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Mark my words, 2018 is going to be all about RGB (multicolor) LED Video lighting. On this topic, here's an overview of a new set of portable RGBAW LED lights from Luxli called 'CELLO'. The CELLO is a new 10" light, and somewhat similar to the 5" VIOLA. If you haven't already seen my earlier video review on the VIOLA, you can see that video (here).

While similar to the original VIOLA, the CELLO LED has a new feature for choosing Colored Gels through it's menu (or through smartphone app). This feature adds a new dimension for being able to select a very particular RGB color, and also being able to repeat the choice in the future. Most other RGB Lights have very basic controls for RGB, and not quite as refined as Luxli has done with all of their products.

While I haven't done any testing on output, these 10" RGBAW LED Lights put out a good amount of power. Luxli rates this as 24W from this 176 LED panel. Below i've embedded a BTS clip where we used (2) Cello LEDs on one side of this truck, and (2) Viola LEDs placed under the truck. These small lights were more than enough to accent this large vehicle. We used a 1x1 Luxli Timpani panel light only to to hit the back wall. (if you want to see the final video from this BTS, follow me on Instagram as it will be released soon).

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You are able to control most of the features directly from the CELLO light itself, but there are more functions available when using the iOS App. Here you can control lights individually, and also in a group. Other FX features become available such as strobing and cycling of different hues. One example I have used this feature on is to simulate a television screen. And regardless what color you choose, or how much you dim the light, they remain flicker free at the shutter speeds I have done up to 240fps.

Overall these lights have completely replaced the workflow I would have to do working with sets of colored GEL sheets. Not only speeds up production, but also keeps things neat and tidy. All of the Luxli LED lights I have used feel very durable, and I highly recommend them if you're looking to start working with more color on your projects.


crystal 800 wireless Luxli CELLO 10" RGBAW LED LIGHT

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[Product Description]
The Ronin-S gives independent filmmakers the power to capture spontaneous moments with clarity, smoothness, and a refreshing perspective.

SmoothTrack applies to all three axes. Hold down the front trigger to transition from Upright to Underslung Mode in one seamless movement with no gimbal framework obstruction. New Sport Mode allows you to capture fast-moving scenes instantly.

The detachable, modular design of the Ronin-S makes it easy to fit inside a backpack on your travels. Thanks to the industry standard quick-release plate design, you can easily mount the camera onto the gimbal for tracking shots or on a tripod for stills.

The Ronin-S's innovative framework elevates camera payload above the roll axis, making the camera's built-in display obstruction free and always in your line of sight. In addition to providing an unobstructed view, the angled roll motor allows for more space to balance bulkier setups.

SmoothTrack technology allows you to transition from motion to camera angle with one hand. Switch between three user profiles with a simple click on the M button, and capture fast-moving objects in Sport Mode by holding it down.

The ergonomic design of the Ronin-S frees unwanted shake when shifting from underslung to an upright position in one smooth take. The detachable design offers numerous usage scenarios. Mount it to an RC buggy for low-to-the-ground tracking shots or let it act as a stabilized remote head when attached to a jib. This detachment feature also makes it more convenient for easy storage.


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There's a specific shot I need to do where I first follow a subject and then jib up to reveal the landscape. I could do this with a drone, but i'm afraid the dirt path could kick up dust. So I thought to simply attach a gimbal at the end of a pole. Most people i've seen doing jib shots with a gimbal are using monopods or boom poles, but because I wanted to possibly get more height, I needed a much sturdier telescoping post. A post that won't flex, bend, or break.


Impact C-Stand

What I decided upon was to use the beefy post of my C-Stand. The trick now was to attach the Moza Air Cross 3 Gimbal at the end with my GH5s. I found that the 9.Solutions Python Double Clamps (found here) worked perfectly to lock the gimbal in place.

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The Python Double Clamps are just one of many innovative products from 9.Solutions. The clamps simply let you clamp one thing to another, and the clamps can rotate as well. From a flat table, to square tubing, to round bars the shape of the Python clamp allows it to work across many different shapes. Even if you're not planning to attach a gimbal to the end of a C-Stand, you'll find good use with these Double Python Clamps. Highly recommended (found here)!

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crystal 800 wireless 9.Solutions Python Double Clamp

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Gen Energy V-Mount Batteries are quickly becoming a popular choice with it's innovative Shock Proof Design, and their latest version now offers 'Short Circuit Protection' or what they refer to as 'Short Proof'. Peep the video below for an intro on this new feature.

