Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Varicam LT 4K S35 Shipping !

Pull out your credit card ! If you want a Varicam LT they are in stock and shipping now. Base price for body only + basic top handle is $16,500. 

A complete ready to shoot package  with should mount, EVF, handgrip, battery plate, 2 256gb P2 express cards and assorted bits prices in at $27,500. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cool Stuff At NAB

NAB road to vegas

If you don't drive a few hundred miles of dirt roads to get to Vegas... you're missing some mighty fine sights !

So there where some really cool things I saw that other sites seem to of passed by... here is a look

Wireless Video Rig For GoPros

GoPro Wireless video Rig

wireless video transmitter for gopro

GoPro's WiFi is pretty sad. If you need a real wireless video connection, here you go. Mounts on the camera, has separate receiver box and will send signal to your tablet or phone for monitoring. 


LED Replacement Bulb For Your Old But Useful Lights

Are you like me in that you have some good tungsten lights sitting around not in use anymore ? Solution : 3200K 96 CRI, 5600K 93 CRI, 150W LED. Remove your 1K bulb, replace with this LED module. Done ! works on regular external dimmers ! Great idea and I'm ordering one or two for starters in 5200K. Nice clean light output. Only downside is a bit pricey at $700 but still way cheaper than any quality HMI / CID light. However since you should probably never need to replace the unit, there is some savings and peice of mind. 150W of 5600K works for me, and it gets some of my old lights working again. Minor point : unit does have a standard 80mm computer fan on the back for active cooling. They say the fan normally runs at low speed. Since its an OTS part, any 80mm quite computer fan can be used to replace the one on the unit in a few minutes. No fuss or looking for some oddball hard to fine part. 

They also have LED's for smaller lights - 300 and 650 as well as for 2K's ( $999 ! ) Worth a look for sure.

LiveU Anton Bauer Integrated Battery Plate

LiveU anton bauer v mount battery plate

Use a LiveU ? I do. This new base for the units adds front and back AB battery mounts and changes the coaxial power connector for a XLR 4. Available shortly ! This will make life so much better.

Also another LiveU udpate : boot time will be reduced to 45 secs with new OS update also coming soon. very welcome news.

Decimator MD-HX cross converter

DECIMATOR frame rate SDI HDMI scaler converter

They had big banners all over NAB but no one bothered to look on most blog sites. So here you go : HD SDI <->HDMI converter that will convert to either in put or output. Send SDI to HDMI or HDMI to SDI. SDI DA 1 in  4 out. Scaler to convert SD 480 <-> 720 <-> 1080. Included support for 4:3, 14:9 and 16:9 aspect ratios and can fill to fit. Progressive <-> interlace. Yes it converts odd frame rates like 50hz to 30hz formats. No 3:2 pulldown detection for now that I know off. Nice menu on unit, nicer app that runs on laptop to configure. Flexible power with 5-32V input on screw locking power connector. Solid cast metal housing. Of course if you were expecting a sky high price, its not. $295 US ! I bought 2. I'll do a real review shortly but for now this looks like a real swiss army knife of format conversion to solve a lot of location production problems in getting one odd ball signal compatible with everything else. If you have ever had to connect GoPros to a production switcher, you know what I mean. 

Decimator also has some other converters, and a pair of multiview adapters. 12 inputs to one screen sort of boxes.

Video Over IP or HDnet

Video over IP isn't a new thing, its just starting to catch on this year. AJA and BMD have both been putting their toes in the water. This year AJA had SDI or HDMI <-> enet converters. Sending video thru your router to another IP based video device makes sense and eliminates all the other bits in between. It also means you don't have to worry about frame rates or frame sizes.  Sony and Panasonic are also making gear to support the format. While SDI won't be gone that fast for production work, seeing facilties expanding this way makes sense. We'll see how well it works out.

