DIY Video and Photography Projects

15Apr Servo City Motorized Kit for IGUS W1080-B Slider


If you happen to have an IGUS W1080-B Linear Slider and are looking for a way to get consistent movement, Servo City now offers a DIY Motorized Kit. You may have seen me working with a prototype version of this slider in a past video when I designed a simple infinite loop auto reverse switch (seen here).

With a slower motor in place you can use this to achieve long time-lapse sequences, or with a faster motor in place you can use this for real time video (noise will be apparent from the motor).

The kit comes in dozens of little pieces, but with patience was easy to assemble following the video instructions:
Actobotics – IGUS W1080-B Slider Kit Assembly (part 1)
Actobotics – IGUS W1080-B Slider Kit Assembly (part 2)

Once again, this kit is designed specifically for the W1080-B Igus Rail (which you will need first) and can the entire kit can be found at the Servo City website (here).

Igus_Slider_Kit_3Igus_Slider_Kit_-_included_components
Igus_Slider_Kit_2
find-price-button Servo City IGUS W1080-B Motorized Slider Kit

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14Apr BlackMagic Firmware Updates for Previous Cameras


blackmagic-studio-camerablackmagic-ursa-camera

As BlackMagic Design announced several new products this year at NAB2014 (as seen above), one question was – Will they continue to support fixes/bugs for previous cameras? A recent response from the Blackmagic Design Forum points to yes. A few notes included

1. New debayering for shooting directly to ProRes or DNxHD on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and MFT
2. Improved MFT lens support on the Pocket Cinema Camera
3. Compressed RAW support on the Production Camera 4K
4. Autofocus support for EF lenses on Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and Production Camera 4K

There are a few other improvements with hints to audio level metering and histogram displays among other comments about some requests that may not be possible to fix over at the Blackmagic Design Forum (Found Here).

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04Apr DIY Your Own Video Monopod – Modified Monopods with Fluid Tripod Foot for Video


Here’s a quick image of three different video monopods with a fluid base. Only one is actually sold through retail stores, while the smaller two are monopods i’ve modified with an aftermarket fluid base folding tripod foot (found here) Cheesycam-Monopod-Tripod-Foot-Base1.

DIY Modified Cheesycam Video Monopods Fluid Foot Base Tripod Monopod Feet

The largest is the Manfrotto 561BHDV Video Monopod (now replaced with new MVM500A). The middle option is a 4 section Manfrotto MM294A4 Aluminum monopod which offers a nice combination of light weight and stability. The smallest is my 5 section carbon fiber Rokinon monopod when I want to go extra light. If you’re looking to add stability to one of your favorite monopods with one of these tripod foots, it will only run you about $20 dollars and a bit of ingenuity.

Guaranteed this aftermarket monopod fluid base tripod foot won’t fit perfectly with whatever monopod your trying to add this to, but i’ve added epoxy putty (found here) to make it work. It’s basically putty that you’ll stuff into the foot, shove your monopod in, and the putty hardens like steel. Just make sure your monopod stays straight as it dries, you won’t get a second chance.

So if you’ve watched the video included in this article, there are two versions of this Fluid Base Monopod Tripod Foot. One is just a simple ball socket fluid base, the other (for $2 dollars more) offers a lock that will hold the monopod in a vertical position. For the non-locking version you can find it via eBay (here)

Cheesycam Monopod Tripod Foot BaseDIY Video Monopod Feet Tripod Manfrotto styleVideo Monopod Fluid Tripod Foot Fluid Base Tripod
find-price-button Fluid Base Tripod Monopod Foot – No Solid Lock

For the version that includes the locking screw, you can also find that via eBay (here).

cheesycam diy video monopod fluid base monopod tripod foot with lock
find-price-button Fluid Base Tripod Monopod Foot – No Solid Lock

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02Apr News Release: Libec New for NAB 2014 ALLEX Tripod + Head + Slider


ALLEX,- the new tripod system for small cameras by Libec., provides greater usability than ever by perfectly performing the following three movements; pan, tilt, and slide.

Libec’s ALLEX system offers a combination of the head, tripod, and slider, which is very simple yet extremely convenient and effective for all shooting purposes at a surprisingly competitive price.

