Tripping the light fantastic – Matt Allard rounds up the best new light products on show at Inter BEE

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Testing the BB&S Flyer

Testing the BB&S Flyer

Japanese distributor KOTO were at the Inter BEE show in Tokyo with the new BB&S Flyer portable boom pole operated lighting solution at InterBee. Released a few months ago I hadn’t actually seen one until now so was keen to check out how it worked and performed. The concept is a portable light that can illuminate your subject from above. The LED light head is attached to a boom so an operator can hold it in much the same way as an audio boom pole. It was reasonably light weight but with the boom extended you still need to have a reasonable amount of strength and fitness to hold it for sustained periods of time. The FLYER kit consists of a LED lamp head, FlyBall diffuser, V-lock battery belt pack , flyer remote control, 5 meter remote cable and a clamp. The whole kit comes in a nice hard case for easy transportation.

The Flyball on the Flyer

The Flyball on the Flyer

With the Flyball diffuser it produced a beautifully soft light which is a great alternative to the China ball solutions that are popular in film and television. The flyer lamp head features a bi-colour LED system where the colour temperature can be adjusted between 3000k to 5800k.

The Flyer can run from a V-lock belt pack

The Flyer can run from a V-lock belt pack

The light also has the ability to be dimmed up or down. As well as the V-lock battery plate it can also be powered off an Anton Bauer gold mount or run from mains power. The Flyer looks to be a great solution compared to DIY kits that some shooters have constructed themselves over the years to get a similar result.

Lighthouse LED strips

Lighthouse LED strips

Lighthouse is a Hong Kong based lighting company and they were showing their FS25 Flexible Strip LED lights. Designed originally for stage use these kinds of lights have already become popular in music video and drama shoots. As they improve I can also see them being used by real world shooters to create interesting lighting effects. Each strip is lightweight and can be up to 6m in length. They are completely flexible and the strip is made out of silicon so they can be mounted on any surface whether it is flat, curved, concave or convex. The strip lights are also IP66 rated which means they are also completely waterproof. The colour of the some of the LEDs was also controllable but it didn’t appear that this was terribly accurate.

The Docast LSA-H high power LED

The Docast LSA-H high power LED

Fuji Lights were showing an interesting high powered LED light called the Docast LSA-H. It has a colour temperature of 5000K, has a maximum output of 18,800lm and consumes 180W. The physical dimensions of the light head are very small considering the output. At only 14cm wide, 15cm high and 10cm deep in weighs in at just 2.2kg. You can dim the light from 100% to 10% and it is also AC & DC powered.

The Docast needs a large ballast

The Docast needs a large ballast

The catch is that even though the head itself is small you still have to run it from a ballast box that larger than the light itself. The light can be run off 100-240V AC or 12-17V DC. Soft boxes and other diffusion devices are also available.

Fuji Lights were also showing a prototype of their take on the flexible LED light. Flexible LED from Korean company Alladin were a hit at IBC in Amsterdam earlier in the year where we awarded them a ’Best in Show’ award. Now it seems other manufacturers are keen to try their hand at the new lighting concept and strangely Fuji Lights also had the Aladdin range on display at their booth alongside their own version.

Looks familiar? Fuji lights flexible LED panel

Looks familiar? Fuji lights flexible LED panel

The Fuji flexible LED light was only being shown in a tungsten version, but I’m guessing daylight or bi-color versions are in the works. They had three different sizes on display a 30cm x 30cm, 30cm x 15cm and a 15cm x 15cm. Like the Aladdin version these are also water proof and fully dimmable. Fuji Lights claim a high CRI value of 95 for greater colour accuracy. What I saw was still very much at the prototype stage so there is no information yet about pricing or availability

The Aurora lite bank

The Aurora light bank

Aurora Lite banks is a Korean company that was established in 1993. They started off making a unique softbox called the Octabox which is used by a lot of professional photographers today. Since then they have ventured into flash, continuous lighting and LED lights for broadcast. What caught my eye were their Lite Bank range of opaque back-lit LED light panels. I found these lights produced a very even spread of beautiful soft light.

