Monthly Archives: October 2015


With the popularity of drones, we're finding many projects are planned heavily around the use of aerial footage. So as a fail safe, we find it's a good idea to always bring a backup drone with extra batteries, extra remotes, and props, otherwise the entire project could be scrapped.

Our go to system these days is the DJI Inspire 1 4K Quadcopters, that comes with an excellent lightweight ABS case, but carrying it around on long hikes can be a pain - especially if you have to carry other equipment as well. Investing in a different case means more money, and most hard cases add-on an aditional 6 lbs. I really love the DJI Inspire1 lightweight ABS Case, but just needed a better way to transport them.

I decided to pick up two of these DJI Inspire1 Case BackPack Adapters. Four straps wrap around the standard case, and buckle in the center. The straps can be adjusted and holds the system very tight. There are a few extra pockets around the backpack to hold small items, and water bottle holders on each side. A waist and chest support strap also distribute the weight so it's very comfortable.

dji inspire1 backpack adapter ronin-m casedji ronin-m case inspire 1 adapter backpack
VIEW-ITEM DJI Inspire 1 Backpack Adapter

At first glance it looks a bit odd, but ask any Inspire 1 owner to try it out, and they'll be sold at how practical it is. And for DJI Ronin-M owners, don't forget the new ABS Ronin-M Hard Shell Case which looks very similar to the Inspire 1 case. This backpack adapter could work just as well when you have to travel with your gimbal.

VIEW-ITEM DJI Ronin-M ABS Plastic Suitcase


The PRO-XD is Azden's first 2.4GHz digital wireless lavalier microphone system available at just under $200 USD. The lightweight compact kit uses rechargeable batteries that can be charged over USB with a run time of up to 11 hours.

The Pro-XD kit is designed to work directly with cameras and comes with additional cables to be used with Smart Devices that require a TRRS connection (phones, tablets, computers). A great affordable tool for those looking to capture better audio on popular services such as Meerkat or Periscope when live streaming video from smartphones.

The transmitter accepts either line-in or mic input, and has the option of transmitting both simultaneously. A single transmitter can also be synced to multiple receivers, which is a great option for sending audio to multiple cameras for multi-angle shoots. The receiver also offers a headphone output for monitoring audio which is helpful when using some cameras that don't offer a headphone out (such as Canon 6D, Panasonic G7, etc.)

The audio is will not be as high quality as systems that costs several hundred dollars more, but for just $199 the Pro-XD Wireless Lav Mic system sounds better than trying to work with the in-camera microphone, and is far more convenient than trying to sync audio in post.

With the growing number of people working with smaller point-shoot systems or smartphones for video, I see this a great wireless kit option to consider. The ability to sync to multiple receivers means you can even shoot Multi-Cam angle interviews when covering events with clear audio using just iPhones.

The Pro-XD is available now and you can see more specs over at the product page at B&H (found here).
azden pro-xd wireless lav mic system
VIEW-ITEM Azden Pro-XD 2.4 GHz Wireless Lavalier Microphone System

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Varavon has recently re-designed their entire website, and for the new launch they are offering up to 50% OFF select products. I'm sure a lot of you have cut over to some of the new Sony cameras, so it's probably a good time to take a look at their Sony A7 series external battery options so that you can run at least 6x longer. They also just released the Zeus Cage for the new Sony A7RII/A7sII cameras. Varavon is also a popular brand for Video Sliders (also motorized sliders), DLSR cages, and rigs so take a look before the sale ends.

varavon grand opening sale
Varavon new website Grand Opening Sale


Someone commented earlier about a problem with the BlackMagic Video Assist Recorder/Monitor stuck capturing only 1080/60p. This is actually a problem I ran into a while ago even on the Atomos Shogun, so the problem is not with the BMVD, it's with the Sony A7RII and Sony A7sII.

Even if you set your HDMI output to 1080/24, it will only output 60p 'if' you have your camera recording set to 4K/24. In order to fix (more like workaround) this issue, you have to change your camera recording to 1080/24, and then your HDMI will output properly.

It's annoying, but not a big deal if you know how to work around the issue. So I just wanted to clarify that the issue is not with the BlackMagic Video Assist Monitor.

The monitor has been great over the last few days, and i'm excited to use it more but my SDXC cards aren't fast enough. I'm getting dropped frames when recording 60p footage. Anyone have suggestions on what you're using for 60p footage?

blackmagic video assist monitor
VIEW-ITEM Blackmagic Design Video Assist HDMI/6G-SDI Recorder and 5" Monitor


Just an idea we threw together for a 4th Axis stabilizer that could dampen the 'Up/Down' movement from a gimbal when walking. Using 3D printed parts, the oil filled coil over shocks dampen both up and down movements. An inverted gimbal sits above the cheese plate and the operator holds the stabilizer using the outside handles.

The current setup with spring rating and oil viscosity currently can dampen around 5lbs. This can be changed by using different springs, adding spring clips, and or changing oil viscosity in the shocks. If you look very carefully, the design inspiration comes from a double wishbone-like upper and lower control arms found on sports cars (in this case large scale RC cars).

Some of you who follow know that i've been mounting my GoPro on one of my RC Cars, and I was truly surprised at how much movement could be dampened from this type of suspension.

