I just picked up my new Sigma 50mm ƒ1.4 DG HSM Lens from Samy’s Cameras on Monday – Wow!!! I’ve been waiting for it to come on now for about 2 months and it was worth the wait. All the research I’ve done says this is one of the sharpest lenses to come along in a while and they are right.
I’m using this lens on my 5D3 rig. This is one in a new line of lenses from Sigma. They also offer a 35mm ƒ1.4 Full Frame and a 18-35mm ƒ1.8 zoom for an APS-C size sensor.
- Very sharp – all the way to ƒ1.4
- Great contrast
- Great color rendition
- Smooth focus ring
- Fast auto focus
- Nice ergonomics
So of course I wanted to shoot an image as soon as I got it and had 2 choices; the cats or the bird feeders ( man!! I’m getting old =). So forgive the not so scientific photos… I will post some real shots and video as soon as I get a chance.
Along with the lens I added a cool little focus gear from DLC called a DL-V/Band.
It went on really easy and is nice and snug. Not too much extra hanging over to catch on the camera rig. Smooth feel with my Chrosziel follow focus. $15 USD.
All in all a nice ad to my kit. I was holding out for a Rokinon 50mm Cine lens but as they seem to never want to make that lens (rumors be damned!!!!) I thought it’s time to make a move. Stay tuned and I’ll post some more info as I discover it though use.
Until next time, Good shooting
Well it’s that time of year again – CineGear!!!
Seems like 2014 is the year of the copter and the gimbal.
There were more copter offerings and camera support systems then I could shake a Steadicam at. When you first walked in there was a copter & gimbal booth just waiting for new folks to have a peek.
All the usual suspect were there and many new ones. This year I had a short list of items I was interested in. I’m mostly looking at camera support and control. Things like wireless video, wireless follow focus, a basic copter solution and I’m paying close attention to the race for the winning handheld gimbal kit. The camera race is definitely heating up but I don’t think I’m ready to jump into 4K yet and since that race is just getting started at the consumer and prosumer level, I’m hoping more time will lead to better product and pricing.
Here are some of the cooler rigs
But the best one of all (Yes.. the USS Enterprise. We are at Paramount after all =)
For me, I found something I was looking for on every street. Teradek
had a nice offering with their updated Bolt Pro
line of wireless video. Noe it can work up to 2000 feet line of sight. I also checked out IDX
. I think, for now, I might lean towards the Paralinx Arrow solution as I mostly need a multicast function with near zero latency.
I stopped by the Redrock Micro
booth and took another look at their wireless follow focus the MicroRemote
. Still looks nice. I wish they would come out with the iPhone controller they showed in 2012. Zacuto
has a really cool lens control system that works in a grip form factor called the Control Grip
. It’s a 2 motor system that can control either Zoom and Iris or Focus and Iris. It’s still in the testing stage and should be out later this year. I wish I had known about the new TitlaMax
focus system from Tilta
. I just saw this yesterday and would have loved to check it out in person. It is a 3 motor system (FIZ) with brushless German motors and a nice IPS touch screen for easy configuration and display.
One of the best things I found is from Woodencamera
. It’s their multi connector breakout box: the C-Box
. It can take HD-SDI and/or HDMI in and then send the signal out 3 HD-SDI BNCs and 2 HDMIs all at the same time. Wait, it get’s better… You can put a battery mount on one or both sides so it can function as your power distro with 2 D-Taps or clip on to an existing battery mount as an add on to extend a system. Nice!!!
It was a nice show this year. I ran into a lot of friends there and saw a bunch of great new gear. Can’t wait till next year!!!
Until next time, Good shooting
I just received word from BMD that the BMPC 4K is shipping as of today. I checked B&H and a few other sites and they are still showing it as a pre-order item but the press release just hit a few hours ago. Along with the terrific news of official shipping it is also making it’s debut at a lower price point $2995. Down $1K from the original MSRP. It is still shipping with a full copy of Resolve and appears not to have lost anything in the process. First thing I checked was the BMD site for the specs and everything still appears to be there so it’s all good. Hopefully as the units start making their way into the market a few review units will drift into bloggers hands =) I’ll keep you posted. For now please see the full press release below and let me know your thoughts.
Fremont, CA – February 10, 2014 – Blackmagic Design today announced the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is now shipping and with a new low price of US$2,995. This new low price will be available for all customers, including existing pre-orders. Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is available now from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for only US$2,995.
