Yongnuo is teasing that it has a new pocket flash on the way. Called the YN200, the product will look strikingly similar to the popular Godox AD200 (AKA the Flashpoint eVOLV 200).
Flash Havoc reports that Yongnuo has been showing off a prototype of the YN200 at tradeshows. While the Godox AD200 comes with both a standard speedlight head and a bare bulb head, the Yongnuo YN200 appears to only offer a fixed bare bulb head baked into its design (though it’s possible additional heads could be plugged into the bulb socket).
While the features and specs of the YN200 have yet to be revealed, the flash will presumably offer around 200Ws of power, a removable lithium-ion battery (as seen in the product photo below), and TTL/HHS/Manual/Auto-Sensing radio receiver modes for Canon/Nikon/Sony cameras.
Flash Havoc reports that Yongnuo is also getting ready to launch the new YN560-TX PRO radio system, which “should hopefully finally integrate the YN560-TX and YN-622 radio systems into one cohesive system.”
Features of the new system will reportedly include Auto Sensing receiver modes for Canon/Nikon/Sony cameras, TTL, HSS, Remote Manual, and Remote Zoom.
Existing products such as the YN-622 I/II, YN968, and YN685 will be compatible with the new YN560-TX PRO system after a firmware update, while other products such as the RF603, YN560 III/IV, YN660, and YN860 will be able to play nice with the new system with their existing firmware.
The first product in the new system, the flagship YN560-TX PRO transmitter, has a new “coming soon” teaser page. It’ll initially be launched for Canon, but Nikon and Sony versions will be subsequently released.
While Yongnuo was a leader in off-brand radio triggers just a few years ago, Godox has exploded onto the scene and has largely left Yongnuo in the dust.
This was “mainly due to the lack of an overall cohesive system, and no larger flash options available,” Flash Havoc writes. But with the upcoming Godox-esque YN200 and a new radio system, Yongnuo is trying to claw its way back to relevance.
Pricing and availability of the new YN200 and YN560-TX PRO have yet to be announced.
Nitrate update will give users even more power and control over their color grading.
FilmConvert announced Nitrate at NAB 2019 and No Film School went in-depth with them on it there:
FilmConvert has just announced that Nitrate is coming soon. We, at No Film School have made it no secret how much we love to use FilmConvert, so an entirely new version is exciting news. The initial release will support Adobe Premiere and After Effects (Mac and Windows), with other platforms being released on a rolling basis throughout 2019. Nitrate is an entirely new version and will require a paid upgrade for current FilmConvert users.
In case you’re not familiar, FilmConvert takes the color information of specific cameras and uses that to determine how a specific film stock could best be represented using that sensor. Many people use it as a first pass on digital footage in post-production to give footage a filmic look. It supports a wide array of camera profiles and film stocks, making it an indie filmmaker favorite.
How do the storytelling masters over at Pixar craft a story?
Pixar has not only made dozens of films to delight and entertain audiences but they’ve also become the spiritual champions of good storytelling, sharing their recipes and educating aspiring writers on how to put each ingredient together.
If you’re a Pixar fan and also a screenwriter, chances are you’re very familiar with their most famous cookbook, 22 Rules of Storytelling. (If you’re not, stop reading this and go read that…and then come back and read this because it’s important.)
While every single one of those 22 “rules” has an important role to play in making a story great, this video from Insider condenses that list into 5 of the most important ones to follow if you want to write a great screenplay.
Now, let’s go over each one and figure out why they’re particularly important for good storytelling:
There’s always pressure in a sequel, but James Cameron rose to the challenge, as you can read in the “Aliens” script PDF. Let’s talk about how he revolutionized action writing for the modern generation!
Aliens is one of my favorite movies of all time. The original Alien was a massive hit. People everywhere were nervous about how they could recapture the magic. And suddenly James Cameron walked into a room and told them to change the genre. It’s a genius maneuver for a sequel and delivered us an instant classic.
Today we’re going to go over the Aliens script and talk about how the words on the page influenced the next generations of screenwriters and catapulted James Cameron’s career.
Telling a story doesn’t stop at your subject in photography; everything in an image gives the viewer context clues to build a narrative around. One of my favorite ways to facilitate interest and story in photography is incorporating color effect gels into the scene, but what are the best ways to use them and why?
