DIY Video and Photography Projects

29Aug CAME-TV 8000 Heavy Duty 3 Axis Gimbal with RED Epic Demo


If you follow this blog, i’ve somewhat been in tune with several different affordable Gimbal Stabilizers such as the CAME-TV 7000/7500 and Varavon Birdycam2. The simple fact though is that if you wanted to fly any camera larger than a Canon C100 you’re most likely looking into the $2999 DJI Ronin. Well CAME-TV has been teasing about a new heavy duty gimbal for a few months. Until recently the new 8000 model was only shown in drawings, but here’s an actual demo with a protoype unit by MJIT Berlin.

Keep in mind what we’re seeing in the video above is still a protoype unit, but the results so far look very promising. The new images show the CAME-TV 8000 with fine tuning stage, a quick release system, 15mm rail adapter for rod accessories, and a built in joystick (which the Ronin lacks BTW). For a Gimbal capable of carrying a large camera, and with an introductory price $1,000 dollars cheaper than the Ronin, this could be another popular stabilizer in the market. For more information check out the CAME-TV 8000 gimbal over at the website (click here).

Gimbal REd Epic3 axis gimbal canon c100
Came 8000canon c100 red epic gimbal came-tv
find-price-button New CAME-TV 8000 3 Axis Gimbal for Large Cameras

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29Aug Save $500 Now BlackMagic Design Production 4K Instant Rebate


If you’ve been holding out on picking up a BlackMagic Design Production 4K Camera, today DVEStore has an Instant Rebate knocking $500 off the original price. What appeals most about this camera as opposed to the other 4K options is it’s Global Shutter, ability to shoot CinemaDNG RAW, or ProRes 422.

As you may have heard, Blackmagic Design has been very busy rolling out several new firmware updates on all of their cameras to continuously improve the systems. The new interface and features developed into the new firmwares make them feel like entirely different cameras from their first release. This recent discount of $500 OFF makes for an amazing price on a camera that offers far more features than anything else available for just under $2500. Limited time and for more information check out the product page at the DVEStore (click here).

Blackmagic Cinema Camera 4KBlackmagic_Design_Production_Camera_4K_left_side_view__55035.1405338868.1280.1280
find-price-button BlackMagic Design Production 4K Instant Rebate

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27Aug Hyperlapse App Instantly Smooths Hand Held iPhone Time Lapse via Instagram


Instagram recently released a new Hyperlapse app available now for iOS devices. After testing it out, it appears that the Hyperlapse App captures live video, so it’s basically just like speeding up video in post. But during the capture it uses real time image stabilization and once the Hyperlapse is stopped it will also add post image stabilization to further smooth out the final piece. At this point you can choose how fast to playback the video for a Hyperlapse-like clip. This is great since you don’t have to carry around a tripod and can capture smooth hyperlapse-like footage while riding a bus, or with your iphone mounted to bike, or in my case when I ride my Electric Skateboards.

The only ’sharing’ options directly from inside the app lead to either Facebook or Instagram, but the app will save your Hyperlapse directly to your Camera Roll for you to do what you please (like edit in post). This is a nice little FREE app i’m excited to use, and it would be great to see how you guys use it as well. Make sure to follow me over at Instagram @mrcheesycam

You can download the Hyperlapse app from the Apple App Store
Hyperlapse-instagram

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27Aug Canon EF Lens Speed Booster Adapter for Micro Four Thirds


After what felt like decades of asking for this product, Metabones finally has released a Canon EF Lens Speedbooster for Micro Four Thirds cameras like the Panasonic GH4. The Canon EF Speed booster will increase maximum aperture by 1 stop and modifies the lens view to 0.71x wider. The adapter can be powered via 5V through a MicroUSB port for the built-in electronics to change aperture values.

Unlike the RedRock Micro LiveLens Adapter which can adapt a Canon EF Lens to MFT Cameras, the aperture value has to be changed ‘within the adapter’. The Metabones is a smart adapter that communicates to the lens so that aperture controls can be dialed in right from the camera as if it were using a native MFT lens. Apparently it is shipping now, and you can find out more at the Metabones website (click here).

metabones canon EF to micro four thirdsMicro Four Thirds Canon EF Adapter
find-price-button Metabones Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster

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25Aug New Samyang 50mm T/1.5 Cine Lens


For most video shooters, one of the first creative prime lenses to dive into would be a 50mm. It offers nice framing, good focal distance (not too wide not too far), and typically these lenses are accompanied by a a wide aperture for that super shallow DOF ‘depth of field’ look.

