Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review by;Thomas Schweighofer

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom Line – Sample Footage & Review by;Thomas Schweighofer
Aug 172017
 

In this guest review, DP and Director Thomas Schweighofer takes a look at the Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom line during a documentary shoot with a RED EPIC-W Helium 8K. Please also read Graham Sheldon’s extensive review of both Sigma zoom lenses, which we published a few months ago. 

I recently had the chance to shoot a documentary project in the US featuring Austrian musician Dominic Muhrer and American Superstar Joshua Ledet. In order to achieve a better image quality in this particular project, I wanted to get my hands on some of the new Sigma cine primes, but at that point in time it was just too early to get a set. Instead, the folks at Sigma contacted me and told me to test their Sigma Cine High Speed Zoom cine line. I agreed but, being so used to shooting with primes, I didn’t expect too much. 

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How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction by; Quentin Decaillet

 Gear  Comments Off on How to Maximize Your DJI Spark Dynamic Range in Postproduction by; Quentin Decaillet
Aug 172017
 

Amongst the drones available on the market in 2017, the DJI Spark is surely not amongst the top ones in terms of files quality. The sequences it creates are quite difficult to color grade in postproduction and thus it makes it hard for videographers to mix the clips with footage from another camera. However, there are ways to improve what you can get out of Spark’s videos. Casey Faris gives us one of the tricks he uses to maximize the dynamic range of the images.

The DJI Spark is without a doubt an incredibly attractive product to get into aerial photography and videography. But its price comes at the cost of more advanced features found on the Phantom and Mavic, such as log footage. The sequences produced by the Spark are very contrasty, sharp, and quite saturated. It’s not a bad thing for average users, but it’s far from ideal for those who want to color grade their footage.

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Review: The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is a Fine Lens at a Fair Price

 Gear  Comments Off on Review: The Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D is a Fine Lens at a Fair Price
Aug 102017
 

A few weeks ago Laowa sent me a copy of their first lens dedicated to Sony’s full frame E-mount system, the 15mm f/2. This lens is meant for landscape and astrophotographers who want to capture as much of the beautiful night sky as possible; which means wide and fast.

Last year, I was able to get a copy of their 12mm f/2.8 for Canon and used it on my Sony a7R II with a Metabones adaptor. I was quite surprised how much I enjoyed the lens. A lot of what was great about that lens can be translated over to this one as well.

First, let’s talk about the physical design and characteristics.

Physical Characteristics

Since it was designed for a mirrorless system, they were able to pack in a very wide lens with a fast aperture into a compact system. They’re able to keep things slim thanks to a shorter flange focal distance and by staying clear from fancier things like autofocus or stabilization. What you’re getting is glass and metal. The 15mm is built like a tank. I don’t feel like I’m using a plastic toy. That does mean that it is a bit on the heavier side, but still pleasant to use (500g or 1.1 lbs).

The aperture ring can click in one stop increments from f/2 to f/22; or can be declicked — great for you video buffs. I did a quick video to show off the smooth transition between exposures as well as to see how things look at f/2. You can certainly see some vignetting going on here but this is wide open on a very wide lens, that’s going to happen with these kinds of specs. The bokeh is actually quite pleasing if you want to get super close to your subject like I did here. That’s not going to happen often, but at least you can see how that turns out.

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DJI Spark Review – Is it Really Suitable For Professionals?

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Aug 012017
 

As a professional filmmaker and DJI Mavic shooter, Tamás Kiss wanted to test the capabilities of the tiny new DJI Spark drone, so he took it to the challenging Icelandic climate to put it through its paces. Here’s his DJI Spark Review, that confirms a lot of the observations I made during my hands-on session with the tiny new drone. – Introduction by Sebastian Wöber.

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A First Look at the Canon 6D Mark II Camera, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on A First Look at the Canon 6D Mark II Camera, by Alex Cooke
Jul 082017
 

Canon recently released both the 6D Mark II and SL2 cameras. The 6D Mark II was particularly anticipated, as it is Canon’s cheapest and lightest full-frame DSLR. Here’s a helpful and practical first look at the newest DSLR in the Canon family.

