Monthly Archives: September 2013


A short while back, I showed an example of how to use RGB Color Changing LED lights to add a splash of color to your backdrop (found here). It's a bit of a DIY, but supposedly you can choose 16 million colors as a backsplash controlled wirelessly by your iPhone.

If you're looking for something much easier, YouTube member TaylordFilms shares another option by use of this Waterproof outdoor RGB LED Flood Light. [Thanks Steve]

These durable outdoor flood lights are available in various sizes. The one shown in the video is a smaller 20 watt model found for under $40 dollars, but if you need more light output, you can also find a 50 watt version via Amazon (click here).

LED Outdoor Flood Light Color Change RGB LEDRGB LED Color LightColor Changing Outdoor Flood LED
find-price-button RGB Outdoor Color Changing LED Light



If you know a thing or two about stabilizers, the new 2013 XCAM Sabre brings a few new much welcome features that are typically only found on much larger systems. The design is still based on the original compact mini XCAM with quick folding legs, but now has a vertically adjustable Gimbal along a Carbon Fiber post. This adds another fine tuning option that should make balancing lightweight cameras much easier.

XCAM Sabre Adjustable Gimbal Carbon Fiber Post

Unlike the original XCAM that is limited to small cameras, the 2013 XCAM Sabre now includes a telescoping post that drops the sled lower to support even heavier systems. This essentially makes the system more bottom heavy without actually adding additional weights.

Telescoping Sled Supports Heavier Camera Systems

Now if you happen to have a camera that is just too lightweight like the Sony NEX, you'll need to make your camera heavier, so the listing also throws in a few top camera weights. You can find more information about the XCAM via eBay (click here).

find-price-button 2013 Version XCAM Sabre Mini Telescoping Stabilizer



Here's a closer look at the Dynamic Perception Stage One Motorized Slider along with the new AT2 Joystick for real time motion control. The standard bundle can be purchased non-motorized ready to use manually for any of your video productions - silent, smooth, and breaks down as small as 20" for travel.

If you feel the standard bundle isn't long enough, expanding to 6,8, or even 10 feet is easy with their seamless rail extension kits available in Aluminum or Carbon Fiber. Each extension kit includes a mid-span support, so you can provide proper support no matter how long your track becomes. If you're too lazy to add multiple sections of 20" rails together, they offer longer sections up to 60" each (obviously not as travel friendly).
Dynamic Perception Joystick Cheesycam Review Stage One Motorized SliderDynamic Perception Carbon Fiber Rail Kit Extension
Stage One Base Slider Bundle and Carbon Fiber Rail Extensions

When you're ready to take it to the next level, you can always upgrade along the way, or just start out with one of the Motorized Slider Bundles that include a highly programmable controller that can be expanded to control more than one motor for more advanced motion such as a pan/tilt head.
AT2 Controller Dynamic Perception Joystick Cheesycam Review Stage One Motorized Slider Bundle
Stage One Complete Motorized Slider Bundle

Like many motorized slider systems, when using the Stage One motion control during a live video shoot, noise will be apparent. The camera sits directly on a stage with the motor very close to the camera. Depending on the speed and motor you choose, the noise may be picked up even if your microphone is a small distance from the slider. Still you can always switch to manual mode by removing the drive belt and simply operating by hand which is very smooth and very silent.

When you need real time motion control operation, the new AT2 Joystick controller is the optional accessory to get. The AT2 Joystick also offers a cruise mode for hands-free operation. The AT2 easily lets you control direction and speed in real time.

AT2 Controller Dynamic Perception Joystick Cheesycam Review Stage One Motorized Sliderat2-3
AT2 Joystick Real Time Motion Controller

Don't forget Dynamic Perception is giving away a brand new Stage One Motorized Bundle + Extras. The bundle has been upgraded to include (2) 20" Carbon Fiber Rail Extensions, the Quick Motor Swap system, and (2) DC Swappable Motors, plus the AT2 Real Time controller. Registration ends this week, so follow the link below to register.

stage_one_motorized_slider_bundle_tu_201c6278f91149dae18166a90b9ea5bc Stage One Motorized Slider Bundle
A complete Stage One Motorized Slider Bundle ( including 2 20" carbon fiber extensions) upgraded with the Quick Change Motor System, 2 swappable DC motors and the real-time video controller the AT2. It's a pretty tricked out setup sure to make any time-lapser very happy.
Simply add camera, support and creativity; The Stage One Complete bundle adds to our other bundles and includes the rest of the ingredients to start shooting. (Continue Reading..)



OEM Panasonic Battery Grip will run you $199 dollars (as seen here). The good news is now there are aftermarket battery grips available for the Panasonic GH3 camera starting around $65 bucks. The bad news is that they still have the tripod mount located offset from the optical center, which mainly sucks if you're trying to use a set of rails.

Still, I guess you can't complain when it's $135 dollars less than the OEM version. Some listings include an extra set of batteries and charger. Check them out already available on eBay (click here).

Aftermarket Battery Grip GH3 Camera PanasonicPanasonic GH3 Battery gripPanasonic GH3 grip Battery Aftermarket Cheap
find-price-button Aftermarket Battery Grip for Panasonic GH3 Battery



For about $65 dollars, one would think that the Kamerar QV-1 LCD View Finder would be using a very cheap optical element. Seeing how sharp the screen looked through the loupe, I inquired if it was real glass. They stated that it was indeed glass and not your average cheap resin (plastic) element found on other cheap VFs. Of course, instead of just taking their word, I decided to perform a little burn test.

Plastic or resin view finders should have shown signs of damage under similar conditions, while the Kamerar QV-1 element remained completely unscathed. Well if it's not plastic, it sure is pretty damn good. I think there's a decent amount of people already working with this view finder, so what's your feedback about the product? Leave a comment below.

You can find more information about the Kamerar QV-1 LCD ViewFinder at the product page (click here).

QV-1 LCD View Finder Kit
QV-1 LCD View Finder + QV-1 Kit with QB-15 Quick Base



Have you ever tried adding a snoot to your LED Video Light to obtain a nice spot? This might work to prevent spill, but it doesn't truly refocus the light output or improve throw distance. You can find plenty of halogen style lights, but the best thing about LED Lighting is low power consumption, low heat, and typically has the option to run on batteries for remote location use. Unless you want to lug around a huge light (like these), choices are limited when trying to find a good LED spotlight in a small form factor.

These KOLL Solari LED Lights on the other hand use an interesting fresnel lens filter that not only creates various sized spotlights, but actually refocuses the full light output making the spotlight brighter and allowing for further throw.

Three separate filter trays on the KOLL Solari are only a few millimeters apart, but can drastically change the size of the spotlight effect depending which slot you choose. The concentration of power into a single spotlight definitely works on these lights. Now i'm more curious to see what the L15 Spotlight (more than 3x brighter) would look like compared to this L3. Maybe i'll get a chance to test this in the near future.

Full-Koll-LED-Solari Koll-Solari-Fresnel-Spot-1
Koll-Solari-Fresnel-Spot-2 Koll-Solari-Fresnel-Spot-3
Koll Solari L3 LED Video Light Samples

Starting at around $350 dollars, these lights are pretty pricey, but while basic Barn Doors on LED lights won't offer more than a simple light blocking, these Solari lights truly focus light output and improve throw in a portable compact design. The Solari uses high power LED bulbs and are available in an L3 LED Light (seen in video) Illuminance: 720 lx, L5 LED Light Illuminance: 1630 lx, and an L15 LED Light lluminance: 2300 lx.

More info and technical specs about the KOLL Solari On-Camera Spot Flood LED Video Lights can be found at the F&V website (Click Here)

Koll Solari L3 LED Fresnel LightKoll Solari L5 LED LightKoll Solari L15 LED Light
find-price-button Koll Solari L3 L5 L15 On-Camera LED Video Lights



Over the weekend I spent a day shooting with a new BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera out at Monterey, CA. This time around I was prepared with 6 batteries and over 200GB of space with compatible SDHC cards. Needless to say, my time spent with the camera was much more pleasant than my very first experience. The video below is an example of the footage straight from the camera along with an image that had basic contrast + saturation added.

The shots were mostly handheld, with an LCD ViewFinder (not yet released product) attached to help me with focusing and while working in bright daylight. An LCD ViewFinder is a must have with this camera! Below is the same video without the ProRes crop.

I had a pretty decent idea of the lenses I wanted to take out with me, so I settled on just the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 pancake, Panasonic 12-35mm F/ 2.8 OIS, and Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye. BMPC users on a budget should really look into the Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye and the 12-35mm F/2.8 as part of their everyday kit. The fisheye doesn't look overly distorted and offers a decent wide view angle for cheap money, while the Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS is a great overall lens that will offer fairly stable shots completely hand held.

 Suggested Micro Four Third Lenses for Pocket Cinema Camera

7-14mm Pocket Cinema Camera
7-14mm F/4
12-35 BlackMagic Pocket Lens
12-35mm F/2.8
35-100mm Panasonic Pocket Cinema Camera BlackMagic Lens
35-100mm F/2.8
Rokinon 8mm Pocket Cinema Camera
7.5mm Fisheye

find-price-button BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera - via

find-price-button BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera - via B&HPhotoVideo



Nope, that's not a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema 3D Rig. That's just two BMPC cameras side by side for a little test. One of the most popular discussions about the BMPC is the 'Blooming Sensor' or 'White Orb' issue. It happens when there are specular highlights in the video that turn into perfectly circular flat white disks or golf balls on screen. The fix (according to BlackMagic Design) is to send your camera back to them and have the sensor calibrated.


If you've been following this blog, you'll know that I received two BlackMagic Pocket Cinema cameras from B&H Photo a few weeks ago. One of them right out of the box had a sensor issue and I was lucky to get it replaced by BlackMagic Design themselves. Did you catch that? This new camera came from BlackMagic Design's office directly. So i'm hoping that this new camera has a 'calibrated sensor'. I'm going to try and take them out and let's see what the results of a side by side video test shows.





Here's a little review on another new and affordable Stabilizer Vest System for lightweight camera setups to medium sized cameras. This is the Came / Laing X-15 Vest+Arm matched up with the Laing P-04 Hand Held Stabilizer.

The Laing products have been around for quite some time, and I hear about RED Camera operators using the larger Laing stabilizers as an affordable option for flying heavy camera systems. The kit I have here is pretty heavy duty, each part feels very solid, and the entire bundle comes with a nice padded carrying bag.

Laing-Came-Carry-Bag Laing-Vest-Arm-Kit-X-15-P04

The Laing P-04 Stabilizer handle matches up perfectly with the small post on the X-15 ISO Arm. If you're thinking about trying to match this up with a Glidecam, just be aware that the standard rotating post is pretty short. The bottom weights can shift forward/back on the sled, the bottom post is adjustable, and the Gimbal can be positioned vertically along the post. It's pretty much got every adjustable feature available.

Laing-Stabilizer-Vest Laing-Gimbal-Adjustment-Balance

The top stage has a quick release cheese plate and features all the fine tuning knobs you'll need to balance your camera. Just be aware that the top stage may require a bit of cork to keep your camera from shifting it's position.

Lower-Sled-Laing-P04 Laing-P04-Top-Stage

The Laing Stabilizer Vest can be adjusted to fit taller or smaller frames, and the Arm is mounted to a quick release socket block. Velcro straps adjust the vest very nicely and buckles are used to climb in and out of the vest.

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The X-15 ISO Arm can easily be dialed to support an even lighter setup than my Canon 5D Mark II + Sigma 20mm lens, but can also be dialed up to support heavier camera setups than the BlackMagic Cinema Camera. Hopefully that gives you a general idea of the weight range it supports to see if it will work with your current equipment.

Laing-Canon-5D-BMCC-BlackMagic-Stabilizer Vest BMCC-Cage-BlackMagic Design Laing X-15 Stabilizer Vest Kit Review Video Sample

I can say for DSLR Video Shooters or even BlackMagic Cinema Camera shooters this vest is good. Actually for the price you could consider it to be very very good. Is it as good as the real Steadicam brand? Well, with my lightweight DSLR camera setup I felt the arm wasn't totally as smooth as my Steadicam Merlin ISO Arm, but results were much better once I mounted a heavier camera system like the BlackMagic Cinema Camera. On it's own, the Laing P-04 Stabilizer works excellent, but it seems adding a bit more weight to the X-15 Arm and Vest will yield better performance from the arm.

For more information about the Laing X-15 Vest Arm and P-04 Hand Held Video Stabilizer System, you can find more details on the following eBay product pages (click here).

Came-Laing-X-15 VestLaing X-15 Arm VestVest-Stabilizer-Laing-X15-P-04
find-price-button Laing X-15 Vest w/ Laing P-04 Hand Held Stabilizer

Laing P-04 Stabilizers available now on eBay