an optical stabilizer built into the lens since Sony Alpha camera bodies include an in-body image stabilization system.

For more information, visit Sony’s product announcement for the lens on its Alpha Universe website.

The post Sony Introduces New Ultra Wide 12-24mm Zoom Lens appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Staying Organized, Part 1

Last time, I wrote about getting organized. I explained how I spent a little time up front creating a folder structure that I use as a base for all of my projects, making me more efficient. Folder structures are great, but once you start up your edit software, the rules change a bit.

One of the differences is that at the system level, some folders, like footage folders, have a structure that shouldn’t be modified if at all possible. Once you get into editing, you don’t have that limitation. It’s easy to move things around into different bins and make bins within bins.

That flexibility can quickly lead to difficulty in searching out project elements. In fact, you might end up having to use a search function to find things, particularly with large projects with lots of elements. For me, if I can have some structure — without giving up flexibility — I can concentrate on editing rather than trying to find things.

I use a technique similar to creating folders at the system level. But instead of folders, I start up the editing application and create various bins and sub bins. I can then save the “template” and duplicate it when I start a new project.

Project templates, unlike my folder structure system, are client specific. Yes, I have a couple of generic templates for new clients and one-off projects. However, with project templates, I can customize the setup for the client I’m working with.

The customization might include custom color palettes, custom super and title setups and even stills incorporating important brand guidelines. I’ll drag some of these elements into the various folders in the project before I create the template. I might also create a starting sequence that matches the client’s specifications.

For example, one client may want everything at 23.976 fps UHD with a full slate countdown, so I’ll create a sequence at that resolution and frame rate with a slate. Another client may want true 30.00 fps at HD without slate, so that template will contain a sequence that matches the criteria.

But the real efficiency is gained by the bin structure in the template. I’ll show you what that looks like next time.

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Fujifilm Introduces GF 30mm F3.5 R WR Wide-Angle Lens

Par : By Staff

Fujifilm’s new FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR Lens

Fujifilm has announced a new wide-angle lens for its GFX medium-format system: The new GF 30mm F3.5 R WR lens has a focal-length equivalent of 24mm (35mm film format). The prime will ship in late July or early August and cost $1699.

The optical design of the lens consists of 13 elements in 10 groups, and includes two aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion (ED) elements. Other features include:

  • A lightweight, portable and compact design—it weighs approximately 18 ounces and measures 3.9 inches, with a maximum diameter of 3.3 inches (84mm).
  • A fast and quiet autofocus (AF) system.
  • Focus breathing is limited to just 0.05%, making it a great lens for recording video.
  • Dust and weather-resistant seals
  • And the lens can work in temperatures as low as 14°F, allowing you to shoot in challenging environments.

For more, see the press release below, or visit: https://fujifilm-x.com/en- us/products/lenses/gf30mmf35-r-wr/    

Fujifilm’s new FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR Lens
Fujifilm’s new FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR Lens (on the GFX100 camera body).

[[press release]]

Fujifilm Launches FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR Lightweight, High Resolution Lens

Valhalla, N.Y., June 30, 2020 – FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced the launch of the FUJINON GF30mmF3.5 R WR (GF30mmF3.5 R WR), a wide-angle prime lens with a focal length equivalent of 24mm (in the 35mm film format) for the FUJIFILM GFX System of large format*1 digital cameras.

With its dust and weather-resistant design, the GF30mmF3.5 R WR caters to a variety of shooting styles including landscapes, architecture, as well as casual snapshots on the move. “This lens is a great compliment to our existing series of GF lenses and gives image-makers a great wide-angle option for landscapes, architecture, or wide environmental portraits,” said Victor Ha, senior director, marketing and product management with the Electronic Imaging Division of FUJIFILM North America Corporation. “We are really excited to see the images our community will make with this lens.

Main product features:

Image quality

The lens consists of thirteen lens elements in ten groups, including two aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion (ED) elements. The high-performance lens groups are positioned to control various aberrations, especially distortion to which wide- angle lenses are prone, to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness. The lens is able to resolve an impressive amount of detail, compatible with 100MP sensors — “enabling the photographer to re-create the atmosphere of each scene with a sense of visual honesty and feeling,” said Ha.

Portability

This compact lens weighs approximately 18 ounces (510g) and measures 3.9 inches (99.4mm) with a maximum diameter of 3.3 inches (84mm). In addition, the slim design balances well on a GFX System camera, making it a perfect lens to carry on-the-go.

Performance

The new GF30mmF3.5 R WR lens uses an internal focusing system, offering fast and quiet autofocus (AF). Focus breathing is just 0.05%, making it a great lens for recording video. Like all of Fujifilm’s lenses in the GF family, the GF30mmF3.5 R WR incorporates Fujifilm’s optical design and production technology processes to achieve a sub-micron level precision lens surface. This allows the lens to bring out the full potential of the FUJIFILM GFX 50S and GFX 50R mirrorless digital cameras, as well as the 100MP image sensor of the FUJIFILM GFX 100.

Durability

The lens is sealed at nine locations to make it dust and weather-resistant. It can also be used in temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C), offering photographers peace-of-mind when shooting in inclement weather or dusty environments.

The GF30mmF3.5 R WR lens will be available in late July or early August in the U.S. and Canada for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of USD $1699. For more information, visit https://fujifilm-x.com/en- us/products/lenses/gf30mmf35-r-wr/    

 

 

 

 

 

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Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300

My first LED panel light, the Cool Light CL600. While it had several advantages over the Arri Fresnel’s I was used to, mainly heat and power draw, its output and color accuracy weren’t as good.

Lighting in 2020 has come a long way from where it was just a few short years ago. The choices we have today in different styles, builds and fixtures are varied and deep. There are lights for almost any need and at any price. Digital technology still hasn’t conclusively solved every lighting problem that LED lights have though. Many of the early challenges with LED lighting revolved simply around output—the first generation of LED instruments simply didn’t have much output. Their color accuracy was suspect as well. Unlike the tungsten heat generators that most of us were using a decade ago that had extremely accurate color reproduction, LED lights tend to not have the same full-spectrum color reproduction that tungsten lighting has, although with each new generation of LED technology, the color reproduction, CRI and TLCI measurements have continued to improve.

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
The Cool Light CL600 only required 48W or 4 amps of power, but its output was low for anything other than a dark stage or room with low ambient light.

My Generation One LEDs

My first LED panels I ever bought were from a company called Cool Lights. These early 1×1 panels appealed to me simply because I was looking for an effective way to light interviews in smaller rooms without heating up the room to unbearable levels. I liked the way my tungsten Arri Fresnel’s made talent and skin tones look, but I often had to shoot in people’s smaller offices and conference rooms, and the heat that they Arris generated was becoming unbearable.

The upside with the Cool Lights panels was that they had just enough power to punch the lights through diffusion to reach adequate output levels for an interview. They caused no change in room temperature and they used far less power than my tungsten lights did. If you never had the experience of lighting with tungsten instruments, you’ve probably missed out on the fun of blowing a circuit breaker. The issue was that often when setting up tungsten lights, the amperage draw for putting more than one or two instruments on one circuit would exceed the outlet’s rated amperage.

Often in homes and even in offices, it’s not clear which outlets are on which circuit, so it was a normal and not fun part of lighting with tungsten instruments that we’d occasionally trip the circuit breaker, requiring locating the circuit breaker box, resetting the circuit breaker and rerouting lights to better distribute the power load. This was often a time-consuming hassle. The Cool Light panels solved this issue instantly, so just for the reduction of heat and power consumption, they were a win.

Where they lacked was in color reproduction; they had a green spike in their output that required a full-time minus green filter and, frankly, skin tones looked okay but not as good as tungsten lights. I also noticed that the falloff of the light occurred at a much faster rate with the LED lights than with tungsten. I’d have to place the lights very close to the talent to get the kind of output needed. This can become challenging in how you frame your shots and choose your locations.

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
My second LED panel light, the Aputure LS-1S Lightstorm. The Aputure had considerably more output, wireless power and level control, and its output was also more color accurate with much higher CRI and TLCI ratings than my first panels.

My Generation Two LEDs

A few years ago, I decided that my older LEDs, the Cool Lights panels, were fading in output. I measured the output with my light meter and a specific distance, then checked it a few weeks later and sure enough, the lights weren’t dead but as they aged, the output levels were fading. I realized that I needed to invest in a few new LED panels to replace them. I did my research and found some interesting LED panels from a new company called Aputure. The new lights I was taking a good hard look at were called the LS-1S Lightstorms. The output and design of these lights were intriguing as they had about three to four times the output of my Cool Lights panels and these lights were much more color accurate on top of that. One other feature that I thought would be handy was that the lights were controllable by a small wireless remote that came with the lights. I could wireless turn on or off any light in my setup and raise and lower the light’s output level as well.

The Aputures came with a set of attached barndoors for better lighting control. My old Cool Lights had separate barndoors that fit into a channel on the light body. It worked, but the barndoors were a bit loose in the channel, so adjusting them always felt a bit noisy and clunky. I also had four Chimera soft banks that I wanted to utilize with the Aputure Lightstorms, but the issue, at least with the small Chimera that I wanted to mount to the light, was that there was no existing speed ring that would fit the Aputure. Undeterred, I enlisted a friend of mine who’s a talented welder to help me design and fabricate my own speed ring that would fit the Aputure, allowing me to keep using my expensive, well-loved Chimera light banks with these new lights.

After some trial and error, we finally came up with a design that would fit onto the Aputure and successfully stretch and fill the Chimera with light. I also have a Medium Chimera Softbank that measures 3 by 4 feet. It’s too large to fit onto most lights and too heavy for the light to hold at a specific angle, so I mount that Chimera on its own huge speed ring and then I mount that speed ring onto a C-Stand knuckle on a C-stand, then I place one or two of the Aputures on their own light stands and nest them into the speed right on the light.

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
Here’s an outdoor live stream that took place outdoors but after the sun had set. This is with two of our LS-1S Lightstorms shining through my medium Chimera. This setup worked, but you can see all of the equipment needed to put these two lights through the Chimera.

It works—I’ve used this setup for several interviews for a couple of documentary films that I’ve shot, but it’s a clunky and hardware-intensive setup and a pain to actually move the Chimera and its C-stand as well as one or two light stands every time I want to flip the key source or nudge it over to the edge of the frame. One of the problems with using LED panels with a soft bank is that LED panels, with hundreds of 5mm LED bulbs, are inherently an inefficient endeavor. It’s hard to wrap the rear panels of the Chimera around the light, so you tend to get a lot of output bleeding out the rear of the setup. Most importantly, using the LS-1S or two of them with a Chimera requires a lot of hardware in the form of a C-stand as well as one or two light stands.

I’ve been studying the newest trends in LED lighting, which seemed to be pointing me to a Chip on Board (COB) light. What is a COB light? As you know, LED panel lights mostly utilize rows of individual 5mm bulbs or, in the case of a few LEDs like my Kamerar Brightcast panels I reviewed here last year, utilize SMD (Surface Mount Diodes) technology. COB technology utilizes essentially what’s one large source rather than dozens or hundreds of small LEDs. The advantage is greater output from COB and the ability to utilize a Fresnel lens to turn your COB instrument into a Fresnel light. This allows you to use the light as a spot source, make slashes using the barndoors and, in general, gives you more options than an LED panel.

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
This is a perfect shot of a COB light. Notice how the light source is a small, single source at the center of the light’s reflector instead of hundreds of small 5mm LED bulbs. This is the next step in LED technology evolution.

My Generation 3 LED

After studying the market and the latest COB light offerings, I finally arrived at a list of features I was looking for in a single instrument:

  • Quiet
  • High output
  • Barndoors
  • Wireless remote control
  • Reliable
  • Color accurate
  • Quarantine-friendly cost   

I watched a few YouTube videos with early adopters and the Godox VL line looked encouraging. I had considered some other COB lights, which looked promising as far as specs and performance, but the cost was more than I was comfortable spending during the year of quarantine. Work has been scarce this year and revenue has been down, so I wanted to buy a light that didn’t cost a lot but was well built and would last while offering a lot of light output.

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
The Godox VL300 is a brand-new COB high-powered LED single source from Godox who has a good reputation for their flashes for still photography.

Enter The Godox VL Series COB Lights

The Godox VL300 seemed to check off all of these boxes pretty well based upon reviews and tests I’ve been looking at. Normally, I like to rent lights, cameras, lenses and other relatively expensive gear before buying, but the Godox VL300 was so new that I couldn’t find one to rent. I ordered the light from Amazon, figuring that if it didn’t perform as advertised, I could always return it. My fears were put to rest the day the Godox arrived. I mounted it onto my American Grip medium light stand and fired it up. The light was quiet. The fans kicked on after the light had been on at 100 percent output for a few minutes, but I really couldn’t hear them unless I put my ear right next to the bottom of the light and even then, the fans (yes, there are two of them) were exceedingly quiet.

Lighting Horsepower

I checked the light output using my Sekonic light meter and found that the light was giving me a little over 7,200 FC at one meter. The included barndoors were of good quality and easily attached to the reflector. I tested out the included wireless remote, which functioned perfectly. A week later, after checking its long-term function by leaving the light on for four hours, I used the light as my key source for a series of training videos we were shooting for a client. I utilized the light through a Nice Photo Parabolic 45-inch softbox with a 40-degree egg crate to keep the light from spilling onto the wall behind the talent.

Even with the key located a good 10 feet from the talent in order to not encroach into the frame of the wide-angle shot in the three-camera shoot, I only had to run the VL300 at about 55 percent output. Keep in mind that this softbox had two layers of diffusion mounted as well as the egg crate, which normally cuts perceived output by about 20 to 30 percent and I still had plenty of output left. This was the result I was hoping for in buying a more powerful key source. Even my two Aputure LS-1S wouldn’t have had the same output levels.  

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
The Godox VL300 comes with a separate control box that has two wireless control antennas as well as a separate AC power supply.

The only drawbacks so far with the light are that the color leans a bit toward magenta. I shot a white card and chip chart, and it was easily correctable in editing. The VL300 utilizes the same awkward separate power supply, control box and multiple cables set up as my Aputure LS-1S. This setup makes the light head smaller and lighter, which makes it easier and less ungainly to have mounted high up in the air at the end of a light stand, but the downside is that setting up the light is messier and requires more time and more cable clutter.

The control box comes from Godox with a built-in hanger that allows you to easily hang it from a light stand tie-down, but you still have the AC power supply on the floor and an additional cable from the control box to the light head. I’m used to this setup since my Aputures have the same, but it’s not as clean as having the power supply built into the light itself. As far as the magenta bias, COB lights veer more toward green as they burn in and are used more, so I suspect that eventually this light will lose its slight magenta bias and it’s a very slight bias, not a drastic one.

Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300
A BTS still from my first shoot with the Godox VL300 with the Nice Photo 45-inch Parabolic softbox serving as my key source for this series of instructional videos for a client’s YouTube channel.

I’m very pleased with the Godox VL300. It came with a very nice soft case that gives you a good place to keep all of the pieces needed to make it work. The cost, $750, was exceedingly inexpensive when you consider that its nearest competition costs about 40 percent more and actually offers a bit less output. I think Godox has a good future in video lighting; they also offer two less-powerful versions of this COB light, the VL200 and the VL150, which cost $549 and $399 respectively. All of the VL line utilizes the Bowens mounting system, which makes the speed rings and rod systems used in most video soft boxes seem clunky and primitive in comparison.

Overall, the Godox seems like a pretty good deal. It may not be the absolute best light on the market, but for a quarantine-budget instrument, it’s an amazing value and gets the job done with efficiency and ease of use.

The post Updating My Lighting Paradigm With The Godox VL300 appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Hands-On Review: Sony PXW-FX9 Digital Cinema Camera

One thing Sony tends to do better than many of its competitors in the pro cinema camera market is to read and respond to market segment demand. I know because I’ve owned several Sony cinema cameras over the years and watched how the company has reacted to new technologies and format changes. It’s why Sony has become a powerhouse in the market segment of event, corporate and reality shooting with two models—Sony’s PXW-FS7 and FS7 MKII.

But just as times change, so does the technology. For at least the past year or so, the digital cinema camera market has become obsessed with full-frame sensors and using them to record a full-frame image using a 6K or 8K raster, which raises the question: Does anyone really need 6K or 8K acquisition? In my view, no, or at least, very few do. But like it or not, the digital cinema camera business has turned into a sensor- and raster-size arms race.

Sony’s answer to this entirely new obsession with sensor size is the new PXW-FX9 digital cinema camera, one of its latest XDCAMs, which Sony says is the first featuring “an advanced 6K full-frame sensor and Fast Hybrid Auto Focus (AF) system.” But taking a look at the FX9’s design, layout and feature set, it’s hard to not see it as the heir apparent to the Sony’s PXW-FS7 and FS7 MKII.

Sony PXW-FX9
A screencap from footage I shot with the FX9 paired with the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 OSS G lens using the setting sun as a backlit source for the surfers in the foreground.

Of course, it’s too early to tell if the FX9 will actually replace the FS7 and FS7 MKII, or merely provide a full-frame 6K-resolution alternative to these two S35 cameras in the Sony lineup. As a point of reference, here’s how the models compare resolution- and size-wise: The FS7 models use a 4K native S35 sensor, which measures 24.0mm x 12.7mm. The FX9 uses the physically larger 6K native full-frame sensor, which measures 35.7mm x 18.8mm.

However, it’s very important to point out that at press time, the FX9 doesn’t record in 6K resolution. Its highest setting is in UHD (3840 x 2160) at 16:9. There’s a possibility that it might in the future, but it’s uncertain if Sony will ever offer an upgrade for the FX9 to capture 6K resolution video.

Features, Features, Features

Sony PXW-FX9
The FX9 gives you several options for windowing the 6K full-frame sensor.

I won’t go in-depth on every feature and specification available on the FX9, but here are some of the headline features and what’s significant about them:

Sony’s Exmor R CMOS Sensor Full-Frame Sensor: In actual use, the extra light-gathering ability of the FF sensor was handy when using the FE PZ 28-135mm f/4.0 G OSS lens for interiors and interviews. For these shots, the noise level of the FF sensor was great, even at the high base ISO of 4000.

When shooting surfers at a distance on a bright day, the ability to easily narrow the wider FF FOV to a S35 FOV helped me maximize the focal length of the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G OSS zoom for a bit of extra reach. In FF 4K mode, the FX9 maxes out at 30 fps. So you’ll have to switch to S35 FOV to obtain 4K 60p recording.

Many of us would like to shoot sports and action using 4K 60p, so it’s good that the FX9 can accommodate this, but I was surprised that Sony couldn’t raise the bar a bit to give us 80-90 fps in 4K S35 mode and 60 fps with the FF sensor. Even with these limitations, I never thought I’d say it, but overall, the FF sensor is a distinct advantage over only having a S35 sensor. 

Sony PXW-FX9
The Sony PXW-FX9 Exmor R CMOS sensor is a brand-new variant that is closer in color science to the Venice than the FS7 MKII.

6K, 4K, HD And Frame Rates: Although a headline feature, 6K isn’t really the showstopper you would think it might be with the FX9. As I mentioned earlier, as of today, it only records a 6K image but downsamples it to 4K (UHD). Now, I’m happy to say it gives the 4K footage tremendous detail and looks very good. But it’s not 6K. As of today, the FX9 only records in two raster sizes: FHD (1920×1080) and UHD (3840×2160).

What’s more is that the FX9 only shoots higher frame rates if you window the sensor down to S35 size. (The max 6K full-frame rate is 30p.) If you window the sensor to S35 size, you can shoot up to 59.94 fps, but you have to go down to HD resolution to achieve the camera’s maximum frame rate of 120 fps. (Note: 180 fps should be coming in the FX9 V2.0 firmware sometime in 2020.)

Dual ISO: Since the FX9 has dual base ISOs of 800 and 4000, I tested grain and noise by shooting ISO 800 base for exteriors and ISO base of 4000 for interiors. The lenses I used were fairly slow zooms—the FE PZ 28-135mm f/4.0 G OSS and the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS. I was impressed, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how clean and low-noise the ISO 4000 looks, particularly if you only have S35 camera experience with ISO 4000, whether with a dual ISO base camera or with just a fixed ISO camera with the gain turned up.

15 Stops Of Dynamic Range: In real-world shooting, most of us are satisfied with cameras that can record 12 stops of DR and up. Sony rates the FX9 at 15 stops, the same as the Canon C200 when shooting Cinema RAW Light in Clog 2. I believe that the Canon and this Sony are likely seeing about 13.5 usable stops, rather than the claimed 15 stops, but regardless of that, I did see a nice distribution of DR and latitude when I pushed the FX9 as hard as I possibly could shooting a couple of sunset scenes. Overall, I think you’ll find the DR of the FX9 to be very good, especially keeping in mind this an $11k camera, not a $50k or $80K digital cinema camera.

Sony PXW-FX9
The Electronic Variable ND system on the FX9 is easy to use and works incredibly well.

Autofocus: The FX9’s AF was exceptional when tracking faces in interviews. It was also very good when shooting b-roll, landscapes and scenery. Additionally, I tried shooting one of the most difficult subjects for auto focus—birds in flight—shooting some brown pelicans dive bombing from about 100 feet up into the water. The FX9 AF held the pelicans isolated against a gray, featureless sky in sharp focus—a very high keeper rate.

I also found the FX9’s Face Detect feature flawless: When shooting three different interviews in three different lighting setups and locations, including a couple that appeared in a low-contrast, moody type of lighting, the FX9 nailed focus on the constantly moving subjects every time. 

Variable ND Filter System: Sony implemented an electronic variable ND filter into the FS7 MKII, and that same feature carries into the FX9. I found it is by far the best, most innovative ND system in any pro digital cinema camera, rendering other competitors’ ND systems rather limited and primitive feeling, with clunky fixed stops and often not enough ND at just six stops. Contrast this with the Sony, where you can dial in all of your shutter, ISO and aperture settings and then dial in the exact amount of the ND needed. Then, you can also set the ND to track the exposure and keep your same ISO, depth of field, etc. 

S-Cinetone And SOOC Colors: In the past, clients have asked me to shoot with the SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) colors in mind. So, what I shoot is what they get. But I’ve never been satisfied with the color science of the FS7 and FS7 MKII straight out of camera. To my eyes, skin tones in particular on both cameras have a specific blue/cyan quality, straight out of camera, that looks unflattering to me. But on the FX9, you’ll find a new gamma and look called S-Cinetone, which is straight out of camera, and its color that is supposedly profiled to resemble the color science from the Sony Venice, which produces very nice, accurate, flattering skin tones.

Sony PXW-FX9
The Sony PXW-FX9 utilizes the same Sony XQD card format as the FS7 and FS7 MKII.

My verdict? I shot three interviews with the FX9—and all were very flattering, SOOC. If felt the footage looked wonderful with saturated colors that look appealing without appearing cartoon-like.

How The Sony PXW-FX9 Handled Challenging Shoots

To test the FX9, I decided to shoot with it in the field as much as possible instead of spending time shooting test charts and taking measurements. It’s generally how I can tell how these cameras behave on real-world shoots in paying, high pressure, one-take situations. Here are the results of my shoots:

Shoot Number One–Santa Rose Trail: I’ve recently been in production on a project that has a spectacular sunset in the script, which gave me an opportunity to see how portable the FX9 is.