Kaiman Wong recently had a chance to play with the new Canon 6D Mark II. With 45 cross-type AF points, a fully articulating screen, improved burst speed, and dual pixel autofocus, it’s an intriguing option for those looking to break into the full frame world. Of course, it’s missing features to distinguish it from the 5D Mark IV, most notably 4K and a second card slot.

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New Nebula 5100 Slant Gimbal and Other Accessories from Filmpower, by Fabian Chaundy

 Gear  Comments Off on New Nebula 5100 Slant Gimbal and Other Accessories from Filmpower, by Fabian Chaundy
Jul 012017
 

Filmpower — the company behind the popular Nebula gimbals — have announced the new Nebula 5100 Slant 3-axis gimbal, a new line of shotgun microphones and a wireless follow focus system.

Nebula 5100 Slant

A couple of years ago, the Nebula 4000 from Filmpower was one of the many popular choices among a new breed of affordable 3-axis gimbal stabilisers for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. A few incarnations later, the Nebula 5100 (covered HERE) offered amazing battery life, time-lapse support, unlimited rotation on all axis and strong encoded motors that needed very little balancing. The newest model, the Nebula 5100 Slant, has already been announced, coming only a few months after the original 5100 and offering some interesting structural improvements.

The Slant part of the name refers to the new design of the roll-axis arm, which now sits at a 45-degree angle from the camera rather than totally perpendicular behind the screen. According to Filmpower, not only does this improve the overall rigidity of the unit, but it also allows for a heavier total payload: the 900g Nebula 5100 Slant can take camera systems up to 3.2kg — a whole 700g more than its predecessor. Additionally, the new design allows for a clear view of your camera’s rear LCD monitor for easier use.

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How to Improve the Sound of Your Speech in Premiere Pro, by Alex Cooke

 Technique  Comments Off on How to Improve the Sound of Your Speech in Premiere Pro, by Alex Cooke
Jun 232017
 

You can have the most visually stunning videos, but if you sound like you’re talking to your audience from two rooms over, they won’t be engaged by your work. Here’s how to get better-sounding speech in Premiere Pro.

Part of being a good video editor means getting your sound editing skills up to speed. Premiere Pro borrows some tools from Audition, Adobe’s audio editing software, to give video editors the ability to improve their sound within the program.

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FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review – A Worthy Cine Zoom For Your Kit?, by Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review – A Worthy Cine Zoom For Your Kit?, by Sebastian Wober
Jun 232017
 

Earlier this year FUJINON introduced a new line of affordable E-Mount Cine Zooms made for documentary-style shooters. Here’s our FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review, where we take a look at the second of the two complimentary zoom lenses from FUJINON .

Featuring a non-breathing focus mechanism, par focal design and fully-geared focus, iris and zoom, I took this lens for a spin, after having already reviewed its little brother – the MK 18-55mm T/2.9 – earlier this year.

FUJINON MK 50-135mm Review

I tested the FUJINON MK 50-135mm over the course of several days and, while at first I was hesitant, I really enjoyed working with the lens after I had gotten the hang of it and seen the footage. Together, the FUJINON MK 18-55 T/2.9 and the new FUJINON MK 50-135mm T/2.9 cover a good focal range: 18mm to 135mm.

I recently tested the Sony 18-110mm cine style lens which is also a good alternative to the FUJINONs if you don’t want to carry two lenses and if you don’t mind that a lot Sony’s science is done electronically. Of course, the Sony lens is missing the 110-135 range, which admittedly will not be a huge tradeoff for many. The MKs are all-manual and in comparison to the Sony they also feature a constant aperture of T/2.9. This is great, especially because to me it seemed like they do look good wide open.

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13 Gimbal Movements You Should Know, by Alex Cooke

 Gear  Comments Off on 13 Gimbal Movements You Should Know, by Alex Cooke
Jun 172017
 

Adding to your arsenal of camera movements is always a good thing to do. If you just bought your first gimbal, this great tutorial will show you 13 essential movements that will add more visual interest to your work.

Gimbals are one of the fastest ways to get your footage looking more professional and cinematic. They open an entirely new world of stabilized, smooth video, and they enable shots that just aren’t possible (or don’t look good) when shooting handheld. In this helpful video from Aputure, you’ll learn 13 such movements that take advantage of a gimbal’s capabilities.

