DIY Video and Photography Projects

12Jun Joy Ride – 32 bit 3 Axis Gimbal with Electric Skateboard


I thought i’d test out how well I have things balanced out with the GH4 and Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye Lens. A few notes – the Rokinon lens is a manual lens with no image stabilization and although parts of this video have been sped up, there is absolutely no image stabilization applied. I’m also holding the gimbal only by it’s Top handle. As I reach speeds up to 20mph there is plenty of wind resistance. Considering these factors – I think it faired well.

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12Jun Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 4K Compact Camera


By now you’ve all probably heard about Panasonic’s latest DMC-FZ1000 4K capable Bridge point-and-shoot camera with a 16X HYBRID O.I.S. 5-Axis Image Stabilized Zoom lens. There is definitely some amazing features packed into this camera, enough to maybe have Sony RX10 owners thinking about an upgrade.

Aside from the amazing quality i’m sure we’ll get from Panasonic the bright F/2.8-4.0 lens should be good in low light and help defocus the background. I’m also happy to see they didn’t leave out the microphone input. Seems like a great all around camera for run-gun coverage or for travel.

At 4K (UHD) resolution you’re limited to just 30fps, but at 1080p you have 24, 30, and 60fps great for slo-mo. Additionally, high speed video recording is possible with sensor output frame rates of 120 fps, 240 fps, and 360 fps (at lower resolutions). At this time not many cameras can record directly to SD media cards, especially under $1K so I think Panasonic has another winner here. Long list of features over at the B&H product page (click here).

Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 Digital Camerapanasonic_dmc_fz1000k_lumix_dmc_fz1000_digital_camera_1057135
find-price-button Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FZ1000 4K 16X OIS Zoom Compact Camera

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12Jun Cinegear 2014 – Varavon Armor Cage for Panasonic GH3 GH4 Cameras


Cinegear 2014 – Varavon displays a finished version of the new Armor Cage for Panasonic GH3 / GH4 cameras.

The cage fits fairly snug around the camera body, wrapping around menu buttons for easy access, and is cut out to allow full articulation of the LCD screen, access to battery door, and media slot. For keeping the HDMI in place, there is a small bracket to pinch the the HDMI cable from being accidentally pulled off. A removable top handle and hand strap are also included in the kit.

gh3 gh4 exterrnal batterygh3 gh4 armor varavon 15mm rails cage
Optional External Battery and 15mm Rail Base Mount

Varavon is also offering optional accessories such as an external battery pack, and 15mm Rail Base that attaches under the cage. Available now for $270 and more information at the Varavon website (here).

Varavon Armor Cage FH3 GH4
find-price-button Varavon Armor Cage for Panasonic GH3 / GH4 Cameras

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11Jun Cinegear 2014 – Dracast LED Fresnel Lighting


Cinegear 2014 – Rodney with Dracast showcases new Fresnel lighting using high quality CREE LEDs. According to the product page, the new fresnel series carries a high 95 CRI rating.

Product Description:
The Dracast LED FRESNEL Series is the newest release in the Dracast product line, and it’s arriving with a bang. The Dracast FRESNEL Series is designed using our MASM (Multi Arrary Surface Mount) LED technology. MASM uses an array of perfectly balanced high-output surface mount LED chips, and fits them into an ultra-focused lens housing. This creates tremendous light output with virtually flawless color consistency. Adding to this a virtually silent active fan cooling system, and the Dracast FRESNEL Series is poised to be a game changer.

For more information about the new Dracast LED Fresnel Series visit the Dracast website (here).

Dracase LED Fresnel CREE LED bi colorDracast LED Fresnel Lighting
find-price-button Dracast High CRI LED FRESNEL Series

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10Jun CAME 7000 3 Axis 32 Bit Gimbal with Canon 5D DSLR Profile


As I continue to fiddle with the new 32 Bit CAME 7000 Gimbal, I spent several hours tweaking the system these past two days until I found some settings that worked best for me. Here’s an example of how stable my profile is thus far.