For this shoot, I needed to hike to the top of some nearby cliffs, which, for me, wasn’t that far a hike, distance-wise. It was roughly 2.5 miles from the parking lot to the spot I chose. Now, I have hiked this trail dozens of times, and it’s pretty easy for me (since I’m an avid hiker). But that’s not when I am not carrying an 18-pound camera in one hand, a 22-pound tripod on the opposite shoulder and a 15-pound backpack on my back. So, by the time I made it to the top of the cliffs, I had had a pretty good workout and needed to rest a couple of times.

Sony PXW-FX9
In real-world shooting conditions, I found the FX9 to be a solid performer. It was predictable and ergonomically sound, and, most importantly, my clients found the footage to be great for their needs.

It was a somewhat strenuous trek, but I was rewarded by a spectacular sunset, and the FX9 was a joy to shoot with. Technically speaking, the variable ND was extremely useful, since I could pan on and off the incredibly bright sun and some rock formations surrounding it, and the Variable ND on the FX9 would smoothly ramp up the exposure so I could keep the same f/stop, ISO and shutter speed.

Shoot Number Two–Interview Day: I shot three different interviews—all set in different locations of an LA library—for director Robert Bader. For this shoot, it was the first time I had a chance to use the FX9’s face detect/auto focus, and the results were impressive. The AF box tracked the talent like glue and never wavered even once.

On the same shoot, I switched the camera from Slog3.Cine gamma to the S-Cinetone gamma—the producer requested that I achieve a usable look straight out of camera—and we both were happy with how the FX9 rendered skin tones on our talent.

Audio was excellent, too: I ran a Schoeps CMC641 Supercardioid boom mic into channel one and a TRAM TR50B wired lavalier into channel two. I liked how the FX9 supported four audio channels, allowing me to duplicate my two inputs to channels three and four, and offset them to -10dB lower as my safety channels. Since I was handling the audio myself as well, I was happy the FX9 made that task easy.   

Shoot Number Three–Interview Day: For our interview with a film restoration artist, we set up shop in the screening room at Post Haste Digital in Los Angeles, which would be a good test of the FX9’s dynamic range. Here’s why: We needed to achieve a flattering image, but it would have to be a low-light level on the talent, since we needed to project images and footage from her work on various film projects, all from the silent film era, in back of her.

Sony PXW-FX9
An interview with a subject in a sunroom. Note the windows behind him, which were not tinted or ND gelled. The FX9’s 15 stops of DR allowed me to hold a decent amount of detail in the windows while illuminating the subject with only two small LED panels and a diffusion disc.

Most projection systems aren’t very bright, especially in comparison to the lighting output you’ll use to light your talent. It means the camera needs to be able to handle a decent amount of dynamic range to expose the talent and the projection behind them evenly.

Here again, I used the FX9’s high ISO base of 4000, which looked good, even though I was using the relatively slow Sony FE 28-135mm f/4.0 OSS G lens. And I even tested the camera’s gain at +6dB, and I was pleasantly surprised at how little grain was visible running the camera at ISO 4000 and adding gain.

And once again, the face detect/auto focus behaved flawlessly, even under low lighting levels.

Shoot Number Four–Harbor Shoot: For my last day with the FX9, I decided to capture windsurfers. However, I was disappointed, since the weather and conditions just didn’t cooperate. I even drove more than 100 miles up and down the Southern California coast at several spots that are popular with windsurfers. On the first day, we had light rain and no wind, and on the second day, the sky brightened up, but there was still no wind. So we didn’t see any regular surfers. I decided to take the camera to the harbor to shoot footage of whatever I could find there. Fortunately, I saw a class of lifeguards on the beach, running in and out of the water and up and down the beach. It allowed me to capture subjects with movement.

Sony PXW-FX9
I was impressed at the painterly look I was able to achieve shooting this sunset on a local trail using the FX9’s Variable ND feature that allowed me to pan on and off the sunset while holding a similar overall exposure with smooth ramping of the ND to compensate.

I positioned myself at the mouth of the harbor, up on a breakwater, where I also photographed pelicans, herons feeding, and boats entering and exiting the harbor.

I used the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 OSS G telephoto zoom lens, selecting a variety of frame rates and sensor sizes, and even shot some 120 fps footage of the subjects. In my opinion, the footage looked good, and the FX9 behaved well in these extremely bright, contrast-filled conditions.

I did make one discovery while shooting: When you shoot S&Q (slow and quick) frame-rate footage, the FX9 is manual focus only, a challenge when shooting moving subjects at a 400m focal length. Overall, though, the FX9 behaved well, and the images are great.

Sony PXW-FX9
The FX9 S-Cinetone Gamma setting helped me to easily and quickly dial in an image straight out of camera that looks really good, like this interview shot at a post house screening room with a film restoration expert.

Sony’s XDCA Extension And Shooting RAW

If you want to capture RAW video, you may be disappointed to learn that the FX9 doesn’t (and probably never will) have the ability to record RAW internally. There’s an external solution, but it’s pricey: You’ll need Sony’s optional XDCA-FX9 extension unit, which costs $2,498 extra. It has a 16-bit RAW output on it via a BNC connector. You then need to buy additional hardware: A future RAW-recording solution will likely require a separate third-party device, for an additional $1,500 to $2,500, to actually record the 16-bit output of the XDCA-FX9 back.

Aside from the expense, this hardware adds significant weight and cable clutter to the FX9, as well. What this means is that if RAW recording capability is important to you, the PXW-FX9 may not be the right choice. However, I look at this issue a little differently and like what Sony has done with RAW and the FX9. The market segment that buys and uses the FS7 and FS7 MKII rarely would ever need RAW recording. With the FX9, Sony provides a potential option for RAW capture.

Sony PXW-FX9
I walked away from a week of shooting with the FX9 impressed by its performance.

The Bottom Line

The Sony PXW-FX9 is a very intelligently updated version of the FS7 MKII. In doing so, they’ve produced an excellent camera with a very capable full-frame 6K sensor package. Also, I was impressed with Sony’s AF technology, which is probably the best in the business. The FX9 isn’t the best camera for every user and application, but it’s a very good, solid, all-around, versatile digital cinema camera.

Also, for $11,000, it has a lot of quality and a robust feature set. And while it’s not a perfect cinema camera, when you go down its list of headline features, there is a lot to get excited about. In its segment, I think the FX9 is going to be hard to beat for working pros in the corporate, event and reality markets. If you are in the market for this type of camera, you should borrow, rent or evaluate it because I think the FX9 will be a relevant camera in our extremely fast-changing market for years to come. 

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Out Of The Picture: Olympus To Exit Camera Business

Earlier today, Olympus, which for decades has manufactured high-end professional digital camera systems as well as consumer-level point-and-shoots, announced that it is leaving the digital imaging business. According to The Verge, Olympus has signed a memorandum of understanding that it will sell off its imaging division to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), an investment fund.

Like many other digital camera and imaging companies, Olympus has been struggling for years to sell cameras, as many consumers have opted to shoot images and video with their smart phones. But The Wall Street Journal reports that recently there has been additional pressure from U.S. shareholder ValueAct Capital “to improve shareholder returns,” which forced the Olympus Corporation to spin off its imaging division.

The memorandum notes that the deal is to be signed by both parties by the end of September, 2020, and will be finalized by the end of 2020. It also states that “JIP has strong track records in supporting strategic carve-outs” and suggests that the new company will support various camera and lens lines, including “reputable brands such as ‘OM-D’ and ‘ZUIKO.’” The memo also said, “it will utilize the innovative technology and unique product development capabilities which have been developed within Olympus, and will realize continuous growth of the business by bringing better products and services to the users and customers.”

After the sale, Olympus plans to focus on medical devices, such as endoscopes.

It’s an understatement to say that it’s a sad day in the camera industry: Olympus has been making cameras and lenses for more than 80 years, and has produced some rather innovative models, at both the consumer level and professional level, including one of the first digital mirrorless cameras, in 2008, as well as various lines of rugged point-and-shoots. It also recently introduced a pro-level mirrorless camera, Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark III.  

Just before press time, we also received the following statement from Akihiko Murata, president of Olympus America Inc., Consumer Products Group:

“As you are aware, the Imaging industry has experienced marked declines for several consecutive years. The market is contracting as the smartphone industry grows, and competition has been steadily increasing in the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera segment.

Due to these long term trends as well as recent market contractions due to COVID-19, the Olympus Imaging Business Unit has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan Industrial Partners, Inc. (JIP). According to the MOU, both companies are entering into further discussions about the potential transfer of Olympus’ long-standing Imaging business to JIP by the end of 2020.

During these discussions, Olympus Imaging will operate business as usual and will continue to deliver innovations to our customers, launching new products as planned. Olympus and JIP are committed to providing our stakeholders full transparency about our intentions as plans solidify.

For more details, please also refer to our corporate disclosure ‘Signing of Memorandum of Understanding for Divesture of Imaging Solutions Business’ dated June 24, 2020.” (https://www.olympus-global.com/news/ir/2020/ )

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Panasonic Introduces Compact Lumix G100 For Vlogging

Panasonic’s new Lumix G100

Today, Panasonic announced a new mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, the Lumix G100, which is targeted at vloggers and video content creators. In many ways, it’s a camera that appears to be designed to compete directly with the Sony ZV-1, which was announced last month.

Panasonic says the new Lumix G100 will include intuitive controls to allow you to produce visually engaging images with excellent sound quality. The camera will also be “compact and lightweight design” but won’t “skimp on functionality and creative options.”

And just as Sony announced that the ZV-1 would include advanced features to produce significantly better audio for video content, so does the new Lumix G100: According to the company, the camera will record using three on-board microphones and will also integrate “OZO Audio by Nokia for high-quality spatial audio recording…. Engineered for universal playback and shareability across the world’s most popular social media platforms, the OZO Audio enables users to capture and edit the full richness of sonic life with vibrant accuracy and precision.” Panasonic says the new camera will also offer a tracking feature for tracking the voice of subjects

[See image gallery at www.hdvideopro.com] The Panasonic G100 will include a shooting assist functions allowing “the Frame Maker to check the composition during recording in various popular aspect ratios.” These ratios include 16:9, 4:3, 1:1, 4:5, 5:4 and 9:16, which can be handy when needing to shooting vertically for social media. The camera will have a conspicuous REC Frame Indicator, which displays an eye-catching red frame so you’ll know whether the camera is recording or not at a glance.

The camera comes with 4x and 2x slow-motion video and 8x,4x, and 2x “quick FHD motion footage” as well as time-lapse capabilities. Pro shooters will also appreciate the G100’s ability to use V-LogL recording capabilities. And users can apply the Look Up Table (LUT), via a PC to create a differentiated video with subtle colors and moods.

Other features on the Lumix G100 include:

  • 4/3rds image sensor for high-resolution 4K videos in 3840 x 2160 resolution at 30p and Full-HD at 60p.
  • The image sensor is a 20.3MP MOS image sensor, without a Low Pass Filter,
  • Maximum ISO 25,600 for shooting images in low light
  • Five-axis hybrid image stabilization for capturing stable, easy-to-view video.
  • new Video Selfie Mode.
  • A 3.0-inch touch-screen LCD (1,840K-dot) high resolution makes it easy to compose selfies as well as shots from a high or low angle.
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

The new Panasonic Lumix G100 will be available next month in several configurations: It will be paired with a ultra-compact 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH MEGA OIS kit lens and sell for $749. Another kit will also pair the G100 and the 12-32mm lens together, but it will also come with the DMW-SHGR1 Tripod Grip accessory and sell for $799. (The Tripod Grip itself will cost $99.) And until August 1st, Panasonic is offering a $50 Instant Rebate + FREE $99 Bundle (DMW-ZSTRV – Battery + External Charger) for both the camera + lens kit and the kit bundle with the tripod grip.

For more news and a hands-on look at the Panasonic Lumix G100, go to Imaging Resource to check out their stories, including the Panasonic Lumix G100 announcement, hands-on preview, gallery of images and more.

Learn more about the Panasonic Lumix G100 at B&H. 

For more information, see the press release below.

[[ press release ]]

Panasonic Launches the LUMIX G100, its Newest Mirrorless Camera for Vlogging and Creative Video Content

The compact, feature-packed camera features high sound quality produced by OZO Audio by Nokia

Newark, NJ (June 24, 2020) – Panasonic today launched the LUMIX G100, a new Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera designed and developed for creating high-quality, versatile content.

Intuitive controls, visually engaging images and excellent sound quality are hallmarks of the new LUMIX G100, raising the bar for content production and user experience in the vlog camera category. Usability is further enhanced by its remarkably compact and lightweight design that doesn’t skimp on functionality and creative options.

  1. The Logical Next Step from your Smartphone

With their limited sensor size and optics, a Smartphone can only take your creativity so far, the LUMIX G100 uses a smartphone crushing 4/3rds sensor that records smooth, high-resolution QFHD 4K videos in 3840 x 2160 resolution at 30p or 24p in MP4*1 and Full-HD at 60p. The five-axis hybrid I.S. (image stabilizer)*2 in the LUMIX G100 provides effective shake suppression essential for capturing stable, easy-to-see video in scenarios such as walking or in a moving vehicle. In addition, the new Video Selfie Mode easily captures both the videographer and background in crisp focus without adjustments of aperture that changes with the lens each time.

Adopting a static-type touch control system, the 3.0-inch free-angle rear monitor with 1,840K-dot high resolution makes it easy to compose selfies as well as shots from a high or low angle. Convenient shooting assist functions allow the Frame Maker to check the composition during recording in various popular aspect ratios such as 16:9, 4:3, 1:1, 4:5, 5:4 and 9:16. The REC Frame Indicator displays an eye-catching red frame so that videographers can recognize whether the camera is recording or not at a glance.

*1 Recording stops when the continuous recording time exceeds 10 minutes with [MP4] in [4K]

*2 When using an interchangeable lens (H-FS12032) released before this camera, update the firmware of the lens to the latest version.

  1. High Sound Quality Supported by OZO Audio Technologies

The LUMIX G100 integrates OZO Audio by Nokia for high-quality spatial audio recording, a first for a Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera.* Engineered for universal playback and shareability across the world’s most popular social media platforms, the OZO Audio enables users to capture and edit the full richness of sonic life with vibrant accuracy and precision. It sets a new standard in innovative audio solutions for user-generated content. Three microphones record clear, vibrant sound with outstanding images, for example a dynamic landscape with immersive, realistic sound; interviews with clear speech; or easy, on-the-scene coverage by the videographer with easy mode selection. Combining Panasonic and Nokia OZO Audio technologies, the LUMIX G100 also offers a tracking feature that continues tracking the voice of the subject. Auto mode automatically recognizes the best setting and switches between tracking and surround modes.

* For a digital interchangeable lens system camera, as of June 24, 2020.

  1. High Potential and Unlimited Expression

The new LUMIX G100 integrates a 20.3MP MOS Sensor without Low Pass Filter, which features higher resolution and a larger size than found in smartphones. Realizing maximum ISO 25600 high sensitivity, even images captured at night or low light are clear. In addition, the large sensor enables beautiful defocusing in the background, and the Venus Engine assures high-speed, high-performance image processing. Impressive 4x*/2x slow and 8x/4x/2x quick FHD motion footage and time lapse shots are captured with ease.

Advanced videographers will appreciate the V-LogL recording capability; users can apply the LUT (Look Up Table) of their choice on the recorded V-LogL footage via a PC to create a differentiated video with subtle colors and moods.

Features such as the 4K technology, along with the 3,680K-dot equivalent center-aligned viewfinder, allow users to capture 4K PHOTO shots, excelling in performance and function for photo shooting. Able to save spontaneous shots by just selecting the frame out of a burst file sequence, users will never miss a moment.

*30p only

  1. Easy Connectivity via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and HDMI

The LUMIX G100 integrates Bluetooth and Wi-Fi® 2.4GHz (IEEE802.11b/g/n) connectivity to offer a more flexible shooting experience and easy instant image sharing. A dedicated upload button controls video and photo transfer to a smartphone via Panasonic’s LUMIX Sync app for iOS / Android. Users can also use their smartphone as a remote control to capture video and photo.

Compatibility with Bluetooth 4.2 (called BLE: Bluetooth Low Energy) enables constant connection with a smartphone/tablet with minimum power consumption and can activate the camera by using a smartphone/tablet or automatically add geotagging photos.

HDMI*1 allows video output via The LUMIX G100, or it can be used as a webcam that provides exceptional image quality with rich depth of field and high quality sound for streaming in combination with an HDMI video capture device.*2

*1 It is not possible to stream live in 4K. While using the HDMI output function, video cannot be recorded.

*2 A separate streaming software for PC is required.

  1. Compact, Lightweight Design Even with Tripod Grip

Despite its high performance and selection creative functions, the LUMIX G100 is portable, compact and weighs only 412 g, even with the LUMIX G VARIO 12-32mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH. / MEGA O.I.S.(H-FS12032) lens. A new Tripod Grip DMW-SHGR1*4 makes it even easier to hold the camera or can be used as a compact tripod. Connecting with the camera via USB allows the user to start/stop video recording, release the shutter and enable/disable sleep mode. The camera’s battery can be recharged either via AC or USB according to the user’s convenience. 

*4 Tripod Grip is bundled in DC-G100V kit. It is also sold separately.

Tripod Grip (DMW-SHGR1)

A compact, lightweight handgrip / mini tripod allowing start/stop video recording and shutter release via USB connection.

Compatibility: DC-G100, GH5*,GH5S*,G9*, G95** and G85*   

*Firmware update of the camera is required. It connects to the remote terminal of the camera using a bundled conversion cable. Sleep button cannot be used.

The LUMIX G100 will be available for sale at the end of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Panasonic Introduces Compact Lumix G100 For Vlogging appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Sigma Introduces F5-6.3 100-400mm Telephoto Zoom, Teleconverters And More

Par : By Staff

Today, Sigma introduced several new lenses and accessories:

The most notable announcement is the introduction of the Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary telephoto zoom lens. Marketed as a companion lens to two previously released full-frame mirrorless zooms—the 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art and 24-70mm F2.8 DG DN Art—Sigma says the 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary lens is Sigma’s first full-frame mirrorless telephoto zoom lens. Also, it will be available in two lens mounts—Sony E-mount and L-mount—and have a lens construction of 16 groups and 22 elements, which includes one FLD and four SLD elements. It also has compact form factor and weighs about 40 oz.

The new Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary lens zoomed out to 400mm (top) and at the 100mm setting.
The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary telephoto zoom lens on a mirrorless camera body.
The new telephoto zoom includes optical image stabilization.

Sigma also debuted a pair of teleconverters—TC-1411 and TC-2011—which the company said were developed for the use with the new zoom when used with a mirrorless camera. The teleconverters increase the range of the focal length up to 800mm.

The Sigma 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS Contemporary will be available for $949, and the two teleconverters—1.4x and 2x teleconverters—will cost $399 and $429, respectively. The three are expected to be available on July 10.

Sigma new teleconverters—TC-2011 (left) and TC-1411 (right)

Along with the new telephoto lens and converters, Sigma also introduced the USB Dock UD-11 for Sigma L-Mount and Canon EF-M Mount Sigma lenses, an accessory that allows you to easily update lens firmware and customize lens settings. It will also be available on July 10 with a list price of $59.

Sigma’s new USB Dock UD-11 for Sigma L-Mount (left) and Canon EF-M Mount Sigma lenses (right)

Additionally, Sigma will begin offering three fast ƒ/1.4 primes in L-Mount beginning July 10: The 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary ($449), 30mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary ($339) and 56mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary ($479).

For more information on the lenses, click on the following link on Sigma’s website:

Learn more about the Sigma F5-6.3 100-400mm telephoto zoom at B&H!

The post Sigma Introduces F5-6.3 100-400mm Telephoto Zoom, Teleconverters And More appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Hands-On Review: Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

There have been quite a few mirrorless cameras introduced over the past 10 months. However, one of the hottest cameras of the past year in the world of cinema wasn’t a mirrorless camera or a traditional digital cinema camera. It was, in fact, a small, rectangular, 2-pound slab of carbon fiber polycarbonate composite known as the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (or BMPCC6K), which was announced in August 2019 for $2,495.  

But what’s a little tricky for some is that the BMPCC6K looks like a mirrorless hybrid. It may lack the mirror found on DSLRs, but it’s really a unique digital cinema camera in a category all its own.

Here’s why there’s some confusion: The new model replaced its predecessor, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC4K), which was a 4K-capable model that utilized a Micro Four Thirds sensor with an MFT lens mount. And while the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K takes some of its DNA from the original BMPCC4K (an HD-only, tiny, pocketable digital video camera popular among low-budget filmmakers), it differs significantly from the original in that the BMPCC6K uses an S35 sensor (instead of an MFT sensor) and comes with a Canon EF mount (instead of an MFT mount). Obviously, as the name of the camera implies, the new BMPCC6K is capable of shooting at a higher resolution (6,144 x 3,456) than its older 4K sibling.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The BMPCC6K features a number of menu presets and conveniently placed control buttons on the grip. Note the ¼-inch 20-threaded socket, which is the perfect place to mount an external monitor or microphone.

But other than the size of the sensor, the lens mount and increased resolution, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K shares many of the same qualities as the Pocket 4K. For example, both models have 13 stops of dynamic range, a 5-inch, 1080-resolution LCD capacitive touchscreen and an HDMI output. Each also uses Canon LP-E6 batteries, includes wireless Bluetooth control and has versatile media options—CFast 2.0 cards, SD/UHS II cards or capture to an external SSD via the camera’s USB-C output. And each has the same inputs: A single Mini XLR audio input, a 3.5mm Stereo/Mic/Line input and a 3.5mm Timecode input (shared with 3.5mm Mic/Line input).

Here are some other features you’ll find on the new BMPCC6K: Dual Native ISO of 400 and 3,200 and one-touch autofocus available using compatible lenses. And it has a variety of RAW capture capabilities—besides Blackmagic RAW, the camera can record in Apple ProRes, from ProRes Proxy up to HQ, but only up to DCI 4K resolution. You can only achieve 5.7K and 6K captures with Blackmagic RAW.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The media format menu page contains a good selection of ProRes and Blackmagic RAW options, impressive for a camera in this price range.

Additionally, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K comes with a free copy of DaVinci Resolve Studio, Blackmagic Design’s excellent edit suite of post-production tools that retails standalone for $299, which is a very alluring extra to the whole package.

Unpacking And Setting Up 

After unpacking the BMPCC6K, I first mounted a Canon EF S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS lens and inserted a charged Canon LP-E6 battery. Right away, I noticed a difference with this camera’s predecessor: When you mount larger Canon EF or EF S lenses, the BMPCC6K is far less pocketable than its predecessor. But it’s still small in comparison to our main cameras, the Canon C200 and the Canon C300 Mark II.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The BMPCC6K features a number of menu presets and conveniently placed control buttons on the grip. Note the ¼-inch 20-threaded socket, which is the perfect place to mount an external monitor or microphone.

