Canon announce massive CN20x50 50-1000mm Cine Servo zoom with built-in 1.5x extender

By site editor Dan Chung:

CN20x50-039 FSR

Canon today took the wraps off a phenomenally long range servo cine zoom. The CN20x50 is a whopping 50-1000mm in length natively – which can be extended with the built-in 1.5x teleconvertor to an unbelivable 75-1500mm.

It will come in EF and PL versions and is T5.0 at 50-560mm, dropping to T8.9 at the 1000mm end. Add in the extender and it drops to T7.5 and 75-840mm and T13.35 at the 1500mm end.

The lens has a close focus of 3.5m/11.5 inches and the front element is a giant 136mm – you will likely want a camera with built-in ND filters.

CN20x50-039 Right

At 413.2mm long in EF mount and 405.2mm in PL the CN20x50 it isn’t exactly hand holdable. Weight is a relatively light 6.6 kilograms, given the focal length I would have expected it to be heavier.

This is a lens that is certain to have sports and wildlife shooters drooling. With the servo unit on the side it is well suited to fast paced shooting, although a solid tripod or vehicle mount will be a must.

CN20x50-039 Left

No pricing is given yet but it is not going to be inexpensive given the specialist nature of the lens. It will probably be in the same league as a rather nice new car.

Here are the details from Canon:

Canon introduces new 4K cine-servo, ultra-telephoto lens with world’s longest focal length

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 16 October 2014
– Canon today bolsters its cine servo lens line-up with the new CN20x50 – a high performance, ultra-telephoto zoom lens for sport and nature TV production. Leveraging Canon’s long-standing and unparalleled expertise in lens design, the CN20x50 delivers superb image quality and exceptional creative control, and is the first lens of its type to combine a built-in 1.5x extender, class-leading 20x magnification and a removable servo drive, with a native 50-1000mm focal range that expands to a huge 75-1500mm.

Designed to be a portable solution for broadcast productions using super 35mm cameras – whether HD, UHD or 4K – the CN20x50 is a tool of unprecedented quality, versatility and usability. Featuring a completely removable updated servo drive unit that enables an agile shooting style that’s difficult to achieve with typical cine lenses, the new cine-servo lens helps to meet growing demands for Ultra High Definition (UHD) resolution sport and nature television production.

Versatile and reliable 
With productions today expected to shoot in demanding and unpredictable environments, a huge level of lens flexibility is required. For wildlife television, operators typically work in hostile and sensitive conditions which often necessitate shooting from extremely long distances, while sports productions typically require extremely high resolution for close-to-the-action stadium work. In both situations, operators require fast, reactive positional changes, shooting flexibility and nimble hardware that allow them to respond to changes in the scene.

Weighing just 6.6kg, the CN20x50 is conveniently portable and lightweight and offers an unrivalled focal length and zooming capabilities for its class. It enables sport and documentary crews to capture footage at a distance, while maintaining the highest quality throughout the zoom range. The lens’s huge zoom range also significantly reduces the volume of hardware that crews are required to carry, offering a superb solution for location shoots.

The latest in Canon’s cine-servo lens line-up, the CN20x50 is also user-friendly and robust. The design has been developed to ensure high levels of ruggedness and reliability, even in unforgiving broadcast environments – combining the finest quality optics with a weather-and-shock-proof construction that makes it suitable for use in the most hostile conditions when on location, to the same level as conventional Canon broadcast lenses.

Flexible operability 
Compatible with a wide range of cameras, the CN20x50 also supports communication between lens and camera and will be available in both EF-mount and PL-mount variants. The EF-mount version utilises Canon’s own system, while the PL-mount variant supports Cooke’s /i Technology standard.  Both models feature a 12-pin serial connection for integration with typical broadcast equipment.

The focus ring rotation is 180 degrees, balancing the accuracy required for 4K imaging with the speed needed for broadcast use. In scenarios where every second counts – and operators only have one opportunity to capture a shot – high speed zoom, iris and simple focusing operation mean that even rapidly changing scenes can be captured with ease and accuracy.

The lens’ design supports a range of cinema and broadcast accessories including operational zoom and focus controls, matte boxes and 0.8- and 0.5-type gear module accessories such as follow focus units, to provide a truly versatile solution.

