DIY Video and Photography Projects

Tokina’s Latest 11-20mm F/2.8 Lens
January 29, 2015


With cameras dropping in size with sensors smaller than your typical full frame from a Canon DSLR, shooters looking for a fast wide lens like Tokina’s 11-16mm F/2.8. It’s been one of my favorite lenses to use on the BlackMagic 2.5K, BlackMagic 4K, BMPCC, and even Sony’s A7s. A must have lens in my book. Now Tokina has taken this lens a step further offering more focal range in the new 11-20mm while still maintaining F/2.8 across. The new lens has been announced today and available for pre-order now (here).

Tokina 11-20mm F28
find-price-button Tokina 11-20mm F/2.8 Lens Canon + Nikon

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Kamerar SD-1 MK II Slider Dolly Overview
January 29, 2015


A product video overview from YouTube member HDSLRnow showing the changes on the new Kamerar MK II Slider Dolly. The new roller bearing design allows for smooth tracking compared to the original version that used dry friction bearings (similar to IGUS rails).

The single rail allows you to easily mount to a single tripod. Three different Kamerar versions are now available with the new MK II design up to a 47″ length slider found at Kamerar.com or at PNCGear.com (click here).

Kamerar Video Sliders
find-price-button Kamerar Mark II Video Sliders and Slider Dolly

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Studio Assets PXB PORTABLE BACKGROUND SYSTEM
January 23, 2015


Whether you’re doing portraits or at times shooting green screen video on location, a quick portable backdrop system is a convenient tool to keep around. Here’s a look at the PXB Portable Background System from Studio Assets that uses a patented method of framing up an 8×8 muslin backdrop.

As mentioned, it requires special 8×8 muslin backdrops that have pocketed corners for the rods to fit and are available in the most common colors. Of course I can’t imagine that it would be difficult to sew up your own if you really had to. You can find the PXB Portable Background System over at SeaPortDigital.com (found here).

PXB 8x8 Backdrop Stand
find-price-button Studio Assets PXB PORTABLE BACKGROUND SYSTEM

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Tiyaga MiniGimbal Tips Inverted Mode, Briefcase Mode, and Gimbal Stands
January 22, 2015


Inverted mode on a gimbal comes in very handy, but it may not be ideal when using cameras with an HDMI Recorder or Monitor. Here’s some tips on how I’ve modified the handles around Tiyaga DIY Mini Gimbal Frame to achieve the same benefits of lowered handles below the camera and built a setup that requires no Gimbal Stand for placement or balancing of the system.

A photo posted by Emm (@mrcheesycam) on

A photo posted by Emm (@mrcheesycam) on

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2 Minutes of Uncut Video Footage Demo DIY 3-Axis MiniGimbal Kit
January 21, 2015


I didn’t really have anything interesting to shoot today, but I just thought I would throw up a quick sample from the latest 3-Axis Mini Gimbal I put together using the Tiyaga kit. Just in case anyone was wondering if it actually works, here’s a straight 2 minute+ uncut video sample (no image or post stabilization) right out of the camera.

The great thing about working with a lightweight stabilizer is that you can pretty much shoot all day with little fatigue. Since I was walking around indoors, my favorite ultra-wide angle setup is with my GH4 and Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye lens. I shoot in 4K then de-fish the footage (using this plugin) down to 1080p.

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find-price-button MiniGimbal ‘Tiyaga’ 3-Axis DIY Gimbal Frame Kit for Small Cameras

Rokinon Fisheye MFT Micro four thirds fish eye lens cheesycam GH4 defish lens
find-price-button Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye Lens for MFT Cameras

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Rode Announces RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker Kit
January 20, 2015


Rodelink Wireless Lav Mic Kit Filmmaker

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS
Transmitter and Receiver Included
Broadcast Quality Lavalier Mic Included
Series II 2.4 GHz Digital Transmission
128-Bit Encrypted Signal
24-Bit/44.1 kHz Lossless Transmission
Up to 100m Range
One Touch Pairing
OLED Digital Display
3-Level Gain Control
USB and AA Battery Powered

The RodeLink Filmmaker Kit from Rode is a wireless system for film and video production that features a transmitter, receiver, and an included lavalier microphone. The system utilizes a Series II 2.4 GHz 128-bit encrypted digital transmission signal that constantly monitors and hops between frequencies to select the strongest signal. The kit offers a low signal-to-noise ratio and provides a high-resolution 24-bit 44.1 kHz digital transmission of lossless audio at a range of up to 100m.

The beltpack transmitter features a simple 3-stage gain adjustment and a mute lock function to prevent accidental muting. A locking 3.5mm input audio connector ensures body worn microphones remain secure. The camera mount receiver features a removable shoe mount enabling it to be used on camera or as a belt pack receiver. A mute override function gives complete control to the operator, while mute status, input level, and battery status for both the transmitter and receiver are displayed on the front of the unit. The receiver also utilizes the same locking 3.5mm connector as the transmitter to provide solid security.

Both the beltpack transmitter and camera mount receiver can be powered by any USB power source using a standard micro-USB cable. The system offers eight discrete channels that can easily be set up in seconds with over 8000 different channel combinations available. Channel selection and pairing is achieved with a one-press operation and automatic scanning, which significantly reduces setup times when compared to traditional UHF setups.

Series II 2.4GHz digital transmission
128-bit encrypted signal
Up to 100m range
One touch pairing
OLED digital display
3 level gain control
Omnidirectional lavalier microphone
AA Battery or USB Power
Designed and made in Australia

IMG_458969 IMG_458970 IMG_458972
find-price-button RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker Kit with Lav Mic

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GH4 Sony A7s BMPCC DIY 3-Axis Gimbal Frame Kit for Small Cameras
January 20, 2015


I’m a fan of working with many of the smaller camera systems like the GH4, Sony A7s, BMPCC, and also a fan of 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizers. Yet when it came to an ultra portable one that offered tool-less adjustments and a full range of pan and tilt, there had been a gap with current products on the market.

Some of you may know that I had been making my own mini custom gimbals out of random parts found online. The small systems make it easier for me to travel and operate handheld for a long long period time without fatigue. As others seemed to be interested in the build, I decided to work with a few friends to make a frame kit available for others to build as well.

This kit which has been a work in progress has been designed to allow small cameras full range of motion, easy to balance, incorporates a camera QR system, and easy assembly disassembly. The frame kit is finally available and here’s the latest update video.

Note: The frame has been revised with new motor housings and additional bearings that allow for better support and stability, but here are a few other (older) videos showing some of the features of the mini gimbal.

The ‘Tiyaga’ is a kit that requires assembly and a few additional parts to finish the build, but what you end up with is an affordable 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for small cameras around 2.5lbs. There is a discount price for Early-Birds, and only a limited amount of kits will be made. You can find additional information over at the website http://MiniGimbal.com.

tiyaga minigimbal frame kitminigimbal
find-price-button MiniGimbal ‘Tiyaga’ 3-Axis DIY Gimbal Frame Kit for Small Cameras

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Kamerar’s QV-1 LCD ViewFinder for the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC
January 19, 2015


It’s quickly coming around 2 years since the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera was announced at NAB 2013, but with the recent firmware upgrades and lack of competition for a pocketable camera that is capable of RAW video for under $1K, it’s still a very popular choice. Better late than never, Kamerar has finally decided to release a dedicated LCD ViewFinder for the BMPCC Camera.

Similar to previous QV-1 versions, the LCD ViewFinder attaches magnetically to a special baseplate that is a similar width to a Manfrotto 701PL plate. The QV-1 LCD VIEW FINDER FOR BMPCC, folds up to see an entire view of the BMPCC screen without crops or obstruction and full access to menu buttons.

QV1BMPCC07_large QV1BMPCC08_large

The Dovetail quick release plate does not obstruct the battery door, and offers both a 3/8″ and 1/4″ female thread for you to add virtually any other type of QR plate or direct tripod mount.

blackmagic kamerar lcd view finder

The Kamerar QV-1 LCD View Finder for the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera #BMPCC is available now, and more information can be found at http://PNCGear.com (click here).

QV1BMPCC02_large QV1BMPCC10_large
find-price-button QV-1 LCD VIEW FINDER FOR BMPCC

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Varavon GH4 Armor Cage + External Battery Bundle
January 18, 2015


GH4 (and GH3) owners can take a look at this discounted bundle offer on the Varavon GH4 Armor Cage, Top Handle, ENG Grip, and External Battery Solution with 15mm Clamp. Offer ends next week.

GH4_Bundl_offer
find-price-button GH4 Pro and Battery Bundle Deal

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PVGear 3 Way 15mm Rod Base Plate for DSLR or Mirrorless Video Cameras
January 16, 2015


If all you wanted to do was to add a very basic Follow Focus to your camera, you still end up needing a very basic set of 15mm rails and baseplate. Although there are literally dozens of baseplates available online, here’s a new PVGear 3 Way Baseplate that adds a horizontal 90 degree rod clamp integrated into baseplate. This saves from having to purchase an extra part as well as save space on your rails.

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Example: Sony A7s with Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI Recorder

Here’s a quick video on how I assembled a few pieces to create a super short, lightweight, and functional rig for my Panasonic GH4.