It's already been proven that this type of suspension works to dampen movement even with large gimbals, as it's already in use with RC Gimbal Cars such as the FreeFly Tero RC Gimbal Car. We basically took the same idea and designed it into a handheld system.

freefly tero remote control gimbal car suspension
VIEW-ITEM FreeFly Tero Gimbal RC Car

Just for fun we wanted to see this idea in action, so we 3D printed all the parts and made this little prototype. In two days we went from sketch to prototype. We'll keep experimenting with this idea trying to tweak it and make a final metal version, but it would be interesting to see if this simple design is evolved by other people or companies in the near future.


We recently shot for a few days with the new Sony A7s II camera in SLOG3, and although we already knew it was a top performer in low light situations, we didn't need to go past ISO 3200. But just in case, I wanted to run my own personal tests to see how far this new camera can be pushed.

WARNING: This next video is boring, nothing scientific. I also looped the video 4 times (basically same video) but seen in 4 different ways. It was something I was doing for myself, but thought I would just share it anyways.

The video was shot in 1080/24p and recorded via HDMI to the BlackMagic Video Assist Recorder in ProRes HQ. Now even though this is a 10bit recorder, the Sony A7sII I believe still only outputs 8bit via HDMI. The difference for the A7s is that 4:2:0 is recorded internally while HDMI out is 4:2:2. A small advantage. (I could be wrong, let me know).

I ran the footage through Davinci Resolve using the built in Sony SLOG3 to 709 LUT, applied noise reduction, sharpened it back, and then purposely overly saturated the image. Normally I wouldn't push the saturation this much, but I wanted to see how much color info could be recovered. The footage was shot in near darkness so it was surprising to see any color come back at all.

So anyways, nothing scientific or fancy. This was just a personal test to see how comfortable I would be in using these extreme ISO settings on projects if I really had to, and just how well they may hold up with some post processing. I really don't see myself going past ISO 6400, but it's pretty amazing to see even ISO 128,000 still hanging in there.

I'm seeing more and more people scooping this camera up right now, with all the confirmations about just how good it is. While out of stock in most big retailers, there's still about a dozen left via Amazon. (click here).

Sony A7s II A7sII Mark II
VIEW-ITEM Sony A7s II 4K Video Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

I've already sold my original Sony A7s. Besides 4K internal recording, better Slow Motion, and a more manageable SLOG3 profile, it was worth the upgrade. If you're an existing A7s owner, check out this article on a few reasons why you may want to upgrade (read article).

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I'm not exactly sure when they made this available, but unlike the first (large) Ronin, when the DJI Ronin-M Gimbal was first released, it didn't come with a travel case.

I eventually decided on a carry-on sized hardcase myself, but now here's a custom Ronin-M case direct from DJI. If you're familiar with the Inspire1 travel case, it's a semi-hard exterior made from ABS plastic and a custom cut foam interior.


VIEW-ITEM DJI Ronin-M ABS Plastic Suitcase

Designed for the Ronin-M, the outside shell of this carrying case is made with ABS, a material that's both strong and light. On the inside, the highly resilient EPP material is used to help absorb pressure and vibrations. Besides protecting your Ronin-M Gimbal and all its accessories from collisions, the case is also moderately water-resistant.

Material: ABS (Outside), EPP (Inside)
Color: Black
Size: Approx. 51.5cm long x 38.6cm wide x 23.4cm high

Available now at web store (found here).

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Some of you may already have pre-ordered the new Sony A7s II camera, but if you didn't don't worry. The Sony A7s II is officially in stock today with B&H. I'll be honest, I didn't pre-order, but I did place an order today so I should get mine early next week.

sony a7s II camera 4K internal
VIEW-ITEM Sony Alpha a7S II 4K Video Mirrorless Digital Camera

I've already sold my original Sony A7s. Besides 4K internal recording, better Slow Motion, and a more manageable SLOG3 profile, it was worth the upgrade. If you're an existing A7s owner, check out this article on a few reasons why you may want to upgrade (read article).


BlackMagic Design Vdieo Assist Monitor Recorder

The BlackMagic Video Assist Recorder / Monitor has been on pre-order status since it's announcement back in April. A 5" LCD Monitor with Histogram that can record 10-bit 4:2:2 video from HDMI and 6G-SDI inputs up to 1080p60. It records to inexpensive high-speed U1 SDHC/XC memory cards using industry-standard Apple ProRes (HQ, 422, LT, or Proxy) or Avid DNxHD codecs.

VIEW-ITEM BlackMagic Video Assist 5" LCD HDMI 6G-SDI Monitor Recorder

Note: This is also a perfect addition for those looking to invest in the new Micro Cinema Camera as part of the design is intended to control the camera.
blackmagic design micro cinema camera

A 5 inch screen is a perfect balance between a small EVF and a large 7" screen. Today I have news that pre-orders are being fulfilled. If you're looking to grab one right now has advised me that they have only about a dozen left. No waiting - In Stock only a few left. See more photos and Read more specs about the BlackMagic Video Assist 5" LCD HDMI 6G-SDI Monoitor Recorder (HERE).

video assist monitor recorder blackmagicblackmagic design monitor recorder
VIEW-ITEM BlackMagic Video Assist 5" LCD HDMI 6G-SDI Monoitor Recorder