Camera Gear

5.7" Flippable HDMI Monitor: AndyCine A6 Review

When shooting video, I find it much easier to compose great shots, hit focus, and correctly expose when I have a monitor a little larger than most cameras with some tools to help. The AndyCine 5.7” monitor is a budget monitor with a unique cold/hotshoe mount which allows you to flip it to the front of the camera when shooting selfie/vlog style. What’s more, is that it can also power several Panasonic and Sony mirrorless cameras with an add-on dummy battery so you can use larger capacity Sony NP-F style batteries for longer battery life.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

AndyCine A6 5.7” Flippable HDMI Monitor

Amazon US Amazon UK  Amazon DE Amazon FR  Amazon IT Amazon ES  Amazon CA

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Panasonic GH Series Cameras

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Sony a6xxx Series Cameras

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Sony a7III, a7RIII, and A9 Series Cameras

AndyCine Dummy Battery for Canon DSLR 5D, 6D, 7D, and 80D Series Cameras

Sony NP-F Style Batteries to power the A6 and your camera

NP-F Battery Charger

Sennheiser MKH8050 Boom Microphone - this is the microphone I used

Aputure COB 120t - This is the light I used as a key in the talking head clips

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - Used to soften the key light

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - Used for the “rim/hair” light

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for some of the product shots

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer

Zhiyun-Tech released their latest generation gimbal for smartphones - the Smooth 4. The headline feature on this new stabilizer is a big, nicely damped zoom/focus knob that allows you to zoom and focus your phone’s camera without touching the phone! There are several other really nice features including manual exposure mode, standby mode, motion timelapse, and the kit comes with a tripod. I have to confess that the Smooth 4 makes shooting video with my phone a lot of fun!

All of the gimbal shots in this video were shot with the iPhone 7+.

Check to see if your phone is supported at Zhiyun's site under downloads.

Links to gear discussed and used to shoot this episode:

Zhiyun Smooth 4 Stabilizer Gimbal for Smartphones

Aputure COB 120d - This is one of my main workhorse lights. Not a week passes where I don’t use it for at least one shoot

Aputure COB 120t - When I don’t have to match existing light, I prefer to use this as my key light. Really nice, warm skin tones

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - When I need a nice, soft light on the face of the talent in an interview or talking head video, this goes on the COB120 key light

Lupo DayLED Fresnel Light with Barn Doors - These are useful when I need hard light as well. I don’t have soft boxes for them so they’re not quite as versatile as the Aputure COBs, but really great lights with a super durable build. 650, 1000, & 2000 in daylight, tungsten, or bi-color

Blackmagic design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - used for the talking head shots in this episode

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount) - this lens is almost always on my Ursa Mini Pro

Panasonic GH5 - Used for some of the product shots

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5 most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are Amazon.com or B&H Photo affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Which Gear Should We Review - NAB 2018

Which gear should we review next? At the 2018 National Association of Broadcaster’s Show, we saw some interesting new audio, lighting, and camera gear. Here’s a quick look at the highlights. Let us know which of these you’d like us to review!

This episode shot with the following gear:

Sennheiser MKH8050 Microphone

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder/Mixer

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - Used for the talking head clips

Sigma ART 24-70mm f/2.8 OS Lens (Canon EF Mount)

Panasonic GH5 - Used on the NAB show floor

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

ATOMOS Ninja V ProRes and Avid Recorder: NAB 2018

ATOMOS makes HDMI/SDI recorders with very nice monitoring capabilities along with focus and HDR exposure tools. Up until NAB 2018, they've made 7" and 19" monitors. But now they've announced their first 5" monitor/recorder with the capabilities of their Inferno line of recorders (top of the 7" lineup) - Focus, exposure, high frame rate, and HDR tools as well as ProRes and Avid DNxXX recording. This makes shooting and editing faster and with high bitrate and high quality codecs that playback smoothly so you don't have transcode.

