Category Archives: Cameras

Camera Options 2016

I’ve got an itch for a new camera. I don’t really need one, but I do – if that makes sense for you. I actually need a low light camera, 4K and I’m not really keen on getting a DSLR or Mirrorless like the A7S/A7SII. My options are below – yes, there are other options, but these hit the below $ 10,000 dollar price level I can afford. I think I’m leaning onto the C500 Mark I. Why? Price, performance, low light capability, proven track record, not as noisy as the other candidates.

Canon C500 Mark I
Price: $ 9,999

Sony PXW-FS7
Price: $ 7,999

Sony PXW-FS5
Price: $ 5,599

Blackmagic URSA Mini
Price: $ 2,999 – $ 5,495

Red Raven
Price: $ 5,950


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Filed under Cameras, Equipment

This Week’s Things: 10/30/2015


What is this thing: Tangent Ripple – Color Correction Panel
Article Link:
tangent_ripple_control_panelNotes: Doing a lot of color correction/color grading? Want a tactile panel? Here’s an affordable solution. 


What is this thing: Black Magic URSA Mini
Article Link:
Notes: Doing a lot of color correction/color grading? Want a tactile panel? Here’s an affordable solution. URSA-Mini

What is this thing: Artemis Maxima
Article Link:
Notes: Gimbals and Stabilizers are getting better and cheaper. Well, almost cheaper. Here’s a cool G&S but it will set you back 20K or so.Artemis Maxima

What is this thing: Paralinx Video Transmitter and Receiver
Article Link:
Company Website:
Notes: I put together a pretty good Wireless TR/RX for about $ 600.00. However sometimes, you want a vendor complete system and this one is pretty reasonable at $ 1,299.95.paralinx_ace_sdi_combo

Film Making Tips

What is this thing: 10 Lessons on Filmmaking From Wes Anderson
Article Link:
Notes: I’m #6 on the list for a 4.6K URSA mini at Showcase Video in Atlanta, Ga. for a URSA mini. I’m hoping that this will take my capabilities to the next level as a Cinematographer. Here’s a good review of the URSA mini.

What is this thing: Enough Coverage is Enough – Why shooting too much coverage can be a “bad thing”.
Article Link:
Notes: In my experience as a DP I find that Directors who shoot way too much coverage do so because they are not prepared. Shooting too much coverage is usually done by inexperienced Directors during their “learning” projects. Don’t be a Dump-Truck Director. Get the coverage you need and know what coverage you need by preparing before you get onset.

Color Grading/Color Correcting

What is this thing: How to apply a LUT in Premier Pro
Article Link:
Notes: LUTS are cool. Here’s a basic quick tip on apply them in Premier Pro!
Need pre-made LUTS – here’s Rocket Rooster
While you’re looking at LUTS, here’s a quick tutorial on how to Save Lumetri Color Presets within Premiere:

What is this thing: Learn Resolve
Article Link:
Notes: Want to learn Resolve and Color Grading? Here’s list of resources where you can start.


What is this thing: How to Organize Your Digital Film Media
Article Link:
Notes: I have a friend who has the filmmaking “eye” yet he is the worse organizer of his digital media. Some artists just don’t have that attention to detail, especially while doing the edit. They are so concerned with getting the film edited the way they see it that the chaotic mess of the project doesn’t bother them. However, if you ever want to be an effective editor you need to learn how to organize your digital assets. Here’s an article that can help get you started.

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Filed under Camera Support (Tripod, Gimbal, Steady Cam), Cameras, Directing, Editing, Equipment, Green Screen, Post Production, Special Effects, Wireless

This Week’s Things: 09/10/2015

Sorry, I’ve been AWAL in posting to this site. It’s not for lack of material. I’ve been busy and just have a backlog of items to post.


What is this thing: Canon EOS 8K Camera – Prototype
Article Link:
Notes: This is a monster of a prototype. Canon is showing off an 8K EOS based camera. This prototype has a teeny tiny use case… Most productions could use it as it sits. I’m sure over the next year or so Canon will reduce the size and make it more useful. In today’s technology driven camera market, Canon has to throw this out to the perspective camera buyers to entice the customer to “wait” for the 8K camera to come out. It’s an old, but effective strategy (ploy) to keep a perspective buyer from going with say a Red Weapon Dragon.


What is this thing: Zeiss Announces New Line of Primes
Article Link:
Notes: Reasonably priced new line of primes that is 4K capable and targeted for S35 to Full Frame sized sensors.


What is this thing: SLR Magic Announces a set of 2:1 anamorphic cinema primes
Article Link:
Notes: For certain project anamorphic is so cool. Remember those 70mm western from the 60’s? That’s the kind of cinematic effect we are talking about. these lens are optimized for micro 4/3rd sensors. There are some options out there for Super 35MM.