To do this they use daylight balanced LED bulbs that are placed at a constant distance behind the face of the panel. This produces a soft lighting source without the usual striped shadow patterns associated with LEDs. They produce minimal heat, are flicker free and have a CRI over 90. A tungsten version is also available upon request. These are designed mainly for studio use and are not as portable as most other LEDs. Being quite big and heavy they are more suited to fixed lighting installations. Prices are competitive, ranging from around $900US up to about $2000US.

There are 6 models available:

BLP-612-S 250W 60cmx 120cm (13.0Kg)
BLP612, 250W 60cmx120cm (12.0Kg)
BLP312 120W 30cmx120cm (10.5Kg)
BLP-69 180W 60cmx90cm (11.0Kg)
BLP66 120W 60cmx60cm (10.0Kg)
BLP 36 60W 30cmx60cm (7.0Kg)

The edge lit panel is slim

The edge lit panel is slim

They also had a nice range called the Aurora Edge-Lit LED light panel, the ELP-90, ELP-90S and ELP-60. These are ultra thin at just 1.5cm and use a acrylic light guide board that has laser etched grooves across the light. It provides a very soft, even lighting source. The Aurora LED panel is a much more portable solution than the Aurora Lite Bank. These can be fixed onto the ceiling, wall, and floor, or can mounted onto a light stand via a tilting bracket Prices range from around $900US up to $1500US.

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Posted on November 23rd, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: Lighting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inter BEE 2014: Kowa show 12mm f1.8 and 25mm f1.8 MFT primes lenses for cine users

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Kowa may not be a household name but they have been making high quality lenses since 1954. Last year at Inter BEE in Tokyo we spoke to the company about the Prominar line of Micro 4/3 lenses they were developing for stills and cine shooters. This year they released their MFT 8.5mm f2.8 and were back at the show with a series of updates to other prototypes we previously saw.

Joining the 8.5mm are near final versions of two new lenses in the range – a 12mm F1.8 and 25mm F1.8. The Prominar lenses feature extra-low dispersion glass that greatly reduces chromatic aberration. They feature a 9 blade aperture that provides circular bokeh at all f-stops. Another nice thing for video use is they have a dual link iris system that allows you to choose either silent or click aperture adjustments.  The lenses seem very well built and feature a very solid aluminium housing. If you are an owner of a GH4 or BMPCC then they are definitely worth checking out. The 12mm and 25mm will be available in February next year and should retail for under $1000US each. The 8.5mm F2.8 is available now for around $1000US.

Posted on November 23rd, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: Interbee, Lenses | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inter Bee 2014: NEC create 2/3 inch cameras to see in the dark – we compare to a Sony a7S

By technical editor Matt Allard:

The Sony a7S may well be the current large sensor low light king – but what if you need a more conventional broadcast camera for live TV in very low light environments?

At Inter BEE in Japan this week NEC were showing two cameras to do just that. The NC-H1200P and NC-H1200 ultra-high-sensitivity broadcast cameras both use 2/3” CMOS sensors to record HD images. Targeted specifically at TV broadcasters the NC-H1200P looks like a traditional broadcast camera, while the NC-H1200 is a smaller block unit that is designed specifically to be left unattended or for use on a helicopter.


The NEC NC-H1200

They are both equipped with image sharpening technology that NEC call CLEAR VIEW. This helps to reduce noise and improve the signal to noise ratio of lowlight scenes. They also features a haze reducing function to further improve the visibility at a distance.

Both cameras have a sensitivity in the near infrared region when using a “IR-PASS function”. Being designed for live broadcast environments they can be controlled with a FAW (automatic white balance function) and ASC (automatic sensitivity features) to support 24-hour continuous monitoring so no adjustments are required either day or night.

NC-H1200P has a traditional ENG camera design

NC-H1200P has a traditional ENG camera design

I did a very quick and highly un-scientific video sample with the NC-H1200P – filming a very dark scene behind black curtains set up on the NEC booth. I then pointed my own a7S at the same scene and ramped up the ISO to get a similar image. I would never expect a 2/3″ chip to be as good in low light as the a7S, but none the less it is incredible to see such a small sized sensor achieve these results – something previously impossible with any other 2/3 inch news camera I’ve used. For broadcasters who are used to struggling with the low light capabilities of 2/3″ ENG cameras at big sports games and live events there is now an option for much better low light performance.

