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How can you use your Canon DSLR, Sony Mirrorless, or even your Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera as a webcam? That's been a common question these days. As more people continue to work from home, Video conferencing has become more of a necessity. While basic webcams are suffice, there may be reasons you will need cameras with more abilities and features. Features such as better low light performance, wide angle lenses to fit a large conference room, or maybe you need audio inputs from a wireless Lav mic when teaching a distance from the camera - simple features where a basic webcam may fall short.


[source Runplayback.com]

By simply adding a capture device, you can turn just about any camera into a webcam for use with applications such as Zoom, Webex, Skype, Hangouts and even Facetime. Rik Cordero from Runplayback.com gives us a look at a popular HDMI USB capture device from Inogeni.


Learn More INOGENI HDMI USB Video Capture


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The CAME-TV Boltzen Fresnel Snap Kit makes modifying the Boltzen 30w and 55w fresnels quick and simple. With the fast magnetic adapter you can modify the diffusion, color temp, or add RGB effects. The kit is currently on sale from $128 to just $68 US. So why would this be better than just buying a dedicated RGB LED Light?

Well while the world is becoming more obsessive with RGB LED Lighting, one of the small problems with having this feature built in is that the maximum power for the light can be greatly reduced. As a rough example a 60 watt daylight LED is obviously a full 60 watts of power, and a 60 watt Bi-Color might be just 30 - 40 watts of brightness. When going to RGB, that same 60 watt light is even more greatly reduced.

What you'll find is some people will shop for a single color light that they most often use. This will allow you to get the smallest possible light with maximum output. Then in those rare cases where you would need the light color or temp to be modified, you can add gels. My personal preference is to choose a Daylight or Bi-Color LEDs as my primary key lights (as I often will use those on skin tones). Then for rim lighting, background lighting, or accent lighting, I'll work with RGB lights.

So while the current Boltzen 30w and 55w LED lights are not RGB, they are great portable fresnels (products here), and if you need a quick way of throwing on a splash of color, the Snap Kits are currently on sale (found here).



Learn More Boltzen LED Snap Kit

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I've owned a lot of DJI Drones from Phantoms, Inspires, Mavic, Spark, Mavic Air, etc. Of all the drones, my favorite is the original Mavic Air because of it's compact size and great image quality. Though quality is not as good as the Mavic Pro series, I still prefer the smaller form factor of the Mavic Air.


I find the smaller drones less intimidating when out in public, and people tend to just see it more as a toy. The larger drones are louder, and I find more people are sensitive to the size of the drone. It's sort of the same mentality of taking photos in a public place with a smartphone vs a large DSLR camera. More people tend to look at you if your equipment looks too professional.

So i'm excited to see the new DJI Mavic Air 2 that sits in between the Mavic Pro and Mavic Air size (and weight). I think it's still might be compact enough for most people to write off, but now adds much better stability, distance, performance, and image quality over the smaller Mavic Air. It's something I think i'll be adding to my gear this year.


The new DJI Mavic Air 2 adds a new high-end camera with 1/2" CMOS sensor capable of capturing 8K Hyperlapse time-lapse shots, 4K60 video, 240 fps slow-motion 1080p video, and up to 48MP stills. Photos, panoramas, and 'video' can also be captured in HDR (high dynamic range). If you forget to insert your media, the Mavic Air 2 has 8GB of internal storage, and can accept SD cards up to 256GB.

Now DJI has added intelligent obstacle avoidance, The Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems 3.0 (APAS) is aware of the Mavic Air 2 in 3D space and its proximity to people and objects to help avoid accidental collisions.

A larger 3500mAh battery allows flight times for up to 34 minutes and at speeds of up to 43 mp. The included remote controller supports OcuSync 2.0 technology to provide you with flights at a distance of up to 11.5 miles away. For more information visit the DJI Mavic Air 2 product page (click here).


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Just q quick reminder that if you want to get extra height with your cameras, you can use a variety of different and inexpensive Painter Poles found at your local hardware stores. Perhaps you need to hold up a portable flash, and LED light, or extend a microphone. The easiest way to adapt painter poles is to use one of these special adapters designed to thread to the standard hardware poles, and also have a locking set screw to prevent your accessories from coming loose.

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Adapter for Telescoping Painter Poles

The ClickSnap Adapter is a bit more expensive, but it does already come with an articulating ball head. One less thing you need to add if you want to be able to tilt.