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Adobe Premiere Pro’s Editing Tools Explained, by Jason Boone

 Technique  Comments Off on Adobe Premiere Pro’s Editing Tools Explained, by Jason Boone
Jun 152017
 

It took me several years of editing video before I became comfortable venturing out to use some of Premiere Pro’s editing tools. The problem is that you can accomplish almost everything you need with the Selection tool, and some editors are comfortable doing just that. You can perform simple trims, move clips around, and add transitions all using just the Selection tool. To be honest, you never really need to use any of the tools provided in Premiere Pro. However, by exploring tools such as Ripple Edit, Rolling Edit, Track Selection, Rate Stretch, Slip, and Slide, I’ve ended up saving myself countless hours in the edit suite.Take the Ripple Edit tool as an example. The Ripple Edit tool allows you to trim or expand a clip while simultaneously shifting (rippling) all of your assets further on down the timeline. This happens all in one movement. Performing the same action with the Selection tool could easily take 3 movements, and sometimes, even more, depending on the complexity of your project. If you use the Ripple Edit tool enough, it begins to save you quite a bit of time.

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HIVE LIGHTING Wasp 100-C – Omni Color LED Ready to Go!, by Fabian Chaundy

 Cinematography  Comments Off on HIVE LIGHTING Wasp 100-C – Omni Color LED Ready to Go!, by Fabian Chaundy
Jun 142017
 

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, HIVE LIGHTING are just a few weeks away from finally bringing their much-awaited Wasp 100-C LED fixture to market.

Like we originally reported back in December 2016, the Wasp 100-C is an 85W LED spotlight with the kind of output you would get from a 650W tungsten fixture. In addition to the usual advantages of LED — such as lower power consumption and heat generation — the Wasp 100-C also offers Omni Color LED technology, allowing it to reproduce millions of different hues thanks to an array of LEDs of various colours, in addition to pure white.

In comparison to something like the ARRI Skypanel — a very desirable Omni Color LED fixture — the Wasp 100-C comes in a compact form factor that allows it to be a lot more portable than something in a panel form-factor. The light can also be powered with anything above 95Wh, so you can stay mobile with a V-Lock or Gold mount and a D-Tap to 4-pin XLR adapter.

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Apertus AXIOM Beta – Your Open Source Camera. An Update and Recent Footage, by Johnnie Behiri

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Apertus AXIOM Beta – Your Open Source Camera. An Update and Recent Footage, by Johnnie Behiri
Jun 142017
 

It has been a while since we last reported about the status of the apertus AXIOM beta camera, so last week I took the opportunity to meet and talk to Sebastian Pichelhofer who is acting as AXIOM’s project leader, association chairman and one of the software developers, in order to find out what is new and in what shape and status the project currently is.  

AXIOM Beta Developers kit

It was nice to hear and see that this unique open source/open hardware motion picture camera system venture is really moving forward to the point where developers and early adopters alike can now already get their kit. Mind you, if you are an “end user” like me, then the camera is NOT YET ready for us as the enclosure and actual  operating system of the camera are still under development. Without those, operating the camera can be a tedious work.

 

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Sony 18-110mm Review – One-Of-A-Kind Versatile Video & Cine Zoom, by Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Sony 18-110mm Review – One-Of-A-Kind Versatile Video & Cine Zoom, by Sebastian Wober
May 192017
 

The conveniently-named Sony E PZ 18-110mm F/4 G OSS lens has been on our radar ever since it was announced in September, as it is one of the only lenses of its kind made for large sensor video cameras. In my Sony 18-110mm review, I will be looking at all the benefits and limitations of this lens. See the video review summary above, or read on for the details.

Sony 18-110mm Review

When looking at the new Sony E PZ 18-110mm F/4 G OSS, it makes sense to first look at its predecessor, the FE PZ 28-135mm F/4 G OSS (Review HERE). Back when Sony introduced their first lens in this series, it was the only “affordable” video lens made for large-sensor cameras with video functionality. Unfortunately, some aspects about it were not ideal: while it gave us a great focal range on full-frame cameras like the Sony a7S and Sony a7S II, the field of view was too narrow on crop sensor cameras (super35) like the Sony FS7, which it actually shipped with as a combo package. Also, the electronic zoom functionality was a big downside for many.

