Archive for the ‘ News ’ Category

Canon 5D MkII Price reduction

Today for the first time B&H are listing the 5D MKII body for less than $2,000. Not only is this a great price but they are also throwing in a 16GB Sandisk Compact Flash card, A LowePro Adventura bag and Red Giants B&H Software bundle. The included extras alone have a value of $720 making this an awesome overall package at $1,999.95.

Canon C300 first look review

Update: 17-1-2012 – The Canon C300 is now available for Pre-order from B&H.

Today I went along to CVP in Brentford London to have a closer look at the new Canon EOS C300. Announced on November the 3rd this new Canon S35 camera has received a lot of attention as well as a fair amount of criticism due to the combination of a much higher RRP than expected and some less than cutting edge specs.

 

The Canon EOS C300 was announced with a recommended retail price of $20,000 without a lens. Many DSLR users were expecting a camera that would compete with Sony’s FS100 but as it turned out a it’s closest competitors are the much higher end Sony F3 and the Red Scarlet, the later of which which was launched on the same day as the C300. Since the release there have been a lot of rumours about the price actually being less than $20k and it does seem as though this is the case with many UK dealers now listing it for pre-order at less than £10,000.

Like the Sony F3 the C300 records at a maximum resolution of 1080p to it’s internal cards. The C300 trumps the F3 slightly in this regard with it’s BBC approved 50 mbps XF codec but whereas the F3 has the ability to output a full blown 4:4:4 uncompressed signal to external recorders with the addition of a $3,700 S-LOG option the C300’s single HD-SDI port is limited to a 1080p 4:2:2 8bit output. This single limitation is seen by most as being the biggest weakness of the C300.

The Red Scarlet is a feature limited version of the Epic, the king of high resolution raw output with it’s 5K sensor and workflow. For my use though working with 5K or 4K raw footage would actually make my post production a lot more time consuming than it is at present and my clients would be unlikely to pay for that time. I moved away from having to transcode footage when I started using Premier Pro a year ago, I don’t want to go back to doing that again for every shoot. Should a project come along that needs super slow mo or 5K raw files I would definately rent an Epic. As a massive fan of slow-mo I’d love to shoot with an Epic, but both the price of that camera and the fact that it would increase my post production timescales are good reasons to look elsewhere. The Scarlet isn’t quite as attractive to me, you get all the workflow implications without the awesome 4K frame rates.

So what many see as the C300’s Achilles heel isn’t actually such a problem for me, I’ll be perfectly happy recording to the cameras internal compact flash cards at 1080p. The one specification that I was disappointed by though was that the C300 can only record over cranked 50 fps or 60 fps material at 720p. It would have been great if Canon had built the camera to do 1080/60 but much like the Sony F3 and EX range it means switching to 720p first.

First impressions

I had a few reservations and questions based on ergonomics and functionality of the camera. How well would it fill the gap between my EX1 and DSLR’s? Things like exposure aids, audio capabilities and hand holding ability were amongst the list of things I wanted answers to so below is run down of what I discovered…

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Glidetrack Hybrid SD

Back at the beginning of 2011 I reviewed Glidetrack’s new Hybrid HD slider which I’ve been using ever since along with my trusty Shooter SD which I take with me on overseas trips or anytime when travelling alone and I need my kit to be portable.

The Hybrid HD has improved my results so much that I started to feel quite hindered when using the non Hybrid Shooter, especially as mine has been all over Europe with me and in that time has suffered some wear and tear along the way making it less reliable.

So when Alastair from Glidetrack contacted me a few months back and asked if there’s anything more I’d like from my Glidetrack systems my single response was to have a Hybrid SD model so that I could still benefit from having a small, light and easily portable slider and also be able to achieve the silky smooth tracking shots that the Hybrid HD provides. At the time Alastair replied with a simple ;)

Today a small brown box turned up on my doorstep containing the brand new Glidetrack Hybrid SD. The SD Hybrid provides all the benefits of it’s bigger HD brother, a hybrid bearing / sleeve carriage with a locking screw, adjustable feet that can be easily attached and removed and of course those famous balls!

 

The difference between the new Hybrid SD and my old shooter is like night and day, it has the same response as the Hybrid HD in that by just tilting the rail up slightly the carriage starts to roll under it’s own weight. I’m looking forward to getting a camera mounted and trying it out.

 

If you have an existing SD system the Hybrid parts are also available as an upgrade package for £205.20 which includes the Hybrid carriage and a pair of feet. This can be used to upgrade an existing Glidetrack SD system or any Igus system that uses the 10-40 rail.

The Hybrid SD is available now from Glidetracks website. The 0.5m version that I use costs £312, with a 0.75m version at £336 and a 1m version at £358.80.

For more information visit the Glidetrack website.

 

Here’s a video put together by Glidetrack showing a few more details of the product. It’s worth noting that the Hybrid SD carriage actually has more bearings than the bigger HD model offering extra smoothness for cameras with longer lenses that produce a greater weight offset.

And a few pics of the box being opened this morning, I’ll be posting a video review in the very near future once I’ve had chance to get out and put the new Glidetrack SD Hybrid to use.

Just as a side note, I’m very impressed with the iPhone 4s camera which was used for all of these pics!

 

 

 

14 day time-lapse – the result

Last month I wrote about setting up this time-lapse and promised that I would post the results as soon as I could and I’m now able to do so. I’ve had to wait for the footage to be approved by Harley-Davidson so I’m sorry for the delay, here it is.

So as you might remember I decided to set up my GoPro on a Cherry Picker overlooking the event site that was hosting the European Bike Week in Faaker See, Austria. This seemed like the best solution at the time and the initial results looked great.

When I left Austria I left instructions for the cherry picker to be lowered once a day to check that the camera was still functioning and if required to change the card, the latter would only be required once because the 32Gig card installed would last 10 – 12 days by my estimation.

Of the 14 days the camera was running there was really only once where a problem developed, luckily this was discovered in the middle of the day and as it turns out the camera only missed around 4 hrs. I’m not really sure what happened that time, the GoPro just locked up by all accounts, the time-lapse icon and the red light were no longer flashing yet there was plenty of room on the card and the camera was turned on.

When I reviewed the footage after returning from Austria I discovered a much bigger problem, and one that I had not considered. The theory was that if we raised the cherry picker to it’s maximum height each time the camera would end up in roughly the same position, and that part actually worked well, what I hadn’t considered though was that the hydraulics themselves could actually lose pressure over time!

Luckily the main parts of the lift that controlled the height were reliable, it was the very last part of the lift that caused the biggest problem. This last section effected the angle of the camera and each time the cherry picker was re-extended the last section would slowly sag, settling after around fours. The change was only a small one, 2 degrees at most but it was enough to make the results look awful when played back in extreme fast forward.

When editing the footage I had to keyframe these rotations out, I couldn’t totally remove all signs of it in the time I had available but I managed to remove the worst of it. You can still see the evidence in the results though so I’ll chalk that up to a learning experience!

I also wanted to remove a lot of the night time footage and after doing so there was a visible jump in the joins. I ran the results though the warp stabiliser in after effects to try and smooth these out and it did a pretty good job, although again not perfect.

So all in all I learned a lot, the results are not perfect but I’m still happy with them, and more importantly so is the client.

Steve Jobs – 1955-2011

 

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011