When you're doing 'Live Production' and switching multi camera angles, you don't have the luxury of matching camera 'looks' in post. The 4.6K Ursa Mini is even so different than the Ursa Mini 4K sensor in dynamic range and low light sensitivity, it's a hard camera to match. I've also found myself using the Ursa Mini 4.6K so often, I thought it would be great to have a B-Camera that matched during interview setups. Finally I just ended up picking up a 3rd one for other projects that need 3 camera angles. I was able to purchase all of these BlackMagic Design Ursa Mini 4.6K cameras over at http://DVEStore.com
I've used quite a few different (somewhat affordable) wireless video transmitters, and the one that seems to be most consistent with long range has been the Connex Kits. There is a full size Connex version capable of 1,000m LOS range, and a newer Connex Mini that transmits 500m LOS range (that's still quite a distance!). There are some short comings to the Connex system when using it for video cameras, as these kits were originally designed for Drone use streaming full 1080p up to 60fps.
Some of the cons for on-camera video use are that it requires a battery, but there are no battery mounts. Also there are no standard mounts to attach to your video rigs. Finally it doesn't transmit audio (if you need this). But for distance, reliability, performance, and price the Connex kits are darn good. To make life easier, Camera Motion Research created a special frame and battery kit for us shooters.
The latest mod for their Connex Mini kits is adding an SDI to HDMI converter. This allows someone like me to now use the Connex Mini kit with professional cameras that only offer SDI out, and does it in a clean, simple, and easy way. All of the new hardware is still within the custom modded frame kit, and it's all powered by a single cable (via D-tap).
I'm often running Multicam Live Switching at events and one of the biggest headaches is runnning SDI Cable across the floors. It's not easy running cables and taping them down. This also prevents the cameras from being mobile. But with a wireless video kit, you can move freely around the event. With this new mod, you basically have a tiny high performing wireless HD video kit that can support both HDMI or SDI inputs. Here's a test of latency below.
Keep in mind that in my latency test, the Connex Mini does not transmit audio. My audio source is coming in from another input into the ATEM Switcher. Both feeds were recorded to a Hyperdeck Mini and you can see it's just about perfect in sync. With this type of setup, that camera is now free to roam up to 1600 Feet away from the receiver, and we can still Live Switch during a Live Production.
If you are working with the Connex Wireless HD Video kits, and you experience latency, that could possibly be caused by your camera's output. Some cameras will have a 3-6 frame delay and you'll notice this when connected to any monitor. I personally have moved to working with the Ursa Mini cameras for my Live Production, as this camera offers almost no delay on SDI output, and with SDI I can do long runs up to 300 feet (HDMI limit is around 12 feet).
If you've ever struggled to balance cameras such as the Sony FS7 or Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini into a DJI Ronin, then your interest will be peaked by the new CAME-TV Prodigy Gimbal. It's a physically larger gimbal with a deeper, wider, and taller frame offering up a lot more room to balance these types of cameras. Yet despite the larger size, the Prodigy Gimbal is almost a full pound lighter than the full size DJI Ronin (not to mention less expensive too). Here's an unboxing of what comes with the new CAME-TV Prodigy Gimbal and a quick demo of the Ursa Mini placed on the system.
The system comes with a nice rolling hardcase with durable dense custom cut foam. The battery system is powered by (4) 18650 Batteries which doesn't lock you into propriety batteries if you need more run time.
Balancing the system requires no tools, and there are plenty of fine tuning knob adjustments to get the balance perfect. Just like their Mini3 and ARGO Gimbals, there is a built in wireless video transmitter. On the frame is a 15mm Rod Clamp for you to attach accessories such as a wireless follow focus. It comes ready with a wireless joystick, and also a Quick Mount Plate to attach the CAME-TV Prodigy in creative ways (like under a jib or RC Gimbal Car).
After shooting a few projects with the BlackMagic Design URSA Mini 4.6K camera, I found several that I could sometimes get away with just the audio from the built in microphones. But as soon as I threw on my Canon EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 lens with Image Stabilization (Ursa is not full frame), the camera microphones would pick up all of the IS noise. Once that noise was embedded into the audio, it was no longer usable. So I set out to find a good microphone that I could mount over the handle.
I personally wanted the shortest shotgun microphone, powered over XLR phantom so I didn't have to worry about batteries. I wanted to find the slimmest shock mount so it didn't sit too high (trying to keep the camera clean and simple). It didn't need to be the best microphone in the world, as I was only planning to use it mostly on camera for good scratch audio or sound bites. After reviewing a few options I found the Azden SGM-PDII to be a good fit and has excellent customer reviews. Over at B&H they have an Azden SGM-PDII Shotgun Mic Kit that includes the shock mount, and the microphone already comes with a short XLR lead.
Running through the tests mounted on camera, the SGM-PDII was completely free of any Image Stabilization noise from my lens. So for my on-camera needs it works great. And surprisingly I found the microphone also sounded very good when booming overhead, so it's something I would even use during interviews. If you're working with a camera that has built in XLR inputs (i.e. Sony FS7) and looking for something better than the built in microphones, you may want to take a look at the Azden SGM-PDII Short Shotgun Microphone.
Here's a look at the new Epiphan Video AV.iO 4K HDMI to USB Adapter that takes the Video Output from your cameras and allows you to input them to your Laptop or Computer. They also offer many other to capture video feeds from SD-SDI, HD-SDI, DVI, VGA, and more! These new adapters can input up to 4K Resolutions for which you can Capture, Record, or Stream.