Now why would you want to use a recorder like this? Here's why I use them:

Gear covered and used to shoot this episode:

ATOMOS Ninja V 4K HDMI HDR Recorder Monitor (coming Q3 2018)

RODE Reporter Microphone

RODE iXLR Adapter (Record a dynamic XLR microphone to iPhone or iPad)

Panasonic GH5 - My favorite, small camera for handheld use with a great image stabilizer

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA by Cary Judd, used with permission.

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

ProRes Raw

Today Apple announced a new version of their ProRes video codecs: ProRes Raw (and Raw HQ). The reason this is significant is that capturing raw footage on cinema cameras poses two main problems: 1) Massive, massive file sizes that can only be captured to the fastest cards and drives which are, of course, quite expensive and 2) Cannot generally be played back without first de-bayering or rendering in post (before you edit).

Of course there have been proxy workflows for a long time to get around this where the camera records raw plus a much lower quality proxy file at the same time. You do your edit with the proxy files and then once you've completed your edit, you swap out the proxies for the de-bayered raw files. It's a workable, but less than ideal workflow.

Since I bought my first ATOMOS recorder in about 2012, I've appreciated the benefits of working with a ProRes workflow (my Ninja II recorder took an HDMI feed from my DSLR and recorded a ProRes file to an SSD drive). This was a nice compromise solution because it captured slightly higher quality footage, but could still be edited without re-rendering the files. It wasn't raw, but it was pretty darn good in terms of quality.

Now, we can have the best of both worlds. And Apple also has a new update of Final Cut Pro X that plays back ProRes Raw footage in real time!

But then there's the problem of how to record ProRes Raw. This is where ATOMOS delivers. Their Sumo19 and Shogun Inferno can both record ProRes Raw with the new firmware update which will be released on Monday, April 9th, 2018.

Of course you'll also need a camera capable of sending a raw signal to the ATOMOS recorder. Out of the gate, the Sumo and Shogun Inferno will have support for the following cinema cameras:

  • Canon C300mkII, C500
  • Panasonic EVA1, Varicam LT
  • Sony FS5, FS7

I haven't shot a lot of raw simply because the workflow was too heavy for most of my work, with an occasion exception for "beauty shots" - e.g., an outdoor landscape with plenty of sky, deep shadows, and incredibly wide dynamic range. That may just change here really soon. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new workflow pans out.

Now what we need is an affordable playback device for HDR so we can use that Sumo as an HDR grading monitor (at least roughly decent HDR monitoring). AJA's monitoring converter box comes in at $2500 USD presently. I'm hoping for something in the sub $1000 range soon so I can put this Sumo to work in post.

See Apple's white paper on ProRes Raw here.

See see the details on ATOMOS's ProRes implementation on the Shogun Inferno and Sumo here

Panasonic GH5S - 2 New Audio Features

The Panasonic GH5S has two new audio features which make this camera a little easier to work with from an audio standpoint: Timecode input and line level inputs. What does this mean? First, with timecode, you can simplify the process of syncing your video clips to audio clips recorded with a separate audio recorder. This means you can get higher quality audio and still sync quickly and effortlessly in post. Second, you could instead use your audio recorder or mixer to capture sound and then from your mixer, send the audio to the GH5S at line level which also results in higher quality audio but in this case you don’t have to sync in post - it is already baked in to the video clip!

Let’s have a look at how well each of these new features work.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
Panasonic GH5S Camera

Panasonic XLR1 Microphone Adapter - so that you can use XLR based microphones with the GH5S

Sound Devices MixPre-10T Audio Recorder - we used the MixPre-10T as the mixer/preamp but all of the audio was recorded with the GH5S in this episode

Oktava mk-012 Microphone - great budget microphone for indoor dialogue recording

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - incredibly versatile lens that is on the GH5S most of the time

Lupo Superpanel LED Light Panel - Dual Color. Decided to try a harder light look just to see how it went. Not always my favorite look, but you never know unless you try!

Rosco 1/2 Soft Frost Diffusion gel - slightly diffuses the light, taped to the LED panel

Ambient Recording NanoLockit Timecode Generator with Wireless Sync

Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - only for the shots of the GH5S, everything else shot with the GH5S

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 OS ART Lens

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Ursa Mini Pro: Impressions After 6+ Months

After 6+ months of use on various projects, here are the impressions on the Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro cinema camera from two Ursa Mini Pro shooters: My brother Cary Judd and me. This is not a traditional in-depth review, but more of our overall impressions.