CN20x50 key benefits:
Ultra-telephoto lens with class-leading focal length
Capture every detail in sports and nature TV broadcast
Achieve stunning shots in outstanding 4K quality
Enjoy a wide variety of shooting and expression
Portable and durable with intuitive operation

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Posted on October 16th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K, Lenses | Permalink | Comments (0)

GoPro Hero4 gets a firmware update – improves night lapse shooting

By site editor Dan Chung:

The Hero 3+ Black

The Hero 3+ Black

GoPro’s Hero4 has only just shipped but it hasn’t stopped the company delivering a brand new firmware release today. The most important new features are an automatic shutter option for Night Lapse mode as well as continuous interval for night lapse mode. Additionally GoPro claim that image sharpness is increased in various video modes.

Sadly there is still no sign of the full manual exposure control that many pros have been wishing for. Hopefully GoPro will do this at some point in the future.

You can download the update now from the GoPro site.

Here is the update info from GoPro:

HERO4 Black v01.02.00 new Features:

Adds Automatic shutter option for Night Lapse mode
Adds Continuous interval for Night Lapse mode

Performance Improvements

Increases image sharpness in various video modes
Decreases Time Lapse shutter lag
Optimizes Time Lapse auto exposure performance for 0.5 and 1 second intervals
Decreases thumbnail load time on the LCD Touch BacPac™
Increases file transfer speed from camera to computer

Usability Improvements

Simplifies Default Mode menu
Adds 5 min option to Auto Off
Displays HiLight Tags in thumbnail gallery on the LCD Touch BacPac (3rd Generation only)
Improves swipe and playback controls on the LCD Touch BacPac (3rd Generation only)
Displays the most recent video or photo first during playback on the LCD Touch BacPac

General Improvements + Bug Fixes

Addresses an issue that may prevent pairing with the GoPro App
Addresses an issue that may disable live preview on the GoPro App
Addresses an issue that may cause the camera to appear out of range with the GoPro App
Improves battery level icon accuracy
Addresses an issue that may prevent files from being deleted
Addresses an issue which may cause the camera to automatically power on when connected to a computer
Other improvements and bug fixes

HERO4 Silver v01.02.00 new Features:

Adds Automatic shutter option for Night Lapse mode
Adds Continuous interval for Night Lapse mode

Performance Improvements

Increases image sharpness in various video modes
Decreases Time Lapse shutter lag
Optimizes Time Lapse auto exposure performance for 0.5 and 1 second intervals
Decreases thumbnail load time
Increases file transfer speed from camera to computer

Usability Improvements

Simplifies Default Mode menu
Adds 5 min option to Auto Off
Displays HiLight Tags in thumbnail gallery
Improves swipe and playback controls
Displays the most recent video or photo first during playback

General Improvements + Bug Fixes

Addresses an issue that may prevent pairing with the GoPro App
Addresses an issue that may disable live preview on the GoPro App
Addresses an issue that may cause the camera to appear out of range with the GoPro App
Improves battery level icon accuracy
Addresses an issue that may prevent files from being deleted
Addresses an issue which may cause the camera to automatically power on when connected to a computer
Other improvements and bug fixes

Posted on October 15th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K, GoPro, Timelapse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Production goes social: Movidiam offers new take on online collaboration for filmmakers

By Newsshooter contributor Jonah Kessel

Movidiam: The Promo from Movidiam on Vimeo.

A new social media infused project management platform has opened its digital doors for preregistration. Its called Movidiam and if you’re an independent filmmaker, production company or even brand — I think you have a lot to be excited about.

We’re seeing multiple sites offering creative collaboration project management systems pop up these days, such as and Arc 9. I believe this shows a real hole in the market — a product that’s missing. And based on my work flow which is largely based on email and Google Docs, I see why.

Before you brush this off as “yet another creative collaboration site,” pay close attention to the description above — this is much more than a site to improve workflow. Movidiam is both a social network as well as an interactive project management system made for filmmakers (by filmmakers). Think of it as Vimeo + Linkedin + Facebook + WordPress + Mandy + a project management system.