Aside from just a robust build, Gen Energy Batteries are also known for many smart features built in that helps it retain a charge longer when not in use, or prevent excessive discharge that could damage batteries. Gen Energy batteries can also display proper percentage when used on cameras such as RED (some batteries won't communicate to display on-screen battery meter). Considering all of these features, Gen Energy batteries are still comparable to other current popular brands. There's no reason they should not be on your radar as an option for a professional battery.


GEN ENERGY SHOCK PROOF V-MOUNT BATTERIES

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If you travel much with a carry-on case, then you'll appreciate an equipment bag that has 4 wheels as opposed to just two. I myself use the "Think Tank Airport Roller" (found here) quite often. LowePro has recently offered up a new Photostream SP 200 Roller Bag. The Photostream is a less expensive option if you're looking for a dedicated equipment case on 4 wheels that also works with carry-on size restrictions.

Lowepro SP 200 Roller Overview
The PhotoStream SP 200 has exterior measurements of 13.8 x 8.8 x 21.7" and weighs 9.7 lb when empty, matching carry-on requirements for most American airlines. For keeping small items such as cables or lens caps, two zippered mesh pockets are conveniently located on the lid interior and allow for easy access to your accessories. As for transport, the case comes with a three-stage telescoping handle and four 360° wheels for easy rolling. When hand carrying is needed, you can use the integrated handles found at the top, side, or bottom of the bag.

  • Nylon and EVA hardshell case optimized for air travel
  • Holds 1 or 2 professional DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, plus 4-8 extra lenses, flashes, battery grips, etc.
  • Set of customizable padded dividers can be adjusted or removed to find the best setup for your gear
  • Hinged front panel allows easy access to your laptop or tablet without opening the entire bag
  • Dual zippered mesh pockets for keeping small accessories such as cables, batteries, and memory cards
  • Lightweight telescoping handle made of aluminum, center button allows you to set it to 3 different stages
  • 4 wheels with 360° rotation for easy and intuitive transport
  • Integrated handles on the top, side, and bottom of the case for carrying by hand
  • Exterior dimensions of 13.8 x 8.8 x 21.7" meet carry-on requirements for most airlines

  • crystal 800 wireless LowePro PhotoStream SP 200 Roller

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    Undoubtedly one of the hottest topics at NAB2018, Blackmagic Design has finally released a new version of the Pocket Cinema Camera. It's a significant size different when compared to to the original, but it solves many of the issues of the previous design. The body now offers external buttons and dials that give you fast access to the most important functions. 13 stops of Dynamic Range and better low light performance with it's dual native ISO up to 25,600. 4K up to 60 frames RAW, and 120fps in HD (windowed).

    Images capture on the new Pocket Cinema 4K camera can be recorded to SDXC, CFast 2.0, or for longer recording times, you can also record directly to an external SSD or flash disk using the built in USB-C Expansion Port. 5 inch touchscreen makes it easy to frame shots, focus accurately and change camera settings. Built-in microphones, mini XLR input with Phantom Power, full sized HDMI, 3D LUT support. BTW, not only can you install a LUT for monitoring, but you have the option to 'bake in' a LUT during your recording.

    Although i'm not a fan that they chose to use a Canon LP-E6 battery, the USB-C Expansion Port accepts power so you can charge the battery from portable battery packs, a mobile phone charger or even your laptop computer. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K includes a full version of DaVinci Resolve Studio ($299 value), which is a complete post production solution.

    I don't see it being a replacement of my Panasonic GH5 or GH5s, but there is no doubt in my mind this camera will literally fly off the shelves. The original BMD 1080p Pocket Cinema (seen here) is still being used today. The new 4K Pocket Cinema camera is ridiculously inexpensive for the features and quality it offers. Preorders are available for the new Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

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    Here's a general overview of the new CAME-TV Crystal 800 Wireless Video Kit. Besides being rated for up to 800 meters, the stand out feature for this kit is that you can also use an iOS device such as an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad as a wireless video monitor displaying the feed from a remote camera.


    While the long range and ability to monitor through an iOS device are appealing, the Crystal-800 is not meant to replace higher end units if you want to record high quality from the video stream. While the transmitted image comes in clear and sharp, it does not appear to be uncompressed. Also i've noticed that certain framerates (i.e. 24p) that are input into the transmitter seem to end up as 30fps on the HDMI output of the receiver. You can also enable Audio to be be transmitted, but keep in mind that it is compressed audio but should be good enough for basic monitoring.