Fast forward to 2016 when Sony introduced the E PZ 18-110 F/4 G OSS, the subject of this 18-110mm review. Tailored to super35, it introduced a manual zoom functionality alongside several other improvements. Now this lens is finally on my desk and, even though the Sony FS7 is out for a shoot, I have no reservations to slap it onto our Sony a6500 to take it for a spin.

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Freefly MōVI Carbon and Pilot, by Rin Ehlers Sheldon

 Gear  Comments Off on Freefly MōVI Carbon and Pilot, by Rin Ehlers Sheldon
May 132017
 

NAB 2017 was abuzz with the sound of Freefly: adding to their big MōVI XL release, they have also announced the MōVI Carbon gimbal and Pilot controller.

Freefly MōVI Pilot

If you’re a fan of the MIMIC, you should be pretty jazzed about the MōVI Pilot. With remote control over the 3 axes of focus, iris, and zoom, the Pilot gives an AC or an operator a pumped follow focus that fully integrates with MōVI Pro. The Pilot features adjustable focus knob damping and a 2-axis joystick that can be set to control focal length, gimbal, pointing, or just about anything you want at the tip of your thumb.

Freefly promises a price point under $5,000, and if you want, you can reserve one before you even know what you’re spending. If you’re a part of a team that leans on a MōVI gimbal, this seems like a smart purchase to fully take advantage of what your rig can do.

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Quick Overview of DaVinci Resolve 14 Audio Editing Capabilities

 Technique  Comments Off on Quick Overview of DaVinci Resolve 14 Audio Editing Capabilities
May 132017
 

DaVinci Resolve 14 looks very promising and more videos about it are popping up on YouTube every day. One feature that was left out in many demonstrations until now is the integration of FairLight for audio editing. With the new version of Resolve, it’s possible to edit sound within the software. No need for an additional costly plugin, or any round-trip of a sort. Let’s see how with Casey Faris.

Resolve was primarily known for its color editing capabilities. It’s become an industry standard for grading, but Blackmagic Design wants to offer more to its users by creating a one-stop editing software. It has had editing possibilities for a while now, but audio edition wasn’t quite up to par. With the integration of FairLight Audio, it’s a whole different world, and it could potentially make other apps such as Adobe Audition useless for most video makers.

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Ingenious ‘FilmLab’ App is the Easiest Way to Turn Negatives Into Digital Files

 Technique  Comments Off on Ingenious ‘FilmLab’ App is the Easiest Way to Turn Negatives Into Digital Files
May 132017
 

Software developer Abe Fettig has a winner on his hands. His newly developed app FilmLab makes it easier than ever to turn film negatives and slides of various sizes into digital files without having to touch a scanner, understand wet mounting, or really do anymore more than point and shoot with your smartphone.

Fettig says he created the app for himself. “When I got into shooting film, I started imagining software that would make it easier and more fun to scan and share my negatives with other people,” he says in the Kickstarter video. “About six months ago I started working on FilmLab as a side project, and now I have a working prototype.”

And that prototype is impressive in its sheer simplicity. It really is as simple as point and shoot. No more difficult than scanning prints with a smartphone app like Google’s Photo Scan. Check out the walkthrough video below to see how it works:

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Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober

 Cinematography  Comments Off on Sony Introduces the S3CA – A Sony a7S II Without Recording Limit by; Sebastian Wober
May 022017
 

Many were hoping to see an announcement of something like a “Sony a7S 3” camera at this year’s NAB. Instead, we saw a new version of the Sony a7S II called S3CA. While there is indeed an “S3” in its product name, this is rather a “special version” of the a7S II for certain applications. Here’s all about the new Sony S3CA.

Sony S3CA

The S3CA is an interesting camera – it features the same sensor and processing as the popular Sony a7S II, but doesn’t limit your recording to 30 minutes, meaning your card size is really the deciding factor on how long you can record for.

The Sony a7S II was introduced in 2015 and has made headlines as being one of the best cinema cameras on the market, especially because of its impressive lowlight capabilities (see my lowlight review here).

On top of its a7S II heritage, the S3CA has a slightly smaller, box-shaped and more durable body and it has no screen or buttons – it requires a USB connection with a PC or Mac as a control interface. For some applications this could be a very interesting solution. The S3CA could for example be used during a live production and be controlled from the mixer instead of a camera operator.

