Aputure 600d 800W HMI-equivalent LED light

The Aputure 600d is a super bright LED that the company is positioning as an alternative to high-wattage HMI lights. The prototype on show at IBC this year offers 600W of output while drawing 720W of power, either from the mains or a quad-plate battery pack. More power It’s a step up from Aputure’s previous … Continued

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Think About the What and Why, Not the How

Think About the What and Why, Not the How

Whenever we see a photo we like, our first thoughts are often: “How did they take it? How did you get that lighting? How did you get that depth of field?” But more important questions are “what” and “why”.

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Netflix’s ‘Black & Privileged’ Makes Eyebrows Raise With This Editing

Netflix's 'Black & Privileged' Makes Eyebrows Raise With This Editing

Netflix is a synonymous with a hub for high-end cinematic experience. However, lately, there has been quite a lot of attention paid to a scene from “Black & Privileged” that aspiring and experienced filmmakers may want to take a look at.

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My take on the PXW-FX9

So I’m sure you are by now aware that Sony have just launched a new camera, the PXW-FX9. I’m not going to repeat all the information that’s already in the press release or on the Sony website here.

 

But instead I’m going to reflect a bit on what it’s actually like to work with, having been privileged enough to have spent a fair bit of time with various pre-production FX9’s (originally it was going to be all black and not the metallic grey that the production units will be).

Let’s be quite clear. The FX9 is not a souped up FS7 II. Although on the outside it may look similar, under the hood it is very, very different. For a start the full frame 6K sensor in the FX9 is completely new, designed specifically for this camera. What I find interesting about the sensor is that although the camera can’t do anamorphic and can only currently do 16:9 UHD (17:9 4K DCI will come in a later firmware update) it is a full height 4:3 sensor and it isn’t masked. So just maybe, anamorphic or other aspect ratios will be possible in the future. Talking to the engineers, anamorphic isn’t on the official road map, but it’s not a closed door.

 

My first thought was that the decision down sample from the full frame 6K to UHD and later 4K DCI is a little disappointing, as I am sure we would all love to have the ability to record in 6K as an option. But on the other, the way the down sampling helps to clean up the sensor output, reducing noise is very welcome.

You also have to remember that a camera like the FS7 that uses a 4K bayer sensor will not be producing an image with 4K resolution. Because of the way bayer sensors work, a 4K bayer sensor will result in a recording with luma resolution around 3K depending on what you are shooting. The chrom resolution will be even less than that. But start with a 6K sensor and the 4K recordings will actually be 4K resolution with better color resolution than possible form a 4K sensor. So the images from the FX9 do look sharper and have greater clarity than those from an FS7 because they are higher resolution. But the file size is exactly the same. No need to change your workflow, no need to store bigger files, but you have more recorded resolution and better color. Great for chroma key etc.

Perhaps one of the most striking differences in image quality between the FS7 and the FX9 is the lack of noise. When shooting S-Log3 the FX9 has much less noise at 4000 ISO than the FS7 at 2000 ISO. At 800 ISO the FX9 is just a little bit better again. There is less fixed pattern noise and less noise in the shadow areas. In practice what this means is that there is no need to offset the exposure when shooting log with the FX9 as there often is with the FS7. Like any camera using log you never want to be under exposed, but the FX9 works great at either of its base ISO for log producing clean largely noise free images.

This is a big deal because the FX9 also has a huge dynamic range, I’ve measured well over 14 stops using a DSC Xyla test chart and am not going to argue with Sony’s 15+ stop claim. I counted 16 steps on the chart from the FX9, but how useable the bottom 2 are is open to some debate. The FS7 only exhibited 14 steps when we measured the two cameras side by side and the difference between the 2 was clear to see, including all the extra noise in the FS7 images. In practice the combination of this huge dynamic range and low noise level means you get a greater usable highlight range than the FS7, FS5 or F5/F55 and you still retain an amazing shadow range. There’s no S-Log2 in the FX9 as S-Log can’t capture the cameras full dynamic range.

With the camera dealing so well with very big brightness and contrast ranges, what about color? While it’s possible to make almost any log camera look almost any way you wish, the question becomes – how easy is it to make it look nice? I’ve shoot quite a few short films with Sony’s Venice camera over the last 18 months and the footage from Venice is easy to work with, it’s hard to get it wrong with Venice. The FX9 is very, very similar. Straight out of the camera skin tones look good and contain lots of subtle texture and detail. When you use the s709 LUT highlights roll off in a pleasing, smooth manner. If you are given a choice between an FS7 and FX9 it will be an easy decision because the FX9 material is easier to work with in the grading suite. Take footage from the FX9 into ACES and it looks beautiful without any LUT or other correction.

