Videography Gadgets

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Dynamic camera movements can really increase the value of your production, but also requires more man power (and budget). The ideas within this article are based on setting up a second camera on a Video Slider without having a second Camera Operator (completely unattended). This 'B' camera angle offers dynamic movements so that you can cut away to the footage when needed. This is an excellent idea and a few companies are already on the ball with new products (coming soon).

First up is the Kessler Parallax system that offers a mechanical Parallax panning motion to your video head as it tracks left and right. Neat trick, but to get this fully automated you'll have to tie in to the Kessler Oracle system, which not only adds additional cost in the end, but extra equipment to assemble during production. More info at http://www.kessleru.com/2013/09/update-kessler-parallax/

Next we have the RedRock Micro One Man Crew. This motorized slider offers a curved (Parabolic) track to keep your subject in focus as it moves left to right (and back again). Completely silent with options to set a limit on range, and control speeds. The best part is that it is an all in one solution that's quick to set up and quick to store away. Starting at $1500 dollars (seen here), it carries a decent price tag, but it will save you from hiring an extra person to man a sliding camera. After finishing this article, you may come to realize the price to be very reasonable. More info at http://store.redrockmicro.com/OneManCrew

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find-price-button Buy- RedRock Micro One Man Crew Motorized Parabolic Slider

Now i've been asked several times if this was something that could be built at home (a.k.a DIY). Here i'm going to introduce a very basic concept on how i've managed to accomplish the same 'ping-pong' / 'back-forth' effect on a cheap DIY motorized slider kit (seen here) with an additional $10 dollars worth of switches, wiring, and a relay, and absolutely no programming. It's basically a simple and dumb electro-mechanical system.

Unmanned, unattended, looping, automated, it all sounds pretty good. Yet you can see how this basic system fails to provide many of the 'Smart' features of the more expensive products coming to market. On the flip-side, one advantage is that with this basic circuit one can expand this idea outside of just a typical slider. (Yes i'm already working on those ideas).

DIY-Motorized-Slider-Cheesycam-Ping-Pong-Back-Forth-Automated
First Test - Building the Circuit Automated Looping Motorized Slider

Here's a schematic of my layout. You'll notice how each side of the motor has both negative and positive from the battery, but only one set is active from the DPDT.
Cheesycam-Schematic-Ping-Pong-Motorized-Slider
Click for Larger Version

How It Works:
Two 3 Pin NO+NC Momentary Micro Switches (as found here) at each end reverse the polarity of the motor each time they are triggered.

DIY Slider micro switch 3 pin NO NC
Example of 3 pin NC/NO Momentary Micro Switch

A 12V DPDT Relay (as found here) is either 'Always ON' until the slider reaches the opposite switch which drops power to the relay.

12V DPDT Relay DIY Slider Motion Control
Example of 12V DPDT Relay with Socket Base

In one direction, the relay is technically 'STUCK ON' by way of a tricky little feedback loop in the circuit. To turn the entire slider on or off, i'm just using the switch from the battery. In this example, i'm not using a speed controller, but one can easily be added.

[Update] If you have trouble following the schematic, I have another article with an easier way to create this setup. Others have successfully got their own sliders working. Check out the other article (found here).

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Tilta Matte Box Rig Cage BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Follow Focus
Tilta BMPCC Cage Shown with optional Tilta accessories

Now more options to rig up your BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Cameras. The new Tilta BMPCC Cage which was announced earlier this year is available. If you're lucky you can find the cage only for around $250 US, or the complete kit which includes the Top Handle + 15mm Rail Clamp which may run you a bit over $400 US (found here).

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find-price-button Tilta BMPCC Cage Top Handle 15mm Rail Clamp

The Pocket Cinema Camera now offers amazing RAW image capture, but I do think to get the most out of it, you'll need to add-on a battery pack, and a good EVF (LCD) at the least. If you're trying to capture audio to the camera, that's an entirely different story, but this all boils down to using some type of rig to mount these items. The Tilta BMPCC Cage is just one other option to offer dozens of mounting points for your accessories including two cold shoes at the front of the Top Handle.

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find-price-button Tilta BMPCC Cage Top Handle 15mm Rail Clamp

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Here's an overview of the Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope product that takes an HDMI input and outputs a variety of overlays to any HDMI monitor, display, or television.

When the Aputure V-Converter product was first announced, the specs listed it would take a 1080p input, but only output a 720p signal. A recent firmware upgrade now allows the unit to output to full 1080p. I'm sure all the new products shipped will have this update, but if you need to download it, check the Aputure website (here).

The V-Converter can be powered from a Built-in lithium battery, but it's not a product I think fits the run-gun type shooter. With a $340+ price tag, mobile shooters may want to just look into a portable LCD monitor with these features already built in.
Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope CheesycamCheesycam Review Extra Scope V-Converter Aputure
find-price-button Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope Pro Overlays

In my opinion, the V-Converter is a product that will mainly appeal to those who will be working on set, in a studio type environment, or on location that requires a large stationary monitor. It will be helpful in any setting in which you need to look across the room, check exposure, see if audio levels are peaking, and what's currently in focus. It may be a product that compliments video shooters who have a workflow streaming Wireless HDMI Video (like with these Radian Pro Kits).

Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope Review Cheesycam

Considering how cheap large LCD HD televisions are these days, this little product can add-on big features normally only found on very very expensive studio monitors. You can find more info about the Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope (here).

Aputure V-Converter-HDMIprice v-converter aputure scope hdmi overlay pro monitor focus peaking exposure
find-price-button Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope Pro Overlays

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If you didn't catch some of the recent announcements, here's a quick run-down on a few great Sponsored Product Giveaways currently going on. These are officially sponsored by brand names such as Dynamic Perception, the DVEStore, Varavon, Benro, P&C, and many more.

One of the most exciting and generous contributions this week is from Dynamic Perception who is currently offering up a tricked-out Stage One Motorized Slider Bundle!. This is an upgraded kit which includes (2) 20" carbon fiber extensions, upgraded with the Quick Change Motor System, 2 swappable DC motors, and a real-time video controller the AT2. The AT2 controller makes this motorized system very intuitive to use as opposed to programming a module for timelapse.

Reference Links:
http://dynamicperception.com/products/stage-one-complete-motorized-slider-bundle
http://dynamicperception.com/products/quick-change-system-1-motor-bundle
http://dynamicperception.com/products/at2-motion-controller

Other current and upcoming Sponsored Product Giveaways include a Varavon Multifinder-Uni, BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro from the DVEStore, a Fhugen GH3 Cage via P&C, a Benro Video Monopod with S4 Video Head, a Slidecam 9000 Camera Slider, and a K-Tek KE110cc Audio Boom Pole with internal XLR cable.

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Looks like ProCinemaTools.com already has a short video review of that Portable Telescoping Aluminum Mini Jib / Crane posted on this blog a few days ago.

Results in the video look pretty good, and besides not including enough weights to support a Canon 5D Mark III at full extension, it's seems like a decent jib for the price.

You can find the jib on Amazon (link here)

Portable DSLR Video Jib Mini Crane
find-price-button Amazon - Portable Telescoping Mini Aluminum Video Crane Jib

You can also find this same version on eBay (found here).

Portable DSLR Video Jib Mini Crane
find-price-button eBay - Portable Telescoping Mini Aluminum Video Crane Jib

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The new Carry Speed VF-4 LCD View Finder was first announced during NAB 2013. The new VF-4 model has improved design and functionality over the popular VF-3 model. Today Carry Speed has announced the VF-4 is officially available for purchase, along with an introductory $50 OFF retail price Coupon (found here).

A few enhancements include compatibility with LCD Screens up to 3.2", repositioned side brackets to allow better access to buttons and dials, angled sunhood for access to touch screen LCDs, and the new VF-4 is slightly lighter in weight but stronger in design. An optional extension bracket is available to fit the VF-4 on taller cameras or camera with battery grip attachments.

More information about the new Carry Speed VF-4 LCD Video View finder can be found at CarrySpeed.com (here)

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find-price-button Carry Speed VF-4 LCD View Finder & VF-4 Bundle (with Extension Bracket)
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Carry Speed VF-4

Here's an unboxing video of the brand new Carry Speed VF-4 LCD View Finder. This new LCD View Finder was announced a short time back, but has not been officially on sale (just yet). The redesign improves on many little details of the previous Carry Speed VF-3 View Finder (found here).

While the Carry Speed VF-4 is currently not on sale (at time of this writing), here's your chance to get one exclusively from Cheesycam. As part of a promotion to introduce the new product, I'm sponsoring a Give Away that selects one random person to receive a brand new Carry Speed VF-4. To register for a chance to be one of the first to receive a VF-4, just the follow the link to the sweepstakes page (click here).

Cheesycam Sweep VF-4
Enter the FREE Carry Speed VF-4 Give Away - sponsored by Cheesycam

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Now that Manfrotto has released a new and slightly different MVH500AH Video Fluid Head, there's been a few questions about compatibility - especially for those who want to pick up or upgrade to this new video head and have invested in a bunch of QR plates. For a bit more information on the actual video head, check out this earlier article on the MVH500AH (here).

First, Does the Manfrotto quick release plate from the 577 QR Adapter or common 501PL plate fit on the new Manfrotto MVH500AH video fluid head? Secondly, Does the new Manfrotto MVH500AH quick release plate fit on the older 701HDV, 501, 502HD Video Fluid heads? Hopefully the video below answers some of those questions.

So the new MVH500AH seems to accept the 501PL plates or the quick release plates from the 577 adapter (with 501PL) pretty easily, but it will not be compatible with the 504 plates. Also, the MVH500AH quick release plate will not work with the older Manfrotto Video fluid heads such as the 701HDV or the 502HD.

IMG_310567Manfrotto 500 Fluid HeadManfrotto Bridging Technology Fluid Head
find-price-button Manfrotto MVH500AH Video Fluid Head, Tripod, Monopod - Amazon

Manfrotto 755 Aluminum TripodManfrotto 755 Carbon Fiber
find-price-button Manfrotto MVH500AH Video Fluid Head, Tripod, Monopod - B&HPhotoVideo

The Manfrotto MVH500AH will also be available as the MVH500A which will be a 60mm half bowl fluid head (found here).

MVH500A Fluid Head 60mm Half BallManfrotto Fluid Head MVH500A
find-price-button Manfrotto MVH500A 60mm Half Ball Fluid Head