“We’re excited to extend our legacy of making the best camera support systems in the world by introducing ALLEX to the growing U.S. market,” says Takuma Sudo, president of Libec Sales of America, Inc. “Owners of small DSLRs and early adopters of new styles of filmmaking are demanding high quality camera support, and the ALLEX new tripod system is based on Libec’s 60 years experience developing best-in-class equipment for professionals. No other manufacturer has ever developed a tripod and slider like ALLEX, as one integrated system.”

Libec ALLEX Video Slider Tripod Fluid Head

Pro Quality/Prosumer Price Point
The system allows amateur DSLR users greater usability by allowing for pro level pan, tilt and slide camera movements. The ALLEX system includes three components, ALLEX H, a 75mm dual head, ALLEX T, a 75mm ball diameter lightweight (2.5kg/5.5lb) tripod and ALLEX S, a 30” slider. By the integration of all three components, The ALLEX system makes dynamic camera moves possible at a surprisingly affordable price.

ALLEX Video Contest

ALLEX “SHOW US YOUR MOVES” VIDEO CONTEST
Create a three-minute video that shows us your most innovative video camera moves to win big! Different ALLEX kit prizes will be awarded to the five finalists that receive the most online votes. For complete contest details go to: http://www.libec-global.com/allex

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31Mar RigWheels Universal Rail Brackets and PortaRail System


Looking to travel with a very very long slider, but hate dealing with the bulk? RigWheels has introduced a few new products that you might be interested in. The first product is the Universal Rail Bracket System. A simple adjustable rail clamp to accurately lock in any set of 1″-2″ round rails or up to 1 3/4″ square tubing. If you have to fly off to another state, it’s easy to pick up these types of rails at your destination, so that you don’t need to travel with it.

Now if you really want to travel with a set of rails, RigWheels is offering up a new PortaRail Collapsible Rail System. These are 40″ (1 meter) sections of (approx. 42mm OD) Round Rail that can be assembled together to create a long seamless track.

For more information about these products, check them out at http://RigWheels.com.
Universal-Rail-Bracket-187x186PortaRail-Ends-187x186
find-price-button RigWheels Universal Rail Bracket & PortaRail System

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26Mar First Portable Audio Recorder from JuicedLink


JuicedLink Portable Audio Recorder LAV belt Pack little DARling

I don’t know about you, but for me this is very exciting news. Robert from JuicedLink has made an announcement showcasing their first ‘Portable Audio Recorder‘ belt pack. Here’s a quote from the JL Blog Article:

Imagine, making these filmmaker-friendly alterations to the Zoom H1 for use with a lav:
Chop the top internal mic off, to make it belt-pack sized (a little smaller than the Sennheiser G3 belt-pack transmitter)
Make the connectors locking, so the lav can’t pop out
Add “Audio Bracketing”, so you have a backup recording in post if you blow out the main track
Make key buttons recessed, so a user can not accidentally stop the recording or change settings as they are active and moving around … no “butt dialing”
In addition to headphones, provide a “thru” connection, so the Little DARling can be a front end recorder, then drive a wireless transmitter like the Sennheiser G3 system

When it comes to recording audio from a remote subject, wireless options can be expensive and also prone to interference. One inexpensive solution was to throw a Zoom H1 portable audio recorder into your subject’s pocket and setup a LAV mic. For me this worked great, but you have to worry about audio levels since you can’t monitor this remotely. With the new JuicedLink ‘Little DARling’, the audio is recorded in two separate tracks at different audio levels (as a safety). It’s also easier to pocket than a Zoom H1 since it lacks internal microphones.

JuicedLink Audio  Recorder vs Sennheiser G3 Wireless
JuicedLink Audio Recorder Belt Pack ‘Little DARling vs Sennheiser G3 Wireless Belt Pack

You can read more about the product over at the JuicedLink article (found here). Right now it’s in an early development phase and Robert is looking for some feedback about how you would use an item like this, what features you think should be included, or other questions. For me i’d like to know how Pricing? How long I can record? How long does the battery last? Plug in power? Headphone monitoring and line out? If you have any other comments, make sure to leave them here.

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26Mar New Craft Module for Edelkrone Slider PLUS+ v2 & PRO


Edelkrone has released another video showing off the latest Module addition compatible with the Slider PLUS+ v2 or Slider PLUS+ Pro. The new Craft Module allows you to achieve Time-Lapse, Stop Motion and Macro Slide Shots easily.

