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Aputure has some of the most popular LED Panels available for the budget shooter, and now they've added a nice high power single point source LED Light called the LightStorm COB120. If you've worked with Fresnels, the new COB120 can be used in similar ways. Still photographers who are now working with continuous lighting will also be familiar with it's MonoLight type form factor. With a Bowens Mount adapter, you'll also be able to use many available Light Modifiers such as a Beauty Dish, Softboxes, Snoots, etc.

They say the new COB120 may have the equivalent to a 1K-1.5K fresnel which is very good output for an LED Light of this size. There is a fan built in to dissipate heat, but they say it's extremely quiet, similar to the fan found in the Mac Pro (trashcan). The new Aputure LightStorm COB120 will be available over at B&H (click here).

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Learn More Aputure LightStorm COB120T Mono LED Video Light

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As camera systems get smaller one design issue could be the smaller batteries that leave us with short run times. This is especially true with many of Sony's mirrorless camera systems. If you're looking for longer run times, IndiPro Tools has a number of different Battery and Power solutions available as seen in this interview during the NAB 2016 show.

One important design difference with the IndiPro Tools cables they point out is having DC converters placed outside of the dummy battery. Not only does this reduce any possible heat from generating inside the camera (problem for some Sony cameras), but they also say it prevents any digital noise (a.k.a RF, EMI, etc.) that could affect your recorded footage.

You can find IndiPro Tools External Battery and Power Solutions over at B&H (click here).

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Learn-More-sm IndiPro Tools External Camera Battery and Power Solutions

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The DJI Focus is an innovative Wireless Follow Focus system as it can be used on the ground with camera systems, and also in the Sky when combined with the Inspire1 X5 Camera. When used on the Inspire1, the DJI Focus links to the Inspire1 remote transmitting through Lightbridge and controlling focus pulls up to 5km away (over 3 miles). Without Lightbridge, the DJI Focus has a 100m Range (over 300ft).

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A variable friction wheel on the remote allows you to loosen or tighten the throw depending on your preference. End points (A/B) can be set for focus throws on lenses that don't offer hard stops (i.e. photo lenses), removable marking discs can be quickly swapped out, and the remote also offers illumination behind the disk when working on a dark set.

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The DJI Focus Follow Focus System is extremely compact. No separate receivers are necessary as it's all built in to the Motor. The DJI Focus runs on a rechargeable battery (micro USB Charging) that lasts 14 Hours. There are two ports built into the Motor, which hints they will be expanding this system in the near future. A rosette mount behind the remote also makes it easy to mount to your rigs, or possibly the handle of your gimbal for single operators.

DJI Focus Follow Focus system
Learn-More-sm DJI Focus - Advanced Follow Focus System

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If you've ever had to communicate with your team over handsets, then you may be interested in Eartec's latest product - the UltraLite. It's a Self-Contained Full Duplex Wireless Headset that requires no body packs or a base station (4 or less users). Simultaneous Talk (Open Line) means everyone is always part of the conversation without having to push any buttons (no PTT).

The microphone swivels 270 degrees, so it can be worn on the left or the right. The headsets are available in one ear or double ear. When working with more than 4 Headsets, you'll need to use the system with the optional Base Station. The Eartec UltraLites use rechargeable batteries that should run approximately 6 hours (2 hours to fully recharge).

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Learn-More-sm Eartec UltraLite Wireless Headset Communicators

I've used a number of headsets that need to clip PTT mics to your shirt, run cables to a body pack, or in-ear types that hurt after a while. These new UltraLite headsets are very light, fast to setup, and comfortable to wear. A number of small production companies i've worked with should definitely take a look at these systems (you know who you are!). If you work with a team covering an event and need to keep communication going, take a look at the new EarTec UltraLites (found here).

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One of the drawbacks of shooting with the BlackMagic Design URSA, URSA Mini 4K/4.6K cameras are the requirement to use CFast cards as recording media. I guess you can use an external 4K recorder, but that's not going to allow you to record Full RAW. Even cheap 256GB CFast cards capable of handling the URSA will run about $600 dollars/each (seen here).

In the video below, i'm showing you the Atoch C2S Adapter that allows you to record to SSD Drives instead of expensive CFast cards. With this setup, you'll still be able to record in any format the URSA offers, including full uncompressed 4K RAW at 60p.

Yes I know, it's an additional accessory you need to mount to your camera, but can literally save you thousands of dollars in storage costs. It may not be a full replacement for every situation, but when you're just working handheld or on sticks, it's the most inexpensive way to capture high quality footage from the data hungry BlackMagic Design URSA Cameras.

If you're the type to shoot mainly in low quality ProRes, lower framerates, or just 1080 then almost any SSD drive will work. But in order to capture the highest quality from the URSA 4K RAW 60fps, then you'll want to choose a decent SSD Drive. Recommended is the Sandisk Extreme Pro drives or the Samsung Pro SSD drives.

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Sandisk Extreme Pro drives

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Samsung Pro SSD drives

With about 960GB of storage (2 480GB SSD Drives), you're looking at around 2.5 Hours of 4K ProRes HQ at 24p. Every so often I may switch to 4K 60p, or 1080 120fps, but I seem to have enough footage for a decent project. The quality coming off the " target="_blank">BlackMagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K is so nice, I don't even mind shooting in ProRes LT if I need more than 2.5 hours. But even if I had to buy more storage, i'm literally saving thousands of dollars using the Atoch C2S Adapter and recording to SSD over CFast.

