If you have to shoot outdoors and you need to diffuse the harsh sunlight you'll want to setup a scrim. But setting one up is not always an easy task for one person, and to one over your subject's head typically requires at least 2 stands. With each stand, you'll need to drag out some weighted sand bags to prevent the setup from tipping over (as it becomes a sail in a slight breeze). While this is the preferred method on most shoots, sometimes it's easier to just move your subject into a shaded area and relight (or bounce light back in with a reflector). Here's where a simple Pop-Up tent could help.

Using a lightweight fast setup one like this 10x10 Easy Pop Up Tent will offer some overhead shade. And choosing will a white canopy will help to diffuse (mostly block) the sunlight without causing any color casts. Once you have your subject in the shade, you can bounce light back in with a reflector. The cons for this type of setup is that you can't shoot too wide as the legs of the tent could get into the shot. So using a longer focal length will help to compress your image, and this setup should be great for talking head shots done outdoors.

While a simple pop tent is no replacement for a good scrim, it's better than nothing when you find yourself (being lazy) not wanting to setup a scrim with all the extra bits and heavy sandbags typically required. You can find many pop up tents some as small as 5x5 for under $100 these days. And if you're not using it to shade your subject, you can use it as an area for the rest of your gear and crew.



Learn More Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera

Sony A7S III Overview (via BHphoto)
Optimized video, optimized sensitivity, optimized speed, the Sony Alpha a7S III raises the bar for what a full-frame mirrorless camera is capable of. A revised 12.1MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor and updated BIONZ XR image processor offer faster performance, improved noise reduction, and a wider dynamic range, along with UHD 4K 120p video recording and internal 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling.

Video is the primary application of the a7S III, and improvements to the sensor and processor enable faster readout speeds and greatly reduced rolling shutter, along with high-bitrate internal recording, 16-bit raw output via the full-size HDMI port, and flexible control over motion with variable frame rate selection. The a7S III also does away with recording time limits and incorporates HLG for direct HDR production as well as S-Log2/S-Log3 gamma profiles for advanced HDR production with editing.

The updated sensor design also brings improved autofocus performance via 759 phase-detection points, which offer intelligent subject tracking and Real-time Eye AF to ensure critical focus on moving subjects in all recording modes. The sensor and BIONZ XR processor also facilitate impressive sensitivity, with an expanded range from ISO 40-409600, as well as fast 10 fps continuous shooting for up to 1000 consecutive raw frames. Additionally, 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE sensor-shift image stabilization is available, too, which minimizes the appearance of camera shake by up to 5.5 stops.


Complementing the imaging assets, Sony has also made some changes to the a7S III's physical design, including a rear LCD with a side-open articulating design and an impressive 9.44m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder. The camera's menu system has also been updated for more intuitive navigation and the body design helps to promote better heat dissipation for improved continuous recording capabilities. Additionally, dual memory card slots both support working with CFexpress Type A or SD UHS-II memory cards for flexible and high-speed file storage.


Learn More Sony a7S III Mirrorless Camera

Today Blackmagic Design announced a new Ursa Mini Pro Camera capable of shooting up to 12K at 60fps resolution. The 12K Super35 sensor was developed directly by Blackmagic Design. So while many productions may not 'always' require such high resolutions, the new Ursa Mini Pro 12K can switch to lower resolutions using in-sensor scaling due to a symmetrical sensor design. The camera body itself has not changed (much) and all previous accessories designed for Ursa Mini Pro cameras should work such as any rigs, Ursa EVF, etc.


Learn More BlackMagicdesign Ursa Mini Pro 12K Camera

But one accessory i'm really glad to see them figure out is the new SSD Adapter. I admit there was some controversy around the one they made for the 4.6K camera, when I returned mine and went with an aftermarket solution. The problem was that their SSD recorder for the 4.6K used the SDI outputs to record. But because I use the SDI outputs on my ATEM switcher, this option didn't work for me. Instead I used an SSD adapter that connected to the CFAST ports, and left my SDI outputs free for me to use.

Blackmagicdesign's new SSD Adapter fixes this problem now by connecting to the (newly relocated) Type-C USB port. The adapter is powered through the camera, and the data is recorded through the Type-C leaving your SDI ports free to use. Finally!

Product Description:
Featuring a revolutionary 12K Super 35mm 80 megapixel sensor with Generation 5 Color Science and 14 stops of dynamic range, URSA Mini Pro 12K is designed for high end feature film production.

Storage Features
Storage Type
2 x CFast 2.0
2 x SD UHS-II cards
1 x high speed USB-C expansion port for external media.