This system wasn’t made with Steven Spielberg or J.J. Abrahams in mind. Movidiam was created with the much more common 21st century filmmaker in mind: you and me.

“We are living in a connected and mobile world where the traditional agency model is challenged, where remote freelancing is becoming the norm and where the demand for brands to create a constant stream of quality films has dramatically increased,” says co-founder George Olver.

“Movidiam was created to address these challenges by providing a streamlined and collaborative production process from concept to completion.”

So: What is Movidiam, how does it work and what can it do for me?” I had these same questions and while I had seen some talk of the upcoming system at IBC it wasn’t until I sat down with George Olver to take a tour of the preproduction system where I truly got a better understanding of its potential power.

On a the most basic level Movidiam connects content creators, agencies and companies. A brand looking for a filmmaker can search the system’s geobased database and see filmmaker profiles, complete with embedded videos, a free blog custom designed for the site and see the filmmakers credentials, history, awards and collaborations.


Down the line, the metadata of your films, projects and credentials will also be searchable. So a company could put out a brief and have it sent to only people or agencies who are actually qualified. Alternatively, a freelancer, producer or agency would only receive the brief, if that brief meets their set financial quantifications and profesional qualifications.

For all parties involved, this can make posting or responding to a brief much more efficient. Instead of having an enormous list of poorly paid jobs, like we mostly see on Mandy, this could potentially cut some of the bullshit out.


From within a project on the site, one can also search production team members. You might see a video with great lighting but a poor story and want to track down the gaffer. This system connects production team members digitally, much like Facebook or Vimeo’s credits. However, you’ll be able to find out a lot more professional information about those crew members with this system.

This is a quick over view of the social side of Movidiam.

While this is great, it’s the production side of Movidiam which I’m more excited about.


The project management system has many of the tools we really need in a single location, in a clean and simply designed user interface. Things like production timelines, budgets, storyboards, crew locations and contact details are all in one place.

One feature I’m personally interested in comes in the form of revisions. Unfortunately, most of my revisions happen via email. Ill send a draft of a video to an editor and they will send back a long list of time codes with comments or issues. And when you get 500+ emails a day and a working on multiple projects you can really waste a lot of time trying to simply update videos and find the information you need, when you need it.

Movidiam allows editors or clients to view videos and add comments in real time and on specific areas of the video. This might be a comment such as “can we get a different grade on the lamp here” where a user would then see these comments come up in real time and on a specific X/Y coordinate, on the video.

Users can then scroll through or navigate through a video via the comments and simply move directly from one comment point to the next.


Furthermore, if you’re like me and usually have 10-20 projects going on at any given time, this system can give you an overview of all of them. A user can see all of their projects and quickly see at what stage in the process they are all at, how the budget is holding up or where deadlines are across many videos.

This is where I see huge potential for video newsrooms. Potentially, an editor or director of a newsroom of 50 video journalists could see an overview of where all of the projects are, see storyboards, scripts, budgets, deadlines or story ID information which might correspondent to other parts of the newsroom. That editor could see current drafts of each of those projects and without having to send a mass email out to all of those 50 journalists, would be completely up to date on where each project was at and what each employee was doing.

This is a basic outline of what the site aims to do. Its a bit hard to tell what place it could have in the industry, but I see huge potential in it from getting gigs to connecting with other filmmakers to simply having more organized and streamlined productions.

Movidiam will have two main options for users: a free site and a paid subscription. The free account allows users to profile themselves, create portfolios and blogs, be searchable and work on any existing project that they have been invited into. The pay wall unlocks all the production management tools and will be on a subscription basis of $25 a month. Its great to note here that even free users can use paid services, if they are invited by a member who has subscription services. Multiple user accounts, corporate, agency and enterprise group accounts will also be available.

I do think the site will be more powerful with a bigger user base. If there’s more filmmakers on it, it will be a more realistic place for agencies and brands to search find creators. Movidiam is offering two free months of full access to those who preregister for the beta site, so I encourage everyone to sign up here, as more users can actually benefit us all, across the industry.

Jonah M. Kessel is a video journalist with the New York Times. He contributed to a Pulitzer Prize winning series and been awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Justice and Human Rights. See more of his work at or follow him on Twitter here.

