Monthly Archives: November 2013

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The reason why these Seiki 4K Displays are so cheap is that they are just stripped down to bare bones. You won't find a tuner, or a set of quality speakers. There's no fancy aluminum housing with a coated glass screen. You won't find a Smart WiFi interface with Netflix, YouTube, or Hulu. It's simply a display, but for the price - a damn good display!

While i'm not quite ready to start editing 4K videos, or watch 4K content, the MacBook Pro Retina (I have the old version) is able to utilize the full 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160. I'm currently running an external Thunderbolt Display as my main monitor, but as I was looking for a second display, I decided to try this 39" 4K model. The colors are amazing, fonts are sharp, and images look great. I would not advise this to be a primary monitor for creative graphics use, but definitely a worthy addition as a secondary display.

Seiki 4K 60hz Display Monitor Macbook Pro Retina Mac Pro DesktopSeiki 4K TV HDMI Video Monitor Display Macbook
find-price-button Seiki 39" 4K HDMI Television 3840 x 2160 Display Monitor

My system can only support a 30hz refresh rate at full 4K, but considering this is my secondary display for static content it's not a big deal. Seiki also offers a 50" inch 4K Television (found here), but would be just too big as a monitor.

Now when the 39" version of this 4K TV hit retailers it was announced for $699. Over on eBay it's still listed for $580 (seen here). That's an amazing price for a 4K television today, but right now they are on sale for just $480! (found here).

[Update: 01.16.2014 it's currently listed at just $404]

Seiki 4K HDMI Monitor Macbook Pro Review Sample
find-price-button Seiki 39" 4K HDMI Television 3840 x 2160 Display Monitor

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Dynamic camera movements can really increase the value of your production, but also requires more man power (and budget). The ideas within this article are based on setting up a second camera on a Video Slider without having a second Camera Operator (completely unattended). This 'B' camera angle offers dynamic movements so that you can cut away to the footage when needed. This is an excellent idea and a few companies are already on the ball with new products (coming soon).

First up is the Kessler Parallax system that offers a mechanical Parallax panning motion to your video head as it tracks left and right. Neat trick, but to get this fully automated you'll have to tie in to the Kessler Oracle system, which not only adds additional cost in the end, but extra equipment to assemble during production. More info at http://www.kessleru.com/2013/09/update-kessler-parallax/

Next we have the RedRock Micro One Man Crew. This motorized slider offers a curved (Parabolic) track to keep your subject in focus as it moves left to right (and back again). Completely silent with options to set a limit on range, and control speeds. The best part is that it is an all in one solution that's quick to set up and quick to store away. Starting at $1500 dollars (seen here), it carries a decent price tag, but it will save you from hiring an extra person to man a sliding camera. After finishing this article, you may come to realize the price to be very reasonable. More info at http://store.redrockmicro.com/OneManCrew

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find-price-button Buy- RedRock Micro One Man Crew Motorized Parabolic Slider

Now i've been asked several times if this was something that could be built at home (a.k.a DIY). Here i'm going to introduce a very basic concept on how i've managed to accomplish the same 'ping-pong' / 'back-forth' effect on a cheap DIY motorized slider kit (seen here) with an additional $10 dollars worth of switches, wiring, and a relay, and absolutely no programming. It's basically a simple and dumb electro-mechanical system.

Unmanned, unattended, looping, automated, it all sounds pretty good. Yet you can see how this basic system fails to provide many of the 'Smart' features of the more expensive products coming to market. On the flip-side, one advantage is that with this basic circuit one can expand this idea outside of just a typical slider. (Yes i'm already working on those ideas).

DIY-Motorized-Slider-Cheesycam-Ping-Pong-Back-Forth-Automated
First Test - Building the Circuit Automated Looping Motorized Slider

Here's a schematic of my layout. You'll notice how each side of the motor has both negative and positive from the battery, but only one set is active from the DPDT.
Cheesycam-Schematic-Ping-Pong-Motorized-Slider
Click for Larger Version

How It Works:
Two 3 Pin NO+NC Momentary Micro Switches (as found here) at each end reverse the polarity of the motor each time they are triggered.

DIY Slider micro switch 3 pin NO NC
Example of 3 pin NC/NO Momentary Micro Switch

A 12V DPDT Relay (as found here) is either 'Always ON' until the slider reaches the opposite switch which drops power to the relay.