On Set Data Management

What is this thing: Data Wrangling…
Article Link:
Notes: The article specifically discusses 5 on set data management tips for Blackmagic camera users. However, tip #5 really is a great piece of advice for everyone and so I copied it here.

The data from a shoot is the most important bit. That’s what you are paid for. If it’s lost or damaged, all the other costs would have been money thrown away. So it’s really important that the data is backed up and verified. Simply using the Explorer (Win) or Finder (Mac) to copy the files is not secure enough. Data could be lost in the process.

You really want to do CheckSum verification on any back-up you make and make multiple back-ups. Three copies is ideal, two is the minimum. Give one copy to the Producer before you leave the set so that all the data is not in the same place.

I use Imagine Products ShotPut Pro on the Mac. They now offer a Windows version too. You could also use Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve’s Media Clone tool, as it too does CheckSum verification (added in Resolve 11). Other tools you might want to consider: RAW 4 PRO with Backup Champion (PC) or Pomfort ClipHouse (Mac). Both of those also offer tools to color correct and transcode your RAW files.

Red Giant also has a product for offloading video:

Stock Footage

What is this thing: Free 4K Stock Footage – yea, as in FREE
Article Link:
Notes: Sometime things are not “too good to be true.” Mitch Martinez is indeed providing access to 1500 free 4K clips. And then there’s other free 4K stock footage as well.

Visual Special FX

What is this thing: Prolost Handcrank for After Effects
Article Link:
Notes: You never know when you need to dirty up and crazy out the footage to disorient your audience. Here’s a very reasonably priced plug in – $ 14.00. And the fellow at the Prolost site is a Visual FX artist and has a few other very reasonably priced plug-ins.

Cloud Storage – Project Collaboration

What is this thing: A cloud-base storage, transfer and collaboration service
Article Link:
I do a lot of collaboration. The problem with file transfer is I mostly transfer rendered finish drafts or final edits. Here’s another service to help do more collaboration and not just transfers. I haven’t used the service so I can’t say if it is worth the monthly cost to get enough storage to matter. If I had a lot of volume I might look into this service as an option. For now, I’ll stick with Dropbox, WeTransfer and Youtube to do all these activities..

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Filed under Cameras, Data Management, Equipment, Lens, Production, Special Effects, Stock Footage

This Week’s Things: 07/27/2015

Video Storage

 What is this thing: How much storage will I need for a video project?
Article Link:
Notes: A friend of mine is going to be shooting a low-budget feature on a Red Epic and needed to know how much storage he needed. I told him there’s an answer for everything on the Internet and sure enough I found a nifty calculator someone created. It looks pretty close just doing some tests.image


 What is this thing: Make Clip Replacement Faster in Premiere
Article Link:
Notes: Short cut tutorial on how to replace clips fast in Premiere.

What is this thing: 8 Audition Tutorials Every Editor Should Watch
Article Link:
Notes: Audition is a powerful sound editing package and for video editors it can be daunting to get started with. Here are eight tutorials that can help you get started with Audition.

What is this thing: Print Your Own Premiere Pro Keyboard shortcuts
Article Link:
Notes: Good resource for shortcut memorization.

Color Grading

What is this thing: Premier Pro CC 2015 Lumertri Color Panel
Article 1 Link:
Article 2 Link:
Notes: This is a great time in the NLE market. Adobe and Davinci are putting more and more features into their products to win the heart and minds of the film and video makers. Here’s a 16 minute tutorial on the new Lumetri Color Panel in Premiere Pro CC 2016.

Filming Techniques

What is this Thing: 7 Hollywood Camera Techniques
Things Type: Educational
Notes: The Dolly Zoom (Trombone Shot), The Low Angle Trunk Shot, Dutch Angle, The Close Up, The Whip Pan, One Point Perspective, Long Tracking Shots

Equipment Review

What is this Thing: Self Leveling Ball Head Adapter
Things Type: Equipment – Tripod
Product Link:
Product Review:
Notes: Although I don’t own one of these at the moment I will be buying one for one of my older tripods that don’t have a leveling ball.image

Visual Special Effects

What is this Thing: 8 Ways to Create Digital Distortion in After Effects
Things Type: Educational
Notes: Sometime you need to distort your footage to tell the story. This article discusses eight ways to do it.

Stock Video Effects

imageWhat is this Thing: Video Effects
Things Type: Stock Video Effect
Notes: I don’t buy stock effects or stock video unless I really have a need and then I go out and look through available content. Although I have to write down suppliers so that I can review their type of work so when the need arises I can go and find what I need.

Lens Basic

What is this Thing: Basics of Focal Length
Things Type: Tutorial on focus lengths
Notes: A little goofy, basic description of focal length.