Until now Samyang has left this lens out of their product lineup, but today they’ve finally made available the 50mm T/1.5 Cine Lens for Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Micro Four-Third cameras. You can find more information about the new Samyang 50mm T/1.5 Cine Lenses at B&H (here)

Product Description:
The 50mm T1.5 AS UMC Cine Lens from Samyang is a fast manual focus prime lens. It provides a maximum aperture of T1.5 for effective low light capture and shallow depth of field control and an 8 blade iris for attractive bokeh. Optimized for cinema and video applications, the focus and aperture control rings are outfitted with industry standard gearing, which provides an interface for working with a traditional follow focus. The aperture control ring has also been de-clicked, which enables smooth iris pulls. In addition, bright aperture and distance markings are printed on the lens barrel facing laterally to facilitate easier control by a focus puller.

50mm cine lens samyang rokinonSmayang 50mm
find-price-button Samyang 50mm T/1.5 Cine Lens – Canon, Nikon, Sony, Micro Four-Thirds

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20Aug 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizers Now with Auto Tuning PID Settings Firmware Upgrade


The DJI Ronin is one heck of a gimbal, and one of it’s stand out features would be the Auto Tuning Software. Well for anyone using SBGC Basecam Alexmos Controllers with their gimbals, the new firmware now offers an ‘Auto PID’ feature as well. But before you get too excited you may want to take a look at this video demonstration.

So the new firmware offers an amazing set of new features, and Auto PID tuning seems to work. This still doesn’t solve the other areas that you need to be familiar with including sensor position, sensor calibrations, gyro calibrations, and motor configurations. Before you can use any of the Auto PID features, you need to properly configure those settings first and balance your camera properly on the gimbal frame.

gimbal auto tuning firmware upgrade

I’ve heard some people talk about how everything works except for the ‘Pitch’ or maybe the ‘YAW’ is buzzing. Using the Auto PID tuning feature with one axis may now quickly solve these issues. Keep in mind that with a sliding scale between Better Stabilization and Better Precision your results could vary. Even though it’s ‘Auto’ there’s still a fair amount of trial and error that can be time consuming to use this process.

If you’re working with 32 Bit Gimbals like the CAME-TV 7000/7500 (found here) or the Varavon Birdycam2 (found here), the new firmware should be compatible, but you know what they say. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If you have your gimbal working well, there may be no real reason to upgrade the firmware at this time.

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20Aug Digislider Motion Control Time Lapse Motorized Slider Kit Demo


The DigiSlider motorized slider Time Lapse Kit is incredibly easy to setup and operate adding an entirely new dimension to what would normally just be a static sequence of images. With a fast shutter speed you can certainly create moving time lapse from just about any motorized slider, but unlike sliders that have a continuous slow crawl, the DigiSlider Time Lapse Kit can be setup for Shoot-Move-Shoot. Here’s a quick demo on how that works.

Timelapse is certainly an art form which requires both patience and capturing something interesting. I know my examples were poor, but you can see excellent examples of what the DigiSlider has done over at the DigiSlider Vimeo Page (Click Here).

Night Time Shoot Move Shoot

The DigiSlider Time Lapse Slider Kit is pretty straight forward. There is no software to program or long menus to sift through. Two basic analog dials and a rocker switch control everything from distance of slider travel to intervals between shutter actuations. The parts are minimal and can be either setup or broken down in about a minute.

HDR Time Lapse

The Time Lapse Kit uses a controller for shoot-move-shoot intervals and a slow speed motor. This kit alone does not offer continuous movement for live video capture. If you want to use the slider for continuous movement, they offer a separate controller and a different speed motor. Or check out one of their kits that comes with both functionality.