Also, it’s important to mention that this combo feels larger and heavier than our mirrorless hybrid Fujifilm X-T3 with its XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 OIS lens. The Fuji also utilizes an S35 sensor, but that was when it really struck me that the BMPCC6K isn’t a mirrorless hybrid, while the X-T3 is. For instance, while the BMPCC6K can shoot stills, they’re more internal screen grabs or caps rather than the genuine RAW or JPEG still photos, which the X-T3 is capable of shooting. Also, the BMPCC6K only includes an LCD screen. It lacks an EVF, while the X-T3 has both.

To my eyes, the BMPCC6K’s polycarbonate housing, card door and battery door appeared to be potentially a bit fragile, but I didn’t experience any mishaps while using it.

To test the shooting options on the BMPCC6K, I planned on capturing some b-roll at a lake on a project we had already shot interviews for. I decided to mostly shoot Prores HQ footage since the rest of the project was already edited in FCP X and had been converted from RAW into Prores HQ. But after playing with the menus and reading the specs, I realized I couldn’t shoot any 6K footage in Prores HQ. So, I decided to shoot a few sequences in Blackmagic RAW to have some 6K footage to work with.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The Canon Image Stabilization feature on lenses like this EF 24-105mm f/4.0 IS II make optical IS lenses an optimal choice for the BMPCC6K since the camera has no in-camera image stabilization (or IBIS).

For many potential users of this camera, 6K is a desirable feature.

Based upon my experience in shooting 5K and 6K footage with the RED Epic, I find 6K footage to be great looking, but it also produces very large files that can bring an average editing computer to its knees. For storage, 6K files will eat up space quickly. But here’s what’s interesting: The BMPCC6K, when set at its highest 6K resolution (6,144 x 3456) and depending on the frame rate (23.98 to 50 fps max), shoots from 49MB/s to 483 MB/s, which isn’t nearly as large as many other types of RAW. That’s because Blackmagic RAW is a 12-bit compressed RAW format. By comparison, our Canon C200, which shoots only up to DCI 4K resolution, captures at a fixed 1Gb/s. And the Canon RAW file format is still a compressed RAW format. So, overall, Blackmagic’s RAW appears to be pretty efficient when shooting in 6K.

First Impressions

It was a hot and sunny day, and the sun was shining brightly down upon the lake. Luckily, I brought all our ND filters to the shoot. (We only have one camera that requires external ND filters, the Fujifilm X-T3.) The BMPCC6K, just like mirrorless hybrid cameras, has no internal ND filters. So, in bright conditions, you need external ND filters to expose the camera in its sweet spot as far as shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The BMPCC6K display is very usable indoors, but the reflections and lack of brightness make it difficult to see when shooting in bright sunlight.

I opted to set the BMPCC6K menu for its lower native ISO of 400. Then, since I was alternating between our Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 IS II and the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II lenses, I set each around f/5.6 to f/7.1, their optimal ƒ/stops exposure-wise. I then used B&W MRC ND6 filter for the lenses.

Here are a few notable aspects I focused on in my hands-on test:

The LCD Touchscreen: The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K lacks an EVF. It does have a 5-inch LCD touchscreen, which works well indoors, but it doesn’t swivel or tilt up or down. On a tripod, that’s inconvenient, and in full daylight, it’s not really usable. So, I brought along a 5-inch high brightness monitor with a sunshade. Additionally, the BMPCC6K lacks a waveform monitor. And while the histogram it has is good for photos, it’s not something that’s useful for video. (With a histogram, you have no way of measuring the actual IRE levels of your image and particularly your subject’s skin tones.) I didn’t mind running an external monitor. However, attaching one definitely makes it less of a “pocket” cinema camera.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The audio menu page, where you select audio levels and inputs, and see larger audio meters to set nominal audio levels.

Testing Noise And Image Quality: I was curious to see how the Blackmagic RAW footage would look straight out of the camera, if I’d notice any compression artifacts, and how it would hold up to color correction and grading. Once I got back to our office to download the footage from the shoot, I quickly reviewed it: The sharpness and color looked good. I then set up the BMPCC6K to shoot a noise test, using the camera’s various ISO settings to compare the amount and quality of the noise.

For the test, I used the camera’s base ISO and went all the way up to its maximum ISO setting in a controlled situation: I shot test charts, lighting them with a single Aputure LS-1S Light Storm 5600k LED panel. I also used Tiffen and B&W fixed ND filters to keep shutter speed and exposure roughly the same and employed a waveform monitor on my external camera monitor to try to match the levels shot to shot.

XLR Audio Connections: On the other hand, having an XLR audio connection on this camera is a big deal. For a small, inexpensive camera, I really liked that the BMPCC6K has a single mini XLR connection that supports Phantom-powered microphones. All you need is a mini XLR to full-size XLR breakout cable, and you utilize almost any professional shotgun, cardioid or lavaliere to record quality sound. The BMPCC6K’s built-in mics were adequate for scratch tracks for syncing externally recorded audio in editing, but I wouldn’t use them for much more. You also have a 3.5mm audio input.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The BMPCC6K has a single Mini XLR audio input, which is unusual. It can supply power to phantom-powered mics and is a welcome feature on a camera of this size and budget.

Memory Cards: During shooting, I shot mostly to CFast 2.0 cards, but I did try recording to SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card, and it worked fine for FHD and UHD recording up to Prores 422. For Prores HQ or Blackmagic RAW, the CFast 2.0 cards worked. (You can also record to a bus-powered external SSD for external recording.)

Using LUTs And Bluetooth: I liked that you could load and apply 3D LUTs internally, and even though the BMPCC6K isn’t a mirrorless hybrid still camera, you can press the dedicated stills button to record a 21.2-megapixel image as an uncompressed DNG frame, although you face the same dilemma as every mirrorless hybrid shooter—a 180-degree shutter when shooting motion almost guarantees that any moving subject in a still will contain motion blur, making the usability of the stills questionable.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The BMPCC6K, when outfitted for digital cinema shooting, presents a capable and economical alternative to other digital cinema cameras in the $5k to $10k range.

The built-in Bluetooth camera control from Blackmagic Camera Control App can come in handy for when you need to change settings or stop or start recording, but it’s no substitute for a video monitor.

The Highs, Lows And Bottom Line

After spending some time capturing video with the BMPCC6K, here’s some of what I liked and disliked about the camera:

The Highs:

  • It’s an extraordinary value at $2,495.
  • Lightweight and relatively small.
  • A great menu system that’s simple and easy to navigate.
  • An impressive integrated 5-inch touchscreen (good for interior use).
  • Blackmagic RAW with multiple compression ratios and ProRes Proxy, LT, 422, HQ.
  • Ability to record to an outboard SSD.
  • Beautiful natural image with great color science.
  • Files were easy to edit and respond well to color correction and grading.
  • Blackmagic Pocket Camera’s battery grip gives you better battery life (for extra cost).
  • Includes Mini XLR and TC input jacks.
  • Comes with a free copy of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio.
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The BMPCC6K’s card door and card compartment, for SD and CFast 2.0 memory card.

The Lows

  • No waveform monitor.
  • 7K and 6K are for Blackmagic RAW only.
  • No EVF.
  • Fixed (non-swiveling) 5-inch LCD touchscreen is limited when using outdoors.
  • Camera’s wide body and offset ¼” 20-thread location makes using the BMPCC6K on smaller gimbals challenging.
  • Mediocre in low light, with a maximum ISO of ISO 1600.
  • No internal ND filters.
  • Auto Focus takes a long time to lock and focus, and lacks continuous AF, which is only good for shooting static or slow-moving subjects.
  • Infrared pollution could be an issue. One might use an ND6 or ND3 without seeing IR pollution, but anything over a 1.2ND is going to need IR filtration, although you would generally only need this much ND in ultra-bright conditions, like daylight snow.

The Bottom Line

Overall, I was impressed with the BMPCC6K in that it offers 6K RAW and image/sound quality of this level for under $2,500. However, it’s not a perfect camera. The polycarbonate body might not be adequate for those who are tough on gear. Its form factor makes gimbal use and even handheld operation a challenge. Also, its daily usability factor with no waveform monitor, severely limited battery life without the accessory battery grip, fixed touchscreen and only the most basic AF functionality in the real world, in my mind, make the BMPCC6K ideal only as a tripod-mounted or handheld digital cinema camera.

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
The LUT page displays built-in choices, but you can load your own 3D LUTs as well.

When you have a crew and can manually focus, either yourself or with an AC, shooting scripted content with repeated takes, these limitations are easy to deal with. For narrative, commercials, music videos and this sort of content, it’s an amazingly capable camera with solid results for little money. For run-and-gun or event shooting and documentary filmmaking, you can get by, but it’s not ideal. You’ll probably be adding a cage, external monitor, cabling, battery grip or external battery, side and top handles. That means you’ll end up with a medium-size camera package with significantly more expense than $2,495.

But with accessories and rigging, the BMPCC6K makes impressive images; it just depends on your shooting style and the type of subjects you cover most often to decide if this is the best camera for your needs. If I was starting from scratch and didn’t own a camera and wanted to build a budget-conscious yet serious quality small digital cinema camera rig, I’d definitely consider the BMPCC6K. That’s because for $4K to $5k, you can build an extremely capable rig that competes with cameras that cost a lot more. It’s why I’d say that all in all, the BMPCC6K is quite an achievement.


Image Noise at Four ISO Settings

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
For ISO 100, ISO 200 and ISO 400 (its native ISO setting): There was extremely low noise apparent at all three settings. The images were indistinguishable from each other. (Image shown is for ISO 400.)
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
ISO 1600: Some noise and grain appear in larger color patches on the Kodak chart, and there’s more noise in the blacks. The overall image still looks good and is usable.
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
ISO 3200: There is considerably more noise in all areas, which is why this is the highest usable ISO as I would consider. (I would still need to perform some de-noising correction on it.)
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
ISO 25,600: The image resembles the amount of grain in an ASA400 or 640 S16mm film stock. There’s still a remarkable amount of luminance detail remaining, though, but colors are desaturated and soft.

The post Hands-On Review: Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Get It Off Your Desk And Get Organized, Part 1

This is the “before” image of my desktop workspace. Next month, I’ll unveil the “after” shot, showing how I improved, organized, streamlined and expanded my desk space for a live streaming, multi-camera studio.

I came to a sobering realization recently—my desk is a mess. Not just with clutter, but in the way that my desk works for me. I’m a producer, writer and DP, and I occasionally edit video. I use my desk in a number of different ways. I write at it quite a bit. I now Zoom and WebEx from it almost daily since the quarantine. I’ve also been editing a lot more videos from it than I used to as budgets are lower and I end up editing more projects myself instead of hiring my editor friends.

My desk is nothing fancy. An old table from Ikea that I bought in the late ’90s, a few cheap wooden boxes to place my studio monitors on to get them to ear height (Genelec 1029as with a Genelec subwoofer in the floor). My 27-inch iMac rests on an old Oxford English Dictionary, once again, to raise the screen closer to the height it should be to be ergonomically correct. My desk is littered with drives and I also have to have enough room for two four-drive RAIDs. I use a small Makie 402 VLZ mixer to route audio signals out from my computer to the monitors.

get it off your desk and get organized
Close-up shot of the Wali VESA monitor arm I purchased to rig up an overhead camera shot for tabletop shooting.

My Use Case

Something has been bugging me, though, and it’s the fact that my desk and setup hasn’t evolved as my use case has. I’ve been using this same basic setup for close to 20 years now. The computers and drives get changed out every few years, but nothing has changed about how the desk works for me. It all changed for me when just a couple of months ago I purchased a Wali VESA monitor arm for mounting my Fujifilm X-T3 straight overhead for shooting tabletop footage. When I initially searched for it, I found that there’s an absolute plethora of different arms and mounting systems available. I always knew in the back of my mind that there were systems available for mounting two, three or more monitors on arms for people who needed that, but it never occurred to me that I should look into this technology.

get it off your desk and get organized
Adding the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro switcher has been the catalyst behind an entire desktop makeover.

Reducing Clutter, Increasing Function

Purchasing the Wali VESA Monitor arm has really made me reconsider how my desk is configured. It’s very cluttered up with gear. How much of this gear could I relocate off of my desk? How could I reclaim the space I have and make it more organized? To make things even more challenging, I’m setting up a multi-camera live streaming studio at my desk. I’ll have a camera aimed at me for live streaming, Zoom and Webex, but I also recently added a Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro that will allow me to introduce a second camera for the rare times when I have a live stream guest and want to use two or three cameras.

Even without a guest, I’d like to use a second or third camera as an overhead camera for me to shoot products with as I review and talk about it. Even if you’re not live streaming, the ATEM Mini Pro has a multiview function that allows you to view the shots that all three of your cameras are shooting, as well as a fourth source that could be a laptop, iPad or phone or even a fourth camera source. In order to use the Preview function, you need a separate HDMI input video or computer monitor. I knew I had to convert my desk from a single monitor to a two-monitor setup to use this. Suddenly, the VESA monitor mounting arms were beginning to look very interesting.  

get it off your desk and get organized
This microphone extension arm will allow me to position a high-quality hyper-cardioid microphone above and just off-screen to record high-quality audio without having to be wired up to a lavaliere.

Trying to put all of this together led me down the rabbit hole of browsing on Amazon for various ways to mount things. I discovered that being very audio-focused, having good sound when live streaming is important to me. While I know that there are a lot of great USB studio-style large diaphragm microphones, the downside of those great sounding mics is that they need to be located very near the talent’s mouth to be effective. I don’t like seeing a giant microphone in the frame, which makes it feel more like a podcast with a camera than an intimate conversation with your viewers. So besides mounting my A camera on an extension arm, I also found a studio style, inexpensive swiveling microphone arm that I can use to mount my Audix SCX1-HC hyper-cardioid microphone on that will keep it close enough to me to sound good but far enough to be out of frame.

get it off your desk and get organized
The Falcon Eyes RX-18TD foldable light mat will be mounted to a VESA arm extension to allow easy positioning to mix up my desktop lighting styles.

Lighting My Desktop?

The key to making a desktop shot look good, like with every other type of shot, is lighting. You need a large soft source as a key, some fill light source, possibly a hair or rim light depending on the look you’re going for and you might need to light up your background. I decided that mounting a roll-up fabric light mat (Falcon Eyes RX-18TD) might be a good choice since they’re fairly lightweight, and I conceived that I might be able to also mount the light on a swivel arm so that I could easily position it where I wanted without the aid of a light stand on my desk. In this way, when not using the desk for recording or live streaming, I could simply swivel the light and microphone arm out of the way.  

get it off your desk and get organized
The various brackets, arms, extensions and cables on my office floor. Still waiting for a few key pieces to actually do the build, but they’ll arrive soon.

Assembling The Pieces

With a lot of browsing on Amazon, a good amount of asking friends and colleagues, and looking at what various YouTubers are doing, I began to assemble the mounting gear needed to get almost everything off of my desktop so I’ll have the room to set up a small overhead camera area as well as a convenient place to locate the ATEM Mini Pro itself so I can switch cameras myself while speaking on camera. I’m still waiting for some of the pieces to arrive. If you haven’t noticed, items that pre-pandemic could be sitting on your doorstep overnight are now taking weeks, and in some cases months, to arrive. It’s been an ongoing process, but I now have enough of what I think are the critical mounting components to assemble my dream desk configuration.

Stay tuned next month for part 2 to see how my quest to “get it off my desk” ends up for expanding my workspace to a full multi-use desktop live streaming studio while keeping the same functionality for when I need to write or edit video. 

The post Get It Off Your Desk And Get Organized, Part 1 appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Libec’s Versatile Accessories For Photographers And Content Creators

Par : By Staff

Libec has been producing a variety of accessories in the camera and video worlds for quite a while. The company recently refreshed several product lines. Here are some of the new models:

Libec Monopod and Monopod Kit

The new TH-M series monopod is available in two configurations—Libec TH-M Professional Video Monopod, specifically designed for free-stand operations, and the Libec TH-M KIT, which also comes with the TH-X H dual-base video head and a bowl clamp, compatible with 65mm tripods.

Highlighted features of the TH-M Hands-Free Monopod include:

  • Free-standing design and operation, for a variety of shooting modes
  • An upgraded head attachment, which is compatible with heads that designed with a 1/4” or 3/8” screw hole
  • Legs are designed to allow you to fold them quickly and easily
  • Includes a Perfect-Lock feature, plus an innovative Step Lock/Release Foot Pedal and lockable Ball Joint
  • Built-in lubricated ball joint system for smooth panoramic shots
  • Comes with numeric height indicators and flip locks useful when adjusting height

 

Introducing Libec’s New TH-M HANDS-FREE MONOPOD from LTV – Libec TV on Vimeo.

Featured highlights for the Dual Base Video Head include:

  • Flat-base design for monopods, sliders, skater dollies and gear equipped with a 3/8” screw
  • 65mm ball design for 65mm bowl tripods
  • Supports many of today’s cameras with a payload of 9lbs (4.0 kg)
  • Comes with a built-in counterbalance
  • Dual pan-handle rosettes for additional pan handle or support arm
  • Equipped with a bubble level for easy head leveling
  • Industry standard sliding plate compatible with Sachtler & Manfrotto heads
  • Snap on/off sliding plate for easy camera balance adjustments
  • Plate slides +/-30mm / 1.2” front to rear and includes a 1/4″ screw
     
Libec’s new TH-M Professional Video Monopod

Libec 650EX Entry-level Tripod

The Libec 650 Series is an entry-level tripod, but it’s ideal for many type of work, including many video shoots with small-sized camcorders, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. And it comes with a travel bag. Features include:

  • Sliding Plate Range for Camera Balance: Users will find it easy to balance their camera more quickly.
  • Industry Standard Sliding Plate: The sliding plate is compatible with select Manfrotto and Sachtler tripods, allowing users to quickly swap between a wide range of camera supports.
  • One-touch Flip Locks: Designed with efficient one-touch flip locks, users can quickly adjust and set their tripod’s height between shots and when necessary.
  • Rubber Foot Pads with Metal Spikes: This designed is great for most indoor video shoots. When shooting outdoors, the tripod can be firmly planted on the ground by twisting the footpads and exposing the conveniently hidden metal spikes.
  • Transport Lock: During transportation, the 650EX tripod legs can be locked into place thanks to the equipped transport lock.

 

Libec 650EX Entry-level Tripod

Libec Broadcast CamBag 30

Libec’s new Broadcast CamBag 30 is a stylish but rugged bag with plenty of internal storage space, large-capacity, a wide zipper range, for quick easy access, thick protective padding and a stain-resistant fabric base. Its zipper system helps gives you quick access to all your gears stored in the storage space. It also provides great visibility and flexibility. Plus, the thick padding protects your cameras, lighting gear and other accessories just as the stain-resistant fabric base protects the material fo the bag itself.

The main features of the Broadcast CamBag 30 include:

  • Side Pockets with a Large Capacity: The side pockets utilize two large, side pockets to store all your camera gear—one of the side pockets is designed to hold larger accessories, the other side pocket is conveniently divided into smaller storage spaces for smaller accessories.
  • Adjustable Camera Strap: The CamBag 30 is equipped with a sturdy and adjustable camera strap to minimize camera movement, which lets you firmly and comfortably hold the camera in place for worry-free portability.
  • Padded Shoulder Strap: The bag also includes a comfortable, adjustable shoulder strap, as well.

 

Libec Broadcast CamBag 30

Libec T150F Heavy-duty Aluminum Tripod Legs

Libec has also introduced its new heavy-duty flat-base tripod, designed for 150mm flat base heads. Using 4 bolts, users   can easily attach a flat base head. For convenience, the T150F is equipped with bubble level. As part of the QD Series, the T150F grants high stability, especially when supporting a heavy camera setup.

Libec T150F Heavy-duty Aluminum Tripod Legs

Pricing and Availability

The Libec TH-M Professional Video Monopod and the Libec TH-M KIT will retail, respectively, for $200 (list price) and $340 (list price). The 650EX Tripod System will cost $240 (list price). And the Libec Broadcast CamBag 30 will sell for $230 (list price). The T150 F will run $2,400 (list price) All the Libec product mentioned should be available this summer.

For more information, see the press releases below or go to the Libec website.

 

[[ press release ]]

The Libec TH-M Series Professional Video Monopod and TH-M Series Professional Video Monopod Kit

Here are the featured highlights of the TH-M Hands-Free Monopod:

  • Video monopod designed with free-stand operation and a variety of shooting modes
  • Upgraded head attachment compatible with heads that are designed with a 1/4” or 3/8” screw hole
  • Perfect Lock Feature with innovative Step Lock/Release Foot Pedal and lockable Ball Joint
  • Instantly switch from shooting mode to a locked vertical position
  • Convenient click indicates when TH-M is released or locked into vertical position
  • Built-in lubricated ball joint system for smooth panoramic shots
  • Numeric height indicators and flip locks for preferred height adjustments
  • User-friendly folding legs for swift setups and compact travel
  • Robust aluminum material, yet lightweight for easy travel and transportation
  • Dual size designed carrying bag for run-and-gun operation and easy storage

And here are some of the featured highlights for the Dual Base Video Head:

  • Flat base design for monopods, sliders, skater dollies, and gear equipped with a 3/8” screw
  • 65mm ball design for 65mm bowl tripods
  • Supports many of today’s cameras with a payload of 9lbs (4.0 kg)
  • Built-in counterbalance for precise camera balance and tilt movements
  • Dual pan handle rosettes for additional pan handle or support arm
  • Equipped with a bubble level for easy head leveling
  • Amazingly lightweight at 1kg/2.2lb including the pan handle.
  • Industry standard sliding plate compatible with Sachtler & Manfrotto heads
  • Snap on/off sliding plate for easy camera balance adjustments
  • Plate slides +/-30mm / 1.2” front to rear and includes a 1/4″ scre

OVERVIEW

The TH-M is the successor of the HFMP monopod. While keeping its great free-stand ability from the previous model, the TH-M is an enhanced version with greater usability, expanded operability, and easy maintainability.

The new Perfect Lock feature is a new structure on TH-M, making the maneuvering of the head on the monopod easier than ever.

TH-M Upgraded Features from Former HFMP

Perfect Lock Feature

When users lock the bottom part of the monopod by stepping on the foot pedal, the ball joint will be locked as well. The pan movement of the head on the monopod is smoother than ever, allowing the users to control the camera’s manual focus while panning at the same time when shooting.

Upgraded Head Attachment

The former HFMP monopod can only support equipment with a 3/8″ screw hole. However, the new TH-M’s head attachment is equipped with both a 1/4″ screw hole and a 3/8″ screw hole. On the top cover of the TH-M monopod, the 1/4″ screw is covered by a storable 3/8″ screw socket, allowing both kinds of equipment to be attached.

Easy to Maintain

The free-stand’s base has been redesigned allowing users to easily remove dirt when necessary.

Additional advanced features include:

Hands-Free Monopod: An exceptional mini tripod structure with increased stability allows the monopod to stand on its own with a wide range of cameras, allowing you to multi-task and make equipment adjustments in between shots, without the need to lay the monopod on the floor or lean it against the wall.

