Friday, August 13, 2010

Redrock Micro RunningMan

Rigs for DSLR shooters range in size, functionality and cost, with high-end manufacturers like Zacuto and budget places like Jag35 (you can also find even cheaper stuff on eBay!) Occupying the middle ground is Redrock, who sell a variety of units that seem to be well regarded for durability.

They have now come out with a stripped down budget rig, the RunningMan. This looks interesting because it starts at $400, with a "full kit" costing $600. Though it's been pre-announced, they haven't done a proper announcement yet; it's not on their website. It's also unclear what's included, though I don't THINK it includes a loupe; even though one is shown in the photograph above. The text says it includes the microFinder loupe accessory, which is actually just an attachment for keeping a loupe connected to your camera.

Cost wise, it certainly looks interesting, though with most rigs, I think you need to try them out to see if they feel comfortable and fit your way of working.

Hopefully more details will be forthcoming shortly. Redrock Micro RunningMan Debuts on PhotoCineNews
Redrock Mico Full Shoulder Rig
Zacuto: Product Spotlight

BOSFCPUG Mixer: August 19th

The August BOSFCPUG mixer is scheduled to happen next week on Thursday, August 19th. This is being billed as the first BOSFCPUG Canon Filmmaker Meetup, featuring special guest Barbara Ellison of Canon,and is aimed at digital filmmakers who want to learn more about HD workflow using Canon's latest video and DSLR cameras.

This meeting will also highlight the Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder. They'll have the XF305 to play with, as well as Canon's latest DSLR cameras with some of the most popular lenses for DSLR filmmaking.

Actual location and time will be announced shortly...

[I wonder if the 60D will have been announced by then...]

BOSFCPUG: Web page

Thursday, August 12, 2010

VideoQ&A: Problems with .AVI files from Canon camera

A while back I wrote about the .THM files that some cameras create along with their video files, which prompted this question:
I try to import .avi from my laptop on my canon .. i don't have .thm that comes with it .. Can I create an .thm ?? .. or how can i read any .avi if it does not from the canon itself...

First, a clarification: as far as I am aware, you do NOT need the .THM files to be able to open and play the .AVI files. The .THM files are there to help with searching and cataloging; for example Canon supplies a media browser application that uses these files. But the .AVI files should play fine without them.

If you have an .AVI or other video file that won't play on your computer, it's often because the video file uses a video compressor that you don't have installed in your system. You can often get these compressors as part of editing applications (like Premiere and Final Cut Pro), but they aren't the only ways to get them - and they may not support every camera out there either!

I would first go to the support area of the cameras manufacturer, and download and install any software that the manufacturer provides for the camera that created the files. It's possible that they will provide the compressor that the camera uses as part of that software package.

Alternatively, a hunt around the internet may find help, though different cameras use different compressors, so what works for one camera, may not work for another. Several owners of Canon PowerShot cameras that had problems playing .AVI files on their PCs seem to have found success with Morgan Multimedia's M3JPEGV3. They offer a 60 day free trial, so you can see if it works for you before spending money, but try the manufacturers software first

Morgan Morgan M-JPEG codec V3
NotesOnVideo: Canon .THM files

NEX-VG10 lenses

In response to yesterdays article about the NEX-VG10 vs. DSLRs, reader Paul noted that one solution for low-light situations is to use an Alpha lens:
The buzz I'm hearing most is that you'd do best getting the 50mm Alpha lens that goes to f1.4, achieving a 75mm view at a 35mm sensor equivalent but sacrificing auto-focus and image stabilization.

It's true that if you buy the $200 LA-EA1 you will be able to connect Alpha A-mount lenses to the E-mount NEX-VG10, so it's definitely a possibility. BUT, as Paul notes, you lose auto-focus and image stabilization. The LA-EA1 lets the camera body talk to the aperture ring of the lens, but you don't get image stabilization because, as an article at Alphatracks explains about the NEX-5/3 cameras:
Sony Alpha dSLRs are famous for having image stabilization built into the body. In order to make the NEX bodies as small as possible, however, Sony engineered the small cameras to use in-lens stabilization. As a result, A-mount lenses mounted to the NEX series cameras will not have stabilization.
So I'm assuming the NEX-VG10 has the same problem...[unfortunately I couldn't confirm this]

And if I lose the auto-focus and image stabilization, well I already have a camera that does shallow depth of field and has annoying limitations: the Canon 7D! A-Mount lenses on the Sony NEX series Sony LA-EA1 - Lens adapter Minolta A-type - Sony E-mount
B&H: Sony NEX-VG10 Interchangeable Lens Handycam

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Sony NEX-VG10 vs. DSLRs

The Sony NEX-VG10 may be Sony's answer to the success of the HD DLSR; a camera that uses a large sensor to produce a shallow Depth of Field. Certainly there's a lot of interest in the NEX-VG10 on the video forums, even if it doesn't shoot 24fps.

Coincidentally, I just spent most of Saturday shooting an event using a Canon DSLR and four lenses. I've always had reservations about SLR's as video cameras - lack of auto-focus, difficult manual focus, form factor, etc., - and this experience did nothing to change my mind. Yes, I could get some really interesting and unusual shots, but the problems listed above - as well as the hassle of constantly changing lenses - had me wishing I'd used a regular video camera.

So I'm awaiting the arrival of the NEX-VG10, even though it seems to have limitations too.

Alistar Chapman at got to play with a prototype Sony NEX-VG10 for a brief period of time last week. He found it small and light, though a bit front heavy with the supplied lens. As others have observed, there's no rocker switch for zooming; you use one of the rings on the lens:
With the supplied lens you turn the forward ring to zoom and rear ring to focus. It was quite stiff turning the zoom ring and very difficult to do in shot zooms as you tend to twist the whole camera as you rotate the zoom ring.
He said that he saw no sings of aliasing in the clips he shot, though others say they can see aliasing in clips from the camera.

Perhaps more troubling, he found the low light performance wasn't great. This is a concern that others have expressed, though it could be the fault of the standard lens, which is only f3.5. You could always buy the f/2.8 16mm lens they are selling for the NEX cameras, but then you're back to switching lenses... Sony NEX-VG10 APS-C Camcorder Launched, available September
B&H: Sony NEX-VG10 Interchangeable Lens Handycam

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Redrock Micro Wireless Follow-Focus Video

Redrock posted this promotional video on YouTube about their upcoming microRemote. It still looks like it could be really cool, though I think it's going to be more expensive than we all thought; originally it was thought it was going to be around $500, then it went to $1,000...I suspect it'll be more like $1,500 to actually set it up in wireless mode (wired might be cheaper.) Still no info on availability:

Monday, August 09, 2010

'get' for Final Cut Pro now available

The 'get' plugin for Final Cut that does phonetic searching of video clips is now available.

AV3 Software: 'get' page
NotesOnVideo: 'get' for Final Cut