Macro Time Lapse

Vertical TimeLapse

Of course these kits are only the basic foundation to get you started in motion Time Lapse and you can always upgrade to a more advanced controller and motorized Pan/Tilt head for a full 3 Axis solution. For questions and more information about these products you can contact Digislider at their website (click here).

digislider motorized timelapse video slider kit DS-V_1024x1024 digislider timelapse video slider
find-price-button DigiSlider Motorized Sliders Time Lapse Kit / Continuous Video Slider

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19Aug Disable Embedded YouTube AutoPlay in Videos


Over the past 24 hours there’s been a problem with embedded YouTube videos seems to Autoplay automatically when using the Chrome Browser. On a webpage that hosts multiple YT videos on one page they will all start playing – very annoying.

So far there isn’t a definitive reason why this started happening, but you can fix (workaround) this issue by disabling the Chrome Cast Extension. Here’s the steps on how to do it.

In your Chrome Web Browser jump into the ‘Preferences’.
chome browser preferences disable chomecast extension youtube autoplay

On the left jump over to the Extensions menu and disable the Chome Cast Extension [uncheck the enable ticker].
Chomecast extension chome browser youtube autoplaychome cast extension disable auto play

Next you may have to clear your Browsing History. From the Chome Browser choose Clear Browsing Data.

Clear Browsing History

Finally don’t just close the window, make sure you Quit Google Chrome completely. If you are on Windows make sure you end any tasks with the Chrome browser. Once you relaunch the Google Chrome Browser, the YouTube videos should not autoplay.

Quit Google Chrome Browser YouTube Autoplay fix

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18Aug NEW DJI Phantom Vision+ Quadcopter Setup for First Flight


About a year and a half ago, DJI Released it’s first Phantom Quadcopter capable of mounting a GoPro. At the time it was an amazing value for a ready-to-fly quadcopter that was both easy to fly and loaded with features for the beginner, but it also had several issues that needed additional add-ons for camera use.

The GoPro mount caused severe Jello effects in video, which meant adding on various mounts or an aftermarket 3 axis gimbal. Without an FPV (first person view) Video stream you basically maneuvered the quad in hopes the camera was positioned for framing correctly. Without the FPV stream the operator needed to maintain a visual on the unit to steer the copter. This would limit the distance you could fly. Even if you could add an FPV stream, with all of the extra gear your flight time dropped below 10 minutes.

Fast forward today, DJI has released several new products catering to the Phantom Quadcopter line including the Phantom 2, a new 3 Axis Gimbal for the GoPro, the Phantom Vision (built in camera), and now the Phantom 2 Vision+ (built in camera with 3 Axis Gimbal).

DJI Phantom Vision Plus Quadcopter
find-price-button DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter + Hard Case + Extra Battery + microSD

My top pick for the best and easiest Ready-To-Fly off the shelf quadcopter for imaging is the new DJI Phantom Vision+! The new Vision+ is now a joy to fly with up to 25 minutes in the air, comes with a built in camera on a super stable 3 Axis Gimbal that streams live video back to your Smartphone. For beginners looking to dive into Quadcopters capable of incredibly smooth, incredibly stable aerial photos and videos, I highly recommend the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. Here’s a look at how easy it is to get setup for it’s first flight.

The streaming video app takes all the guess work out of flying and shows important information like altitude, distance, and battery levels. Even if the unit is out sight, you can still fly through the video stream and tilt the camera through the smartphone. Without touching the remote the Phantom Vision hovers in the same spot. Stable enough they’ve also included a Timelapse setting in the app.

DJI Pahntom Vision Plus App GPS Fail Safe
DJI Vision App for Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter

In case you dare to fly too far, the DJI Phantom will switch into Fail Safe and fly back to the location of it’s original launch (just make sure you have a clear path back). While I can’t say the quality of the Vision+ camera is comparable to a GoPro, the entire Ready-To-Fly system is built to work seamlessly together offering longer flight times, stable imaging, and live video streaming.

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter can be akward to travel with, so I highly recommend a hard case, an extra battery for more play time, and you’ll need a microSDHC card to store the videos and photos. The best bundle I have found comes as a complete kit with all of these extras and is available via B&H (click here).

DJI Phantom Kit hard case travel bag extra battery sd card
find-price-button DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter + Hard Case + Extra Battery + microSD

[Important Note: The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is not a toy. It is a serious flying machine. Consider your safety and the safety of others. Extreme care should be taken, and all rules, regulations, and laws should be considered at whatever location you choose to fly. ]

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08Aug New ePhoto R-640 LED Video 18 Inch Ring Light


For those familiar with the 18″ CFL Ring Light (especially those of you who have used it in production), you’ll get a kick out this recent product. This new ePhoto R-640 LED Light takes the familiar form factor of the 18″ CFL but replaces it with 640 High CRI LED Bulbs.