One thing that really helps this is the ability to dial in any white balance you want, along with a tint shift, in the CineEI mode.

So far I have only been working with the class 300 XAVC files from the FX9. As many of my readers will know I am a big fan of 16 bit raw. So I am very excited about what this camera will be capable of delivering in the future when the 16 bit raw output is implemented. I think there is a bit of a question over “can you really call 6K down sampled to 4K raw – raw”? But, I think that provided it is still essentially the same data as produced by the sensor, just re-scaled, then yes, it is a kind of raw and it should bring amazing post production flexibility, provided it can be recorded in such a way that the file sizes remain manageable. Atomos have already announced that their Neon image processor is capable of handling the 16 bit raw, so my guess would be that by the time the firmware updated needed to enable the raw becomes available there will be an affordable Shogun Neon recorder. Some have asked – what about using the R7 and X-OCN? Well that would be cool, but how many FX9 buyers want to spend $14K for an R7 with a couple of cards and a reader?

One small down side of having to read out almost twice as many pixels when reading the sensor at 6K instead of 4K is that there is a bit more rolling shutter when using the 6K full frame mode. Of course nobody likes or wants this, me included. It isn’t terrible, the camera is still very usable in 6K, but you should be aware of it for any rapid pans or large amounts of horizontal motion. In the 4K mode the rolling shutter is similar to the current FS7/F5 etc. The other restriction is the upper limit of 30fps in the 6K full frame mode. To address this in a later firmware update a 5K mode which uses 83% of the full frame sensor, half way between super 35mm and full frame, will be added and this will go up to 60fps when recording to UHD. I do like the fact that you can use the full frame readout for HD at up to 120fps. There is some pixel binning when in S&Q, but it looks like it’s being done really well and I’ve only really noticed artifacts on very bright specular highlights (and this is on pre-production cameras). More testing will be needed to see just how good this is. It certainly isn’t grainy like the FS7 is in S&Q.

Once again we see Sony’s variable ND filter system. This is the biggest variable filter they have done. When the ND filter isn’t engaged there is now an extra optical flat glass included between the lens and sensor to maintain a completely constant back focus distance.  Because the sensor is attached to the variable ND filter system and fitted with a heatsink to maintain a constant temperature it isn’t possible to use IBIS as the assembly would be too heavy to move fast enough to compensate for motion. Instead The FX9 has a metadata system that will use the cameras built in motion sensors to record the cameras motion. Then you will be able to use this metadata to stabilise your footage in post production. This will work in Catalyst Browse from the day the camera becomes available for sale and Sony are working with Adobe etc to have plugins available for the major NLE’s soon after. 

Even though the post production stabilization (which will be variable) needs to zoom into the image a bit, again it’s worth noting that because the full frame mode results in a recording with 4K higher resolution than say an F5 or FS7, even after the zoom in, the image still has higher resolution and better detail than most 4K bayer can deliver.

Talking of Catalyst Browse, there will also be a new version of Content Browser mobile for the FX9 that will allow you to remotely control the camera over wifi, better still the camera will provide a live video feed over the wifi link for monitoring on your phone or tablet. The latency isn’t terrible, around 4 frames. The camera body has wifi built in, no more need to add a dongle. If you want to stream over 4G or 5G then the new extension unit has a pair of USB ports for 2 mobile network dongles.

Ergonomically there have been some big improvements over the FS7. There are now many different ways to control the menu system (which is now laid out more like the Venice camera than the FS7). There is the joystick on the handgrip (which is now shaped more like the FS5 handgrip). There is a set of up/down, left/right, select push buttons on the side of the camera as well as my favourite which is a big jog dial knob that protrudes slightly from the front of the camera (ENG cameras used to have a knob like this and ot was great on them). This is just about big enough to be operated when wearing gloves.

Another improvement is the use of illuminated buttons for the buttons that select the various auto modes. When you select an auto function, such as auto gain, a light comes on to let you know it’s set to auto. Furthermore, you now have to press the button for a about 3 seconds to get it to switch into auto. This should help prevent accidental button bumps from putting the camera into a mode you don’t want to be in.

There’s no shortage of user assignable buttons on the FX9. Perhaps too many? The camera really is covered in buttons! But that does mean you can do some nice things like assign the high/low ISO range change to one of the buttons to switch instantly between base ISO’s.