The wide shot of both of us was done with the Panasonic GH5 and the two single shots were shot on Ursa Mini Pro.

Find Cary Judd at The Wormhole Boise.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:

Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera (body only)

Ursa Viewfinder (we didn’t talk about this but I really like this viewfinder - clear, clean image with effective focus peaking, false color, and zoom buttons)

Ursa Mini Pro SSD Recorder (allows you to record to standard, affordable 2.5” SSD drives)

Anton Bauer 90Wh Battery (about 2 hours of life with viewfinder and SSD recorder)

95 Wh V-mount Battery (Same as above but with a different mounting mechanism for cameras)

Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 OS ART Lens (used on the single shot of Cary on my Ursa Mini Pro)

Panasonic GH5 (used to shoot the wide interview shots and product shots)

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

3 Gimbals Compared: Zhiyun Crane 2, Feiyu a2000, Gudsen Moza Air

Motorized three-axis gimbals have become incredibly popular and can help add some nice movement to your video projects to help tell your story. If you’re shooting with a hybrid mirrorless or DSLR camera, you can even work with a single-handle, pistol grip style gimbal. In this episode, we compare three of the most popular gimbals for DSLR and smaller hybrid cameras.

I would have a hard time saying that one is the best. If pushed and I could only keep one, I'd probably keep the Crane 2. But the Moza is probably more innovative in terms of software (motion time-lapse) and the Feiyu is more innovative in terms of hardware (controls on both the pistol grip and dual handle).

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
Zhiyun-Tech Crane 2 - This is the largest payload capacity option of these three, good for larger cameras

FeiyuTech a2000 - dual-handle or single handle gimbal, good for mirrorless hybrid cameras

Gudsen Moza Air (Innovative dual-handle or single handle gimbal, good for mirrorless hybrid cameras)

This episode shot with the following:

Panasonic GH5 Hybrid Camera - my main camera for gimbals

Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 OIS Lens - My go-to lens with the GH5

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Supercardioid Boom Microphone

Aputure C120d LED Light

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera - This is my main camera for corporate video work

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

C200, Ursa Mini Pro: Workflow & Choosing a Cinema Camera

In this episode our special guest is Jacob Fenn, a filmmaker and colorist. We discuss workflow and how your workflow can help you choose a cinema camera like the Canon C200, the Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro, or the Sony FS5.

In short: map out your production and post production workflows. This will make choosing a camera easier.

See Jacob Fenn’s work over at FennWorld.

Links to gear discussed and used to record this session:
Canon C200 Cinema Camera (Jacob’s main camera for corporate, commercial, and short film work)

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera (This is my main camera for corporate video work)

Sony FS5 Cinema Camera

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Supercardioid Boom Microphone - The mic was farther away than I would have liked, probably 1.5 meters. But it did pretty well

Aputure C120D LED Light - this is my corporate video workhorse light

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - this is almost always on my COB120d to soften the light for talking head video.

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

3-axis motorized gimbals have become incredibly popular camera tools to smooth out movement while shooting video with a mirrorless or DSLR camera. The problem I’ve run into with the larger cameras is that many of the single handle gimbals don’t have quite enough power to really work with the larger cameras. That’s where the Zhiyun Crane 2 comes in - perfect for larger mirrorless and DSLR cameras and even has a follow-focus knob which works with Canon 5D (mkII through mkIV).

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:
Zhiyun Crane 2 for larger Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras (pre-order starting September 15th) at MomanPlay International Shipping, Crane 2 at Amazon US, UK, FR, ES

Zhiyun Smooth 3 (at Amazon, for smartphones)

Zhiyun Smooth Q (at Amazon, for smartphones)

Zhiyun Crane V2 (at Amazon, original version for small to medium mirrorless and DSLR cameras)

Schoeps CMC641 Super-cardioid Microphone (Recorded this review)

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Panasonic GH5 Camera (at Amazon, for product shots)

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!