It has been a busy couple of weeks. A few days out on the Bonneville Salt Flats filming with Victory motorcycles. An amazing experience in a really cool and legendary location. After that we had a couple of weddings and other short lifestyle projects. With all of these recent jobs I’ve spent a lot more time with the FS700 on location. Most of that time shooting off speed at 60, 120 and 240 fps. The camera has it shortfalls but for filming off speed it truly is awesome.
Buzzing around the internet this week is news that a refresh of the Fs700 is coming soon.
I’m happy to hear this, could be our next camera.
I got to try out the new stabilizer tonight. Just a first impression but I really liked it. It was much simpler to balance than a steadicam and can be used in really dynamic ways. Here’s a clip of the footage. My children are the subjects.
Here is a shot from @MplsFilms
Auto Focus is for amateurs. Professionals would never. This is the attitude I have had for 20 year of working as an AC and camera operator. Auto Focus on a stills camera is great for stills, but Auto focus video has always been crap. Recently I had a shoot with the Canon C100 that had been upgraded with Canon Dual pixel AF. So used in conjunction with Canon DSLR lenses the sensor compares pixels in a way and changes the focus gradually as a focus puller might, not searching for it, but changing from one focus to another. I was reluctant, but as the shoot day went on, it was difficult to see the monitor in sunny conditions and we were doing a lot of walk and talk. Playing back the image it seemed to do a really nice job keeping things in focus and shifting purposefully when the composition changed. It is the little things, but that camera is winning me over slowly.
It is only a couple of weeks until classes begin. I was thinking about how I teach the basics of filmmaking and how it would be really useful to have some visuals besides films to talk about composition. And then I come across this video which is sort of quirky but it works.
So if you are taking a class with me in the future maybe I’ll show this video.
So back in January, I think, I signed up to be a kickstarter for the smallHD port protector for the 5DmkIII. They did a great job with the mkII so I thought why not, I’ll be one of the first to get it and I need it. Before that I had tried the port protector from redrock Micro along with their cage and I found it to be awkward to install and I didn’t care for the cage. Replaced it with a Wooden Camera cage, which is awesome. So the port protector from smallHD arrived today along with a T-shirt as a backer. It was easy to install and seems to work really great. Except my cage doesn’t fit with it in place. So if you use your 5DmkIII without a cage and would like to have some security for your HDMI cable this is your product.
The kinogrip wooden hand grip came today. It took about 4 weeks from the order date. First impression is that it feels great in my hand. Looking forward to using it on a shoot soon.
Here’s what the rig is looking like these days. Canon 5DmkIII, 24-105, wooden camera cage and handle, smallHD DP4, noga arm, Sennheiser MKE 400, edelkrone follow focus, benro S8 head and CF sticks.
As someone that started off loading mags and pulling focus on film cameras I’ve always hated pulling my own focus. It just doesn’t seem right. With today’s style of shooting whether on a RED, a DSLR or some other camera I find myself adjusting on the fly to a small monitor or EVF. I try and teach my students the ways of the focus puller but they never quite get it. That and the monitor is right there, they can just look at it and use peaking or some other digital tool to tell them it is in focus. Not really focus pulling, but it does the job.
So after a couple of frustrating follow focuses I’ve found one that works really well with DSLR style shooting. The Edelkrone Focus One had peaked my interest when it came out, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks. It is nice and smooth and has solid feel. The best part was that it fits on the rails, and doesn’t protrude too far down so I can use it with a sliding baseplate.
EDIT: The only difficulty I have found is trying to get this thing wedged between camera and mattebox when using short primes like zeiss standard speeds. My old RedRock micro couldn’t do this either. ARRI wins.
I’ve tried various hand grips for hand-held rigs over the years but nothing beats the hand-grip on a film camera. I’ve never used the coveted Aaton grip, but the Arri SR grip is modeled after that and I have always thought of that as hand-held. The rosette allowed for adjustment. So after tossing another “DSLR” style handle I finally put down the money and bought one of these from KinoGrip. A handmade custom grip with an ARRI rosette. I’m still waiting for it to arrive as it takes several weeks. I will report back when it comes in.
Another year, another smash by Black Magic. I didn’t make it out to NAB to see the dazzling new offerings in broadcast and cinema products but with the live feeds and daily video posts it is not necessary. So there are more cameras coming out. Ok, but who was really asking for new cameras? These days we are working with smaller cameras at high resolutions. The market just gets a little more crowded and eventually there will be fewer cameras if resolution and compression stabilize. Most likely the startups like Digital Bolex will suffer the same fate as DALSA. Not enough reserves to make it through the next technical or manufacturing hiccup or the camera is too expensive for the market it was created for. But it could also be the makers with deep pockets that decide to back away. RED stopped making lenses after a short period, leaving it those that do it best.
Anyway, I was hoping to see more innovation (and lower prices) in cameras that acquire slow motion at 240FPS and above. Some cameras have pushed close as a standard feature or add-on (Arri Amira), but the Sony FS-700 still remains the best deal for short bursts of slow motion and very capable 1080 video work. With 4K add-on for that camera you are getting close to the price of a RED Scarlet, but with more features including better audio. On the upside of the the new cameras is the realization that they should still be operator friendly and shoulder mounted. The modular box is cool, but by the time you add all your third party accessories you have doubled the price of the camera.
On the horizon we have the GoPro Hero 4 being talked about with 120FPS at 1080 and 4K up to 30. Also the GH4 is shipping so there are plenty of new toys to try out. Do we really need them? Nope, but does a child with a room full of toys still enjoy a visit to the toy store? YES!