Storage Rates
Storage rates based on 24 frames per second.

12K - 12,288 x 6480
Blackmagic RAW 5:1 - 578 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 8:1 - 361 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 12:1 - 241 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 18:1 - 160 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW Q0 - 241 to 578 MB/s 1
Blackmagic RAW Q1 - 144 to 361 MB/s 2
Blackmagic RAW Q3 - 96 to 241 MB/s 3
Blackmagic RAW Q5 - 72 to 180 MB/s 4

8K - 8192 x 4320
Blackmagic RAW 5:1 - 258 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 8:1 - 161 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 12:1 - 107 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 18:1 - 72 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW Q0 - 107 to 258 MB/s 1
Blackmagic RAW Q1 - 64 to 161 MB/s 2
Blackmagic RAW Q3 - 43 to 107 MB/s 3
Blackmagic RAW Q5 - 32 to 81 MB/s 4

6K - 6144 x 3240
Blackmagic RAW 5:1 - 145 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 8:1 - 91 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 12:1 - 61 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 18:1 - 40 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW Q0 - 61 to 145 MB/s 1
Blackmagic RAW Q1 - 36 to 91 MB/s 2
Blackmagic RAW Q3 - 24 to 61 MB/s 3
Blackmagic RAW Q5 - 18 to 45 MB/s 4

4K - 4096 x 2160
Blackmagic RAW 5:1 - 65 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 8:1 - 41 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 12:1 - 27 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW 18:1 - 18 MB/s
Blackmagic RAW Q0 - 27 to 65 MB/s 1
Blackmagic RAW Q1 - 16 to 41 MB/s 2
Blackmagic RAW Q3 - 11 to 27 MB/s 3
Blackmagic RAW Q5 - 8 to 20 MB/s 4

Recording Formats
Blackmagic RAW Q0, Q1, Q3, Q5, 5:1, 8:1, 12:1 and 18:1 at 12,288 x 6480, 11,520 x 6480, 12,288 x 5112, 7680 x 6408, 8192 x 4320, 7680 x 4320, 8192 x 3408, 5120 x 4272, 6144 x 3240, 4096 x 2160, 3840 x 2160, 4096 x 1704 and 2560 x 2136 stored as 12 bit non-linear with film, extended video, video or custom 3D LUT embedded in metadata.

Ursa Mini Pro 12K will be Available for Pre-Order via B&H (here)

Learn More BlackMagicdesign Ursa Mini Pro 12K Camera

Zoom announces a new H8 / 12-Track Portable Recorder that is designed to make it easier to switch between Podcasting setups or Sound Recording with 3 App driven modes.
Podcast App: With four mic channels and two sound pad channels readily available, the Podcast app makes high-quality podcast production easy. Use the 13 pre-loaded sounds or load your own from an SD card to trigger sound effects, music beds, and more from the dedicated Sound Pads. Music App: Record up to 10 input tracks, overdub, mix, and enhance your recordings with EQ and compression, all while the Music app puts important controls such as audio levels, faders, and metering at your fingertips. Plus, you can connect to Zoom’s Guitar Lab via USB to access a vast assortment of amps and effects. Field App: Designed for location sound, sound design, conferences, and more, the Field app gives you instant access to large meters for every track, so you can make sure your recordings never clip. It also lets you quickly adjust input type, lo-cut filtering, compression, limiting, the noise gate, and other key settings.

Zoom H8 Product Overview
With three app-driven modes that instantly configure the color touchscreen for podcasting, music production, or location recording, the Zoom H8 portable handheld recorder lets you quickly record up to eight simultaneous input signals via a workflow that's highly optimized for your task. Plus, it's compatible with an array of capsules (available separately) for easy expansion into 10-input recording, Ambisonics 360-degree audio, and more.

Like other H-Series Handy recorders such as the H5 and H6, you can hold the H8 in your hand, attach it to a mic stand or tripod, or mount it to a camera (shoe mount available separately); the H8 packs an impressive array of features into a lightweight body that's more than ready to meet the varied demands of podcasters, musicians, sound designers, and content creators. The bundled Cubase LE and WaveLab Cast software programs give you the tools you need to edit, refine, export, and upload your projects. Read more >>


Zoom H8 Recorder

Want a simple way to put up a background? These new PortaScreen Retracting Portable backdrops make it easy to travel and setup a solid backdrop for talking head interviews or products shots. When not used as a background, you could easily use the black backdrop as a flag or negative fill to control spill lighting. The portable green screen obviously would make it easy to key products or people out for background replacements. It's just about as nice as traveling with seamless paper as you don't need to fold cloth and worry about wrinkles. But better than seamless paper as you don't need to bring a backdrop stand set.


