DIY Video and Photography Projects

Amimon Connex Transmit Full 1080HD Video up to 60fps Wirelessly Over 3,000 Feet
January 25, 2016

The Amimon Connex Wireless HD Video Transmitter was designed for Professional Drone use, but with a modified kit from Camera Motion Research you can use it to transmit the HD Video from your HDMI over 3,300 feet (or 1,000 meters). The video transmits in full Uncompressed 1080p up to 60fps with what they say is zero latency.

The Amimon Connex kit from CMR has been modified for ease of use with your video cameras by attaching a custom battery pack frame to both the transmitter and receiver, includes modified power cables, and also adding 1/4-20 threaded mounts for mounting to a hotshoe or rig (among other small accessories added to the kit).

Even though this particular Connex kit has been modified, you can always remove the battery mount if you want to use it for your Professional Drone. For those who aren’t familiar, Amimon chipsets are licensed to other big brand wireless video transmitters (i.e.Teradek), so they are proven to be reliable and robust. The value in the Connex kit specifically is that it does lack SDI inputs and does not transmit Audio. This system is for HDMI use only (but you can always add an SDI to HDMI converter).

amimon connex review cheesycam wireless hd video transmitter hdmi
Learn-More-sm Amimon Connex Wireless 1080 HD Video Kit

So if your project relies heavily on transmitting video across long distances in full 1080hd up to 60fps, the modified Amimon Connex from Camera Motion Research is a great option for professionals. There are some additional accessories for this kit such as D-tap power cables and you can find more information at (here)

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Yuneec Tornado H920 Drone with Micro Four Thirds CG04 Camera – CES 2016
January 22, 2016

Here’s another Yuneec Aerial interview from CES 2016 about their new Tornado H920 Drone. Besides being fairly weather proof to fly under light rainy conditions, the Tornado can be used to fly the Panasonic GH4, BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, or a brand new CG04 Camera designed by Yuneec. Yuneec worked with Panasonic to develop the CG04, and for the most part is basically a redesigned Panasonic GH4 with integration so that all functions can be changed remotely by the operator while in the air.

The CG04 comes with a 3x optical zoom lens which you can control from the ST24 transmitter. Start stop video, change camera settings, switch modes, and even touch screen to focus. When not used for flying, the CG04 camera system and gimbal will work on the Yuneec Handheld Gimbal System as well. Check out the video below from Yuneec showcasing some additional information Yuneec CG04 Camera System.

“The dream of an adjustable, all-function, remote-controlled, 4/3 inch sensor, aerial capturing system is now a reality. The Yuneec CGO4 incorporates a true Panasonic® GH4 camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and an integrated 5.8GHz video downlink module, housed in purpose designed casing. It can be installed on both the Tornado H920 multi-copter and the ProAction ground system. All the regular Panasonic® GH4 camera settings can be freely and remotely adjusted from the ST24 transmitter, that transforms and reshapes the boundaries of aerial imaging creation. Through the user friendly control app interface in the ST24, the CGO4 becomes an incredible tool to realize the highest levels of aerial photographic and videographic imagery.” – via Yuneec Youtube

yuneec tornado droneyuneec tornado handheld gimbal gh4 bmpcc
Learn-More-sm Yuneec Tornado H920 Drone

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Zhiyun Z1-Smooth-C 3 Axis Smart Phone Gimbal Test w Moondog Labs Anamorphic iPhone Lens
January 20, 2016

There is a plethora of hand held gimbals for Smart Phones today, but just in case you were looking at the Zhiyun Z1-Smooth-C, I just happened to have one sent over and here’s a video overview and test using the iPhone 6s.

The Zhiyun Z1-Smooth-C gimbal is easy to calibrate through a computer system, or without a PC. The trick is to remember the sequence of positions you need to flip through, and finding a level surface to do this. But once you’re calibrated it should be fine.

I can’t confirm this, but by looking at the build and how it feels, I don’t believe this has any encoders. This is something all gimbals are starting to introduce, and possibly because this uses it’s own software it may not be supported yet.