Now that I have this project up and running, I’m comfortable enough to start sharing more of the build process. The first series of videos to be uploaded are just my version of the basic assembly. You don’t need to wait on me since coincidentally CAME-TV.com has already uploaded their own version of building this gimbal found at their product page (here).

For those who already have their systems assembled and looking for a good Canon 5D gimbal profile, maybe mine will help you get close as you start out. Remember that balancing your gimbal is the most important thing before you start it up. You can download my CAME 7000 32 Bit Gimbal PID Settings (here).

[NOTE:] CAME-TV.com has provided three different profiles for use with their new 7000 3 Axis Gimbal. I tried the profiles, but ended up just creating my own from scratch. Your results may be different and if you want to give this a go, you can download the new 32-Bit Gimbal Profiles (found here).

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09Jun Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer Ships July 1st


Just a few months ago at NAB2014, Varavon showed off their new BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer. Pricing was estimated to be under $2K at release, but at Cinegear this past weekend they’ve announced a slight jump in price to now $2300.

So why the slight increase in price? Well as far as build quality, they’ve made some improvements along with upgrading the entire system with a 32 bit controller (instead of 8 bit shown at NAB). At Cinegear the final product worked amazingly, and you can check out the video below as they demonstrate it’s stability. (note: handles on final version will be finished in black)

Compared to other products, the appeal of the Varavon Birdycam gimbal is the tool-less frame design in which you can easily dial in a camera’s balance.

Varavon Birdy Cam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer Varavon Birdy Cam Gimbal Stabilizer

The top handle attaches via a standard divetail (quick release) to mount the gimbal to a jib, crane, or cable cam keeping you camera stable while offering options to operating Pan/Tilt remotely. The Varavon BirdyCam will also include it’s own stand and a carrying case – a major convenience for any Gimbal.

Birdycam Packing ListVaravon Birdycam case
find-price-button Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer – PreOrders Save $300 off

I’ve seen quite a few gimbals at both NAB and Cinegear, and so far no other “Ready-To-Run” 3 Axis gimbal system capable of flying a 5D Mark III for under $2400 dollars has impressed me more than the Varavon BirdyCam.

Here’s a bit of better news. Pre-orders are open now and first units should begin shipping on July 1st. All pre-orders will receive a $300 dollar discount, so you can still pick it up for the price quoted at NAB2014. For Pre-Orders and for more information visit the BirdyCam product page (found here).

varavon birdycam pre-orderpreorder birdycam varavon 3 axis gimbal stabilizer
find-price-button Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer – PreOrder Now

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08Jun Reminder – Libec ALLEX Show Us Your Moves Video Contest


Over at Cinegear 2014 in Hollywood, Libec reminds us to join the ALLEX ‘Show Us Your Moves’ Video Contest. There is absolutely no reason not to enter this contest, especially since Libec equipment is NOT required for your submission.

It’s basically a less than one minute video showing off creative camera movements in your story. Actually, since the contest states you can submit an Instagram or Vine video clip, you’re talking about a less than 15 second video!

Use a Crane, Slider, Dolly, Steadicam, Multi-copter, wheelchair, cable cam, balloon, DIY PVC stabilizer, or skateboard – it’s all up to you to show off your creative camera movements. Libec is offering up 5 different prizes to 5 total winners, so check out the Libec ALLEX ‘Show Us Your Moves’ Video Contest (found here).

Libec ALLEX Show Your Moves Contest
Libec ALLEX ‘Show Us Your Moves’ Video Contest

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05Jun Clever 15mm Cheese Rod Threaded Mounting Rails for Video Rigs


Michael writes in and shares a clever and affordable set of rails that make mounting accessories to your rig a whole lot easier. Threaded mounts are available across the rod for adding ball heads, friction arms, cold shoe adapters, etc.

15mm cheese rail rod dslr video rig
find-price-button 15mm Cheese Rod Rails for Video Rigs

Despite having threaded mounts running across most of the rail, these rods maintain an OD (outside diameter) of 15mm throughout. This means that you can continue to use a follow focus, mattebox, or anything else with a 15mm clamp on any part of the rail without compromise.

