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One of the items i've made a habit of bringing to my projects are RGB LED Lights. You never know when a splash of color could add something different to an otherwise plain video clip. The Timpani is one of the latest (and largest light) available from the Luxli company who specializes in RGB LED lighting. But instead of bringing a different set of lights for interviews, and a different set for accent lighting, the Timpani is all inclusive. So it keeps things simple when your packing for your next project.

The Timpani carries very high CRI Ratings at any color temperature, but can be switched over to RGB mode for any type of HUE. Along with the RGB color choice, there are built in FX that can be used to add creativity with your projects. The Timpani is able to control these effects right from the LED Light. With previous Luxli lights, the FX Modes could only be controlled through a smartphone app.

The output is bright enough to be used a key in talking head interviews, or even as a fill light outdoors (when walked in closer to your subject). Build quality is top notch which is mostly aluminum that acts as a heat sink. So it's dead silent as there are no noisy fans to worry about. The Timpani's user interface and controls are easy to navigate, and with the Smartphone app it's even easier to choose a color, adjust brightness, or modify your FX.

If there is anything I would knock, it would be the Yoke mount and that it doesn't include even a soft case. The Yoke mount holds fine once you lock it down, but adjusting it to various angles with the 4 knobs takes a bit of fiddling. It's not a cheap LED light, and it would have been nice if there was at least a soft case to prevent any scratches. I'm still trying to figure out a good case to use with the Timpani so if you have any suggestions let me know. But so far, the Luxli Timpani has been one of the most versatile LED lights i've had the chance to work with. Anytime I need to use a light for any reason, the Luxli Timpani has been able to fit into any project. The Luxli Timpani is available now (click here).


crystal 800 wireless Luxli Timpani 1x1 RGBAW LED Light

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Syrp is a company well known for their motion control setups such as the Genie II and Magic Carpet slider. Their latest video slider the Magic Carpet 'Pro' has been designed to produce supremely smooth tracking moves with much heavier camera weights of up to 70lbs / 32kg. The new design incorporates tool-less set up with the added benefits of an integrated Flywheel, a patent-pending Quick Release System, and the ability to connect multiple Tracks together for longer tracking movements.


There are no loose parts that could potentially get lost during setups. No thumb knobs, no drive belts, etc. The Carriage-integrated Flywheel keeps your tracking shots smooth as it ramps up rotation and ramps down at the end of your movement. Best of all, the flywheel can be de-activated with a press of a button.


[Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Integrated Flywheel]

Each Magic Carpet Pro comes with precision-machined Track Joiners, enabling you to infinitely add length. Adding or removing a set of extension rails is simple and quick using just a locking lever. The Magic Carpet Pro legs (used for leveling on an uneven surface) also attach at the end of the rails through locking levers, and adjustments of each leg of the slider adjusts quickly through a locking lever of it's own.


[Syrp Quick Adjustments Locking Lever]

The Quick Release System attaches to your tripod head so that you can setup or pack down with ease. The End Caps work with the classic rope system design to be used with the Syrp Genie or Genie II for integrating motion control. At each end is a small roller wheel that can be used to attach a counterbalance weight when going vertical with your movements.


[Syrp Quick Release]

The Magic Carpet Pro slider is available in a 2' (60cm) and 3' (90cm) length, and a combo package which includes both 2' and 3' rails is also available for up to 5' of travel. You can find more information about the new Syrp Magic Carpet Pro video slider (here).

Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Video Slider Flywheel
crystal 800 wireless Syrp Magic Carpet Pro Video Slider

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Here's a look at one my favorite lightweight gimbals as of late, designed for popular small cameras such as the Panasonic GH4, GH5, GH5s, or even the Sony A6500. The Moza AirCross is lightweight, packs up small, but most importantly has performed flawlessly over the last several months on every project i've used it on. In fact a few of my friends who have tried this gimbal with their GH5 cameras have also opted to switch to the Moza AirCross.

The Moza AirCross can support payloads of up to 4lbs which is enough for most mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras using native lenses. The AirCross has a 12 hour battery life, but as an option you can power your camera from the gimbal using a dummy battery adapter. Taking it one step further, you can actually power the gimbal from an external 12V battery if for some reason you think you'll need unlimited runtime.

One thing I didn't touch on in my video is the Moza Assistant smartphone App. This app has a nifty feature that allows you to use the Moza AirCross for 2-Axis motion control timelapse.

