Focus Shifter Light Weight Follow Focus for DSLR Lenses

Autofocus on most DSLR and mirrorless cameras while shooting video isn’t that great. It gets confused and sometimes tries to focus on things you dont want it to focus on. But manually focusing can be really tricky too. And what if you want to do a dramatic rack focus? Very difficult.

That’s where a follow focus comes in to play and makes this all quite simple. The problem with most follow focus products is that they’re quite expensive and they require you to rig up your camera with rods which makes your camera rig much heavier. The Focus Shifter aims to solve this problem at a reasonable price and by keeping things very lightweight.

Full disclosure: Engineerable gave me this follow focus free of charge for doing this review. They did not pay me further to do this review and did not specify what I was able to say or not say.

Special Pricing on Colorimeter for Monitor Calibration

Editing video or photos on your computer screen? Is that screen calibrated? You can save yourself a lot of grief with unexpected, baffling results by calibrating your screen. I use the X-Rite i1Display Pro which I believe cost somewhere around $250 or $300 USD when I bought it about 3 years ago. Today, you can pick it up for about $150 USD. Definitely a good investment.

Softbox for LED Panel Lights: Kamerar D-Fuse

For interview or talking head video shots, I like to soften my Aputure Light Storm LED Panels (LS1s) to ensure that the light looks as flattering as possible. But one of the problems is that to do that, I’ve been setting up an additional light stand in front of the light and mounting a shoot-through scrim. This works beautifully in terms of softening the light but it is a bulky setup.

Kamerar just released a new series of softboxes made specifically for LED panel lights called their D-Fuse line. In this episode we take a quick look at the D-Fuse and compare its results with a shoot-through umbrella and plain old diffusion paper.

They have a version with an opening for 12"x12" panels and another with a 9.25"x9.25" opening for smaller panels (those with 500-ish LEDs). The opening can be a little larger than your LED panel and still work well. They'll also be releasing a grid attachment for the softbox that will help to control where the light spills making a soft, but contrasty look which is often used in photography. Looking forward to trying that out in the next few weeks.

Full disclosure: Kamerar gave me this softbox free of charge. They did not pay me further to do this review and did not specify what I was able to say or not say.

Sound for Video Session: Practical Timecode 13 July 2016

In this session we ran through a demo of how timecode works at a practical level. I'm not suggesting that we all need to drop $500 USD on a Tentacle Sync Timecode kit for our no-budget passion projects. But some day when you're the sound guy on a production with a budget and they are willing to pay for timecode, you'll look like a sound ninja because you'll know exactly how to do it.

Get out and make some great recordings!

Soften Your Video Light: Karamy Adapter and Umbrella

For interview or talking head video shots, I like to soften my Aputure Light Storm LED Panels (LS1s) to ensure that the light looks as flattering as possible. But one of the problems is that to do that, I’ve been setting up an additional light stand in front of the light and mounting a shoot-through scrim. This works beautifully in terms of softening the light but it is a bulky setup.

Karamy contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing any of their products. I saw that they had an umbrella adapter which would potentially solve this problem for me: Now I can mount an umbrella in front of my LED panels without the need for an additional stand!

In addition, softening light with a large 46” umbrella looks much nicer in most cases than just clipping some diffusion paper on the barn doors of your light. The effect is much softer and more flattering in most cases with the umbrella.

Full disclosure: Karamy gave me this adapter and umbrella free of charge. They did not pay me further to do this review and did not specify what I was able to say or not say.

Sound for Video Session: Syncing Sound and Timecode

This week we did a high-level overview of syncing audio to video and timecode. I've recently learned some basic lessons since jumping in to timecode. You can hopefully learn from my mistakes and bad assumptions. :)

Sync Tutorials:

Premiere Pro
Final Cut Pro X

Tentacle Sync Demonstration

The general idea with timecode is that it will simplify the process of syncing sound to video by recording precise clock information to both the camera and sound recorder. Then in post, your video editing app (NLE - non-linear editor) can sync each audio clip to its corresponding video clip very quickly and easily. That's an oversimplification, of course, but we talk through a few of the practical issues in this episode just in case your find yourself in the sound recordist role on a project which requires timecode some day.

 

LED COLOR RENDERING DATABASE OF 2016

Indie Cinema Academy has posted an interesting set of color quality measurements for a bunch of LED lights available on the market. Measurements of CRI, TLCI, and others were made with an Asensetek Lighting Passport Color Spectrometer. I was pleased to see that the Aputure Light Storms did well overall, particularly the new COB 120t.

If you're in the market for LED lighting, this list is worth a look because you'll get a good idea of how well each light renders the visible spectrum of color and how natural your talent and set will appear in video.

Yi HD Action Camera Review

I have wanted an action cam for a long time, not because I’m an action sports enthusiast, but for cases where I need to mount a camera in a very tight spot or shoot some very wide angle behind-the-scenes footage. GoPros have been around for a long time, but my budget has always been allocated to other higher priority gear. So when the the $100 Yi Action Camera was sent to me for review, I was curious to see how well it would work for my type of shooting. Let’s have a look!

Yi also has a 4K action camera coming in the next couple of weeks which I'll be interested to review. It comes in at $250 USD and has an LCD screen.