    If your main goal is simply to send video from a remote camera to a director's monitor, I think the Crystal-800 is an excellent system. You don't even need to build out an lcd monitor with a cage. You can simply have the client monitor from an iPhone or iPad.


    crystal 800 wireless Crystal-800 Wireless Video System

    The Crystal-800 would work fine for Gimbals or Steadicam systems where the camera is constantly roaming. And even though the image sent is compressed, it should be clear enough for a basic multi-cam live stream setup to Facebook or Youtube. The Came-TV Crystal-800 Wireless Video system is available now over at their website (Found Here).

    came-tv crystal-800
    crystal 800 wireless Crystal-800 Wireless Video System

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    I've shown a few different setups with my BMMCC Camera rig a few times, and so I've decided to throw up a breakdown of my BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera build.

    As you know, the Micro Cinema Camera doesn't even come with a screen. So you're unable to change any settings until you've added a monitor.


    BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera

    For a monitor, I've chosen the BlackMagic Design Video Assist 5" LCD which also doubles as a ProRes Video Recorder. It's small, and I can simultaneously record RAW in camera while recording Prores to the BMVA. This is handy if you want a backup recording, or if you want to record proxy files in real time.


    BlackMagic Design Video Assist Monitor

    Now mounting the monitor meant I needed a cage, and a way to pick up the camera. So my choice was to use the SmallRig BMMCC Cage and Top Handle.


    SmallRig Cage for Micro Cinema Camera

    Since the sensor is pretty small (cropped view), I've added a metabones MFT to EF Speedbooster. This offers a wider view, and makes your glass a bit faster (better in dim lighting). With the Metabones Speedboster lens adapter, i'm using Rokinon Cine DS Lenses. These lenses are small, affordable, and manual focus lenses which are great for video use.


    crystal 800 wireless Rokinon Cine DS Lenses

    But adding a full frame Canon EF mount lens ends up being too big for the body, and so you'll need to add some height at the base of the camera. For this i've mounted the cage to a quick release baseplate with 15mm rails. This baseplate works with popular Manfrotto 501PL plates. So I can quickly detach the whole cage from the base if needed and go right to a monopod with a smaller setup, or with the 15mm rails I can add things like a Kamerar Follow Focus or MatteBox.


    crystal 800 wireless 501PL QR Baseplate with 15mm Clamps

    The whole setup would normally be powered by Canon LP-E6 batteries, but they run down pretty quick. So i've added an IndiproTools V-Mount Plate with Canon Dummy Battery. With a CAME-TV Compact V-Mount Battery, I can power the camera and i've added a separate d-tap cable is used to power the BlackMagic Design Video Assist Monitor.


    crystal 800 wireless IndiProTools V-Mount Plate with Canon LP-E6 Dummy Battery

    Just to make it easier for handheld work, i've run a single 15mm Rail horizontally over the cage. On the right side i've added a 15mm Handle, and on the left side of the rail i've mounted the Video Assist Monitor using 15mm Pico Plates in such a way that makes it easy to tilt forward and back. That's pretty much the basic setup, if you guys have any questions let me know.


    crystal 800 wireless 15mm Pico Plate Clamp

    Parts found in this build:
    Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera (here)
    SmallRig BMMCC Cage (here)
    BMMCC Cage Top Handle (here)
    Video Assist Monitor/Recorder (here)
    V-Mount Plate + Canon Dummy (here)
    Compact V-Mount Battery (here)
    Quick Release Baseplate w 15mm
    Kamerar Follow Focus (here)
    15mm Pico plate (here)

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    My favorite shotgun microphone at the moment is the Azden SGM-250CX. It's a short shotgun mic with great sound, comes with it's own shock mount, an XLR Lead built in, and has a 1/4" thread for easy mounting. But because i've also been using it to boom outdoors, I wanted to build out a small Blimp (it's been very windy lately). So I decided to buy the Rycote Super-Shield Kit and purchased an extra small pod to get it exactly the way I wanted.


    By starting with a short shotgun mic like the Azden SGM-250CX, and replacing the original front pod on the Rycote Super-Shield, I was able to shave off almost 4" off my blimp. That's pretty significant if you're trying to travel with smaller gear, and I'm still getting the same sound I would from a larger Azden SGM-250 mic!

    It's certainly an investment to ensure you're getting better audio, but all it takes is one bad interview to ruin the quality of your work, and possibly your reputation for hire if you screw up an important job. Soif you think you're getting to that level of production, but want to keep your gear small, I think this setup is a great addition that should last for many many years.

    rycote super shield microphone blimp
    crystal 800 wireless Rycote Super-Shield Microphone Windshield (blimp)

    Rycote Replacement Rear Pod Small Blimp
    crystal 800 wireless Rycote Super-Shield Rear Pod

    Azden SGM-250CX XLR Microphone
    crystal 800 wireless Azden SGM-250CX Short Shotgun

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