Filmmaking – PRODUCT REVIEWS & DEMOS
Below you will find compilations of the various articles I have posted on this site involving product reviews, previews and demos. It is broken down into four sections (Cameras & Lenses, Support & Accessories, Media & Computing, and Software & Apps).
CAMERAS & LENSES
NAB Recap Part 1 – Cameras and Lenses – a breakdown of some of the exciting new imaging technology that I saw on the floor at NAB 2012.
NAB 2012 – Canon Joins the World of 4K– A post that details my thoughts and impressions on the Canon 1DC and Canon C500 after seeing them on the show room floor in Vegas, as well as seeing the two films shot with them.
NAB 2012 – Looking Forward to New Cameras – http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2012/04/11/looking-forward-to-nab-new-cameras/ A quick breakdown of two cameras I was really anticipating checking out at NAB 2012 – the Phantom Miro M320S and the Sony FS700
New Zeiss Wide Angle SLR Lenses – How They Stack Up Against Their EF Counterparts – My test and comparison of the two new Zeiss wide angle lenses (25mm and 15mm). I compare them to the 24mm and 14mm Canon EF Primes respectively. Hop over to the article to see a complete breakdown with full resolution pictures that show the differences in these two sets of lenses from different manufacturers.
Canon 5D MkIII Thoughts – My initial thoughts on the features and specifications of the Canon 5D MkII right after they were announced in March 2011.
Canon C300 – Organic Noise – While grading "Mobius" at EFilm in Hollywood, everyone was amazed at the C300’s dynamic range, but even more so with its noise, as it resembled a very organic grain structure that one might see on motion picture film. The article goes into depth on this, its benefits, and has multiple visual examples.
Interesting Times for Filmmakers: Camera Comparison (C300, Scarlet, 1DC) – A comparison of the benefits of the digital cinema cameras entering the market (late 2011, early 2012) at a lower price point (under $20k) that provide better resolutions (4K in the case of the 1DC and Scarlet), better dynamic ranges, and better internal compression (if any)
C300 Breakdown from Set of "Mobius" – My first post on the Canon C300 after the debut of "Mobius." I give my impressions on the camera, talk about the benefits of being able to use it on a production, and describe how we played to its strengths on that project.
Canon 600mm w/ 2x Extender on RED EPIC EF mount – At Timefest 2011 I took out my RED EPIC with the new EF Mount and attached a 2x extender and a 600mm lens. Check out the post to see the results I got from this.
EPIC -M 308 – Demo of 5K Resolution and HDRx – A full breakdown of my first trip out in California with my EPIC-M. This post goes extremely in depth on everything related to the 5K resolution of this camera and the HDRx setting that allows you to capture up to 3 stops more dynamic range. The article includes screen grabs that illustrate the differences between shooting with and without HDRx, as well as information regarding data rates and file size.
New Technicolor Profile for Canon HDDSLRs – An overview of Technicolor’s new picture profile for Canon HDDSLRs which is meant to give you a flatter image for improved grading.
NAB 2011 Redux Part I: Cameras – My review of the new cameras on display at NAB 2011 on the show room floor. By now some of these cameras have been usurped by newer models, but there is still plenty to pick up on from the discussion of dynamic ranges, compression rates, etc…
Modifying your HDDSLR to a PL Mount: Interview with Illya Friedman – For those of you who love shooting on HDDSLR but would like to upgrade to PL mount cinema lenses, the below Q&A with Illya Friedman of Hotrod Cameras describes the process and benefits of making this upgrade to your camera.
Shane Hurlbut’s Canon 5D and Panavision Primo Prime – Check out Shane Hurlbut’s franken-camera that he made for shooting "Act of Valor." This is a prime example of what you might be able to do should you convert your HDDSLR to have a PL mount as described in the video and article above.
The RED CANON – My first intermingling of EF lenses and RED camera using an EF mount.
SUPPORT & ACCESSORIES
Marshall 9" V-LCD90MD Quick overview – a quick overview of the Marshall 9" V-LCD90MD, which is a larger version of the earlier reviewed 5.6" monitor. In this overview I spend more time discussing the IRE Clip Guide function.
A Great New Hi-Hat: The Dromos – A review of Cinevate’s Dromos Hi-Hat – an incredibly versatile Hi-Hat that can be used for low angle shooting situations, as well as a mount on a slider or small jib.
NAB Recap Part 2 – Support and Accessories – a breakdown of some exciting new gear that I saw at NAB 2012 – everything from motion control rigs to lighting kits.
New Marshall 5.6" Monitor – A post and video that we compiled to show off the new features V-LCD56MD from Marshall Electronics.
RedRock Micro ultraCage | blue for C300 (and other systems…) – An in depth overview on the Redrock Micro ultraCage | blue, a support cage designed in tandem with the C300, but that can also be used as a powered camera support cage for other video cameras and HDDSLRs. We were fortunate enough to have one of these during the production of "Mobius."
LitePanels Sola 4 and Croma Review – REviews of the new lightweight fresnel from Litepanels and their new color-temperature variable, camera-top LED light, the Croma.
Black Friday Gadget Guide – This is a post from November 2011 in which I cover some new equipment on the market – Teradek’s VTR Cube, 3D Mic Pro, Marshall Orchid Monitor, O Connor O-BOX and O-Grips, 16×9 Cine Locks, Tascam iPhone/iPad adapter, Think Tank and Petrol Bags, and more.
3D Mic Pro and Immersive Audio – One of the coolest microphones that I have come across. The below video (and post) show off the stereo audio that this microphone is capable of capturing. It has excellent bass response too. Make sure to watch the below video with headphones!