While I’m a big fan of the 18″ CFL (compact fluorescent) version, it always needed to be plugged in to an AC wall outlet (no DC battery option). Also the fragile CFL bulb made it queestionable to travel with and use on location. This new R-640 LED Ring Light solves those issues by offering up long lasting durable LED bulbs and a 14V-15V DC input for optional battery power.

R640 LED Ring Light Test2 R640 LED Ring Light Test1 R640 LED Ring Light Test3

The R-640 claims to use high quality LED bulbs, and our tests with the AlliedScientific Lighting Passport LED Light Meter showed excellent results. Tested at a distance of 3 Feet the R640 delivered a CRI rating of 95 / over 1670 LUX [155 FC] / and a color temp of 5400K. Not just a unique form factor that will allow for creative use, but also a great light at a great price, and for more information visit the product page (click here).

cn-r640-ringlight-for-dslr-filmmaking-1ePhoto r640 cn640 led video lightephoto led video ring light
find-price-button ePhoto R-640 18″ LED Video Continous Ring LIght

If it’s out of stock, here’s a second link available on eBay (click here)

ePhoto R640 LED Video Lightcn-r640-ringlight-for-dslr-filmmaking-1ePhoto r640 cn640 led video light
find-price-button ePhoto R640 LED Video Ring Light

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07Aug 12 Foot Super Tall Tripod On a Budget


Over the years i’ve attended and recorded several ceremonies (i.e. weddings), live performances (i.e. concerts), and sporting events. In order to get a camera at a more elevated position above the crowds, i’ve decided on using this inexpensive 12′ Tripod.

With an ultra wide lens, you could further exaggerate the appearance of height. When using a GoPro camera’s widest setting you could capture large crowds, or easily show off large spaces.

With a camera placed so high, it’s important to choose one that can be operated remotely. Most new cameras offer WiFi apps that allow you to see the video feed, start/stop video, and also change camera settings. Cameras like the new GH4, Sony RX100, or GoPro. Without a WiFi App, you could also drop an HDMI cable from the camera down to a remote monitor, and control start/stop with either an infrared, tethered, or wireless shutter remote.

Often found as a ‘Laser Tripod’, ‘Constuction Tripod’, ‘Contractors Tripod’, or ‘Elevator (elevation) Tripod’, it’s an inexpensive way to place a lightweight camera up high. By adding a small remote motorized Pan/Tilt head you could further add an interesting dynamic camera angle.

Unfortunately the 12′ foot version that I have is currently out of stock. I’ll share the link in case you want to take a look (click here).

12 foot laser tripod elevator tripod contractor construction tripodTPI 12 foot tripod 12 foot laser tripod elevator tripod contractor construction tripod
find-price-button 12 Foot Elevator Aluminum Laser Level Tripod

Otherwise there seems to be a good number of 9′ foot (or taller) versions that can be found on eBay (check products here).

96-196-296-396
find-price-button Contractor Construction Laser Tripods via eBay

Here’s that important Panning Base to drop it from a 5/8″ to a 1/4″-20.
Laser Level Tripod Panning Base 12 Foot Super Tall Constuction Lase Contractor Tripod
find-price-button Laser Tripod 5/8-11 by 1/4-20 Threaded Female to Male Tripod Adapter

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31Jul Tuning PID Settings for Varavon Birdycam GH4 Camera


Now that the Birdycam has started shipping, i’m hearing a few questions and comments about tuning the PID settings to work better with a lightweight camera. I myself found the system oscillating when my setup was too light weight. Here’s a video showing you a few simple settings you can change to get it working better.

Now just from experience I know what to sort of look for, but there’s no exact magic number. All I could tell was that I needed to reduce my PID settings and those are numbers that seemed to work. In fact I tested my 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS with my new profile and it still worked just fine.

After making changes to your system you should take it out and use it as you normally would, and then decide if you need to make further changes. Always make changes to one area at a time instead of making large blanket changes across every tab. Most importantly always make a backup or document your prior settings before you make any changes. If you have any other questions, you can leave a comment below.