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Posted on November 22nd, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: Interbee | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inter BEE 2014: Flowcine Puppeteer makes tilting your brushless gimbal easier

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Flowcine, makers of the Gravity One gimbal and Serene arm, were at Inter BEE in Tokyo today showing their latest gadget for brushless gimbal operators using Easyrigs. The Puppeteer works with the popular Freefly MoVI, DJI Ronin, Defy and other gimbals to allow a single operator to make smoother tilts upwards and downwards. Essentially an arced rail on runners it is a purely mechanical solution and is quite elegant in its simplicity. It should produce a more fluid movement than can be achieved with the toggle or joystick arrangement on the gimbal’s handgrip.

The version at the show is still a prototype and the finished version will be slightly smaller. It is made of titanium to keep it as light as possible. Pricing isn’t finalised but is expected to be around 450 Euro.

Check out the video to get a better idea of how it works.

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: Brushless gimbals, Interbee | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inter BEE 2014: JVC show 4K Super35 sensor GY-LS300 with MFT mount for $4450

By technical editor Matt Allard in Tokyo:

At the Inter BEE show in Tokyo JVC is showing their new range of affordable 4K cameras. The most interesting is the GY-LS300 with a Super 35mm sensor.

Curiously it has an active Micro 4/3 mount and is supplied body only, without a lens. Almost all lenses made for Micro 4/3 aren’t designed to cover a Super 35mm sized sensor so this choice at first seems to be a strange one. JVC reps told me that the reason for having a M 4/3 mount on a Super 35mm sensor is for versatility.  There are a large selection of lenses that can be adapted to MFT mount because the flange distance between the sensor and the mount is so short. PL mount, C mount, Nikon and Canon lenses can all be fitted with optional adapters. The JGY-LS300 JVC has a technology called Variable Scan Mapping. It involves some cropping and scaling of the sensor depending on what size image the lens is made to cover and what resolution your working in. This way it can utilise not only 4/3 MFT lenses but older Super 16mm lenses as well (although probably only in HD and not 4K).


JVC couldn’t tell me exactly what sensitivity this sensor was rated at but hinted it should be around 640 ISO and on par with competitors in the same price range. With SDI and HDMI outputs and built-in ND filters it certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

The GY-LS300 will record 4K UHD at frame rates of 24,25 and 30P in a H264 .MOV format at 150Mb/s. In HD you can record 50Mb/s in 4:2:2 at up to 60P in .MOV. AVCHD is also available in the camera.

This camcorder supports dual codec recording allowing you to capture both .MOV and AVCHD simultaneously to its dual SDHC/SDXC media card slots. It incorporates 3G-SDI and HDMI outputs and supports 4K output over the HDMI out. This should make it compatible with the new Atomos Shogun.

Gamma settings where harder to ascertain. The camera I saw only seemed to have two picture profiles – Standard and Cinema. Hopefully a Log type setting will be available when the camera ships.

The  JVC GY-LS300

The JVC GY-LS300

You can connect the GY-LS300 directly to a 4K Ultra HD monitor with a single HDMI cable and view the camera’s live 4K signal. You can also playback recorded files directly from the camera. In addition, the GY-LS300 down converts UHD signals to standard HD for output through the built-in SDI or HDMI connectors.

One key strength of the GY-LS300 is that it supports wireless streaming to a variety of streaming services like UStream and Youtube, while simultaneously recording HD. It also supports IP network remote control, remote viewing, metadata editing, and FTP transfer of clips across a network using optional network connections and adapters.

The camcorder features both a flip out 3.5 LCD viewscreen and flip up EVF at the rear. A detachable handle provides two XLR audio inputs, each with phantom power.

From the quick play I had with it on the show floor I was impressed by just how light it was as well as the quality of the flip out LCD screen and the rear viewfinder. I don’t yet know how good the image quality and so can’t really judge it.

The camera is due to ship in March 2015 and can be pre-ordered at B+H for $4450 US. At the price the GY-LS300 will be an interesting camera with a useful combination of features – lets wait and see what it is really capable of.

JVC were also showing the GY-HM200 which has the same back end and including the same recording capabilities and functionality as the GY-LS300. Instead of a Super 35mm sensor it features a 1/2.33” CMOS Sensor and a fixed 12x zoom lens that provides a 35mm equivalent focal range of 29.5 to 354mm (with a 24x dynamic zoom mode available when recording HD video).

JVC's PL mount 4K camera prototype

JVC’s PL mount 4K camera prototype

The other camera of note that was on display was a prototype 4K Super35mm sensor camera with a PL mount. While specifications aren’t yet available JVC told me that the camera will likely record in a better codec than the GY-LS300 and have a street price under $10,000.

The GY-LS300 camcorder features:

Micro Four Thirds System Lens Mount
Variable Scan Mapping maintains native angle of view for a variety of lenses including Super 35, MFT, and Super 16. Adapters available for PL and EF mount
4K Ultra HD recording (150 Mbps, 24p/30p) to SDXC (UHS-I Speed class3) card
4:2:2 Full HD recording at 50Mbps (24p-60p)
3 position ND filter (1/4, 1/16 and 1/64)
HD-SDI (3G) and HDMI outputs (4K output via HDMI only)
2-channel XLR audio inputs with phantom power
Shotgun microphone included
Dual SDHC/SDXC slots enable Dual, Backup and Continuous recording
JVC streaming engine compatible with USTREAM, Zixi, and Wowza Streaming Engine
IP Network Remote Control, Remote Viewing, Metadata editing, FTP clips
3.5-inch color LCD display (920K pixel) with smart focus assist function
0.24-inch color viewfinder (1.56M pixel) with smart focus assist function
Wired remote control supported
10 user button assignable functions
Includes handle unit, SSL-JVC50 7.4V battery, AC adapter, and shotgun microphone

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Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, Interbee, JVC | Permalink | Comments (0)

DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter test footage from SCP aerials

By site editor Dan Chung:

Hong Kong based SCP aerials have been lucky enough to be test flying the new DJI Inspire 1 and produce some stunning footage from the new machine. The company should be no strangers to Newsshooter readers as we previously featured their work for UK broadcaster ITN at the World’s largest soccer academy.

SCP are a DJI production partner and as a result got a chance to get their hands on the Inspire 1 before launch. Having been able to chalk up some serious airtime with the quadcopter we were keen to hear about their experiences.

This is what SCP aerial’s Richard Kimber had to say:

The SCP Aerials team had been looking forward to this for a long time;  a lightweight, highly portable, 4K-capable UAV filming platform. Could the DJI Inspire 1 be the ultimate solution for our many clients who want 4K footage in remote locations around Asia?

Our official production partners DJI sent us a test model a month ago, ahead of the official global launch on November 12th.  The key question for us was whether it lives up to all the hype that was spreading among the growing aerial filming community. 

When we first took it out of the box we couldn’t help but get over-excited; with its sculpted, streamlined black and white design, this aircraft looks like a something from a futuristic sci-fi movie. The other obvious selling point was how straightforward the set-up is. Everything is integrated, from HD transmission to gimbal to 4K camera. No need for complex cabling, no need for separate transmitter units, and simple, single battery units for the aircraft and controllers that are easy to recharge and easy to travel with. 

At around fifteen minutes, the flight time is longer than most of the other aircraft rigs on the market right now, and allows for plenty of time to set up your shot before you need to start recording. All the in-camera settings are controlled through the pilot and gimbal controllers’ iPad minis, and it is easy to change options mid flight. 

The Inspire 1 on location in Hong Kong

The Inspire 1 on location in Hong Kong

But enough of the tech spec, what is it like once it’s in the air? Our pilots say it flies like a dream and is more responsive than any of its predecessors. It is however still a bit light for flying in light wind and does get buffeted around more than the larger DJI S1000. The Sony EXMOR CMOS looks great in 4K mode and is noticeably better than an equivalent 1920/1080 HD offering, although after our initial tests the feedback from our higher-end clients is that it doesn’t quite match up to the 4K colour palette of a Panasonic GH4.

For most of the prosumer base that is interested in the Inspire 1 this may not be an issue, and for sheer convenience, portability and speed of set-up the Inspire 1 will absolutely become a full-time member of the SCP Aerials armoury, particularly for our many adventure sport shoots.

You can find out more about SCP Aerials and their work at

Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K, Drones | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sony and Metabones issue new firmware relating to FS7 issues (UPDATED)

By site editor Dan Chung:

The Metabones Speedbooster Ultra on the FS7

The Metabones Speedbooster Ultra on the FS7

Both Sony and Metabones released new firmware today which are designed to improve the performance of the FS7.

The FS7 receives firmware update v1.01 which cryptically has the following features and improvements:

1.) XDCA-FS7 Support
Activates the support of the optional extension box XDCA-FS7. A PXW-FS7 which has V1.00 installed cannot use the XDCA-FS7.

2.) Operation Stability Improvements
Overall operation performance has been improved.

I don’t have my FS7 with me this week and so will have to wait to find out exactly what this does. (UPDATE: Matt Allard at the Inter BEE show in Japan has spoken to Sony and they say the new firmware doesn’t fix the lens related problems I’ve been writing about).

Metabones have issued firmware 0.38 for their EF to E-mount Speedbooster Ultra and 0.37 for their Mark IV Smart adapter. The 0.38 update specifically refers to the FS7 only mentions that it addresses misreported aperture issues. I hope this firmware also deals with the issues I detailed in this post – but right now I can’t test it.

This is what the Metabones site states:

Name: Firmware update V0.38 for EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA
Release date: 20 Nov 2014
Benefits and improvements: Due to FS7 can not support aperture faster than f/1.0, lenses slower than f/1.4 report boosted aperture to camera body; lenses at or faster than f/1.4 report original aperture to camera body, in order to address a FS7 compatibility issue.

Name: Firmware update V0.37 for EF-E Smart AdapterTM MARK IV
Release date: 20 Nov 2014
Benefits and improvements: Improves stability with some lenses

If you own the FS7 and the Metabones adapter and have had a chance to test this I would love to hear from you.

Our technical editor Matt Allard spoke to Sony reps at the Inter BEE show in Tokyo and they told him that as far as they were aware the latest firmware isn’t designed to resolve the iris issues. This appears to be confirmed by our readers who have performed firmware upgrades on both the camera and their Metabones adapters.

Reader Thomas Frischhut has sent us this information:

“Got my FS7 and the Metabones EF to E-mount mkIV adapter yesterday. Upgraded the new firmware on camera to v1.01 and on the Metabones to the latest… but nothing got better. Both the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 and Canon 24-105mm f4 still have the same aperture problems (flashing when opening up towards maximum aperture).”

We also heard on Twitter from Guy Thatcher of He told us this:

“Just done updates on camera and Metabones Mk IV. Still same issues – blades opening all way. Tried both Sigma & Canon lenses.

Going to try some more lenses – wasn’t happy at all with Sigma (was older 50mm not Art). Advanced mode still unusable.

Tested with 8 lenses now and same. Tried 2 different MkIV adapters. Can’t speak for Speedbooster as all out. If you are very slow and careful you can avoid skipping apertures but it’s hard. Bolted on Mk I Metabones and night/day difference.”

However npfilms in the comments below had a slightly different experience with the Metabones upgrade:

“Thank you for posting! Just finished the update and in my quick tests using both the Metabones Speedbooster Ultra and Mark IV my sigma 50 1.4 is very responsive (which definitely was not previously) in closing and opening the iris. Much like I would have expected it to work originally. So yes, positive experience with the Metabones updates. At this point I’m not sure what bugs the Sony firmware addresses as my biggest concern I’ve had still remains and that is the histogram/video signal disappearing in 4k 60fps mode (which won’t display in that mode at all) and not returning unless I switch to 1080 24fps enable and move into 4k 24fps again from there. sort of ridiculous and frustrating.”