Video of the Week

Portal– a short film by Ryan Connolly and his Film Riot team created this short film to show off the abilities of the Hit Film editing application.
Short Link:
Making of:
Aerial Foot and Sound Design How To:


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Filed under Cameras, Color Correction/Grading, Equipment, Films to Watch, Green Screen, Software, Sound Design, Special Effects, Tutorial

The NAB 2015 Equipment-Feast!

The North American Broadcaster Association annual Las Vegas extravaganza has come and gone. I haven’t had the joy of attending a NAB yet. I usually find walking around for hours on end and not being able to buy 99% of the coolness would drive me crazy. So, I sit in the comfort of my chair and surf for hours on end looking at all the reviews and being driven crazy that I can’t buy 99% of the stuff I see! I know, the definition of LOONY. 😉

Lots of coolness at NAB again this year. Let us start out with…


image Canon C300 Mark II
Product Link:
Notes: Canon has upgraded their C300 first generation and added 4K amongst other features. One nice features is that the C300MII will record 4K internal via CFast cards. CFast is not a cheap investment though. However, for run-and-gun you now have to option of 4K on a small form factor camera without a bulky external monitor/recorder. The draw back is that Canon has priced this camera firmly in the professional level with a street price of $ 15,999.00

image Red Weapon
Product Link:
Notes: Red’s “4th” generation camera package. Red surely will be credited with the digital revolution for filmmakers. This next incarnate builds on the Dragon sensor and adds more flexibility to the camera body and more importantly a 8K, full frame (Vista Vision), 40mm x 20mm CMOS sensor.

image Blackmagic URSA Mini
Product Link:
Notes: For $ 2,995.00 this is another great announcement from Black Magic for the budget minded filmmaker. I would have preferred ND filters to be included, but for the price, you can deal with having to have a matte box or a ND filter for your lens. Althought $ 2,995.00 is the bare bones price, you can expect to add another $ 500.00 to make the camera complete with shoulder mount and v-lock battery plate. As a bonus, you get a complete copy of DaVinci Resolve ($ 995.00 value).

image Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera
Product Link:

Not to be outdone by Blackmagic, Blackmagic also announced a cool little remote control 16mm micro cinema camera. At just $ 995.00 it has a lot of options for use. The small form factor will allow it to be used on aerial platforms and in situations where a small package is highly desirable. For me the Micro Four Thirds lens mount is an issue as I don’t have any equipment to support that format.

image Panasonic AG-DVX200
Product Link: Ha, can’t find one.
Notes: I have a HMC-150 and absolutely love it. Yes, it is old technology and was a entry level professional camera. But, I tell you this – for run and gun and live events it provides very nice HD images and hasn’t given me one minute of issues. With all the latest camera developments it seems like Panasonic is in lala land. Sure, they have Lumix line of cameras and those are incredible for their price. Panasonic has introduced the DVX200, which looks great for certain use-cases. The cost is anticipated at $ 5,000 bucks.

image JVC GY-LS300 4K Micro Four Thirds
Product Link:
Notes: Again, for me, the 4/3’s mount system is a deal breaker since I’ve invested in EF and E-Mount lens. However, the big announcement at NAB is that JVC has dropped the prices for this camera to the $ 4,300 dollar range. There are a lot of camera options out there now at unbelievable price ranges.


image DJI Ronin “M”
Product Link:
Notes: This is a smaller, lighter and cheaper version of the Ronin that came out last year. At $ 1395.00 this gimball will support packages up to 8lbs., which covers a lot of camera packages.

Aerial Platform/Drone

image 3D Robotics Solo
Product Link:
Notes: I have a DJI Phantom II with a GoPro 4 and love the images I get. This quad copter/drone from 3D Robotics has more flying features and video downlink features and for the all-in price of $ 1399 it is one of the better deals going for a GoPro platform.


image LG 31MU97-B 4K DCI Display
Product Link:
Notes: There are cheaper professional 4K monitors and there are more expensive ones. This one from LG claims a 99.5% Adobe RGB colour gamut. At a street price of $ 1,295 this monitor is getting good reviews.


Adobe Creative Cloud NEXT
Product Link:
Premium Beat’s coverage of the major updates:
Notes: I am a Adobe crack product addict. Yea, I think for the price even the Creative Cloud subscription is a deal. You get so many products that are category leaders. If you’re making money in the film/video business the Creative Cloud product suite is a set of tools that you simply can’t go wrong with.

