New Zacuto Z-Finder family

Zacuto are listing a new range of Z-Finders on their website, and mighty interesting they look too. As well as introducing a more basic solution in the form of the Z-Finder Jr the standard Z-Finder has now transformed into two models, The Pro 2.5X and Pro 3X. I felt the last Z-Finder has too much magnification at 3X so it would be great to try out the 2.5X version.

Those with keen eyes will also have spotted the move away from stick-on mounts to a mounting system that requires the use of plates under the camera. Also new in the Pro models are anti-fog glass, lens caps and rubber boots to stop the diopter thread from collecting dust and dirt. There’s also a mention of a protective case.

I’m not sure I’d welcome the additional plate under the camera, the design looks great and I can imagine it makes the rig a lot sturdier but with that extra plate and something like a Manfrotto 394 fitted under it there’s going to be a lot of height between the camera and whatever it’s mounted to. With the new plate and a 394 fitted it must put the camera a long way above the rails on something like a mini-baseplate. The rails on my rig can only go up another few mm so I’m not sure I could even make that work.

Find out more at

Pluraleyes review

I’ve been trying out Singular Software’s pluraleyes plugin for Final Cut Pro over the last couple of weeks and I’m really impressed. Pluraleyes makes a huge difference if you’re working with DSLR’s or multiple cameras and multiclips in Final Cut.

Click here to read the review and comment.

Transcoding – the truth!

I’ve just been running some transcoding tests to compare the speed of Canon’s EOS plugin E1 for Final Cut against MPEG Streamclip and it’s made me realise just how slow this job is in comparison to working with something the the Sony XDCAM-EX format.

As you can see in the DSLR workflow article I just wrote the actual workflow is very similar between the two types of camera when it comes to importing footage now that Canon has released their E1 plugin. In essence the plugin works identically to the XDCAM-EX version from Sony.

To give you an idea of the speed difference between MPEG Streamclip and the Canon EOS plugin E1 I ran a quick test using a 5 minute 16 second 5D2 file on my Mac Pro. To be fair this mac is getting towards the end of it’s lifespan but it’s a quad core 2.66Ghz machine with 8GB RAM so still fairly beefy.

You can see that MPEG Streamclip transcoded this clip in 7:38 whereas the E1 plugin took 10:27.

However compare this to a 5:24 import of an XDCAM-EX clip from my EX1 and you see a very big difference indeed…

Yes that’s right, over 5 minutes of XDCAM-EX imports in just under a minute. It’s interesting because the ingest speed was one of the biggest factors that made a solid state workflow seem so much better than tape. Being able to import at high speed is a massive benefit of the XDCAM-EX system.

It’s amazing how quickly we forget the importance of this with our flashy new DSLR’s where we’re importing our solid state files at double the amount of time it actually took us to shoot the footage!

Canon DSLR interview workflow

I’ve just posted a full write up detailing my workflow when using DSLR’s to shoot interviews.

Click here to read more and comment

EOS Movie Plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro

Canon have released the EOS Movie plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro and initial tests look pretty good to me. The plugin uses FCP’s Log & Transfer functionality much like Sony’s plugin for the EX1.

Click here for more info

If you’re getting an unsupported media message then click here to find out what’s going on.