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learn-more-button Atoch C2S - Cfast to SSD Drive Adapter Ursa / Ursa Mini Cameras

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Here's a look at a few new DJI OSMO accessories, a few old ones, and how it all comes together for a nice 4K capable travel stabilizer. The Z-Axis Arm is an add-on to help smooth out any up/down jerky motions caused by walking. I feel lightweight gimbals are more prone to this movement as there is not enough mass. The Z-Axis is similar to the ISO arms you'll find on a Steadicam Vest.

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The Extended Battery Adapter is a great addition if you already have DJI batteries (Phantom, Inspire1, etc) and want to shoot all day. But with the new firmware update that is supposed to give you longer run time on the stock batteries, you may not need the external battery.

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The Extension Adapter will allow you to get better position for mounting some of your items. I think relocating the Phone mount behind the rear of the OSMO is a great spot and you'll be able to tilt as needed.

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The Universal Mount comes with two cold shoes that will let you mount additional accessories such as an LED Light or the Rode VideoMicro - which is also sold on the DJI website now.

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These are only a few items I think I would be using, but there is a number of expanded accessories available now from Bike Mounts, Car Mounts, Magic Arms, and even camera/gimbal upgrades to the new X5. Check out the DJI OSMO accessories page (here).

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learn-more-button DJI OSMO for X3 X5 X5R Camera Gimbals

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Just a quick intro on the Cool-Lux Lux Gears. These can be added over the focus ring if you're working with non-cine lenses and have to use a follow focus system. It's a flexible material that is still firm enough to where it won't slip under your FF. They make a variety of sizes so that they can fit perfectly with your lens.

They have a basic Lens Compatibility Chart showing which Lux Gear should work with most popular lenses. But if you can't find your lens on the chart, you can also print out a ruler (on their website) that will let you measure your lens and select a proper size. You can check out the Cool-Lux Lux Gears following the link (here).

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Learn-More-sm Lux Gears - Cool-Lux Seamless Follow Focus Lens Gears

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When i'm in a bind and need an ND filter to fit over my wide angle lenses, here's a little tip on how I make a custom Wide Angle filter adapter. Most people will just tape an ND directly to a lens, but this method allows you to put one on and take it off just as quick. It a simple process that works with basic card stock formed into a cylinder and cut to size. [The firmer the card stock the better..]

Now what you want to make sure you do before starting this project is test the filter that you plan on using. These wide angle lenses must use oversized filters, and for my Panasonic 7-14mm i'm using an 86mm Variable ND. If you have to go bigger than this, Fotodiox makes ND Filter sizes up 145mm (found here).

Normally we've gone as far as 3D Printed adapters, but when you're pressed for time this works all the same. This trick works on just about any wide angle or fisheye lens so long as you have an oversized filter. You can use this method to hold circular or square filteres. It will also work on many Cinema Prime lenses that don't have front threads.

If you really want to get creative, you can make one of these attached to a step up filter ring (instead of directly to a filter). Now that you have a filter ring, you can swap the front filter with different types (polarizers, different density static NDs, gradients, etc).

Sorry again for the weird audio, shot this with an iphone in hand as one of those spontaneous things. Hope the tip helps, leave some comments.

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Everyone eventually needs external hard drive space. For most people it might just be basic storage. But if you're a Photo / Video editor you might be interested in fast performance. Or perhaps you're concerned about protecting data from an important project and you want to have a backup mirrored drive (redundancy).

Here's a sub $100 dollar Dual Hard Drive Dock that can do all of those things, while still remaining flexible depending on your needs. With built in hardware, it's incredibly easy to setup. All you need to do is insert blank drives, flick a few dip switches, and press button to initiate your Drive Setup choice.

The Xcellon allows you to dock either larger Desktop 3.5" or smaller 2.5" drives. It even works well with Sandisk Solid State Drives (SSD). And the Dock makes it easy to swap like an old video game cartridge if you happen to store data across multiple drives.

The benefit to these drive docks is you'll end up saving money by just buying bare drives with no enclosures. When your drives are not in use, you can store and protect them in dedicated Hard Drive cases (like these).

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Learn More 3.5" / 2.5" Hard Drive Storage Protection Cases

If you're even more organized, you can create several different types of external storage and swap between them depending on your needs at the current time.

Using JBOD, the dual drive dock is your basic external hard drive. For each hard drive, you'll see a different Storage Drive on your computer.

Using Span is basic storage but takes both drives and only shows you one single external drive on your system. So that you don't have to think about which drive your footage is store in.

If you're looking for fast performance from your drives while editing videos / photos, then you might want to setup two Drives in a Raid0. This will allow your system to send data between both drives simultaneously. But keep in mind there is no redundancy here.

If you're more concerned about redundancy (mirrored data), then you'll want to choose a Raid1 setup. The data written to one drive is automatically duplicated to the other in case of a hard drive failure. A great way to ensure your important client data is safe.

Not quite as fast as Thunderbolt, but the Xcellon Dual Hard Drive Dock is setup to take advantage of increased capable speeds with the latest Type-C USB 3.1 (and backwards compatible).

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Learn-More-sm Xcellon USB Type-C Dual Drive Docking Station