*Please note, to avoid accidents do not leave the monopod unattended at any time.

Step Lock/Release Foot Pedal: With a single step, a unique foot pedal with a smart lock/release feature allows the monopod to switch its function from a shooting mode to a secure locked vertical position. In a field that requires users to shoot and move frequently, this unique function saves lots of time, enhances mobility, and increases productivity by helping camera operators effortlessly exchange camera accessories and gain advantage over the competition.

Smooth Panoramic Rotation: A special built-in lubricated ball joint system, designed to prevent dust and debris from entering, offers smooth quality movements.

Quick adjustments for your Preferred Height: A sleek design with numeric indicators for your preferred height settings, improving the usability when it is necessary to frequently adjust height settings.

Speedy Open / Close functions: Designed for swift setups and compact travel, these user-friendly folding legs can be easily opened and closed with a push of a button.

Pan Tilt Head with Dual Head Structure (Only for TH-M KIT): Unlike other photo/video heads included with monopod kits, this head has tilt and pan functions, and has a dual head structure (flat base/65mm bowl), making the head compatible with 65mm bowl/flat base tripods, monopods, sliders, skater dollies, and other equipment with 3/8 inch screws.

*Bowl clamp included

Industry Standard sliding plates compatible with Manfrotto, Sachtler heads (Only for TH-M KIT): This one touch on/off sliding plate is compatible with Manfrotto and Sachtler heads, enabling quick equipment swaps without the need to change sliding plates onsite.

Dual-size carrying bag Included: The TH-M includes a dual-size travel bag to store and carry the monopod with or without the head. The bag’s internal protection pads are designed to protect the monopod’s head.

 

TH-M – Video Monopod Specifications

  • Payload: 17.6 lbs.
  • Weight: 4.0 lbs.
  • Height: 29.1 to 69.3″
  • Section: 2 STAGE
  • Leg Lock Type: Lock / Release Levers
  • Head attachment screw: 1/4” screw, 3/8” screw
  • Construction Material: Aluminum
  • Pipe Diameters (upper/mid/low): 34.0mm / 29.5mm / 25.0mm
  • Monopod Case: Included

TH-M KIT – Video monopod with video head Specifications

  • Payload: 9.0 lbs.(C.G. 55mm)
  • Tilt angle: +90° / -80°
  • Dual Pan Function Design: Pan function on head
  • Temperature range: -20°C to +60°C / -4°F to +140°F
  • Weight: 5.9lb
  • Height: 34.4 to 74.6″
  • Section: 2 STAGE
  • Leg Lock Type: Lock / Release Levers
  • Head attachment screw: 1/4” screw, 3/8” screw
  • Camera plate: Sliding plate – Compatible with Manfrotto and Sachtler heads
  • Construction Material: Aluminum
  • Pipe Diameters (upper/mid/low):    34.0mm/29.5mm/25.0mm
  • Monopod Case     Included

[[ press release ]]

Libec 650EX Entry-level Tripod

Entry-level

650EX: Successor of TH-650HD with payload of 3kg / 6.5lb.

OVERVIEW

The Libec entry level 650 Series, ideal for video shoots with small sized camcorders, DSLRs, and Mirrorless cameras, is back! While features have been greatly enhanced for today’s users, the new 650EX is a great value tripod system that offers users a wide range of features and benefits at a low cost.

Features of 650EX

Sliding Plate Range for Camera Balance

The 650EX is equipped with a sliding plate range that allows users to balance their camera even quicker, a key improvement from the previous model’s fixed quick shoe.

Industry Standard Sliding Plate

The included sliding plate is compatible with select Manfrotto and Sachtler tripods, allowing users to quickly swap between a wide range of camera supports

One-touch Flip Locks

Designed with efficient one-touch flip locks, users can quickly adjust and set their tripod’s height between shots and when necessary.

Rubber Foot Pads with Metal Spikes

Designed with quality rubber footpads for most indoor video shoots. When shooting outdoors, the tripod can be firmly planted on the ground by twisting the footpads and exposing the conveniently hidden metal spikes.

Transport Lock

During transportation, the 650EX tripod legs can be locked into place thanks to the equipped transport lock.

Travel Bag Included

The travel bag’s hand straps are comfortable and long enough to be used as a shoulder strap, making transportation a walk in the park.

Specification For The 650EX              

  • Payload: 6.5 lbs.
  • Counterbalance: FIX
  • Drag mode: FIX
  • Tilt Angle: +90°/-70°
  • Temperature Range: -4°F to +140°F
  • Bubble Level: Non illuminated
  • Camera Plate: Sliding plate — Compatible with Manfrotto and Sachtler heads
  • Sliding Range: +/-30mm / 1.2″
  • Plate Attachment: 1/4″ screw with video pin
  • Spare Screw: None
  • Weight: 6.9lb
  • Height: 27.5 to 59.0″
  • Ball Diameter: 65mm
  • Section:2STAGE

[[ press release ]]

Libec T150F

T150F: Aluminum tripod for 150mm flat base heads

OVERVIEW

The T150F is Libec’s new flat base tripod designed for 150mm flat base heads. Using 4 bolts, users                  can easily attach a flat base head. For convenience, the T150F is equipped with bubble level. As part of the QD Series, the T150F grants high stability, especially when supporting a heavy camera setup.

SPECIFICATION for the T150F

  • Pipe material: Aluminum
  • Payload: 220.5 lbs.
  • Weight: 17.9 lbs.
  • Height: 23 to 64″
  • Ball diameter: Flat
  • Section: 2STAGE

[[ press release ]]

Libec Broadcast CamBag 3

OVERVIEW

It is not every day you come across a camera bag that combines style with rugged capabilities. The new Libec Broadcast CamBag 30 offer some really nice user benefits including plenty of internal storage space, side pockets with a large capacity, a wide zipper range for quick easy access, thick protective padding, a stain resistant fabric base, amongst other great features and benefits found below.

Features of Broadcast CamBag 30

Wide Zipper Range for Quick Easy Access

Designed with a wide range zipper opening for increased storage space, great visibility, and easy access to camera and contents. With plenty of internal storage space, a handheld camera can easily be stored or removed. Thick padding safely protects the user’s camera & other possessions.

Side Pockets with a Large Capacity

Designed with two large side pockets to store a variety of camera accessories. While one of the side pockets is designed to hold larger accessories, the other side pocket is conveniently divided into smaller storage spaces for smaller accessories.

Stain Resistant Fabric Base

The Broadcast CamBag 30 base is made with stain resistant material. When lifting the bag off the ground, simply wipe and remove blemishes accordingly.

Adjustable Camera Strap

Equipped with a camera strap to minimize the camera’s movement and firmly holding the camera into place, allowing users to safely transport the camera with a peace of mind.

Padded Shoulder Strap

Comfortable adjustable shoulder strap included.

Technical Specs For Broadcast CamBag 30:

  • Camera Storage Dimensions: W 18.9″ x H 10.2″ x D 7.0″
  • Outer Dimensions: W 20.5″ x H 11.4″ x D 13.4″
  • Weight: 3.6 lbs
  • Material: Nylon
  • Capacity: 7.9 gallons

 

The post Libec’s Versatile Accessories For Photographers And Content Creators appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Adobe Updates Creative Cloud Video, Audio And Multimedia Apps

Adobe’s new updates to its video, audio and multimedia apps include improvements to the Roto Brush in After Effects.  

Earlier today, Adobe introduced updates to the Adobe Creative Cloud, which include several new exciting features to Adobe’s video, audio and multimedia apps.

One potentially powerful new feature that could save creatives lots of time is Adobe’s integration of Adobe Stock audio into its Premiere Pro video editor, which means you don’t have to leave the app and hunt through stock audio libraries to find the audio clips you need. Instead,  Adobe says you can search within the audio workspace of Premiere Pro itself and browse via keywords, genres and sub-genres, mood, filters (tempo and duration), etc. You can also modify your search to include audio clips with or without vocals. Plus, you can build the audio sections “without distracting audio watermarks,” and search through Stock audio providers that include Epidemic Sound and Jamendo

The update also introduces a feature called timeline sync in Premiere Pro, which allows you to download a preview of the audio file. This essentially lets you to hear what the audio will sound like within your project without needing to download a full high quality file. Once you’ve licensed the audio clip, Premiere Pro automatically replaces the preview clip with the higher-res version. Adobe also says that the licensing process is very easy to do, and is available right in the Essentials section of Premiere Pro’s Sound panel in the app.

Adobe Stock audio is now integrated directly into Premiere Pro, which Adobe says makes “it easier and more efficient to find the right soundtrack for your video.”

 

Adobe Sensei-Enabled Features

The updates, which Adobe says have all been powered by its artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, include several new features Adobe says are coming soon, including the following:

  • A New Roto Brush in After Effects: The update will introduce the Roto Brush 2 in After Effects, which was originally called Project Fast Mask and provides you with the ability to “generate more accurate mattes when separating foreground and background elements in video sequences.” Adobe says the improved Roto Brush 2 can “track the object automatically, following its motion so you can avoid time-consuming manual frame-by-frame rotoscoping.”

  • Scene Edit Detection in Premiere Pro: In addition to Adobe Audio Stock, Adobe says the new update will use Adobe Sensei in other important ways, including adding Scene Edit Detection in Premiere Pro, which will “analyze exported or archived video files and identify edits with pinpoint accuracy.” It will also automatically add cuts or markers at each edit point, turning rendered files into editable timelines and enabling per-clip adjustments, such as color correction or reframing.
Adobe has added a new Scene Edit Detection tool in Premiere Pro, which will automatically add cuts or markers at each edit point, turning rendered files into editable timelines.
  • Auto Reframe in Premiere Rush: In addition to the updates for Premiere Pro, Adobe has introduced new features to Premiere Rush, including Auto Reframe, which it says “will intelligently identify the actions in your video and keep the most important part of your shot in the frame when switching between different aspect ratios.” The feature, which is already in Premiere Pro, appears to be ideal for reformatting video for social media channels.

During the product briefing, Adobe also noted that it would include other AI-powered features, including Pan and Zoom, in future updates. This particular feature, also known as the “Ken Burns Effect,” will let you pan across still images and zoom in or out.

For more information, see Adobe’s blog on the updates or see the press release below.

Updates to Adobe Premiere Rush, Adobe’s mobile video editor, include Auto Reframe and Pan & Zoom.

 

[[ press release ]]

Accelerate Workflows and Craft Better Stories with Adobe Creative Cloud Video and Audio Applications

Introducing Adobe Stock audio in Premiere Pro

 

Today we’re excited to announce a major update across Creative Cloud, including the brand new Adobe Stock audio integration in Premiere Pro. We are also previewing several new features coming soon, including Roto Brush 2 in After Effects, Scene Edit Detection in Premiere Pro, and an Effects panel in Premiere Rush with new Auto Reframe and Pan and Zoom. Today’s release also offers performance improvements with faster load times for Premiere Pro and After Effects, improved support for linking offline files in Audition, support for Apple Afterburner and new camera format support.

Adobe Stock audio in Premiere Pro

Music breathes life and energy into video content, helping shape the stories you tell. The latest release of Premiere Pro introduces Adobe Stock audio, a new integration that makes it easier and more efficient to find the right soundtrack for your video. Eliminating time-consuming steps, Adobe Stock audio aggregates thousands of music cues from top stock providers like Epidemic Sound and Jamendo. The integration with Premiere Pro provides the only offering in the market that allows you to search, preview, and license audio tracks within the editorial workflow.

  • Search – With thousands of high-quality royalty-free music tracks available, you never have to leave your editing space to find the right soundtrack for your Search for suitable music based on mood, genre, tempo, and duration.
  • Preview – Use Timeline Sync to try different music tracks together with your Built into the Essential Sound Panel, Timeline Sync allows you to test multiple music selections back-to-back, in sync with your edit in the timeline.
  • Edit – Build your story with the music without distracting audio You can complete an entire edit and mix with unwatermarked preview audio files. Only license the music you want to use, after you are completely satisfied with the result.
  • License – License music tracks directly inside the Essential Sound panel or from the Project It’s as easy as a few clicks and you’re back to your edit. Licensed audio automatically replaces preview files with the high-quality version throughout your edit.

Adobe Stock helps video content creators deliver better work more efficiently by making assets available within the editorial workflow. Search Adobe Stock for original HD and 4K video, professionally designed Motion Graphics templates, music, and more.

New Features Powered by Adobe Sensei Coming Soon

Adobe Sensei brings the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to accelerate time-consuming production tasks so that editors and artists can focus on the creative process. Alongside this release, we’re previewing new features powered by Adobe Sensei coming to Premiere Pro, After Effects and Premiere Rush.

  • Scene Edit Detection in Premiere Pro will leverage Adobe Sensei to analyze exported or archived video files and identify edits with pinpoint Unlike existing histogram-based solutions, the new technology in Premiere Pro was built with machine learning, helping users to save time by delivering consistently reliable results. Scene Edit Detection will automatically add cuts or markers at each edit point, turning rendered files into editable timelines and enabling per-clip adjustments, such as color correction or reframing.
  • Roto Brush 2 in After Effects will make rotoscoping a practical option for more Originally introduced as Project Fast Mask, Roto Brush 2 uses Adobe Sensei machine learning algorithms to generate more accurate mattes when separating foreground and background elements in video sequences. Paint over the object you want to isolate in a reference frame, including edge refinements for hair or other textures. Powered by Adobe Sensei, Roto Brush 2 will track the object automatically, following its motion so you can avoid time-consuming manual frame-by-frame rotoscoping.
  • Auto Reframe in Premiere Rush will intelligently identify the actions in your video and keep the most important part of your shot in the frame when switching between different aspect Powered by Adobe Sensei and first introduced in Premiere Pro, Auto Reframe will enable you to reformat content for social media channels no matter what device you are working on, including your phone.

Future releases of Premiere Rush will offer a new Effects panel, including Auto Reframe, transitions, and Pan and Zoom, another motion effect currently in development. Pan and Zoom will allow the user to pan across still images and zoom in or out, adding new tools for visual storytelling.

Users who are interested in testing features in development can download public Beta builds of the Adobe video and audio applications from the Creative Cloud desktop application.

The post Adobe Updates Creative Cloud Video, Audio And Multimedia Apps appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Tamron Launches All-In-One 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Zoom Lens For Sony E-Mount

Par : By Staff

Tamron’s new 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD all-in-one zoom lens (Model A071)

Tamron has just announced a new superzoom lens, Tamron’s 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD (Model A071), which is an all-in-one zoom for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. The lens, which Tamron says is the first F2.8 all-in-one zoom lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras, is scheduled to be available on June 25, and will cost $729. However, Tamron says due to the spread of COVID-19, the lens release date or the product supply schedule could be delayed.

The lens, which is 4.6 inches long and has a maximum diameter is 74mm, weighs just 20.3 oz, making it a very portable lens. But it also includes other impressive features, including:

  • A fast F2.8 aperture at the 28mm wide-angle end of the zoom and an F5.6 at the telephoto end of the range (starting at 150mm through 200mm),
  • Lightweight form factor and a compact size,
  • 67mm filter diameter,
  • A lens optical design of 18 elements in 14 groups, which includes GM (Glass Molded Aspherical), hybrid aspherical, XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) and LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements,
  • And a Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Coating to reduce ghosting and flare.

For more information, see the press release below.

Learn more about Tamron’s 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD (Model A071) at B&H.

[[ press release ]]

Tamron Announces Launch of the World’s First (1)

All-In-One Zoom Lens Starting at F2.8

for Sony E-Mount Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras

 

28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD (Model A071)

June 10, 2020, Commack, NY – Tamron announces the launch of the 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD (Model A071), an all-in-one zoom lens for Sony E-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras. The lens is scheduled to be available on June 25 at $729. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the release date or the product supply schedule could be delayed.

In 1992, Tamron demonstrated breakthrough innovation with the release of the AF 28-200mm F/3.8-5.6 Aspherical (Model 71D), a compact and lightweight all-in-one zoom lens. The amazingly compact size, light weight and reasonable price made the lens immediately wildly popular with photographers around the world. In the years since, Tamron has continued to be a pioneer in the category, releasing epoch-making all-in-one zooms tailored to each era, including the recent 18-400mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD (Model B028) that boasts the world’s  highest magnification of 22.2x(2) and which currently enjoys robust sales. The new 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 is a distillation of all Tamron’s accumulated all-in-one zoom expertise and has been specifically developed as an all-in-one zoom for daily use on a full-frame mirrorless camera. Tamron chose Model A071 as the model name in a nod to “71” representing the world’s original compact all-in-one zoom.

The 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 is the first all-in-one-zoom in the world to achieve a maximum aperture of F2.8 at the 28mm wide-angle end. To assure superb optical performance, it features a precise arrangement of special lens elements that accommodate the increasingly high resolutions of today’s digital cameras. Enabling high quality image rendering throughout the zoom range, the lens responds to users’ photographic expressions in powerful style. Moreover, with its 4.6” length, 20.3 oz. weight, and filter diameter of a mere 67mm, the 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 offers excellent portability. When combined with a compact, lightweight full-frame mirrorless camera, it allows photographers to capture virtually every scene they encounter in daily use, travel, sports and nature.

The 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 takes the convenience of an all-in-one zoom (which incorporates various angles of view from wide to telephoto in a single lens) and adds a fast-maximum aperture of F2.8 and superb image quality to enhance the potential for photographic applications. Breaking conventional limitations and broadening the horizons of photographic possibilities, this zoom lens writes a new chapter in the history of the all-in-one zoom lens.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

  1. The world’s first F2.8 all-in-one zoom lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras

A remarkable first for an all-in-one zoom lens: the 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 achieves a fast F2.8 aperture at the 28mm wide-angle end. Additionally, maximum apertures at intermediate zoom ranges are F3.5 at 50mm, F4.5 at 100mm, and F5.6 at 150mm through 200mm. As an unprecedented all-in-one zoom that combines fast aperture with compact size, the 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 delivers greater versatility and usefulness than ever before available.

  1. Lightweight and compact size for superior mobility

Tamron’s series of full-frame mirrorless camera lenses, starting with the 28-75mm F2.8 (Model A036), has been developed with the overall goal of balancing high performance with convenience. In addition to the series-standard 67mm filter diameter, and leveraging the camera integrated image stabilization, engineers concentrated on achieving compact size and light weight. Length is just 4.6”, maximum diameter is 74mm, and the weight is a mere 20.3 oz. With a size that offers excellent portability, the lens lightens your load, allowing you to travel comfortably and shoot unencumbered.

  1. Uncompromising image quality that lets you focus on creativity

This new zoom lens contains 18 elements in 14 groups. A generous assortment of special lens elements that includes GM (Glass Molded Aspherical), hybrid aspherical, XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) and LD (Low Dispersion) lens elements is precisely arranged to effectively control chromatic and other aberrations, enabling high resolving power. Meanwhile, the BBAR (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection) Coating provides powerful anti-reflection properties to effectively reduce ghosting and flare, resulting in clear and crisp images. In-camera correction features are utilized to mitigate distortion and shading to achieve uniformly high image quality from edge-to-edge at all zoom settings. Tamron has concentrated all its all-in-one zoom technologies into achieving optical performance that sets a new standard among existing all-in-one zoom lenses. From casual snaps to serious photos, this single lens lets you enjoy a wide range of shooting situations with complete freedom of composition.

  1. Superior up-close shooting performance

The 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 delivers superior close-up shooting performance for an all-in-one zoom. At the 28mm wide-angle end the MOD (Minimum Object Distance) is 7.5”, achieving a maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.1. This performance, combined with the fast F2.8 aperture, allows users to move in close so that the subject is large while simultaneously showcasing a beautifully blurred background. Close-up shooting is remarkable at the telephoto end as well, with an MOD of 31.5” and maximum magnification ratio of 1:3.8. Users can capture impressive images with highly blurred backgrounds and create exceptional compositions.

  1. The RXD stepping motor unit is exceptionally quiet 

The AF drive incorporates a sensor that accurately detects the position of the lens while the RXD motor unit delivers optimized AF control. This achieves very fast and accurate autofocus operation, allowing users to maintain tack-sharp focus on continuously moving subjects or when filming video. The exceedingly quiet operation is an important advantage because it virtually eliminates extraneous sounds during video recording. In addition, the compact configuration of the RXD AF drive system contributes to the unprecedented size and weight reduction.

  1. A full family of superb, compact lenses made especially for mirrorless cameras

The 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 zoom is based on Tamron’s stratagem of creating a series* of lenses for full-frame mirrorless cameras that leverage the characteristics of compact camera bodies. Consequently, photographers can more easily enjoy various combinations of interchangeable lenses. For example, when the Model A071 is combined with the 17-28mm F2.8 (Model A046), the combined weight of the two lenses is less than 35.1 oz. This lightweight, portable zoom set covers everything from wide-angle to telephoto with a zoom range of 17-200mm. Additionally, when combined with a lens from Tamron’s series of fixed focal lenses such as the 20mm F2.8 (Model F050) or 24mm F2.8 (Model F051), the weight is less than 28.2 oz., expanding the possibilities of shooting at the wide-angle end without adding excessive weight or bulk.

All lenses in the series share the common filter diameter of 67mm, thereby eliminating the hassle associated with using different size filters and lens caps. Costly filters (e.g., PL, ND, etc.) can be shared instead of buying separate units for each lens. In this way, Tamron has expanded its series of lenses to make it truly practical to carry multiple lenses at the same time.

  1. Moisture-Resistant Construction, Fluorine Coating, and Zoom Lock switch

Seals are located at the lens mount area and other critical locations to deter infiltration of moisture and/or rain drops and afford Moisture-Resistant Construction. This feature provides an additional layer of protection when shooting outdoors under adverse weather conditions. Also, the front surface of the lens element is coated with a protective fluorine compound that has excellent water- and oil-repellant qualities. The lens surface is easier to wipe clean and is less vulnerable to the damaging effects of dirt, moisture or oily fingerprints, allowing for much easier maintenance. Additionally, the handy Zoom Lock switch prevents unwanted barrel extension during transportation.

  1. Compatible with main camera-specific features** and functions

Tamron’s new 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 is compatible with many of the advanced features that are specific to certain mirrorless cameras. These include the following:

  • Fast Hybrid AF
  • Eye AF
  • Direct Manual Focus (DMF)
  • In-camera lens correction (shading, chromatic aberration, distortion)
  • Camera-based lens unit firmware updates

([1]) Maximum aperture in zoom range among currently available all-in-one interchangeable zoom lenses with a zoom ratio of 7x or higher (As of May 2020: Tamron)

(2) Among interchangeable lenses for DSLR cameras (As of May 2017: Tamron)

* Tamron lineup of lenses with 67mm filter diameter for full-frame mirrorless cameras: 28-75mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A036), 17-28mm F/2.8 Di III RXD (Model A046), 20mm/24mm/35mm F/2.8 Di III OSD (Model F050/F051/F053), 70-180mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (Model A056) 

** Features vary by camera. Please consult your camera’s owner’s manual for details. (As of May 2020.)

Technical Specifications

  • Model: A071
  • Focal Length: 28‐200mm
  • Maximum Aperture: F2.8-5.6
  • Angle of View (diagonal): 75°23′-12°21′ (for full-frame mirrorless format)
  • Optical Construction: 18 elements in 14 groups
  • Minimum Object Distance: 0.19m /7.5 in (WIDE), 0.8m /31.5 in (TELE)
  • Maximum Magnification Ratio: 1:3.1 (WIDE) / 1:3.8 (TELE)
  • Filter Size: Ø67mm
  • Maximum Diameter: Ø74mm
  • Length*: 4.6“
  • Weight: 20.3 oz.
  • Aperture Blades: 7 (circular diaphragm)**
  • Minimum Aperture: F16-32
  • Standard Accessories: Flower-shaped hood, Lens caps
  • Compatible Mounts: Sony E-mount

* Length is the distance from the front tip of the lens to the lens mount face.

