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Videos uploaded by user “Darren Levine”
How to get into a Film Festival - advice from a Festival Director
 
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Some literature that may interest you: https://amzn.to/2GIMM8s Visit this film festival at http://filmfestny.com
Views: 32015 Darren Levine
Filmmaking Tutorial: What is a Matte Box
 
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View an affordable matte box on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uKyxX4 A matte box serves two functions: Block stray light from hitting the lens, and to hold square lens filters. Let's start with lens filters, because i can sense you might be wondering what the difference would be to just using the good old screw on circular filters. Now i'll admit, i am a circular filter user, but mainly because i don't use filters all too often so i consider it less hassel to use a lens shade and screw on filters instead of mounting up a matte box which needs a rail system to mount to. But that being said, many people will find great use in square filters because of a few advantages. For one, they mount to the matte box and not the lens, so if you have several lenses to use on a shoot, when you swap out a lens you don't need to unscrew a filter and rescrew it into the other lens. They just stay in the matte box and that does save you quite a bit of time. Another advantage is that square filters work with nearly all lenses, unlike screw in filters which either need a separate filter for each size lens thread, or adapter step up rings. So you might consider money saved in only having to buy 1 of each type of square filter that will work with your entire lens collection. Now about controlling the light, which is just as important as the filter holders. You want a matte box that comes with a french flag(the top) as well as side flags. Some even have a bottom flag, but they are usually not necessary. Features to look for: You want to make sure that the matte box sits at the correct height so it matches up with the lens, and many matte boxes have a height adjustment which i would say is pretty much invaluable so try to get a model which has that feature. Swing away is also very nice and will save you time, it makes it so that you don't need to untighten and slide forward the matte box to change a lens. Instead you can just unclick the swing hinge and it gets right out of your way. Another thing to look out for is how many filter trays there are, known as stages. Do you need 2? 3? Do you need rotating stages for your polarizers? etc...ly the one attached to the release lever.
Views: 65472 Darren Levine
$5 Rubber lens hoods/sunshades - Collapsible with 3 stages.
 
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See full article & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/rubbyhood/?you32 These little hoods are a great little addition to your camera bag if you don't need a full matte box for your shoot. They have 3 stages: Flat for storage/Open a bit/Open a lot. Why do you need to block sharp light from hitting your lens? Flares Flares can look cool if thought out and done right, but many many times a flare can just ruin a shot, and you want to be able to control it. Notice how pretty much all photo lenses come with some sort of lens hood? Yep, that's for flares. So, if you've either lost the original, have a lens that didn't come with one, or want one that can screw on so it works with several lenses instead of one, this one works a treat. It packs down which makes it more potable than typical rigid lens hoods, and if you buy a larger size, you can get step up rings to mount it to smaller threaded lenses. Downsides? It's round, and since frames are rectangle, you might get the corner of your frame clipped by the hood, but that's where those three stages come in handy, if it clips the frame, collapse it down to the next stage. I have found with very wide angle lenses it needs the short stage which doesn't do much anyways. Since these things are so cheap, here's a quick fix for that: Take a sharp scissor, and cut out small notches for each edge of the frame. Use one of your existing lens hoods as a guide to see how they make such cutouts to avoid edge clipping.
Views: 16583 Darren Levine
Filmmaking Tutorial: Buying a low budget video camera
 
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Here's are a few cameras you can look at: http://amzn.to/2sMplzN When looking at buying your first or next low budget video camera, the main thing you need to figure out is how much you have to spend. The one thing i want to make sure of is that you're not spending your entire budget on just the camera. Do you need lights? microphones? tripod? etc..? Don't skimp out on other items! Take tripods for example, my rule of thumb is spend at LEAST 20% of your camera cost on a tripod, so if you've got a $2000 camera, spend at least $200 on a tripod. And any tripod under $100 is likely to be not so great, so make sure you're above that price point at the bare minimum. But let's stay on point here, we're talking about cameras! Say your budget is under $1000 for the camera, including a lens of some sort whether it be attached or detachable. The first thing i look for is does it have a focus ring? I refuse to accept any sort of touch screen focus as usable, it needs an actual ring for focusing! Next up is audio, and the first thing to do is pretend that it has no built in mic, because any built in mic is, and i'm going to all caps this because it's important: IS NOT SUITABLE FOR PROFESSIONAL USE! You NEED to use external mic options, and to that effect, if you don't want to use a separate sound recorder, you'll need to make sure your camera has an audio input. Now, at this price point you aren't likely to find proper XLR inputs, but that's fine so long as it at least has the 1/8" stereo mini input. Now for buttons, because i love me some buttons, and i hate me some touch screen. Physical buttons are just better, and the litmus test for that line of reasoning is that if you have your eye locked into the viewfinder, with buttons you can feel your way around to get things done. Not so with touch screen! So the more buttons, the better. There are some higher end cameras like the Red Scarlet and Epic, and the Black Magic Cinema Camera which rely heavily on touch screens, but those are very big and well designed touch screens, and hence are much better and out of the price range we're discussing here. Backing up a second, we need to go over sensors, because that is the heart of the camera. In this price range though, theres only two real choices: very small, or very large. Odd, i know! The reason for this is that DSLR's that now shoot video have created a whole other market: Photography cameras that happen to shoot darn good video. And yes, lots of them are under $1000, but the biggest catch is, they need lenses, which can be very expensive. It depends on your needs, but if you need a camera that can zoom from very wide to very long, then a DSLR may not be ideal for you. But on the other hand if you need the best possible low light ability, as well as shallow depth of field, then DSLRs may be perfect for you. But back to more conventional cameras in this price range, they will mostly be in the 1/3" size, which is fine, but will result in mostly very deep focus, meaning everything will be in focus with the exception for when you zoom in significantly. One thing i stress at this point is that i never buy a camera just based on its specs, i look at sample footage and user reviews. Because even if a camera looks great on paper, if hundreds of people in user reviews around the net say it's terrible, then it's pretty obvious you shouldn't buy it! Next up is its recording ability. Tape is still around but leaving the arena, so for futureproofing it's best to stick with flash based recording. The one thing i'd stay away from is any camera that uses a built in drive, because if that drive dies, you can't just swap it out and it has to go to the repair shop. So make sure the camera you get uses either SD or CF cards which you can easily swap out, it also makes it easier for downloading footage. I hate having to plug the camera into the computer, card readers are much swifter. And then there's the codec and bitrates, which i've got a whole other quicktip for. Suffice it to say, trust user reviews, not what's on paper. Different cameras can have different codecs and some lower bitrate ones can easily outperform higher bitrate ones if the codec is superior, so don't discount a camera right off the bat if it has a lower bitrate, check the reviews.
Views: 551255 Darren Levine
Sony AW4 bluetooth mic test with sennheiser lav
 
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Check it out on amazon: http://amzn.to/1kl5P9X The sound was not at all edited/enhanced, just transcoded to a smaller file size before uploading.
Views: 43231 Darren Levine
What is Pulling Focus & Rack Focusing? Filmmaking Tutorial (shot on C100)
 
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A book to consider on the subject http://amzn.to/2sk0fxs In this Glossary tip, we'll define what it means when someone says to pull focus, or to rack focus.
Views: 25536 Darren Levine
Atomos Ninja Blade Monitor/Recorder Review
 
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View it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tQZrjq It's clear that i like this thing. So what don't i like? Well... It tops out at 1080. 4k is now the golden child, and i don't plan on purchasing anymore 1080 cameras, so it seems a bit like investing in the past. It's not entirely wise to think that way though, because 1080 didn't all of a sudden become poor looking because of 4k, on the contrary; it looks incredible. Hundreds of big movies back this up. But if you're a working shooter, and your clients are asking about 4k, than that's a story you should tell to the shogun, Atomos's $2000 4k recorder. The dilemma atomos created for me was the introduction of the ninja star, their tiny, screen-less, $300 recorder. Adding that to my C100 would be a pretty unobtrusive way to up the codec, and would give me the option to have an external monitor or not as i so choose based on what i'm shooting. But to have it all in one polished package is very compelling indeed.
Views: 23155 Darren Levine
$17 Nikon lens to Canon body adapter with Aperture Control
 