Instead of a cage system where you would mount all of the accessories onto the camera body, the horizontal rod allows you to add a monitor or even portable audio recorder alongside your camera. It’s quick to break down and setup for travel. With a plate under the base you can add your favorite quick release to go direct to tripod mount. Like many affordable baseplate systems for rails, this is a basic setup that does not offer rail height adjustments which can be handy when using cheap matteboxes that don’t offer up/down alignment. Still if you don’t use a mattebox very often (as I don’t), this is a handy piece of kit.

PVGear 3 way baseplate system
Example: GH4 with F&V SpectraHD Monitor and PNC Hybrid Should Pad

The top plate can be used to mount your camera directly or add a QR base system like the Manfrotto 577. You can find the new 3-Way Baseplate with or without Carbon Fiber Rods available at http://pvgear.com/products/3-way-15mm-rod-dslr-base-plate-mounting-system.

pvgear
find-price-button PVGear 3-Way Baseplate for 15mm Rods

smallrig 15mm handles
find-price-button SmallRig 15mm Handles

Shoulder_Chest_Hybrid_Pad_large
find-price-button PNCGear Hybrid Folding Chest / Shoulder Pad

Manfrotto 577 Quick Release
find-price-button Manfrotto 577 Rapid Connect w/ Sliding Mounting Plate (501PL)

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Rokinon’s Latest 135mm F/2.0 and T/2.2 Cine Lens
January 14, 2015


In terms of Canon’s best Prime Lenses especially for flattering portraits the 135mm F/2.0 at just over $1K is a highly popular focal length. There’s a certain aesthetic quality from the 135mm that can’t be matched. Now Rokinon is extending their lineup of Cine Lenses and has just recently announced their own 135mm F/2. For video use most people would gladly trade in their auto focus, but the real test of course is to see how people compare the quality of the two. Available for almost every camera mount, the new Rokinon 135mm F/2 or 135mm T/2.2 Cine Lens is available now for pre-order starting at $549.

PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS
135mm Lens
Full-Frame Coverage
Multi-Layer Coating to Reduce Flare
Standard Gearing for Focus and Iris
Dual Side Focus and T-Stop Scales
De-Clicked Aperture Ring
Hybrid Aspherical Lenses
Manual Focus and Aperture
Removable Lens Hood
Accepts 77mm Threaded Filter Rings

rokinon 135 f2 lensrokinon 135mm cine lens
find-price-button Rokinon 135mm F/2.0 or 135 m T/2.2 Cine Lens

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DJI Inspire 1 4K Video First Day Samples
January 9, 2015


Although I haven’t even had the time to learn everything about the new DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter, I was at least able to get it off the ground and flying. It’s a bit frustrating that they don’t sell spare batteries (yet) as I only get around 18 minutes of flight before having to recharge the battery. So even though i’ve had the multicopter for a few days, I probably logged less than an hour and most of it is playing with the menu.

Keep in mind i’m not a very skilled pilot and there are some instances in the footage below where i’m trying to steer the copter. The Inspire 1 is actually a very very stable system. Here’s a few minutes of 4K footage I shot recently on the new DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter.

Make sure to switch to 4K resolution in the player and maybe even go full screen..

The images may be a bit underexposed or flat, but I wanted to pull down the highlights and in some cases bring up the shadows to see how much information I could retain. At around 2:45 in the video I’m shooting straight into the sun and was still able to retain color in the sky without completely losing the beach below. I still have a lot to learn and hopefully get better results but with the single battery it’s taking a lot longer to practice. More to come.

DJI Inspire Quadcopter Multicopter 4K camera gimbal indoor
find-price-button DJI Inspire 1 4K Video Quadcopter

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Auto Pan Video Head with Parallax Video Slider Add-On Track
January 6, 2015


Auto Pan onemancrew parallax video slider add on device 4

Tired of static camera angles? We all know that sliders can add an entirely new dimension to your video, but Panning the fluid head simultaneously can add even MORE! Of course it’s tricky business tracking a subject perfectly and to repeat the process purely by hand is near impossible. Well here’s a little Parallax Slider Add-On Track that you can mount to just about any video slider so that you can have auto-panning to track a subject. Here’s a very quick video about how it works.

The kit comes with just a few parts and has a dozen different 1/4″ or 3/8″ mounting options to get it to fit on just about any slider. The track adjusts quickly so that you can setup your next tracking shot. Build quality is great and things work smoothly.

Auto Pan onemancrew parallax video slider add on device 2Auto Pan onemancrew parallax video slider add on device 3
find-price-button Parallax Auto Panning Subject Tracking Video Slider Add-On Track

You’ll need a bit of practice on how to get it to work best by ensuring your track is not too high above the auto-pan base or it can bind. After about 10 minutes of playing you’ll pretty much master the technique though. The kits are available with different lengths for short or long sliders and start at just around $150 (you provide the slider). Find it (HERE).

