Tag Archives: review

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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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The new CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer does very well to keep a camera's horizon level. It's dead quiet, and easy to balance small DSLR sized cameras. The brushless motors are covered, the wiring is run internally to the Carbon tubes, battery is covered, and control board is covered. Aesthetically this system looks simple, and is simple to use. For the price, it's certainly not the cheapest when you look at DIY kits, but for some people the RTR (ready to run) convenience is a plus. The biggest downfall is the lack of side handles.

Brushless Motor Gimbal CAME 6000 CheeyscamCame 6000 2 Axis Stabilizer Gimbal DSLR Video
find-price-button CAME 6000 2-Axis Active Gimbal Stabilizer

Only a few hours after receiving the unit from CAME-TV.com, I was already modifying a set of side handles. Eventually my plan is to create a solid metal 90 degree clamp to add a 15mm rail (as seen below).
CAME 6000 15mm Clamp Side Handle Adapter CheesycamCheesycam DIY handles Gimbal Stabilizer
15mm Rail Adapter Concept - cheesycam.com

Until then, i'm using a simple 3/8" conduit clamp attached to a single 15mm rail clamp with a 1/4-20 thread (seen here). A small bolt runs through with a series of lock washers to prevent it from coming loose. Using a 15mm rail opens up new options for adding other industry standard accessories. Additionally i'm hiding the top 1/4" bolt by mounting a mini ball head for a monitor. Not too shabby for the time being..

Cheesycam Axis Gimbal DIY Stabilizer

After configuring the side handles, we took the CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal out for a walk with a Panasonic GH3 mounted. [ Note: The video below contains some very boring 5 minute walking material. ]. It's easy for companies to pick out only the best footage of their products in use, so in this video we decided to show UNCUT FOOTAGE and the BTS from this sample.

If you manage to make it through the boring part, you'll see transitions from normal shots, to low angle (doggy cam) footage, and even doing some (rookie) hand offs to another operator as the Gimbal becomes too heavy to manage after a few minutes. Simple moves, but almost impossible to perform with your average stabilizer a.k.a steadicam type device.

Although our technique, skill, and experience with gimbals is far from perfect, this modified CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal for the most part did it's job to keep the horizon level. Keep in mind in this example we're continuously walking all in one take - something that may not be too common in your production. Typically we're just looking for an effective way to stabilize hand held video when working off of a tripod, and I think this tool does very well in that sense. In worst case scenarios, there's also the option of adding post image stabilization which will I think will be more effective when shooting 4K video > 1080p (i.e. cropping, leveling horizons, etc.)

I'm a fan of working with smaller tools whenever possible, so I also like how compact this system is. It folds down with a low profile, and we have even managed to fit it into one our cheap hard cases (found here), with room to spare if I wanted to throw in the HDMI monitor, and more.

gimbal hard caseaxis gimbal stabilizer casecheap case cheesycam

Here's an old video for reference on how I go about balancing these gimbals (click here). I do believe that if CAME-TV wants to sell more of this particular stabilizer, they should really look into adding side handles, but until then it's not too difficult to DIY your own. You can find the CAME 6000 2 Axis Gimbal over at their website http://CAME-TV.com or also found via eBay (click here).

2 Axis Stabilizer Gimbal Brushess MotorBattery Gimbal Stabilizer ControllerCAME Gimbal Stabilizer
find-price-button CAME 6000 2-Axis Active Gimbal Stabilizer

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Here's an overview of the Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope product that takes an HDMI input and outputs a variety of overlays to any HDMI monitor, display, or television.

When the Aputure V-Converter product was first announced, the specs listed it would take a 1080p input, but only output a 720p signal. A recent firmware upgrade now allows the unit to output to full 1080p. I'm sure all the new products shipped will have this update, but if you need to download it, check the Aputure website (here).

The V-Converter can be powered from a Built-in lithium battery, but it's not a product I think fits the run-gun type shooter. With a $340+ price tag, mobile shooters may want to just look into a portable LCD monitor with these features already built in.
Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope CheesycamCheesycam Review Extra Scope V-Converter Aputure
find-price-button Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope Pro Overlays

In my opinion, the V-Converter is a product that will mainly appeal to those who will be working on set, in a studio type environment, or on location that requires a large stationary monitor. It will be helpful in any setting in which you need to look across the room, check exposure, see if audio levels are peaking, and what's currently in focus. It may be a product that compliments video shooters who have a workflow streaming Wireless HDMI Video (like with these Radian Pro Kits).