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View the Ai/F Mount version on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2spLe8H One of the great things about owning a canon is that you have the ability to use nikon lenses on them in manual mode. To accomplish this, you need an adapter. You can get a dumb adapter which forces you to use the clicked aperture. Then there's the adapters which have a slide/lever to control the aperture lever built into the back of every nikon lens. These adapters where originally quite expensive, but as with many accessories, it's only a matter of time till china does its thing. Thankfully in this case they did a decent enough job. Having the aperture control adapter does two big things for you: it gives you a clickless aperture adjustment, and more importantly it allows you to use the newer nikon G lenses which were built without an aperture ring. How is it built? All metal thankfully, with reasonably tight tolerances. it fits onto my lenses quite snugly, which is good. To get the adapter off is a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of pressing the lever and twisting the adapter with the same hand, it's a snap. The fit onto the camera body is not as snug. Not loose, but i wish it were tighter. I wouldn't recommend it with very large lenses without lens support. you can visibly see the separation flex if you press down on the lens. Thankfully, pressing down on the lens is not something a mentally stable person does when shooting, so don't worry about it. The aperture adjustment ring is nice and smooth, grease is visible on the inner workings, but does not appear to be in excess, good. The one thing i would keep an eye on are the screws, make sure they're snug, especially the one attached to the release lever.
Views: 111563 Darren Levine
How to buy the WARMEST winter jacket (for men or women)
 
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Some recommended jackets to check out: (affiliate links) The North Face Men's Mcmurdo Parka II Jacket http://amzn.to/2FQXDcW The wife is wearing the Marmot Montreal: https://amzn.to/2QcQWuP Eddie Bauer Men's Superior Down Parka http://amzn.to/2DeCJmj LL Bean Baxter State Parka https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/60850?page=baxter-state-parka
Views: 65348 Darren Levine
What is DSLR Crop Factor, Depth Of Field, Lens Image Circle - Filmmaking Tutorial
 
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Want more tutorials like this? http://mediahalo.com/articles/?you41 My Amazon recommended buy list: http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1ZETVDLH7JMLA/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&filter=all&layout=standard&linkCode=ur2&reveal=unpurchased&sort=priority&tag=yviewnow-20&x=10&y=9Clarifying DOF, crop factor, and lens types The first thing to understand is that lenses are built to project a certain size image circle, a full frame lens, also known as a 35mm, projects a 35mm size image circle. Then we have cropped sensor lenses, which are referred to as digital only, or digi, or whatever horrid marketing terms they chose, and basically they are built to project a smaller image circle, because the cameras they are intended for have the smaller sized 'cropped' sensors. Likewise a 4/3rds sensor camera has 4/3rds lenses, and 16mm and 2/3" sensor sized cameras have lenses with 16mm sized image circles. You can usually put a larger format lens on a smaller format camera, but it won't see as much of the image circle, which is what we call a crop factor. you cannot go the other way, because then you will get a peep hole effect, vignetting to the extreme. And now for our first debunk, because every time i hear someone talking about dslr video they say, well, the 5d has the amazing shallow depth of field, and it's because of it's huge sensor. Now granted, i'm sure not everyone out there thinks that sensors create DOF, but we'll clarify it for those who may not know: consider this demonstration, you can put a 35mm type lens on either a 35mm full frame camera, or on a smaller sensor body, but that sensor is going to 'crop' that larger image circle, so we're going to see a narrower FOV. So imagine this same lens on either camer, one with the larger sensor, one with the smaller. So where did the dof change? Here's a clue, it didn't. the sensor has nothing to do with DOF, it is physically impossible for the sensor the create or manipulate DOF, it simply captures the light being projected onto it. DOF is created in the lens. Moving on, in practice you can end up with shallower DOF with a larger sensor because the sensor is seeing more, aka larger field of view than a smaller sensor, so to get the same field of view as a smaller sensor camera you will need a longer focal length, and that in turn leads to a shallower depth of field. One last thing on DOF, many of you at one point were shooting something and said to yourself, hey, i want a shallower depth of field, let me pull back the camera and zoom in, because a longer focal length gives me a shallower depth of field. Well, yes, but no, not for what you just did. Try this out for yourself: Take two different photos of the same scene, place an object or person out in front of a background. Use a 50mm focal length. Then take the second shot by moving the camera back far enough so that you need a 100mm focal length to maintain the same field of view of that object/person. Change no other settings, especially keep the aperture the same. You're probably now looking at the two photos and calling me an idiot, because of coarse you're seeing much more background blur in the 100mm shot. Actually... you're not. What you're seeing is the exact same amount of blur. The reason the DOF stays the same is because you didn't just use a longer focal length, you also changed the focus distance, there is an inverse relationship between the focal length and the distance of the focus subject, what you are actually doing by pulling back is simply magnifying the background bokeh, and anytime you magnify an object, you see more detail, and in this case you see more blurry detail. To your credit, it is achieving what you were out to get, a blurrier background, but when going about it or showing someone how to do it, be sure to not pass along misinformation by saying your creating a shallower depth of field. Your actors have exactly the same amount of space to move in. Lastly, I want to put something in it's place: Full frame sensors will not make you famous. See because ever since the 5D2 came out, people have been clamoring over the Full Frame "look", and I hear far too often about how smaller sensors are garbage. Well those who say such things are children, children who need to learn... The good old 16mm sized 2/3" sensor. Which, was the first sized sensor to be used as the A camera on a hollywood production, which was star wars episode 2 shot on the f900. So riddle me this filmmaker, you're saying that you need a FF, when your ultimate competitor is doing just fine with a fraction of that size... i call BS. Case in point, nearly any modern sensor size over 1/2" (EX1) will give you a great image.
Views: 8357 Darren Levine
DIY Roller camera case, under $90, carry-on size with padded dividers
 
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See full article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/diyrollercase/?you28 Roller cases are the lifeblood of the working videographer/photographer. Sometimes i can get away with a backpack, but sometimes i need the roller, and many a time i need both! Pelicans are the gold standard, but that have two potential drawbacks: price and conspicuousness. Price isn't that bad actually, under $200 for the carryon size. And there's plenty of other brands making basically the same thing all in the $150 area. But price aside, a lot of the time i just don't want to look like im hauling camera gear. Enter the Samsonite case. After the usual absurdity of macy's discounts and coupons, the case cost me something like $50. The main thing is to get a carryon size case thats 15" wide, most of them are 14" wide, and will not work with the calumet divider. I also happened to find that calumet had an ebay account and was listing some specials on padded dividers, the size i needed was under $30, nice!. The modifications required for this pair to work together were minimal. the primary need was to cut notches in two of the corners of the divider for the case's wheel wells. you could just hack away with some scissors and call it a day, but i like tidiness, so i opted to do some careful exacto knife surgery. Quite simply, i didn't really remove any liner, just the foam underneath, the liner i just cut the seams and a few lines, and tucked the excess back under with some high temp hot glue. Now, i mention high temp hot glue, which believe it or not is not a redundant statement. there's more than one type of hot glue. The normal one you find is regular temp, Do Not Use This. Instead you need to find the high temp glue, along with a high temp or dual temp gun, which has a little switch to increase the temperature. Using the high temp glue will remove the possibility that the glue can melt inside your bag and equipment. The only other thing i recommend you do is fill in the gaps between the bars on the bottom of the bag. Just open up the roller case and feel the bottom and you'll see what i'm talking about, there's not a flat bottom, it's got bars. so grab some filler, i use cardboard and thick yoga mat foam. Now just shimmy in the divider, and boom, you have a roller camera case. Some optional additions you can do involve hardening and padding the top. I put in some corrugated plastic plates in the outer top pockets, and then some foam in the inner pockets of the lid. This adds some protection and the inner foam helps keep items in thier place.
Views: 40770 Darren Levine
What are Lens Filters & what types should you buy? Filmmaking Tutorial
 