As you switch between a lighter or heavier payload, the Moza AirCross also has built in Auto-Tuning to eliminate any vibration or oscillations normally caused by too little or too much power to the motors. The wireless remote utilizes accelerometers and Gyros. These built in sensors allow the remote/gimbal to mimic the movements of the operator. Just by physically moving the remote you can control Pan, Tilt, and Roll from up to 50 meters away. If you're working with the smaller camera setups (under 4lbs), I see no reason why you shouldn't consider the Moza AirCross.

Moza AirCross Gimbal
crystal 800 wireless Moza AirCross Gimbal

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Mark my words, 2018 is going to be all about RGB (multicolor) LED Video lighting. On this topic, here's an overview of a new set of portable RGBAW LED lights from Luxli called 'CELLO'. The CELLO is a new 10" light, and somewhat similar to the 5" VIOLA. If you haven't already seen my earlier video review on the VIOLA, you can see that video (here).

While similar to the original VIOLA, the CELLO LED has a new feature for choosing Colored Gels through it's menu (or through smartphone app). This feature adds a new dimension for being able to select a very particular RGB color, and also being able to repeat the choice in the future. Most other RGB Lights have very basic controls for RGB, and not quite as refined as Luxli has done with all of their products.

While I haven't done any testing on output, these 10" RGBAW LED Lights put out a good amount of power. Luxli rates this as 24W from this 176 LED panel. Below i've embedded a BTS clip where we used (2) Cello LEDs on one side of this truck, and (2) Viola LEDs placed under the truck. These small lights were more than enough to accent this large vehicle. In the final video, we used a 1x1 Luxli Timpani panel light only to to hit the back wall.

You are able to control most of the features directly from the CELLO light itself, but there are more functions available when using the iOS App. Here you can control lights individually, and also in a group. Other FX features become available such as strobing and cycling of different hues. One example I have used this feature on is to simulate a television screen. And regardless what color you choose, or how much you dim the light, they remain flicker free at the shutter speeds I have done up to 240fps.

Overall these lights have completely replaced the workflow I would have to do working with sets of colored GEL sheets. Not only speeds up production, but also keeps things neat and tidy. All of the Luxli LED lights I have used feel very durable, and I highly recommend them if you're looking to start working with more color on your projects.


crystal 800 wireless Luxli CELLO 10" RGBAW LED LIGHT

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[Product Description]
The Ronin-S gives independent filmmakers the power to capture spontaneous moments with clarity, smoothness, and a refreshing perspective.

SmoothTrack applies to all three axes. Hold down the front trigger to transition from Upright to Underslung Mode in one seamless movement with no gimbal framework obstruction. New Sport Mode allows you to capture fast-moving scenes instantly.

The detachable, modular design of the Ronin-S makes it easy to fit inside a backpack on your travels. Thanks to the industry standard quick-release plate design, you can easily mount the camera onto the gimbal for tracking shots or on a tripod for stills.

The Ronin-S's innovative framework elevates camera payload above the roll axis, making the camera's built-in display obstruction free and always in your line of sight. In addition to providing an unobstructed view, the angled roll motor allows for more space to balance bulkier setups.

SmoothTrack technology allows you to transition from motion to camera angle with one hand. Switch between three user profiles with a simple click on the M button, and capture fast-moving objects in Sport Mode by holding it down.

The ergonomic design of the Ronin-S frees unwanted shake when shifting from underslung to an upright position in one smooth take. The detachable design offers numerous usage scenarios. Mount it to an RC buggy for low-to-the-ground tracking shots or let it act as a stabilized remote head when attached to a jib. This detachment feature also makes it more convenient for easy storage.


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There's a specific shot I need to do where I first follow a subject and then jib up to reveal the landscape. I could do this with a drone, but i'm afraid the dirt path could kick up dust. So I thought to simply attach a gimbal at the end of a pole. Most people i've seen doing jib shots with a gimbal are using monopods or boom poles, but because I wanted to possibly get more height, I needed a much sturdier telescoping post. A post that won't flex, bend, or break.


Impact C-Stand

What I decided upon was to use the beefy post of my C-Stand. The trick now was to attach the Moza Air Cross 3 Gimbal at the end with my GH5s. I found that the 9.Solutions Python Double Clamps (found here) worked perfectly to lock the gimbal in place.

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The Python Double Clamps are just one of many innovative products from 9.Solutions. The clamps simply let you clamp one thing to another, and the clamps can rotate as well. From a flat table, to square tubing, to round bars the shape of the Python clamp allows it to work across many different shapes. Even if you're not planning to attach a gimbal to the end of a C-Stand, you'll find good use with these Double Python Clamps. Highly recommended (found here)!

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crystal 800 wireless 9.Solutions Python Double Clamp

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Gen Energy V-Mount Batteries are quickly becoming a popular choice with it's innovative Shock Proof Design, and their latest version now offers 'Short Circuit Protection' or what they refer to as 'Short Proof'. Peep the video below for an intro on this new feature.

Aside from just a robust build, Gen Energy Batteries are also known for many smart features built in that helps it retain a charge longer when not in use, or prevent excessive discharge that could damage batteries. Gen Energy batteries can also display proper percentage when used on cameras such as RED (some batteries won't communicate to display on-screen battery meter). Considering all of these features, Gen Energy batteries are still comparable to other current popular brands. There's no reason they should not be on your radar as an option for a professional battery.


GEN ENERGY SHOCK PROOF V-MOUNT BATTERIES

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If you travel much with a carry-on case, then you'll appreciate an equipment bag that has 4 wheels as opposed to just two. I myself use the "Think Tank Airport Roller" (found here) quite often. LowePro has recently offered up a new Photostream SP 200 Roller Bag. The Photostream is a less expensive option if you're looking for a dedicated equipment case on 4 wheels that also works with carry-on size restrictions.

Lowepro SP 200 Roller Overview
The PhotoStream SP 200 has exterior measurements of 13.8 x 8.8 x 21.7" and weighs 9.7 lb when empty, matching carry-on requirements for most American airlines. For keeping small items such as cables or lens caps, two zippered mesh pockets are conveniently located on the lid interior and allow for easy access to your accessories. As for transport, the case comes with a three-stage telescoping handle and four 360° wheels for easy rolling. When hand carrying is needed, you can use the integrated handles found at the top, side, or bottom of the bag.

  • Nylon and EVA hardshell case optimized for air travel
  • Holds 1 or 2 professional DSLRs or mirrorless cameras, plus 4-8 extra lenses, flashes, battery grips, etc.
  • Set of customizable padded dividers can be adjusted or removed to find the best setup for your gear
  • Hinged front panel allows easy access to your laptop or tablet without opening the entire bag
  • Dual zippered mesh pockets for keeping small accessories such as cables, batteries, and memory cards
  • Lightweight telescoping handle made of aluminum, center button allows you to set it to 3 different stages
  • 4 wheels with 360° rotation for easy and intuitive transport
  • Integrated handles on the top, side, and bottom of the case for carrying by hand
  • Exterior dimensions of 13.8 x 8.8 x 21.7" meet carry-on requirements for most airlines

  • crystal 800 wireless LowePro PhotoStream SP 200 Roller

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    Undoubtedly one of the hottest topics at NAB2018, Blackmagic Design has finally released a new version of the Pocket Cinema Camera. It's a significant size different when compared to to the original, but it solves many of the issues of the previous design. The body now offers external buttons and dials that give you fast access to the most important functions. 13 stops of Dynamic Range and better low light performance with it's dual native ISO up to 25,600. 4K up to 60 frames RAW, and 120fps in HD (windowed).

    Images capture on the new Pocket Cinema 4K camera can be recorded to SDXC, CFast 2.0, or for longer recording times, you can also record directly to an external SSD or flash disk using the built in USB-C Expansion Port. 5 inch touchscreen makes it easy to frame shots, focus accurately and change camera settings. Built-in microphones, mini XLR input with Phantom Power, full sized HDMI, 3D LUT support. BTW, not only can you install a LUT for monitoring, but you have the option to 'bake in' a LUT during your recording.

    Although i'm not a fan that they chose to use a Canon LP-E6 battery, the USB-C Expansion Port accepts power so you can charge the battery from portable battery packs, a mobile phone charger or even your laptop computer. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K includes a full version of DaVinci Resolve Studio ($299 value), which is a complete post production solution.

    I don't see it being a replacement of my Panasonic GH5 or GH5s, but there is no doubt in my mind this camera will literally fly off the shelves. The original BMD 1080p Pocket Cinema (seen here) is still being used today. The new 4K Pocket Cinema camera is ridiculously inexpensive for the features and quality it offers. Preorders are available for the new Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

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