One of the most popular items on everyone's wish list is 'drones'. DJI is offering discounts on their Phantom 3 Quadcopters and accessories. They are also giving away 1 FREE OSMO every day for anyone who purchases a DJI Inspire1 Quadcopter during their 5 day Black Friday Sales Event will qualify. Check out the official DJI Black Friday Sales Event Page (link)
One of the hottest lenses right now for anyone switching over to the Sony is the newly announced SLR Magic 50mm F/1.1 Cine Prime Lens. It's said to be shipping in about two weeks for just $349. Covers Full-Frame Sensors with a geared Focus and clickless Iris Ring. F/1.1 is a pretty wide aperture and this also lens sports a 13 blade iris. Canon's 50mm F/1.4 I believe only has an 8 blade iris.
Every video shooters bag should have a good solid 50mm, and this one is far better for video use than an autofocus lens from Canon or Sony. Even cheaper (and most likely better designed) than a Rokinon 50mm. This looks like a winner in my book, but unfortunately only available in Sony E-Mount. Preorder now (link).
SLR Magic 50mm F/1.1 Cine Prime Lens for Sony E Mount
As you know most high end Cinema Prime lenses don't offer threads for screw on filters. Whether it be a BlackMagic Design Production 4K, URSA, URSA MINI, or even a RED, one thing about working with with cameras that lacks built in ND filters, is that you may have to work with drop in filters and heavy matteboxes. So we decided to come up with a cheap DIY 3D printed lens clamp of our own to hold filters in place.
Since we're working with the XEEN Cinema Primes that have a 114mm diameter we needed a filter that was oversized, so that it wouldn't obstruct a view on wide angle lenses. We found the most inexpensive and large filters were 145mm from the FotoDiox Wonderpana System. They also offer many different stops of ND and CPL Polarizers for more options to control your image.
The 114mm is a common size shared by Canon CN-E Cinema Lenses and even Zeiss CP.2 Cinema Lenses (and many others), so this little adapter will work on those lenses as well. The design can also be modified to clamp other filters to Ultra Wide or Fisheye lenses that can't accept front threaded filters. (I need to make one for my Rokinon Fisheye). If you're wondering how it actually clamps, there's a small 2" slit right that separates the clamp are from the filter holder. This allows the clamp to compress a few millimeters - enough to clamp very tightly.
Anyhow it's an idea I wanted to share as I'm sure there are many instances in which this lightweight filter clamp holder could be very advantageous. Here's some additional photos of our 3D Printed Filter Clamp Holder.
The Rokinon 135mm Cine DS Lens is currently on sale with B&H for about -$150 less than you'll find from most other retailers (sale ends in two days). Since i've been shooting mostly with the Rokinon XEEN Cinema Primes, i've been looking to add this lens to my kit until XEEN has more options.
A 135mm is a very popular focal length choice for portraiture. Unlike the Canon EF 135mm (autofocus), the Rokinon Cine DS lenses are better suited for those who shoot mainly video as it offers longer focus throws and easier to adapt to other camera bodies since it has a manual de-clicked aperture.
Sale is available for Canon EF, Nikon, or Sony E Mount lenses and ends in two days. Check it out (here).
Rokinon Cine DS 135mm T2.2 Lens
Earlier this year at NAB2015, I interviewed a company called 9.Solutions (nine dot solutions) regarding their innovative designs for rigging hardware for mounting, holding, clamping, or supporting various different kinds of equipment. Unfortunately the company didn't quite have their website ready, so the interview was not published. But now that things are in place with their new website, I'm happy to finally share this old interview video.
Here's a couple of their company videos demonstrating how some of their innovative clamps and quick mounts work. Far better than your basic super clamps.
Aside from these cleverly designed rigging hardware products, 9.Solutions pricing is affordable when compared to other options in the market. The Double Python Clamps are perfect for creating simple structures with existing stands, cheap pipes from your hardware store, or basic wood planks. Clamp it to a basic light stand to create a boom arm, hold flags, diffusers, or to put up a scrim.
The 3/8" Rods + Gags can be be used to add reinforcement components to a rig or to attach additional Pump Cups for supporting car mounts. Or to be used with mini flags and mini scrims for close up table top and product shots. The use cases are endless.
Example of two 3/8" rods, coupler, and Mini Python clamp to create a small boom arm for your Rode VideoMic Pro or use it place a small hair light above the talent. If you need a beefier system, they offer the full size Python clamp and you can opt to use 5/8" rods.
If you've ever had to rig up anything, I highly suggest you take a look at all their goodies. Most of the products seen in the interview video are available now (link below).
The DJI OSMO is not a perfect system, but certainly a quality device with outstanding image quality combined with a super smooth gimbal stabilizer. Battery life isn't great, and audio is pretty much non-existent without the aid of an external microphone. Another thing that really bugged me is that although they claimed the X3 camera on the DJI OSMO was similar to the X3 on the Inspire1 Quadcopter, the software (DJI GO) was not the same and lacked many of the color profiles and even lacked D-LOG which I use when I fly.