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Posted on October 14th, 2014 by Jonah Kessel | Category: Journalism, Video editing | Permalink | Comments (0)

Go Creative Show: Audio for picture master class

By site editor Dan Chung:

go creative audio

The latest Go Creative Show covers the often overlooked but very important subject of mixing audio for picture. Host Ben Consoli talks to audio engineer Matt Russell about his work and the techniques he uses. They discuss EQ techniques, ducking, how to balance voice and music together, fixing common audio problems, and more.

If you ever have to edit your own audio then click below to listen in:

Posted on October 13th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Audio, Go Creative show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2014 video: iFootage show motion control head and slider with wireless remote, lightweight GoPro gimbal and carbon fibre tripods

By site editor Dan Chung:

We’ve finally caught up with all the videos we shot at IBC last month in Amsterdam. Hong Kong manufacturer iFootage has to win the award for interviewee with the best name and possibly the most apt: Dark Horse (many Chinese get to choose their own English names, which leads to some unexpected ones). Although many people won’t be too familiar with the brand they have rapidly gained a following in Asia for making the Shark S1 slider which we previously featured.

At IBC the company were showing several new products. First was a refined version of the motion control head they showed as a prototype at NAB. It attached to the Shark slider and is expected to cost around $2200 US when it ships towards the end of the year. It now seems much more like a real product and the moves we filmed with it were quite smooth. The wireless remote control is well made out of aluminium and looks like it would stand professional use.

As well as the motion control head there is also a motor unit for the slider that can be set to run in a cycle, from one end to the other and then back again. This is similar in concept to other units from Kessler and Edelkrone which can be left running for the duration of a shoot. Obviously, if you are doing an interview it’s important for the slider to run as quietly as possible. We couldn’t tell on the busy show floor just how silently this one runs – hopefully we can test that when it ships. Unlike the Kessler, Redrockmicro or Konova offerings the iFootage sadly does not have a parallax adjustment.

Me modeling the new iFootage Hummingbird GoPro brushless gimbal mounted to a helmet

Me modeling the new iFootage GoPro brushless gimbal mounted to a helmet

Also on show was a cute Hummingbird two-axis gimbal for the GoPro Hero. There were plenty of these around at the show but the iFootage one was made of plastic and therefore much smaller and lighter than anything else we saw. It runs on a regular GoPro Hero3 battery and uniquely has a regular GoPro mount so it can attach to any regular GoPro accessory mount. This means it can be used on helmet mounts, car mounts, selfie sticks etc without the need for additional gear or weight. Very clever. My only wish is that it was a three-axis device rather than two.

Lastly, they were showing new heavy duty carbon fibre tripods. These are similar to designs from Miller, Manfrotto or Gitzo, but with the addition of a removable leg brace that adds stability if needed.

Overall the fit and finish of iFootage gear seems first rate and a notch above most other Chinese gear makers. To find out more check out the iFootage website.

If you want to see just what the original Shark S1 is capable of then check out the slides in this recent video from Beijing, in which Clinton Harn used iFootage gear to shoot for DP Rodney Charters:

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Posted on October 11th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: IBC show, SIiders, Timelapse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Larry Becker of Kelby One reviews the Canon 7D mkII for B+H Photo – AF speed adjust for video demonstrated

By site editor Dan Chung:

The 7D mkII may not be much of a revolution in video image quality – by all accounts it is very similar to its sister the 5D mkII but with a smaller sensor. But as I previously highlighted, the one new feature that the camera has that may turn out to be a significant technological advance is the new speed adjustable video autofocus system. Essentially the same Dual-Pixel CMOS AF system found in the 70D and optionally on the C100 and C300, Canon engineers have added the ability to control how fast the AF adjusts to a change in focus point. You can select a slower, more graceful focus pull, or a faster one to get you there in a hurry.