** The circular diaphragm stays almost perfectly circular up to two stops down from maximum aperture.

Specifications, appearance, functionality, etc. are subject to change without prior notice.

This product is developed, manufactured and sold based on the specifications of E-mount which was disclosed by Sony Corporation under the license agreement with Sony Corporation.

The post Tamron Launches All-In-One 28-200mm F/2.8-5.6 Zoom Lens For Sony E-Mount appeared first on HD Video Pro.

How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear

The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro was introduced well after the pandemic and quarantine hit and, therefore, has been almost impossible to actually buy. Blackmagic Design can’t make enough units to satisfy demand. This is one that I hunted down and purchased four weeks after the unit was announced. How did I find it? Read on.

Buying new production gear in 2020 is proving to be a bit different than it was in 2019 or any other year in recent memory. Most of us in production have been taking an extended hiatus from buying since the pandemic hit about three months ago, but as the months of quarantine have worn on, for me, there have been a few new acquisitions, primarily for my company’s change of direction toward live streaming. We recently inked a deal to partner with a colleague’s live streaming company, combining my company’s aesthetic approach with the partner’s skill set and business model that has been centered around live streaming content for the past decade.

How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear
Our Main Live Stream System is VMix Live paired with VMix Call for remote live streaming. Pretzels are available for a nominal extra charge.

Since our companies have merged, there has been a need for some specific pieces of gear in order to maximize our new versatility in providing different types and levels of live streaming production capability. In practical terms, we have an “A” live streaming system that’s based around a high-end custom PC running VMix Live and VMix Call software. One of the tenants of producing live stream content is that we feel strongly that a total of 100 percent redundancy is needed in live streaming.

Live streaming is essentially similar to live television production, and if you’ve ever worked live TV before, you know that things can often go sideways with gear. In the live TV or streaming world, if something fails or isn’t working correctly, your entire production is in jeopardy. We strongly feel that since we present ourselves as consummate professionals, a large part of being professional is to build in redundancies in all of your gear and resources.

Many of our competitors don’t take this same approach, meaning that if a client books the competitor and a piece of gear breaks, malfunctions or stops working during a live stream, the competitor may have their “Plan A” well thought out, but if the “Plan A” fails, the competitor doesn’t always have a good “Plan B” waiting to step in and save the day. Why do other companies skip having a good Plan B or even a Plan C? Probably because redundancy is expensive.

When It Falls On You

When we live stream an event for our clients, they often have everything on the line. Our last two larger live stream projects were both fundraising auctions and each had over a million dollars in auction proceeds at risk. A failure in our live stream could have resulted in a loss of over a million dollars for one client and about $980,000 for the other client. It’s sobering to know that your client’s financial future for one of these events is completely in your hands. If we or our gear fails, the client loses big money and we lose our reputation.

We haven’t yet had the funds available to replicate our main live streaming system, although that’s our goal for 2020. In the meantime, we saw that Blackmagic Design introduced the ATEM Mini Pro four-channel live streaming switcher. While the ATEM Mini Pro can’t begin to replicate the functionality that our VMix Live system can, in the event that our VMix system ever went down, the ATEM Mini Pro could at least switch between for cameras or video sources so that we could keep the client’s live stream on the air.

How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear
While I have successfully purchased the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro, I literally received this notice from B&H Photo as I was writing this article. I’ve had the same notification from B&H for the past six weeks.

OK, Let’s Buy It

After watching Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty’s excellent introduction video for the ATEM Mini Pro, I made the decision that the device could function as a backup for our main system until we could afford to build another high-end system, and the ATEM Mini Pro could also be handy as a stand-alone live stream and recording solution for my own gear reviews and other multicam projects. Of course, I tried to order an ATEM Mini Pro as soon as the video was released. The problem was, so did tens of thousands of other users around the world.

In speaking with several of my friends and colleagues who wanted to either purchase the ATEM Mini Pro or another live streaming capture device/adapter, I found that the common thread was that not only was the hot new ATEM Mini nowhere to be found a month after ordering it, basically all of the available single camera capture/streaming converter devices were sold out.

The Usual Suspects And Some Unknown Sources

I had been checking all of the usual sources that I usually purchase pro video and audio gear from, and nobody seemed to have any specific information about when they might have the ATEM Mini Pro for purchase. Most retailers will accept pre-orders, but I don’t like pre-ordering gear for our business unless the retailer can at least provide a window of when we can expect to receive the gear, and nobody was offering any kind of dates about when they could fulfill a pre-order.

With the ATEM Mini Pro, a perfect storm of the pandemic interrupting supply chains to and from China, where most electronics are made, the quarantine causing almost everyone who needed to live stream deciding that right now in 2020 was the perfect time to kick it off and buy up every live streaming device they could get their hands on. Combine these two factors with the ATEM Mini Pro supporting live streaming with amazing features at a very low cost, and you had zero availability.

How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear
Here’s a retailer on Amazon who might be able to deliver the ATEM Mini Pro to you sometime in July. They’re only charging $132 for shipping too. What a bargain!

The Death of the Mom-And-Pop Photo Shop

Because of their fairly generous return policies, I’ve tended to buy lower dollar gear like this ATEM Mini Pro from either Amazon or B&H Photo. When buying higher dollar gear like cameras and higher-end lighting or lenses, I like to support smaller retail stores that are near me, but unfortunately, most of the camera stores have disappeared in my part of California and there really don’t seem to be too many smaller mom-and-pop stores left that sell this sort of specialized gear like pro lighting, lenses, cameras and live streaming gear.

We have definitely lost choices in where to buy the gear we need to run our businesses, and we all know that Amazon and large retailers like B&H Photo now command a sizable share of the pro video market. The upside is that their size means that either of these retailers will typically receive higher numbers of a hot new device than smaller retailers, although to be fair, Amazon sells certain products on their own, but they also serve as the storefront for many thousands of smaller retailers who sell through Amazon.

A Strategic Game Plan

Since I was eager to finally acquire the ATEM Mini Pro, I kept checking in with various retailers and friends who had ordered them from various retailers. The results weren’t encouraging. The challenge is when you pre-order from a large retailer like B&H Photo, you’re placing your pre-order in a huge line of other pre-orders, and according to B&H policy, they ship on a first-come/first-served model. If you’re in the first few minutes of pre-order, you’re good. If you wait a few days or even weeks, you may wait a long time.

The challenge is that B&H won’t tell you how many other people are in that line ahead of you and how many units they’re receiving and then sending out for pre-orders. I checked a lot of retailers who I’ve bought from in the past like Full Compass, Guitar Center, Samys Camera, Adorama and dozens of others. The story was pretty much the same at all of them. “Out of Stock” and “Coming Soon” were the two phrases I saw displayed at pretty much every retailer. I also checked eBay and it was really the same story—nobody had the unit in stock, but some were promising delivery by a specific date in June, July or August. This wasn’t encouraging as I needed the ATEM Mini Pro fairly soon for some upcoming live stream projects.

How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear
Amazon has listings for anyone selling anything and a separate page for authorized retailers selling. Know which one you’re looking at.

I noticed that every time I looked up the ATEM Mini Pro on Amazon, I was seeing different buying choices though. Amazon themselves showed, “Out of Stock but available from these sellers.” If you click on the sellers who supposedly have units available, the selling prices were ridiculous. Remember the Blackmagic ATEM Mini retails for $595. I was seeing it offered for $790 plus $5.62 shipping, then for $959 with FREE shipping and for $999 also with free shipping!

None of these sellers are authorized Blackmagic Design certified retailers. I’m all for capitalism and free enterprise, but in my opinion, these sellers are price gouging, not just putting a healthy and fair markup on the device. If you HAVE to have the device, it seems as some buyers will spend that much of a markup to obtain the device. Not me. But some obviously will.

How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear
If you want, you can pay for your tardiness by paying the markup from price gougers. In some cases, this may actually still make sense if you need the product to line up a big-paying client project where your profit will easily cover the price gouging. I’ve paid the gouging price before when it was a good business decision.

Jackpot!

After two weeks of continual searching for the product to be in stock somewhere and striking out, I was becoming discouraged. It was looking as if I’d just have to put in pre-orders with multiple retailers and just hope for the best. With no solid delivery date though, it could take months to get a hold of a unit in time for some projects we wanted to use it on. Just for kicks, I kept checking Amazon and one day, as the page loaded for the ATEM Mini, a small New York camera shop I hadn’t heard of pulled up as having an ATEM Mini Pro in stock.

I checked them out online with the Better Business Bureau and read their reviews. They looked like an OK retailer, so I hit the buy button. Unbelievably, their single ATEM Mini Pro was in my shopping cart, I checked out and found that the Mini Pro would be on my doorstep in three days. It was strictly a case of being in the right place at the right time. If that ATEM Mini Pro had sat for five more minutes, I probably wouldn’t have been lucky enough to buy it.   

Tips, Tricks And Advice

In this instance, I was just lucky to have scored the ATEM Mini Pro. You can increase your chances of getting the latest and best gear by following a few simple strategies. These strategies are no guarantee you’ll be able to buy the new, just introduced gear whenever you want it, but these tips and tricks can definitely help you get the gear you want or need sooner.

  • Get on it! In my experience, you stand a much better chance of getting the product you want if you’re at the head of the line. Online retailers like B&H will often have a notification on their website of when they’ll begin accepting pre-orders.
  • Shop Around. Certain websites like eBay and Amazon are aggregators where you’re buying from any of a number of actual sellers. Keep checking back daily and sometimes you can get lucky where obscure retailers will get one or two copies of the item and if you’re on it, you can purchase it quickly as I did with the ATEM Mini Pro.
  • Pay More. If there’s a brand-new product on the market, you can often post WTB (Want To Buy) notices on many of the forums and discussion groups. Of course, you’ll pay a premium but at times, you may need the piece of gear for a big project that you’ll make a handsome profit from. In these cases, paying a price-gouging price may still ultimately be worth it if the piece of gear is unique or can do something special. 
  • Become A Tester or Reviewer. Certain YouTubers and social media influencers are often sent the product way before it’s available, and for lower dollar items, the manufacturers often send you the product to keep in exchange for the review or posts about it. I usually like to purchase new cameras, lighting and lenses after they’ve been released and they have some kind of track record of how they work in actual use. There are times, though, like with the ATEM Mini Pro, where you need it now in order to capitalize on a business opportunity. In those cases, I hope that my advice is helpful in your landing the unobtainable.

The post How To Buy Unobtainable Production Gear appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Starting Organized, Part 3

I previously wrote about how getting organized can help you to be more efficient so that you spend more time editing and less time managing media. I suggested that if you take the time to create a “master” folder structure, you can copy that structure as you begin each project, rather than recreating a new system each time. And in Part 1 of this three-part series, I discussed what’s in the first two folders—Audio and Color—of the Master Folder structure. Then, in Part 2, I discussed the next four folders: Design, Exports, FromClient and GFX.

Now I’m going to discuss the last two folders of the Master Folder structure: Media and ProjectFiles.

Setting up a master folder structure

Media

Media is the folder that I’ve adjusted many times over the years. Sometimes I think of it as a work in progress. I used to have only a Footage folder, but it started to get complicated. What about stock footage, stabilized footage, etc.? So, I renamed it Media and added several subfolders.

I put all the footage into—you guessed it—the Footage folder. I keep the structure of all the footage that I receive in its original layout. It’s never a good idea to start playing around with the folder structure that comes from today’s cameras. However the DIT laid it out, that’s what I use. If there are multiple DITs, multiple days, I create folders within the Footage folder to delineate that. If there are DIT reports, logs and LUTs, I keep them with the footage just as they are. The only thing I move, as I said before, is the location audio. And I only do that once I’m clear about which audio folders go with which production days.

I use the Created folder for files like footage that are stabilized or where I do tracking for screen replacement or dust removal. Or I might use Created if I want to render a scene with a different frame rate interpretation, aspect ratio or some other pre-render need. For example, if I need a clip with a special blur, I may want to prerender it to save render time. Yes, I could use the Design folder for this, but I think of this content as less about motion design and more about “fixing” stuff. I prefer not to put this new “footage” in the Footage folder because it might have filenames similar to those in Footage. If I have 10 days of footage, trying to find where to put it can be daunting.

The Stills folder might seem to duplicate Graphics or Design, but there are times when stills make up a good deal of a program. (Just ask Ken Burns.) It’s not really footage, but it’s similar to it.

The Stock folder contains subfolders for Comps and Purchased so I can keep track of what’s purchased. While you might think that watermarks help with this, some accounts have special relationships with the stock houses so they can get watermark-free comps. You don’t want to use them for the finished project without licensing!

Setting up a master folder structure

ProjectFiles

The last folder is the ProjectFiles folder. I use this mainly for the main project file storage, but I’ll also use it for previews—if the storage drive is fast enough.

I also use this folder for proxies. It has been my experience that Premiere Pro likes it if you place proxies in the Project folder. It’s not that it won’t work if you place proxies elsewhere, but I’ve run into permission problems on some workstations and have had to relink the proxies each time I started the project. I’ve found the easiest solution is to have Premiere create the proxies within the same folder where my project is.

So that’s my Master Folder structure. While it’s a lot to read, in the time you’ve taken to read this you can create your own folder structure and start cloning it each time you start a new project. This gets you organized before you start and it can keep you organized all the way to the finish.

Organizing the filesystem is one thing, but what about organization within your edit software? It doesn’t have to be the same structure. In fact, you may find that it shouldn’t be the same structure. More on that next time.

The post Starting Organized, Part 3 appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate”

Gabriel Luna stars as the most deadly Terminator ever created, the Rev-9, in director Tim Miller’s action-packed “Terminator: Dark Fate.” All photos courtesy Paramount Pictures Corporation

Decades after Sarah Connor (played by actress Linda Hamilton) helped prevent a catastrophic ending for humanity, a new and improved Terminator—a killing machine, Rev-9—is sent to eliminate the future leader of the resistance. In a fight to once again save mankind, Sarah teams up with an unexpected ally, Skynet’s synthetically intelligent model T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), and an enhanced super-soldier named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) to protect future resistance leader Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes).

While director Tim Miller was tasked to navigate us through this world teetering on the edge of extinction (at least for humans), it was editor Julian Clarke’s job to take the thousands of hours of “footage” and special effects and present them in a dramatic, spine-tingling cohesive manner in the 2019 film “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Not only was humanity’s future hanging in the balance, so was a multi-billion dollar franchise.

Digital Photo Pro: What was your workflow for the postproduction on “Terminator: Dark Fate?”

Julian Clarke: We encoded a ProRes offline version of the dailies that was not very compressed—it could be projected on the big screen, and it would look good. We cut those on iMac Pros.

Also, we were working in a proprietary version of Adobe Premiere: It’s actually an earlier prototype version of the new Productions feature set Adobe announced this past January. 

On the film “Deadpool” [which Clarke also edited], we used an earlier version of Premiere and gave Adobe feedback, which they incorporated into what we used on “Terminator.” The most notable request we and other editors had given was that we needed something that we had in Avid Nexis, where you could take multiple edit systems and network them so we could be in the same project file at the same time.

Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate”
Grace (played by Mackenzie Davis) tries to protect future resistance leader Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) in “Terminator: Dark Fate.”

Sending projects back and forth to each other in a non-networked setup is totally inefficient. I had four assistants and three VFX editors working in the project simultaneously. So, Adobe made it so we could all work in the same master project, essentially turning the projects into bins, like in an Avid.

You would say, “Here is Scene 12.” The editor who opened up that project had read and write access. As soon as they closed it, then another user could enter that project. And all of this is visible through the new “Master Project” Adobe had created.

After Effects works seamlessly with Premiere, so that must have been a good fit as well.

Jon Carr, our VFX editor, did post-viz temps in-house using After Effects to make sure that the shots worked before sending them to the more costly visual effects vendors.

I think eventually the rest of the post-viz team, which was about 25 people, were using Nuke for that. It was an amazing way to work because we could quickly get this stuff out, see how the scenes would work and then turn them over to the expensive VFX vendor world and have confidence that they would work because we had tested them out with the temps.

What were your biggest challenges in cutting the film?

Just managing the quantity of effects was extremely daunting. I’ve worked on plenty of VFX movies, but nothing on this level. We had more than 2,000 VFX shots.

How do you decide on which takes to go with for the live-action scenes?

I watch the dailies, put a few selects on the timeline and start building it linearly forward. I watch the takes backwards because often the director’s suggestions after each take leads to the best material being in the latter ones.

Also, when I’m looking for the one take that’s better than the others, and the difference is often subtle, I think it’s a good idea to build string-outs so I can see them all in a row.

Paramount put out a DVD with bonus content, including play-by-play commentary by you and director Tim Miller. It was fascinating to hear you both discuss the flashback scene when the T-800 emerges from the water. Arnold looked exactly like he did when the franchise started.

We had a much longer scene there originally, with more interaction between Sarah Connor and her son, John, before Arnold—the T-800—arrives.

Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate”
Editor Julian Clarke was able to use an early, proprietary version of Adobe Premiere, which included a
prototype version of the new Productions feature set.

These are pretty much the hardest VFX shots you could possibly create for yourself. You are trying to do photorealistic humans in full daylight doing emotional stuff, and they are also people that you know.

We kept working and working on them, and we got 90% there, but 90% is not good enough. It’s the difference between success and failure on those shots. Either the audience is immersed, or they’re out.

You can get away with other visual effects being less perfect, but when it comes to people, if you don’t believe they’re real, it’s just a failure. We had to make a difficult choice and go for a more impressionistic, slo-mo version of the scene where it’s more of a memory. I think it worked well and maybe lulled the audience into a false sense of security.

How did you make the adult actors look young to match the time the flashback was representing?

We found somebody who had the same build as 1990s Arnold and somebody who had the same body as 1990s Linda Hamilton. Then, we essentially did face replacements on them with CG hair and whatnot. Arnold was easier because his character is not emotive.

When do you get involved with the actual edit?

I try and stay one day behind the shooting. The stuff funnels down to me, and I put it together really quickly. I like to send it back to the director on PIX, our secure file sharing and streaming system, with temp music and sound effects, kind of dressed up so they can watch it at the end of the next day. They can go “this is working” or “that’s not working.” It can give them feedback on how we might want to course-correct.

And possibly do some pick-up shots while they’re still in the same location.

Right. If they’re in one location on a scene they’re shooting over several days, they might think, “Oh, maybe we want to pick up an angle because it feels like we’re having a little trouble here.”

The idea with the editing keeping up is that the production is very forward-focused. They’re always onto the next thing, and with editing, you can look backwards and say, “Wait, you didn’t get this!” or “We still need something here” or “This is going to be trouble.”

Sometimes you don’t even know what the solution is, but you know there’s a problem, and it’s good to be the squeaky wheel. You’re going to inherit all these problems eventually when the shooting wraps, so you can get ahead of them while the shooting’s happening and get the stuff you need…get options, then you’re in better shape.

Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate”
Clarke at work on “Terminator: Dark Fate.”

Was the film shot somewhat sequentially?

We did more of the early stuff toward the beginning of the movie, shooting in Spain. Then, a lot of the very heavy visual effects stuff was saved for the very end. Most of the heavy visual effects were in the third act. That made it naturally a bit sequential, but it certainly wasn’t one scene after the other in order where the actors are getting that pure character continuity. There was still a lot of jumping around in time.

What were the actors actually seeing in the shots when they were fighting, in essence, a special effect?

In a lot of cases, such as when the Rev-9 splits, the actor Gabriel Luna would play the skeleton version of his character. He would have a suit on with tracking markers performing that character, giving the other cast members something to react to and to have an eye line. Things can get very flat when you’re playing to nothing. When it was animated, it might have changed slightly from what he was doing.

With all the special effects, your timeline in Adobe Premiere must have looked insane.

By the end, the timeline was insane because we were stacking up all the VFX versions. The audio timeline was also enormous because I’m a little obsessive with sound, and we edit in 3.1 to get it more movie-sounding when we screen it.

We had tons of temp sound. So, we’re often working with 20 or 30 tracks of audio as well as all the video. Eventually, the system does get a bit bogged down by the sheer amount that we’re throwing at it. We’re maxing our RAM out to give us the best chance of everything working properly.

How does the collaboration work between you, the director and the composer in terms of the score?

The editor does all the stuff in terms of adding music, sound effects, temp graphics, but then all the work gets redone. The music gets redone by the composer, the sound gets redone by the sound designer. What I’m doing is more instructive of our intentions, the ballpark to play in. “This is the sort of emotion we want to create here with the music, and these are the things that are important to us to tell the story.” Then they go on and do their own thing, and I’m involved with giving them feedback.

Are you keeping the pre-viz in the edit that were created to map out the big VFX and CG scenes, then replacing it as those scenes are shot and created?

I’ll very much intercut the pre-viz as placeholders with what we’re shooting. It gives a sense of, “Oh, we should still shoot something that covers this moment or this kind of angle.”

Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate”
Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s characters take on the Rev-9 in “Terminator: Dark Fate.”

It’s funny, the pre-viz is kind of a double-edged sword. Sometimes, the stuff that is looking really good in pre-viz, once you start making it a 100% CG shot in a photorealistic way, you say, “Oh man, this looks really fake.” It feels not photographed. It looks too perfect, too magical.

Then, we say, “We’ve got to mess this up a bit more” or “Don’t go so wide” or “Don’t let the camera float around so much.” That’s the thing that can provoke the audience to step back and think, “This isn’t really real.” It becomes too larger-than-life, too cartoonish.

So, the key with this type of VFX-packed action film is to keep the audience in the film, in the moment, so to speak.

Editors are always into tone: “What is this movie trying to be?”

If you’re making a kind of Austin Powers movie, then the rules of how real or how cartoonish it has to be are different. When I think back to “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” what’s so impressive about it is that it feels very big, but it also feels very grounded and real. That’s always an aspiration, to try and hold onto that sense of reality. That becomes inherently challenging with CG because you’re faking it and doing things that you couldn’t do practically, so there’s a sort of temptation to keep doing more and more. It can get too larger than life.

Sometimes you have to steer it back to a place that’s not as over the top, simpler or messier, less perfect, and bring it closer to reality again.

That’s a battle you go through in a lot of action movies, striking the balance with CG, the right amount of jaw-dropping visuals while keeping it grounded and reality-based.

