Friday, April 11, 2014

The News

Lensbaby started out with odd little lenses in flexible-plastic housings, but they seem to be moving towards lenses that look like lenses...
Unveiled: Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 Circular Fisheye Lens | B & H Photovideo
Create full-circle images using your cropped-sensor DSLR, with the new Lensbaby 5.8mm f/3.5 Circular Fisheye Lens, available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts. Featuring an ultra-wide 5.8mm focal length and a 185˚ angle of view, this lens provides you with an expansive, sweeping perspective, even in tight spots. With an aperture range of f/3.5 to f/22 and a close minimum focusing distance of a 1/4", you can practically touch your subject and still have sharp images with expansive depth of field.

Amazing Sony A7s Low Light test video! | SonyAlphaRumors
Den Lennie just updated his A7s post by including an amazing A7s High ISO test (Click here and scroll down to see the video). The screenshot on top shows you the noise at crazy 409,600 ISO. This is really a complete DARK(!) room with no light. And the video you will see that actually up to 102,400 ISO noise is acceptable!

Blackmagic confirms that they aren't yet abandoning their original camera models.
Update about firmware updates | Blackmagic Forum
The original 2.5K camera had fundamental architectural differences in firmware compared to the other cameras which doubled the effort when trying to do any bug fixes or add new features to the cameras. As such, we knew we had to re-architect the firmware so as to bring it up to speed with the current cameras. This is not simple and taking longer than we thought. However, we are close now, close enough that beta versions have been seeded to some users for the past few months.

Resolve 10 added several editing tools which made it at least a good basic editor. It seems that release 11 expands upon that capability:
DaVinci Resolve 11 – New Editor on the Block? | Filmmaker Magazine
While the newest version boasts over 100 new features, the vast majority of them are improvements to the editing capabilities. In previous versions the editing area of Resolve was more for making tweaks to an ingested timeline to correct any errors or drop in footage that didn’t import properly. Now it’s aiming to be a full fledged editor.

The Sony Ecosystem | The Week in Photo
Sony Marketing Manager Peter Crithery and Mark Weir, Senior Technical Manager join me to discuss the Sony professional line of video cameras as well as the consumer line-up. We talk about who these cameras are for, what the main benefits of going smaller or larger can afford the creative professional. We also dive into costs and a deep dive into the brand new Alpha 7s (A7S).

Is DSLR dead? That was the question debated by our illustrious panellists at NAB 2014 today. To debate this with our technical editor Matt Allard were Andy Shipsides of Abel Cine, Hotrod Cameras owner Illya Friedman, Director and shooter Jason Wingrove, educator and shooter Jem Schofield and Newshooter’s Clinton Harn.

Leica S medium format camera to feature 4K video | EOSHD
Because full frame is just too small, Sony are supplying a 4K video capable sensor to Leica and Pentax in the region of 40 to 50MP. According to a Leica rep at NAB the company is planning 4K video for their implementation of the sensor in the Leica S. Indeed Pentax have already announced that their 645Z will record 4K video.

The Axiom Beta 4K Camera and How You Can Get ItCinescopophilia
Apertus have release details about the latest Beta development on their Axiom open source 4K camera. Crowdfunding is on the cards for the Axiom Beta and it means you could be the owner of one of the cheapest 4K cameras on the market.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The News

Digital Bolex Announces PL Mount for D16 Goes on Sale Next Month for $995 | No Film School
Up until now, the default lens mount for Digital Bolex’s D16 digital camera came with a  C mount. The aim was to really capture the design of the original Bolex 16mm film cameras, allowing filmmakers to use vintage 16mm and Super 16mm lenses, but the PL mount will take the D16 up a notch. The DB team has been working on a PL mount option for quite a while, and in their blog post, they explain where the decision to include a PL mount came from.

Exclusive: here is the first app to resample Panasonic GH4 4K 8bit to 10bit 4:4:4 | EOSHD
As this panel aptly put it at NAB this week, 4K delivery is very rare at the moment so most filmmakers are shooting 4K acquisition to get the benefits in post for 2K delivery. For a while now I’ve been suggesting on EOSHD that 8bit 4K can build a 10bit 2K image due to oversampling, a theory which was backed up by David Newman at GoPro / CineForm in this EOSHD interview.

DxO tests the A6000 and calls it “Little wonder”. Ships tomorrow in USA! | SonyAlphaRumors
DxOmark (Click here) just published the A6000 sensor test results. As you know the A6000 has phase detection pixel across the full sensor but despite that it manages to match the best APS-C sensor on market to date. So you have both, top image quality and top autofocus performance on a small mirrorless camera. can’t get any better than this! Oh yes it can….the camera will ship tomorrow in USA

Review of the updated for the Sony FS700 Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q …is it any good? | Philip Bloom
There is one more killer feature from the 7Q, and this for me is the biggy. Remember the 7Q outputs 8 bit in HD for ProRes HQ on the Odyssey or any other device like the Atomos Samurai. A real shame it’s not 10 bit. Now if you set the FS700 to output raw which is 12 bit out of the SDI, and the 7Q to the Raw to ProRes HQ, the image is simply incredible.

Metabones Gets Some Competition from Cheaper Canon EF to Sony NEX Smart Lens Adapter | No Film School
This definitely looks like a worthy alternative to the Metabones adapter, and it’s also cheaper. Though it doesn’t have autofocus capabilities, if you’re shooting video, that’s going to be a secondary feature anyway. Image Stabilization is extremely helpful, especially if you’ve got longer lenses and you’re doing handheld work.

Small and Handy Grip Gear from Manfrotto and Matthews | Filmmaker Magazine
Manfrotto released the new Nanopole Stand, a lightweight stand with a twist. The center column pops out of the legs, giving you a boom pole to quickly hold a small light or accessory overhead. Works great with their new Smart Tilt Head, a flexible cold shoe mount adapter.

FCP X: Import Caution | Larry Jordan
When importing files from the Finder, or other applications that don’t use the Media Import window, your Import Preference settings determine how that file will be handled.

First Look: Sanken CSR-2 Shotgun Microphone | B & H Photo
Sanken's new CSR-2 shotgun microphone, introduced at NAB 2014, features a switch for rear rejection to enable expanded reach for the shotgun. The CSR-2 has two unique rectangular capsules, one to pick up audio in front and the other to reject audio in the rear. Listen to our real-world demo of this mic on the show floor, and see a roundup of Sanken's other mics.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

More camera news

Mytherapy was given an unreleased prototype of the Panasonic GH4 camera to test. We brought exciting young photographer Michael Furlonger on board and created an amazing 4K fashion film. We were also able to extract high quality 8 mega pixel stills, which prove that the size of the camera is no longer a barrier to the quality of the image it creates. This little compact camera captures 4K images that rival anything we have seen from the big players. Watch our superb behind the scenes video to see how it was all done!
Here's a BTS

The article's not in English, but you can watch the video!

NAB 2014: The Year of Unusual Cameras | Filmmaker Magazine
It was clear that this would be the year of 4K, but perhaps more surprising is who plans to ship 4K cameras this year.
Sony, who actually bought out two new 4K cameras last year – the F5 and F55 – clearly decided they didn’t need to roll out new cameras this year. Instead, they announced ProRes and DNXHD recording options, and a new ENG-style base for these cameras. They also announced that the F5 will be upgradeable to the F55

Panasonic GH4 vs Sony A7S compared – who wins the 4K battle on paper? | EOSHD
I will be shooting with both of these cameras this year. I am super excited to own both of them. I’ve already shot for a week with a pre-production GH4 and loved the images. For me the pair of them each have their own purpose. Speaking personally for my own filmmaking work, the GH4 has the advantage of small size and stealth as it doesn’t need an external monitor or recorder for 4K recording and it has a sensor size compatible with my Cooke PL mount lenses. This will be useful for on-location situations that call for high image quality but discrete filming, to capture a natural mood and non-staged moments as a documentary shooter.

Sony A7S – does it have Super 35mm 4K mode too? | EOSHD
One of the enigmas emerging from the A7S is whether you can shoot 4K in APS-C crop mode as well. APS-C is Super 35mm in cinema language. I really would like to use my Cooke S4i Minis via a PL adapter on this camera! Taking advantage of the low light sensitivity. APS-C crop mode would also allow the use of standard Sony E-mount / NEX lenses, Canon EF-S and Nikon DX lenses.

Dan Chung talks to Joe from Bolex about the D16M, a monochrome version of the Digital Bolex that promises a traditional super 16 feel, and the new Kish 10mm, 18mm, 38mm f/4 lenses. The D16M is available now priced $3,999 and the lenses will be available soon, starting from $300.