You can see how this works in the video review by Larry Becker of Kelby One for B+H. About half way through he shows a clip of the system working. Although the clip isn’t very long it does amply demonstrate the potential. Becker does point out that the 7D mkII doesn’t have the focus via touch screen that is so useful on the 70D. This is a real shame because changing the focus point on the 7D mkII requires toggling with buttons – far less usable than touch focus. Without the touchscreen I don’t think the full potential of the speed adjustable focus can be realised. You can I believe achieve something similar using Canon’s remote software connected on tablet or computer connected via USB – but this is nowhere near as convenient. So for the 7D mkII this is an opportunity missed.

The Canon 7D mkII with 18-135mm STM lens

The Canon 7D mkII with 18-135mm STM lens

Still, what is significant to me is that Canon clearly have this technology at their fingertips and, if they choose, they can put it into their next generation of Cinema EOS cameras. They have been long-time leaders in the field of AF technology and their EOS line of lenses are better suited to the task of video AF than other manufacturers. Their STM line of quieter, smoother lenses has also been increased lately, and non STM lenses like the 35mm f2 L IS are also getting quieter. I think we can expect to see quieter, smoother professional lenses at some point soon.

Sony’s FS7 has all the latest 4K technology and great ergonomics – but I don’t expect the autofocus system to rival the C300. Autofocus is the one area Canon could comfortably maintain an advantage. Lets see what next year brings.

Edit: below is a video from Canon that is shot using the 7D mkII and the speed adjustable AF:

Posted on October 9th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Canon 7D mkII | Permalink | Comments (0)

Video advice from top DPs Janusz Kaminski, Phedon Papamichael, ASC and Wally Pfister, ASC on offer from Advanced Filmaking

By site editor Dan Chung:

Advanced Filmmaking Trailer from ADVANCED FILMMAKING on Vimeo.

There are plenty of options for online filmmaking training these days. Several top DPs including Shane Hurlbut and Vincent Laforet have run successful workshops tours and online courses.

Now top industry figures Janusz Kaminski, Phedon Papamichael, ASC and Wally Pfister, ASC have come together to form a new online offering called Advanced Filmmaking. It comprises more than twelve hours of lectures and interviews that offer practical advice for aspiring cinematographers.

Oscar winner Pfister is perhaps best know for his work on with Christopher Nolan on the Batman series of films, Memento and Inception.

Kaminski was the cinematographer for Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Lincoln, War Horse, Jurassic Park, Munich, Minority Report, Catch me if you can and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Papamichael’s at the beginning of his feature career worked for a DOP for Roger Corman. Lensing seven of his films within two years. His later works include Nebraska, The Monuments Men, The Descendants, The Ides of March and W.

The training also includes interviews and advice from other well known people within the industry. Have a look at the clip from Wim Wenders.

The course is not intended as a replacement for going to film school. In their own publicity Advanced Filmmaking describe themselves as “An invaluable complement to traditional cinematography education, these practical tools provide fascinating insight into how three top pros think about their work, their careers, their tools and their collaborators in the real world of filmmaking.”

There are currently several videos from Advanced Filmmaking available to rent now on Vimeo on Demand.

To learn more go to

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Posted on October 9th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Training | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blackmagic Design adds in-camera media formatting to the Pocket Cinema Camera and original BMCC

By site editor Dan Chung:

bmcc 40mm 11-16

Owners of Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera and original BMCC are likely to be very happy today. At long last the company have added support for in-camera formatting of media to their Pocket Cinema Camera and original Cinema Camera with the launch of their latest 1.9.7 camera utility.

Formatting a SD card in the BMPCC

Formatting a SD card in the BMPCC

The function was the remaining key feature that many users considered as essential. By allowing in-camera formatting of SD cards in the BMPCC and SSD drives in the original Cinema Camera the update brings them into line with the newer 4K Production Camera.

Here is the from the Blackmagic Design website:

About Blackmagic Camera Utility:

This software package allows you to update your Blackmagic Camera to the latest software release for new features, bug fixes and other enhancements.

Please ensure that your camera is plugged into mains power before running the software update.

What’s new in Blackmagic Camera Utility 1.9.7
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
• Adds in-camera SD card formatting support
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
• Adds in-camera SSD formatting support
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
• Improves in-camera formatting support
Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K
• No changes
Blackmagic URSA
• No changes
Blackmagic Studio Camera
• No changes

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Blackmagic design | Permalink | Comments (0)

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