Combined with their unique SliderPlus+ design, these all add up to some very handy features packed into such a small form factor. The new Craft Module is listed at $699 (without slider). For more information about Edelkrone products, check out the website at http://Edelkrone.com.

craft_moreinfo04
Edelkrone Craft Module for SliderPLUS+ v2 and PRO

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26Mar DEAL: Canon 5D Mark III + Adobe Lightroom 5 $2675


Canon 5D mark III Adobe Lighrroom 5
find-price-button Canon 5D Mark III (Body) + Adobe Lightroom 5

Without getting into too many details, the Canon 5D Mark III is still a worthy camera for both stills and video. Some of you might already have this camera and looking for that second or third angle to match flawlessly when you cut away. If that’s you, then here is a fairly insane deal for a Canon 5D Mark III + Adobe Lightroom 5. While other retailers are still listing the body for $3300-$3400 dollars, today one seller is offloading them at just $2675 (found here).

Canon 5D Mark III Body
find-price-button Canon 5D Mark III (Body) + Adobe Lightroom 5

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25Mar SanDisk Extreme PRO SDHC/SDXC UHS-II Memory Card for 4K Video Recording


As the new Panasonic GH4 (and other 4K cameras) start shipping, your typical SD card may work for 1080p resolutions, but If you’ve been waiting to shoot 4K Video as soon as your camera hits your doorstep you’ll need media that packs in whopping speeds.

The new Sandisk Extreme Pro SDHC and SDXC media are optimized for UHS-II Devices, holds a speed class rating of UHS Class 3. Rated at a Max. Read Speed: 280 MB/s and Max. Write Speed: 250 MB/s, these are going to be cards required to take advantage of that 4K data rate. The speed of these cards will also greatly benefit you when it’s time to dump or backup the data from the card, so you can get back to shooting.

If you think you can get away with a cheaper set of SD cards keep me in the loop, but for the Panasonic GH4 (and most likely other 4K camera) ‘these are the cards being recommended’ by many early reviewers. As with anything related to 4K media and storage, they aren’t cheap starting at $75 dollars for the 16GB SDHC (approx 10 minutes of 4K video) to $245 for the 64GB SDXC Card.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 4K SDHC SDXC SDXC 4K Media Recording Sandisk Media Panasonic 4K SDXC SDHC Compatible Media Recording
find-price-button Sandisk Extreme Pro USH-II [Class Speed 3] SDHC / SDXC Media for 4K Video

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24Mar Running Wires through CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal + Project Box Cover


A couple of others have already ordered their gimbal, or have already received the gimbal, so I thought I’d just throw up this video. Here’s a look at how and where my wires are run through the CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal along with a tip on removing those little connectors.

I’m still in the middle of taking the entire thing apart, but if you’re already getting started maybe that video can give you an idea of how i’ve run the wires through the frame. Sorry the end of the video got cut off, but I got lazy. It is what it is.

This next video shows how i’ve added [in a not-so-elegant way] an electronics Project Box to the rear of the Gimbal. This keeps the control board covered (protected), prevents the battery cable from being yanked off the board, and also hides the excess wiring – keeping things clean. I have drilled a few holes to allow a flush mount, and a hole off the side for the USB port. Here’s a closer look.

[ In case you are clueless to this product, check out the gimbal review posted earlier (here) ]

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24Mar CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal First Impression and Demo Video


Cheesycam Gimbal-5

The gimbals that i’ve personally used in this blog were all preassembled and pre-balanced. When it comes to assembling and programming one from scratch, i’m totally inexperienced. Last week we decided to tackle the CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Kit, and in a few days we were up and running. We probably could have finished sooner, but we wanted to clean up our build by running the wires through the frame and adding a project box (watch the video below).

Cheesycam CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer Assembly Instructions

Looking at the kit in pieces can be intimidating, but it’s possible if you have the time and the patience. So here’s a short video look at our fully assembled version along with some test footage shot by an inexperienced operator (my wife).

For a first time user without even a monitor to frame with, I think my wife did quite well. The flooring was very rough and so you may notice a bit of ‘jumping’. Unlike a Steadicam Vest with ISO (isolation) Arm there’s no stabilizing complete vertical up/down movements. My guess is that an EasyRig could solve that. Outside of that I felt Pan, Tilt, and Roll was stabilized almost perfectly to keep the horizon level. When you’re just casually walking the unit works very smooth, even for a first time operator to manage. We were all very impressed with the performance for a 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer under $1K.