“The support from the creative community for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Production Camera 4K has been amazing,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “As with all of our products, we work hard in production to reduce costs so we can pass along the savings, even to our first Blackmagic Production Camera 4K customers. The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a perfect companion for ATEM Production 4K switchers and we hope the new low price will help more customers to expand their Ultra HD live production set ups with even more camera angles!”
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a super high resolution 4K digital production camera for Ultra HD television production. Featuring a large Super 35 sensor, professional global shutter as well as EF and ZE compatible lens mount, the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K captures high quality ProRes™ files, giving customers a complete solution to shoot amazing high resolution music videos, episodic television productions, television commercials, sport and documentaries.
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K has everything customers need right out of the box including a built in SSD recorder, rechargeable battery and a large 5” LCD touchscreen. In addition to focusing and monitoring shots, the touchscreen also lets customers enter metadata and change camera settings all on a single easy to use interface. Customers also get a full copy of DaVinci Resolve for amazing quality color grading and finishing for Mac OS X and Windows computers.
- Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution
- ProRes 422 (HQ)™ recording
- Super 35 sensor
- Global shutter
- EF and ZE compatible lens mount
- Built-in SSD recorder
- 5” LCD touchscreen
- Metadata entry
- 6G-SDI output for 10-bit HD and Ultra HD
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is available now for US$2,995 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.
Until next time, Good shooting
Some really cool stuff coming from Blackmagic Design at this year’s IBC. Looks like the new Beta 10 version of DaVinci Resolve is now available for download at Blackmagic Design Support. This is the all new version that was originally announced at NAB earlier this year. Some of the cool new features are:
- Resolve Live-live grading of the incoming video signal from the camera
- Enhanced editing features
- Multitrack editing with support for up to 16 tracks of audio per clip
- Expanded support for more NLE’s via XML and EDL
- Support for OpenFX plugins
- Support for mixed frame rates and media types
- Fantastic updated to limiting, qualifiers and power windows
- Outstanding workflow features for window burns, file naming overlay and audio syncing of secondary tracks to picture
- and much more
Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design was quoted saying:
“We are extremely excited to have this public beta of DaVinci Resolve 10 ready for download from the Blackmagic Design web site,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “This is an important update for all DaVinci Resolve customers and dramatically boosts the ease of workflow in the television industry. This new public beta is available for high end DaVinci Resolve systems as well as the exciting free of charge DaVinci Resolve Lite edition which now includes support for UHD timelines and rendering. This is an exciting moment for DaVinci Resolve because its the biggest update to a DaVinci product line in 30 years!”
Another cool announcement was regarding the new Desktop Video version 10. With the onset of 4K coming faster and faster BMD felt it was time to completely revamp the Desktop Video architecture from the ground up. Aimed at helping the UltraStudio 4K and the DeckLink 4 products, this upgrade will make the ever changing job of managing signals around the edit bay, design center, paint and color correction rooms a breeze.
Until next time, Good Shooting
So, the afternoon that the Samurai Blade was first in stock at B&H, I ordered it. I had been waiting a while for it to be available and was happy it was finally on it’s way.
At CineGear I was able to check out quite a few recorders including the Atomos Samurai Blade and the Convergent Design Odyssey 7. Both are excellent recorders. Both have terrific feature sets. Both are priced at $1295 USD.
I went with the Blade.
- It’s 5.5″ screen makes it a nice tiny recorder to hang on any rig.
- It has a non proprietary storage media solution. (the Odyssey uses Convergent Design’s own SSDs to ensure compatibility with the recorder)
- With the Blade, you can use SSDs or spinning 2.5″ hard drives right from your local computer store (as long as they meet the specs required by Atomos) The fact that you can use spinning drives is one of the main reasons I went with the blade. I can use a 500 gig laptop drive for tripod shoots and it will only cost me $60 or so and yields almost 5 hours of ProRes HQ. For “run and gun” I’ll probably want to use SSDs because of the risk of shock to the drives.
- I can run all day on a couple Sony NP-F970 batteries.
- The Blade works well with both my EX3’s SDI out and my 5D3’s HDMI out. For the HDMI from the Canon 5D3 I use the Atomos H2S converter. It converts HDMI to HD-SDI and does 3:2 pulldown removal in real time.