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View some filters on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tR3NqQ What are lens filters? They are squares or rings of optical glass which you place in front of your lens to modify the light entering the camera. How do they attach? Circular filters attach to the front threads of your lens, to see what size your lens's threads are, look at the front of the lens, there is usually a marking. Square filters are used in a matte box, which is a larger more involved piece of equipment. Quality? You get what you pay for still rules much of the time, but there are some very good bargains out there. Do NOT just go to a camera store and pick up brand X, look for well reviewed filters. If it's really cheap, it's probably no good. Think of how silly it would be to put a poor piece of glass in front of your expensive lens? What types are there? UV Hoya's are a good balance of price/performance: Hoya HMC UV Multi-Coated Slim Frame The most basic type which is more or less considered protection for your lens, because replacing a filter is much less expensive than replacing/fixing a lens. ND I mostly use the 3 stop Tiffen ND 0.9 Filter Neutral Density filters just cut the amount of light going into the camera. FIlmmakers many times want to use a wide open aperture to get a shallow depth of field, and in a bright situation an ND filter can be the only way to accomplish this properly. They come in different strengths measure in stops, just like F stops. So if you happen to be in a bright sunny day and are going with the sunny 16 rule, you'd need a 5 stop ND to get from f/16 to f2.8 Graduated ND/color I've got this one Fotodiox Graduated ND Ever wonder how to get a bright sky and a dark landscape properly exposed? One way is to use a grad ND, which is ND on one half, and clear on the other. The middle point fades between the two, so you can dim one half of the image and maintain the other half. Works best with non-moving shots. There are also colored version should you want to stylize/modify further Polarizer I use the Marumi DHG Super Circular Polarizer This is one of those magical things, and you shouldn't leave home without it. A polarizer cuts out various angles of light. This means it can reduce or eliminate glare. Reflection in the water? Polarizer. Reflection in a window? Polarizer. It won't work 100% of the time because it's dependent on the angles of reflection, but many times it can be a dramatic improvement. It also can saturate colors, and deepen blue skies. They have a rotating front element so you can adjust how much of the effect you want. Variable ND This one is relatively inexpensive and worth a look Light Craft Workshop Fader ND MK II These are basically two polarizers paired to create a ND filter which can be dialed up and down in strength. They sound ground, but there's no free lunch, many have color shifts and other undesirable effects. There are some very good ones out there, but most are plenty pricey Sizes This is a pretty complete set Fotodiox 7 Metal Step Up Ring Set Now, a simple trick to not have to buy a filter for every size lens you have, just grab some step up rings so you can buy 1 larger filter, and the rings allow you to attach them to smaller lenses. You can buy a whole set, or just find what you need. They're plenty cheap no matter how you slice it.
Views: 40269 Darren Levine
What is a C47 & what's it for? Filmmaking Tutorial
 
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See full info & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/c47/?you20 What is a C47? Well, it's nothing more than a clothspin, not even some enhanced variation, just a regular old cloths pin. But what's it used for on a film set? The grip/lighting department gets the most use out of them, the most basic function they have is attaching gels/diffusion/etc... to the barndoors on lights. And the only thing you need to keep in mind about them, is that you should never buy plastic ones, because plastic will melt on hot lights. They're also cheap as chips, so you buy a bag of them and you're probably set for life unless you have a habit of losing them. They do come in handy for anything that might need clipping. Hey, maybe you have a sit down interview and cant use tape on outfit of the person you're interviewing, so you need some other way to secure the cable behind their back. Granted, i've never even done that, but i'm just painting a picture as to the fact that these things are so basic that their function can be used however you please. The non productive function they also have are for games. The game that's been around forever is "how many c47s can i attach to someone's back before they notice" fun and games on a set are great for lightening the mood and keeping things cheery. Just be sure it doesn't impact your productivity, or piss someone off, or otherwise become destructive.
Views: 2269 Darren Levine
$60 LCD Viewfinder with diopter & flip up Review
 
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View it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uKo9hX Overall a great find, if the construction holds up it's a winner. The flip up design is what really sold me on this vs competitors, i don't really need a diopter but still it's nice to have. and the optics look quite good along with edge to edge view-ability of the LCD. You will get fogging but as you can see i poked a hole at the bottom to help with air circulation. I will likely just buy some anti fog spray to seal the issue.
Views: 73927 Darren Levine
Some propeller guard options for the DJI Phantom 4 Reviewed
 
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Check it out on amazon: http://amzn.to/2qkDhDI
Views: 3964 Darren Levine
Video Codecs: What to know - Filmmaking Tutorial
 
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Read the full Article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/codecs/?you24 As much as a hate talking heads, here's mine, talking about the basics of video codecs. One of the longer Tutorials yet could be far longer with all the details of codecs, but hopefully this is a good starting point which will answer some basic questions i typically hear people ask about codecs. Here's the long written version: What are codecs? Codecs refer to how a video is compressed, and there are two types of codecs: Lossy, and Lossless. First off, Lossless codecs are codecs which don't degrade the image at all. We typically refer to them as uncompressed and/or raw, uncompressed has no compression at all and has huge file sizes. RAW on the other hand can be compressed or uncompressed, to put it very roughly and simply; RAW packages the video and allows for some compression, but many of those as well are considered lossless, even if it does degrade the image it's considered very nearly imperceptible. So if you're using anything labeled uncompressed or RAW, you're getting the good stuff. Now for the lossy guys, which are the bulk of this quick tip. To understand lossy codecs, let's go through thier basic settings: Bitrates are the central control, they are referred to in numbers: lower numbers means higher compression which leads to smaller file sizes and worse quality, and higher numbers mean less compression for better quality with larger file sizes. this is the same for any codec. But here's the trick: a bitrate of say 10 for one codec can be entirely different for another codec, which is what we called the codec's efficiency. another thing to keep in mind, is what resolution you're using, because a bitrate of say 2 might be good for standard definition video with a certain codec, but if you keep that bitrate and up the resolution, you'll get terrible results. When you're adding pixels, you need to add more data to maintain quality. Presets in your edit system will give you a very good idea of what settings are good for each codec, i usually give it a 20% or so bump in bitrate for good measure on top of whatever the preset has. The biggest buzz word in codec world today is h.264, which is a great efficient codec, but it's also a shape shifter, because you also know it by several other names. avc intra, mpeg4 avccam, and probably a few others. All of these are actually mpeg-4 level 10, and the reason for all this name changing is that mpeg codecs are customizable and tuneable, so each name means a company has made their own recipe. And just as it is with food, each recipe can either be delicious, or just mildly satisfying. Suffice it to say you don't need to mess with the depths of settings to get a good image, just stick with the basics and try different bit rates to see what's good for you. Then there's Apple's prores which is also very high in bitrate but that also means its darn close to being lossless even though it's a lossy codec. Which codec you use depends on what you're using it for, and if that's websites, you'll mostly be using h.264. if DVD delivery, mpeg2, if bluray, likely h.264 again. Codecs like mpeg2 and h.264 can be acquisition(capture) formats, and delivery formats, and what's in the middle that's missing? Editing! Yes, although you can do it, it's not ideal to edit h.264, mpeg2, or any other Long GOP codec, because a GOP(group of pictures) means that the codec uses key frames to then base its compression for the next Group of Pictures. So when you cut your video, your cutting that series apart, and making the computer do more work. It also makes grading(coloring) your video more limited. I'll mention though that there are Non GOP versions of h.264 such as AVC-Intra, which are much better for editing. Now a word on file extensions, such as .wmv, .mpg, .mp4. These are called containers, and they contain codecs, and the only thing you need to understand about these are that there are containers which are single codec containers, which means they only represent one codec, and then there are containers which can contain any number of different codecs, just not at the same time.
Views: 23686 Darren Levine
$40/50 tripod with 'fluid pan' ballhead, 17LB capacity - Review - Filmmaking (shot C100)
 