12V DPDT Relay DIY Slider Motion Control
Example of 12V DPDT Relay with Socket Base

In one direction, the relay is technically 'STUCK ON' by way of a tricky little feedback loop in the circuit. To turn the entire slider on or off, i'm just using the switch from the battery. In this example, i'm not using a speed controller, but one can easily be added.

[Update] If you have trouble following the schematic, I have another article with an easier way to create this setup. Others have successfully got their own sliders working. Check out the other article (found here).

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Some people want to stick with big brand names - nothing with wrong with that. So if you're looking for my suggestion in this area, one of my favorite Stabilizer + Vests combinations still to this day is the hybrid Steadicam Merlin Vest + Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer.

Obviously the Glidecam Stabilizer can be used without a Vest, when you just need to fly hand held. If you need the extra support for long hours of Steadicam work, you can mount the Glidecam to the Steadicam Merlin Vest (with an adapter).

Glidecam-HD4000-1
find-price-button Glidecam HD4000 Video Camera Stabilizer

The ISO ARM on the Merlin Vest can be dialed to fly both lightweight cameras as well as medium weight camera systems. This is a true 'Steadicam' branded vest, and build quality on the ISO Arm is top notch. Typically this vest runs $1600 dollars (some retailers still list this price), but recently it's been discounted for just $995 $849 (found here).

Steadicam Merlin Vest Kit
find-price-button Steadicam MERLIN-ARMVESTPK Upgrade Kit for Merlin $995

Now i'm not a fan of the Velcro straps on the actual vest part. So the only other thing I highly suggest getting is the Buckle Upgrade Kit (found here). This little kit will get rid of those nasty velcro straps that are both noisy and will eventually wear out. You can find that kit below (click here).

steadicam vest upgrade buckle velcro
find-price-button Steadicam Merlin Vest Buckle Upgrade Kit

So if you're working with the Glidecam HD4000 (or similar post) Stabilizer, to mate the two you can either DIY an adapter (as seen here), or you can pick up a ready made post from Berkey designed specifically for this Hybrid setup. Here's a link to the adapter required to allow the Glidecam Stabilizers to work with this Steadicam Merlin Vest.

Steadicam Merlin Glidecam Mod PostSteadicam Glidecam Post
find-price-button Berkey Glidecam Post Adapter to Steadicam Merlin Vest

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Tilta Matte Box Rig Cage BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Follow Focus
Tilta BMPCC Cage Shown with optional Tilta accessories

Now more options to rig up your BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cameras. The new Tilta BMPCC Cage which was announced earlier this year is available. If you're lucky you can find the cage only for around $250 US, or the complete kit which includes the Top Handle + 15mm Rail Clamp which may run you a bit over $400 US (found here).

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find-price-button Tilta BMPCC Cage Top Handle 15mm Rail Clamp

The Pocket Cinema Camera now offers amazing RAW image capture, but I do think to get the most out of it, you'll need to add-on a battery pack, and a good EVF (LCD) at the least. If you're trying to capture audio to the camera, that's an entirely different story, but this all boils down to using some type of rig to mount these items. The Tilta BMPCC Cage is just one other option to offer dozens of mounting points for your accessories including two cold shoes at the front of the Top Handle.

Tilta-BlackMagic-Pocket-Cinema
find-price-button Tilta BMPCC Cage Top Handle 15mm Rail Clamp

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Thanks to Rob for pointing out another one of those hidden Canon lens deals. This time it's for the Canon 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5 USM Lens. Keep in mind this is an EF-S mount for APS-C Canon cameras like the Canon 7D, 60D, T4i/T5i Rebel, etc.

It can also be used if you're rocking the BlackMagic Cinema Camera EF mount, or to get a wider view with cameras like the Pocket Cinema Camera (3X crop) & Panasonic GH3 with a smart adapter like the Redrock Micro LiveLens MFT Active Lens Mount.

Not the widest, nor does it have a constant fixed aperture, but it's a very sharp lens. Typically with these wide lenses, I'm always stopping down to F/5.6 anyways for Stabilizer use. Here's a 3 year old uncut BTS example of this Canon 10-22mm lens at work on a 60D with a Glidecam HD4000.

Normal MSRP puts this lens at $649 minus -$50 instant rebate, but as you proceed to the checkout (you must proceed to checkout to see price change) it drops down to just $529 (found here).