Part of what makes “Terminator: Dark Fate” such a success is its infusion of humor and “human” moments. The scene with Arnold’s character and his Terminator sunglasses, for instance. It’s so funny but real.

When you screen that for an audience, there’s always a segment that is disappointed that he doesn’t put on his sunglasses, but I think that would have gone too far. It’s the much smarter choice to not have him wear them because he’s not that killing machine anymore. It’s an acknowledgement of his humanity. 

Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate”
Clarke says “the timeline was
insane because we were stacking up all the VFX versions. The audio timeline was also enormous…”

How does it get explained that he ages?

We didn’t delve into that one, but more or less I think it’s alluded to in “Terminator 2” and “Terminator Genisys” as well as in the pre-existing mythology for those who want to dig deep into it.

Basically, it’s living tissue, it’s not simulated tissue, so it can age. We debated as to whether we needed to put that in, but there is so much already going on in the scene when Sarah first encounters him, all this complex emotional stuff between them, and what Arnold’s character has been up to and what they’re going to do next.

What the scene certainly didn’t need was more exposition.

I think we’re just getting away with what we have there. You have to make these choices, especially in science fiction movies, where there’s often a lot of stuff that could be explained.

Intuitively you go with it. You have to figure out which ones you need for audience engagement and which ones are more pedantic. The testing process is very helpful with determining that. You can find out where the sticking points are, then correct them. We do our best to address those ones that come up.

Nobody gives an award to the most-explained movie. 

For more on the film, go to TerminatorMovie.com.

The post Cutting “Terminator: Dark Fate” appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Starting Organized, Part 2

Previously, I wrote about how getting organized can help you to be more efficient so that you spend more time editing and less time managing media. I suggested that if you take the time to create a “master” folder structure, you can copy that structure as you begin each project rather than recreating a new system each time. And in Part 1 of this three-part series, I discussed what’s in the first two folders—Audio and Color—of the Master Folder structure. (To see the last part in this series, go to Starting Organized, Part 3.)

Now I’m going to discuss the next four folders: Design, Exports, FromClient and GFX.

Design

The Design folder is where I store graphics I’ve to create outside of the edit software. If I work in tandem with someone on shared storage, this will also be their work area. Also, as with Audio, I use Design for design projects that need to be archived with the edit project.

The Design folder is partitioned into the main types of design content and I’ve found that they cover most of the content that is created. Within some of the folders are sub-folders based on the type of work. For example, 3D might include Texture and Models folders, as well as others.

Exports

The Exports folder is pretty straightforward. What might be surprising is that there are both Deliverables and Master QT folders. It’s surprising how often I’m tasked with delivering files that aren’t at the level of a Quicktime ProRes master—just something like an h.264. Even so, I still create it.

The Approvals folder is very busy. When the project is in progress, that folder might be further divided by date-based folders, by episode/spot folders or by both. But I always make sure that the deliverables I create are put into the Deliverables folder. Another step that helps avoid mistakes.

FromClient

Anything I get from the client needs to be stored with the project. Even if it’s a tiny file delivered via email, I make sure it goes into the FromClient folder. I do this even if it fits into another category, like graphics. This way I know where things came from.

The only exception is music, which I place in the Music Comps folder. This exception is because I’ve been asked, “Remember that music we used on that show in February?” This allows me to look in one place rather than two.

I don’t have a folder for the business aspect of the client—the estimates, contracts, etc. I prefer to keep that side of the business separate from the project, particularly if I’m working in a shared storage environment.

GFX

This is different than the Design folder. When I work with a graphic artist on supporting graphics, this is the folder I use to get content back and forth. From_Design is where I put all the finished graphics they created. If I need special compositing or animation added to a cut track, I place files for the graphic artist in the To_Design folder.

Note that within these folders (or any of the folders in my Master Folder) I may create subfolders during the project process. For example, within the To_Design folder, I may create folders for each scene I want the artist to work on. Why do I call it GFX and not Graphics? It’s just a shorthand I’ve always used.

Next time, I’ll cover the folder structure where I put footage.

The post Starting Organized, Part 2 appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Live Streaming From The Zoo

The 2020 Los Angeles Zoo Beastly Ball was a live event that we produced as a live stream event due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine. The event raised over a million dollars for the Los Angeles Zoo.

What Kind Of Production Is Happening During Quarantine?

Here we are a few months into quarantine in Southern California. Work has been basically non-existent for quite a few months, but I wanted to reflect back on an interesting shoot that happened a little while ago. The assignment was to live stream an auction fundraiser for an organization called GLAZA. What is GLAZA? The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) is a nonprofit corporation created in 1963 to support the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The zoo must retain a staff of animal keepers and trainers to care for the animals in the zoo, and the zoo itself has all kinds of conservation and endangered animal rescue programs. All of this takes funds that would normally be recouped from the normal day to day operations of the zoo in normal times.

Shooting the 2020 Los Angeles Zoo Beastly Ball
Our host for the event was actor and comedian Joel McHale who we shot live from the zoo for his half dozen live host segments.

Raising Funds For The Los Angeles Zoo

My production partner Gregg Hall, through our company www.webcastanbeyond.com, was contacted by GLAZA to help them successfully transition what was once a live annual fundraiser to a fully online live stream fundraiser and auction called the 2020 Beastly Ball. The project presented us with several technological challenges as far as live streaming. The client had partnered with actor and comedian Joel McHale (“Community,” “The Great Indoors,” “The X-Files,” “Santa Clarita Diet,” “Stargirl”) to host the event. The client decided that we would shoot McHale’s host segments live from the Zoo. The show also included appearances from Zoo Ambassadors Lisa Ling, Carolyn Hennesy, Julie Chang, Jackie Chan, Slash, and Lance Bass as well as musical appearances from Dave Matthews and Brian Wilson, each streaming from their homes.

 

2020 Los Angeles Zoo Beastly Ball
While we have prosumer small sensor servo zoom cameras typically utilized for live streaming, we used our Canon C200 to bring a larger sensor, shallower depth of field look to the host segments.

Divide and Conquer

I was charged with setting up and shooting the Joel McHale live host segments from an outdoor location at the zoo. My partner Hall met me at the zoo with the laptop computer and live stream gear that he was bringing for the shoot while I piled our camera, grip, lighting and sound gear into my car. It was a surreal experience to actually drive my car into the zoo’s back service entrance and over the now empty walkways through the zoo. The animals were all home, but no people were there, save for a few staff that take care of and oversee the animals. These were the same walkways where, in pre-quarantine times, I had walked around the zoo with my kids when they were young. It was a strange, unique experience that could only happen in 2020 Los Angeles.  

Live Streaming From The Zoo
This was our setup with the Canon C200, teleprompter for Joel and most importantly, a Matthews Sunshade in case the sun hadn’t set far enough to take the direct sunlight off of the talent. Luckily we didn’t really need it other than for tech rehearsal.

The Perils of Shooting Outdoors

One of the tricky things about shooting outdoors, especially in a location you’ve never scouted, is planning on where the sun would be at our appointed shoot time. I took my best guess at where the sun would be by 6 p.m. when we were scheduled to go live with McHale. Luckily, using a sun tracking app on my phone, I divined the sun’s trajectory correctly, and it went down behind some trees at the time we shot, so I had a nice golden hour ambient glow that I used and filled in with a pair of LED panels. We had arrived at the location at the zoo at 2 p.m., giving us four hours to unload and build the gear and set up our shot.

Luckily, this shoot was just a single camera shot of McHale, so I was able to determine the position of my key light source, how to mic him and what the ambient sound situation was. We ended up shooting near a zoo administration building. This was mainly because we needed access to an Ethernet hookup to the zoo’s internet infrastructure. This brings up a good point of discussion that I’m often asked about by those who are brand new to live streaming, “Can we live stream just using 4G or 5G wireless?” There are products that purport to offer perfectly functioning live streaming with 1080 60p video, up to10 different sources. All just using a small battery-powered wireless hub.

Wireless Streaming

I will say that in our live streaming experience, wireless live streaming isn’t yet ready for prime time in my opinion. To be completely accurate, live streaming is an inexact science, especially when you’re at an unfamiliar location, even with a hard-wired Ethernet connection. There are many things that can go wrong that can cause your stream to slow down, stop working or malfunction, randomly, all of the time. This is my way of explaining that live streaming is still somewhat of a tight wire walk where you could take one small step and have complete mission failure. We are often hired by company and organization IT departments, and even when we interface directly with IT, things can and do go wrong with the live stream. Adding the traffic, polling, bandwidth and interference issues with wireless connections and you have a recipe for likely failure.

We brought our own Peplink Wireless Router system as a backup in case the client’s Ethernet connection had a hiccup during the live stream. This is a $4,000 wireless router that we have hooked up with four different wireless providers. The key to a successful live stream is gear redundancy and having a Plan B and a Plan C in case you’re Plan A fails. For us, this means going to every job with a full set of redundant cameras, audio, a teleprompter if it’s a prompter project and, most importantly, having at least two or three options for the stream itself. Hall handles the live stream and webcast engineering while I handle camera, grip, lighting and sometimes audio if we only have a single talent for the live stream.

Live Streaming From The Zoo
This was Joel McHale’s view of his teleprompter copy for his host segments. The high levels of ambient light made seeing it for early afternoon rehearsal difficult. By the time the actual shoot happened, the sun had set behind some trees, so the prompter screen was easier to read.

Remote Live Streaming

While Hall worked with the zoo IT staff and our client with the live stream hookup and setting up our virtual green room so our client could talk to McHale’s team offline while McHale did his live hosting segments. This brings up another good point. Our live streaming system doesn’t have a true green room function, so Hall had to invent one. Our green room can accommodate multiple guests at once and everyone in the green room can speak with and hear each other offline while our program output is live streaming. This is more difficult than you might imagine, but it’s totally necessary. In the case of this job, since it was a live fundraiser auction, our client would go into the green room to speak with and get information about how the auction was going from the staff taking the bids and tracking overall funds raised so she could notify Joel of what was happening during his live hosting segments.

Live Streaming From The Zoo
The AJA Systems U-TAP HDMI was utilized to feed the C200s HDMI output into the laptop used for the live stream feed back to our studio.

Home Base

One other interesting point about live streaming in 2020 during the time of the pandemic and social distancing is that most of the projects we have been producing have been remote live streams. What exactly is a remote live stream? For us, remote means that our live streaming hardware is located in Hall’s studio. The camera feeds can come from anywhere in the world. In our case, McHale’s feed was coming from the LA Zoo, about 30 miles from Hall’s studio. The system we use, VMix Call, utilizes the Google Chrome Browser running on a laptop to take the HDMI feed from the camera.

The camera’s HDMI output is fed into an AJA U-Tap to turn the HDMI input into a USB 3.0 signal that the laptop can accept. The laptop then outputs the video and audio signal via Ethernet to the client’s Ethernet input/router. On the other end at our studio, our VMix Call system, which is some very capable software running on a high-end spec PC system. On Hall’s end, the signal coming into VMix Call is then combined with graphics, other video sources, pre-recorded interstitial segments and then live stream output to the viewing destination. In this case, we were live streaming the shot to the GLAZA website, the LA Zoo website, Facebook Live and YouTube Live. We always stream to at least three to five different platforms and destinations whenever possible because things like websites crashing or freezing can often happen.

Live Streaming From The Zoo
Producer Gregg Hall at the helm of our VMix Call live stream system back at our studio, 30 miles from the shoot location.

Diversity In Destinations

If you’re only streaming to a single destination and that web host crashes or has issues, your audience is lost with nowhere to go. If you publicize that your live stream will be available on multiple platforms and services, there’s a much better chance of your audience being able to view the live stream if problems occur. Things happen. In the case of this project, the client’s main website was quickly overwhelmed with over 100,000 users trying to get onto their website at the same time and the site went down. Luckily, because we were live streaming to other services, we think that very few actual viewers who were bidders were lost as most joined us on one of the alternative services and continued to bid in the auction

Live Streaming From The Zoo
We’ve fabricated a virtual green room where Joel could talk with the show producer and his writers during breaks. It works well and is necessary for larger-scale, more complex productions.

What About the Gear?

It wouldn’t be an HDVideoPro blog if we didn’t at least obsess about the production gear used at least a little, so here you go:

  • Camera: Canon EOS C200.
  • Lens: Canon EF S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.
  • Lighting package: Two Aputure LS-1S Lightstorm LED panels used with a Medium Chimera Quartz Pro softbox.
  • Audio: Sanken COS11D BP ran directly into camera, no boom as McHale likes to move around and we had no boom op. For distancing, McHale miked himself with my supervision.
Live Streaming From The Zoo
Joel McHale at work viewed from behind my camera. He was a consummate pro and a joy to work with. The event raised over a million dollars for the Los Angeles Zoo—not bad for their first virtual live stream!

The Results

From our viewpoint, the event went very well. McHale was a total rock star pro, fun and easy to work with, truly hilarious and a wonderful host for the event. All of the switching, graphics, sound mix and roll-in segments went very smoothly. From the president of GLAZA, Tom Jacobsen, “The first-ever Virtual Beastly Ball hosted by actor and comedian Joel McHale took place on May 15 and succeeded beyond our wildest dreams! Attendance was fantastic, with more than 12,000 people participating over the course of the evening, 12 times our record attendance for a ‘real’ Beastly Ball. Since then, an additional 3,000 people have viewed the show, which included a special musical performance by none other than Dave Matthews. In the end, the Beastly Ball raised $1 million, far exceeding our goal. We’re so grateful for the extraordinary support from so many people.”

This was the second live stream fundraiser auction we have produced since the pandemic began, and we’ve seen a growing demand for higher-end, more sophisticated live stream services, so we’re pursuing numerous opportunities.

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Starting Organized, Part 1

Previously, I wrote about how keeping organized can help you to be more efficient so that you spend more time editing and less time managing media. I suggested that if you take the time to create a “master” folder structure, you can copy that structure as you begin each project, rather than recreating a new system each time.

So, what might that folder structure look like? Over the years I’ve had the benefit of doing finish work on other editors’ projects and I was able to see their organization schemes. This allowed me to tweak my structure based on other people’s ideas. My goal here isn’t to present the be-all and end-all of file organization, but to show you what I use and to get you to think about creating your own time-saving folder structure.

I should also mention that my projects vary in size and type, as I’m sure yours do. Sometimes I do all the work; other times I work with artists like graphic designers, colorists and audio mixers. This means I might hand off files to others and receive files back from them.

The folder structure I use includes containers for sending files to collaborative artists and receiving files back from them. This way, I have a master folder structure that works for all my projects. Yes, sometimes folders don’t get used and remain empty throughout the project. That doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is not having a place to put files and having to create a new folder that might be called “graphics” one day and “motion graphics” and “supers” another day.

Let me show you my Master Folder structure. I use eight main folders: Audio, Color, Design, Exports, FromClient, GFX, Media and ProjectFiles. Most of the folders have subfolders within them. Here’s what’s inside.

Creating a master folder structure

Audio

Within the Audio folder are nine sub-folders. Most are self-explanatory, but some may seem a bit out of the ordinary. I use the _From_Audio folder when I’m on shared storage and audio people drop files like mixes, sound effects or music for me. I use the _To_Audio to store AAFs or OMFs and reference movies that I’ll send to audio mixers. I use an underscore to force the folder to the top of the directory because I like to keep these two folders together.

Note: I could have the audio people place finished mixes in the FinalMix folder, but if there are revisions, I like to control when these files get updated. If I let someone else “replace” a file, it might break a link in my sequence.

The Production folder is for any audio that came in from location—during production. For example, if audio is recorded using double-system sound—there are recorded sound effects, room tone (ambience) or voice overs—it all goes into Production.

While this audio might have been delivered with the footage, when I copy it to my storage, I like to put it in its own folder so I can organize it separately. Sometimes the footage folder structure created by the DIT doesn’t really follow closely with the folder structure created by the location audio engineer.

The Project folder is there in case the project files need to ride along with the video project for archiving. You’ll see later on that I do the same thing when I deal with graphics content.

A couple of other notes on audio folders: the Music folder includes a Comps folder where I store sample music selects. I also have a Purchased folder. This helps ensure that unlicensed music is kept out of the finished project. In the VO folder I have a Demo folder for sample VO artists’ auditions, and also a Scratch folder.

Creating a master folder structure

Color

The color folder is fairly simple. I use the To_Color folder to store the XML and, if the colorist doesn’t have access to the original content, I also add the selects that need to be graded. I’ll store the returned XML and clips in the From_Color folder.

I relink to the graded footage in the From_Color folder rather than moving that footage into the Footage folder in order to keep things organized. If I select the “Show in Finder” command from my sequence, it takes me to the From_Color folder rather than to a subfolder in the Footage folder. So, at a glance, I know that the shot was graded.

While this may seem like overkill, it’s all about efficiency and concentrating on the edit, so little things like this can help me avoid mistakes. 

Next post, I’ll talk about more folders including what I consider design and what I consider graphics.

(For more, check out the next two parts in this series, Starting Organized, Part 2 and Starting Organized, Part 3.)

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Ricoh Announces Pentax 85mm Lens For K-Mount DSLRs

The new HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW prime lens

Today, Ricoh introduced a new star prime for its Pentax K-Mount DSLR system camera bodies: The HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW prime lens, which will be available in mid-June for $1899. It’s the second fixed focal-length lens in Ricoh’s next-generation, high performance Pentax Star lens series, which Ricoh says has the highest imaging performance of all Pentax lens lineups.

Highlighted features on the new prime include:

  • An extra-large F1.4 maximum aperture, useful for many different subjects in a range of applications, including portraiture.
  • A large ring-type Supersonic Direct-drive Motor, which Ricoh says, efficiently drives “the focusing mechanism, which consists of a larger number of optical elements than ordinary lenses, and is required to shift heavy rear-optical-element groups in unison….” assuring flawless, high-speed autofocus operation.
  • A dustproof, weather-resistant construction, with eight special seals to prevent the intrusion of water into the lens barrel.
  • A nine-blade, round-shaped diaphragm
  • Exterior design that facilitates focus-ring operation in manual-focus shooting and provides a firm grip
  • On select camera bodies, an electromagnetic diaphragm-control mechanism for high-precision exposure-control during video recording
  • A SP (Super Protect) coating to keep the front surface free of dust and spots

For more information, see the press release below or visit to the ricoh-imaging website.

HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW prime lens
HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW prime lens

[[ press release ]]

Ricoh announces HD PENTAX-D FA★85mm F1.4ED SDM AW for K-mount digital SLR cameras

Second fixed focal-length model added to next-generation, high performance Star lens series

PARSIPPANY, NJ, May 27, 2020 - Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation today announced the HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW lens, the second fixed focal-length lens in the new generation PENTAX Star (*) lens series. Designed for use with PENTAX K-mount digital SLR cameras, Star-series lenses boast the highest imaging performance of all PENTAX lens lineups.

PENTAX developed a new, ring-type SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) exclusively for this new lens to enable flawless, high-speed autofocus operation, with an exterior design that assures a firm grip for manual-focus operation. The HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW lens is designed not only to assure the highest imaging power currently possible, but also to optimize the joy of picture-taking.

The new lens incorporates three Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical elements to effectively minimize chromatic aberration, and a glass-molded aspherical optical element to effectively compensate for spherical and chromatic aberrations and field curvature to deliver extra clear, high-contrast images with edge-to-edge sharpness, even at open aperture. This design also reduces distortion to nearly zero at a focusing distance of four meters to deliver well-defined, distortion-free images over the entire focusing range, from the minimum focusing distance to infinity.

The HD PENTAX-D FA85mm F1.4ED SDM AW lens boasts an F1.4 maximum aperture, useful with many different subjects in a range of applications, including portraiture with an effectively defocused background, handheld shooting of indoor scenes and scenic photography. The extra-large aperture produces a bright, clear viewfinder image that will surely inspire photographic creativity and imagination.

Developed as an AW (All Weather) model, the new lens features dustproof, weather-resistant construction with eight special seals to prevent the intrusion of water into the lens barrel. When paired with a dustproof, weather-resistant PENTAX digital SLR camera body, it assures a durable, reliable digital imaging system that performs superbly in demanding shooting settings — even in rain or mist, or at locations prone to water splashes or spray.

The HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW lens will be available in mid-June at www.us.ricoh-imaging.com as well as at Ricoh Imaging-authorized retail outlets for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1899.95.

Main Features of the new HD PENTAX-D FA*85mm F1.4ED SDM AW

  1. New-generation, high-performance Star-series lens to deliver ideal image quality

Anticipating the further advancement of SLR camera bodies in the future, PENTAX has designed this lens to deliver extra-clear, high-contrast images with edge-to-edge sharpness by compensating various aberrations to a minimum, while greatly enhancing resolving power — two factors absolutely essential in the next-generation Star series. It provides exceptionally high imaging performance even at open aperture, a beautiful bokeh (defocus) effect and outstanding image rendition at close ranges — all reasons why it produces high-quality, well-defined images. It also boasts an extra-large F1.4 maximum aperture, useful with many different subjects in a range of applications, including portraiture with an effectively defocused background, handheld shooting of indoor scenes and scenic photography. It helps the camera to produce a bright, clear viewfinder image that will inspire the photographer’s creativity and imagination.

  1. State-of-the-art optical technology

This lens incorporates three Super ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical elements to effectively minimize chromatic aberration, and a glass-molded aspherical optical element to effectively compensate for spherical and chromatic aberrations and field curvature to deliver extra-clear, high-contrast images with edge-to-edge sharpness, even at open aperture. It also reduces distortion to nearly zero at a focusing distance of four meters to deliver well-defined, distortion-free images over the entire focusing range, from the minimum focusing distance to infinity. This lens is also treated with high-grade, multi-layer High-Definition (HD) Coating, which reduces average reflectance in the visible ray spectrum to less than 50% of conventional multilayer coatings, effectively reducing flare and ghost images to a minimum even in demanding lighting conditions such as backlighting.

  1. Newly designed, large ring-type SDM

To deliver the highest image quality possible over the entire focusing range — from the minimum focusing distance to infinity — this lens features a newly designed, large ring-type SDM to efficiently drive the focusing mechanism, which consists of a larger number of optical elements than ordinary lenses, and is required to shift heavy rear-optical-element groups in unison. Generating a torque approximately 1.3 times that of the unit installed in the HD PENTAX-D FA*50mm f1.4 SDM AW, this new SDM assures flawless, high-speed autofocus operation.

  1. Dustproof, weather-resistant construction

Developed as an AW (All Weather) model, this lens features a dependable dustproof, weather-resistant construction with eight special seals to prevent the intrusion of water into the lens barrel. When paired with a dustproof, weather-resistant PENTAX digital SLR camera body, it assures a durable, reliable digital imaging system that performs superbly in demanding shooting conditions — even in rain or mist, or at locations prone to water splashes or spray.

  1. Other features
  • Nine-blade, round-shaped diaphragm to produce a natural, beautiful bokeh (defocus) effect up to the F2.8 aperture setting, while minimizing the streaking effect of point light sources
  • Exterior design that facilitates focus-ring operation in manual-focus shooting and provides a firm hold
  • Electromagnetic diaphragm-control mechanism** for flawless, high-precision exposure control during video recording
  • SP (Super Protect) coating to keep the front surface free of dust and spots

** This mechanism is available when the lens is mounted on a K-1 Mark II, K-1, K-3 II, K-3, KP, K-70, K-50, K-S2 or K-S1 camera body.