Along with improvements in resolution and dynamic range, one of the biggest changes witnessed in the world of videography in recent years is how easy it has become to add movement to a shot. A gimbal can open a world of possibilities, and this short video gives an excellent introduction.
When I go to the movies I like to eat. So what are some of the best movie snacks?
I was talking to someone the other day about the movie theater experience. I love seeing things on the big screen. I love the feeling of the audience around me, the group reactions to scares, laughs, and amazing action scenes.
There are few better feelings as a writer than seeing the words you’ve written performed on screen. But something even better than that is eating movie theater snacks while hearing them.
Yeah, I am aware this is a serious film blog, but today I wanted to talk with you about some of your favorite movie snacks. I want to know your hacks and tips when it comes to munching on movie theater snacks, and I want to know the most creative way you’ve snuck outside food into the theater.
This is all a reaction to the New York Times saying movies might disappear in ten years.
Have you ever gone to a photoshoot you were so excited about, had the greatest time there, just to go home and realize all the images were shot in JPEG? Or you go through the photos and you realize a lot of the shots the client’s hair was in the way? These are both examples of a Photoshoot Hangover.
The arrival of a new camera at my doorstep yesterday and the coming holiday weekend brought to mind an easy but often overlooked lesson from long, long, ago. Here is a short story to highlight what I learned.
The Sony Xperia 1 is now shipping in Europe and available for pre-order in the U.S – and we had a chance to test it together with Sony’s newly developed “Cinema Pro App”. This dedicated filming App is aimed at giving professionals a way to film with Sony’s new mobile phone in 10bit HDR internally with full manual control, and on top, output enhanced video quality, when compered to other phones. Is that so? Keep reading to find out.
Sony Xperia 1 – Cinema Pro App on Opening Phone Screen
It’s no secret. The mobile phone industry is chasing around its tail as sales are dropping rapidly lately and new innovations are waiting to see the day of light when quality control assures they are ready to go prime time (flipped dual screen and true wireless charging). The situation of manufacturers who are not leading the sales charts is even more challenging. How to attract attention, grow sales and justify existence in such a competitive environment is a question that must probably be asked day in day out.
The ability to take high quality PHOTOS with mobile phones has already changed the industry of photography forever. It has destroyed some well-known camera manufacturers, who were rewarded for making compact cameras, made others completely change their business strategy, offerings and marketing plans, or led to highlighting others.
As a non-scientific test, I was one of the thousands of people who had gathered at the streets of Tokyo to watch the Kanda Matsuri festival and as crazy at it sounds, it was fascinating to see how many people were actually using their mobile phones to take pictures during the event. Now, when it comes to filming, the footprint of those mobile devices in our professional filming industry is still very limited. I’m not so sure how many of you guys actually tried filming something meaningful with your smartphone (or even do a paid job with it), but for me, it was always a very frustrating experience. Every single time I was attempting to use a phone for filming, it got painful. The process of rigging up the phone was time-consuming and the end results were fine, but not nearly as good as I wanted them to be. On top, none of the phones I know have their own built-in App for advanced manual filming. All the professionals I know are currently experimenting with filming, with Apps like Filmic Pro or the Moment Pro Camera App.
Sony Xperia 1 Mobile Phone with Camera Pro App
Sony Xperia 1 – Introduction
Now comes Sony with their new Xperia 1 mobile phone, attempting to change it all. It is the first time that the Sony Mobile team worked together with the Sony Alpha and Bravia teams, in order to create a device that aims to capture the attention of filmmakers, and as a side note, I wouldn’t have taken the time to seriously look into this phone if it wasn’t thanks to Sony’s people themselves, who openly declared that this mobile device and App are aimed to target professionals. That’s where my curiosity rose – after all, it does not happen every day that a manufacturer uses the pedigree of its top cinematic trademarks (CineAlta and Venice) to promote a $1000 mobile phone device. Besides, the Xperia 1 is the first smartphone that can capture videos internally in 21:9 aspect ratio, 10Bit, 55Mbps/H.265, 4K HDR and 24fps.
Sony Xperia 1 – The phone
In all honesty, not much that I can contribute here for the following reasons:
I’m the owner of a very old iPhone 5S and have never used a Sony Xperia or an Android phone before. (I simply don’t care about those gadgets).
I couldn’t care less about the “phone side” of this mobile device… My interest was in the new “Cinema Pro App”, the screen, the overall video quality, and user experience when working with the phone.
So, if you are interested to know how well the Xperia 1 does as a phone, sorry, I guess you will have to look for information elsewhere.
“Creator Mode” – High Quality HDR Display Setting, activated
Sony Xperia 1 – The screen
This big 6.5″, 21:9 CinemaWide OLED 4K HDR 1644 x 3840 resolution display is truly impossible to ignore… (We have seen a similar screen size before with the Huawei Mate 20 RS, but its specifications were inferior). Of course, this extra-wide format screen is especially useful when wanting to watch content shot in 2:35 aspect ratio (no black bars on your screen), but other that that, this OLED 4K HDR (BT. 2020 color gamut), 10-bit phone screen can display content with deep blacks and without any banding.
If we take a closer look, within the phone settings under “Display” you can actually choose between two viewing modes: “Standard” for vivid images and “Creator” for faithful color reproduction. Note that when using the ‘Cinema Pro App’, the screen switches to “Creator mode” automatically, which is nice because of color accuracy. On the other hand, it makes filming outdoors under bright sunlight conditions almost impossible (screen is too dark). Another thing that puzzles me is the ability to change ‘White Balance’ settings while being in “Creator mode”. You have four options to choose from: Warm, Medium, Cool and Custom. In my opinion, “Medium” gives the most natural look, BUT to my understanding, the “Creator mode” with its ability to display faithful image reproduction, should NOTallow changes in the screen’s white balance while being in that mode. (The screen supports standards like DCI-P3, BT2020 colour space and D65 White Point, so I can’t understand why settings are not locked). Please see the images below. I’ve intentionally exaggerated the red display color in order to make a point.
Xperia 1 – Creator mode Display WB setting – Medium
Xperia 1 – Creator mode Display WB setting – Custom. Intentionally exaggerated red color
Xperia 1 – Creator mode Display WB setting – Custom. Intentionally exaggerated red color
Cinema Pro App – Introduction
I would like to start by taking my hat off to Sony’s engineers, who seriously tried (and are still trying) to tackle the segment of professional filmmakers with the development of this App in conjunction with the phone. After the RED Hydrogen One flop, it is refreshing to see a non “wait and see how good we are” approach, as it’s all done in a gentle and humble Japanese way.
Sony Xperia 1 – Cinema Pro App layout
As a professional user and a reviewer, I need to judge how intuitive and well thought-through the App is, and that’s where things get a bit more complicated. For the last few weeks, I was lucky enough to have the phone and run around filming with it, and one of the obstacles I’ve encountered in achieving convincing results is working with the new Cinema Pro App itself. Before continuing, let me clarify. The direction is absolutely right and I have no doubt that with time, most if not all of the “needs to be improved” points I’ll refer to, will be a thing of the past, but for now, the App itself is very restricting and even more so, complicating operational tasks that otherwise could have taken half the time with much less effort.
So, what does this App offer in terms of camera control:
Resolution: There are two different resolutions to choose from, 2K and 4K. Note that the latter is the preferred one quality-wise (4K native)
FPS: 23.98 and 29.97. For film look, stick with 23.98. (Higher frame rates can be found when switching to the normal filming App, but I found those to be not so usable, so I definitely recommend avoiding them).
Look: Here you will find 8 different looks. My advice, skip the gimmicky colored options and concentrate on the VENICE CS one for better look and possible grading.
Lens: One can choose between three lenses. 16mm f2.4, 26mm f1.6 and 52mm f2.4 (more on that, below)
ISO: Full manual control on ISO is available. (40-800 while 64 is the native). Mind you that this phone is not a lowlight filming monster and it is good to see that Sony actually limited its ISO value to realistic parameters. Also, this is the ONLY way to control the amount of light entering the lenses WITHOUT playing with shutter angle.
White Balance: Five options are available. Tungsten, Fluorescent, Daylight, Cloudy and Auto WB. (No custom WB at that stage).
Shutter Angle values: 1.4, 2.8, 5.6, 11.2, 22.5, 45.0, 90.0, 144.0, 172.8, 180.0 and 360.0 can be dialled. As far as I’m concerned, when filming on 24fps with 180 shutter dialled, the picture is strobing too much and motion blur looks wrong somehow, 172.8 gave me a bit of a better visual effect, but still, motion blur should be improved.
Focus: Here one will be able to change between ‘auto’ and ‘manual’ focus options. Please see my remark regarding autofocus at the lens paragraph. In regards to manual focus, unfortunately there is no way to zoom or enlarge the frame on the screen, so it is not always easy to judge the absolute focus point. By the way, although we are talking about a small sensor size, there is indeed a way to get a bit of a shallow depth of field by using the 26mm/52mm lenses and focus manually. Sony will do good if they can allow tapping on the phone’s touch screen in order to set focus points, in the future.
“Grab”: Pressing this button will take a still photo while being in video mode.
Other screen indications: Audio meters, counter, HDR (always on), Codec (always H.265), Battery status, available memory for recording, and frame guide lines are all there. On top, you can choose between accessing ALL recorded files, or any of the last six. What ever you choose to play, it will kick you out of the Cinema Pro App and you will have to ignite it again in order to continue filming (at least I did not find a direct way to go back from playback mode to record mode).
Cinema Pro App – Strengths
When it comes to filmmaking, this App is the heart of the new Xperia 1 mobile phone. It is aiming to give professionals a familiar look and known terminology. This piece of software is acting as a hub, connecting between the phone’s built-in filming capabilities, the high-quality screen and user interface. The idea was to rely on Sony’s long time professional experience and create an App that brings the best out of this phone, when it comes to movie recording capabilities.
Cinema Pro App – Every Action Needs to be Confirmed
Cinema Pro App – Limitations: (In no particular order)
Changing menu parameters: Currently ALL changes need to be confirmed in order to be executed and this is… not so functional and efficient…. If you, as an operator, decided to change ISO, focal length or focusing method, why should you confirm what you’ve just decided for yourself? It is very time-consuming and not user friendly. From a documentary perspective, the changes should be done “on the fly” while dialling the wanted parameter. What I found interesting is that changing lenses while filming is possible when using the camera’s “normal video App”, but not in its professional sibling.
Speaking of filming parameters, there is no way to change frame rates, resolution or look, UNLESS you start a new “shooting project”. Again, an unwanted stage in what is already a complicated workflow.
Exposure: Unfortunately, there is NO way to judge exposure. Guess-work is the current way to get it right and, as noted before, in bright sunlight (and deemed “Creator mode” screen), this essential task becomes almost impossible.
Record button placement: When filming without a rig, and holding the phone with two hands, intuitively one would like to press the record button with his/her thumb. Currently, the REC button is located on the lower right hand-side of the frame and I found myself training my thumbs to do the job, without shaking the phone. (There is a possibility to start recording while pressing on one of the buttons located on the phone frame, but I found it not so convenient.)
Horizontal levelling: Currently, there is no way to evaluate how levelled you are when filming. This may sound not so important for some, but for me personally, it is a great little function that helps in constructing better images.
Sound: We all know the importance of sound in productions. Currently, sound is set on “Auto level” without a way to change it.
To conclude this section, if this phone is considered to be a professional shooting device, then a bit more work is needed to refine that App and give it better functionality and flexibility. I can also hope that proper S-log picture profiles will be implemented at a later stage (if doable at all). This will allow easier integration of using this phone together with other Sony cameras during common productions.
Xperia 1 – Three Lenses and 58mm thread added with the use of the Phone Case
Xperia 1 – Triple lenses: 16, 26 and 52mm
Multiple lenses for mobile phones are becoming a popular solution these days and Sony obviously decided to go this way, too. The selection of focal lengths is fine, what really disturbed me is the non-equivalent f-stop. Both, the 16 and 52mm are at f2.4 while the 26mm lens is at f1.6, so practically, when changing lenses you will find yourself having to change the ISO value too, in order to compensate for light. There are two additional noticeable issue with those lenses:
In consistency with autofocus performance
When using the wide 16mm lens, the focus is fixed and there is no way to alter it manually (which is OK most of the time). With the 26mm and 52mm lenses it is possible to switch to manual focus and, although not so intuitive, one should consider doing so for the simple reason of focus accuracy. The 52mm in particular is the one to perform less good between the two in autofocus mode, and occasionally, I found it hunting for the correct focus point.