The Zhiyun Smooth is a pretty straight forward system to get up and running, and it’s nice that it does fold completely flat for travel. It can support smartphones with screens as large as 7″ inches, which includes the iPhone 6 Plus. You can find the product available (here).

zhiyun-tech smooth gimbal smartphone iphone
find-price-button Zhiyun Smooth-C 3 Axis Smart Phone Gimbal

And just in case you’re interested in the Moondog Labs Anamorpic Lens for iPhones, you can find below.

moondog labs anamorphic lens adapte iphone 6 s
find-price-button Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Lens Adapter for iPhone

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Yuneec’s new Typhoon H 4K Drone Can Avoid Obstacles in Real Time
January 15, 2016

Here’s an interview from CES 2016 with Raymond from Yuneec giving us a look at the new Typhoon H4. A drone I think could be a major challenger to DJI’s Inspire1 Quadcopter with X3 Camera. Especially if you’re not an experienced pilot. Besides having 6 rotors that can keep the craft flying in case of a motor failure, this drone is implementing Intel’s Real Sense technology to avoid collisions.

Here’s a look at a demo put on by Yuneec showing Intel’s Real Sense technology at work.

The new Yuneec H4 Hexacopter is said to retail at $1799 (not available yet) which is far cheaper than DJI’s entry level Inspire1 craft (found here). Yuneec also offers a handheld Gimbal system that you can mount the Drone camera to (similar to the OSMO). With a high quality 4K camera that can rotate a full 360 degrees, many autonomous features (follow me, orbit, gps points), redundant rotors, and the ability to avoid obstacles preventing crashes certainly add more value to the product as well. I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on this model. For more information about the Typhoon H visit Yuneec’s website (here).

yuneec Typhoon H 4k drone
Learn-More-sm Yuneec Typhoon H4 4K Drone with Intel Real Sense

The Yuneec Typhoon H is also available at B&H (here).

yuneec typhoon h copterYuneec Typhoon H4 4K Drone with Collision Avoidance

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Juicedlink Finally Releases Little DARling Portable Audio Recorder
January 14, 2016

Almost 2 years ago, Juicedlink (maker of high quality low noise audio preamps) announced a prototype at NAB2014 show for a body mount portable audio recorder. The Little DARling (DAR = Distributed Audio Recorder) is an alternative audio capture device that can be used instead of your traditional wireless TX/RX setup.

[Prototype DARling recorder shown at NAB2014]

There are many benefits to working with a portable audio recorder mounted directly on your subject(s). No wireless interference or drop outs, and also no issues with distance. Recording directly into a portable recorder can often sound better than audio being transmitted wirelessly.

While many of us have been using the Zoom H1 recorder for this type of workflow, the Zoom H1 has a weird form factor to place in the pocket. The lav mic is not locking (potential for disconnects), and the the connection for lav mic and headphones come off each side.

dar123 little darling audio recorder juicedlink
Juicedlink DAR123 Portable Audio Recorder

The new Juicedlink Little DARling is designed in a smaller more comfortable form factor, uses locking connections for the LAV mic, and both headphone and lav mic connections come off the top. Better than the Zoom H1, the DARling can also record a second attenuated (lower volume) backup track in case of peaking. The base model DARling (without wireless controls) starts at just $199.

[JuicedLink Little DARling Release Video]

To aid in your post audio sync workflow, the Juicedlink Little DARling has an optional DX124RX01 version that adds a wireless tone slate and wireless stop / start recording. Remember, this is not a wireless audio transmitter and receiver. The idea here with the wireless options on the DARling is to be able to initiate start and stop recording on several DARlings placed on several subjects and to initiate a Tone Slate as a reference point to line up your audio recordings in post.

Little Darling Front Features
Juicedlink DAR124RX01 Portable Audio Recorder with Wireless Control

Example: A while ago I helped shoot a few pro golfers chasing them around a course. Wireless Audio directly into multiple camera angles eases the post production workflow, but as they spread out or drove off in a separate Golf Cart, we certainly ran into several issues with wireless drop outs and interference. I could have certainly benefited from a tool like the Little DARling to ensure we captured clean audio on that project while still having several forms of redundancy and a tone slate to help sync in post.

While a Zoom H1 can be a good portable recorder at half the price, the base model Juicedlink DAR123 for just $199 is enclosed in an aluminum casing, offers up locking TRS Lav mic connections, is designed with a more comfortable body pack form factor (or pocketable), and positions the headphone out and audio input off the top (not the sides), and even offers up an attenuated (lower volume) backup Audio Track recording.

I can see so many huge benefits to having these devices. The new Juicedlink Little DARling body pack portable audio recorders are certainly on the top of my audio tool list for 2016, and after two years i’m excited to see they are finally available for purchase at the Juicedlink website (here).

juicedlink little darling dar audio recorder wirless backup
Learn-More-sm Little DARling Distributed Audio Recorder

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3 Free Apps To Turn your iPhone into a Portable Audio Recorder
January 7, 2016

Whenever possible i’m still a big fan of capturing audio from a subject using just a Zoom H1 portable audio recorder and a simple Lav mic. In fact I own (5) Zoom H1 recorders. No worries about interference or audio drop outs, and it’s a very inexpensive way to capture high quality audio.