Canon10-22mm
find-price-button Canon EF-S Wide Angle 10-22mm F/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

FYI, there's also a checkout discount for the Canon 85mm F/1.8 Prime USM Lens. This lens will work on both APS-C and Full Frame Canon cameras. Following the checkout shows the price dropping it down to just $334.99 (found here)

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find-price-buttonCanon 85mm F/1.8 USM Prime Lens
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Getting started with V-Mount batteries is not a cheap investment. Even the cheapest V-Mount Battery + Charger Kit can easily run you well over $300+ Dollars. If you're looking to power up camera gear with a V-Mount battery, here's a closer look at a more affordable option using this adapter that can accept two common Sony L Series (NP-F) type batteries.

The V-mount adapter runs two 7.4V batteries in series to output between 13V-16V, and also has a d-tap connector if you plan to run a cable to power up optional accessories. The v-mount battery plate can be found via ebay (seen here).

Sony L Series V Mount Battery LED Light AdapterV-Mount Sony Battery NP-F L Series Cheesycam
Examples V-Mount Battery Adapter Sony L Series NPF LED Light K4000
find-price-button V-Mount Battery Adapter for Sony L Series NP-F Batteries

In order to use these adapters properly and to get the best results, you should be using two exact batteries. Although you can find many aftermarket Sony L Series batteries for cheap, they will often come in different sizes, capacities, and ratings. I suggest buying them in pairs and labeling them together. Check out some of the Sony L Series Batteries via Amazon (found here).

l series sony v-mount battery adapterSony Rig Battery Adapter V-Lock Vmountv-mount vlock sony npf l series adapter
find-price-button Sony L Series NP-F550, NP-F750, NP-F960, NP-F570, NP-F770, NP-F970

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From what i'm hearing there are many people out there using this portable video slider. In this video, i'm sharing a little tip on how i've personalized the Cinevate Duzi Carbon Video Slider by adding rubber o-rings.

The Cinevate Duzi slider is near silent as it cruises along the carbon rails, but as it reaches the end, the wheels touch the end blocks. By adding simple rubber o-rings, i'm able to get it right to the ends without making a sound. The o-rings also allow me to send end points along the slider if I need to ensure I stop at a certain point to get an object in sharp focus. Random yes, but hopefully it's helpful to the many Duzi slider owners out there.

Cinevate Duzi Cheesycam Review
find-price-button Cinevate Duzi Portable Video Camera Slider

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I'm not sure how many people have looked into one of Canon's latest Prime Lenses with IS (yes image stabilization), but today this seems like quite the deal. MSRP on this 28mm F/2.8 IS lens is normally $550, with current instant rebates of $50 bucks drops it down to $499 - but wait there's more!

Proceed to the Checkout at Adorama, and this lens drops all the way down to just $349 today (you have to proceed to the checkout to see the number change). [Update] FYI, you may have trouble seeing this deal on a mobile device so make sure you're behind a desktop/laptop. I've never tried this lens, but I'll leave it up to you guys to decide, check it out (Click Here).

Canon 28mm Prime IS Image Stabilization
find-price-button Canon 28mm F/2.8 Prime Lens with Image Stabilization

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Here's an overview of the Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope product that takes an HDMI input and outputs a variety of overlays to any HDMI monitor, display, or television.

When the Aputure V-Converter product was first announced, the specs listed it would take a 1080p input, but only output a 720p signal. A recent firmware upgrade now allows the unit to output to full 1080p. I'm sure all the new products shipped will have this update, but if you need to download it, check the Aputure website (here).

The V-Converter can be powered from a Built-in lithium battery, but it's not a product I think fits the run-gun type shooter. With a $340+ price tag, mobile shooters may want to just look into a portable LCD monitor with these features already built in.
Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope CheesycamCheesycam Review Extra Scope V-Converter Aputure
find-price-button Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope Pro Overlays

In my opinion, the V-Converter is a product that will mainly appeal to those who will be working on set, in a studio type environment, or on location that requires a large stationary monitor. It will be helpful in any setting in which you need to look across the room, check exposure, see if audio levels are peaking, and what's currently in focus. It may be a product that compliments video shooters who have a workflow streaming Wireless HDMI Video (like with these Radian Pro Kits).

Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope Review Cheesycam

Considering how cheap large LCD HD televisions are these days, this little product can add-on big features normally only found on very very expensive studio monitors. You can find more info about the Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope (here).

Aputure V-Converter-HDMIprice v-converter aputure scope hdmi overlay pro monitor focus peaking exposure
find-price-button Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope Pro Overlays