8K Production Truck

Skip 4K. Real working 8K production truck that was laid out rather nicely. Everything works. They had handheld size cameras instead of the big box cameras of just 2-3 years ago.  Japan expects 8K broadcast for the next olympics. If Video over IP was one theme at NAB, 8K is the other. There as quite a bit of it there. 4k is the new HD. 

Lumantek Switcher Encoder


4 SDI + 4 HDMI switcher and streaming encoder all in one. Knock off of BMD ATEM TV Studio ? maybe... Still interesting. Seems like PC based software, but generic switcher controller as below.

Their website hasn't been updated for these products yet and is a bit of a mess...

LumanTek switcher

Stupid Stuff @ NAB

Starting out the list of Stupid Camera Stuff.... Most electronic servo stabilizers. Solution in search of a problem for the most part. Not terribly useful for a full day off shooting compared to the numerous other rigs like jibs, dollies, and even drones. Since your arms can't really support one of these things for more than a few minutes adding support is required. This wire support rig isn't a bad idea if you have a bad shoulder and need to shoot hand held. Here its been adapted to a stabilizer. can anyone say steadicam ? or one of the affordable copies which is a vastly more practical production tool ? Arri was showing exactly this, as was at least one other vendor. It makes a world more sense that a steadicam whcih is designed for extended shooting combined wtih a stabilizer would make for the ultimate in steady shots. Of course most good steadicam ops will tell you they can do the exact same thing minus the weight if the rig is properly balanced out and the operator has this old fashioned thing called : SKILL ! For those who can't be bothered with developing skill the stabilizer will let the novice get shots they couldn't, but with the added weight.

Folding Tripod...Sort of

So I watched the demo of this product by well know gear bits vendor. It sucks. Its fiddly, unstable. Ok, nice idea, but any camera bigger than a bare DSLR or small plamcorder and its useless. Even watching them adjust it up or down or whatever, it was clear they were fighting with it. NEXT !


A Human Jib Arm ? You're Kidding, Right ? 

Sorry for the blurry pic, its a frame grab from video. Its a body mounted dual jib arm, it goes up and down. Has a stabilizer rig on it. Some other blog site gushed about how great and innovate this is. The commenters all agreed, it wasn't. Not for $14K ! Laughing yet ? Hey its NAB and sometimes you see stuff like this. Nice college engineering project to prove it can be done but that doesn't make it a usable or practical tool.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

NAB 2016 - 4K Get Used To It

I'm at NAB 2016. I'm jaded having been here so many times before. So picking the trends that matter for this year and maybe next are what I'm good at. So here they are :

4K Is The New Norm

Ok, for those of you just starting to use HD over the last few years... and you know who you are... its time to go 4K. Done. While 1080 will still be alive for a number of years, its painfully clear 4K is the here and now. It starts when Sony has a 4K ENG shoulder camera for reasonable - read about $20K or so and a S35 sized sensor event production camera that can shoot 480fps 4K and 720fps 1080. Any questions now that there are ENG 4K cameras ? not hacked S35 production cameras with all sorts of add ons, but a real ENG camera just like your current 1080 probably P2 HPX something camera. Sony has been getting their butts kicked in ENG cameras by Panasonic for years. Now they come back with this camera which may well take that position back.

SDI Is Dead, Video Over IP Is In

Yup, SDI is dead for a number of reasons. No it won't die quickly, it will be around for years but it has serious limitations on high frame rate 1080 never mind 4K. The solution is 1g and 10g ethernet. You can route signals to where ever you need, you have longer cable lengths back ( fiber w/o adapter bricks ), and easier handling of signals. This is especially true in larger production facilities. Video over IP is also far more format flexible - you can send what ever will fit down the connection you have rather than having to detect frame rates, color depth, etc as sometimes done with SDI based hardware or not. Also consider that all the major gear vendors are getting on board with this format in various ways, so its just a matter of short time before its the new standard.

There are lots of other new smaller things that will be interesting but these are the 2 trends that matter this year. 

