The 8 Best Tools of 2014.
Here are some of the tools that made a real difference for us last year. Just in case, the order in the list is completely random.
What can I say that I haven’t already said about this gem? Tiny, inexpensive, intuitive, sharp, full of features—this is a truly remarkable feat of engineering to take our visual stories to a new level.
No, it’s not a typo! I know this is not the latest model, and that’s exactly the point. This little camera is so good that I see no need to upgrade, change, or even try something else. This is the perfect camera to take out on weekends, and when paired with a super sexy, real leather camera strap, the camera not only works well, it makes ME look good!
In the next couple of weeks, Sigma will release a couple of videos I shot for them in Istanbul, Paris, and Belgium. All the lenses I brought with me were extremely good, but the 35mm was so extraordinary that I ended up NOT returning it.
I rented these lights from Adorama for a Lighting Workshop I did in D.C. Among the reasons not to bring my own light kit were size, portability, and the ability to use multiple accessories with the same fixtures. For example, did you know that these lights can use all the accessories available for Profoto? Mind blowing.
The Fiilex more than delivered on all ends, and the guys at Adorama Rental provided their usual stellar job of testing, packing, and shipping the gear in time for my presentation.
Transcend 64GB UHS-3 SD Card
My tendency is to not put all my eggs in one basket, and to not keep all my day’s footage or photos on one card. I resisted switching from 8GB to 16GB for a while, while HD “forced”me into 32GB cards, and 4K made me seriously consider the 64GB Transcend, not only for the additional capacity, but for speed. The card was affordable when it was released and now it is almost half the price I paid for it just months ago. This one’s a no brainer.
DJI Ronin Camera Gimbal
Heavy. Difficult to set up. Costly. But when you make it work, it sings! We shot a lot of stuff with this toy, and the production value it added to our projects was simply outstanding.
Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014
I was very much against Adobe’s Creative Cloud concept (and wrote about it here, here, here, and here), but after a year or so of using the apps pretty much on a daily basis, I love always having the latest version to work with. The significant efforts that Adobe has put into their video applications is totally worth the monthly payment.
13” Apple MacBook Pro Retina
This turned out to be not as fast as expected, more expensive than expected, and the latest OS X Yosemite was way worse than expected. Yet it made it into my “top tools”list. Why? Simply because the MacBook Pros are still, in my opinion, the best line of laptops available. The fact that we can edit, grade, and export 4K video on a plane or from a coffee shop still blows my mind. But Apple’s reign might be coming to an end very soon. 2015 will be a VERY exciting year for technology. I can tell you that much.
If you like what you saw in this summary and want to know more about how we actually use these tools, please check out our new online courses on Lynda.com along with some of the video projects we worked on during the year.
We look forward to keeping the conversations going this year.
Panasonic Lumix DMC GH4 Sample Video • Behind the Scenes Fashion Week New York.
Panasonic Lumix DMC GH4 Sample Video. Behind the Scenes shot during Fashion Week in New York. Another test was shot in Central Park and a third one at the Chelsea Piers.
We learned a lot of interesting things about this new camera. To see the specs and what this system represents to hybrid photographers check tis article.
Canon EOS C300 Cinema Camera Insights.
Over a year ago, when Canon’s EOS C300 was announced, we wrote about the significance of the new EOS CInema system for photographers (you can read some of our previous articles here, and here). Since then, we practiced on the very clever online “Menu Simulator,” attended several Canon events, watched all the outstanding tutorials on Canon’s Digital Learning Center by Jem Schofield, wasted hours day-dreaming with the Accessory Configurator and played with the system on and off.
But not until last week did we have the chance to really go down and dirty with the system, shoot for several days, tweak some hardcore settings, create “custom picture presets” and see what the camera was made of.
The verdict? Absolutely impressive. Instead of writing a long post about it, we decided to use our 10-minute break and shoot a quick video with our impressions. Here it is, and we hope you enjoy it.
Canon EOS M – Part II. Hands-on Review
Since then we have had the great opportunity to play with one of them and we want to share our impressions in this post.
• Lenses: We tested the kit lens, an ultra wide “pancake” EF-M 22mm ƒ2.0 and the image quality is amazing. We also tested the EF mount and shot stills and video with the EF 70-200 ƒ2.8 and the EF 24mm ƒ1.4. They both worked like a charm.