The great news for those that shoot using CineEI and log is that LUT’s are available in S&Q when recording UHD up to 60fps. The bad news is that above 60fps, when you have to record at HD you can’t separate the LUT between monitor LUT and baking it in. However all is not lost because the camera has viewfinder gamma assist. This applies a vanilla Rec-709 LUT to the viewfinder. It’s only going to be on the viewfinder and it doesn’t change of you change the EI, but at least you don’t have to look at the S-Log image, you can still look at a correct 709 image. Given that because of it’s much lower noise levels I don’t feel that this camera needs the exposure offsets that the FS7 needs, this is not too bad a compromise. Most of the time you will be able to shoot at 800ISO/800EI or 4000ISO/4000EI, so the viewfinder gamma assist LUT will do the job – look in the viewfinder – if it looks right, it probably is right. Oh – and in addition, the S&Q HFR is much less noisy than from the FS7.

Another thing that will make S-Log3 shooters very happy is the ability to change the white balance beyond the 3 built in presets. You can dial in whatever white balance you want including a tint adjustment, just like Venice. You can also use a white or grey card to automatically set the white balance when shooting log. So getting rid of a green cast from dodgy LED lights will be much easier.

Then there’s the autofocus.

Damn you Sony – now I’m going to have to buy some new lenses! I have to admit, I have always looked down on autofocus as an inferior way to focus a video camera. Largely because I have never had a camera where the autofocus has worked as well as I would like. Sony’s  little PXW-Z90 does have a very impressive autofocus system, but with a smaller sensor that is easier to do. Canon have pretty good autofocus on some of their cameras too. But the FX9 has me rethinking how I will approach focus for many shoots. It really is incredibly impressive. It is a hybrid phase and contrast based system that has phase detection sites across almost the entire sensor. It has been designed specifically for video. It has eye detection and face recognition, so you can tell exactly which face in a crowd you want it to focus on. It doesn’t hunt, it just locks on and holds focus. It’s also fully programmable so you can adjust the hold and release sensitivity as well as the focus shift speed. This allows you to make the way the auto focus works look like it’s being done by a human. Often autofocus is too fast, too snappy. You can have that too if you want, but having the ability to slow it down a touch really helps it feel much more natural.

For so many applications this amazing autofocus system is going to be a godsend. Gimbal and Stedicam users will benefit for a start. Anyone shooting fast moving people will benefit. I can see it being a huge help for me when shooting up in the arctic with bulky gloves and mittens or a fogged up and frozen viewfinder! I can see the FX9 finding a place on big budget movie shoots for shots where conventional focus method would otherwise prove challenging. But, you will need Sony E-Mount lenses to get the very best out of it, hence in part why Sony are also releasing new E-mount cine style lenses.

One more note: The camera does have genlock and timecode in/out – on the camera body. You don’t need the extension unit for TC in and out.

In case you haven’t realised by now, I am quite excited by the FX9. It ticks a lot of boxes. You get a state of the art full frame sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range. You have dual base ISO’s of 800 and 4000. You get Venice like color science. So the images look beautiful right out of the camera. Less noise means no need to offset your exposure so you can record more highlight information and shooting is easier. You retain E-Mount versatility, once again you can put just about any lens you want on the camera via low cost adapters. But now in addition you also get an amazing, truly useful autofocus system.

No change on the codec front or media, so that keeps life simple. But 16 bit raw in the future for what should be amazing image quality and post production flexibility (you will need the new XDCA FX9 extension unit for raw). I don’t need to buy new base plates as existing FS7 plates will fit, as will most top plates. There is a small change on the top of the camera as every opening now has water and dust sealing gaskets around it – the FX9 is very well sealed against bad weather and dust. So some FS7 top plates may not fit around the hole where the handle plugs in.

It takes the same BP-U batteries, so I don’t need to buy different batteries. But it does use more power, around twice as much as the FS7. The penalty you have to pay for a bigger sensor with more pixels and more processing power for LUT’s in more modes.

The viewfinder is much improved. It still has the same square rods as the FS7 MkII, which won’t be to everyone’s taste. But the display is now sharper and that makes focussing much easier. The new screen is 720P (the FS7 is 540P I think). So it’s already clearer and sharper. But on top of that the peaking has been improved and better still the focus mag is now very good. Zoom in and it doesn’t go all blocky and muddy, it remains clear and sharp. 

There isn’t much not to like about the FX9 when you consider the price. If my clients could afford it I would love to have a Venice. But the reality is few of them can afford Venice. Besides, Venice is big and heavy. For my travels and adventures I think the FX9 is going to be a perfect fit and I can’t wait to shoot some more with one.


My take on the PXW-FX9 was first posted on September 14, 2019 at 7:36 pm.
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What Makes a Good Photograph? Five Quick Things to Evaluate!

What Makes a Good Photograph? Five Quick Things to Evaluate!

I know, it’s a loaded question. Heck, it’s a loaded word, that one — good. According to whom? By what measure? Who do you think you are to criticize my work? I know. And, I agree. But I suspect there are still a few checks we can make to see if an image is headed in the right direction. Let’s look at five of them!