Learn More ClickSnap Painter Pole Adapter


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The Insta360 ONE R 1" Edition is one of the key configurations of the modular ONE R action camera system. It includes the Core module, 1" Mod, Battery Base, and Mounting Bracket, also known as a frame. The 1" Mod features a large 1" sensor and captures up to 5.3K resolution video at 30 fps. It also captures 19MP and Raw photos. The Core module functions as the brain. It has a touchscreen live-view display with controls and is reversible so the display can be used for selfie/vlog shots. The 1" Mod and Core module mount side by side on the Battery Base, connecting into electronic contacts on it. The Battery Base has a built-in battery that powers the modules for approximately 65-70 minutes. The Battery Base is rechargeable via a USB interface.


Learn More Insta 360 ONE R 1" Edition

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There's a lot of arguments of whether or not you need an 8K resolution, but let's not open up that can or worms today. I'll leave that up to the individual to decide. In the meantime you can check out some crispy 6K footage from the new Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone below.

The new Autel Robotics EVO II drone captures 8K Video footage and 48MP stills. Features up to 40-minutes of flight time, with a top speed of 45mph and up to a 9km range. The Autel Robotics EVO 2 now includes new sensors for omni-directional obstacle avoidance - which they claim is the best in the industry. With so many sensors, of course the drone is also able to follow subjects autonomously while navigating around obstacles at high speeds.


Learn More Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone

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One of the accessories that I still pack in my lighting kits today is the D-Fuse Pop Up Softbox. It's a quick and simple way to add diffusion to just about any LED light panel. And recently they've released a new version called the Trapezoid that offers some nice upgraded features.

One obvious feature with the new D-Fuse is that the softbox is now designed as a round circle, which is important to some that want a round specular reflection when shooting products, or when used as a catch light in a subject's eyes.

The next important upgrade is a locking sleeve that slides over the quick connect magnets. This prevents the rods (frame of the D-Fuse) to accidentally separate.

Another small design difference is how the D-Fuse Trapezoid tapers outward essentially increasing the overall size of your light source with further helps to diffuse and soften your light.

The D-Fuse Pop Up Softboxes have been around for some time, and I still see it in use with many small production teams. There are no loose parts, very little assembly, incredibly lightweight, and tiny to pack up. If you're working with LED light panels, it's certainly something I recommend adding to your kit.

And if you're interested, you can receive 10% off using code "cheesycam" when purchasing through my affiliate link: ( Click Here for D-Fuse Trapezoid ).



D-Fuse Softbox D-Fuse Trapezoid (New Version) Pop Up Softbox

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So of all cameras announced this year, I think i'm most impressed with the new Sony PXW-FX9 XDCAM. They've packed a lot of features in here that makes it such a versatile system, especially for the type of projects I work on. The price is steep at just under $10K, but when compared to the offerings of similar systems, it's got a lot going. Not to mention it's a full frame sensor, fast autofocus, and really performs well in dim lighting. I'll have more to say, but this looks like a camera i'm going to try out when it becomes available to see if I can replace my other cameras.


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So I built an 80TB NAS (network attached storage) to edit videos with. Unlike direct attached storage options, using a NAS means other people in the office can edit from the same storage, can be accessed over the internet, and can easily be expanded (by upgrading to larger HDDs or daisy chain other NAS together). You also get the options for setting up RAID which provides some protection from data being lost to hard drive failures. And there's a whole lot more options to working with a NAS instead of a single attached drive, which i'll probably talk about at another time (or just leave me comments if you'd like to know why a NAS could be more beneficial to your workflow).

But in order to get the speeds needed for editing video, I upgraded the NIC to a 10Gb Ethernet card, and had to get a Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gb Ethernet adapter. This gives enough Read/Write speeds for editing video, and I have placed my NAS about 75 feet away using a CAT7 cable.

If you're thinking about building one for yourself, or have any questions for building out a NAS and the workflow for editing from one, leave some comments below. As for the specific Synology NAS I built, here's the basic parts you need.

Basic parts Available on Amazon:
Synology NAS: https://cheesycam.tv/DS1819
10GB Card: https://cheesycam.tv/10Gb
Hard Drives (I used): https://cheesycam.tv/10TBHD
Thunderbolt 3 to 10Gb: https://cheesycam.tv/OWC10Gb


Learn More Synology 8 Bay DS1819+ NAS via Amazon

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