When it comes to picture/optical quality, the 16mm lens is the one to suffer most. I love wide angel shots, but with this lens, the edges are simply too soft. Maybe there is a way to enhance its performance, but for now, this phenomenon is really disturbing.
Last but not least, the optical stabiliser will work fine when attempting to film static handheld shots. (It is automatically activated when using the 26mm and 52mm lenses).
Xperia 1 – 16mm lens. Mind the soft edges
Xperia 1 – 26mm lens. A bit softer on the edges
Xperia 1 – 52mm lens. The sharpest among the three lenses
Xperia 1 Dynamic Range test
For this test, I’ve asked Gunther, our Lab specialist to evaluate the phone’s Dynamic Range, and here is what he came up with: (To learn more about our Dynamic Range evaluation method please click here).
52mm ISO64 Shutter 360
52mm ISO64 Shutter 360 exposure boosted
I got very inconsistent DR results for the Sony Xperia 1: the codec’s bitrate is so weak (H.265@55 Mbps) that there is a lot of macro blocking in the shadows – macro blocking means that the shadows and therefore the noise is not represented accurately. Hence, when IMATEST calculates the root mean square of the noise levels, it would accidentally lump together the huge areas of macro blocking and therefore generate random and very inconsistent results. The two JPG’s above show the macro blocking,
Demonstrating inconsistency in DR test results: The two above images show two very different results from the very same clip, just 1 keyframe apart (difference of 1 stop DR).
Waveform, 52mm ISO64 Shutter 360
Judging from the waveform I would say that the Sony Xperia 1 has a maximum of 10 stops of Dynamic Range.
Keeping Shutter Angle at 180.0
One of the biggest challenges when shooting with a mobile phone is to control the amount of light entering the lens WITHOUT manipulating the shutter speed. Thankfully, Sony is now considering making a simple yet effective camera case that will allow attaching a filter into it. The case filter thread is 58mm and when screwing a filter into it, it will cover all three lenses. I’ve used this case, and attaching a Variable ND to the phone was a breeze. By the way, when thinking of it, it will be interesting to attach the SLR Magic anamorphic adapter to the phone ((Anamorphot-40 1.33x). When setting the phone to 52mm lens it could work well…
Sony Xperia 1, Filter Case and Vari ND
Vari ND attached to the Sony Xperia 1
Xperia 1 – Battery Life, Storage Connectivity and Computer Transfer Software
If there is a big plus when using this phone, it is its battery life. Truly remarkable. Maybe by having the phone on “flight mode” it helped a bit in extending the battery life, but all in all, it was very liberating not to think about feeding the phone with external power and charging it all the time. When it comes to capacity, the phone is being delivered with 128GB for non-Japanese variants. The Japanese version has 64GB.
Sony Companion – Not a useful solution
When it comes to connectivity, I would like to touch two points:
Connectivity to a computer: Being equipped with the latest USB-C socket, connecting between the phone and a computer is a no-brainer. Things get complicated when firing “Xperia Companion“, Sony’s own “All in one” software. Using it is a truly painful experience, as the Xperia 1 files won’t be recognised as visual thumbnails, folders or names (at least on my Mac), I mean, there are file names, but all you can see is “MOV_CINEM…” for all video files, as the generated video clip name is simply too long to be presented. Also, this software won’t recognise the phone as a USB device, which is a shame. Alternatively, I was using “Android File Transfer“. The installation of this software is easy and straightforward, and moving clips from the phone to the computer just becomes easier.
Sony Xperia 1 acting as a monitor for the Sony a7 III
Connectivity to Sony’s cameras: One of the strengths of the new Xperia 1 is the ability to act as a monitor for some of the latest Sony Alpha cameras. What you have to do is download and install the new Sony Imaging Edge App on your Xperia 1 phone. I must say that the installation was very straightforward and connecting to the Sony a7 III went flawlessly, too. Time lag is of course evident between the two devices, but depending on what you are filming, it might be acceptable. In addition, activating the Sony camera’s REC button remotely is possible by pressing on the Xperia 1’s own REC button.
