Gear reviews

Coming soon are gear reviews. I will post what gear I use and why I use it. I will let you know how the gear stacks up to professional use on set. I’ll describe the advantages and disadvantages to any of the gear. I work on a wide range of productions, tv commercials, corporate and web videos so can recommend gear that’s versatile and worth considering taking on your next shoot.
Also if you have questions on film and tv gear let me know and I will pass on an industry veteran opinion.
With the range of gear options increasing everyday it’s important to know what works well and why.
First up I will let you know about my lighting gear and will give the pros and cons for HMI lighting.
Happy shooting til then.

At last a really useful drone

It seems every man and his dog has a drone these days. The sad fact is though that the vast majority of these are either not equipped with a decent camera or are flown badly or even worse illegally.
To get great results you do need to get a professional drone crew. On shoots that I have been on by far the best results have been achieved by a two person Drone crew. One person to fly the drone and the second to frame the camera.
The good news is that there are better drones everyday equipped with better cameras giving more options to get the shot. I have to admit though I am old school and can easily see the advantages in shooting from a Helicopter with a stabilised mount. In this type of setup you can choose the camera and lenses you need rather than having to accept a fixed lense that distorts the image from prosumer type drones.

But all that aside, here is the best way to enjoy using a drone I have seen.

Gear gear gear ….

Does it ever end ? No, when it comes to film and TV gear. So with that in mind I have a bunch of new gear. New lighting frames 10 x 10, 6 x 6 and 4 x 4. Also a new Chromakey green 10 x 10 screen as well as some new new textiles for my other frames.

I also have a new monitor stand setup to make having a monitor on set in the right place easier and faster. This is a combination of a few Mathews products specially designed for onset monitors.

I now have a “low boy ” attachment for my Wally dolly kit. This enables the tripod head to be mounted to the T frame on the dolly, making for some really nice low angle shots.

Then there is a load of other new gear, including Shot bags x 4, C stands and more light stands.

All this new gear comes included with all my existing gear as part of my shooting package which means I can handle any shoot.

Is this the future ?

Cameras are getting smaller and stranger shaped, but this one even with its odd looking body just maybe the future or cameras. Say hello to the DJI Osmo, a new handheld camera that lets you shoot 12MP photos and 4K video while being stabilized with a 3-axis brushless gimbal.

The camera system is basically a sleek handheld stabilizer that comes standard with the Inspire 1’s X3 camera, which packs a 1/2.3-inch Sony Exmor R sensor with an ISO range of 100-1600 (100-3200 for video), a 20mm (35mm equiv.) lens with a 94° field of view, and DNG support or You can also choose to buy the grip for a new X5 camera if you’d like a Micro Four Thirds sensor and mount.

Now Shooting with Red Dragon

Dragon: a large, scaly mythical creature that breathes fire and guards castles. Right?

Wrong! Dragon is the name that’s been given to the newest version of the Red Epic, which was already ground-breaking in its field. Tim is one of the first cinematographers in Australia to obtain one, and he is eager to put it through its paces.

The Red Epic Dragon camera takes things up a notch from the previous Red Epic; offering dynamic range once thought impossible, the Red Epic Dragon has impressive low light capabilities, increased resolution and new colour science. In particular, the new colour science makes a huge difference to the end result; primary colours appear brighter, while skin tones are softer and colour variations are more noticeable than ever.

Other stand-out features include:

  • Dynamic range around 16 and a half stops
  • Highest colour sensitivity ever measured
  • Exceptionally low noise levels
  • Can film hi-speed at hi-resolution, clocking 100fps at 6k resolution

The Dragon has had rave reviews from those lucky enough to have tested it.

It has already been used to shoot several high profile films, including ThorPayne and RedemptionBad NeighboursWalking with Dinosaurs 3DThe Expendables 3 and Gods of Egypt, which Tim has been on set at with his new gear.