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Update, no longer made! Here's a close match: http://amzn.to/2hSZVy2 What kind of tripod can $40 get you these days? Even i was surprised by what i got. The Ravelli 65", 17lb capacity tripod is made of all metal, i swear i cannot find any plastic anywhere, there's just a few proper rubber parts and that's it. I live in NYC, and have access to the disneyland of photo/video gear that is B&H. They have literally hundreds of tripods on display for you to play with, so i can say with honestly that i've seen a lot of tripods. When you're looking at the inexpensive ones, you almost always find plastic, and usually plenty of it. Not this tripod. The screw locks also appear to be all metal underneath, with thick nice feeling rubber to grip onto. I also noticed that while at first glance the ballhead knobs appear to be rubber, they're actually metal with a rubberized coating. The coating already has some wear, but it's good to know that the knob itself will hold up. The legs aren't the thickest, which is to be expected at this price. The usual concern is how thin the thinnest stage is, and in this case it's not too thin. I've seen thinner, so that's good. This all adds up to how stable it is. The way i test for tripod stability is to set it to its max height and then grab the neck where the legs all meet at the top, and then torque it, see how much it twists. Just about all smaller/inexpensive tripods have a fair amount of twist, and this one isn't an exception. But while it does twist, i find it to be more than acceptable, especially for $40. Then there's the portability. It excels here, because it's legs can flip all the way around, and the neck can extend all the way up, and it packs down to just 19", great for carry on size luggage. I can also note that there are two click positions for the legs to lock into, one for most regular use, and one more for near perpendicular /low position. There's also a spring loaded spring at the bottom of the neck for you to add some weights for more stability. The ball head, is actually the main reason i bought this. I didn't need new legs, i was just shopping for a cheap but decent ballhead to use on my monopod for run and gun video shooting. What i discovered was that any decent looking ballhead costs quite a bit. So when i saw this tripod for only $40, with an apparently decent looking balhead, i jumped at it. I'm very satisfied with what i got. the ball is of decent size, a little smaller than a ping pong ball. The locking mechanism gives a reassuring lock with few turns of the knob. There's also a knob to lock or unlock the pan mechanism. This is where it really shows extra value, it has a very fluid pan, plenty smooth for video use. Great. But don't go thinking this is a video tripod, it's most certainly a photo tripod. I plan on mostly using it as a backup or for shoots with simple locked off shots and maybe a pan. You will not be getting a smooth tilt out of it. However, the ball, once unlocked, has a nice solid feel to it, it's not swimming around in its hole, feels like nice tight tolerances. You can also see the bolt that connects the quick release to the ball neck, which i like to see. The quick release is nothing special, it's got a little bit of front/back adjust-ability, but that's about it. They also give you a spare, but they hid it in the padded case. Let's say it again, it's $40. It's a ton of value for your money, one of the best deals i've seen. You don't get a few little bits, like foot spikes. You get cushions on 2 out of the 3 legs. Though that's not really a downside as only two legs are needed to sit on your shoulder. You don't get a bubble level, but those are cheap as chimpanzees. But then you do get a nice case for it, seems well made and fits the unit well. And then you also get this adorable little cheapo tripod, which is basically useless for anything except point and shoot cameras, but hey, you can't complain when it's a free addition. So overall, i can't see any reason why not to buy one. Heck, buy two and use it for your slider, the ballhead comes off and there's the standard 3/8" screw.
Views: 42660 Darren Levine
Power your Camera / Monitor / Light with AA batteries: 12v battery holder clip
 
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See full article & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/aapower/?you34 Doesn't get much simpler than this, you pop in 10 AA batteries, you get a 12v DC power battery. Handy! AA batteries are available everywhere, and having the ability to power your camera or accessories with them is a great backup plan. This one i got takes 10 batteries, so with my 1.2v NiMH rechargables, i get a 12v battery backup. Regular Alkaline AA batteries will get you 18v with this clip. There are several versions of these clips, 4x, 8x, and 10x, so get which you need depending on your needs and what type of AA's you have handy or want to plan for. NOTE: be sure you buy one that's wired in SERIES, which sums the voltage, if you get a Parallel clip, you'll just be getting a big 1.5v battery.
Views: 28671 Darren Levine
$48 Leveling Base makes photo tripods a lot nicer to use for video work.
 
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View it on amazon:(affiliate) http://amzn.to/2FuAlcL Overall i'm quite happy with this item, it costs half any of the alternatives, and gets the job done. Quick breakdown: -Half the price of similar adapters -Solid, nearly all metal, no plastic to be seen -Tightening knob a little loose, works totally fine -Bubble level is not great, use your head's bubble -Comes with 3/8 adapter -Has 3 screws for locking to your head. -Don't turn the knob all the way to loose, and it'll loosen up better.
Views: 22791 Darren Levine
$13 Camera mini clamp Review: It should be in everyone's camera bag!
 
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View full article at http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/miniclamp/?you Your bag of tricks is what helps you get things done quickly/safely/professionally/etc... The more tools you have in your bag, the more you can do with your situation. These little clamps are one of the great little tools. Construction All metal, save for the rubber grips. I actually trimmed the grips back because i found they smushed when clamping to flat surfaces. It feels absolutely solid. Connections You get 1/4" and 3/8" taps to screw into. I use male to male thread adapters to connect things such as ballheads/stud adapters. Or just screw in a friction arm. Uses Pretty darn infinite. I've clamped lights, cameras, audio, and other nicknacks to random places. This is where creativity comes in, so look around and see what you can come up with. A word of caution: Even with the little lever, you can clamp down pretty darn tight, so be careful not to damage softer surfaces such as wood.
Views: 4265 Darren Levine
$9 CF/SD card holder, Holds 12 cards, water tight, armor protective.
 
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Want more tutorials like this? http://mediahalo.com/articles/?you Info/buy link: http://amazon.com/dp/B007XC99JQ/?tag=yviewnow-20 The smaller one: http://amazon.com/dp/B007PLQWUE/?tag=yviewnow-20 With these cases being so inexpensive, there's really no excuse to be using the standard dinky plastic cases that come with CF/SD card retail packages
Views: 10781 Darren Levine
What are Lens Pens & Blowers? Filmmaking Tutorial (Shot on C100)
 
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Read full write-up with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/penblow/?you17 Keeping your equipment clean and maintained is a good thing, and sometimes you need extra tools to do so. If you think that your shirt is the ideal way to clean your lens, then we've got some rehab to put you through, because there's no excuse for that when there are stoopid cheap proper ways to clean that glass. Keep in mind, once you ruin glass, there's no fixing it, it's done, either buy a new one or spend a bucketload to repair it. So let's listen up on the proper tools for cleaning your glass. The most basic thing is a lens cloth. They work, they cost less than a happy meal, and they should be in every camera bag. They work pretty well, and can be enhanced with some spray solutions or even just a hot breath on the lens to moisten it up. They are however, a minor risk, see because they may not be able to scratch a lens themselves, but if you get a single bit of sand under it when you start a rubbin', then you can easy get a nice big deep scratch on your lens. There are two ways to avoid this, and you should use both. The first is to clean the cloth, it can be washed usually, and just before use you should shake it out vigorously to ensure nothing is stuck to it. The other method is to ensure no hard particles are on the lens, and that brings us to the blower. Blowers, rockets, airguns, leafblowers, whatever. They are a squeeze bottle for blasting air. You might be asking why you can't just use your mouth. Well that's simple, and it has nothing to do with how hard you can blow.... it's about you spitting on your lens. No matter how good you think you are, you're spitting on your lens, or at the very least blowing moisture onto it. And that's not the same as before when i said to give a hot breath on the lens. So go and spend the few gallons of gas equivalent to get a proper blower. How to use it? Considering they don't usually come with instructions, you can figure it out on your own. .... OK fine... you hold it up to the lens, and you squeeze. You don't do a stabbing motion, you don't to a waltz, you just hold it steady and squeeze repeatedly to remove loose particles. But that's not the end. See there is a major culprit, and it's your fingers. Your fingers have oils, and oils can be a pain to remove. But not if you have a lens pen. A lens pen costs all of $10 and has a microfiber tip, but more importantly, that tip has carbon all over it. Remember how people say that newspaper is the best to wash windows with? That's because carbon absorbs oils. Lens pens have extra carbon packed into their caps so that you can just give it a twist and get rid of more fingerprints. They also have a brush to get off particles which are blower resistant. How to use the pen? The brush should never be stabbed at the lens, bristles should be lightly feathered across the lens. The microfiber tip should be used in circular motions. The one other thing you can buy is lens paper, which also works well and is used just like the lens cloth. That's all there really is to say about that. I should mention that while having clean class is a good thing, it's important not to become too obsessive over it. Dust particles are usually far too small to show up on camera, especially when shooting wider open apertures. Don't worry about dust inside the lens, it's not worth taking apart your lens, that's a B-A-D idea.
Views: 1756 Darren Levine
Affordable Carbon Fiber 12' boom pole review
 
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Full article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/cfboom/?you23 It's a long boom pole, and it's made of carbon fiber, and it's inexpensive. We'll the much sums it up now doesn't it? But ok, i'll elaborate a bit: Firstly, i'll be honest, im not an audio guy, and i actually bought this as a gopro jib as opposed to an audio solution, and it works damn nice in that fashion i must say. It maxes out at around 12 feet, and packs down to just under 4 feet, so it's not the smallest packdown in the world, if that is important to you. My first question when i got the item was: how much "reserve" CF is inside each of the sections, meaning, when you extend a section, how much of that section is left in the prior section for stability. Unscrewing the twist lock revealed a very nice amount of reserve, great. Now how about the twist locks? Well, they are indeed plastic and not metal, but they do feel nice, i love the rubber that encases them. Will it last for years of use and abuse? hard to tell, but again, this is a budget boompole, you can't have your cake and bake it too or whatever the saying is. If you take care of your equipment like i like to do, it'll probably be just fine. If you rent your stuff out, or like to beat it up, then you probably should shell out the extra cash for something that's built for it. The one actual issue i did have was that the shock mount screw at the long end did come out, but the seller was very helpful in resolving that issue, offering to pay for the repairs or to pay for the shipping to take it back and repair it. They have assured me that the glue issue responsible has been fixed and all shipping poles are solid. Is there flex? a bit, especially at the long end, but that's to be expected, and it isn't fishing pole with a trout on the end of it extreme, but if you're looking for an ultra stiff pole, probably need to go for metal and/or more expensive options. Lastly and probably its biggest selling point: It's light as heck! it's right around a pound, 500 grams. wow! I was on a set where i happened to have it with me and i asked the audio guy if he would like to use it, seeing as he had an all metal pole which probably weighed a few pounds. He graciously declined, but did ask to hold it, and cursed me with envy when he felt how light it was. Oh, and the bottom endcap sucks. So any end-cap aficionados better steer clear. For the price, it's a nice bit of kit, all my issues with it are small quirks and not significant considering how much you'd need to pay to get the same features in a higher end brand.
Views: 7391 Darren Levine
$99 Follow Focus Review - Dampened - DSLR Filmmaking
 
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See full article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/rjff/?you31 Overall, this unit is a big win, of course you shouldn't compare it to $1000+ pro units, but it feels like a lot more than the price tag suggests and i feel that many people in the indie budget range will have a hard time justifying paying 2,3,5,8x the price for higher end units. the most important thing is that the gearbox is great. it has some dampening, which for most of you out there with other budget units will appreciate that it does not freely spin if you give it a whirl. this helps make sloppy lenses feel a bit better. The gears are pretty nice too, i have to use them on a shoot or two to see if i truly like them.
Views: 27958 Darren Levine
First flights: XIRO Xplorer UAV Drone Quadcopter with 3 Axis GoPro Gimbal - B01233RV12
 
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Take a look at it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sMpzH8 I was asked to evaluate the Xiro/Zero quadcopter and have been doing so for a short time. I actually didn't know what to expect in the mail but was surprised to find a very well constructed and professional looking craft. I currently fly a phantom 3, so inevitably i will draw a lot of comparisons. The model i received comes with an empty gimbal for a gopro. My early impressions after fiddling with it for a few flights are overall positive, but with a few concerns/issues. The flight quality thus far has been overall nice, but i've been having issues getting the compass calibrated. They are working on having the app help with this, but at the moment you only get flashes to indicate what's going on. I was able to get calibration in my cramped back yard, but it refused to calibrate in a more open space but surrounded by bridges(i was at least a few hundred feet from anything metal) After walking around and turning in circles for a half an hour i finally got a calibration and it flew very nicely.(more on this later) The fit and finish of the product are very nice, and i love that it breaks down to a smaller package. You can easily disconnect the gimbal for storage or to just fly without it. I did find that the craft becomes back heavy without the gimbal attached, and may account for some of my finicky flights. The landing gear has two positions, lower and upper, you only need the taller upper if using the gimbal. The controller is also overall really well thought out: there is a hidden retractable smartphone holder with ball joint(but only large enough for phones, not tablets), and the antenna's are very short little stubs (range?) There are several buttons for flight control/RTH, and some dials for gimbal control and other functions. The range extender is a handy little snap on box, no extra wires or things sticking out. There is a switch for 1/2/3, and they are just different levels of limitation, mode 1 will yield a much slower and distance limited craft, good for learning, and the upper modes speed things up/unlock it's potential. The gimbal accepts a gopro, im told it's designed for a hero4. I currently have a hero3 black, and was told it may experience some jitters, which was totally accurate. The overall gimbal performance test was great, a bit more floaty than the very locked on phantom 3, and i only experienced the jitters during sharp movements. It has a plug for the gopro to allow FPV live view on the smartphone, but you cannot control the gopro, and i didn't see any indication that it was providing power either. Could be that it has less function with my hero3, as it's intended for the hero4. Thus far i have not been able to get the live feed to work. Some more than minor concerns: The first is the battery pack, or rather, the way it connects to the craft. It has tiny little notches which you have to align to tiny slots on the underbody, and if you aren't careful it's easy to wear down those notches. I recommended that they figure out a much simpler/less tedious mechanism for attaching the battery. It also requires a great deal of force to attach/disconnect, and I've had to be very careful not to damage it. The second is the compass calibration. On the phantom 3 it's super simple: tap on the screen, it shows you what to do and registers very quick(within 1 rotation) But with the Xiro, the app doesn't come into play, it's button presses and light flashes. I've read through the manual several times and can't for the life of me make sense/find reference to some of the blink sequences i have seen. The compass seems very finicky in calibrating and it took me numerous times to figure out just how slow to rotate and how long to wait for confirmation blinks. Hopefully this can be improved in firmware, they did mention they're working on more app functionality. Another thing i noticed was that the charger and battery get very, VERY hot when charging. there is a spot on the bottom of the charger which gets hot enough i cannot touch it for more than a half second. Firmware updates Since i received it, there have been several updates, it's good to see they are pushing development more, and have informed me the app is being updated as well. Overall i'm very intrigued bu this device, it's certainly not perfect, but i'll be doing lots of flying with it and will update here with new discoverys
Views: 133453 Darren Levine
Filmmaking Tutorial: Lenses: what the markers mean, focus/zoom rings & image circle size
 
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My Amazon recommended buy list: http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1ZETVDLH7JMLA/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&filter=all&layout=standard&linkCode=ur2&reveal=unpurchased&sort=priority&tag=yviewnow-20&x=10&y=9 Taking a slightly closer look at lenses for video & photography More tutorials and DIY at www.mediahalo.com
Views: 8880 Darren Levine
$7 Hard drive storage case Review - Protect your bare 3.5" hard drives
 
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See full article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/hdstorage/?you29 So you've got terabytes of storage, and external hard drives are taking up all your space? Clean it up with this solution which I've been using happily for years! Hard drive docks are quite simple and handy, you plug the dock into the computer and give it power, and just dock in a bare hard drive and away it goes. I have two docks, one usb 3, and one that is in a 5.25" bay in my tower, that way i can do easy transfers between drives. When not in use, i pop the drives into these cases. The cases are very basic, the design lends itself to storing them on top of each other, they won't slide around. I prefer however to store them side by side, which is a minor annoyance because of the same groves that try to keep the cases from sliding, but no biggie. The only other thing of note is that these just have a little bit of foam in the lid, which yes provides a little cushion, i think however it shouldn't be expected to handle being tossed around, that bit of foam seems to be primarily for keeping the drive snug and not moving.
Views: 4377 Darren Levine
Ultra Portable Light Stands - Fits in a camera bag, goes to 80inches
 
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See full article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/litelightstands/?you26 Sometimes you need C stands, sometimes you need beefy light stands, but sometimes you just need a stand to hold a little LED light. That's what these are great for. The pack up short enough to fit into carryon bags, and still reach high enough to get a hair light over the shoulder of a sit down interview. If at all possible, i bring these stands instead of my larger ones. Be careful to not overdose them with something that's outside of its capacity. i've used 650 fresnels and 2 bank CFL fixtures on them, but i wouldn't trust anything larger or heaver than such items. A mistake i see many people make with any light stand, is the extension of the legs, they are NOT supposed to be pointed all the way down. Stand's legs should be extended so that the feet are spread as far out from the center as possible to create the widest, most stable base. In the case of these stands, you can raise it up a few inches more than that, but no more if you wish to stay safe, which you should. This particular unit seems very close to the manfrotto version, both feel plenty solidly built, nearly all metal, but not overly heavy. The top can accept most lights with a socket or 1/4".
Views: 12056 Darren Levine
$18 7" articulating/Israeli arm lcd/camera mount
 
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See full article & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/kamerar7arm/?you39 This arm is likely the exact same as several others that look visually identical, yet another case of a single chinese factory rebranding for several brands. But no matter which brand you get it from, a badge won't change its performance. It's a very simple device which lets you relocate any of your 1/4" or shoe accessories so that they don't have to be right up against the camera. It allows you to have a more customized rig with improved personal ergonomics. 7" doesn't seem like all that much, but i tend to use this one much more than the 11" version. But on to the details... It's made of practically all metal, except for the release knob, which looks and feels like nice thick plastic. It feels very solid and strong, i don't have a feeling it will fail in its job. The single release knob controls all of the joints, they all lock or unlock together, nice and simple. The one little thing I made an adjustment to, is I added some rubber washers to the shoe and shoe adapter, becase i found that for my particular rigs/uses, I needed to tighten it a bit too much to ensure that those parts wouldn't slip, and tightening that much makes for a bit of an annoyance for removal. Adding some simple rubber washers helps make sure things stay in place with less tightening. Being that it's a very inexpensive item, it's a no brainer to have one or two around for when you might need them, better to have it and not need it, etc...!
Views: 2760 Darren Levine
Review: IMORDEN 6.5ft Mini Carbon Fiber Jib Arm
 
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View it on amazon: http://amzn.to/1Qd6mXo
Views: 2229 Darren Levine
$14 XCSOURCE 20pc step ring set, Reviewed
 
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View the full article with buy link: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/xcsteprings/?you
Views: 1077 Darren Levine
$200 Review of Cavision rig with shoulder pad, handgrips, rods & camera plate (C100)
 
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See full info & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/cavisrig/?you21 At just under $200, yes there are cheaper rigs, but Cavision has been good about putting out mostly good products, so they're always worth a look. The sole reason i bought this rig was because of the camera plate, it's the lowest form factor and simplest/cleanest i could find, that's what i wanted and could not find elsewhere. So let's start with that. As clean and simple as the camera plate is, the way it tightens on the rods is just not satisfactory. Part of that is its fault, the other part likely the not entirely even diameter'ed rods i have. Either way, the issue is that you can't just turn a knob until it's tight, there's a short lever which is the sole means. it has maybe 90 degrees of travel, and that's it. You can adjust it for sure, but it isn't foolproof. I did finally get it to usable, but it just plain needs better design. The other issue which happens if your camera has a large base, like many video cameras do, is that the screw holding in the tightening lever sticks out above, and i filed it down because otherwise it just doesn't work with numerous cameras and quick release plates. Those issues aside, i did get what i want, a low profile, simple camera plate. There are better out there, but not that i've seen at this price. There's also an alignment screw, which i have mixed feeling about. they could have just put a spring loaded pin as would be traditional. Making it wider and screw based gives you the flexibility to adjust it, swap it out with a bolt if your rig allows. But on the other hand, since the top is tapered, you need to set it to just the right height so it doesn't give any play. How about the rods? pretty basic, i ditched them for my own rods. The shoulder pad, which doesn't have any padding, is also a bit of a give and take. On one hand, i love how many configurations you can set it to. On the other hand, if you want to say, switch which side of the rods it sits on, you have to unscrew several tiny screws to move the mount grips to the other side. Not a huge deal, unless you like to make frequent major rig modifications on the fly. Other than that, you can also get some attachments to add counterweights or battery packs to the rear, nice for improving the balance. And i like now you can sit camera below shoulder height, a preference of mine. Finally, the handgrips. Basic set really, the only thing you can do besides move them forward or backward on the rods, is adjust their angle. Can't make them longer, wider, nothing. The faux wood grain plastic feels as good as plastic can. Are there other options out there? Yep. How does this one stack up? Probably a great fit for those with certain preferences, probably a terrible fit for those without those preferences.
Views: 2596 Darren Levine
$299 Tascam 70D Review: A 4 track XLR mixer/recorder with lots of value
 
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View full article at http://mediahalo.com/articles/tascam70d/?you Overall this is a great unit for runaround/DSLR shooters who want/need higher quality sound/xlr/phantom/4 tracks.
Views: 23069 Darren Levine
$50 SDI-HDMI converter test & review - Filmmaking tutorial
 
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View it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tMx9FT Overall i call this a win, especially considering the price, if you have an SDI only camera such as the BMC, and/or an HDMI only monitor, This will be a very inexpensive solution to that problem. That is of course if your monitor doesn't require HDCP! As for the lag/latency, it IS there, but it's also very minimal and i consider it perfectly fine, but be sure to watch the full video to see a detailed visual of just how much there is. Hdmi is now one of the most widely available connections around, it comes in various sizes, can handle a variety of formats, and comes on items both consumer and professional, expensive and cheap. But what if your camera doesn't have it? What if you only have SDI? Let's be clear, SDI is the better connection, it's a pro grade connection that's secure and robust, whilst HDMI decidedly isn't. Both have their uses, and sometimes you need to cross between the two. My original EX1 had only SDI out, and now my Blackmagic 4k is in the same boat. So what is a fella to do? Well, there are quite a few options, one of the neatest ones is the atomos connect, it sits right between your battery and the battery mount, which is brilliant. But what if your budget is particularly tight? No worries, theres sub $100 unit such as the one i have here. So the main question is: Does it work? Yes. OK, i'll expand: The unit is about the size of a pack of cards, so it's pretty small, it has all the connections on one side, which i like. It takes 5v, meaning it can be powered by the vast amount of usb cell phone backup chargers. The biggest question though is its compatibility. On my ex1, it worked just fine on some output settings, but not all, and on the original blackmagic cameras, i heard of incompatibilities as well. I just tried it on my blackmagic 4k at 23.976 with a computer monitor and it works just fine. But others have reported mixed results depending on interlaced vs progressive outputs, various framerates, and what specific monitor they are trying to use. Sounds quite iffy, i agree. But then i remind myself it was only $50, and i bought it knowing that it may not work. Thus far though, it has worked with most of the setups i've tried it with. If you can get your hands on one to try out first, then do so. If not, post on the forums and see if anyone has tried it how you intend to use it.
Views: 54421 Darren Levine
Video Lights: Color/Kelvin, CRI, Bulb Types - Filmmaking Tutorial
 
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Want more tutorials like this? http://mediahalo.com/articles/?you40 Find lights to buy on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&field-keywords=video%20lights&linkCode=ur2&tag=yviewnow-20&url=search-alias%3Delectronics The first thing to know, is that lights come in different colors known as temperatures, or kelvin, and for our purposes the range we mostly focus on is 2500-6500, the lower the number, the more warm the light, the higher the number, the more white and blue the light. lower is usually used for indoors, higher for outdoors, you can compare 2800 to a candle or incandescent bulb, and 6500 as the sun. The next most important thing, and pay real close attention to this, is that not all lights are made the same, one type of light can produce a different quality than another. meaning, you can have two lights of the same kelvin, and they can produce totally different images, and this is because they can have a different color rendering index score, CRI. CRI is basically a benchmark of the quality of light as compared to a pure source such as the sun, which of course is rated highest at 100. and this rating is a key reason why you can't just buy any old bulb for your film, think of it as putting a plastic lens on a really expensive camera. But even if you're on a budget you can get high CRI bulbs, the ideal is the 90-100 range, as low as 80 is kinda passable, but shoot for higher. if the CRI rating isn't posted, then you probably shouldn't buy it, unless it's based on these basic principles of types of light that we'll go over now Regular incandescent bulbs, are about 100 cri and are naturally a lower warm kelvin, but that brings up another point, you can buy daylight high kelvin incandescent bulbs, but here's the trick, they are coloring the glass to change the color of the light, and you don't know the quality of that color alteration, and chances are it's going to be a poorer CRI because of it, so only get standard incandescent, then use your proper color gels to change it if needed. on this list incandescent bulbs produce the most heat and use the most energy Halogen has a high rating of about 95 and is naturally warm in the area of 2800 kelvin. halogen has been a workhorse for us for years and it's only two caveats are it's heat output and energy consumption which are to say better than incandescent, but not by leaps and bounds, but it still produces a brilliant hard light with a high CRI and is available in much higher wattages than incandescent. Then we have CFLs, compact florescent lamp. they can be long, spiraly, a buncha different shapes, but what counts is the quality. CFLs can have a fairly good cri, but many have a very poor CRI, there is a reason some cost more than others, so don't skimp for the bottom of the barrel. other than that, CFLs put off much less heat and consume alot less energy than halogens, but at the tradeoff that they are a softer light than halogen, so they can't throw light quite as far. also they're output is proportional to their size, so more power means a much bigger bulb. The other trick is that CFLs kelvin ratings are dependent on the phosphors they use, so it can be 2800, 3300, 5500, really whatever they want to color it. that's why you need to be extra careful about CRI ratings with CFLs, as it can vary greatly LEDs The most efficient and produce the least amount of heat. but with a lot of considerations. you can't just plug a single led in, so you're likely have to buy it in some kind of fixture or bank. LEDs can have a horrible cri, and the ones with high CRI are usually expensive. they are also a harder light than CFLs, but unlike halogen which emits a hard light in all directions, the led light is projected in a specific pattern, which is tougher to manipulate. so with LEDs, you will likely have to spend a bit extra to get a quality fixture. As we progress the newer types of light will increase in quality and reduce in price, just be sure to keep these principles in mind when buying
Views: 22191 Darren Levine
How focus distance affects DOF - Filmmaking Tutorial
 
