Zhiyun Crane 3-axis Motorized Gimbal Setup and Tips

I’ve talked to several people who have been frustrated with various 3-axis motorized gimbals for their cameras. The gimbals promise smooth shots when you’re walking or hand-holding your mirrorless camera or DSLR but often people find them difficult to use. In this episode, we show you how to setup the Zhiyun Tech Crane, a gimbal which can support cameras up to 1800 grams in weight. Then we cover a few tips for getting the smoothest shots possible. Once you get this down with a little practice, you can avoid all that frustration and get the most out of your gimbal!

Sound for Video Session: Timecode Demonstration

First, for those I haven't somehow managed to tell yet, I have a couple of courses on sound for video - one on recording and one on post processing. Please have a look at them over at School.LearnLightAndSound.com.

In this week's session, we demonstrate how free-run timecode works. For those not familiar with timecode, this allows you to more efficiently sync your separately recorded video and sound clips before editing your video. It works by syncing up your camera(s) and audio recorder with the help of timecode generator clocks.

In this demonstration, we show how to do this with a Tentacle Sync, a MozeGear TIG Q28, and a Sound Devices 633 recorder. If your recorder does not have a timecode generator built-in, you can still do this by connecting another timecode generator (like the Tentacle or MozeGear) to your recorder.

Zoom F4 Audio Recorder Final Review

Last year Zoom took their first step into more professional filmmaker field recorders with the Zoom F8. And now they have just released a younger sibling, the Zoom F4. The F4, at the time of release, sells for $650 USD, has 4 microphone/line inputs, and records 8 tracks simultaneously. The preamplifiers are impressive in my tests and there’s a lot more to cover so grab your favorite beverage and let’s have a look at the Zoom F4 in this wrap-up review!

Summary: The Zoom F4 is the best audio recorder I have used in the $650 USD price range.

DaVinci Resolve Training from Alex Jordan: Special Pricing

Last year I had a talk with a colorist by the name of Alex Jordan. The way I found out about him was from a short YouTube piece he put together on color correction in Resolve. What amazed me by that video was that he was able to explain a rather complex topic in just a couple of minutes. He's a natural when it comes to teaching.

So I went to his website, FilmSimplified.com, where he has a series of color grading and editing courses as well as several LUT packs. I took one of the free courses on getting started with DaVinci Resolve and was pleased to find that the entire course was very useful and very concise, just like the episode on YouTube.

So we had this discussion and I've looked to him as a friend and mentor in the world of color since then. His approach is very practical and the things he discusses always useful.

So if you'd like to learn more about color grading, I'd encourage you to have a look at FilmSimplified.com. Try one of his free courses and see if you learn something useful. He won't waste your time.

Also, if you're interested in buying any of his courses, he's having a black Friday special pricing event where he's offering his full DaVinci Resolve color grading course as well as courses on editing in Resolve, a "practice" course where he actually shows you how to correct and grade several clips, and a lighting course all for $99 USD. That's a good investment.

He also kindly offered to provide LearnLightAndSound a portion of the proceeds of that special pricing so that we can continue to post useful tutorials (full disclosure). You won't spend any more using these links than if you just went to his site on your own.

Even if you don't have the budget for the black Friday bundle, definitely check out his free introductory course on DaVinci Resolve 12.5.


Versatile Video Light: Aputure Light Storm COB 120d Daylight LED Light

In this episode, we take a look at the Aputure Light Storm COB 120d, an incredibly versatile daylight balanced LED light for video and film. Aputure has a history of finding a very nice balance between affordable pricing and quality products. The COB 120d is a perfect example of that. This is a single LED light with a Bowens S mount. This means that with some additional accessories attached to the mount, the light can be a soft light (with a softbox, scrim, or bounce board), a hard light (with a fresnel and/or barn doors attachment), or a flood light with the included reflector. Color quality is a high priority for me because I don’t have time to invest in a lot of post color correction. Fortunately, the COB 120d delivers on that front as well in our color chart tests compared to tungsten lighting (the best color rendering light source second only to the sun).

Aputure plans to begin shipping the Light Storm COB 120d in the first part of 2017

Sound for Video Session: Reduce Reverb, Lavalier Clothing Noise, Record Live Acoustic Bands

In this week's episode, we cover questions on these topics and more:

- How to reduce reverb in rooms with lots of hard surfaces
- Are there any special techniques for reducing clothing noise when hiding a lavalier mic under clothes
- Thoughts on recording live acoustic music groups

Here are links to a few videos we mentioned:

Using sound blankets to reduce reverb

Audio Recorders


Zoom F4 Limiters and Timecode Accuracy

Last week we did an overview of the new Zoom F4 audio field recorder. This is an impressive prosumer audio recorder designed for independent and enthusiast filmmakers with 4 microphone inputs and 8 track recorder.

This week, we look a little more in depth at the F4’s limiters and timecode accuracy. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all that means, we’ll run through what they are and how they can help you make better sounding recordings with less effort.

Here's what I hope you'll take away from this: The Zoom F4 is a really impressive, reasonably priced recorder. While it's limiters are digital, it doesn't seem to need limiters in very many situations because it seems, subjectively, to have an incredible amount of dynamic range for a recorder in this price range. Also, the timecode clock seems really, really solid and accurate. Wow. Good show, Zoom!

Aputure VS-2 FineHD: Now Takes 4K

Earlier this year when we reviewed the Aputure VS-2 FineHD HDMI monitor, one of the downsides we found was that the monitor could only accept up to an HD signal from your camera.

The trick with that is that some of the 4K cameras like the Sony A6300 and A6500 evidently could not down-sample to HD on their HDMI output port and record to 4k internally at the same time. So this monitor just was not a good fit for those cameras.

The Panasonic GH4 could down-sample to HD and record 4K internally but autofocus performance slows when doing this. Not a deal-breaker for everyone, but not ideal.

But now, with the new, free firmware available as of this week, the VS-2 FineHD can now take a UHD (3840x2160 up to 30p) signal. Of course it still only displays it as HD, but this solves a big problem for those shooting 4K cameras. Thanks Aputure!

We'd love to see the same thing for the new VS-5 monitor which I'm in the process of reviewing!

Slate (Clapper Board) for Sound and Editing

Caleb Pike over at DSLR Video Shooter posted a nice piece on how he uses a slate for video production. Some great ideas on how it can help not only with audio sync, but also for editing in general.

And the crazy guys at RocketJump Film school have a more general piece on slating that's worth a watch as well: