DIY Video and Photography Projects

Zeus Cage for Sony A7sII and Sony A7rII Cameras
October 1, 2015

It’s been a few days since our fun ‘unboxing video, but now here’s a little more in-depth look at the design and features of the new Varavon Zeus Cage for the Sony A7sII and Sony A7rII cameras.

The Varavon Zeus Cage is available with one handle (standard model), or two handles (premium model), and an extra handle can be purchased separately. Each handle has a modular design that allows it to rotate in 4 different directions, has two cold shoes built in, dozens of threaded mounting options, and incorporates a 15mm rod clamp.


The Zeus cage itself allows full access to all ports and doors and instead of dedicated HDMI or Audio cable locks, Varavon has designed a modular Cable Clamp that can be attached to any threaded mount on the cage or handles.

varavon cable clamp

The Varavon Zeus Cage is available now over at

VIEW-ITEM Varavon Zeus Cage for Sony A7sII and Sony A7rII

Other items in video:
rode videomic lyre rycote suspension rode wireless lav mic filmmaker beachtek mc2 audio splitter

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Mounting the DJI Zenmuse X5 to the DJI Inspire 1
September 29, 2015

For those of you who may be upgrading your DJI Inspire 1 with the new X5 Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless ILC Camera, here’s a video tutorial on how to install the new X5 Mirrorless Camera Gimbal.

This video only points out the X5, but i’m sure it’s going to be the same for the X5R which is their new mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera that is capable of shooting 4K RAW. You can get additional information about the X5 and X5R following (here).

dji x5 x5r camera gimbal raw video

Or if you don’t already own a DJI Inspire1 Quadcopter, they also have a complete kit available with the X5 already mounted.

VIEW-ITEM DJI Inspire1 Pro 4K Mirrorless MFT Zenmuse Gimbal

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Switronix PB-70 Battery Solution for Sony A7s A7sII A7rII
September 28, 2015

Some might see this as overkill, others may see it as an incredibly versatile solution. Especially for those opting to move into the new Sony Camera systems (A7sII / A7RII) that have poor battery life, you’ll definitely be looking into some type of external power solution.

The Switronix PB-70 is a unique battery system as it can work as a normal V-Mount battery to power up your LED Lights, but can also double as an external battery solution for many camera systems (including BlackMagic, Canon, etc). Sure you can use other V-Mount batteries to power your camera, but the mounting solution incorporated into this particular V-Mount from Switronix is what makes it clean, simple, and minimal.

Switronix PB-70 Review Video by

A small quick release adapter first mounts under your camera (or cage) similar to a battery grip. This allows the Switronix PB-70 battery to attach under the camera. And under the PB-70 battery itself is another tripod mount, so you can attach another Tripod QR plate directly to the PB-70 battery. It works very similar to standard camera body battery grip.


Of course the PB-70 does not really have to mount under a camera body, as it only needs a 1/4-20 threaded mount. This can be mounted to the top of a Blackmagic 4K camera, or on a cheese plate off a shoulder rig. By incorporating these creative mounting options into a V-Mount battery is what makes the PB-70 a versatile battery system.

There are smaller, lighter, and cheaper power solutions for the Sony A7 cameras, but the capacity of the Switronix PB-70 means you can run all day (if not several days). And when mounted to your camera, it still has Two P-Tap out for you to power two other accessories at the same time (on camera LED light, external monitor, etc). And when not used with your camera, your investment means you can still use the PB-70 to power your Large 1×1 Studio LED Light Panels – incredibly versatile.

switronix pb-70 external battery sony a7s a7sii a7rii v-mount led light
VIEW-ITEM Switronix PB-70 Battery Kit for Sony A7s, A7RII, and A7sII

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Unboxing the Zeus Camera Cage for Sony A7SII and A7RII by Varavon
September 25, 2015

Today I received the new Varavon Zeus Cage designed to fit two of the hottest cameras on the market today – the new Sony A7sII and A7rII. While i’m working on another product overview video, I thought I would have some fun unboxing the new Zeus Cage.

So if you’re not a fan of unboxing videos, you may want to skip this article. Otherwise here’s a neat unboxing technique that was done all in ‘one single continuous take’ with no cuts in the video.

There are so many cool features in the Zeus cage, and i’ll be sharing more of that information soon in another video. For now you can get more information about the Zeus Cage for the A7sII and A7rII (here).

zeus cage varavon sony a7s ii a7r iisony a7s ii cage a7r ii video rig
VIEW-ITEM Varavon Zeus Cage for Sony A7sII and A7rII

BTS Video

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Fotga Sony Remote on RX10 MKII Power ON OFF Control Zoom Lens Start Stop Video
September 23, 2015

I was going to just append this video to my original Fotga Sony Remote article, but there are sooo many RX10 Mark II Camera Owners that I decided to just post this up separately to show the functions this remote has with the RX10MKII. You can see with my little shoulder rig, I can continue to have the best stability because I never have to take my hands away from the handles when performing functions on the RX10 MKII.

Once again, here’s the link to the Fotga Remote for Sony Cameras.
Fotga Remote for Sony A7sII A7RII A7s A7 camera bodies start stop video cheesycam
VIEW-ITEM Fotga Start Stop Video Shutter Remote Sony A7sII A7RII

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Cheap Must Have Remote to Start Stop Video on Sony A7s A7RII A7sII RX10MKII Cameras
September 22, 2015

One of the biggest complaint on Sony A7 (A7s/A7rII,etc) camera bodies is placement of the Video Start/Stop Button. Even though on the new Sony A7RII (and Sony A7sII) the Video Button can be reprogrammed, it’s still in a very inconvenient place. Especially if you’re working with a gimbal stabilizer, or shoulder rig. To solve this problem, you can add one of these Remotes. Here’s a short video about the Fotga Remote for Sony Cameras (found here).

This Fotga Remote will not only make your life a lot easier, but make you more efficient. Being able to Start and Stop video means that each video clip will have a perfect beginning and end, so you don’t have to trim out those unwanted sections in post. It means keeping your hands on your shoulder rig or on your Gimbal Stabilizer so you don’t get off balance. You can also mount the remote to the handle of your Video Tripod!
fotga remote sony a7rii a7s a7sII video

There is both a 1/4-20 thread in the remote as well as an area for elastic strap, giving you endless mounting options.
fotga start video remote sony a7s a7sii a7rii

It plugs directly into your Sony’s multi-port (usb), so no worries about IR or line of sight issues. If you’re using a Shogun recorder with your Sony camera, you can even configure your camera to auto trigger recording on the Atomos Shogun. One more thing I failed to mention in the video, there’s also an ON/BUTTON Slider on the side of the remote. It works perfectly with my Sony A7RII and kicks the camera on/off instantly with no lag! Perfect addition for conserving battery power and keeping the camera from overheating without taking your hands off a gimbal or shoulder rig.
fotga on off sony a7 a7s a7rII remote

The Fotga remote is half the price of the OEM Sony version (seen here), but works just as well and build quality is excellent – a must have for any Sony A7 shooter.

Fotga Remote for Sony A7sII A7RII A7s A7 camera bodies start stop video cheesycam
VIEW-ITEM Fotga Start Stop Video Shutter Remote Sony A7sII A7RII RX10MKII

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CAME-TV GoPro 3 Axis Gimbal with Encoders
September 21, 2015

CAME-TV today has listed another new gimbal on their website today. At first glance it looks like many GoPro HandHeld Gimbals on the market today, but this version is far more advanced. This new gimbal features ‘Encoder’ technology much like what is found in the high end FreeFly MOVI, DJI Ronin, or in the popular CAME-SINGLE gimbals.


When Encoders are used, gimbals are several times more stable, motors are tracked more accurately, and battery life is several times more efficient. On this GoPro gimbal, you might expect to get up to 6 hours of battery life between charges.

came-gimbal gopro 3 axis

Many small GoPro gimbals run their own software which means you can’t modify or tune the settings. I’m not sure if ‘tweaking’ will be encouraged by CAME-TV, but this new Gopro gimbal operates on the latest 32 bit SBGC. So someone like me can easily customize profiles, service modes, etc.

The new 3 Axis GoPro Gimbal with Encoders is available now over at the CAME-TV website, but my guess is it will be sold out by end of the week like the CAME-SINGLE has been for months.

came-tv action came-action gimbal encoders
VIEW-ITEM CAME-TV GoPro 3-Axis Gimbal with Encoders

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Rokinon XEEN Cine Prime Early Adopter Discounts Save $1500 OFF Set
September 17, 2015

Rokinon is offering up some major discounts on their new XEEN Cinema Prime lenses. (I myself already have a set and sold off a bunch of my expensive Canon L lenses). These lenses have had a lot of press and lots of interest with an amazing $2495 price tag – almost half the cost of other Cine Primes.

But In order to entice more ‘early adopters’, Rokinon has slashed -$300 OFF retail price (Now Just $2195 Each) for a limited time right now. These deals end officially on September 24th, 2015. I’ve seen a lot of people contemplating the purchase, and maybe this offer could finally set them in motion.

Rokinon Samyang Xeen 24mm Cine LensRokinon Samyang Xeen 50mm Cine LensRokinon Samyang Xeen 85mm Cine Lens
find-price-button Rokinon XEEN Cinema Prime Lenses 24mm T1.5 | 50mm T1.5 | 85mm T1.5

But wait, there’s more. You can save an extra -$1500 OFF the entire 3pc bundle over on eBay (found here).

Rokinon XEEN Cinema Lenses
find-price-button Rokinon XEEN 3pc Cinema Lens Bundle – via eBay

This same $1500 OFF XEEN Bundle Deal Discount can also be found via Adorama (found here).
rokinon xeen bundle deal discount
find-price-button Rokinon XEEN 3pc Cinema Lens Bundle – via Adorama

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Official Pre-Orders Now Available for Sony A7s II
September 17, 2015

Today retailers have opened up official pre-orders for the new Sony A7sII Camera. This camera is more than a mere upgrade from the previous A7s now with 4K internal recording, new SLOG3 profile, 120FPS 1080p, better ISO in low light, and 5-Axis In Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) – just to name a few. For still photographers, it will also have 14 bit RAW. I’m pretty sure this camera will be a tough one to get your hands on after it sells out.

Sony A7s II A7sII Mark II
VIEW-ITEM Sony A7s II Full Frame Mirrorless 4K SLOG3 – via B&H Photo Video

Sony A7s II A7sII Mark II
VIEW-ITEM Sony A7s II Full Frame Mirrorless 4K SLOG3 – via Adorama

– 12.2MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor
– BIONZ X Image Processor
– Internal UHD 4K30 & 1080p120 Recording
– S-Log3 Gamma and Display Assist Function
– 5-Axis SteadyShot INSIDE Stabilization
– 0.5″ 2.36m-Dot XGA OLED Tru-Finder EVF
– 3.0″ 1,228,800-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
– Up to 5 fps Shooting and ISO 409600
– Fast Intelligent AF, 169 AF Points
– Built-In Wi-Fi with NFC

In related news, if you’re looking for a Cage system for the new Sony A7sII, the brand new Varavon Zeus Cage has been confirmed to fit perfectly and was displayed at IBC 2015.
varavon zeus cage with a7s IIzeus a7sII cage varavon ibc
sony a7s II camera cage video varavon ibc show
Find the Varavon Zeus Cage for Sony A7sII (here).
varavon video cage sony a7RII sony a7s IIvaravon zeus cage a7sII
VIEW-ITEM Varavon Zeus Cage for Sony A7RII and Sony A7sII

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Panasonic GH4 VLog-L Samples Before and After
September 17, 2015

Panasonic recently announced they will have a firmware update with a new VLog-L Profile for the Panasonic GH4. I loaded up a ‘sample’ of this for a test drive. Unfortunately it was slightly overcast on the day I went out. so I did not get to simulate many high contrast scenes, but I did what I could trying to shoot random scenes that shared both bright and dark areas.

The ‘sample’ VLOG-L that was installed is not the official release, so there seems to be some bugs. Especially problems with the histogram meter, so it was very hard to gauge how to properly expose. In any case here’s a few samples of my first day out with the new VLOG-L on the GH4 + 12-35mm.

The base ISO for VLog-L is ISO 400. So outdoors on a bright day, you’ll need to either stop down the aperture, crank up your shutter speed, or carry around an ND Filter. To make life easier I used the XUME Magnetic Filter Adapters paired with a set of Tiffen Static ND Filters.

I only had a few hours of practice, but from what I can tell, it might be good to keep your ISO under 1600 whenever possible. To add some color and contrast back to the VLOG-L footage, I started by applying the Varicam 35 LUT and then fine tuning the exposure from there. You can download the Panasonic Varicam LUT (here).

From just my early tests, I can say that when the new VLOG-L update is officially released, it’s worth the $99 dollar upgrade. By then, hopefully they will fix some of the bugs with the histogram.

I know that the results would be much different on a bright sunny day, so i’m going to go out and try again this week when I have some free time. So far though, it does feel like the camera has added dynamic range and will be a great addition to all GH4 shooters.

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