A week ago my house was broken into and some stuff was stolen. My theory is that they came for the TV and stumbled on the production equipment. I don’t know, but I do know that a significant amount of gear was stolen.
How many people have renter’s insurance? How many of you have production insurance? Is your gear insured? for how much? What is the deductible? depreciation? replacement value? receipts?
Well now I know a lot more than I did. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough insurance for the amount of equipment I had in my home. Fortunately I did have almost enough to at least replace most of the gear that was stolen. Also, it is fortunate that the thieves did not steal more. You see under a rental or homeowner policy there is a limit to the amount of “work” equipment they cover. If they would have stolen more I wouldn’t have gotten anymore.
So 2017, a new-used camera and additional insurance. And some security shit for the house.
RED RAVEN, fs5, A7Smk2. Here we are with new cameras all coming in less expensive than predecessors and with features exceeding previous models. What an amazing time to be a filmmaker. But wait, did you just buy the A7s last week, or maybe you got the A7Rmk2 but really should have waited for the A7smk2. Why? The lower megapixel on the a7s makes it better for shooting video in low light. Both have sensor stabilization so it makes them very similar. If you plan on taking more high res stills then the R model will be your pick.
I think the fs5 is a great choice over the Canon C100mk2 because of slow mo burst, 4K and 10 bit 1080. I’m a little disappointed that the 4K material is 8 bit only, but concessions have to be made to make the budget and other factors.
RED RAVEN is another example of how RED doesn’t really understand the landscape or believes their customers will buy for name and hype. 6K for the body, 10K equipped. crop factors? lens mount? audio? I will say it again, for 10K you can have a Sony Fs7 shooting RAW and use any lens you choose. And have really good audio, shoot in prores or XAVC Log3, and built in ND filters. Sorry RED, looks like it is not for everyone.
I was thinking earlier today about what is going to drop at NAB in April. With a new camera every year from BlackMagic I feel this year will be no different. Now that they have their sensor sourcing figured out and in camera card formatting and firmware updated the next camera will be more refined building on what they have learned. I believe they will release a super 35 sensor 3.2K “pocket” camera. Maybe the form factor will be slightly chunkier depending on the card the decide on. They like off the shelf SD, SSD, etc, but maybe the will take the leap to CFast as ARRI has. Either way it will give the GH4 a run for the money and perhaps not be as awkward as their other offerings.
The Canon c300 mk2 is obvious, but what it will hold is up in the air. 4K? price? slow motion? I think the other rumor floating around about Canon dropping something below the c100 to give the GH4 some competition is interesting. 4K with dual pixel for under $1500? SOLD! fixed lens? maybe not.
RED will have the circus around their update. Do you really need it?
Stabilizers. I hope to see some more innovation rather than just copies of the MOVI and RONIN. I do think with the recent price drop of the Ronin that DJI is clearing inventory for another version of the Ronin. Lighter? yes please, this guy is a beast even with a 5D on it. A smaller version to hold A7s, GH4 and other smaller cameras? Could be.
I am still very interested in the HELIX from Letus but at the price point it is still too far out of reach.
Happy New Year!
I came across this video this morning. I had thought of making a how to video for the C47, but never did. Well now I there is this, though we could have used a demonstration too.
What is a C47 & what’s it for? Filmmaking Tutorial from Darren Levine on Vimeo.
It has been a busy and productive year for Little Tree Films and myself. We worked on some fun projects for Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities and shot a couple of weddings and did a spot for Edgewood. I worked on a project that took me to Pittsburgh and Phoenix in the same week. I also shot for Victory motorcycles in the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats. I did some more work for Best Buy with my friends at 1 Light Films. I finished out the year filming a performance of the Nutcracker done in Burlesque.
Next year we hope to expand the business and work on more fantastic projects. Hopefully we’ll see a HELIX and Sony Fs7 join the stable of gear. And we look forward to the cool toys that haven’t come out yet. See you next year.
I’m sure I’ll post more about the Helix soon. The Helix is a stabilizer designed and built by Letus. They came to be during the 35mm adaptor fad. They made a quality product and have continued to make accessories for the changing market. I first saw a clip about the Helix at NAB and thought the design idea was cool. They center the lens for 360 degree rotation. It has a flat base so you can set it down. It is designed to be a camera stabilizer not a helicopter gyro. Anyway, I got to try one out today at Cinequipt. Just a couple of minutes and my first impression is sold. The Ronin is great, but much heavier, difficult to hold for long periods and just not as refined. I’ll be putting in an order soon.
Sure enough, Sony announced a new camera, but it wasn’t a replacement for the FS700, but another variation on it. The PXW-FS7 has fantastic specs including 4K UHD, slow motion up to 180 FPS and a more ergonomic design. After toiling for a few days and thinking about how much I had been using the FS700, it was decided that this would be the next equipment purchase for our company. Move aside stabilizers and sound equipment, the FS7 has been ordered.
Here is the cheesy promo video for the camera:
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.
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!