Also below Art Chong makes a very interesting point about how the change in the way the Metabones firmware update reports aperture values could be very confusing:

“Wait.. am I understanding this right? If I use an f/2.0 lens, the Speedbooster will report f/1.4 and if I use an f/1.4 lens, it will report f/1.4. So now I have two lenses reporting the same aperture even though they’re different? Oh the nightmares this will cause.

This is highly plausible if you have a ZE 25mm f2.0 and a ZE 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4 or 85mm f1.4. Same problem when mixing f2.8 zooms with f1.4 primes. Better if they would just report original aperture across the entire range. At least the exposure compensation that you have to do in your head is consistent. The lens is the lens, you just boost the iso/gain in your head instead.”

So to sum up. It seems clear the FS7 firmware update does nothing to fix the iris and waveform issues. The Metabones firmware update is having some effect but it doesn’t appear consistent. Please keep the comments coming.

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Posted on November 21st, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Sony FS7 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Sony launch a7 II – world’s first full-frame camera with 5-axis image stabilisation system (Updated)

By site editor Dan Chung:

The Sony a7 II

The Sony a7 II

a7 II

Sony today announced the second generation of the a7 camera line. The 24.3 million pixel a7 II looks like a direct replacement for the original a7 – at this point there is no word on replacements for the video friendly a7S or the a7R high resolution stills camera.



The a7 II’s showcase feature is the brand new 5-axis sensor shift image stabilisation system. Similar to the system in the Olympus EM5 micro four-thirds camera, the a7 II has a sensor that moves to compensate for different kinds of camera shake. Check out the video below to see how it works:

It would appear that one catch is that you need to use Sony’s own lenses to benefit from the system – third party lenses with adapters won’t work with it from what we can tell (Edit – I’ve been told by multiple sources that you will get stabilisation with third party lenses but that you have to tell the camera the focal length in the menu. How this works with zooms will be interesting). It will be interesting to see how lens adapters like the Metabones EF to E-mount Smart adapter that emulate Sony lenses will be handled (A comment below states that EF lenses can be used with the stabilisation system as long as the in lens IS is turned off).

Judging from Sony’s video it appears the stabilisation system also works in video mode – something many have speculated was going to happen at some point.


The other video features of this camera to improved from the original a7 – it gains S-log 2 and Cine gammas but there is no 4K output on the spec sheet, just a clean 1080/60p/60i/24p HDMI out in YCbCr 4:2:2 8bit/RGB 8bit. The high megapixel sensor may mean that this camera also suffers from aliasing and moire like the original a7 – we will have to wait and see. It does however record the XAVC-S in line with all the latest Sony models.

Frame rates appear to limited to 60fps and not the 120 fps that the a7S offers. Videographers may have to wait for a video optimised a7S II before jumping in.

Autofocus speed for stills is improved greatly, but for now there is no word on the video AF performance.

The body shape has had minor updates but the record button remains in the wrong place

The body shape has had minor updates but the record button remains in the wrong place

The camera body shape is also very similar but slightly bigger (presumably to accommodate the sensor-shift system). The handgrip is bigger and the still shutter button has been repositioned onto the top of the grip (where is should always have been). The lens mount is also said to be strengthened – something that Sony already did on the a7S compared to the a7R and original a7.

The HDMI port has moved to a position next to the audio jacks

The HDMI port has moved to a position next to the audio jacks

The micro HDMI port has been relocated so it now sits next to the headphone and mic jacks. This may cause some headaches for designers of cages and third party rigs.

It also has a different ‘crackle’ finish compared to the smooth coating of the original. Sadly the poorly positioned video button appears to be in the same place as the original a7 – hopefully you’ll be able to customise the main shutter button to trigger video but don’t hold your breath.

We will update this story as the day progresses.

Full specs in English are now available on the Sony website.

Posted on November 20th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Sony A7 | Permalink | Comments (3)

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