Cheesycam Gimbal-1Cheesycam Gimbal-2
Cheesycam Build for CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Wires Run + Project Box Mounted in Rear

While you don’t need to be very skilled to operate a 3 Axis Active Stabilized Gimbal, you SHOULD BE skilled at balancing one. Not just balancing a camera physically, but also understanding the software, and troubleshooting. The software settings should be configured to work with different weight cameras. If you plan to balance a Canon 5D Mark III you can create a profile. If you want to balance a lighter camera, you should make a profile for that one.

When it comes to troubleshooting, you can easily run into situations where the camera does not want to sit straight. This could be a combination of software calibration, or physical hardware. I’m not an expert but i’ll be sharing my ‘what not to do’ experiences in the next video.

As far as putting together instructions for assembly, i’m currently working on that. There’s no way I could have documented my progress as there were several instances where we did things incorrectly and needed to take things apart over and over again. Other times we found a better way to assemble the pieces and also needed to take things apart again. Now that I feel a bit more comfortable about the process, i’m going to work on a dis-assembly video which should make more sense seeing the end product and working backwards.

Cheesycam Gimbal-3
Cheesycam Gimbal-4
Cheesycam Build for CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Wires Run + Project Box Mounted in Rear

If you don’t want to wait around for my assembly videos, there are currently several videos on the product page to get you started. Once you have your product assembled, follow my instructions on balancing your camera on a Gimbal (seen here), and then install my profile i’ve configured for the Canon 5D Mark II (download here). You may just need to tweak your RC sub trim or Follow Pitch Offset Trim. Regardless, this profile should get you very close to flying most DSLR camera bodies.

The software you install on your camera will only work if it matches the firmware on the controller. You would need to download the 2.3b4, 2.3b5 GUI software for it to work with the board. (DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE HERE).

Also for your computer to see the board you will need to install the Driver found here: (DOWNLOAD DRIVER HERE).

You can check out the other instructional videos for the CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Kit at the product page at http://Came-TV.com

DIY 3 Axis Gimbal CAME 7000 Calibrate Alexmos CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Instruction Setup Program Software Cheesycam
find-price-button CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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24Mar Canon 24-105mm F/4L with IS Just $689


Canon DSLR shooters should be familiar with the L Series Canon 24-105mm F/4L with Image Stabilization. It’s one of the best all around general lenses to take when you have to move fast, zoom in/out, maintain a solid aperture, and have image stabilization. Typically the lens sells for more than $1K, but this eBay seller is selling at just $682 US.

Typically when you see these prices it’s still a brand new lens, USA version, but came from a Bundle (minus camera body), and they’ve used up some type of rebate. So what you’ll end up with is a nice new lens, but not in the original retail package. Still a great deal if you want to go this route. Check it out on the product page (here)

Canon 24-105mm Deal
find-price-buttonCanon 24-105mm F/4L IS Lens

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21Mar Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler Overview and Test Drive


Although we may have a few different types of portable jib / cranes at our disposal (some more portable than others), there’s no doubt that the most robust of the bunch is one from Kessler. Here’s a product overview video and demo footage shot with the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler.

The Pocket Jib Traveler is 27 inches in length when collapsed and is completely self contained. No tools required for assembly, and does not need to be taken apart for travel. A panning base means it will work directly onto a tripod without requiring an additional fluid head. The Pocket Jib Traveler is rated to handle rigs up to 10lbs.

Kessler Pocket Traveler Jib

A long sliding rear bar is used for fine tuning counterweight, and the length (ratio) means you’ll require less counterweight to balance your camera. We only required a 5 pound weight to balance out this 5D Mark III with 24-105mm Lens. In our video we’re using a Carbon Fiber Tripod, so our total travel package is easy to travel with. Window cuts along the frame of the jib keep the overall system light-weight without sacrificing the structural integrity. To mount up larger / longer camera bodies that, you can use the (optional) Camera Platform Extender.

Kessler Travel Jib Pocket Crane

More info about Kessler’s Pocket Jib Traveler can be found at the KesslerCrane.com website (here).

find-price-button Kessler Crane Pocket Traveler Jib

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21Mar Fotodiox Vizelex ND Throttle Follow Up Video


Although we still don’t have any scientific tests on the sharpness coming from the new Fotodiox Vizelex Throttle Variable ND Filter ‘Lens Adapter’, this follow up video answers a few great questions.

