Equipment Reviews

2 Comments

Known primarily for their affordable quality lighting solutions, F&V extends their product line with a new high resolution 4.3" inch EVF LCD monitor.

fvlighting spectra evf hdmi sdi lcd display

The Spectra HD4 EVF carries a 1280x720 HD display with a 900:1 contrast ratio. Software overlays include Histogram, waveform, vector scope, peaking, false color, adjustable frame guides, etc.

fvlighting evf spectra HDMI lcd

Additionally the small unit offers both HDMI + SDI Input, HDMI loop through, SDI Loop through, and HDMI to SDI and SDI to HDMI Conversions. There is also a Tally light above the unit when working with multi-cameras. The unit shown was still a prototype and the loupe will most likely see a redesign. To stay informed about the new Spectra HD4, check out the website at FVLighting.com (here).

NAB 2014 Coverage Sponsors

Camera Motion Research Came_80x80banner Varavon fvlighting

6 Comments

At the NAB Show, Libec shows us the ALLEX system. A line of products or complete kit designed to work seamlessly together so that you don't have to struggle with what tripod works with which video head and how that all comes together with a video slider.

The ALLEX H Fluid Video Head uses a drop in style plate, something many shoulder rig shooters have a preference over instead of the sliding systems. The head combines both a 75mm bowl + a standard 3/8" flat base mount. When used on the Libec ALLEX T tripod, the bowl allows you easily level your system, and the flat base will thread easily to the ALLEX Slider.

ALLEX_H_4

The ALLEX S is a 30" Slider using 8 bearings surrounding the rail. The slider features a friction knob for drag, brake knob, along with adjustable legs / feet. Beneath the slider is a similar 75mm bowl to fit directly to the ALLEX T Tripod, but also offers a 3/8" thread flat base mount.

ALLEX_S_6ALLEX_S_5
ALLEX_S

Libec ALLEX Tripod Slider Fluid Head Keiko

The ALLEX T Tripod is very sturdy two-stage all aluminum, 75mm bowl mount, with mid level spreader, and articulating feet. The Tripod weighs approximately 5.5 lbs.
ALLEX_S_KIT_2

More information can be found at the ALLEX product page at the LibecSales.com website (here).

ALLEX Video Contest

NAB 2014 Coverage Sponsors

Camera Motion Research Came_80x80banner Varavon fvlighting

24 Comments

If you're shooting video outdoors on a bright day with a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, chances are you're working with ND filters. ND Filters are essential to keep your shutter speeds down, while keeping your lens aperture wide open. One of the most annoying things of course is working with different lenses that each require different filter sizes and step up rings.

If you understand the frustration, then you'll be interested in checking out the new Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle Lens Mount Adapter. Instead of placing a variable ND filter on the front of the lens, the variable ND filter is actually built into the lens adapter (located behind the lens).

The first version of the Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle available is only for Canon EOS to Sony E Mount. Example compatible cameras listed are the Sony NEX-3, NEX-5, NEX-C3, NEX-5N, NEX-7, NEX-F3, NEX-5R, NEX-6, Sony NEX-VG10, NEX-VG20, NEX-VG30, NEX-VG900, NEX-FS100, NEX-FS700, NEX-EA50.

I don't see why a variable ND filter lens mount can't be made with M4/3 adapters, so hopefully that will follow up soon. Check out the product page for additional photos and specs for the new Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle (click here).

Canon eos-nex-pro-vzlx-thrtl-01 ND throttleCanon EOS EF to Sony NEX ND Variable lens Mount Vizelexeos-nex-pro-vzlx-thrtl-02 Cheesycam Fotodiox Lens Mount
find-price-button FotoDiox Vizelex Variable ND Throttle Canon EOS EF to Sony NEX E Mount Lens Adapter

3 Comments

I've been researching various Light Meters capable of measuring LED or other artificial lights. We're not talking about your basic exposure type light meter, we're talking about ones that can read Spectrum, CRI, LUX, etc. In hand, they are simple tools to operate, but yet everything on the market is still quite expensive. I poked around for suggestions, and for under $2,000 bucks many kept referring me to the UPRtek MK350 UPRtek MK350. Here's a quick video showing the basic features of the UPRtek MK350 LED Spectrometer.

UPRtek LED lightIMG_318986
find-price-button UPRTek MK350 LED Spectrometer

NOW ON TO THE GOOD STUFF
At CineGear, I was able to stop by one booth where Asensetek Lighting Passport iPhone Light MeterAsensetek was showcasing their new Lighting Passport Spectrometer. (They were also showcasing this meter at NAB2013). Check out some of the features you can do with this Spectrometer.

Specifically designed to measure LED or Artificial lights, and supposedly with more accuracy than the MK350. I love the convenience of being able to separate the lumisphere and having controls via Bluetooth. This saves so much time going back and forth from the measuring point back to the lights, making adjustments, and then walking back again to take another measurement.

sbox2l_04

At the Asensetek booth, they had mentioned they have been working with light measuring tools for over 7 years, and claim to be the most accurate LED meter in the world. Big words, but all I really care about at this point is being more accurate than the MK350 (or equal). The UPRtek software and features really seem outdated when compared to the controls you have with the Asensetek iOS Genius application. With an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod) you can even share the data instantly via email or upload them. Besides all the basic measuring scopes, you can even store pictures of your set so you know exactly how your lighting was set up in case you ever have to reshoot.

Here's another video from their website showcasing the features of the Asensetek Lighting Passport

Being that the Asensetek is cheaper and offers a more full featured Spectrometer, this seems like a no brainer for me. The workflow with the Asensetek Lighting Passport with their Genius Software is just brilliant. I don't know how many of you have a need for such a tool, but you can find more information about the Asensetek Lighting Passport, you can contact them at their website (found here), or contact their distributor website http://alliedscientificpro.com/.

Or message them via their Facebook page (here).
If you like this article, make sure to tell them Cheesycam.com sent you over!

l_02l_03
find-price-button Asensetek LED Spectrometer Light Meter for iPhone iPad iPod

57 Comments

The new CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer does very well to keep a camera's horizon level. It's dead quiet, and easy to balance small DSLR sized cameras. The brushless motors are covered, the wiring is run internally to the Carbon tubes, battery is covered, and control board is covered. Aesthetically this system looks simple, and is simple to use. For the price, it's certainly not the cheapest when you look at DIY kits, but for some people the RTR (ready to run) convenience is a plus. The biggest downfall is the lack of side handles.

Brushless Motor Gimbal CAME 6000 CheeyscamCame 6000 2 Axis Stabilizer Gimbal DSLR Video
find-price-button CAME 6000 2-Axis Active Gimbal Stabilizer

Only a few hours after receiving the unit from CAME-TV.com, I was already modifying a set of side handles. Eventually my plan is to create a solid metal 90 degree clamp to add a 15mm rail (as seen below).
CAME 6000 15mm Clamp Side Handle Adapter CheesycamCheesycam DIY handles Gimbal Stabilizer
15mm Rail Adapter Concept - cheesycam.com

Until then, i'm using a simple 3/8" conduit clamp attached to a single 15mm rail clamp with a 1/4-20 thread (seen here). A small bolt runs through with a series of lock washers to prevent it from coming loose. Using a 15mm rail opens up new options for adding other industry standard accessories. Additionally i'm hiding the top 1/4" bolt by mounting a mini ball head for a monitor. Not too shabby for the time being..

Cheesycam Axis Gimbal DIY Stabilizer

After configuring the side handles, we took the CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal out for a walk with a Panasonic GH3 mounted. [ Note: The video below contains some very boring 5 minute walking material. ]. It's easy for companies to pick out only the best footage of their products in use, so in this video we decided to show UNCUT FOOTAGE and the BTS from this sample.

If you manage to make it through the boring part, you'll see transitions from normal shots, to low angle (doggy cam) footage, and even doing some (rookie) hand offs to another operator as the Gimbal becomes too heavy to manage after a few minutes. Simple moves, but almost impossible to perform with your average stabilizer a.k.a steadicam type device.

Although our technique, skill, and experience with gimbals is far from perfect, this modified CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal for the most part did it's job to keep the horizon level. Keep in mind in this example we're continuously walking all in one take - something that may not be too common in your production. Typically we're just looking for an effective way to stabilize hand held video when working off of a tripod, and I think this tool does very well in that sense. In worst case scenarios, there's also the option of adding post image stabilization which will I think will be more effective when shooting 4K video > 1080p (i.e. cropping, leveling horizons, etc.)

I'm a fan of working with smaller tools whenever possible, so I also like how compact this system is. It folds down with a low profile, and we have even managed to fit it into one our cheap hard cases (found here), with room to spare if I wanted to throw in the HDMI monitor, and more.

gimbal hard caseaxis gimbal stabilizer casecheap case cheesycam

Here's an old video for reference on how I go about balancing these gimbals (click here). I do believe that if CAME-TV wants to sell more of this particular stabilizer, they should really look into adding side handles, but until then it's not too difficult to DIY your own. You can find the CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal over at their website http://CAME-TV.com or also found via eBay (click here).

2 Axis Stabilizer Gimbal Brushess MotorBattery Gimbal Stabilizer ControllerCAME Gimbal Stabilizer
find-price-button CAME 6000 2-Axis Active Gimbal Stabilizer

6 Comments

A few weeks ago, I had a comment-chat if a BMCC can fly on a CAME 5000 gimbal. So four of us guys spent over half an hour trying to stuff the BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera into this CAME 5000 Gimbal, but clearly it was not meant to work. The BMCC is just too wide from the center mount, and to compensate we tried adding a quick release plate sideways. After failing, we decided to give it a run with an unbalanced setup. Here are the results.

