DIY Video and Photography Projects

01Jul Varavon BirdyCam 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer – New Folding Design


Varavon’s ‘Ready to Run’ Birdycam 3 Axis Gimbal stabilizer was slated to start shipping today (July 1st), but has recently announced a small delay. The new estimated shipping date is set around July 4th. Now before anyone starts throwing a tantrum, I think they have good reason. The newly added folding handle feature should make it worth the wait. Here’s a few photos below.

Varavon Birdy Cam 3 Axis Stabilizer 32 bit alexmos
Varavon BirdyCam Gimbal Stabilizer

The new folding handles should make the 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer easier to travel with. One of the problems with other gimbal systems is the odd dimensions which make it harder to travel with and to find a decent case.

Varavon also mentioned a battery change to a single battery instead of two separate smaller batteries. Hopefully we’ll see these units ship in just a few days, more info found at the product page (click here).

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

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01Jul Softbox and Bracket for F&V R-300 LED Ring Lights


The portable and small R-300 LED ring lights from F&V carry about about the same power as a large 1×1 LED panel in a much more travel friendly form factor. Though it can be used on camera as a ring light, it’s just as effective when used in a 3 piece lighting kit set on stands.

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find-price-button F&V R-300 LED Video Ring Light

If you need a softer more diffused light from the R-300, there is a new Portable Softbox kit available.

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find-price-button Soft Box and Bracket for R-300 LED Ring Light

Product description:
The R-300 Soft Box will allow you to modify your light, creating a larger, soft, single source light. This becomes the perfect solution for interviews, portraits, and product photography. Your imagination is the limit to this tool’s application. The soft box also comes packaged with a velcro honey comb which allows you to focus the light’s beam and reduce spill.

softbox grid r300 light
find-price-button Soft Box and Bracket for R-300 LED Ring Light

The R-300 Soft Box is made from a thick, high-quality nylon. Four large flaps in the back make it easy to install the soft box rods and R-300 w/ Bracket. A designated notch in one of the flaps makes accessing your R-300’s dimmer knob easy.

The R-300 mounts to a matte-black, aluminum bracket system which functions as the soft box’s speed ring. On this bracket are four receptacles that hold the soft box rods. The bracket has a 5/8” stud that allows you to mount the soft box system using a c-stand or universal holder. The center of this 5/8” stud is hollow which allows you to mount a translucent or reflective umbrella to the unit.

For more information about the Softbox and Bracket kit for the R-300 LED Ring light visit the F&V website (click here).

led lighting r300 umbrella Soft Box and bracket r-300 led light
find-price-button Soft Box and Bracket for R-300 LED Ring Light

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01Jul Fhugen Honu v2.0 Cage for Sony A7s (A7/A7r)


What are the most popular small cameras today? I think it’s the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7s. So here’s a bit of good news if you end up with one of these, or maybe even both. The popular Fhugen Honu Cage for the GH3/GH4 camera has recently been ‘modified’ to work with both the GH4 and new Sony A7s (along with A7/A7r) camera bodies.

honu gh4 sony a7 panasonic v2

In order to make it compatible for both camera bodies, a slight change has been made in the battery cutout which allows easy access to both the GH4 and Sony A7s battery tray. The once dedicated camera mount has been ’slotted’ so that the camera screw can be adjusted forward or back to accommodate the small Sony A7s.
fhugen honu gh4 sony a7s a7r a7
Keep in mind that with the larger battery cutout and the slotted camera mount, the cage is more likely to be compatible with other small camera bodies on the market. The new Fhugen Honu V2.0 cage is available following the link (click here).

honu_v2_specs
find-price-button Fhugen Honu Cage v2 for Panasonic GH3/ GH4 & Sony A7s/ A7 / A7r

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24Jun Rokinon 10mm F/2.8 Prime Lens for Micro Four Thirds


Here’s a very quick look at the new Rokinon 10mm F/2.8 Prime Lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras. This lens mounts directly to MFT cameras such as the GH3/GH4/ or BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

I was looking for a lens that could offer a wider field of view over my 12-35mm F/2.8, but after receiving the lens I was a bit disappointed. The size of the lens and lack of front filter threads made it harder to work with than my existing lenses.

Rokinon 10mm Lens
find-price-button Rokinon 10mm F/2.8 MFT Prime Lens

Considering it lacks image stabilization and is priced at over $520 dollars, if you’re looking for a good Rokinon MFT Prime Lens for video I think the better choice would be with the Rokinon 12mm F/2.0 for $399.

Rokinon 12mm F2
find-price-button Rokinon 12mm F/2.0 MFT Prime Lens

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20Jun DIY Build Videos – CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer


Today i’ve released several videos showing the assembly of the CAME 7000 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer. The videos start from basic assembly to basic PID tuning (very basic), and a few personal tweaks. It’s a work in progress but for those who have just decided to pick up a CAME 7000 DIY gimbal kit, it should be a good start.