Xperia 1 – Image Quality
I love the native 21:9 aspect ratio and for a phone, the video quality is just fine. The rolling shutter effect is being controlled well in most cases (just don’t get too wild)… and I would strongly recommend NOT to film in ISO 800, as the video gets noisy and blocky. Exposure is a miss-and-hit, so be prepared to adjust some of your images in post. In my opinion, the current data rate is too low and the images are a bit too soft.
Sony Xperia 1 – Black color, 128GB, $950
Sony Xperia 1 – Final Thoughts
By introducing Cinema Pro, Sony took the initiative to create something different and I salute them for doing so. In reality, it is nice to see that by using this built-in App, we finally got rid of the familiar yet unwanted “Plasticky video look” and automatic settings that all modern phones have (unless you are using an external App to eliminate those shortcomings). On the other hand, we are not where pros would want to be just yet. (Not that Pros will run to film on their mobile phones but future trends, price and market changes might force many to do so). Low data rate, small sensor size, limited lowlight capabilities, limited Dynamic Range, inconsistent autofocus performance, automatic audio and difference in quality of those fixed three lenses are all summing up to indicate that there is much to improve. More than 10 years ago, when the DSLR revolution erupted, I was there to witness the change and I’ll be here to welcome the next (mobile) revolution when it comes, but for now, I will have to accept those limitations and wait for a while before taking a phone out of my pocket and comfortably film my next gig with it.
Xperia 1 on a rig
The footage in the above video was NOT color corrected. Curve slightly added. Music is courtesy of MusicVine. Get 25% off your next music license with code C5D25 (valid for one use per customer).
What do you think about filming with a mobile phone. Would you use it for a job? Are you looking forward to the day when such a device can output high-quality images? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.
I’ve written often on the need for more focus on areas outside of the technical photography skills and equipment, but some areas I see a lack of interest in could be significant barriers between you and more clients.
There comes a time in every budding photographer’s life, and for you, that time just might be now, when the promise of an incredible opportunity comes along — an opportunity that seems like just the thing you’ve been waiting for: a chance to travel to someplace tropical and live that insta-influencer dream life.
To witness a solar eclipse is a once in a lifetime experience and to photograph two within 2 years is an amazing opportunity to leverage your experience to create incredible imagery. Ted Hesser was able to garner a second opportunity with the 2019 eclipse and put his ideas into motion with only weeks to spare before this year’s eclipse to gather ideas and compose images that engage our humanity within the cosmos.
During CP+ 2019 in March, Canon announced their new outdoor activity camera concept: Canon IVY REC. A few months later, it looks like Canon will launch the camera using the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. Let’s take a closer look at the camera functionalities and why a camera giant like Canon is not launching its product to the market directly.
Canon IVY REC on Indiegogo
A few Canon outdoor activity concept cameras were shown during CP+ 2019. Canon is taking the first step into making at least one of these cameras a reality – the IVY REC – via an intriguing Indiegogo campaign.
The Canon IVY REC is a “clippable, go-anywhere camera” according to the campaign. There is not a ton of info about this new product and features. Otherwise, we know that this new compact camera is waterproof – up to 30min at 1m – and shockproof.
It looks like there will be no screen in front of the camera, only a small dial to change between the different modes.
To frame your shots, you will have to use the clip as a viewfinder, which is pretty awkward. By connecting the Canon IVY REC to your phone using the CanonMini Cam App you’ll be able to see what you are filming, as well as transfer and share photos/videos wirelessly.
The camera looks like a point-and-shoot model with very few options to adjust the settings. On the technical side, it features a 13 Megapixel 1/3-inch CMOS sensor, it can shoot in 1080p at up to 60 frames per second, and it includes a Bluetooth/wireless connectivity.
The Canon IVY REC should still record the pictures/videos onto a microSD card located on one side of the camera.
Pricing and Availability
There are still no words from Canon or the Indiegogo about the price of the Canon IVY REC, except that “early birds get up to 30% off.” Same thing regarding the availability or official launch of the Indiegogo campaign. We will keep you informed as soon as we get more info.
It is the first time Canon (or any other “major” camera maker) makes a crowdfunding campaign. We still don’t know why a company with a $30.9 billion market cap is doing that. Maybe they are not sure there is a market for a product like this?
What do you think of the Canon IVY REC? Will you back it on Indiegogo? Let us know in the comments!