Available in either a 6″ single 15mm rail, 6″ dual 15mm rails, or a rail kit with an extension adapter to stack them together for longer lengths (found here)

15mm cheese rod rail mounting threaded15mm cheese rod rail extension kit
find-price-button 15mm Cheese Rod Rails for Video Rigs

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04Jun DIY Build 32 Bit Version CAME 7000 3 Axis Brushless Motor Gimbal Stabilizer


For those who may still be intimidated about tackling a DIY 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer, I am working on a video series sharing my step-by-step build instructions for this new 32 Bit version 3 Axis CAME 7000 Gimbal Stabilizer using the latest official Alexmos and Basecam controller. In the video you can see where i’m at just 1 day after receiving the product.

I haven’t spent a lot of time with the new gimbal, but already I know this is going to be a much more stable product over the previous 8 bit version. So far i’m able to get my GH4 + 12-35mm lens balanced on the system, but i’ll need more time fine tuning my PID settings.

The good news is that CAME-TV.com is working on providing default PID settings for many popular camera + lens combinations. As soon as you get your Gimbal assembled, you would basically upload the profile into the gimbal via USB and you’re up and running. Let’s hope we see those profiles soon! I currently have 5 videos started and just a few more before I can start uploading the series which i’m hoping could be a good reference for other builders.

Since some of you have already received your gimbal, here’s a video tip that’s part of my build process on mounting a project box to the gimbal. It’s a simple way to create a template for drilling out holes that will align perfectly with your mount.

The new 32 bit 3 Axis Gimbal is available now via CAME-TV.com (here)
Cheesycam Gimbal-3
find-price-button New 32 Bit CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer

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02Jun GoPro 3-Way – Extension Arm Camer Handle Tripod


Jason shares this new 3-Way stabilizer product from GoPro [Thanks Jason]. It’s an articulating extension arm with a handle, and folding legs to be used as a tripod. Unlike your basic telescoping pole, the new 3-Way offers a lot more flexibility, articulation, and camera angles. At $69 dollars the new 3-WAY is far from cheap, but available now at the GoPro website found under the Mounts category. Visit GoPro website (here).

GoPro 3-Way Camera handle Extension Tripod
find-price-button GoPro 3-Way Handle Extension Tripod

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30May Panasonic GH4 Can Simultaneously Output HDMI with Image App WiFi Remote


I received a question earlier today about whether the Panasonic GH4 can continue to output from the HDMI while simultaneously be connected via WiFi using the Image App. The answer is yes, but you will lose the on board LCD screen. You should also connect via WiFi before connecting your external HDMI display. Here’s a video showing how that works.

If you’ve mounted your camera to a balanced stabilizer, you’ll know how handy this feature can be. As the camera moves around, a remote operator can click on areas of the screen that the camera should be focusing to. This works fairly well, but of course it will be dependent upon the lens used, lighting, and contrast of the scene. Facial tracking and tracking modes are also helpful when you don’t have someone setting focus points remotely.

panasonic_dmc_gh4kbody_lumix_dmc_gh4_mirrorless_micro_1028453
find-price-button Panasonic GH4 4K Mirrorless MFT Camera Body

find-price-button Panasonic GH4 Camera Body – In Stock via Samys

If you like that shallow DOF look, Just a reminder that for the Lumix 20mm F/1.7 lens, right now there’s an instant savings of $80 dollars off.

Lumix 20mm BlackMagic Pocket CinemaPanasonic 20mm F17
find-price-button Panasonic Lumix 20mm F/1.7 II Lens

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29May IndiPro Tools Power Grid For BlackMagic Design Pocket / 4K / Cinema Cameras


After posting up the awesome deal going on with the BMPCC, I got a question about an external battery solution. BlackMagic Design has never made it easy to keep one of their cameras powered on for very long, and so any owner will be requiring an external power solution. If you’re not into DIY, these external battery mounts from IndiPro Tools can help make your life a whole lot easier when trying to keep those cameras powered up.

Indipro tools power gridblackmagic pocket cinema camera
find-price-button Power Grid System Dual Battery Plate for Pocket Cinema Camera

The Power Grid System uses either two common Canon LP-E6 batteries, or two common Sony L-Series batteries to power up either your BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera or your larger BlackMagic Design Production 4K or original Cinema Camera. A rotating 15mm clamp conveniently attaches to your rig.

For those who want to attach XLR microphones directly to the BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera’s 1/4″ TRS Microphone input, another Power Grid System offers Dual L-Series battery power combined with a converter for XLR input to 1/4″ TRS out (found here).

blackmagic cinema 4K
find-price-button Power Grid & XLR Audio Box with Dual L-Series Plates for Blackmagic Cinema/4K Production Cameras

Not to be left out, there is also a Power Grid system for the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera with an XLR audio adapter if you want to feed the signal from an XLR microphone into the BMPCC (found here)

indiprotools xlr power grid BMPCC XLR audio Adapter
find-price-button Power Grid & XLR Audio Box for Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Cameras
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29May Get $150 with Purchase of BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera


Despite all the new camera buzz, I know a few people have decided to stick with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera. If you decide on grabbing a BMPCC consider this deal for $150 Adorama Gift Certificate with your purchase of a BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera. Considering you’ll need a few extra items like the Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC Cards (a must have for RAW video) or possibly spare batteries, i’m sure you’ll appreciate the extra credit. Find the deal following the link (click here).

blackmagic pocket cinema rebate coupon discount sale
find-price-button BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera Body with MFT Mount – Includes FREE Adorama $150.00 Gift Certificate

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28May How To Perform 6 Point Calibration IMU Sensor for 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer


As more people begin taking the challenge of building their own 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer, there have been numerous questions with still little information. One popular question relates to calibrating the IMU sensor. In this video I attempt to show my method of performing the 6 Point Calibration of the IMU sensor and why I choose to do it this way.

Unlike using a cardboard box, this method using a Leveling Cube ensures you can visibly see how level you are before performing calibration. It also allows the sensor to remain completely flat across the cube.

If you look closely, you can see that laying the sensor down over the exposed solder pins may cause inaccurate results. Perform your calibration with the sensor level using only the flat area. Hopefully this bit of information has been helpful and may allow you to get slightly more accurate results from your 6 Point IMU Calibration.

Calibrate 6 Point Calibration IMU Alexmos Sensor gimbal sbgc software How To Cheesycam
Solder pins may cause inaccurate results calibrate IMU sensor gimbal

At first I thought these cubes were merely a novelty item, but after working with these gimbals, I have found so many more uses for them. They are great for checking how level your gimbal is when placed on a stand while balancing your camera. They are also great for checking the level of your camera immediately after powering up your gimbal (make sure your horizon is level before shooting). Great little item to have around for just under $2.50 + Free Shipping, I suggest grabbing the cubes with 3 bubble levels built in (click here)

3D 3 Axis Bubble Level Cube Hot Shoe3D Bubble Level cube Axis
find-price-button Hot Shoe Cube 3 Axis Bubble Level

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28May Discount Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 II MFT Lens Save $80


One of my favorite lenses to use on the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera or the Panasonic GH3/GH4 cameras is the Lumix 20mm F/1.7 II Lens. A short small lightweight lens with a wide aperture. On an M43 camera it’s capable of achieving a nice blurred background with a subject sharp in focus.

A great portrait type lens with a minimum focusing distance of less than 8″ allows for some very creative close up shots. To get an idea, you can see some samples shot on my 20mm F/1.7 in this video (click here).

I highly recommend this lens for MFT shooters. Right now there’s an instant savings of $80 dollars off.

Lumix 20mm BlackMagic Pocket CinemaPanasonic 20mm F17
find-price-button Panasonic Lumix 20mm F/1.7 II Lens

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27May Lexar 64GB SDXC Memory Card Professional Class 10 600x UHS-I


If you want to stick with name brand cards here’s a deal on Lexar 64GB SDXC Professional Class 10 600x UHS-I Memory Cards. Regular price $69.95, save an additional -$27 dollars OFF.

These cards are fast enough to support 4K video from the new GH4 and 1080p at 200Mb/s. For a limited time these 64GB 600x SDXC cards are now just $42.95 (found here).

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find-price-button Lexar 64GB 600x SDXC Media Cards

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