The V-Bag – Cool Camera Support Concept – Now at the time of this post I had not yet gotten my hands on this piece of gear, but have since gotten the chance to check it out (there will be a gear review on this in the future). But essential it is a vacuum bag used to steady cameras (it’s filled with polystyrene pellets, once you remove the air from the bag with an included vacuum pump, it turns rock solid) – and in effect take over grip equipment, high hats, and perhaps even tripods… it’s flexible, travels in a bag, and – well pretty ingenious!
Teradek Firmware Update – An overview of a Teradek firmware update for their cubes that allows you to wireless broadcast video from your 5D MkII to an iPad. Incredibly useful device and function to be able to have for wireless monitoring on low budget productions.
iDC Systems for Photographers Making the Transition to Video – My fellow Explorer of Light, Bruce Dorn, has developed his own intuitive and easy to use support system for photographers who are making the tradition to video and are looking for solutions for functions of shooting video, such as pulling focus.
Teradek Cube and Petrol Bag – A quick overview of the Teradek Cube – a wifi device for streaming video on set to monitors, as well as a host of new bags from Petrol that I have found extremely convenient for both travel and storage.
New Marshall Monitor with HDMI loop-through and DSLR Ratio Adjustment – A review of the new Marshall monitors (Feb. 2011) that included two very special new features that are extremely convenient to any HDDSLR shooter – HDMI loop-through and DSLR ratio adjustment.
FInally Timecode for HDDSLRs – And Some Other New Toys – An overview of the Lockit Buddy System for HDDSLRs that allows you to impose timecode on one of your camera’s audio tracks. Also included – mention of Dual Eyes (A standalone version of Plural Eyes) as well as Redrock Micro + Really Right Stuff combo mounting plate.
HDDSLR Custom Configurations – My initial post on the custom configurations we put together for HDDSLR Shooters. Whether you are in the market for a small rig to make your handheld shooting easier or a rig for outfitting your HDDSLR to be worthy of a Hollywood Studio picture – you can find it here. The below video is an overview of the "Hollywood" rig, but you can check out all of the rigs over at the Custom Configurations Page in the Gear Section.
Fader Filters vs. Traditional ND Filters – A comparison between the Fader ND filter, a screw-on filter which spins (much like a circular polarizer) to increase the strength of ND in front of the lens, and traditional drop-in ND filters for your Matte Box. The post includes visual comparisons of the difference in sharpness between the two, and also discuss their ease of use over one another.
CineGear Expo 2010 – A quick review of my visit to the Cine Gear expo in 20120 with highlights of gear that include Litepanel Fresnels, BronColor Kobold Lighting system, the RED EPIC and the ARRI ALEXA).
5D and 7D Prototype Cages from Viewfactor – I was fortunate enough to be among the first to test out Viewfactor’s powered cage system for the Canon 5D MkII and 7D. These cages turn your awkward HDDSLR into a rig with multiple mounting points as well as power the camera and numerous excessories
5D Mark II Gadget: ATM Gyro – This is a piece of gear that I typically use on assignment when shooting from helicopters, but in the below videos you can see how the ATM Gyro also makes for an incredibly useful tool when shooting video with HDDSLR’s (or any video camera).
MEDIA & COMPUTING
Using the OWC SSD in your Macbook Pro – My review of the OWC 256GB SSD which I installed in my 17" Macbook pro. However, this review makes a case for installing any SSD in your laptop for increased performance when doing post on the fly.
G-Connect – Wireless Storage for iOS – my review of G-Tech’s G-Connect – a wireless storage solution for iOS devices, but also a wireless portal, and how I believe this device could not just be a great shared storage solution, but also practical for productions on the road.
Gear Review: Nexto DI – Gear review of the incredibly useful Nexto DI, which allows you to download CF cards straight to its internal hard drive. A must have for photographers and videographers looking for good ways to create redundancy in data, but working out in remote locations with no access to power.
SOFTWARE & APPS
Adobe Production Premium CS6 Preview– A post and video that we released after having CS6 in our hands to test and try out for a few months prior to its release. The previews covers the basic features and new features that come with Production Premium CS6.
ScreenWriting Software: Adobe Story Workflow – A video overview of Adobe Story – a script writing software that comes bundled with Adobe CS 5.5 Production Premium. The software is browser based, and so allows for collaboration between writers over the web using shared files.
Extremely Useful App to Calculate Data Usage & Space Needed: KataData – Quick review of the KataData app, which helps you calculate file sizes for your media based on the frame rate, resolution, and codec.
Plural Eyes for syncing Video and Audio – Perhaps the most convenient piece of software developed alongside the HDDSLR revolution. By analyzing two recordings of the same audio – this program can match the wave forms and sync them. This means that Plural Eyes provides an incredible convenience for people shooting HDDSLR and external audio given the lack of timecode on the HDDSLRs.
Tech Tip: iPhone App: pCam – Review of the pCAM app – a must have tool for anyone working with a camera – as it allows you to calculate depth of field, field of view, and exposure, as well as more advanced variables such as mired shifts and underwater distance. Seriously. Check this out now.
Tech Tip: iPhone App: Sun Seeker – A quick review of the Sun Seeker App – which logs all of the sunrise and moonrise times throughout the year, but also has a live 3D overlay mode that shows you the sun’s trajectory on top of the image from your camera’s video camera. Simply point your phone and find exactly when and where the sun will set.
Tech Tip: iPad App: Digital Slate – A quick review of the Digital Slate app, which operates as a traditional slate, providing you with all the standard information, but also goes a step further and provides information tailored to HDDSLR production, allowing you to log shutter speed, ISO, aperture, lens, and many other details.
Converting .H264 footage – MPEG Streamclip – This is the most useful freeware program I have encountered – it effortless converts video files into a variety of formats. I mostly use this to convert my .H264 HDDSLR footage into something that FCP can process such as the Quicktime ProRes codec.