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Blackmagic RAW 1.5 adds Adobe and Avid support, two new Blackmagic Video Assist 12G units also announced

Blackmagic has announced a number of new products and updates at IBC 2019, but two particular announcements stand out: the introduction of Blackmagic RAW 1.5 and the Blackmagic Video Assist 12G.

Blackmagic RAW 1.5 is a new software update that adds support, via plug-ins, for working with Blackmagic RAW video files directly inside Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer, negating the need to transcode files and rely on proxies to edit footage. The update also includes a new version of Blackmagic RAW Speed test that’s compatible with Linux and Windows computer; until now, it was only available for macOS.

The Blackmagic RAW 1.5 update is currently available to download from Blackmagic’s website (under the ‘Latest Downloads’ section halfway down on the page)

Blackmagic also announced the Blackmagic Video Assist 12G, an update to its Video Assist 4K monitor-recorder that includes a brighter HDR screen, built-in scopes, 12G-SDI connectivity and support for recording to external disks over USB-C.

The Blackmagic Video Assist 12G is offered in 5in and 7in models, both of which feature 2500 nit touchscreen LCD displays with wide color gamuts to show Rec. 2020 and Rec 709 colorspaces. Both models include 12G-SDI connections, analog inputs for audio, USB-C external disk recording, dual battery slots for Sony L-Series batteries and headphone output for monitoring audio. Other features include four built-in scopes, tally indicators, enhanced focus assist features and 3D LUTS.

The only difference between the units, aside from size, is the 7in model features dual UHS-II SD card slots, compared to the single SD card slot on the 5in model. These SD card slots are hot-swappable, meaning you can remove and add storage even while recording, making it possible to shoot longer videos without the need to stop and start.

Connections on the device include two S12G-SDI ports, two HDMI ports, two Mini XLR inputs, a USB-C port on the base and a locking 12V DC power connection.

The 5in and 7in Blackmagic Video Assist 12G units will be available in September 2019 for $495 and $795, respectively, from authorized resellers.

Press releases:

Blackmagic Design Announces Blackmagic RAW 1.5

IBC 2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands – September 13, 2019 – Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic RAW 1.5 a new software update with support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer, plus Blackmagic RAW Speed test for Mac, PC and Linux, so customers can work on a wider range of platforms and editing software with their Blackmagic RAW files. Blackmagic RAW 1.5 is available for download now from the Blackmagic Design web site.

Blackmagic RAW 1.5 will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design IBC 2019 booth #7.B45.

The new Blackmagic RAW 1.5 update includes Blackmagic RAW Speed Test which is now available on Windows and Linux for the first time. Blackmagic RAW Speed Test is a CPU and GPU benchmarking tool for testing the speed of decoding full resolution Blackmagic RAW frames on their system. Multiple CPU cores and GPUs are automatically detected and used during the test so that customers get accurate and realistic results. Simply select Blackmagic RAW constant bitrate 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 or 12:1 and the desired resolution to perform the test. Results are displayed in an easy to read table that shows how many frames per second the computer can decode for all supported resolutions.

Editors working in Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer can now work with Blackmagic RAW files using the free plug-ins found in Blackmagic RAW 1.5. These new plug-ins enable editors to work with Blackmagic RAW directly, so they no longer have to transcode files. That means camera original Blackmagic RAW files can be used throughout the entire workflow. There is no longer a need to create proxy files and conform edits for finishing. These plug-ins bring the quality of RAW in small, modern, GPU and CPU accelerated files that are faster and easier to work with than any other video format.

Best of all, when projects are moved from Premiere Pro or Media Composer into DaVinci Resolve for color correction and finishing, all of the camera RAW metadata and image quality is still there.

“Blackmagic RAW is now available for editors working on all major professional NLEs,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s exciting because you can now edit native Blackmagic RAW files in Premiere Pro and Media Composer and then finish them in DaVinci Resolve without needing to create proxy files, all without ever losing quality!”

Blackmagic RAW 1.5 Features

  • Includes Blackmagic RAW Speed Test for Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • Adds support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer.
  • Performance improvements and minor bug fixes.

Availability and Price

Blackmagic RAW 1.5 is available now for download from the Blackmagic Design web site.

Blackmagic Design Announces New Blackmagic Video Assist 12G

IBC 2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands – Friday, 13 September 2019 – Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Video Assist 12G which are new models of the company’s popular combined monitoring and recording solutions. These new models feature brighter HDR screens, built-in scopes, upgraded batteries, 12G-SDI and much more. Blackmagic Video Assist 12G will be available in September 2019 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide from US$795.