Auto Pan onemancrew parallax video slider add on device
find-price-button Parallax Auto Panning Subject Tracking Video Slider Add-On Track

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AspenMics HQ-S Lavalier Tests Samsung Note 4 and Zoom H4n A7s Internal Mic
January 4, 2015


Here’s a simple sound comparison video from Pete Alexandar using the affordable AspenMics HQ-S Stereo Lav mics. Using the same two microphones he’s recording one to a Samsung Note 4 and to a Zoom H4n. For comparison he references back to what audio would sound like from the internal Sony A7s camera microphone. You’ll notice immediately how different the same microphone can sound when using different recorders.

The Zoom H4n obviously is designed to capture quality sound and there’s a big difference compared to the Samsung Note 4 which may sound a little flat. Still not a bad thing if you know how to tweak the audio in post using the Audio EQ. If you’re looking to pair it with an affordable audio recorder that offers high quality sound capture, my vote is still the pocketable Zoom H1 often found for under $100 bucks.

So if you’re looking to get better audio, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a good set of lav microphones in your kit. The focused sound will block out most ambient noise and deliver a higher quality recording. The AspenMics are perfect for the budget filmmaker, finally back in stock, and currently on sale (HERE).


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find-price-button AspenMics HQ Stereo and Mono Lavalier Microphones

For an additional sound test of these mics, check out the review samples from Ray Ortega from ThePodCasters Studio.

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Varavon Pro Armor Cage for Sony A7s and GH4 mount Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI SDI Recorder
January 4, 2015


I just received the new Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder / Monitor and obviously I plan to pair it up with the Sony A7s to utilize it’s 4K Video feature (via HDMI only), and also test out 10Bit 4K via the GH4.

It's #4K time on Sony #A7s and 10 bit #4K on #Panasonic #GH4 #atomos #shogun #hdmirecorder

A photo posted by Emm (@mrcheesycam) on

For something this heavy, it’s probably not a great idea to mount it directly to the Hot Shoe of the camera, so you’ll need to look into using some type of accessory mount or Camera Cage. Here’s a look at two Varavon Armor Pro Cages designed for the Sony A7s and Panasonic GH4.

Instead of a fairly large generic shell, each Armor Cage is custom designed only to fit a specific camera. This allows the cage to be remain very slim and allowing full access to the camera’s dials, inputs, and doors. Each Varavon Armor Cage comes with a leather Hand Strap, while some packages offer a Top Handle and optional rotating ENG Hand Grip.

To maximize the run time on these cameras (I really need one for the Sony A7s), Varavon also offers external battery power solutions for many types of cameras.

GH4 extended battery Sony A7s extended battery power external
find-price-button Varavon Sony A7s and GH4 External Battery Package

For more information about these cages and optional accessories, check out the Varavon website (here).

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find-price-button Varavon Armor Cages for Sony A7s Pro and GH4 Pro

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DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter Latest Customer Videos
January 2, 2015


The DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter has seen quite a few delays, but a few customers have already received their units. I just received news that mine just shipped out today (should be here Monday). Although this is an amazing copter as far as feature set goes, people were a bit hesitant about the quality of the built in camera. Here’s a couple of the ‘most recent’ videos uploaded on YouTube.


via Philip Lima


via Multicopter Warehouse

And of course one of it’s stand out features is the ability to fly stable indoors. While the DJI Phantom relied heavily on GPS for stability, the Inspire 1 has added several new sensors below the copter that can detect distance from the floor. Here’s a video showing stable flight indoors.


via haampie1985

While some may argue that the quality of the DJI Inspire 1 camera may not be as good as the new GoPro HERO4 4K, the Inspire 1 adds so many new features that may outweigh the cons. Some of those features include built in Lightbridge for streaming true HD video back to your device while allowing further distance of control, sensors for stable flight indoors, raised landing gears for 360 panoramic camera movement, and dual remotes for second operator (one flies one controls cameras movements). Not to mention more powerful motors when flying in certain elements.

The new DJI Inspire 1 is available with a single remote or dual remotes, but unfortunately from what I hear DJI is only shipping ’single remote kits’. If you ordered the Dual Remote Kit, the second remote may ship separately – possibly at a later time. While i’m also super excited to get it off the ground, it only ships with one battery and additional spare Inspire 1 batteries are still on pre-order status.

You can find more information or order the product (here).

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find-price-button DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter 4K Video via B&HPhoto

find-price-button DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter 4K Video via Adorama

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