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See full article & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/focusdistance/?you36 My Amazon Filmmaking recommended buy list: http://www.amazon.com/registry/wishlist/1ZETVDLH7JMLA/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&filter=all&layout=standard&linkCode=ur2&reveal=unpurchased&sort=priority&tag=yviewnow-20&x=10&y=9 The main thing to understand about the focal distance is that as you focus closer to the camera, that is, if your subject is closer to the camera, the shallower, the narrorwer the depth of field will be. As you focus farther from the camera, moving your subject away from the camera, the larger, or greater the DOF will be. Another good thing to know, is that every lens has a point at which if you focus far enough away, the end of the dof drops off into infinity, we call this the hyperfocal distance. This means that if you have an app or book to show where the hyperfocal distance starts for your given lens and settings, you won't need to set your lens to infinity to get that landscape shot.
Views: 1421 Darren Levine
Review of the Blackmagic 4K camera - A Girl, A Bird, & a 4K Camera
 
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Read the full write-up here: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/bmc4k/?you15 You can also see other people's samples and add yourself to the user list of this camera: http://www.mediahalo.com/equipment/cameras/bmc4k/?you15 It's early in the game for the Blackmagic design 4K camera, the long overdue camera has ever increasing competition such as the GH4 and the Sony cameras which seem to pop out of every nook and cranny. Despite that, the Blackmagic 4K camera still has what no one else does, namely: Global shutter, prores, RAW(eventually), SSDs, price. This review will get longer and more detailed as i log more hours with the camera. Preface for expectations If there is one thing i would insist people know before even thinking about this camera: It's that Blackmagic Design, is NOT a camera company. If you can process and understand that, and curb your typical camera expectations, then you'll see this camera for what it is. What i've come to calling it, is the most beautiful pain in the ass you can buy. Why is that? Again, because blackmagic is not a camera company. See, camera companies have had years and boatloads of money to research, design, optimize, etc... in all the areas of making a camera. What shape should it be, how will it be held, how is it powered, etc...Blackmagic doesn't have this, what they do have, is an expertise in hardware and software for just about everything but cameras. This is their strong point, because the sensor was the only thing that they needed to have brought in (supposedly). Everything else they could do in house. But simply looking at their average product, you see mostly boxes, very simple designs because those types of products don't typically need anything fancier. But with cameras, things are totally different, because humans will be handling them in many different ways. It's completely understandable that they chose to keep it simple and just make a box, again, because it's not within their repertoire and they had to keep costs down somewhere. This is why we have to keep in mind what we're looking at, because it's unconventional in a number of ways. If you're used to consumer/prosumer end stuff, this will be very different for you in many ways. If you're used to higher end items such as RED which require bits and pieces, then this will still be a bit different, but not entirely unfamiliar. This camera has a good number of negative sides, but the fact remains that it puts out an image that far exceeds its price tag, and that's what were here for. So let's dive in and see how we can work with it. Overview of the goods: -4K - OK you can nitpick that 3840 isn't 4000, regardless, it's very sharp and very detailed -s35/Aps-C sized sensor - solves the issue of odd crop factor over the original BMC -Global Shutter - unheard of! most of even the big boys don't have this yet. No more skew/jello -Prores & RAW(not yet) - You get every little 'bit' of goodness -VERY well controlled Moire & Aliasing! -Takes SSDs - makes perfect sense over sd/cf cards, just be sure to buy an approved one -Dead simple interface - a monkey can do it! -Quick startup and powerdown -The focus peaking is excellent, one of the best i've tried. -$2995. Again, $2995. No seriously, you need to let that sink in before you nitpick. -Takes 11-30volts - More of a consolation prize for the lack of a battery system, but it can take a wide range of 3rd party systems. And the not so goods: -ISO - Maxes at 800, but it's better at 400. underexposing is actually quite good... -Quality control still an issue, people have varying luck -Highlight issues - Supposedly fixed in prior cameras, so whats the deal? -Lacks basic camera operations - No time remaining indicator, no shot delete, no audio meters, etc... -30fps max - if you like slow motion, look elsewhere -The monitor isn't bad, but it isn't very good - It's reflective, and not very high resolution -EOS-M mount would have been perfect... -Internal battery life is short, but stretchable if you really need it. External batteries are widely available but not very small or easily attached. Read the rest at http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/bmc4k/?you15
Views: 6976 Darren Levine
REVIEWED: Kamerar VF4+, A $150 LCD viewfinder with great features and build quality
 
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Read full article at http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/kamerarvf4plus/?you
Views: 1341 Darren Levine
$3 Rain sleeve for your DSLR or small video camera - Filmmaking Review (Shot on C100)
 
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See full article & Buy Links at: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/rainsleeve/?you13 OK, i already know what you're saying, why buy what i can make out of a shopping bag? Easy: This is already stoopid cheap, and it works better, and won't make you look like an amateur. How many times have you been caught in the rain? If the answer is even 1, you should buy a pack of these. I've been there, salvaging a grocery bag to cover my camera. Hey it works! But it's certainly not ideal. Enter the rain sleeve. It's about as basic as you can get, it's roughly shaped like an DSLR with a hand and arm attached to it. add to that a premade hole to poke your viewfinder through and a drawstring for the lens and that's it. The shape: It's not for large cameras, i haven't tried it with a battery grip attached but i think that would be a stretch. I haven't tried getting my C100 into it because i'm quite sure it won't fit. DSLRs and small video cameras only. The arm sleeve makes it easy to get a real grip on the camera, but you might find it's perfectly easy enough to access the camears buttons through the thin plastic. Dials/rotations maybe not so much. The drawstring Pretty much useless as it's got nothing to really grip the end of the lens with. Solution? A little piece of gaffers tape to the hood of the lens, perfecto! If you're feeling frisky, put a full circle of gaff tape around it. The plastic Is probably just the right thickness. It wont fend off a sharp object, but handles some grab and pullin' just fine. It's thin enough to give you tactile feel through it. How does it compare to a grocery bag? much thicker. Grocery bags are thin as all hell, but these sleeves are a decent amount thicker and while they don't scream high end rocket science, they do give you a sense of security for your camera in wet weather.
Views: 2652 Darren Levine
Don't buy a house with an in ground oil tank
 
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https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/32263.html
Views: 989 Darren Levine
$20 Matte Box / SunShade Review DLSR Filmmaking
 
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See full article & Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/rjss/?you37 The RJ Matte box technically isn't bad, because it's exactly what you should expect for under $40, and what you get for that price isn't available for even close to that amount anywhere else. So despite plenty of issues i have it, i consider it a useful purchase i know i'll have work for it. Consider it a very cheap alternative to using an external flag, tape, duvatine, or whatever else you tend to use to get rid of a stray bit of light getting into your lens When this first came out, there was some animosity towards it, because of its lack of features, and perhaps overly simple looking design. It was coined by some: "the fischer price, matte box" Well, when i got mine in the mail, i had a completely different opinion: There is nothing else in this price range that does what this little guy can do. I'm all about perspective, and the first one with this product is that it technically isn't a matte box at all, because it lacks the ability to use square filters. So in essence, it's simply a sun shade, the sole purpose being to block out stray light to prevent flares. Does it do that job? Yes, it does! Does it look as cool as regular matte boxes? No. So let's go into detail... It has height adjust-ability, which for this price is rather incredible. It's method for doing that isn't all that complicated, but it works all the same, the main limitation for how it adjusts, is that if you have it set very low, you may have to raise it up for it to clear your tripod when taking it off of any slide plate type tripods. Next up is the hole size, it's small, well not really but you won't fit many if any true cine lenses in it. It was definitely built for photo lenses, specifically, ones with a 77mm front thread or smaller. What i've done is made the hole bigger to accommodate 82mm size lenses, which is just about the largest i ever need to expect. It is after all just thick plastic and a sharp blade or hole saw will do the job. Then there are the flags, you get all but a bottom flag(never cared for those anyways) and this is where i deduct a number of points: They are attached by simple plastic claws onto plastic tube sort of things. Yes it works, but it's by no means at all wind proof, and every time you put it on or take it off, it feels like the little claw hands might want to snap. This isn't much of an issue for the side flags, as there's no reason to ever take them off, they fold flat for storage. But that brings me to my next deduction: the top flag doesn't fold flat. Seems they could have just made it mount a little farther forward and give it the ability to do so, but they didn't... And my next point is... well, there's really nothing else to mention about it. That's it really. But the point i want to leave on is this: issues aside, it DOES block light, and does it better than gaff taping your lens, and looks better too. It's pretty small, it's very light, it doesn't get in the way, and costs pitifully little for what it is. The rail block alone is something other manufacturers charge more for, so figure you're getting a rail block, with a sunshade attachment as a bonus. It's got a place in my camera bag, And since i originally made this review, it's gone down in price even more, as little as $30! that's just insane, and i do recommend you pick one up since it's such a small investment.
Views: 10670 Darren Levine
Sony AX100 Review - Is this 4K camera just for consumers? Prosumer features may suggest otherwise.
 