PortaScreen - Fast Retractable Portable Backgrounds

The PortaScreen is also a quick and simple setup for vloggers that need to hide distracting (ahem 'messy') backgrounds. Simply pull upwards to setup, and retract back into it's case when you're done. The 6'7" x 5' dimension should be more than enough when interviewing a single person, but if you need to fill the entire frame, one tip is to use long lenses to narrow the field of view when working with smaller backdrops. Seems like a handy product, and though i've seen others like this before, the PortaScreen seems to be more affordable. Check out the new PortaScreen backgrounds (product page here).


PortaScreen - Fast Retractable Portable Backgrounds


Officially announced just a few weeks ago and immediately tough to get a hold of, the new Sony ZV-1 camera is back in stock. The appeal of this compact camera is having a fully articulating LCD screen, built in ND Filter, fast autofocus, and image stabilization. Available now via B&H (here).


Learn More Sony ZV-1 Camera with Flip LCD Screen

One of the major downfalls to any of the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema cameras is battery life. For the newest 4K and 6K models, you could choose to add the Blackmagic Design battery grip, but the addition will not allow you to use most Cages. We've also recently seen batteries built into Rig Handles just to keep cameras and accessories powered. But now here's another interesting external battery design that incorporates batteries inside of a tripod plate (available via eBay here).


Tripod Plate Battery with USB

This plate sits under your camera even if your camera sits inside of a cage. This Tripod Plate Battery says internally it's using 6pcs of Panasonic's highest capacity NCR18650B batteries. With a total capacity of 20400mAH (or equivalent to 5.5x Canon LP-E6 batteries). Listed at 70wh if you were to compare it with v-mount specs which means you can travel with these batteries on-board most flights. It offers just under 11v output and also a 5V USB out, which could be useful to keep small Sony cameras powered up through USB.

What do you guys think? Is this something you would find useful, and should more companies offer batteries into a metal Tripod plate that to sit under a camera? You can check out the Tripod Plate Battery via eBay (following the link here).



Tripod Plate Battery with USB

After working on a few projects, we come up with our own solutions that help us to be more efficient. For organizing batteries, I know many (including me) use bags to store and separate charged up vs non-charged batteries. It works, nothing complicated, and inexpensive. But if you're looking into being a little more organized while helping out a fellow filmmaker, check out the Battery Mag.

Product Description:
The Battery Mag is a simple camera battery organizer that allows you to keep your Canon / Panasonic / Sony / Nikon / Fuji camera batteries organized and tidy in your camera bag. Know in an instant which batteries are charged and which are dead. Designed by a Documentary cinematographer to make life in the field a little tidier and a little easier.

Here's what I like about the Battery Mag. The case prevents loose batteries from shifting around in a bag and protects the contacts (terminals). It also shows you how many batteries you have missing. Often when i'm working with other people, we share batteries. So it's an easy visual to account for any missing batteries that haven't been placed back in to your bag. So yes I know we can all save money just using simple bags to store batteries, but in case you find the Battery Mag a good solution for you, more information is at Tim's website at http://Batterymag.co. (thanks Tim)


Battery Mag - Battery Organizers


In my opinion, Sony probably offers the best lineup of compact point and shoot cameras. So because we a;ready know the new ZV-1 Digital Camera is going to pack some impressive features and quality, let's skip the minor details and just jump into what I think is the best stand out features.


Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera

The most obvious design addition is the flip out LCD Screen. This single feature is going to make it desirable to anyone who has to present in front of the camera. Even just shooting b-roll or handheld, this ability to tilt and swivel an LCD screen is a big reason I love shooting with my GH5s camera.

Next is the built in ND Filter, which is going to help you obtain that unique out of focus backround with it's fast f/1.8 lens when shooting outdoors in bright light. Not to mention that f/1.8 wide open is going to help you when shooting in dim light. The ND filter is also important for setting proper shutter speed to get that natural motion blur.

While it is targeted to Vloggers who primarily work in front of the camera and are constantly on the move, there are many features that professionals can take advantage of when it's not appropriate to use a larger system.

The new Sony ZV-1 offers unlimited recording time to SDXC, 4K recording, high framerates, SLOG, fast autofocus, image stabilization, remote Wifi App control, and a whole lot more. While it won't replace a higher end system like a Sony A6600, the ZV-1's compact size and introductory price of $750 US certainly offers a lot of functionality and value. Available for pre-order (found here).


Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera