Just about every single person I know who travels with equipment has at least a Pelican 1510 Rolling Hard Case. It's Carry-On size makes it perfect for bringing your gear onto a flight without having to risk damage or having it lost from baggage handlers.
A while back I purchased some pluck-foam inserts for my Pelican cases, but noticed I was not using them as much. Once pluck-foam is customized, you really can't make use of the hard case for an entirely new set of equipment - unless you purchase new pluck foam.
I love my Pelican cases, but they are too expensive to just be laying around and dedicated to one thing. I needed a better, easier, more modular organizing system. Of course there are padded dividers which use velcro to move around, but there's something far better out there and it's called TrekPak. Check out the video below.
So while I can't say it's cheap, the value is what you get in the long run instead of having to buy endless amounts of pluck foam. You'll most likely end up using your cases more often and the inserts are easier to reconfigure than velcro organizers. The TrekPak inserts are incredibly modular allowing you to utilize every possible inch of storage in your hard case. Right now TrekPak has complete kits available for a variety of Pelican | Storm Hard Cases. You can find a full list of TrekPak Kits available via B&H (click here).
TrekPak Hard Case Organizer Insert Kits
If you're looking for a rock solid rolling hard case to take on a flight, you gotta take a look at the Pelican 1510.
Now someone mentioned about 'loose articles' floating around the bag. Don't forget you can always get cheap plastic Plano tackle boxes for small batteries and media cards, or even Padded Lens Cases to house and protect your small items like wireless receivers, cables, etc.
The CAME-MINI feels solid, and you'll immediately notice the excellent build quality. To balance a camera on the CAME-MINI, it requires a hex tool for almost every adjustment, and the small frame means this will not work with heavier camera setups. Example: If you're thinking speedbooster and a Canon EF lens with a Sony A7s, this is not going to be the gimbal for you.
On the flip side, if you plan on using this with a GH4 and a small Lumix Lens like the 12-35mm it will work perfectly. Hopefully i'll have a video up after the weekend, but for more information take a look at the CAME-TV.com website (click here).
While this head may not be as smooth as the original 701HDV, the build is sturdy and perfect for tripods that are often set aside for a static angle, mounted to the end of a jib, used on a skater dolly, or even placed on a slider. All while still offering the compatibility of a Manfrotto 501PL plate.
Remember the versatile Z1 Rider GoPro Gimbal I shared a short while back? Well, the other day I had the opportunity to test it out while mounted to one of my Carbon Fiber Audio Boom Poles. Here are a few examples.
So while the footage may not be perfect, I think the results came out pretty well considering it only took a very minimal set of tools. The GoPro HERO4 is a camera small enough to fit in your shirt pocket, and the versatile design of the Z1 Rider Gimbal allows you to mount it almost anywhere you can mount the GoPro itself.
The original shots were done with a DJI Ronin Gimbal and Sony A7s (not seen here). Needless to say the footage captured from the Ronin was better, but with that heavy setup comes additional effort and risk.
Being able to move a tiny GoPro around at the end of a stick while having full three axis stabilization was both easy and fun. About 2:17 in the video even looks like Aerial Drone footage. Something i'll definitely be experimenting more with, though next time i'll probably choose a different framerate and turn ProTune On for best quality.
The Audio Boom Pole I used could have easily been replaced with a broom stick or cheap Painter's Pole. If you need a rock solid camera tripod mount adapter for a Painter's Pole, make sure to check out the adapter from SeaPort Digital (found here).
Seaport Digital Painter's Pole Adapter with 1/4-20 Male Thread
Rik Cordero of RunPlayBack.com gives us a little insight on the latest Atomos Shogun Firmware Update that now offers downscaling to 1080p on the HDMI output. The Atomos Shogun is primarily a video recorder mounted with the camera, and so this downscaled output feature is especially handy when you have to share the feed to a director's monitor (most people aren't working 4K monitors yet). The Shogun also now supports previewing 3D LUTS which allows you to get a better idea of your final grade so that you can set better color and exposure while recording.
Most of the cameras i'm capturing 4K from outputs via the HDMI port. Obviously, a few things I'm always worrying about is cables being pulled loose during production, or possibly even damaging the HDMI port. I've managed to do this on a few monitors already (including a SmallHD, and on a GoPro HERO3). I'd feel more comfortable if the Shogun HDMI had some type of protection.
The Shogun is still fairly new, but fortunately two companies are already working on Cage solutions for the Atomos Shogun. Any person who currently owns or plans to own the Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder should be interested in these new products.
I'm not a fan of this gimbal for anyone working with smaller cameras, but for those who have bigger camera setups or attempting to stabilize your cameras in aggressive situations this current price is a steal. SALE ENDS TODAY via B&H (click here).
[Update] Sale has ended. It's now back to a -$500 off price.
A short while ago CAME-TV sent over an upgraded version of their 7800 Gimbal. Now that the gimbal has officially been released on their website, here's a closer look at some of the improvements and optional accessories that now come with the Ready-To-Run 7800 Gimbal Kit.
The 7800 has seen many iterations, and even my last video with a 7800 does not even include half of the changes they've made available now. The 7800 model now comes with a Travel Case and a Gimbal Stand. These may be small items, but essential pieces that you no longer need to buy (or make). You can get started balancing your gimbal and flying as soon as you receive the item.
My obvious favorite is new Black Rubberized Hand Grips. Not only does this feel better but it really steps up the aesthetic of the product making it appear much more professional. The top handle has the same design that is easy to remove with a single socket cap screw, and each side handle is clamped on, and can simply be twisted to release the clamp.
New Rubberized Handles
The biggest addition that many should be excited about, is a tool-less adjustment knob that allows you to easily balance the YAW and another tool-less knob to easily balance the Roll. Combined with the sliding quick release plate in the camera frame, swapping lenses should now take seconds instead of minutes.
When you have to shoot video and move fast, the last thing you're thinking about is a Tripod. If you have to move fast with some type of stability, maybe you're thinking more along the lines of a good Video Monopod. In this video i'm showing you why I personally think the latest version of Sirui Video Monopods are at the top of my list, and how it offers more than other Top Brands.
[NOTE:] Because we have readers from around the world, we often provide various links to products. For USA buyers purchasing a SIRUI Product from an Authorized USA Retailer qualifies the product for a 6 YEAR WARRANTY. USA buyers purchasing overseas products will not qualify for the 6 Year USA Warranty.
The moment you pick up a Sirui Video Monopod you'll notice the build quality. Every moving part is precision made and the feature set is well thought out. The monopod can be detached from the feet for more compact travel, yet you can still use the Monopod without the feet, and you can use the Feet without the Monopod (as a small Tripod | Hi Hat).
A locking base prevents the Sirui Video Monopod from swiveling and panning, and a variable drag adjustment at the base allows fine tuning to the operator. Panning can be achieved from the fluid column, or you can lock down the panning feature. Check out the variety of Sirui Video Monopods.
So yesterday I spent a little time testing the Aputure DEC Remote Wireless Follow Focus Canon EF Lens Adapter. Keep in mind that all of the units that other reviewers have (including mine) are just prototypes. So everything that you see could change when they go to final production.
As mentioned in my earlier article, the prototypes available today can attach a Canon EF (autofocus) Lens to a Sony E-Mount or Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Camera and allow you to change aperture values and remotely change focus via a wireless remote. Here's a little video showing the Sony E-Mount DEC Adapter in use.
Since the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter relies on the internal motors of the lens being used, each lens may provide a slightly different experience. Some lenses may offer a smoother transition, while others may have a more prominent stepping motion moving from one focus point to the next. During slower focus movements some lenses will have a louder 'stepping' type noise, while other lenses may be a bit more silent. This is all based on the lens, and at this time not a lot of testing has been done.
In the 'current user manual' it lists several Canon EF L Series lenses, but I decided to try a few different ones such as the Sigma, the Canon 40mm STM, and a 50mm F/1.8. All of the lenses worked flawlessly to adjust iris and I could control focus. I was a bit worried the system would be buggy using random lenses, but so far it's taken everything i've thrown at it.
So while this is still a prototype, so far I think the Aputure DEC is an awesome product for anyone who needs to adjust focus on an adapted Canon EF Lens in situations where you can't normally reach the focus ring. For example when mounted on a Jib/Crane, Steadicam, or even a Gimbal.
Typically on any of my stabilizers i'm settled in with a very wide lens with the aperture stopped down and everything in focus. With the Aputure DEC I would be able to use a Gimbal with a Shallow DOF and focus from an object in the foreground to possibly a distant subject in the background. The focus changes can be quick, or they can be slow.
Will this replace all Follow Focus systems? Obviously not as it only works with Canon EF (autofocus) Lenses, and not manual focus Cine Lenses. The DEC (prototype) also uses a stepping motion which dependent upon the lens may or may not be smooth. There are still a few things that I think still need to be refined and changed on the DEC prototypes, which i'll be sharing with the Aputure company. One suggestion is having a more traditional wireless follow focus remote as the current one could be tricky tracking a subject back and forth if they move quickly.
Sony a7s Aputure DEC Sigma 18-35mm Atomos Shogun
Once a product like this becomes available on the market, I really think this will really impact how many consider changing focus remotely on Canon EF lenses today. It certainly opens up 'options' in the industry that were never available before. Maybe not so much Hollywood, but consider the large market of event, wedding, news, or other video shooters that don't need the precision of a high end WFF system and are shooting with Sony E-Mount and MFT cameras. Compared to other Wireless Follow Focus systems, the Aputure DEC is incredibly simple to use while offering the smallest and lightest possible footprint.
NAB2014 Aputure Announced DEC Lens Adapter Remote Follow Focus
I'm going to continue testing these DEC adapters and hopefully more focusing examples. The next one i'll set up is the MFT Mount which can Start/Stop video on cameras with a LANC connection. If you have any questions so far, leave them in the comments.