Monthly Archives: May 2012


If you pop into the menu of the Canon 5D Mark III (or 1DX when available), you can change the shutter button to Start and Stop video recording. This feature wasn't available for previous Canon DSLRs (unless you have Magic Lantern). To start and stop video on previous Canon cameras, you were required to use an infrared remote, or more expensive USB remotes.

5D-Mark-III (3 of 4)5D-Mark-III (4 of 4)

Now that this feature is available in the new Canon cameras, you can use a very basic corded shutter remote to initiate video recording. If you're looking for a small and inexpensive trigger to place next to the handle of your rig or along the pan bar of your fluid head, something like these basic shutter remotes will do. They are much smaller than my bulky time lapse remotes (seen below), so I thought i'd grab one of the smaller basic remotes just to place next to the handle of my DSLR rig.

5D-Mark-III (1 of 4)5D-Mark-III (2 of 4)
(Above) Bulky Timer Remote - Intervalometer

Canon's RS-80N3 Remote Switch isn't very different, and will run you about $45 dollars. These cheap ones are also handy for doing long exposure photos so that you don't shake the camera and they only run under $4.00 dollars on eBay (click here).

Canon 5D Mark III 1DX Shutter Trigger Video Start Stop
find-price-button Canon 5D Mark III Shutter Remote Start / Stop Video

There's also a similar version available on Amazon for $4.68 + Free Shipping

Shutter Remote Canon 5D Mark III 1DX
find-price-button Remote Shutter Release Cord for Canon EOS 5D, 50D, 40D, 20D, & 10D Digital SLR Cameras


Great little video from Vimeo member Stavros Koulis showing the build process of a Time Lapse Skater Dolly using an arduino controller. You may not require the need for a skater, but the parts list and instructions might be a good start for adding motion control to even a slider. For a complete parts list and build instructions, check out the article at

DIY time Lapse skater dolly


Tony Carretti shares a find on a very inexpensive EM-320E shotgun condenser microphone for less than $20 dollars and claims he's getting better results than from his other Rode VideoMic on longer cable runs with XLR. [Thanks Tony]. Getting your microphone as close to the subject is key. In most cases any microphone is better than the built in microphone of the camera. It's also self powered so maybe it provides a bit of clean gain over the noisy internal amp of the DSLR.

[Update] Tony also shares another test along with the Zoom H4n as reference.

The EM-320E, comes with a Black windscreen, 20' XLR to 1/4" mic cable, and a 1/4" to 3.5mm adapter. If you don't have any microphone, Tony seems to think it's worth the bang for the buck, and you can find them on eBay (click here).

EM-320E Shotgun Microphone Condenser eBay
find-price-button EM-320E Shotgun Microphone

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A honeycomb grid on your flash helps direct and concentrate light, and depending on the design of the honeycomb you can even achieve a very tight spotlight. YouTube member CAMPHOTOPIX shares his DIY grid build that is based on a bunch of cut straws. I'm not sure where this first started from, but it's an old DIY build that even I have tried years ago. It's very effective and you can customize the length of the straws for different effects. I also like his use of neoprene material for a very snug fit.

These grids were very expensive a few years ago, but if you lack the patience, you can now find similar style honeycomb grids for less than $13.00 dollars shipped. You can find them in 1/8" and 1/4" honeycombs on eBay (click here).

Polaroid Grid HoneycombHoneycomb Grid Speedlite
find-price-button Honeycomb Flash Grid Speedlite


Here's a look at a prototype motorized trailer sent to me today and it's attached to a PNC Pico Dolly. Still a prototype, it's supposed be universal and have some mounting options to attach to several different dollies or maybe even sliders? The idea is to have a motorized push cart to have consistent movement all of the motors, batteries, wiring, and switches all self contained into one little unit.


There's a few 1/4x20 threads to mount other accessories on the little push car too. From the image it looks like it's around 4" wide. I have no additional information about availability or pricing at this time. What do you guys think about something like this? For more about the Pico Dolly, you can find that information at the following page:
Pico Dolly from


Not sure if you'll find much, but the Sandisk Media sale ends today so you might want to give it another look through. When the price is right, i'll choose Sandisk over Transcend media, but for the most I can live off of Transcend retail prices when i'm in need of new cards. The only thing I see of interest for sale today is the Sandisk 128GB SDXC Class 10.

I currently have a Lexar 128GB SDXC card that i've been throwing in all of my point and shoot cameras, as well as all my DSLR cameras. The new Canon 5D Mark III also accepts SDXC media and we've done quite a few shoots with just the 128GB with no issues. I also use this SDXC card as my portable external drive. If for some reason you need a card this large, the Sandisk 128GB SDXC is cheaper than the Lexar 128GB in today's sale. Check it out at B&H (click here).

Sandisk media Sale
Sandisk Media Sale


Here's something pretty interesting that reader Nathan Smith shares for an external HDMI Monitor. The Motorola Lapdock is used to connect to Android phones via HDMI and provides a keyboard, larger screen, two USB ports, and more. The Lapdock also has an internal battery that claims an 8 hour life span. Well the Lapdock never really took off as a product, and now you can find them on clearance or at discounted prices. Nathan was lucky enough to grab one for around $59 dollars. So what does this have to do with DSLR Video and cameras?

There were a few forums that claimed the Lapdock will perform as a normal HDMI screen with the right adapters and some videos have shown it being used with a Playstation. If you're wondering, the Lapdock has a Micro Male HDMI connection, so you'll need a female Micro HDMI to start with. Here Nathan proves that with the right cables, you can even use it to display the HDMI signal from your camera. Can't beat that for $59 bucks.

I also found this interesting because the Lapdock provides two USB ports. The Lapdock with it's internal rechargeable battery can be a remote monitor receiving the HD video feed and power the Asus through dual USB power without extra batteries (theory). I've updated the comments in this article with some information about the adapter and cable you'll probably need. Anyways, it's a neat idea and could be a fun thing to have with the clearance prices, but the only thing i'm still unsure of is the exact model that Nathan is using. [Update] He's using the Atrix 4G Lapdock and you can find the Lapdocks online via Amazon (click here)

find-price-button AT&T Laptop Dock SmartPhone


USB DSLR Video Control

There's about a dozen USB remotes sold as a USB Follow Focus System, but this particular one lacks lens focus controls and just throws in some basic functions. This one was designed to mount close to your rig handle so that you can access common settings like ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed, Zoom Focus, Start / Stop Video Mode, etc.

Don't be confused by some of the listings, it's obvious they don't know what they are talking about and list it to be a follow focus controller (wrong!). This looks like the Okii MC1 controller, except it's about $100 dollars less. I like this particular handle design over those ugly round Canon USB Follow focuses but i'm still not sold on paying so much for this type of remote. You can find additional info about these Canon USB Video Remotes on eBay following the link (click here).

Screen Shot 2012-05-22 at 11.25.03 PMUSB VIDEO CONTROLLER Canon
find-price-button Canon mini USB Camera Control