The new Blackmagic Video Assist 12G HDR adds professional monitoring and recording to any SDI or HDMI camera in all HD, Ultra HD, 2K and 4K DCI formats. The new improved design includes innovations such as brighter screens for HDR work, tally indicator, 4 built-in scopes, enhanced focus assist features, 3D LUTs and native Blackmagic RAW recording from supported cameras. With 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 on both 5″ and 7″ models, customers get support for recording from virtually any device in all formats up to 2160p60. A brighter touch screen ensures a better view of their recording when shooting HDR digital film, or when shooting outdoors in sunlight. The new design also features upgraded batteries and supports two standard Sony L-Series batteries. This means Blackmagic Video Assist 12G is incredibly versatile and is the perfect solution for the next generation of digital cinema shoots, live production mastering, broadcast testing and measurement.

There are two models of Blackmagic Video Assist 12G, with each model including an innovative touch screen user interface with deck controls, as well as a large screen to view recordings. The Blackmagic Video Assist 7″ 12G model also includes 2 media slots, while both the 5″ and 7″ models include 12G-SDI for high frame rate Ultra HD, analog inputs for audio, USB-C external disk recording, plus a front panel speaker and side-mounted headphone jack. Customers also get 2 rear battery slots for mounting Sony L-Series batteries, so customers have enough power for the brighter HDR screens and higher speed Ultra HD electronics. A 12v universal power supply is included for studio or on-location use.

Blackmagic Video Assist 12G HDR is an ideal upgrade for cameras, as it’s super bright 2500nit display is bigger than the tiny displays found on consumer cameras, plus users are also adding professional focus assist features and better quality file formats. Video Assist is also a great solution for professional cameras because customers can use it to upgrade older broadcast cameras to modern file formats used on the latest editing software. No matter what editing software customers use, Video Assist lets customers support them all, as customers can record in Apple ProRes, Avid DNx and Blackmagic RAW. With both HDMI and 12G-SDI inputs customers can connect it to any consumer camera, broadcast camera or even DSLR cameras. Then, on supported cameras, customers can even upgrade to RAW style workflows with Blackmagic RAW.

The innovative touchscreen LCD user interface provides incredible control. On-screen, there are dedicated buttons for play, stop and record, plus a mini timeline for scrolling through their recordings. Customers can even image swipe to jog. The LCD includes a heads up display of timecode, video standard, media status as well as audio meters. Scopes can be enabled via the touch screen as well as focus and exposure assist. Plus customers can load and save 3D LUTs.

Video Assist uses commonly available SD card media, so customers can record to flash memory cards that are easy to obtain. The files are small enough to allow long recordings on standard SD cards or the faster UHS-II cards. The larger Video Assist 12G 7″ model even includes 2 SD card slots so customers can swap out any full cards even during recording, allowing infinite length recording. Standard SD cards or the faster UHS-II cards are perfect for broadcast because they are small, high speed and affordable.

If recording to other media types is required, then the USB-C Expansion port lets customers plug in an external flash disk for recording. Imagine adding a Blackmagic MultiDock 10G for easy SSD compatibility with other recorders such as Blackmagic HyperDeck models. Customers even get on-screen menus for managing external disks using the touch screen.

Video Assist features a wide range of video and audio connections such as multi-rate 12G-SDI for SD, HD, and Ultra HD SDI devices. HDMI is included for HDMI cameras and monitoring to consumer televisions and video projectors. The 7-inch model features Mini XLR inputs which are provided for audio input from microphones and external audio mixers. Video Assist even includes a 12V DC power connection with locking power connector.

Customers will be ready for the latest HDR workflows with support for the latest HDR standards and an extremely bright screen with a wide color gamut. Plus the high brightness screen makes outdoor shooting in bright sunlight possible. The built-in scopes even change to HDR scopes when working in HDR formats. Files are tagged with the correct HDR information then SDI and HDMI inputs will also automatically detect HDR video standards. Static metadata PQ and HLG formats are handled according to the ST2084 standard. The bright LCD has a wider color gamut so it can handle both Rec. 2020 and Rec. 709 colorspaces. The built-in Video Assist LCD color gamut can even handle 100% of the DCI-P3 format.

Video Assist features full internal waveform monitoring so customers can ensure compliance to broadcast standards and it also works great as a portable waveform monitoring solution. The waveform display provides a traditional luminance (brightness) levels view of the video inputs or the playback signal. The vectorscope display allows customers to see the intensity of color at 100% SDI reference levels. Customers also get an RGB parade display which is ideal for color correction and checking for illegal levels. Histogram shows the distribution of white to black detail in their images and highlights or shadows clipping. The built in scopes can even be overlaid on live video, or as a small picture in picture view at the top right of the scope.

The SDI and HDMI connections are multi-rate, so handle SD, HD, and Ultra HD. SD formats include NTSC and PAL. 720p HD standards include 720p50 and 59.94p. 1080i HD interlaced formats include 1080i50 and 59.94. 1080p HD formats include 1080p23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94 and 60p. Customers can even do 1080 PsF formats. Ultra HD is supported up to 2160p59.94. Customers can even record 2K and 4K DCI rates up to 25p for digital film work.

Video Assist works with industry-standard 17 and 33 point 3D LUT files, or customers can work with the built-in LUTs such as Extended Video, Film to Video, Film to Rec.2020 and more.

Video Assist records using standard open file formats so customers don’t have to waste time transcoding media. Recording works in industry-standard 10-bit ProRes or DNx files in all formats and from all HDMI or SDI cameras, as well as 12-bit Blackmagic RAW when connected to supported cameras. Best of all media files work on all operating systems.

Blackmagic RAW is a revolutionary new format designed to capture and preserve the quality of the sensor data from cameras. Video Assist supports Blackmagic RAW recording from popular cameras such as Panasonic EVA1 and Canon C300 MK II. This eliminates the problems with popular camera formats such as H.264, which are highly compressed resulting in noise and processing artifacts. It also saves camera settings as metadata so customers can set ISO, white balance and exposure, then override them later while editing, all without any loss of quality. Blackmagic RAW files are also small and fast to use making them easy to work with.

Blackmagic Video Assist 12G includes a built-in professional audio recorder that’s much better quality than the audio quality found in most cameras, eliminating the need to carry around extra audio equipment. When working in SDI formats, customers can record 2, 4, 8 or 16 channels of audio in real-time. For connecting microphones the Video Assist 7″ model has two XLR analog audio inputs with phantom power that support the high definition audio sample rate of 192 kHz at uncompressed 16 and 24 bit per sample. Customers can monitor using on-screen audio meters with user-selectable VU or PPM ballistics.

Multiple languages are fully supported so customers don’t need to learn another language to use it. Support is included for English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Italian, Portuguese and Turkish.

The files from Blackmagic Video Assist 12G are common and are compatible with all operating systems or in most video software. Media can be formatted using ExFAT or HFS+ so customers can easily access the media on computers and access the files like regular disks. DaVinci Resolve is perfect for use with Video Assist because it features editing, color correction, audio post-production and visual effects all in one software application.

“The original Blackmagic Video Assist monitors and recorders were very popular and a fantastic way to upgrade older cameras, as well as for use in general broadcast areas of the television industry,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “These new models are an incredible improvement and incorporate all the lessons we have learnt from our customers in Hollywood. They have brighter LCD screens, 12G-SDI, Blackmagic RAW, better focus assist tools, presets, 3D LUTS and much more! They are so nice and it’s very exciting!”

Blackmagic Video Assist 12G Features

  • Supports live production, digital signage and archive use.
  • Modern design with fast to use touch screen controls.
  • Upgrades cameras to better monitoring and better record codecs.
  • Large LCD screen for digital film style focus assist tools.
  • SD/USH-II card support for commonly available media.
  • Records direct to external USB-C media disks.
  • 12G-SDI and HDMI for recording in SD, HD and Ultra HD.
  • Advanced HDR support with bright 2500nits wide gamut LCD.
  • Built in scopes include waveform, vector, parade and histogram.
  • Latest Multi Rate 12G-SDI technology for SD, HD and Ultra HD.
  • 3D LUTs can be applied for both monitoring and recording.
  • Standard open file formats compatible with popular software.
  • Records Blackmagic RAW from supported third party cameras.
  • Professional multi channel digital and analog audio.
  • Localized for 11 popular international languages.
  • Works with popular NLE software such as DaVinci Resolve.

Availability and Price

Blackmagic Video Assist 12G will be available in September 2019 from US$795, excluding duties, from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

How to Create Multiple Lighting Setups With an RGB LED Light

How to Create Multiple Lighting Setups With an RGB LED Light

As high quality RGB Led light panels become cheaper and more compact, more and more photographers and videographers are finding just how useful these little lights can be. In this video, I compare the new Falcon Eyes Pocketlite F7 light to my favorite RGB light panel as we explore a few unique lighting setups any photographer can create on the fly.

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Glidecam Receives Videomaker’s Editor’s Choice Award

Glidecam Industries’ newly designed Glidecam XR-Pro has been awarded the Videomaker’s Editor’s Choice Award. The XR-Pro features combine the most popular of the XR-Series, creating a system that now accommodates a wide range of cameras. Designed for film and video cameras weighing up to 10 lbs, the lightweight Glidecam XR-Pro allows you to shoot in […]

The post Glidecam Receives Videomaker’s Editor’s Choice Award appeared first on Below the Line.