 

DRAGON-5079

Red Dragon scores highest ever

Red Epic DragonThe folks over at DXOmark, who have become the bible of camera testing , have tested the Dragon and the results are pretty incredible. The Dragon rose above all still cameras tested before it, including the best full frame and medium format cameras. Combining the best imaging sensor with the ability to shoot 100 frames per second opens up a whole new world of imaging to photographers.

http://www.dxomark.com/Reviews/RED-Epic-Dragon-review-First-camera-to-break-the-100-point-DxOMark-sensor-score-barrier/Overall-score-Epic-Dragon-takes-first-place-101-points

DXOmark went on to praise the Red Epic Dragon camera –

As the new leader in this category, the prototype Epic Dragon surpasses the Phase One P65+ and P65+ HR models in color sensitivity, and it marginally exceeds the mighty Phase One IQ180 digital back in our rankings.

– The highest color sensitivity ever measured: exceptionally low noise at the base ISO.

– The headline news is, of course, that of the Dragon’s exceptionally low noise levels. The SNR (signal/noise ratio) curve shown above is simply outstanding – it’s higher than the Nikon D4’s curve for the whole of that sensor’s signal response. The shape of the response curve is interesting as well.

– This noise curve, coupled with a good color response, leads to a very high color sensitivity. At the pixel level (screen mode), the color sensitivity is simply the best ever measured. We normally calculate color sensitivity using an 8-bit output sRGB colorspace. In this case, however, the 8-bit sRGB color space was not large enough to accurately represent the color sensitivity of the Epic Dragon. As a result, we had to switch to a 16-bit sRGB color space!

– this new technology just may forever change the way both footage and stills are shot in the future.

For the tests, the camera was set to full 6k resolution at 23.98 fps, 16 bit and RC 5:1 compression.

Great new tool to setup all your Red Epic/Scarlet buttons

DSMCResourcesIconRed has released a new set of tools for Epic or Scarlet camera users.

One of the tools is amazingly good, it is visual tool for key mapping so  you to setup all the buttons / keys on your Epic camera while using a Mac or PC. Once you have run the program and setup all you button / key choices you save it to a camera SSD and then load to your camera.

Its a so much quicker, easier and simpler way to set up your camera using this program. This tool would be great for anyone one who either rents an Epic or Scarlet or  uses multiple cameras on a shoot. A great way to have all the keys / buttons setup uniformly.

The tools included in the latest release are:
REDMote Upgrade Utility
RED Guide Creator
RED Key Mapper

https://s3.amazonaws.com/red_3/downl…olkit_v5.1.zip

Red Epic Dragon Frame Rates

The new Epic Dragon camera allows for an amazing range of frames rates. Below is the maximum frame rate for each resolution of Epic Dragon. The minimum frame rate is 1 frame per second.

Dragon frame rates

Please note all frames rates are based on 23.98 time base, 8:1 compression with Lookaround turned off.

Power of 5K

This TVC is a great example of the power of shooting 5K. By choosing such a high resolution to shoot in enabled an extremely flexible outcome in post. The camera was mounted vertically to make the most use of the resolution, and the shot was framed head to toe with just enough room to allow a few hand gestures. While all the shot sizes had already been decided prior to the shoot, we didn’t have to worry about shooting anything besides the one shot size, knowing that it meant we could get a shot from an extreme close up all the way to an amazing wide shot if needed.

The shoot was a fun day. The director loved the freedom as he knew a shot take could be used in any size in the end TV commercial.

One note for this approach of reframing in post is that I would not recommend this for anything other than a chromakey shoot or white limbo background, as with reframing in post you loose all advantages of being able alter your depth of field with your shot size changes. Vertical shoot

GoPro updates

There is new firmware for the GoPro Hero 3 cameras and a new app. With these you now can watch video recorded on your GoPro via WiFi on your smartphone or tablet. In video playback mode you can only watch a low res version of the footage but its a great feature making it really easy to check a shot back straight after the shoot to make sure all went well.

You can also view stills taken with your GoPro via your smartphone or tablet. With Stills you get a reasonable high res image version.

You can also save video or stills directly to your smartphone or tablet and even share these immediately with social networks.

I love these updates, they make a great camera even better!

New GoPro App