Monthly Archives: April 2014

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If you're not familiar with the history behind the website name, it's derived from many of the 'cheesy' ideas and 'cheesy' DIY projects that I've built and shared through this website. So here's another 'cheesy' project i've been tinkering with, and I thought i'd share where i'm at with it.

I was looking for a super portable platform dolly in which we can push around a camera operator. Traditional video doorway dollies were too large and expensive for my needs. I wanted something more compact, lightweight, and fast to get setup.

The dolly needed to be able to repeat a set path whether it be forward / back / side to side or even a curved path. For curved paths I wanted to be able to change the size of my arc. A repeatable Arc allows me to perform fixed point shooting. I wanted to be perform all of these functions without carrying a set of dolly tracks. It also had to be compact enough to fit in the trunk of my Honda Fit (small car).

I tested a few different ideas and came up with a very minimal design that only required two adjustable axles. I had no idea if this would even work, so I mocked up a table top version with balsa wood (seen below).

Cheesycam Prototype Dolly DIY Video PLatform Dolly Project

Once I knew the system would fold and track the way I needed it to, I started out with a 2x2 plywood base and bolted up steel square tubes. I literally went through a few sets of wheels including pneumatic ones, but to keep costs down I finally settled on these inexpensive smooth scooter wheels (found here).

Cheesycam DIY Video Dolly Scooter Wheels Track Dolly
find-price-button Scooter Wheels

The swiveling push handle costs under $8 dollars found on Harbor Freight (here). The push handle can be collapsed or telescoped when you need the longer length. It comes with a clip to hold it in place during travel.
cheesycam diy video track dolly push handle swivelswivel folding push dolly handle cheesycam
find-price-button Swivel Folding Compact Push Handle

My design keeps the entire system as compact as the platform itself, but as the axles expand it uses a wider stance. Once the axles are expanded, I have holes drilled into the platform so I can drop a bolt down and lock the axles in place. I have several holes depending on if I need it straight or curved. With these holes in place, I don't need to figure out if my axles are aligned. It literally only takes seconds to setup, break down, and change tracking positions.

DIY Video Dolly Cheesycam Platform curved track dolly arc tripod Cheesycam DIY Doorway Dolly Platform Tripod Track Dolly

You can place a tripod directly over the platform, but you will most likely pick up vibrations if the surface you roll on is not smooth. Our method is to place a camera operator onto the platform with either a hand held stabilizer, a gimbal, fig rig, or at least a shoulder rig. Since many cameras offer image stabilization, we're getting great results with a tool that is fast to setup and easy to move around.

Tripod Mounted DIY Video Dolly Track Curved Arc DIY Video Dolly Stabilized Camera GH4

So now that I was able to prove the basic design concept is functional, i'll probably recreate this with better materials, add some additional missing features (i.e. tripod lock), and give it a more professional finish with a rubber mat over the platform.

Well hopefully you found this project interesting and maybe even inspiring enough to build one yourself. If you liked this you'll probably enjoy some of the other ideas I will be sharing in the near future, so please subscribe to my YouTube Channel, Follow me on Twitter, or Like my Facebook Page.

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I've managed to collect a few cold shoe adapters over time, but one of the less popular ones are the type that can run a bolt over the top, allowing for a male threaded mount. These are especially handy with the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras which are built for mounting accessories directly to the camera body.

If you're looking for a simple cold shoe to mount a Microphone or LED Light to the top of a BMPCC/BMCC, here's a couple of solid metal adapters that i've run into. The first is the more affordable version via eBay (found here).

Cold shoe adapterblackmagic cold hot shoe adapter
find-price-button 1/4" Cold Shoe Adapter Male to Female mount

The next version offers the same mounting (over the top), but has added a nice firm pad under the adapter for a more secure non-rotating base. It's also shown mounted to a BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera.

Alzo Cold Shoe BlackMagic CinemaAlzo Cold Shoe
find-price-button Alzo Cold Shoe Adapter for BlackMagic Cinema Cameras

[NOTE] I shot this video in 4K on the GH4 and dropped it into a 1080p time line. You'll notice i'm 'punching in' to certain areas of the frame. I wanted to test the extra resolution to simulate a second camera of sorts. It still maintains full 1080p resolution even though i'm zoomed in on sections of the video. Just another benefit to having the 4K resolution even if you're not actually publishing 4K content.

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Here's a few deals on Samsung Media Cards you can't ignore. For GH4 owners this could also be good news. I've had a few days working with these Samsung SDHC cards and "so far" every bitrate/framerate i've been throwing at it has had no errors.

Samsung SDHC Media Cards for GH4
Cheesycam SDHC SDXC Cards
(yes I have a card collection)

Turns out with a max bitrate of 200Mb/s (bits) the speed requirements for your SDHC cards need only be 25MB/s (Bytes). Of course there's no guarantee the write speeds are 'sustained', but these Samsung SDHC cards are rated at 40MB/s Write and 80MB/s Read speeds, leaving a little bit of additional head room. If you plan to shoot 4K this actually drops down to 100Mb/s (less data rate) which means your card should support a constant read/write of at least 12.5 MB/s.

Just for kicks, here's a screengrab of the Samsung SDHC cards using the BlackMagic Disk Speed Test on my Mac.
BlackMagic Disk Speed Test

3 Pack Samsung SDHC Cards
find-price-button Samsung " 3 PACK " 32GB SDHC Pro UHS-1 Class 10 Memory Card, Upto 80MB/s Read, Upto 40MB/s Write

3 Pack 64GB Samsung SDHC Cards GH4
find-price-button Samsung " 3 PACK " 64GB SDHC Pro UHS-1 Class 10 Memory Card, Upto 80MB/s Read, Upto 40MB/s Write Speed

Now if you're curious as the type of numbers a Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC (found here) puts up, here's a screen grab. You can see the Read/Write speeds are much faster - but yes of course more expensive.
Sandisk Extreme Pro Speed Test

Another Samsung bundle is available for microSDHC / microSDXC Cards which work great for your GoPro Hero3+ cameras or anything that requires these small cards.
Samsung 32GB microSD Cards GoPro
find-price-button Samsung " 3 PACK" Pro Class 10 (UHS-1) 32GB microSDHC Flash Card with Adapter, Up to 70MB/s Read & 20MB/s Write Speed

64GB microSDXC Samsung goPro
find-price-button Samsung Pro Series " 3 PACK " 64GB Class 10 UHS-1 microSDXC Memory Card with Adapter, Up to 70MB/s Read/20MB/s Write Speed

For the GH4 camera, you need a card that can sustain a write speed of 25MB/s, which in most cases I can't seem to even get close to with my footage. Most of the stuff i'm shooting still sits way below this max requirement. Of course if you want something with even more than the Samsung 30MB/s, here's a more affordable Sandisk Extreme 45MB/s SDXC Card.

sandisk extreme 45mbs

My tests below show that it can at least sustain over 40MB/s read/write speeds and less than a $1/GB. Check it out (found here)

Sandisk 45MBs Extreme Cards


find-price-button Sandisk Extreme 45MB/s SDXC Cards

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NAB 2014, we stop in at the Big Balance booth. This company (at this time) is only focused on and entire product line of hand held gimbal stabilizers supporting a range from Smart Phones, Compact Cameras, Mirrorless Cameras, DSLR, and more.

Many gimbal versions from Big Balance include a thumb stick to actively tilt the camera, and some with remote control capabilities when the gimbals are used in distance from the operator. You can find more additional information about these products at the BigBalance.com website (here).

BlackMagic Pocket Gimbal Stabilizer Big BalanceBRENT-MUSTANG-SMALLBROWN-BEAR-580X320-PRODUCT-SHOT1
Big Balance Hand Held Stabilizer Gimbals

NAB 2014 Coverage Sponsors

Camera Motion Research Came_80x80banner Varavon fvlighting

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Most options for motion controlled sliders with automatic panning and fixed point shooting require battery power and the possibility of noisy motors. Kessler's Parallax on the other hand is a completely mechanical system that offers the same functionality of auto panning and fixed point tracking without worrying about carrying extra batteries or the introduction of noise.

The new Kessler Parallax system is available to work with almost every Kessler Slider (inquire before ordering). If you want to step up from manual operation, Kessler has also introduced the new UniDrive system. Combined with the Parallax you'll have continuous auto-looping fully automatic panning and fixed point shooting (not to mention advanced Time Lapse features). More information at KesslerCrane.com

Kessler Parallax for Kessler Sliders
Kessler Parallax System - Auto Panning Fixed Point Tracking for Kessler Sliders

NAB 2014 Coverage Sponsors

Camera Motion Research Came_80x80banner Varavon fvlighting

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Typically when you want slow motion from a DSLR / Mirrorless camera you shoot in 60fps and conform it down to your 24p/30p project. It's a bit different with the new GH4 and as someone who doesn't read user manuals, selecting these new framerates on the GH4 was just a little confusing so I thought i'd share this video.

By choosing 96fps VFR will give you 25% playback on your 24p Recording Frame Rate for slow motion. Choosing 2fps VFR will give you 1200% playback on your 24p Recording Frame Rate to simulate fast motion. Fast motion is a great option. Instead of doing interval Time Lapse images that have to be stitched in post, the GH4 will save the entire sequence into a single video file. Very fun feature that opens up more creative shooting options when you're out and about. Stay tuned for more GH4 tips.

Slow Motion GH4 Variable Frame Rate Option 96 fps

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The ability to shoot 4K has made the GH4 camera very popular, but also overshadows many of the other great reasons to buy a GH4. One of the stand out features is it's ability to shoot 96fps at full 1080p. The GearAddix Team immediately finds ways to abuse test this new feature.

The GH4 Camera is shipping now and you can find them available via B&H (click here).

Panasonic GH4 order stock inventory
find-price-button Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

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Yes, many users have already received the new Panasonic GH4 4K Mirrorless Camera, proof that pre-ordered cameras are shipping now. Also many retailers are carrying them in stock. My GH4 cameras have already arrived this morning, and if you want something now you can get it from Adorama (Click Here).

Panasonic GH4 order stock inventory
find-price-button Panasonic DMC-GH4 Body Only, Black - with 4K Video Recording

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NAB Show 2014, Rodney from Dracast gives us an early look at a more affordable and durable new LED light fixture designed to replace popular CFL Lighting fixtures still used in photo/video today.

The Dracast T1000 (pending name) uses dimmable strips of LEDs within the tubing and is available in both single color Daylight or adjustable Bi-Color tungsten-daylight. Additionally you can purchase the Bi-Color Fixture and replace the tubes with single color for greater light output. Definitely a solid alternative to more expensive KinoFlo type lighting that many of us still have to rent, and easier to transport without dealing with fragile CFL lamps.

Dracast LED CFL Light Bank Video Lighting Bi-Color Single Daylight
Dracast Dimmable Bi-Color 3/6 LED Tube Light Bank Video Lighting

The video shows a 3 LED Light Bank 2ft. model, but according to Dracast they are also making these new lights available in 3/6 LED Light Banks in 2 ft. fixtures, 3/6 LED Light banks in 4 ft. fixtures, and 3/6 LED Light Banks in 6 ft. fixtures.

Compared to the high end True Match® CFL lamps used in similar fixtures, replacement Dracast High CRI LED Tubes will be half the price. More information about the T1000 LED Light Banks will be available at Dracast website (click here).

Dracast NAB 2014 LED Video Lighting CFL Light Bank Killer
Dracast Dimmable Bi-Color 3/6 LED Tube Light Bank Video Lighting