Once you have your camera's Video Feed on your system you can choose to Record or Stream from your camera's video and audio directly to services such as Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and many other online services. This is a great way to use professional cameras and zoom lenses instead of using cheap webcams for your Live Stream. I use adapters like these to stream from my Multi Camera Live Switch Setup (seen here).
You can also take the feed from your cameras and use software like ScopeBox turning your Mac Laptop or iMac into professional a large screen Directors Monitor complete with Waveforms, Vectorscopes, RGB Parade, Histograms, Focus Peaking, Zebras, and more!
The Epiphan 4K Video AV.iO Adapters work over USB so no Thunderbolt ports needed (unlike some BlackMagic Design adapters), no drivers to install, and no software required for the adapter to be seen by many popular applications. There is also no configurations needed to set the proper resolution or framerate, most software such as just sees the device. Very Simple. Remember that this can take up to 4K resolutions (not just 1080).
The Canon LP-E6 batteries were designed to fit inside of Canon DSLR cameras, so they don't really come in larger capacities. Sony batteries on the other hand come in a variety of capacities if you want extra run time. Well I wanted extra run time on the new BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera but didn't want to use the ugly and huge break out cables that is required for running external power.
Now I don't recommend this for people who don't really know what they're doing when it comes to batteries and soldering, but if you have the basic knowledge this little MOD can give you extra run time on your new BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera. The dummy battery and Sony Battery Plate are very basic and once you open them up, they just have two wires inside (red + black).
Once you merge those two plates together, you have a working adapter that sends the 7.4V voltage from your Sony NPF-970 battery to a Canon mount. Now Sony batteries come in different capacities so I don't necessarily have to use the bulky one in the video, but it's a good idea how much power I can run if I really wanted to.
Before I merged my two parts together, I added some heavy epoxy putty on the inside to make it more solid. I also plastic welded (melted the two parts together) along the sides. It's a pretty solid adapter and the wires are glued inside so they don't move. Now I like to experiment, but if you guys decide to try this out, just know you're doing this at your own risk...
Just testing some different color grades using RAW footage from the new BlackMagic Design Micro Cinema Camera. This was shot in compressed 3:1 RAW on a Sandisk Card in 60p and then conformed in FCPX. I originally thought you couldn't shoot RAW in 60p on this camera, but that was because I was trying Full RAW. If you set it to RAW 3:1 (compressed RAW), then you can definitely do 60p.
The camera is a bit quirky without an LCD screen or Grip, so you need to add a few things to it to make it functional. But in such a small package it's amazing to get 60fps 12-bit RAW Video for under $1K. No other camera offers this. I can only imagine the quality people will get flying this on Drones (as it was originally intended for). Or even just used for car mount projects as this camera is tiny but packs incredible quality.
The BMMCC is very sharp, but my images in the video (above) are soft because I forgot to bring a good ND Filter and needed to stop the Panasonic 20mm lens down to F/16 (max). This lens is typically sharp around F/2.2 or so, and stopping it down (from bright daylight) really makes the images soft (Most lenses will be softer when at it's widest aperture or stopped down). I'll have to go out and shoot again, this time with a better lens and ND filter.
Obviously the #BMMCC #Blackmagic #MicroCinema camera is not designed to be as sensitive in low light as the Sony A7s, but at ISO 1600 it's not too shabby. As long as you can get your exposure set properly and push everything down in post, noise shouldn't be too much of an issue. It's when you shoot underexposed and then decide on trying to push up the Shadows, Mids, or Highlights that you'll see a big problem. Instead you should be setting your exposure so that your know in post you will be pushing down your Highlights, Mids, and Shadows. If you can't set your exposure, you'll have to light your scene. Personally I think I would stick to ISO 800 as much as possible, but here's a test at ISO 1600 where I felt I was still shooting underexposed, and you can see some of that noise.
BTW, if you have a decent set of headphones or speakers listen to the Stereo Audio recorded by Azden's new SMX30 which is two microphones in one! So handy to be able to switch from a directional microphone for focused sound, or to Stereo to capture natural ambient sound. Unlike a mono audio track, you can actually hear the people walking from one side to the other, or cars driving by.
CAME-TV is probably best known for offering affordable gimbal systems, but they sell just about anything from LED Lights, to Video Rig accessories. A short while ago, I shared a video about a CAME-TV Cage for the Sony A7s, and to follow up i'm giving an overview of three other CAME-TV cages for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic GH4, and Canon DSLR.
Towards the end, there's a look at the CAMETV 15mm Rails, Shoulder Pad, Front Handles, Follow Focus, Lens Support, MatteBox, and V-Mount Power Adapter.
With the exception of the large Canon DSLR Cage, the other cages for the A7s, GH4, and BMPCC are custom 'form fitted'. This means there is very little size difference from the camera body itself making it easy to pack away.
Once you have your camera in these form-fitted cages, there's no reason you'll ever need to take them out. Removing the top handle and 15mm base adapter is a quick knob (no tools). You can add a QR plate directly to the cage without the base adapter if you want to run minimally.
Each cage also comes with an HDMI pinch, which is one of the most important tools to have if using an external HDMI monitor. It will prevent accidental disconnections and may even save your camera's HDMI port from possible damage.
Below are a few direct links to some of the products shown in the video (above). These are just a few bits of equipment that is offered, but besides the CAME-TV branded equipment, you'll also find other familiar top brand names such as Tilta, F&V, MOVCAM, LanParte, and more found at http://CAME-TV.com