- The focus assist features work like my Zacuto EVF and SmallHD AC7 monitor. I can see the focal plan coming my way as I roll through focus.
- The waveform feature is very handy and pretty much a necessity these days on DSLR shoots.
One of the other things I’ve been waiting for in a recorder is the ability to delay the audio coming into the recorder to compensate for the 5 frame LAG the Canon 5D3 has on it’s clean HDMI output. When feeding the recorder audio directly you’ll end up with your picture behind your audio 5 frames. Those clips will then need to be slipped back into sync on the timeline during editing. However, (this was great) I wrote Atomos about the LAG and asked if there was anything in the works at Atomos to help. The next day (at 3:02 am) Tech support sent me an e-mail saying they had released a new firmware update that morning and added an audio delay function and way better audio meters. I was stoked as those were really the last 2 minor things that disappointed me about the Blade.
The Convergent Design Odyssey 7 and 7Q look like excellent recorders as well. At the time I needed my recorder the Odyssey units weren’t shipping and did not yet offer ProRes. They are projected to ship a little later this year. The 7Q will be able to do up to 4K resolutions and also record in camera raw formats.
All in all I think the Atomos Samurai Blade is a great choice for a flexible external field recorder and one that I will be able to use for some time to come. As we all move ever closer to the 4K world new technology is going to keep sneaking up on us. But for now HD recorders are a great way to go.
Until next time – Good shooting
Black Magic Design released the Beta version of their new DaVinci Resolve 9 Lite week before last. You can download it for the Mac here
It’s a great new look and feel to this wonderful application. I love the new layout. Still has all the tools you need — they are just in a better placement now. And, you don’t have to be as much of a rock scientist to figure out how to “make it go” =)
I decided to jump in with both feet. My friends are on the home stretch of their first feature and asked if I would be willing to have a go at the grading. I said…Suuuure, why not. It’s a fun vampire flick with all sorts of twists and turns. It was shot on the Panasonic HVX 200. INT’s, EXT’s and mixed lighting – a real good test. Check it out here
The new layout only took a little while to get familiar with and helped to really speed things up. Things I liked best right out of the gate:
- Improved Layout
- Better Scene Detection feature
- Smarter HSL keying
- Easier access to Primaries and Wheels
- Smart gallery access
- Fantastic Motion Tracking!!!!!!
- Super easy to use and link
- Delivery TAB for outputting
- Premiere Pro 6 support
This is all from me using the Beta 3 version for only about a week. As I dig into the app I’ll update this post. Feel free to add comments to help all the readers =)
I got this project as a full length ProRes movie and used the scene detection feature to split it up and conform it. Took just a little tweaking and it worked great. A lot of the content is set in a dark or flat location so I had to pickup a few of the cuts as they were hard to discern for the detection threshold I had set – No biggy.
The vignette and power window features are very nice. Made it easy to correct windows, clothing, walls… everything!!!
The delivery TAB is now super easy to use. You can make your own custom output settings and then save them for future use or just take advantage of one of the many presets. A new feature I like is the fact that you can set multiple outputs and then place them in the render que and walk away. Each output can have it’s own settings and destination.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll add more as I go. Just wanted to give props to BMD for delivering such a great update to an already awesome tool.
Until next time, good… grading
So I got to spend 3 days with the new RED Epic-X last week. Really nice. Some quick notes:
- I like the touch screen menu adjustments. Although, we got the side grip the day before the shoot and I must say that it lays out a lot like a Canon system when you start accessing the menus that way.
- We are using mostly zooms on this shoot for moving fast. The RED 18-50, RED 50-150 and the Tokina 11-17 PL. We have the full set of RED primes with us but have decided to lean on the zooms. A lot of the work is being done from my Porta-Jib Explorer camera support system. We are using both the JIB and the slider configurations so the zooms are coming in handy.
- Playback is still forthcoming so we are treating this like a film shoot. If the client wants to review a shot they go over to the DIT station and look at it there. (usually after the card has gone in for offloading). It will be great when it is put in a future build.
- The media management seems pretty straight forward. Very much like an EX workflow. We are getting the MacBook Pros to play back at 1/8 resolution in REDCINE-X with out much problem. No real color adjustments are being made on the set – We just check to see when there is a problem that we will be able to remove it in post.
What a great camera package for digital cinema. I’m looking forward to the next time I get to shoot with this camera.
Until next time, good shooting.