No worries because today they've updated the DJI GO APP and now you have 10 new color profiles - including D-LOG to achieve even better quality. Youtube member Ian W Arsenault put together this short video to show off these new profiles.
So to be clear you don't need to download any firmware, and you don't need to do an update to the OSMO hardware. All you need to do is update the DJI Go App (ios app store), and that will open up these new options and color profiles on your DJI OSMO.
Tip: If you're planning on picking up an OSMO I highly recommend getting at least one spare battery, and the ND Filter kit. The ND Filters will give you better control over your shutter speed to make the motion blur look more natural.
BAM! BlackMagic Design has just dropped a new 1.1 update for their 5" Inch 10Bit HDMI/SDI Video Assist Recorder/Monitor. I'm super excited about this latest announcement as it finally adds many features to the BMVA that everyone has been dying to have (including me). Focus Peaking, Zebra, Central Zoom (focus aid), and now Timecode over HDMI (does record trigger work now from GH4 and A7s?).
About Blackmagic Video Assist Utility
What's new in Blackmagic Video Assist 1.1
Adds Focus Peaking indication
Adds Zebra indication for setting iris
Adds central Zoom to aid focus
Adds timecode over HDMI
Improved battery information
Performance and stability updates
Video Assist PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS
5 Inch 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen LCD
Records 1080p up to 60 fps
ProRes and DNxHD 10-Bit, 4:2:2 Encoding
HDMI and 6G-SDI Video Inputs
Loop-Through Video Outputs
Stores to Single SDHC/SDXC Memory Card
On-Screen Histogram and Audio Levels
Dual Canon LP-E6 Type Battery Slots
AC Adapter Included
What a surprise! While this camera is pretty tough to find right now, DVEStore.com was kind enough to lend me one of their BlackMagic Design URSA Mini Cameras. I really did enjoy the quality coming from the big URSA, but it was a beast of a camera to manage out in the field. It required a heavy duty tripod and couldn't be shouldered for very long without fatigue. The URSA MINI is less than 1/3rd the weight at just 5lbs (camera body) with a more compact form factor, so very easy to move around and travel with.
The most stand out feature over the BlackMagic Production 4K camera, is that the URSA MINI offers 4K RAW up to 60fps (yes 4K/60fps!) and for just $2995 (here). That's cheaper than a Sony A7RII. There's additional modes for 1080 up to 120fps if you need faster. If you want even better quality, the URSA Mini 4.6K sensor will offer 4K RAW up to 80fps.
The basic package for the new URSA Mini doesn't come with the top handle, shoulder pad, extension handle, battery plate, or URSA EVF which is all options you can purchase to make a full shoulder rig camera. For now, I've had to improvise by assembling my favorite rig parts together (as seen below).
I would say the 'core' of the rig you see above is the SHAPE C100/C300 Rig setup with the Paparazzi Top Handle + SHAPE Pro Dual Follow Focus. The long 15mm Rails are lightweight Carbon Fiber from PVGear.com. The CAME-TV Shoulder Pad is placed directly under the camera, so it's very well balanced. But when the camera sits this far back, you'll need an EVF upfront. I'm using my Cineroid Retina EVF + Loupe.
I'm using CAME-TV 15mm Handles with Rosette joints. The BlackMagic URSA Mini Remote Handle just happens to be the exact same so I was able to replace one handle with the URSA Mini Remote. Now that I have most of this put together it's time to take it out this week for some test footage. If you guys have any questions about this camera, I have one here in my hands and i'll try to answer some. Otherwise you can get more information by contacting or visiting DVEStore.com
Here's a nice short piece from YouTube member InStar Films showing off the 4K Video quality of the new X5 MFT Camera mounted on the DJI Inspire1 Quadcopter. Stick around until the end of the video to watch some BTS footage.
For people wondering if they should purchase a Phantom 3 or Inspire 1, here's a few key differences. Obviously the Inspire1 has three different options for better cameras. But aside from X3 and the new higher quality Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R (4K RAW capable) cameras, the Inspire1 allows for dual operators. One operator can focus on flying and the other can focus on controlling camera movement - keeping a subject in frame.
Being able to raise the landing gears, the Inspire1 also offers unobstructed 360 degree panning of the camera without having to rotate the entire quadcopter. Because you have to rotate the entire orientation of the Phantom quadcopter, this takes more skill to simultaneously fly and keep a subject in camera frame.
The Inspire1 is a heavier system with stronger motors and larger props. The mass, size, and power allows the Inspire1 to endure heavier winds and obtain faster speeds. The new DJI Inspire1 with X5 4K Interchangeable Lens Micro Four Thirds Cameras are available now, and ships immediately.
For those who already own the DJI Inspire1 with X3, in order to upgrade, you'll need the landing gear risers, the Zenmuse X5 camera, and the Vibration Absorbing (mounting) Board. You can find the X5 Camera and Mounting Plate available here (link).
Now it seems like the Inspire1 Quadcopter with X5 camera is a hefty investment, but consider that the X5 can be used off of the Quadcopter and placed onto the new DJI OSMO Gimbal Handle. Overall, you may be saving instead of purchasing a small 4K Interchangeable Lens camera and a Handheld Gimbal system.