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30Jul Varavon BirdyCam Gimbal BTS Footage SF Meet


Yesterday I met up with SatoStudios to check out the new DJI Ronin Gimbal, so I decided to bring out the Varavon Birdycam as well to shoot a few BTS clips. This footage is shot with a GH4 camera and although I find this footage to be incredibly smooth, I believe that I will have to tune up some of the PID settings to get best results on this super lightweight setup.

What you see in the video is still using the existing profile that was shipped with the unit, but it may be time to dig a little deeper. Since the Varavon uses the same Alexmos 32 bit software as the other gimbals, I can create my own custom settings. [BTW, you should not attempt this unless you know what you are doing].


varavon birdycam pre-order
find-price-button Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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29Jul Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer First Look


Here’s my first look at the new Varavon Birdycam (RTR) 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer. This stabilizer was popularized over other stabilizers in it’s price range, mainly because of it’s unique design which takes away the most tedious part about working with Gimbals – balancing your camera! So how easy was it? Well in real time (nothing sped up), I walk you through the exact steps on obtaining perfect balance with the Varavon BirdyCam Stabilizer.

Anyone who chooses to receive the Birdycam will first recognize the quality of parts and craftsmanship that went into the design. Almost every inch of the Birdycam is metal including thumb screws and clamp knobs.

Birdycam GH4 Birdycam Sony A7s
Birdycam shown with GH4 and Sony A7s

The next thing you’ll immediately notice is the ease of use. The folding handle design is quick to setup, tilt and roll locks are super handy during balancing or when placing the gimbal down. The most impressive feature of course (sure to blow away even MOVI users) is a frame surrounded by tool-less fine tuning adjustment knobs that allow for super accurate incremental adjustments for perfect balance.

Birdycam BMCC Wireless Transmitter Receiver
Birdycam shown w/ BlackMagic Design Camera and Optional Wireless Video System

Testing out my Canon 5D Mark III + Sigma 20mm the profile installed on the gimbal worked incredibly smooth right out of the box. No PID tuning required (yet). So far my expectations has been exceeded from what I originally thought I knew about this gimbal. For the price, it’s hard to beat the convenience and feature set. For more information about the product, check out the Birdycam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer product page (click here).

varavon birdycam pre-orderpreorder birdycam varavon 3 axis gimbal stabilizer
find-price-button Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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29Jul Record Backup Audio Tracks with the ALZO 3.5 Female to XLR Stereo Adapter Cord


Having come back from a recent project where I needed to place Lav microphones on three subjects, it’s always a good idea that you have some type of backup plan. Here’s an audio tip I thought i’d share using the new Alzo 3.5 mini stereo to XLR adapter.

The Alzo 3.5 Mini Phone Female to XLR Stereo Adapter Cord is simply advertised as a way to connect a basic stereo microphone into a camera that offers dual XLR mic inputs. One important feature I think they missed in their product description is the ability to use the cable for backup audio recordings. By splitting your signal into separate tracks you can record one at a normal level and one at a lower level in case your original audio becomes distorted from peaking (clipping).

So the next time you place a microphone to a subject, think about making sure you have a backup audio in place. I highly recommend you consider this tip in your future audio setups. You can find this Alzo Stereo to XLR Y Cable (click here)

alzo stereo to xlr cable splitter adapter microphone audio backup
find-price-button ALZO 3.5 Mini Phone Female to XLR Stereo Adapter Cord

It’s a good idea to always carry a few of these cables in your audio kit, and if you’re working with XLR body packs or microphones, there are also XLR splitters available (found here).
XLR Audio splitter backup audio recording
find-price-button XLR Female To Dual XLR Male Y Cable

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28Jul HDSLR EVF Holders and Manfrotto Base HDMI LOCK


HDSLRnow brings us another excellent overview of an affordable EVF holder along with a clever Manfrotto QR base mounted HDMI lock(found here). I would suggest watching this video review entirely as it shares some clever new products.

For additional gear reviews consider following HDSLRnow via Twitter, and to find more information about these products and more check out the website (click here).

SmallRig-HDMI-Lock-manfrotto-577 Coollcd SmallRig-S-rail-1437-NATO-rail coollcd SmallRig-EVF-Mount-1432-shoe-mount coollcd
find-price-button HDSLR EVF HOLDERS AND HDMI LOCK

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