Spend More Time With Your Camera, Using This Simple Tool

Spend More Time With Your Camera, Using This Simple Tool

There are many smart tools and life hacks out there, which aim at making us more efficient in our work and life. The following method has been inspired by a former president of the U.S.

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Amazon Lists $550 Sony Lens for $250… But Gives Buyers $20 Instead

Amazon sparked a frenzy on Prime Day back in July after it accidentally listed a wide range of cameras and lenses — some worth over $13,000 apiece — for $94.48 each. While we’ve heard of strange pricing errors before, what’s crazy is that Amazon honored the orders and buyers actually received tens of thousands of gear for hundreds of dollars. But it seems Amazon’s generosity (or oversight) was limited to its Prime Day festivities…

Sony Addict reports that some Sony photographers were delighted to find the $550 Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 listed for just $250, or about 55% off. Many photographers undoubtedly jumped on this deal as word spread, and with high hopes given what transpired just a couple of months ago.

A screenshot of the pricing error. Image courtesy Sony Addict.

But those photographers hopes have since been dashed — Amazon has apparently canceled all the orders while notifying buyers that it was an “incorrectly posted price.” Here’s the email customers are receiving, as shared by Sony Addict:

Hello,

We recently discovered that an error caused the following item(s) to be displayed at an incorrect price:

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens (SEL85F18/2)

In this case, we’re unable to offer this item for the incorrectly posted price. Therefore, we’ve canceled your order for this item. We’re sorry about this. At any given time, despite our best efforts, a small number of the millions of items on our site may be mispriced.

To make up for any inconvenience, we’re adding a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card to your account. This balance will automatically apply to your next order at Amazon.com.

We hope to see you again soon.

Sincerely,

Customer Service
Amazon.com

It’s strange that Amazon honored a pricing glitch that potentially lost the company many thousands of dollars for each customer while quickly canceling a less publicized one in which the difference was “only” $300 per lens (though the $20 credit is better than nothing). But Amazon did generate an estimated $7+ billion in sales over the two-day Prime Day event, so the pricing losses (while unusually big) were just a drop in the bucket of Amazon’s profits that day.

‘U SHOOT VIDEOS?’ by Morgen Cooper, a Film We Should All See

'U SHOOT VIDEOS?' by Morgen Cooper, a Film We Should All See

Morgen Cooper tells the true story of Moji, a young shreditor (shooter-director-editor), whose life is saved by his camera. Moji’s story is full of lessons for young creatives.

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Here’s an Apple Ad for iPhone 11 Pro’s Triple-Camera System

Apple just released this 38-second commercial touting the benefits of the new triple-camera system found in the newly announced iPhone 11 Pro.

The iPhone 11 Pro and its triple-camera system.

The ad shows a photo shoot with a dog in a sci-fi-style wind tunnel. We see the different field-of-views that can be captured with the three cameras:

The 2x view captured with the 12MP 52mm f/2 telephoto camera:

The 1x view captured with the 12MP 26mm f/1.8 wide camera:

The 0.5x view captured with the 12MP 13mm f/2.4 ultra-wide camera:

Here are some of the resulting photos seen in the ad:

Apple is also bringing low-light computational photography to the iPhone with a feature that competes against Google’s amazing Night Sight. The new Night mode in iPhone 11 Pro lets you “take photos in low-light like never before,” Apple says.

After turning off the lights in the tunnel and leaving a single lamp on…

…the new iPhone can still capture a usable photo of a dog that wasn’t possible before Night mode:

The new iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max start shipping on September 20th and have base price tags of $1,000 and $1,100.

ProRes RAW to become available in Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe has officially announced that ProRes RAW will be supported natively inside Premiere Pro. This is a big step forward for the mainstream adoption of ProRes RAW as an industry standard. With FCPX ProRes RAW support, and with Avid and Adobe now adopting it, Apple’s latest codec is now set to become a widely adopted … Continued

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A Look at ‘The Falling Soldier,’ One of the Best-Known War Photos

I’m Martin from the All About Street Photography channel, and today I would like to talk about a photo taken by legendary war photographer Robert Capa — a photo that is both very famous and also somewhat controversial.

The photo in question is The Falling Soldier, taken in Spain at the beginning of Spanish Civil War by Capa, co-founder of Magnum Photos. It supposedly shows a Republican soldier at the moment of his death.

If you are not familiar with Capa or simply want to find out more, check out this video I made about this life and photography:

The Falling Soldier is said to be “perhaps the greatest war photograph ever made”. Even though it seems to be a little exaggerated, the story behind this photograph is really interesting.

So what was the controversy about? Capa has been accused of staging the famous photograph. There are a few theories regarding how this was supposedly done. I am going to share the ones I have found but I don’t want to tell you what you should believe. It’s up to you to form your own opinion.