Personally I'm hoping that Sennhieser had their new dual channel wireless gear - not the 2.4ghz stuff, but basically something to compete with lectrosonics. Speaking of which, lectro has introduced a new dual channel wireless reciever with wider tunability than before - 3 bands. However these are the normal small steps forwards not the big trends that make significant changes in how you create and deliver your work. The smaller gear bits just make your job easier or better or faster or all three, for once !

Friday, April 01, 2016

New Cameras ? Cheap Converter Boxes ?

A look at new cameras or not this NAB and cheap converter boxes - do they work ?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Firmware For C300 Mk2

Canon released a firmware update for the C300 Mk2. The release notes claim its changes are all about  :1. Supports EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM, an EF lens to be released in late March, 2016. (Please note that the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens does not function with previous firmware versions for the EOS C300 Mark II/EOS C300 Mark II PL.)  I find it odd they would push out a firmware update with this single fix in it. That's especially considering this is a real consumer lens that most ( I didn't say _all_, now did I ? ) C300 owners don't have much interest in or use of. I mean if you need some excuse and the fix was done... ok. However there are several glaring fixes the firmware needs :

1. While in Record, and your card fills up and camera is NOT set to continue onto next card, camera continues to indicate its in record when it actually isn't.

2. Use of external battery power : no voltage level is indicated so you have no idea where your power level actually is. If your battery doesn't have any sort of power level indicator, camera will just shut down when level gets too low.

3. Focus aid in viewfinder indicates focus is good when lens is in fact focus _past_ the correct point. This happens with 3rd party AF confirmation chips which have been added to lenses - like the canon cine primes :(. The same lenses work perfectly on Canon still camera bodies. FWIW the focus indication is always at the point of where the 2 lower triangles touch. So they are consistent but not working as expected. Seems like the camera is making an assumption about the micro focus adjustment being full further out.

I'm off to test and see whats been fixed and will have an update once I have an idea.


#2 - still no indication of power level on external connector

#3 - not fixed

#1 - untested

#4 - New : When you change the frame rate from say, 59.94i in 1080 to 23.976p, the frame rate usually changes itself to UHD 4K. WTF ? Why would changing the frame rate now change the frame size ? Who thought this was a good idea ? or just a sloppy bug that ran through QA.

Dear Canon : the C300 Mk2 is NOT a $2K camera where these sorts of things are ok. Its you current top of the line Cinema camera. Sure there will be a C500 Mk2 and a 8K C800 at NAB. Nice. They will more than likely share most of the same firmware. While its great you have putting your engineering into the new camera, my $16K still pretty new camera has firmware with issues that REALLY NEED FIXING NOW ! Hire an extra engineer for a month or two and just fix it. Its what we are paying for !

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How To Add An AF Confirm Chip To Your Manual EF Canon Mount Lens

A great tutorial on how to an an AF Confirmation chip onto an EF lens mount that doesn't have one. In this video I actually add it onto the popular Rokinon Cine 50 lens. The Rokinon EF mount requires a shim which I also show how to make. Its pretty easy and should take about 20 minutes or so your first time while I got the video down to 8 minutes showing and explaing everything. This includes how to align the AF chip by eye without aid of an alignment tool - you really don't need it when you see how simple it is.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NAB Expects You To Wait In Line For Your Badge - Complain Here

Just registered for NAB. Unless you paid for the extra seminars - which probably isn't a lot of people - they expect you will pick up your badge in person. While they added badge pick up points in several hotels, made pickup available on sat and sun, who wants to waste their time doing this ? What if you aren't getting into Vegas until late sun ? You want to go to the convention hall monday  morning and pick it up ? No. They are just being cheap on postage...although I can't picture adding all the extra people to all the locations is better. Complain here and ask for your badge to be mailed. I suspect some of this may be due to some jacked up security concerns, but really I think its a complete utter waste of time, effort and concern. 

Rokinon Cine Lens Review

New lens review ! Shot in 4K using C300 Mk2 using cLog2.

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