DaVinci Resolve 12
Product Link:
Notes: I’m just getting into using Resolve. The great thing about Resolve is each version has “lite” version that is free to download and use. Usually a light version is, well, light on the features. But Blackmagic doesn’t do that with Resolve. Most filmmakers can get along with the free version. Over the past three years Blackmagic Designs has slowly increase DaVinci from a color grading/correcting software package to a more full featured correcting and editing solution. Resolve 12 boast 80 new features including multi-cam editing, media management tools, new audio engine. Here’s a “What’s New” video from Black Magic:

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Filed under Cameras, Color Correction/Grading, Equipment, Monitor, Post Production, Software

This Week’s Things: 3/30/2015

The Film Business – Law Talk

What is this Thing: What is Work Made For Hire?
 Things Type: Education > Understanding copyright in film
Notes: Many artists don’t care about the nitty gritty business details, which is a huge mistake. It is important as an artist to have a general understanding of copyright law so you know to protect your work of art.


What is this Thing: Canon C300 – Review?
 Things Type: Equipment Review > Canon C300
Notes: I thought it would be good to post an old review of the Canon C300 since Canon is rumored to be releasing the next version (C300 Mark II) of this model during the NAB 2015 show in April. The big rumor is that the new version of C300 will be a 4K camera. the good news is that Canon is trying to move all the old inventory and a C300 Mark I can be had for about $ 6,500 bucks – pretty damn good price. But, if your mind is set on 4K and you don’t need it right now just wait a few weeks and after NAB I’m sure there will be plenty of new 4K at lower price equipment to be had.

Visual FX

What is this Thing: Free Visual Effects & Motion Graphics Software
Things Type: Post Production > Visual FXs
Notes: They say free means crippled. Not so with Black Magic Design productions, such as Resolve (color correcting and grading) BMD purchased eyeon Fusion and has provided a free version as they did with Resolve. I haven’t used Fusion yet, but trust me, I’m going to give it a spin. Here’s a short video that discusses the product –

Cinematography History

What is this Thing: Kubrick’s Lenses
Notes: They say the lens is the heart of the image. In this 12 minute video Joe Dunton, BSC, goes through many of Kubrick’s favorite lenses.

Film Sites

What is this Thing: r3Load.Net
 Things Type: B-Roll and Stuff
Notes: Cool little site where they have lots of B-roll from big films. Now, they say once you see a ton of B-roll it’s all the same – maybe. But, watching B-roll might give some insight on things you can do on your sets.


What is this Thing: What is negative fill?
 Things Type: Tutorial > Negative Fill
Notes: Ryan Walters discusses negative fill – a good 5 minutes for anyone learning negative fill.

What is this Thing: Chineese Latern
Things Type: Equipment
Notes: FilmTools.Com has a boatload of equipment and supplies.

What is this Thing: Light Dimmer
Things Type: Equipment
Notes: Impact D1000 Dimmer.

Music Video of The Week

What is this Thing: Herschel’s MV Pick of the Week
Things Type: Music Video
Notes: This week’s music video is off the beaten path. While listening to Audioslave I tried finding the I am the Highway. I really like the song, but interesting I don’t thingk Audioslave ever made a video. But this girl put together a music video and I really like what she did. I don’t know what movie she used for her imagery, but if you look at the cuts she used it’s very representative of the song and the video has over 800 thousand hits. Just goes to show you that the emotional scenes of this video hit the right mark. Something to be cognizant when creating your own video.

To Review:

Just keeping a list of things I want to review before really posting them.
Shot Lister –

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Filed under Business, Cameras, Cinematography, Equipment, Lighting, Lighting Techniques, Music Videos, Special Effects

This Week’s “Things” 2/23/2015


What is this Thing: Camera
image Things Type: Arri Mini
Notes: If you have a lot of money to spend on camera equipment, you might want to look into the new Arri Mini. It’s only around 40K. Just in case you’re interested. 😉

imageWhat is this Thing: Light-Color Meter
Things Type: Sekonic C-700
Notes: I need one of these to take my onset lighting to the next level. I have a iPhone application for my light and color metering, which does pretty good. But, I think I need a dedicated tool, when I can afford it.


What is this Thing: Lighting Manufacturer – Chimera
 Things Type: Equipment > Lights
Notes: I Chimera makes a lot of lighting fixtures and is recommended by Shane Hurlbut. I don’t have any of their products – yet!

Special FX

imageWhat is this Thing: The Demon and the Fall
Things Type: After Effects Tutorial
Notes: The Film Riot dudes take you through a process to do a fake fall from a house and a demon effect.

Music Video of The Week

What is this Thing: Herschel’s MV Pick of the Week
Things Type: Music Video
Notes: This weeks MV of the week is a concept/performance video that I was attracted to because of the cinematography. The Sepia/Black and White and Color Grading all seemed to melt together in a unique coalesce of music and images that seem to work. I wasn’t really hot about the ending though. But sometimes it’s hard to get out of a music video concept cleanly.image

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Filed under Cameras, Equipment, Lighting, Music Videos, Special Effects