The camera on display was hooked up to a computer app, in which I noticed that the image lagged and stuttered. The app, however, is not intended for monitoring. Instead, the camera features an HDMI output up to 4K for monitoring and external recording.

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This is What 20fps with the Sony a9 Sounds Like (Spoiler: Nothing)

 Gear  Comments Off on This is What 20fps with the Sony a9 Sounds Like (Spoiler: Nothing)
Apr 242017
 

Sony made quite a splash in the photo industry this week by announcing the new a9, a mirrorless camera that can shoot 24MP full-frame photos at a whopping 20fps. We soon got a look at what 20fps on this camera looks like. If you want to see what 20fps sounds like, check out the video above.

Some DSLRs can shoot at relatively fast rates as well — check out 12fps with the Nikon D5 and 16fps with the Canon 1D X II — but with DSLRs you’ll have audible sounds from the mirror and/or shutter flapping up and down.

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Hasselblad H6D-100c Review – Shooting Medium-Format Video by; Christoph Tilley

 Cinematography, Gear  Comments Off on Hasselblad H6D-100c Review – Shooting Medium-Format Video by; Christoph Tilley
Apr 242017
 

In this guest review, Vienna-based filmmaker Christoph Tilley takes a close look at the Hasselblad H6D-100c – a 100MP, 4K Raw-capable medium format camera. Intrigued? Read on for his hands-on impressions.

Christoph Tilley reviews the Hasselblad H6D-100c

Shooting Medium-Format Video

Not too long ago DSLRs revolutionized the way we make films. These days, we are seeing the emergence of the first medium-format stills cameras capable of shooting video. What would it be like to shoot video on an such an extremely large sensor? 

Enter the Hasselblad H6D-100c, a 100 Megapixel Full-Frame Medium-Format Stills Camera. The resolution is absolutely incredible on this thing – each Raw image has a file size of 216,3 Megabytes. But why in particular is this interesting for us filmmakers? Well, this thing can also shoot 4K Raw video.

But what kind of results will you get when shooting video? And how does this large sensor compare to Super35 in the real world? To find out, we shot a typical interview scene on the RED Dragon with a 50mm lens wide open at f/1.4. Right alongside we had the Hasselblad H6D-100c with a 100mm lens at an f-stop of f/4.

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Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps

 Gear  Comments Off on Sony Unveils Blazing Fast a9: A 24MP Sports Camera that Shoots 20fps
Apr 202017
 

Holy frames per second Batman! Sony just raised the bar on high-speed sports photography with their latest “groundbreaking” (but actually) camera release. The newly-announced Sony a9 is a 24MP high-end full-frame mirrorless sports camera that can fire off an insane 20fps with no blackout.

Sony is calling this “the most technologically advanced, innovative digital camera that [we have] ever created,” and this descriptor doesn’t miss the mark.

With 20fps blackout-free and distortion-free silent shooting, high-speed tracking with 60 AF/AE calculations per second, a 693-point AF system with 93% frame coverage, a 3,686k-dot EVF that runs at 120fps, and 5-axis in-body stabilization that offers up to 5 stops of shake reduction, the camera is looking to challenge entrenched sports cams like the Canon 1DX Mark II and Nikon D5.

The a9 can also shoot full-frame, full-sensor 4K that is actually downsampled from 6K worth of pixels; it features an Ethernet port for quick file transfer and dual SD card slots for plenty of storage; and the new battery Sony put inside boasts twice the capacity (480 shots per charge) of previous models. If you need even more charge, the optional battery grip holds two of these batteries, for a total of 950 shots.

 

Putting the impressive spec sheet aside, the headline feature is, of course, the sheer speed of this thing. At 20fps for up to 241 RAW or 362 JPEG frames, it makes even the 1DX Mark II and its 14fps seems a bit… clunky.

Sony is able to reach these unheard of continuous shooting speeds thanks to the new stacked CMOS sensor at its core, a chip Sony says is the “first of its kind” and “enables data speed processing at up to 20x faster than previous Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras.” Pair that sensor and its built-in RAM with a brand new BIONZ X engine and you’ve got a camera that screams.

Here are a few videos that offer a closer look at this revolutionary new mirrorless camera and some of its most compelling features:

Promo Video

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