 

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Panasonic Introduces New LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 For L-Mount Cameras

Panasonic’s new LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens

Earlier today, Panasonic announced a new full-frame zoom lens, the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6, for L-Mount mirrorless cameras. Panasonic says the lens will be available at the end of July for $599.

What’s intriguing to note is that it has a compact and lightweight design, weighing in at around 12.3 oz., which is very nice if you’re traveling and need to include other lenses or accessories. Yet the lens still delivers some impressive high-end features, including dust-and-splash resistance. 

It’s not surprising, though, to see these sorts of new designs from Panasonic, as well as other lens manufacturers since there is still so much competition in the full-frame camera and lens market, which has become even more intense in light of the current global pandemic. 

Here are some other highlighted features on this new full-frame zoom:

  • The zoom ranges from ultra-wide 20mm to standard 60mm focal length, which is quite versatile and can be easily used for landscape photography.
  • It has a wide viewing angle, for easy shooting indoors where space is limited
  • It can be used for close-up capability of 5.9 inches / 0.15m (maximum magnification 0.43x), for dramatic still lifes
  • The lens has a mechanism that suppresses focus breathing, making it useful for both video and still-image photography
  • Its rugged dust/splash-resistant design will hold up in harsh conditions, even in sub-freezing conditions (14 degrees F)
  • It has a filter diameter of 67mm and a 9-blade circular aperture diaphragm

For more information, see the press release and tech specs below.

Learn more about the Panasonic LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 at B&H.

[[ press release ]]

Panasonic Launches a New L-Mount Interchangeable Lens for the LUMIX S Series Full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 (S-R2060) 

Newark, NJ (May 27, 2020) – Panasonic is proud to introduce a new interchangeable standard zoom lens, the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 (S-R2060) based on the L-Mount system for the LUMIX S Series Full-frame Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera. Designed for professional use, the LUMIX S Series pursues uncompromising photographic expression with its high-quality cameras and lenses.

The new LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 is a compact, lightweight standard zoom lens that covers from ultra-wide 20mm to standard 60mm focal length for versatile use including landscape photography. The wide viewing angle makes it easier to shoot indoors where space is limited and stunning close-up capability of 5.9 inches / 0.15m (maximum magnification 0.43x) supports still life photography. The new LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 also ensures smooth, high quality video recording because of a mechanism that suppresses focus breathing, which can an issue in interchangeable lenses designed for still image photography. 

With 11 elements in 9 groups, the use of 2 aspherical lenses and 3 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses effectively suppresses both axial chromatic aberration and chromatic aberration of magnification. Astigmatism is also corrected with these aspherical lenses, achieving high resolving performance. Furthermore, a UHR (Ultra-High Refractive Index) lens achieves uniform image quality from the center to edges of the image while contributing to downsizing of the lens unit.

With its compact, approximately12.3 oz / 350g of light weight, the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 features stunning mobility. The rugged dust/splash-resistant* design withstands use under harsh conditions even at 14°F / -10°C for high mobility. In addition, a fluorine coating on the front element repels water and oil and prevents them from attaching. The filter diameter is 67 mm, with a 9-blade circular aperture diaphragm.

Panasonic and L-Mount system alliance are committed to the development of L-Mount lenses for the further expansion of its lineup to fulfill the needs of end users . 

The LUMIX S 20-60mm lens will be available at the end of July for $599.99.

Select Technical Specification:

  • Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups (2 aspherical lenses, 3 ED lenses, 1 UHR lens)
  • Mount: L-Mount
  • Optical Image Stabilizer: No
  • Focal Length: f=20-60mm
  • Aperture Type: 9 diaphragm blades / Circular aperture diaphragm
  • Maximum Aperture:5 (Wide) – F5.6 (Tele)
  • Minimum Aperture: F22
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.15m/0.49ft (at focal length 20-26mm) / 0.4m/1.31ft (at focal length 60mm)
  • Maximum Magnification:43x
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 94°(Wide) – 40°(Tele)
  • Dust and Splash Resistant: Yes*
  • Recommended Operating Temperature: 14 degrees F to 104 degrees F)
  • Filter Size: φ67mm
  • Diameter: φ77.4mm / 3.05inch
  • Overall Length: 87.2mm / 3.43inch (from the tip of the lens to the base side of the lens mount)
  • Weight: 350g / 12.35oz (excluding lens cap, lens rear cap and lens hood)
  • Standard Accessories: Lens cap, Lens rear cap, Lens hood

*Dust and Splash Resistant does not guarantee that damage will not occur if this lens is subjected to direct contact with dust and water.

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Sony Introduces ZV-1 Compact Camera For Vlogging

Sony’s new ZV-1 compact camera for vloggers

Today, Sony introduces the Sony ZV-1 compact camera, which looks rather like a modified RX-100 series style camera. However, aside from the sensor and processor, which is, in fact, borrowed from the Cyber-shot RX-100 Mark VII advance compact camera, Sony says much of the new ZV-1 has been re-designed for content creators shooting video for social media sites, particularly YouTube. It’s why Sony is considering it the first of a totally new product line, and not just a new camera.

According to those at Sony, the new easy-to-use video-focused compact camera attempts to fill a gap in the imaging industry for this type of video creator, since the current video tools in the marketplace are not meeting many of the needs of this type of content creator, particularly vloggers who are producing lots of video on a daily basis.

The Sony ZV-1 compact camera (top view)
The Sony ZV-1 compact camera (back view)

 

Here are some of the important specs on the new Sony camera:

  • Like recent RX-100 series cameras, the ZV-1 features a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS CMOS image sensor and a 24-70mm F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T large-aperture lens.
  • The ZV-1 also includes the latest-generation BIONZ X image processor with front-end LSI delivering high resolution as well as low noise for superior image quality.
  • Another standout feature is that the ZV-1 is Sony’s first compact camera with a side-opening Vari-angle, or swiveling touchscreen LCD screen, making it easier to compose your shots in selfie mode while connecting external audio accessories.
  • And Sony says that in order to meet any video need, the ZV-1 contains advanced video features including 4K movie recording and in-body image stabilization.

Learn more about the Sony ZV-1 at B&H.


 

Standout Features

Part of the reason Sony said it needed to come out with such an advanced compact camera is that many of those using other compact cameras for social media have found they often miss the focus, produce dim or dull colors, have issue with image stabilization, capture poor-quality audio and have confusing and difficult settings. So, for much of the recent press briefing, Sony attempted to demonstrate how the ZV-1 could meet the needs of YouTube-type content creators. Some of the action points included the ability to simplify focus and improve color, offer high quality audio and produce a camera design that was optimized for video creators. Plus, Sony said they needed to include “class-leading video features.

The Sony ZV-1 will have a number of additional advanced video features, including advanced autofocusing features. Sony says it’s a fast hybrid AF system, which uses both phase- and contrast-detection technology to autofocus accurately. Other features include Real-Time AF tracking and Real-Time Eye AF in movie mode.

Another impressive feature is that the ZV-1 has a product showcase setting. When using this feature, the camera will move from focusing on a subject’s face to focusing on an object, which is a very useful feature for YouTube. 

Sony has also made some conspicuous changes to various buttons and controls. For example, the video record button is now quite large. Also, in addition to the flipout LCD, there is also a front-facing record light, to let you know you’re recording, and an easy to hold grip. And because this model is focused on video, Sony has removed some features on the RX100 Mk VII that are more still-photography-centric: The new ZV-1 lacks a popup viewfinder, popup flash and a control ring.

Last but not least, Sony says this model will offer much better audio quality than you’ll often find in compact cameras with its new onboard mic, which features Sony’s latest Directional 3-capsule Mic that was designed for forward-directional audio capture, “allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimizing background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode.” And for added flexibility, the ZV-1 also features an industry standard mic jack (3.5mm) and Multi Interface Shoe (MI shoe), making it easy to connect a wide range of external microphones. You also get a wind-screen accessory that fits on the MI shoe to minimize wind interference.

Pricing and Availability

The new ZV-1, which you can begin ordering today, will be available in stores June 11 for $799. And from now until June 28, the camera will be $50 off and sell for $749. Sony will also be selling a special ACCVC1 Vlogger Kit for $149, but will be available in June 2020 with a special introductory offer of $50 off when purchased together with ZV-1 (at participating retailers) through June 28, 2020 in U.S.

The new ZV-1 compact camera

 

The new Sony ZV-1 camera with Sony’s new ACCVC1 Vlogger Accessory Kit

 

For more information, see the press release below.

[[ press release ]]

Sony Electronics Introduces the Digital Camera ZV-1, A Newly Designed Camera for Video Content Creators

New Video-Forward Design and Compact Body Packed with Advanced Imaging Technology and Easy-to-Use Functionality

 

SAN DIEGO – May 26, 2020 –Sony Electronics Inc. today has announced the new pocket-sized digital camera ZV-1 (hereafter referred as “ZV-1”) – a lightweight, compact “all-in-one” style solution. Designed from the ground up for content creators and vloggers, the ZV-1 combines easy-to-use features with uncompromising imaging technology, making this the perfect tool for any content creator at all skill levels.

 

“Sony’s new ZV-1 was purpose-built to meet the needs and demands of today’s video creators,” said Neal Manowitz, deputy president of Imaging Product and Solutions Americas at Sony Electronics.  “We are always listening to our customers, and this camera is the result of direct feedback from our extended community.  Featuring an innovative design plus many new technologies, settings and modes, it will allow creators to make content in ways they have never been able to before.”

 

The ZV-1 features a 1.0-type stacked Exmor RS® CMOS image sensor with DRAM chip and 24-70mm[i] F1.8-2.8 ZEISS® Vario-Sonnar T* large-aperture lens creating beautiful background bokeh (background blur), allowing the subject to stand out from the background. The camera locks on to and tracks subjects with high accuracy and speed using Sony’s leading-edge autofocus system. The ZV-1 also includes the latest-generation BIONZ X™ image processor with front-end LSI delivering high resolution as well as low noise for superior image quality. It also combines this exceptional imaging technology with high-quality and versatile audio options. The ZV-1 is Sony’s first compact camera with a side-opening Vari-angle LCD screen, making it easier to compose your shots in selfie mode while connecting external audio accessories. To meet any video need, the ZV-1 contains advanced video features including 4K movie recording[ii] and in-body image stabilization.

Meeting the Needs of Today’s Content Creators

Quickly Switch Between two modes of Background Bokeh

The ZV-1 offers a simple solution to easily switch between two levels of background bokeh while recording. Using the new Background Defocus function, users can rapidly adjust the optical aperture between more and less background defocusing blur without losing focus on the subject. Located on top of the camera, this Bokeh button is easily accessible and makes selfie shooting operation a breeze.

Focus on the Subject You Want

The ZV-1 makes it easier than ever to shoot product reviews and similar video content. Gone are the days of placing a hand behind an object to prompt the camera to bring it into focus thanks to a new Product Showcase Setting, which allows for quick and smooth focus transitions between the subject’s face and the object placed in front of the lens.

Building on the leading-edge technology developed for α™ (Alpha brand) and RX series cameras, this new compact camera includes advanced autofocus (AF) allowing it to lock on and track subjects with high accuracy and speed while recording. For maintaining focus on the intended subject or subjects in busy environments, Real-time Eye AF[iii] and Real-time Tracking AF for video allows the ZV-1 to seamlessly switch focus between multiple subjects while controlling the AF speed and tracking sensitivity.

Prioritize Your Face

Extreme changes in lighting, like walking outside on a sunny day and suddenly moving from a bright location into shade, are no problem for the ZV-1 thanks to the new Face Priority autoexposure (AE) function. It detects and prioritizes the subject’s face and adjusts the exposure to ensure the face is depicted at an ideal brightness in any environment.  This AE technology also suppresses an abrupt change in exposure if the subject quickly turns away from the frame to eliminate unexpected blown-out or extremely dark shots. In addition, the camera features a new advanced color science that has been re-engineered to optimize skin tones for any subject in both still and video modes. 

Crystal Clear Audio

High quality content requires clear, excellent audio quality, and the ZV-1 is well-equipped to produce just that with reliable and versatile audio options. The ZV-1’s onboard mic features Sony’s latest Directional 3-capsule Mic which was designed for forward-directional audio capture, allowing for clear capture of the subject’s voice while minimizing background noise, especially when operating in selfie mode. For added flexibility, the ZV-1 also features an industry standard mic jack (3.5mm) and Multi Interface Shoe™ (MI shoe) making it easy to connect a wide range of external microphones. The ZV-1 is also supplied with a wind screen[iv] accessory that fits on the MI shoe to minimize wind interference.

Design and Functionality Optimized for Vlogging

The ZV-1 was designed with content creators and vloggers in mind. This compact, lightweight (approx. 294g / 105.5mm x 60.0mm x 43.5mm) camera is the first Sony compact camera with a flip-out, tiltable LCD Screen, allowing creators to simplify their setup by utilizing the MI shoe for optional external mics without the need of an additional mounting bracket.

Comfortably operate the ZV-1 with one hand thanks to the easy-to-hold comfortable grip and a large movie REC button located on the top of the camera for quick access to video recording, as well as a recording lamp on the front of the camera that indicates if the camera is actively recording.

The ZV-1 also includes advances in image stabilization, ensuring steady video even when shooting hand-held while walking. When recording in HD (Active mode), optical and electronic stabilization methods are combined to reduce shaking up to 11 times[v] that of standard SteadyShot™ image stabilization. When shooting 4K video using Optical SteadyShot (Active mode), there is improvement in stabilization effect of up to 8 times[vi] that of standard SteadyShot. The ZV-1 is also compatible with the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander, offering additional stability and comfort combined with cable-free Bluetooth® connectivity.

 Class-Leading AV Features

Despite the small form factor there are a multitude of pro-level movie making capabilities, including:

  • 4K movie recording with full pixel readout and no pixel binning in high bit rate XAVC S™ codec. [vii]
  • Industry standard 3.5mm microphone input
  • Hybrid Log-Gamma (HDR) [viii] / S-Gamut3.Cine / S-Log3, S-Gamut3 / S-Log3
  • Interval Shooting[ix] for stunning time-lapse videos[x]
  • Super Slow Motion[xi] recording at up to 960fps[xii]
  • Compatibility with ‘Movie Edit add-on[xiii]’ from the “Imaging Edge™” mobile application for image stabilization while editing[xiv] Highlight ability to edit aspect ratios for IG etc.

Live Streaming with the ZV-1

Transform the ZV-1 into a webcam by connecting it to a PC[xv] via USB, which allows content creators to interact with their followers in real-time while also utilizing the advanced imaging technology and unique features of the ZV-1. Sony’s new PC software will be available in July 2020.

New Vlogger Accessories Kit

Sony will also be introducing a Vlogger Kit (ACCVC1), which includes a GP-VPT2BT Shooting Grip with Wireless Remote Commander and 64GB Ultra High Speed Media Card.  The grip is compatible with a variety of Sony cameras[xvi].

Pair this kit with an external microphone (sold separately), such as Sony’s Stereo Microphone (ECM-XYST1M), for a convenient and simple vlogging setup.

Pricing and Availability

The Digital Camera ZV-1 will be available in June 2020 for a special introductory price of approximately $749 USD through June 28, 2020. After that, the price will increase to approximately $799 USD. The ACCVC1 Vlogger Kit will be available in June 2020 with a special introductory offer of $50 off when purchased together with ZV-1 (at participating retailers) through June 28, 2020 in U.S. and June 25, 2020 in Canada, and can be purchased separately for approximately $149 USD .

Exclusive stories and exciting new content shot with the new camera and Sony’s other imaging products can be found at www.alphauniverse.com, a site created to educate and inspire all fans and customers of Sony’s α – Alpha brand.

For full product details, please visit:

(US) – digital camera ZV-1

 

 

[i] Angle of view (35mm format equivalent)

[ii] 4K (QFHD: 3840×2160) Extended continuous video recording is available when setting Auto Power OFF Temp. function to High

[iii] Real-time Eye AF for animals is not available movie shooting

[iv] Audio input itself is via the camera’s internal mic but attaching the wind screen to the mic suppresses wind noise

[v] Image stabilization angle at the wide-angle end of the zoom range. When active mode is on. Relative to angle of view with optical image stabilization on standard mode.

[vi] Image stabilization angle at the wide-angle end of the zoom range. When active mode is on. Relative to angle of view with optical image stabilization on standard mode.

[vii] A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required to record movies in the XAVC S format. UHS-I (U3) SDHC/SDXC card is required for 100Mbps

[viii] Connect this product to an HDR (HLG) compatible Sony TV via a USB cable to display HDR (HLG) movies

[ix] Wi-Fi is not operational during interval shooting

[x] Time-lapse movie creation is possible on a PC

[xi] Audio recording is not available. A Class 10 or higher SDHC/SDXC memory card is required

[xii] In NTSC mode. Menu allows switching between NTSC and PAL modes

[xiii] Please use the latest version

[xiv] Availability of video transfer and playback varies depending on smartphone in use. Membership to Imaging Edge account and app on smartphone required with connection to Wi-Fi.  See Imaging Edge terms and conditions/privacy policy for details.

[xv] Windows® 10

[xvi] Compatible with RX100 VII, Alpha 6100, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6600, Alpha 7 III, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 9, Alpha 9 II. Firmware must be updated on camera to ensure compatibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adobe Introduces New Update Process And Updates Creative Cloud Video And Audio Apps

Adobe Creative Cloud now has Apple ProRes RAW support for Premiere Pro and After Effects for Mac and Windows.

Today, Adobe announced a new release for its Creative Cloud video and audio applications, which included a number of new features and capabilities for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition and others Creative Cloud apps. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, Adobe announced that it was making a number of changes to improve the stability and performance across its ecosystem of Creative Cloud apps, which the company said during the news briefing was “critical to helping video pros do their best work more efficiently.”

Improving Stability and Performance

Adobe said these changes include “a shift to more frequent updates, allowing our teams to iterate faster, and introducing the public Beta program that expands our test base and incorporates user engagement and feedback within the development process.” Part of the improvements include instituting a comprehensive public beta program, which allows video pros and content creators to engage directly in the development process for the Adobe video and audio applications, and “to test new fixes and features before they are released and share their feedback with the Adobe product teams.” Adobe says the program includes Beta builds of Premiere Pro, Premiere Rush, After Effects, Audition, Character Animator and Media Encoder.

Adobe’s System Compatibility Report in Premiere Pro.

Adobe said info from users of the public beta, which will be just a small group at first but grow in numbers over time, can help the company be more proactive at solving problems. Adobe said they’ll also use analytics and data, from things like crash statistics, to implement fixes and enhancements. During its news briefing, Adobe product managers said they’re already seeing positive results. For example, Adobe has built tools like the system compatibility report, which flags incompatibility issues.  Out of date GPU drivers, which, according to the company, is “one of the top causes of system instabilities across video systems.”

This will be welcome news to some content creators who have been annoyed at Premiere Pro’s slow performance and tendency to crash. (We’ll be sure to check out the update and report back on what we find.)   

Today, Adobe also announced new features and enhancements to its CC video and audio app. Here’s what’s new:   

Premiere Pro

There is now Apple ProRes RAW support in Premiere Pro and After Effects, for either Mac or Windows, which will be welcome news to many cinematographers. Other new features include:

  • A new filter options to show just keyframe properties or just adjusted parameters
  • Support for audio files in Creative Cloud Libraries enables Premiere Pro
  • Hardware encoding on Windows for H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) is available for NVIDIA and AMD GPUs
  • Better support for Bezier curves when using the Pen tool with better support
Adobe improved the Pen tool in Premiere Pro allowing for better support for Bezier curves and greater precision creating lines and shapes.

After Effects

Adobe said its added two new ways to get more creative with shape layers:

  •  Tapered Shape Strokes let you make tapered, wavy, pointed or rounded strokes on shape layers. You can also animate the strokes for stylized looks and motion designs.
  • Concentric Shape Repeater provides you with new parameters in the Offset Paths shape effect to create copies of a path that radiate outward or inward for funky designs with a cool retro vibe.

Additionally, Adobe has added new features and improvements for Audition, Media Encoder, Premiere Rush and Character Animator.  For more information on the new feature updates, see the press releases below. For more on the new public beta, go to Adobe’s blog

The new Concentric Shape Repeater setting in After Effects offers new parameters in the Offset Paths shape effect to create copies of a path that radiate outward or inward for funky designs with a cool retro vibe.

 

[[ press release ]]

Maximize Your Creativity, Wherever You Are Working

New Release of the Adobe Creative Cloud Video Apps Available Today

Today Adobe announced a new release for our Creative Cloud video and audio applications, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, Character Animator and Premiere Rush. Available today, the updates offer support for Apple ProRes RAW, new creative tools in After Effects, workflow refinements in Character Animator, and performance improvements, such as faster Auto Reframe in Premiere Pro. As we shift to a more frequent release schedule, our goal is to be more responsive to customers’ needs with a focus on stability and performance while continuing to deliver innovative new features to help video pros and social video creators maximize their creativity, wherever they are working.

Improve Efficiency in Video Production 

In today’s release are new features and performance improvements:

  • ProRes RAW support in Premiere Pro and After Effects provides a comprehensive, cross- platform solution for Apple ProRes workflows from camera media through t
  • More streamlined graphics workflows in Premiere Pro include an improved Pen tool with better support for Bezier curves and greater precision creating lines and Filter effects show attributes that only have keyframes or adjusted parameters so you can focus on the currently active effects.
  • Auto Reframe in Premiere Pro is now faster. Powered by Adobe Sensei, the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, Auto Reframe automatically reformats and repositions video within different aspect ratios, such as square and vertical video, accelerating workflows for social media and content platforms, such as Quibi.
  • Hardware encoding on Windows for 264 and H.265 (HEVC) is available for NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, providing consistently faster exports for these widely used formats.
  • Support for audio files in Creative Cloud Libraries enables Premiere Pro users to save, organize and share frequently used audio assets for easy access right from the CC Libraries
  • Tapered Shape Strokes in After Effects give motion graphics artists new creative options for animation and Make tapered, wavy, pointed, or rounded strokes on shape layers. Animate the strokes for stylized looks and motion designs.
  • Concentric Shape Repeater in After Effects offers new parameters in the Offset Paths shape effect to create copies of a path that radiate outward or inward for funky designs with a cool retro vibe.
  • Mask and Shape Cursor Indicators in After Effects show which tool you’re using and to help avoid unnecessary un-dos when drawing shapes and masks.
  • Improvements to Audio Triggers and Timeline filtering in Emmy-winning Character Animator increase efficiency in animation A new collection of background puppets let users trigger animated elements of the scene behind a character.
  • Automatic audio hardware switching is now available on macOS for After Effects, Media Encoder, Audition, Character Animator, Prelude, Premiere Pro, and Premiere Rush. When changing audio devices, or simply plugging in headphones, the OS recognizes the hardware and the Adobe application automatically switches to the current
  • Premiere Rush users can now automatically resize projects to the 4:5 aspect ratio to match formats for Facebook and Instagram Also, back camera switching on an iOS device (requires iOS 13 and a current iPhone) enables capture within Premiere Rush from the selected back camera (ultra-wide, wide, or telephoto).
  • Lastly, users can now import media from the Files app directly from the Premiere Rush media browser on iOS devices, simplifying access to files stored on device or different cloud services.