I’ve also broken up the videos into several parts, so that it’s easier to skip certain sections if you’re already half way through your build. As more questions come in, hopefully I will be able to add more and more useful content and refine each of the build instructions.

build gimbal  build came 700 3 axis gimbal  install gimbal joystick  default

In order to keep all of the questions, comments, answers, and other information centralized, i’ve set up a separate page for the videos and articles at http://gimbal.cheesycam.com.

gimbal cheesycam came 7000 build 3 axis DIY brushless
DIY Build Info 3 Axis Gimbal – visit Gimbal.Cheesycam.com

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18Jun Lighting Passport iOS iPhone iPod LED Spectrometer Light Meter


An interview with Luc from Allied Scientific Pro about the Lighting Passport Smartphone LED Spectrometer. This light meter connects to your iPhone / iPod Touch via bluetooth and can capture, save, and share results better than any other LED spectrometer on the market today.

More information about the LED light meter can be found at the Allied Scientific Pro website (click here).

iphone light meter video cri meter ipod touch
Lighting Passport iPhone / iPod Touch Smartphone LED Light Meter

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18Jun TIP: Ultra Wide Angle Lens for Panasonic GH4 Camera Defish Fisheye


One of the concerns with shooting on micro four thirds is with it’s cropped view. In addition, shooting at 4K on the GH4 camera will further crop your view. If you follow the blog, you would have seen me testing some de-fishing techniques using a Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye Lens. Though not perfect, i’ve been able to use this for some smaller projects with acceptable results. Check out the video below for examples.


[Tip: When using this technique with a person, keep a distance and place them in center frame whenever possible. Side distortion is not always flattering..]

Though not a perfect solution, this sub $300 dollar lens defished is still capable of capturing a wider field of view than the $1K 7-14mm F/4 Lumix. Of course with the defish technique your project will look it’s best at a final output of 1080p. Here are a few screengrabs showing how much view is lost during the defish process.

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Original Fisheye View – GH4 7.5mm MFT Fisheye

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4K Defished to 1080p – GH4 7.5mm MFT Fisheye

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Original Fisheye View – GH4 7.5mm MFT Fisheye

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4K Defished to 1080p – GH4 7.5mm MFT Fisheye

The small form factor and light weight also make it easy to carry and perfect for small stabilizers. So if you’re shooting with a GH4 and have to work with interior or tight spaces, defishing from a 4K file is an interesting option to be aware of. Definitely a lens GH4 shooters should have in their bag, and available for just under $300 (click here).

Rokinon Fisheye MFT Micro four thirds fish eye lens cheesycam GH4 defish lens
find-price-button Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye Lens for MFT Cameras

Panasonic GH4 order stock inventory
find-price-button Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 MFT 4K Camera

FCPX has it’s own fisheye plugin, but may not work very well for some corrections. You can also check out the FCPEffects Plugin to remove the Fisheye Look (found here).

Fisheye-Removal-Plugin_mediumfisheye plugin video
find-price-button FCPX Fisheye Removal Plugin

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16Jun BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera Cage Top Handle 15mm Rails


BlackMagic Design FancierStudio Fancier Studio cage pocket cinema

Though we are seeing dozens of BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera cages already available, if you’re looking for a complete kit with Form-Fitting Cage, Top Handle, Cold Shoe Mounts, and a set of 15mm Rails, it’s hard to beat the price of this new FancierStudio BMPCC Cage. Just under $120 and Free Shipping (for Prime members) via Amazon (click here).

blackmagic pocket cinema cagefancierstudio cage
find-price-button FancierStudio BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera Cage

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12Jun New Radian Pro Mini TX Backbone for Wireless HD Video Transmitter


If you’re looking for a lightweight setup to send your HD feed wirelessly, Camera Motion Research has released a new Mini Back Bone for their Radian Pro Wireless HD Video Transmitter. The backbone itself is more compact in design, is now made from Delrin instead of metal, and also includes a lighter more compact battery. Aside from being used with the Radian transmitter, these backbones can be used with Paralinx, IDX-Cw-1, and Nyrius Aries Pro transmitters.

Product Description:
The mini TX Backbone requested by customers wanting the smallest and lightest transmitter package with self-contained power is now available. The mini TX Backbone is made from machined delrin , and our chrome plated spring steel battery clip. It has two ¼-20 mounting holes. The MINI TX Backbone uses a smaller lithium battery that powers the transmitter for over 3 hours. The battery has an on/off switch , and a very accurate digital display of remaining % power, that indicates both during powering, and during charging. The MINI TX BackBone kit ships with one battery, USB power cable, anodized aluminum thumb stud and hot shoe mount for an introductory price of $99. Additional batteries are $25 (visit website here).

Radian Pro Mini TX Backbone
find-price-button CMR Radian Pro Mini TX Backbone

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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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