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Check it out on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2uKjmwZ 4K is all the rage these days, and it will be a bit before the pricepoint for it comes down to typical consumer levels. This is what i find somewhat peculiar about the ax100, it seems distinctly geared towards the consumer market, yet it boasts a $2000 price tag, not very consumer-like for a camcorder. It seems to make up for this though, by including some more pro-oriented features such as full manual control, 3 ND filters, and extras such as exposure zebras and focus peaking. So who is this camera really for? If you're a high end consumer, it certainly fits the bill, but what about filmmakers, music video makers, and others who might want to use this camera in production level situations?
Views: 119160 Darren Levine
D-Tech: Amazon FireTV 2017 Review. What's new / vs the rest
 
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Want to buy one?: http://amzn.to/2iEvVsQ The 2017 FireTV is a little step forward for the FireTV line, if you already own a FireTV or other streaming device, there are but a few reasons you may wish to upgrade. What’s new: -HDR support -60fps in 4K -Dolby Atmos audio support And that’s about it for notable improvements. You get 2gb of memory and 8gb of storage, and now there’s an optional ethernet adapter. Connectivity Well, none other than wifi and the optional ethernet. Looks the same, feels the same In testing out the box, it really isn’t any different from the other models, of the new features i was able to test out the 4K functionality, but i otherwise do not have HDR or Atmos capability. That’s key: these new features will only work if you have the content and/or the equipment that supports it. No 4K TV? No 4k for you. Non-HDR content? It doesn’t magically make it HDR. No Atmos? You get the idea. Vs the stick and the set top FireTV? This sits somewhere in the middle. If you’re a “basic” user who doesn’t have a 4k tv and mostly uses netflix and a few other apps, the stick will likely be more than enough for you. If you specifically want 4k, HDR, and/or Atmos, then the 2017 model will be the one to get. If you desire connectivity, such as microsd slot, usb port, and built in ethernet, then the clear choice is the set top box. Vs Roku and AppleTV This is all debatable, but Roku is at the bottom for me, and apple is about the same as firetv overall but of course has its own app store and also costs more than the FireTV. If you use apple devices which can interface with an AppleTV, that would be a reason to go Apple, much like if you already subscribe to Amazon Prime, that’s a strong reason to go with a FireTV Mounting: Safe? The box is much smaller than i imagined, all the photos of the device make it seem bigger than reality, it’s about the size as a box of altoids, and while i don’t see an issue with it hanging off the HDMI port, i’ll likely secure it with mounting tape. Long story short: i still think that the Stick is the best bang for your buck and suits most people’s needs perfectly fine, but “power” users or folks who don’t care about an extra ~$20-50 should just go for the 2017 or set top models.
Views: 274 Darren Levine
5 Camera Gear bits under $10 bucks
 
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Check these items out on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sevIkA Prices do fluctuate so apologies is something jumps over the sacred $10 mark
Views: 552 Darren Levine
What you need besides the camera: Recommended tools for Videographers & Filmmakers
 
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Read the full write-up with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/camacc/?you16 Shopping lists: gunstock stabilizer: http://amazon.com/dp/B005MRXPE4/?tag=fviewnow-20 light stand: http://amazon.com/dp/B004C9O84Y/?tag=fviewnow-20 flash grip stabilizer http://amazon.com/dp/B005Z4ROIW/?tag=fviewnow-20 7" arm http://amazon.com/dp/B008I6N9ZQ/?tag=fviewnow-20 sunshade/matte box http://amazon.com/dp/B0069WHUO2/?tag=fviewnow-20
Views: 1929 Darren Levine
Review of Wasabi power Non-OEM batteries for your camera.
 
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Read the full article with Buy Links at: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/wasabi/?you6 When OEM batteries don't tickle your fancy, one of the options is to buy a third party, or non-oem variant. Trouble is, they vary greatly in quality. So here, we'll take a look into Wasabi power, just one of the many manufacturers, and see if they're a worthwhile alternative to OEM batteries.
Views: 7294 Darren Levine
$25 Kamerar Pico plate Review: Little 15mm mounting clamps for your camera & Accessories.
 
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Read the full write-up with buy links: http://mediahalo.com/articles/picokamerar/?you
Views: 811 Darren Levine
$15 Bracket for swiveling/tilting/adding an umbrella to your small lights/flash
 
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Read the full write-up with buy links at http://mediahalo.com/articles/cowboyflashmount/?vim
Views: 547 Darren Levine
Legends of Light: Noise tests of a Canon C100, 5D mark 2, & Sony EX1
 
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Full article with Buy Links: http://www.mediahalo.com/articles/lolight/?you22 Over the years we've gotten spoiled by all the advancing abilities of cameras these days. One of those abilities is ever increasing sensitivity to light, meaning higher and higher usable ISO ranges. In this comparison, we'll take a look at 3 cameras which came along at 3 different stages of advancement in sensor & processing technology. Up first we have the Sony Ex1, the very first professional full HD camera with a sensor larger than a 1/3" for under 10 grand. a big leap forward in sensitivity and IQ. I distinctly recall being overly pleased with how little light it needed to get the job done. It helped that it was paired with a lens which held F1.9 throughout its zoom range. Then we had the DSLRs come around, and the 5D at the head. Again, a leap, and i would constantly look at how little light the 5D needed and thinking about how much less wattage i could use in lighting. Was it noisy at iso 3200? Heck yes, but impressively clean when looking at how just a few years back, anything over iso 800 on my canon 30d stills only camera would start to look a noisy mess. And then the Canon C100, or any of the canon C series cameras, or the Sony FS series, etc... It's a new level of light sensitivity, where i can say with a strait face that i like the iso 20,000 on the C100 more than i like the 5D at iso 3200. It's a bit unfair for the DSLRs really, especially the first generation of video dslrs, because they are photo cameras that happen to shoot video, not the other way around. You can only expect a piece of equipment to do what it was designed for, anything on top of that is icing, and icing can run thin (someone teach me metaphors, i clearly slept through english class) The results are not surprising, each generation is a leap, but to me the biggest leap is the C100, it's just mind boggling how good it looks with absurdly little light. I need to mention again that it doesn't mean that you don't need lights, because that would mean that you're being lazy and not designing your lighting. It allows you to use vastly less power. Or in certain situations it gives you the flexibility to get more DOF. At the time of this writing i just shot a reality pilot in which i was the only camera, and the producer basically having me whip the camera this way and that to catch 5 different people's reactions. I valued every extra bit of DOF i could get, and i was playing the hyperfocal game. i averaged iso 3200-6400, and F5.6-11. Yes i know, you don't like it unless it's so narrow a DOF that only a single blade of grass is in focus, but listen here, shallow DOF has its place, it's not a storytelling device and can serve zero purpose at all if used poorly. But i'll stop myself there before full rant mode kicks in.
Views: 11109 Darren Levine
Darren Reviews: Ruta Maya COFFEE Medium Roast
 
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The lowdown: It's super smooth, low acidity, NOT burnt, Not Bitter. Try it! http://amzn.to/2u1A67d
Views: 490 Darren Levine