 

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Cine Gear Expo LA 2020 And IBC2020 Shows Are Officially Cancelled

This image was shot last year at Cine Gear Expo LA 2019.

It’s hardly a surprise that after the cancellation of the NAB 2020 trade show this past April—which was supposed to take place in Las Vegas, but was cancelled due to fears over the coronavirus—other trade shows might suffer the same fate. However, for the past several weeks, it appears many remained hopeful that other events and expositions might only need to be rescheduled to a later time this year.

But, today, that hope evaporated, at least for many in the media, entertainment and technology industries.

First, Cine Gear Expo LA 2020 announced that it would not, in fact, reschedule the film-centric expo, which was slated to take place at the Paramount Studios, in California this June 4-7. According to the Cine Gear Expo website, in a message from Juliane Grosso, Karl Kresser and the Cine Gear Team, this year’s expo has been shuttered “in an effort to protect exhibitors, sponsors, partners, staff and visitors from the spread of COVID-19.” The webpage states that since the climate of uncertainty persists, the organization is looking ahead to 2021. Consequently, the team has posted the dates for the next Cine Gear LA Expo 2021, which are listed on the website taking place June 3-6, 2021, more than a year away.

This is a screen shot of the IBC’s website home page indicating that the “IBC2020 is going virtual.”

We’ve also just learned that a large and popular European trade show, which, like NAB, focuses on media, entertainment and technology, has cancelled its conference and exposition: The IBC2020 show was schedule for September 11-14, 2020 in Amsterdam, but after a number of companies had decided to back out of the event, including large ones, like Panasonic, the organization decided to cancel. Here’s part of a letter written by Michael Crimp, CEO of the IBC 2020 show, that provides some insight into IBC’s decision to cancel:

As previously outlined, the IBC team has been focused on assessing and developing appropriate plans for IBC2020 this September at the RAI Amsterdam.

Within these plans it is crucial that IBC can deliver a safe and successful environment. However, as governments announce the route forward, it has become clear that a return to (a new) normal is unlikely to be achieved by September.

It has also become evident, through our dialogue with the IBC community, that an early decision is preferential for the industry so it can plan for the future.

Right now, despite the best work of the IBC team and our Dutch colleagues, there are still many unknowns. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to deliver a safe and valuable event to the quality expected of IBC.

It is also evident that important aspects of a large-scale event such as IBC will be greatly altered by social distancing, travel restrictions, masks etc. so much so that the spirit of IBC will be compromised.

With that in mind and based on what we know at this point, it is with a heavy heart IBC has made the difficult decision to cancel the IBC2020 show.

In what may be a sign of how business will be done in the near future, Crimp said that in “the coming months IBC will continue to engage with the industry through its digital platform IBC365. Details of our plans will follow soon.”

For more information, on the Cine Gear Expo LA 2021 show, go to cinegearexpo.com/

For more on the IBC 2020 show, go to the show’s website at show.ibc.org

 

 

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Getting Organized

When I edit, the more time I spend on non-editing tasks, the more the project suffers. That’s why I make sure that my workflow for tasks like outputting approvals and ingesting footage are nailed down with presets that I’ve worked out ahead of time.

But there’s an even more important process that makes me efficient: organization. Being organized enables me to find elements quicker, prevents mistakes and helps me work faster.

Good organization helps me find elements faster because everything is separated into various folders or bins rather than being dumped into a single “media” folder. When I need to grab a graphic or a sound effect, I know where to go.

Organization can prevent mistakes by making sure that I work on the latest version of a cut. If I move old cuts, old titles and old graphics into another folder, then I’ll make sure I use the correct one.

By staying organized, I can work faster because I use the same folder and bin structure project after project. I don’t have to think about where to put anything. Like muscle memory, my brain just knows where incoming files go because that’s where I’ve always put them.

You probably think that I’m going to lay out the way to organize files. Not at all. Trying to force-fit a structure won’t work and, except in certain team circumstances, isn’t really necessary. I’m not suggesting that you use my file structure, just that you create your own.

First, let’s deal with the folder structure on your workstation. When you have some time in between working on projects, create an empty master folder structure. Start with a main folder for the entire project. Within that folder, create a set of subfolders and maybe even sub-subfolders. Once this structure is complete, at the start of a new project you simply copy the master folder structure, rename it and you’re all set to go.

When you create the master folder structure, create a consistent project naming scheme, which will help when you search through archives. The master folder might be named “Client_Project_ProjNum_Date” or “Client_ ClientProjNum_Product_Project_ProjNum_Date”.

Again, this isn’t about my naming scheme. Make it yours. But use a title scheme that will work for all your types of projects. When you copy the master folder for a new project you can always delete unneeded elements in the title. For example, if a client doesn’t have their own project numbers, you can delete “ClientProjNum” from that particular folder title. But I’ve found that it is better to include everything in the master folder title—your titles will have a consistent order—rather than to name each project from scratch.

Next time, building up that master folder.

The post Getting Organized appeared first on HD Video Pro.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video

From “Kellie & Jesse” by Samantha Milner

The market for wedding videos has undergone a substantial transformation in the past 10 years since the introduction of DSLRs that could record video. Coupled with this media industry change, the technological innovations that have made it possible to stream video content for easy internet viewing and sharing on social networks has been an added game changer, particularly in a market segment heavily devoted to a youth demographic.

“We’re all familiar with statistics, such as YouTube is the world’s second-biggest search engine,” says Rachel Jo Silver, founder and CEO of the media company Love Stories TV. “Four out of five millennials search for a video on a product before they purchase it,” she explains.

“And that product could be a wedding dress, a wedding venue, a wedding florist or a wedding videographer. That’s how millennials and Gen X consumers think: They think [of] video first.” Silver says when it comes to weddings, they’re going to continue to consider videos not just as something that’s nice to have, “but as an essential part of their wedding.”

Cornering The Market For Wedding Films

Silver founded Love Stories TV in 2016 with a mission to build the first and only library of real wedding videos. She happened upon the idea after declining to hire a wedding videographer for her own wedding, and subsequently being surprised with a flash mob dance performance by the guests at her reception, an event that was only recorded by snippets of amateur cell phone video.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Jessica & Lawrence” by Samantha Milner

“That moment and the rest of the wedding were totally perfect and unforgettable. At least, that’s what I initially thought,” Silver recounts on the Love Stories TV website. “Immediately after, I began to regret not having hired a videographer. Not only because of the flash mob, but because I couldn’t remember the speeches, or our vows, or what the officiant said, or how Justin and I looked when we walked down the aisle. Photos can’t capture these things; only video can.”

Since its founding, Love Stories TV has amassed a collection of tens of thousands of professionally produced films, telling authentic stories of individual couples and their unique wedding days, which as a whole cover every wedding type, destination and demographic imaginable.

The lovestoriestv.com website functions as an aggregator of sorts, offering up a searchable database of these short films, freely available to the general public. Content is submitted primarily by filmmakers, who benefit from the visibility in marketing their services.

“Filmmakers are the foundation of our business,” says Silver. “If filmmakers don’t feel that they’re booking more weddings, getting more leads, getting value out of the site, then we can’t provide for our couples and our brand sponsors. So, it’s extremely important that they’re happy.”

The Evolution Of The Wedding Video

To truly understand the current market for wedding videos, it’s helpful to look back at the evolution of style and substance within this realm of the marketplace.

According to Silver, weddings of a certain budget always included a video in the wedding package, but it wasn’t something that was watched much. This type of video was generally a chronological recording, shot from a single vantage point, which is totally distinct from the emotion-filled, narrative style of wedding filmmaking produced now.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Mod Bride” by Samantha Milner

In contrast, “Couples seeking to book a wedding video today want it to tell a story, they want it to be cinematic,” Silver notes. “They want the most emotional moments captured first and highlighted. That’s something quite different than just documenting.”

Contemporary wedding films have more in common with cinematography than video capture, which led Silver to use the former term for her contributor base when launching her company. Yet she quickly realized that, in addition to the title cinematographer being lost on consumers, it was not beneficial for SEO in online searches, a crucial part of Love Story TV’s mission to help people book more weddings. “Brides and grooms tend to use the term videographers,” notes Silver, “which I don’t find to be the best description. I think it unintentionally decreases the equity in their work.”

This terminology divide resulted in Silver coming to a compromise of sorts. “When we’re talking to filmmakers, we use that term, because I think it makes our contributors feel more respected. But when we’re talking to couples, we just say videographers because that’s the term they commonly understand,” she says.

Partnerships Within The Wedding Niche

While videography has greatly evolved as an art form and continues to surge in popularity within the wedding marketplace, Silver finds that it’s rare for filmmakers in this niche to have started out shooting stills. “Most current wedding videographers were filmmakers first,” she notes.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Ash & Mark” by Samantha Milner

A common scenario she’s observed is the trajectory of someone who started out shooting motion but didn’t initially plan to shoot weddings. “Maybe they couldn’t get commercial work at first,” Silver explains, “so they started shooting weddings and then found that they loved the industry. Or they wanted to shoot corporate, but they needed real work first, and weddings were easier to get. Then they realized, ‘Oh, I actually really like doing this,’” she points out. “That’s something we hear a lot.”

When it comes to still photography, however, Silver has noticed two recent trends. “Increasingly, photographers either want to learn to shoot video, or, more likely, they’re interested to partner with a videographer they work well with.”

She encourages this type of proactive business arrangement when speaking with filmmakers, suggesting a referral system among colleagues who have a good rapport. “It doesn’t have to be a sneaky, kickback type thing, it can be a totally reasonable, healthy arrangement,” she says, recommending that both parties refer each other to book more business.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Carlos & Courtney” by Nick & Jenn Miller

For filmmakers just getting started, she proposes offering a small commission for referrals, noting, “A photographer won’t agree to a commission if they think it will have a negative impact; they’ll only refer you if they believe you do good work.”

Additional advice she gives anyone who’s booked to shoot a wedding with someone they’ve never met is to ask the wedding couple for the email contacts of the full vendor list. “If you can’t get that information from the couple, go look it up,” she advises, suggesting, “Call the photographer, introduce yourself, and say, ‘We’ve never worked together before, so I just want to get a sense of your working style and your schedule and the shots you want to get.’”

By neglecting this type of advance communication, you risk not being fully prepared on the day of the shoot.

Equitable Relationships And Shifting Trends

The topic of photographer/filmmaker partnerships sheds light on the fact that relationships between these two types of wedding vendors haven’t always been the smoothest. “On site, at the wedding, things can get really tricky,” Silver admits.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Darin & Abigail” by Nick & Jenn Miller

Although a wedding planner might run the show at a big-budget wedding, she points out that, “At most weddings, the photographer ends up owning the timeline. They need to capture everything, from early preparations through the reception. So things start to revolve around them, and they’ve gotten used to that.”

Another challenge to filmmaker/photographer relationships is that, “Historically speaking, a wedding photographer earns more than a filmmaker and is booked earlier in the planning process.” According to Silver, on average, filmmakers earn about two-thirds of a photographer’s rate. She points out, “While the shooting time is the same, the editing time is longer, so they make less money overall, and the hourly rate comes out to be much lower.”

Over the past few years, she has leveraged her company’s broad reach and data-mining capabilities to help bring awareness to these inequities, gathering real-world statistics through close communication with her filmmaker base. And recently, Love Stories TV launched a filmmaker survey that has reinforced anecdotal evidence to show these historical trends are slowly changing.

While only preliminary data was available at press time, 50 percent of respondents to this new survey reported being hired before the photographer for five or more weddings, and 39 percent were hired first for two to five weddings, a positive finding for videographers that Silver had previously underestimated.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Ash & Mark” by Samantha Milner

This recent data is backed up by statistics from the wedding registry vendor Zola. “They published a big survey of wedding couples in 2018,” says Silver, “finding that the biggest regret couples had about their wedding was not hiring a videographer. This is an extremely powerful statistic,” she adds. “And it reveals two things: One, there’s still room for wedding films to grow in the industry. Two, although not everybody is hiring a filmmaker today, it’s the No. 1 regret of the people who don’t.”

It’s All About Social Networks

In the past few years, Silver has become a popular industry speaker, focusing on the importance of social media within the wedding market.

She’s constantly urging filmmakers to post their videos to social media and to tag all the people and locations involved. “Then make them aware of it by email or Instagram DM because you’ve just made a commercial they’ll want to share,” Silver explains. “Weddings are a very unique category where the sharing is built in.”

This facility for tagging venues and vendors who worked on a wedding, and the widespread sharing of such artfully showcased products among both industry professionals and prospective brides and grooms, is the very premise of Love Stories TV’s business model. “That’s how you get discovered on our platform,” Silver explains.

Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video
From “Darin & Abigail” by Nick & Jenn Miller

Yet, when it comes to understanding all the nuances involved in this type of marketing effort, Silver notes, “Filmmakers and other types of wedding vendors get into their chosen work because they’re artists, not because they’re a marketer. So, tasks like social networking have to be learned.”

For example, horizontal videos don’t perform as well on social media, notes Silver. “So, shooting for a vertical crop is important.” Another thing to consider is the fact that you need to grab people’s attention in the first second. The little teaser that’s destined for social sites needs to be tailored to that.

Given the success of Love Stories TV’s basic mission to help filmmakers and other wedding vendors freely market their services, in 2018 the company boosted its marketing muscle by rolling out a dual-level subscription program called the Love Club: Members receive increased visibility for a monthly fee ($75 or $125) through top placement on the site’s navigation bar and regular promotions or feature placements on the website and social channels.

As the interest in wedding films grows, Silver asserts, “We think what we’re doing really helps wedding videographers and other vendors to create social content to market their businesses, and this gives them a leg up in a competitive marketplace.”


Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video

Samantha Milner

Website: sjvideography.com

How long have you been in business?

Five years.

How long have you been shooting weddings?

I’ve been shooting weddings for five years; however, I didn’t go full-time until three years ago.

Where are you based and what percentage of your business is local/regional vs. destination-oriented?

I’m based out of San Diego. Around 90 percent of my business is local or regional.

Have you always worked with video and film, or did you ever shoot still images?

I started out with an interest in photography when I took a few classes in college, and from there I gravitated towards video. I love the ability to capture motion in real time. In my eyes, it’s more powerful than photography.

What three words best describe your shooting style?

Playful, dreamy, candid.

What gear do you use?

Camera/Lenses: Panasonic GH5, Sony 18-35mm, Panasonic 12-35mm, Panasonic 42.5mm, Panasonic 35-100mm.

Lens Adapter: Metabones Speed Booster.

Lighting: Genaray LED-6500T on-camera light.

Stabilization: Manfrotto tripod for one angle during the ceremony and occasionally a Manfrotto monopod, otherwise, handheld.

Audio: Tascam DR-40X, Tascam DR-10L.


Love Stories TV: Not Your Old School Wedding Video

Nick & Jenn Miller, Wild Oak Films

Website: wildoakfilms.com

How long have you been in business? We’ve been in business and shooting weddings as a husband-and-wife team since 2012 and our full-time job since the summer of 2017.

Where are you based and how much of your business is local/regional vs. destination-oriented?

We’re based in Wichita, Kansas, with 75 percent of our weddings being local (Kansas). We travel out of state for five to seven weddings a year.

Have you always worked with video and film, or did/do you also shoot still images?

I’ve always done video. Previously, Jenn did photography, but after she got pregnant with our second child, she decided to step away from photo and join me in the video world full time.

What three words best describe your shooting style?

Raw, emotional, authentic.

What gear do you use?

Camera/Lenses: Canon EOS C100 Mark II and 35L, 50L and two 70-200L lenses (one is a version ii, one is a version iii).

Lighting: Kinotehnik Practilite 602s (they’re the best for reception lighting).

Stabilization: DJI Ronin-S, Manfrotto tripods, monopods and light stands.

Audio: Tascam DR-10Ls lav mics and Countryman B3 Omni Lavalier mics for our grooms and brides.

 

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How Is 2020 Going To Change The Camera Market?

2020 may be looked back upon in the near future as the year that everything changed. This is a still from the last production I shot pre-quarantine, just a week before the stay at home order was issued.

Heading into 2020 from 2019 saw a lot of excitement in the professional video/mirrorless hybrid/digital cinema camera space. We saw several new cameras introduced to the market in late 2019 and a few in 2020. There have been firmware updates to existing models and RAW recording ability added to some. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Supply chains have been interrupted. Manufacturing in most countries, but especially in China, was shut down for months and in some instances is still closed. I’ve engaged in several conversations with fellow DPs and video users online, and I thought it would be worthwhile to consider the current state of the pro video camera market and how the pandemic has affected it and continues to affect it.

How Is 2020 Going To Change The Camera Market?
The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H will likely be remembered as the first mirrorless hybrid with 6K internal recording. It also marked the first mirrorless hybrid to make the acceptance list for Netflix original content.

Mirrorless/Hybrids

As you’re probably aware, mirrorless hybrid cameras were the hottest growth and sales segment for 2019. With the introduction of cameras like the Panasonic Lumix S1H, which redefined what a mirrorless hybrid was capable of from a video spec and performance standpoint, mirrorless sales seem to have largely supplanted and, in some cases, replaced low-end, single sensor digital cinema “video” cameras. Since the Panasonic S1H has hit, Fujifilm has introduced the X-T4, which is very similar to the existing X-T3 but adds some exciting new features like IBIS and a larger battery for increased recording times. Canon has just released specs for its new R5, the first EOS R camera to be aimed at video professionals rather than high-end hobbyists as the existing EOS R and RS seem to have been. Sony has been conspicuously absent the from higher end mirrorless party with no news of the camera all Sony A7 fans have been waiting for—a new video-oriented A7 SIII.

How Is 2020 Going To Change The Camera Market?
The Sony PXW-FX9 began shipping late in 2019 and into early 2020. The camera is a natural successor to Sony’s massive hit, the FS7, with it’s innovative new features looks to become a desirable industry standard.

Digital Cinema/Video Cameras

This is sort of a catchall category as I’m not sure if cameras like Sony’s new PXW-FX9 are truly considered digital cinema cameras? In the loosest sense of the term, the FX9 is a digital cinema camera in that it has a full frame 35mm sensor, a locking E-mount interchangeable lens mount and other more cinema-oriented features. I see few films being shot with the FX9 though; it seems to be more in the realm of a mid-level video camera much more commonly found at live events, corporate shoots, etc., than on narrative films projects. I reviewed the FX9 a couple of months ago and it’s an impressive, easy-to-use camera for the money.

Around the same time, Canon introduced the new EOS Cinema C500 MKII, a higher end digital cinema camera that shoots Canon’s internal Cinema RAW Light and features a 6K full frame sensor. Since then, Canon recently released specs and a shipping date for the EOS Cinema C300 MKIII. The camera shares the body and much of its feature set with the C500 MKII, but it retails for the same price as the FX9. The C300 MKIII has a S35 4K sensor though. It’s not full frame but it does shoot Canon’s excellent Cinema RAW Light format and has a brand-new sensor and DR technology.

Not to be outdone, Chinese manufacturer Z CAM announced and has begun shipping their new Z CAM E2-S6 (6K S35 sensor), E2-F6 (6K FF sensor) andE2-F8 (8K FF) cameras. The Z CAMs have an amazing feature set for their prices, which are very reasonable, ranging from their M43 sensor E2C at $799 all of the way up to that top-of-the-line E2-F8, which sells for a modest $5,995. In a similar space but a higher feature and spec level, Chinese manufacturer Kinefinity just introduced their MAVO Edge, a $11,999 8K digital cinema camera that can shoot up to 8K at 75fps. The camera boasts many innovative features at its price point, including internal ProRes RAW recording and an internal variable ND filter system.  

How Is 2020 Going To Change The Camera Market?
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K impressed me when I reviewed it last fall. It offers great value in a very affordable small package and with the addition of some accessories, transforms into a very capable higher end digital cinema camera.

Miscellanea

While not a mirrorless hybrid, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K is a relatively new 6K camera that looks like a mirrorless hybrid but isn’t one. It’s an amazingly capable small digital cinema camera that sells for $2,495. Oh, but wait, that was before they announced a $500 price drop, resulting in a $1,995 6K internal RAW capable S35 sensor camera with a Canon EF lens mount that’s also capable of functioning as part of a live streaming system with the newly announced Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro, a four-channel live stream switcher that can also act as a CCU and paintbox for the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K models.

How Is 2020 Going To Change The Camera Market?
The new Canon EOS C300 MKIII was recently announced and looks to be a viable contender with its competition with internal Cinema RAW Light, a new sensor with greater dynamic range and resolution and the ability to shoot 4K at up to 120 fps.

The Camera Market For The Remainder Of 2020

My primary purpose of this up-to-date camera market status check wasn’t to just go through a recap of camera releases for the past six months. We’re in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. The world economy has taken a huge hit that we haven’t even felt the effects of yet. Video and film production has essentially ground to a halt in almost every area of the globe. Unfortunately, for many of the most recently introduced cameras like the Canon EOS C300 MKIII and the Fujifilm X-T4, it’s potentially one of the worst times to bring a new camera to market in decades.

Development and manufacturing have a long lead time though, so I don’t blame companies for proceeding with new camera introductions that were slated for NAB 2020 and Cine Gear. I don’t profess to know what even the near future holds as far as the video and digital cinema business; things are just too chaotic and unknown. It’s a bit ironic that as this latest crop of cameras has standardized with amazing features like 6K RAW recording, full-frame sensors are quickly becoming, if not the defacto standard then a much-desired specification for anyone shopping for a new video or digital cinema camera, yet few of us have a true need for a new camera, at least at the moment.

How Is 2020 Going To Change The Camera Market?
The Fujifilm X-T4 is a brand-new mirrorless hybrid that utilizes the same X-Trans sensor that was successful with the X-T3, but it adds IBIS, a larger, longer-lasting battery system and many other improvements to the formula.

Internal RAW recording, Sony’s variable electronic ND filter system, Blackmagic Designs new integration of their Pocket Cinema cameras into live streaming production—we’re experiencing some of the most innovative new features, specifications and ideas around camera designs than we’ve seen in many years. For me, personally, as someone who has a chance to test, review and experience what the latest and greatest production technology has to offer, It’s too bad that much of this new excitement is coming to the market in a time when most us can’t do much shooting beyond our living room or backyard.

This event makes me wonder what kind of long-term effect this could have on the future development of new camera technology. We’ve been in a new model, new feature, innovation bonanza with cameras and this technology for a long time. Might this pandemic slow down what has been a past decade of furious innovation? If you take a look at where we’ve come with cameras since 2010, it makes me ponder where we’ll be with camera technology in 2030, a decade from now. I don’t have the answer on what the new normal might be, but even of we take a breather in the sensor size, raster size race, we have new tools available and shipping soon that should be able to keep us at the cutting edge for years.

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