Surprisingly the horizon stayed just about perfectly level the entire time, but you can see how it struggled with the panning stabilization. Of course if I really wanted to, I can add post stabilization to the footage and it may not be so noticeable. Had I disabled the pan stabilization, I think this would have been a perfectly acceptable run. On lighter camera setups like the GH3, the results have been very good, but I can't suggest the CAME 5000 3 Axis Gimbal with anything more than an average DSLR.

2 Comments

I own several Manfrotto 190CX3 Carbon Fiber Tripods. Perfect for a set of light sticks under a 701HDV video fluid head working with smaller cameras. The 190CX3 regularly runs for $243 dollars (as seen here) weights only 3 lbs. and is rated to support a small load of around 11 lbs.

Carbon Fiber Manfrotto Tripod Legs Carbon Fiber Tripod 190CX3 Manfrotto 190CX3 Carbon Fiber Tripod
find-price-button Manfrotto 190CX3 Carbon Fiber Tripod

If that's not enough, the 055CXPRO3 is a heavier duty Carbon Fiber Tripod weighing in at just 3.6 lbs capable of a 17 pound load. Not just beefier, but also more features such as a center column that can be positioned horizontally.

For about the same price as my lesser 190CX3, right now there's a deal to receive an Instant Savings of -$150 off the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Tripod Legs bringing it down to just $249.

Manfrotto Carbon Tripod IMG_226779 Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Horizontal Column Carbon Fiber Tripod Cheesycam
find-price-button Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs

17 Comments

Rode VideoMic Go Cheesycam Shotgun DSLR Video Microphone

I just recently received the new Rode VideoMic GO. A very straightforward, no fuss, directional microphone under $100 dollars (found here) for your video camera. No batteries required, and will improve audio capture over using the internal microphone from the camera, and of course with an extension cable you can use this off-camera positioning this closer to your subject.

Rode VideoMic GO Overview
The VideoMic GO On-Camera Shotgun Microphone from Rode is a lightweight microphone which adds high-quality audio recording to your small camcorder and HDSLR camera. At only 2.6 ounces, the microphone keeps your camera setup lightweight, making it ideal for handheld shooting. It features an integrated Rycote Lyre shock mount for isolation from bumps and vibration, and offers battery-free operation, using instead the plug-in power from your camera's 3.5mm microphone input. Please note that the microphone will not work with cameras that don't supply plug-in power to their 3.5mm audio input jack.

The VideoMic GO is a directional microphone. It utilizes a super-cardioid polar pattern to attenuate sounds from the sides, resulting in a signal that sounds closer to the camera, even when shooting in noisy environments or at moderate distances. The integrated shoe mount provides a 3/8" thread for additional mounting options. A foam windshield and 7.9" dual mono 3.5mm coiled output cable.

Now i'm a big fan of the sound quality from a Rode VideoMic Pro (seen here). If you can hold off and save up, the Rode VideoMic Pro is a solid microphone to have in the kit.

Realizing that we all have to start somewhere, the new VideoMic GO will offer you better sound capture options than working from your in-camera microphone, and this mic comes pre-built on the Rycote Lyre Suspension System (no rubber bands to wear out). Check it out at B&H (click here).

Rode VideoMic GO on-camera microphoneVideoMic GO ShockMount
find-price-button Rode VideoMic GO On-Camera Shotgun Microphone

18 Comments

A teleprompter may not be for everyone, but if you've got a set of important bullet points to cover, or a script that has to be hammered out by your talent, a simple teleprompter can be a huge time saver. Here's a look at the Listec PW-04 Portable Teleprompter that works with a simple smart phone.

Using a quality 'glass' beam splitter is important. Not just for optimal reflection of your scrolling text. Cheaper versions made with acrylic can soften your image and often require you to boost your ISO (increase noise) as it cuts out light entering the lens.

I own several large prompters today, but a pain to setup and travel with. I actually saw this Listec over at WPPI last year, and when I saw this Listec PW-04 on sale (-$120 dollars right now) I just had to grab one. This works seamlessly with the coverage I do using the GH3 camera + 12-35mm F/2.8 OIS lens.

[Note: the 12-35mm F/2.8 also works with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera]

If you want to use this with larger DSLR cameras like Canon, the 50mm F/1.4 also uses a 58mm thread, so it would work perfectly. The system packs up nicely, sets up quick, and can be used handheld or tripod mounted. Albeit small, it's very usable from a distance and allows your talent to look directly into the lens maintaining good solid eye contact with the audience viewing the final video.

For more info about the Listec Teleprompter PW-04 sale check it out at B&H (click here).
Listec PW-04Listec Teleprompter PW-04 iPhone
find-price-button Listec Portable iPhone Teleprompter with BT Keyboard