But just in case you don’t happen to have a Zoom H1, here’s a video posted by AspenMics that shows you three different FREE Apps from top audio companies Rode, Tascam, and Zoom that you can download to turn your iPhone (or ipod touch) into a Portable Pocket Audio Recorder.

Keep in mind that not every Lav microphone will work when plugged directly into an iPhone. Some microphones will need a special TRRS adapter (or other). But if you happen to have a compatible lav mic for your iPhone such as the Rode SmartLav+ or AspenMics HQ-SPK, then these apps should work with either one.


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CAME-TV Tripod Dolly and Magnetic Track Rail System
January 5, 2016

Sliders are great, but track systems will offer you more travel. Gimbals are great systems to move the camera long distances, but is not ideal when your movement has to be repeated. Using a track dolly system will let you take advantage of long lenses and shallow depth of field without having to worry about your subject falling out of frame or out of focus. It’s a more controllable and predictable tool that offers high production value that any operator can use without much practice or experience. Every shooter should have access to a good tripod track dolly system.

Recently we were able to try on CAME-TV’s new Tripod Track Dolly system that allows you to perform curved tracking shots or straight linear tracking shots. The system is unique as it uses strong Magnets to combine the rails together making it fast and easy to setup – no tools.

Anytime you join tracks, you have to worry about the seams not aligning and causing a bump in tracking. But the Magnetic rails matched up perfectly, and the tripod dolly with 3 swiveling casters and a total of 12 smooth bearing wheels gave us extremely smooth footage.

The kit comes packed neat in a carrying case and is extremely lightweight. The base kit comes with a set of curved rails and straight rails. You can combine all of the the tracks in the kit and even purchase additional tracks to make up more variety. This system can work on slightly textured surfaces, but works best on level ground.

The CAME-TV Tripod Dolly and Magnetic Track System is made with quality, and definitely affordable compared to other similar systems. The fact that it comes with both curved and linear rails allows you to get creative right out of the base package. For more information, check out the product page at (here).

came-tv tripod magnetic track dolly
Learn-More-sm CAME-TV Tripod Dolly and Magnetic Track System

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Varavon Birdycam Lite 32Bit 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer with Encoders Overview and Demo
December 31, 2015

There’s a ton of new gimbal stabilizers that have come around in 2015, and Varavon themselves have got a brand new gimbal dedicated for small cameras. The new Varavon Birdycam Lite is one that stands out as it is just one of few to start incorporating newly supported Encoder hardware, is designed slightly bigger than the pistol grip gimbals, yet still smaller and lighter than even the DJI Ronin-M.

Learn-More-sm Varavon Birdycam Lite 32 Bit Gimbal Stabilizer w/ Encoders

It’s a gimbal I think many of been looking for as they want the smallest possible system to work with mirrorless cameras and Speedbooster Lens Adapters. A system still able to work with the Aputure DEC wireless follow focus adapter and easy access to HDMI and Audio ports for adding an External Monitor (recorder) and Wireless Audio systems. All of this would be impossible to do on a system like the CAME-SINGLE or PilotFly H1+, and the Birdycam Lite allows you to do this with ease while still being 33% lighter and smaller than the DJI Ronin-M – filling a void in the market.

Another excellent design feature is that the Varavon Birdycam Lite can be used without it’s top handles and can even work in Inverted mode. The gimbal can attach to standard Arca Swiss Quick Release Systems, so you could mount it on top of a Video Monopod, or hang it at the end of a Jib/Crane. And the wireless remote allows you to control Pan and Tilt if you wanted to use it in that manner.


Even as the DJI Ronin-M exists in the marketplace, and it’s certainly a worthy gimbal to get, many people are still trying to find smaller gimbal stabilizer systems for light duty work, travel, or when they want to be more discreet. The new Varavon Birdycam Lite fills the gap perfectly between a system that could be too big or too small for mirrorless cameras with lens adapters – offering the user more lens choices and freedom to attach external monitor/recorders and audio devices.

For more information about the new Varavon Birdycam Lite Gimbal with Enocders, check out the Product Page (here).

Learn-More-sm Varavon Birdycam Lite 32 Bit Gimbal Stabilizer w/ Encoders

For additional videos about the Varavon Birdycam Lite, check out these Unboxing, Balancing Tutorial, and Demo videos provided by Rik Cordero of

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