• Video: This is a controversial topic. The movie files are recorded in MPEG-4 format, using AVC.H.264 compression and a variable bit rate. The quality is very good, with only a very tutored eye being able to differentiate the M versus the 60D footage. We only shot 1080p at 24 fps and our impressions are based on that test. Read this if you want to understand HD Video compression. Another great video feature that got our attention was that both Program and Manual shooting modes are supported in movie mode. So far, so good. The real issue (as you will read below) is the lack of fast and easy access to adjust exposure.
• Size: The main reason we wanted this camera was so that we could use it as a C (third) camera on our video shoots. Having such a tiny body with the same APS-C 18.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor we have on our EOS 7D (with the latest firmware update) and EOS 60D would allow us to put the camera in tight spaces, and it would make using a handheld rig or a steadycam a much more pleasant experience.
An Overview of What Should and/or Will Be Improved
In all fairness, the camera that we had was a prerelease sample. It was not a production piece, which means that the hardware, as well as the firmware, will be modified and improved.
• Touchscreen: Having a touchscreen is not only great, it makes absolute sense. The more we “flip” and “pinch” our smartphones and tablets, the more second nature these “gestures” become. Have you seen the video of the five-year-old girl who thinks a magazine is a broken iPad?
Click to keep reading (more…)
NAB 2012 wrap-up.
• Blackmagic announced a hard-to-believe camera featuring a 2.5K image sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range, built-in SSD recorder, popular open standard uncompressed RAW and compressed file formats, compatibility with quality EF and ZF mount lenses, and LCD touchscreen monitoring.
• Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is out with and enhanced 64-bit playback engine that can handle 5K resolutions, and higher, new trimming options, compatibility with Mac touchpad gestures, a Warp Stabilizer that was previously confined to After Effects, and expanded multicam editing for more than four cameras. Taking a page from its sister app, “the audio oriented Audition, Premiere Pro CS6 offers a redesigned and more functional audio mixer. Adobe also introduced SpeedGrade, a film finishing and color grading app, and Prelude, for ingesting, logging, and transcoding.
• Autodesk announced Smoke 2013 for the Mac, a new version of what the company is now calling video editing software and at users of Apple’s Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer who want high-end editing and finishing tools in one app. The new price is “only” $3495, down from $14,995 for the 2012 version.
• Panasonic announced a bittersweet firmware update for the AG-AF100 that provides 1080 50p and 60p modes. That’s the sweet part. The bitter? They want users to pay $300 for the upgrade.
• Canon announced the 1D C ($15,000), which has the same chassis and still shooting features of the EOS-1D X ($6,800), and captures 4096 x 2160 8-bit 4:2:2 video to a CF card at 24 fps. Unlike the X, the C swaps a headphone jack for the X’s PC sync.
• The higher-end Canon EOS C500 ($30,000) offers the same ISO range as the C300 (320-20,000) and requires a dedicated external recorder, but captures in two full-RAW flavors: 4096 x 2960 (for motion picture), and 3840 x 2160 (for 4K TV). Both of these modes offer 10-bit 4:4:4 at 60 frames-per-second. There are two additional RAW option, 4096 x 1080 or 3840 x 1080 resolutions, which are also 10-bit 4:4:4, but at 120 fps. The camera also offers
Serendipity: noun; the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
Both images were taken the same night, and at the same Brooklyn restaurant, Char #4. The place is nice, the service was good, and the food was decent, but the restaurant is definitively overpriced and overhyped. This was my third and most likely last visit.
Hands On Review: The Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet.
Exactly a month ago I wrote about the “7 reasons not to buy the Kindle Fire.” Best Buy took all this time to deliver my Thanksgiving purchase, which became a Christmas present to myself.
I am one of the lucky ones since Best Buy is scrambling to fulfill many online orders. About two weeks ago I got an email from them basically saying that it was OK to change my mind and get something else. I didn’t. After a few days playing with the Lenovo IdeaPad A1, I am ready to go over the main features (from the manufacturer’s website) and share my impressions:
• Android 2.3 operating system.
My tablet is running Android 2.3.4, my HTC Incredible (first generation) is running Android 2.3. For some reason, several applications from the Android Market will install on my phone, but NOT on the tablet. It says that my device is incompatible.
• ARM Cortex A8 processor that features a 1.0GHz processor speed for staying connected and productive on the go.
The tablet is relatively quick and responsive, but is has crashed four times in about 48 hours of use.
• Built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN. Connect to the Internet without wires.
Yeah, last time I checked that’s the definition of wireless. Someone at the marketing departing was having a slow day.