Here’s another thing they didn’t cover which has been a main reason I would consider using the adapter. A fisheye lens on a BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera is not so ‘fish-eye’, and it’s one of my go to lenses for wide angle shots. Unfortunately, some ultra wide angle or fisheye lenses (in which the front optic protrudes past the housing) are unable to accept front filters. With the variable ND sitting behind the lens, you can control your image in bright outdoor conditions. I know Rokinon has announced a few great wide angle lenses for Mirrorless cameras, but this situation may be a reason why adapting the larger EF or Nikon mounts would be better.

Canon 8-15mm Fisheye Nikon 14-28mm Rokinon Canon 8mm
Example Wide / Fisheye lenses without Front Filter Threads

Hopefully the Micro Four Thirds version comes out soon for the GH4 as I hear it will have a different crop factor than a typical GH3, so i’ll really be digging into these ultra wide angle lenses. You can find the (click here)
eos-nex-pro-vzlx-thrtl-01
find-price-button Fotodiox Vizelex Throttle Variable ND Filter Lens Adapter

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21Mar Rokinon Samyang Announce New Manual Lenses


Rokinon today has announced a few new manual focus wide-angle and fish-eye lenses. These new uber wide lenses are perfect for many of the mirror-less cameras that we struggle to find affordable wide angle lenses (i.e BlackMagic Pocket Cinema, and the new GH4 will have a slightly different crop factor as well).

The 8mm Fish-eye II lens is the second generation of this popular lens for mirror less cameras. The lens’s mirrorless mounts include Canon EF-M mount, Fujifilm X mount, Samsung NX mount, and Sony E mount

Rokinon 8mm Fisheye II Lens
find-price-button Rokinon / Samyang 8mm Fish-eye II lens

The 10mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS CS wide-angle lens is presented for mirrorless and DSLR (APS-C) mounts. The lens is available in Canon EF, Pentax K, Sony A, Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E, and Micro Four Thirds mounts.

Rokinon Samyang 10mm 2.8
find-price-button Rokinon / Samyang 10mm F/2.8

Next up for mirror-less cameras we have the new 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS lens. Unlike the above two lenses, the 12mm accepts front filters and provides a 67mm diameter thread. The new Rokinon lens is available in Canon EF-M, Fujifilm X, Samsung NX, Sony E and Micro Four Thirds mounts.

Rokinon 12mm New LensRokinon 12mm F2
find-price-button Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS lens

Finally the new 8mm T3.1 Cine UMC Fish-Eye II lens for Video use has a clickless aperture ring for smooth transitions between stops and geared aperture / focus rings to enable the use of a follow focus. This new Cine Lens is available for mirrorless Canon EF-M, Fujfilm X, Samsung NX, and Sony E mounts.

Rokinon 8mm Cine Lens
find-price-button Rokinon / Samyang 8mm T3.1 Cine UMC Fish-Eye II

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20Mar DIY Custom 1080p HDMI LCD Monitor Mount in Pelican Case


Here’s on of my random ideas that just keep expanding. For one of my projects, I needed a large full 1080p monitor for my BlackMagic ATEM Switch in order to view 8 camera feeds at the same time. Since each feed is in it’s own little window, I was also looking for something fairly big (at least 20″), not too expensive, and can be powered through batteries.

For this project I ended up putting an AOC 23″ 1080p IPS LCD monitor with HDMI input inside a Pelican case which runs off of 12V, and means I can use it through battery power. Originally I just planned to put it up against the hood, but this meant not being able to get to the back of the monitor to hook up my HDMI cables and power plug.

Cheesycam AOC 23 inch HDMI LCD Monitor Display Pelican Case
find-price-button AOC 23″ IPS LCD Screen HDMI 12V DC

Now that i’ve added a monitor arm, I can easily get to the back of the screen and tilt it to different angles.

Monitor Arm
find-price-button Small Articulating Monitor Arm

When this project is complete, it will have straps to secure the monitor into the hood, and will further be supported by extra foam when the case is closed up. I chose a large Pelican 1650 Rolling Hard Case since i’ll need the extra room to store extra equipment with this setup including hundreds of feet of SDI cables.

cheesycam pelican 1650 rolling hard case monitor lcd
find-price-button Pelican 1650 Rolling Hard Case with Foam

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