The Spanish Civil War was actually the first war monitored by modern media, and this photo was the first widely published photograph of its kind. It is also considered one of the best combat photographs ever made since it represented a next level of war photography never seen up to that point.

When the picture appeared in the Life magazine in 1937 captioned as “A Spanish soldier the instant he is dropped by a bullet through the head,” readers were pretty shocked since nothing quite like that had been published before. The photo became famous for the way it captured the terrifying sudden death of a person.

When we look at the composition, we see the falling soldier on the left side looking to the empty space on the right side. This creates a visual imbalance which also amplifies the loneliness of the soldier at the time of his death.

Looking at the top of the soldier’s head, we can see his tassel, which was mistaken for skull parts by the caption maker of Life magazine.

No tricks are necessary to take pictures in Spain. You don’t have to pose your camera. The pictures are there, and you just take them. The truth is the best, the best propaganda. –Robert Capa, New York World-Telegram, 9/2/1937

The authenticity of the photo was questioned in Phillip Knightley’s 1975 book on war correspondents, The First Casualty. Capa supposedly told reporter O.D. Gallagher that the photo was staged.

In an interview with New York World Telegraph, Capa talked how he spent time with this particular soldier on the Cordoba front. The soldier was nervous and impatient climbing over the sandbags and dropping back down to the trench because of machine gunfire. Capa followed him during his final attempt and took the shot.

Capa had to wait two more hours with the dead body before he could escape the trench in the dark. In the book Blood and Champion, The Life and Times of Robert Capa, Alex Kershaw discusses unseen footage of Capa during the Spanish Civil War and the man falling down as he runs down a hillside. Perhaps the picture was just exactly what the title describes, just a falling soldier.

Another theory is that Capa asked the soldier to run down the hill and fall and that during this run the soldier was actually shot and killed. If this were the case, Capa would have basically been responsible for his death and may have felt guilty about it.

There are actually two things supporting these theories. The location Capa said he took the photo at was actually different from the one that was later identified as the actual place of the event, and it was further from the front. There also exists another very similar photo taken by Robert Capa with exactly the same composition. Why there is no blood or dead body on the ground? Was that one staged and the first one not? And does it actually matter?

In a radio interview in 1947 about his then-new book Slightly Out of Focus, Capa said:

[…] I was there in the trench with about 20 milicianos, and those 20 milicianos had 20 old rifles, and on the other hill facing us was a Franco machine gun.

So my milicianos were shooting in the direction of that machine gun for five minutes and then stood up and said “Vámonos!” and got out of that trench and began to go after that machine gun. Sure enough, that machine gun opened up and mowed them down. So what was left of them came back and again took potshots in the direction of the machine gun, which certainly was clever enough not to answer, and after five minutes again they said “Vámonos!” and got mowed down again.

This thing repeated itself about three or four times, so the fourth time I just kind of put my camera above my head and even didn’t look and clicked a picture when they moved over the trench. And that was all. I didn’t ever look at my pictures there and I sent my pictures back with a lot of other pictures that I took.

I stayed in Spain for three months, and when I came back I was a very famous photographer because that camera which I hold above my head just caught a man at the moment when he was shot.

To this day, it seems most people still believe the picture is candid and no definitive proof has ever presented to settle the controversy. Personally, I’m more inclined to the Capa’s version of events and that the photo is candid. But maybe that’s just what I want to believe.


About the author: Martin Kaninsky is a photographer, reviewer, and YouTuber based in Prague, Czech Republic. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Kaninsky runs the channel All About Street Photography. You can find more of his work on his website, Instagram, and YouTube channel.

Drone Pilot Uses Custom-Built Racing Drone to Capture Fast-Action Footage of Rollercoaster in Motion

Drone Pilot Uses Custom-Built Racing Drone to Capture Fast-Action Footage of Rollercoaster in Motion

A drone pilot has partnered with a theme park in Sweden to utilize his skills and record one of their rollercoasters. He operated the drone to closely follow the coaster’s car around the tracks for the thrilling footage.

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Atomos drops the price of the Shinobi to $299 USD

Atomos has announced that the Shinobi will now be available for $299 USD, that is a $100 USD price drop. The Shinobi is a 5.2″ on-camera monitor that monitors DCI 4K, UHD 4K, and HD video input. It features a 10-bit FRC IPS screen with a brightness of 1000 cd/m², which makes it suitable for use … Continued

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Canon C500 Mark II at IBC 2019

At IBC 2019 Canon was publically showing their new C500 Mark II for the first time. We caught up with Canon to ask them about how the camera has been percieved and we also got to speak to Director Brett Danton who had an opportunity to use the camera to film an upcoming Jaguar commercial. … Continued

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