DJI announced their Phantom 2 Vision + quadcopter at NAB. The new drone has a 1080p 30fps camera with a three-axis gimbal. Chuck Fadely talks to Willis Cheung from DJI. The Phantom 2 Vision+ is available straight after NAB, priced for $1299.

My Thoughts on the New Cameras Announced at NAB 2014 | WolfCrow
Why? Who is this camera for anyway? The Scarlet was supposed to be a camera for the low-budget indie filmmaker. Raising the price point of a ‘Scarlet’ just to keep up with the Epic seems strange. After all, why not buy the original Epic instead?

Sony PDW-850 overview

You can pre-order the EF mount URSA ($5,995) and the PL mount URSA ($6,495) with expected delivery of June.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

FDR-AX100 resolution tests

I finally did some resolution tests with the Sony FDR-AX100. This camcorder records 4K to internal memory cards, and I was really wondering if 4K was going to be that good, or would it be so compressed that there was virtually no difference to the HD video. The camera also has an XAVC recording option (and you can buy a cheaper version of the camera, the HDR-CX900, that just has the higher data rate HD format recording) so I wanted to see how that compared to both 4K and HD AVCHD recording.

I actually wondered whether it would be better to get the HDR-CX900 instead, as it would be cheaper and frankly, all I was looking for was better HD, rather than 4K.

So for this test, I took the 4K footage, and the HD footage, and output it to HD in ProRes 4:2:2 from Final Cut Pro X. And if you're looking for really good HD resolution, than the FDR-AX100 in 4K mode is pretty amazing as a source. The FDR-AX100 4K footage blows away the best AVCHD camera I currently have (the NEX-EA50.) And while the FDR-AX100's XAVC footage is better than AVCHD, it's still clearly between the AVCHD and 4K.

I threw in another AVCHD camera, the Canon G10, just because I had it.

Clearly there are HD cameras that will do better than the NEX-EA50, though we're talking even more expensive (like the Canon C300). Even with cameras like the C100 or NEX-FS700, you'd probably have to use an external recorder to get your HD image close to the results of scaling down the 4K footage.

I'm impressed.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Interesting Sony announcements at NAB - F5 & F55 updates and the A7s

As they usually do, Sony held a press briefing the day before NAB opened to cover their announcements. This year was focused on 4K, though HD video did get a mention!

One interesting thing; they didn't announce any new video cameras, instead they announced upgrades for the F5, F55 and F65. For the F5 & F55 they announced a new documentary base designed to help make the camera more ENG-like. They also announced new recording format support for ProRes and Avid's DNXHD.
There's also a software update coming for the F65 with improved color management.

Perhaps most interesting of all is that they announced a consumer camera - the A7s - at the event. This is pretty unusual (they certainly haven't announced a consumer camera at a pro event in the last three or four years!)

On the face of it, the A7s looks interesting;  the A7s has a smaller total sensor pixel count than the A7r, which probably helps give it much higher sensitivity. It also outputs 4K video, but only sends that out the HDMI port. That means you need to spend another $2K or so on an external recorder to get 4K recording. That's a bit disappointing as the Panasonic GH4 does record 4K (compressed) to a memory card. I've been playing with the Sony FDR-AX100, which also records 4K to a SDXC card, and I have to say, the resolution from 4K is amazing when down sampled to HD.

The A7s does record HD video at a higher bit rate, and the FDR-AX100 does that as well, but there's still a noticeable difference between the HD and 4K footage on the FDR-AX100. Which is not to say the A7s will produce lousy video. A particular advantage the A7s has over the FDR-AX100 and the Panasonic GH4 is that it has a full-frame sensor.

But I guess we'll have to wait for the A8s to record 4K video internally.

Sony: A7s
EOSHDSony A7S specs announced – S for sensitivity. 4K via HDMI to “third party recorder”
DP ReviewA first look at the Sony Alpha 7S 12MP full frame with 4K output
EngadgetSony announces full-frame Alpha A7s with 4K video output
FStoppersSony Announces the Sony A7s, a Mirrorless Full Frame Video Monster
SonyAlphaRumorsSony A7s announced! Can go up to 409,600 ISO!

An external recorder:
EOSHDAnnouncing Atomos Shogun – first 4K HDMI recorder compatible with Sony A7S