Aputure V-Converter Extra Scope Review Cheesycam

Considering how cheap large LCD HD televisions are these days, this little product can add-on big features normally only found on very very expensive studio monitors. You can find more info about the Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope (here).

Aputure V-Converter-HDMIprice v-converter aputure scope hdmi overlay pro monitor focus peaking exposure
find-price-button Aputure V-Converter HDMI Extra Scope Pro Overlays

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As far as recent portable digital audio recorders go, there has been quite a buzz around the 929347 Tascam DR-60D Portable Recorder + Field Recorder. The Tascam proves to have good quality sound as a preamp, but when compared to something like a Zoom H4n, the Tascam does not offer a single built in microphone. Besides having to carry around a separate microphone, the form factor is a bit on the large side (so does that still qualify as a portable recorder?).

Samson's Zoom line of portable recorders have always included a set of microphones, but the new Zoom H6 Zoom H6 Portable Digital Audio Recorder takes it to the next level by offering a very modular Mic and Input system among other new advanced features. The Zoom H6 basic kit includes includes an XY Microphone, Module, Includes Mid-side Microphone Module, Four XLR/TRS Inputs, Record Up to 6 Simultaneous Channels, Record Up to 24-bit/96kHz Audio, Doubles as USB Audio Interface, Uses SDXC Memory Cards. Add-ons will be available such as a Shotgun Mic, XLR/TRS Inputs Module, and Hot Shoe Mount. The brand new Zoom H6 Zoom H6 Portable Digital Recorder is available for pre-order now via (B&H) Click here.

Samson Zoom H6 Portable Audio Modular Mic Shotgun Stereo XY TRS XLR
find-price-button Samson Zoom H6 Modular Mic Input Portable Digital Audio Recorder

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A couple of videos about the Canon T3i....

Canon Kiss X5 and Kiss X50 (Rebel T3i and Rebel T3) from SpacePigTV on Vimeo.

LOOP (shot with EOS 600D / Kiss X5 / Rebel T3i) from Canon France on Vimeo.

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find-price-button Canon T3i Pre-Orders

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24 Comments

I've had the chance to work with Arri's 650 and 1000 watt lighting kits a few times and they are beautiful. The fresnels allow the lights to be adjusted in Flood or Spot which makes them easier to throw the light where you need it. Of course, they are a bit pricey. Just a few months ago I posted an article about certain lighting kits that claimed to be 'As Arri' found here: http://cheesycam.com/arri-blueline-jietu-fresnel-lighting/

As Arri light kit review samples

These 'As Arri' lighting kits sold at less than a third the price and claimed to be an exact 1:1 replica of Arri lighting kits. So close in fact many of the replacement parts can be ordered from Arri such as the bulbs, Fresnel glass lens, ballast, barn doors, scrims, etc. They are available in 150, 300, 500, 650, 1000, and 2000 watts. The most common kit being a 3 pc 650w should cover most situations.

Not much information is available on the web, so these still aren't very popular, but just recently a brave soul (Vimeo Member) Josh Donnelly took a chance and posted a video review. Looks like it's time to bump this one back up on the wish list.... [Thanks Josh]

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find-price-button 150w - 2000w Fresnel Lighting Kits 'as Arri'

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13 Comments

Jag35 (1 of 7)
Canon 60D on Jag35 Full Shoulder Rig

It's Jag35's DSLR Full Shoulder Rig. Jag35.com long ago, was a DIY Video website now, and has now grown into a company focusing more on actually manufacturing and reselling affordable and professional video equipment. With the trend, there's no doubt that they have a full line of DSLR related equipment from Shoudler Rigs, to Follow Focus systems, LCD view Finders, Cages, Monitors, Batteries, and more.

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Monitor X - Jag35 Magnified DSLR LCD View Finder

This Jag35 Full DSLR Shoulder Rig comes with industry standard 15mm rods to expand with other accessories. The rig comes with a simple configuration of clamps, handles, contoured shoulder pad, an offset design for DSLR's, and counter weight for balance and extra stability. Like most affordable DSLR rigs, it was designed to have the most important features you'll need for a stable shoot. Wide spread handles (adjustable of course), comfortable shoulder padding, and counter weight. It's not a bad looking rig, and it's an all aluminum build, but unlike the top players - this one leaves off unnecessary aesthetics to keep things more affordable as a starter. What do I mean by this? Well for instance, the handles aren't anything special, but they work like handles should. If you want something more substantial, you're welcome to upgrade them from another company since the rods can accept any industry standard clamp. The counter weight is also something we've come to recognize, but that just makes it all more affordable, while still blending in with the OEM. Who needs to pay three times the price for flashy high polished stainless weights? Sometimes you just need to get the job done.

I've never been a fan of the orange color, but it's not bright as it seems on the web. It's more of a metallic copper. The friends that came to see the rig actually liked the color, but hey everyone's different. I do like the extra time they put into black on black rods, a few of the rod clamps, and handles. The black is also a more matte finish than the Gini rods if you like the flat finished look. The foam padding on the shoulder rest is a full 1" thick and fairly dense to support the weight. There is quite a bit of brand recognition going on here which might not appeal to some. Every little knob and every clamp is covered with a Jag35 button like badge. I'm missing the top handle, and this is the base setup. There is a whopping (count them) "17" Jag35 Logos on this rig. I'm hoping that didn't add to additional costs in any way, i'd rather save a few bucks than to have so many logos stuck everywhere you turn.

It's been great so far, but then again why wouldn't it be? It's a solid rig, with great craftsmanship, and one of the more affordable setup's out there with what many say comes with top notch customer service. It's got all the important features you'll need for a long steady shoot. For now, you can get more information on pricing with optional upgrades and accessories available at the web page here: Jag35 DSLR Full Shoulder Rig

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find-price-button Jag35 DSLR Full Shoulder Rig

If you're looking for something even more affordable, Jag35 also offers another starter rig that you can build on, called the FieldRunner.
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find-price-button Jag35's Affordable DSLR FieldRunner Shoulder Rig

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tascam-dr-03

I got a tip about a new Tascam DR-03 Digital Portable audio recorder that looks similar to the DR-08 model. This product hasn't even been released yet. This model goes for fixed microphone positions over the flexible ones as the DR-08, and comes in cheaper than the Zoom H1. It's also advertised as a 'Solid State' recorder, so does this mean no MicroSD option? There was very little to no information about this recorder right now, so I emailed Tascam directly. After finding out The Tascam DR-03 only goes up to 48 KHz/24 bit compared to the DR-08's 96 KHz / 24bit, I lost some interest.

Although it's not the highest quality portable recorder, if you're not an Audiophile, even the compressed version of my Tascam vs Zoom H1 screwed up test wasn't all that bad. By the way, I did update the old article post with some Audio WAV samples for those who were asking. They are the large RAW files up to 80MB. So if you're looking for something in a slimmer profile than the Zoom H1, and don't mind the 48KHZ / 24bit audio, check out the new Tascam DR-03 SOLID STATE DIGITAL RECORDER .

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40 Comments

Well I wanted to do a cool little Zoom H1 Portable Audio Recorder video review, but looks like bhphotovideo.com beat me to it. I'll just post theirs instead since they touched on a lot of what I wanted to talk about. One of the things they point out is the use of the LAV microphone. Everyone's been talking about using this method since this unit is so small and portable, you can save some big bucks from buying a wireless mic kit. They even found a way to jamb this thing into a Microphone Shock Mount.

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click image for Zoom H1 kit

I'll still do my own little video review, but i'll talk about some things I don't like about it. My intent was not to use the built in microphones on the Zoom H1, but if you're planning to, get the foam windscreen which is part of a separate Zoom Kit (above). It's nice that the Zoom H1 leaves everything out to control many functions like WAV or MP3 settings, but these buttons are completely exposed. Using it as a body pack, I fear these buttons will be easily pressed. They should have placed these switches under a cover like the Rode VideoMic. There is a 'Hold' feature, but that only works to disable the playback buttons, not the other feature buttons.

The unit is also mainly plastic. It's nice because it shaves some weight, but feels real fragile. Not something I'd throw in my bag without a hard case, or at least the case shown in the Zoom H1 kit above. Even the microphone covers are chrome plated plastic. DSLR's as of now have terrible audio compared to the Samson recorders. For the audio quality of the Samson Zoom H1, the features this little gadget has, and the low low price point of $99 bucks + Free Shipping, it's a must have item for any DSLR shooter. The only thing we need to narrow down now is what's the best 'bang for the buck' LAV mic to use. My search continues for the cheapest and best LAV mic to use.....

zoom-h1-recorder
click image

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