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Zacuto show off their latest Recoil gear in interview with Adorama Pro – new C300 LCD pack mount shown

By site editor Dan Chung:

At the NAB show earlier in the year we interviewed Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn about their upcoming new Recoil rigs. These are an evolution of the original Recoil shoulder mounting system and follow the same principles of trying to achieve good balance on the shoulder whatever the size of your camera.

This week Adorama Pro caught up with the pair to talk about the latest prototype versions and also look at some totally new accessories. I especially like how the VCT base has evolved into something even more low profile than the prototype we saw at NAB. The new Axis EVF mount that attaches to the top handle is also a great idea and does away with the need for more complex EVF arms that are commonplace at the moment.

Of interest to Canon C300 and 500 users will be their updated mounting solution for the C300 LCD backpack. They claim it is has much less play than the original and has a simplified design.

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Posted on August 27th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera support systems, Canon C300, Canon C500 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Metabones finally release Canon EF to Micro 4/3 active mount adapter – fits GH4

By site editor Dan Chung:

The new Metabones Canon EF to M4/3 adapter

The new Metabones Canon EF to M4/3 adapter

Metabones have finally released what has to be the most eagerly awaited lens adapter of recent times. The new Canon EF to Micro 4/3 active adapter has a 0.71x magnification factor, allows full control of iris electronically from the camera body and increases maximum aperture by one stop. Like the NEX version of the adapter there is a basic AF function but it is not as quick as a native m4/3 lens. Image stabilisation is supported which makes this adapter a very usable option for run and gun shooting. The adapter is available to purchase now for $599 from the Metabones website. For more details about the convertor head over to EOSHD.com.

Here are the details from Metabones:

Increase maximum aperture by 1 stop.
Increase MTF.
Makes lens 0.71x wider.
Build-in electronics to control lens aperture.
The lens aperture is set by the controls on the camera body.
Powered by camera body. no external power source required. (also accept 3rd party external power supply via MicroUSB socket)
High performance 32-bit processor and efficient switched-mode power supply.
The tripod foot is detachable and compatible with Arca Swiss, Markins and Photo Clam ball heads.
Optics designed by Caldwell Photographic in the USA (patent pending)

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Posted on August 27th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Lenses, Panasonic cameras, Panasonic GH2, Panasonic GH3, Panasonic GH4 | Permalink | Comments (0)

ARRI Amira (sort of) goes 4K – will be able to record UHD ProRes files internally

By site editor Dan Chung:

The ARRI AMIRA

The ARRI AMIRA

ARRI have long claimed that 4K is unnecessary to create gorgeous cinematic quality with their Alexa cameras. The argument goes that 4K capture does not necessarily add to the cinema going experience and that moviegoers can’t see the extra resolution unless sitting very close to the screen. Accurate colour, natural skin tones, wide dynamic range and the lack of visible digital artifacts are seen as being paramount. In addition ARRI claim that their CMOS sensor in the Alexa upscales very well in post production if 4K is required as the final output. Certainly there have been few complaints from audiences about the image qualities of big Hollywood movies like Gravity or Skyfall – so I would tend to agree with ARRI’s position.

So it comes as a bit of a shock to discover that ARRI have unveiled a 4K upgrade to the popular AMIRA – the Alexa’s smaller sister. It will now be able to record the 3840 x 2160 UHD variant of 4K direct to in-camera CFast cards in Apple ProRes. This is NOT a sensor upgrade though – the original sensor is still in the camera. Instead the AMIRA will up-sample the image to 4K in camera in real time and record it.

The concept of upscaling in-camera isn’t new – Panasonic used to do up-scaling in some of their broadcast cameras like the venerable HDX900. The difference here is that because the quality of sensor pixels on the ARRI chip are so good that the final output should compare well in terms of resolution with ‘genuine’ 4K cameras like Sony’s F55 or Canon’s C500. Just how well we hope to find out in the coming days.

Prospective AMIRA customers may be reassured that the camera is future proof

Prospective AMIRA customers may be reassured that the camera is future proof

Why have ARRI done this? The short answer is that it is in response to customer requests. Even though there are currently few ways to watch 4K, many current and prospective owners of the AMIRA are concerned that they don’t invest in soon to be redundant technology. Whatever the truth about 2K or 3.5K vs 4K there will be clients who buy into the hype and start demanding 4K files. The AMIRA is aimed at TV, documentary and commercial productions that may not have the luxury of time for upressing during post production so to me it makes sense to offer it in-camera. By offering this upgrade ARRI hope to make AMIRA more future proof.

The Alexa doesn’t get this upgrade for now because ARRI believe upscale during post production will remain the norm if 4K is required in the movie world.

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Frame rates for AMIRA 4K recording will go up to 60fps and the upgrade will come as a software license to be available to buy by the end of 2014. All the hardware required for the upgrade is already in the camera – although existing cameras will require a sensor calibration too. Dynamic range, colour and the cinematic look of the AMIRA images should remain unchanged.

The recording and output options for the AMIRA

The recording and output options for the AMIRA

Here is the full release from ARRI:

ARRI ANNOUNCES PRORES UHD OUTPUT FOR AMIRA

(August 26th 2014, Munich) – A new software upgrade for ARRI’s documentary-style

AMIRA camera will allow it to record ProRes UHD files, answering the 4K requirements

of some productions. The upgrade is expected to be available for purchase at the online

ARRI License Shop by the end of 2014.


DELIVER ANY FORMAT

While widespread adoption of 4K or UHD for broadcast is still a long way off, an

increasing number of content owners are becoming concerned that they ought to

safeguard the longevity of their programs by ensuring that they will be suitable for UHD

transmission, should that become a standard in the future.

For those productions that do need to generate UHD deliverables, AMIRA will now

offer the ability to record all ProRes codecs in Ultra High Definition 3840 x 2160

resolution directly onto the in-camera CFast 2.0 cards, at up to 60 fps. This feature,

activated through an affordable software license (and a sensor calibration for existing

AMIRAs), comes in response to feedback from AMIRA customers, some of whom have

been quizzed about 4K deliverables by clients. It is made possible by the camera’s

exceptional image quality, its processing power, and its reprogrammable system

architecture.

Whether a production is pursuing a UHD workflow all the way through to distribution,

or simply wishes to archive in UHD in order to future-proof itself against industry

developments, AMIRA now offers an easy solution that requires no additional processes

in postproduction.

IN-CAMERA PROCESSING

The ALEXA/AMIRA sensor has repeatedly proved its ability to deliver outstanding image

quality for the 4K or even IMAX theatrical releases of high-end feature films such as

Gravity, Maleficent and Iron Man 3. This proves that the ALEXA and AMIRA camera

systems are already future-proof and more than suitable for the next generation of

distribution formats.

For major feature films, an up-sample to 4K can be carried out after visual effects and

other postproduction tasks have been completed at 2K resolution. For certain fast-
paced AMIRA productions, however, there may not be the time or resources for such

processes in post, which is why a 4K or UHD output direct from the camera has been

requested.

AMIRA’s UHD output utilizes the same efficient 1.2x up-sample filter that allows

ALEXA’s Open Gate mode to optimize the camera’s image performance for 4K

distribution, as well as the same best-in-class sensor pixels. The up-sample to UHD

happens in camera, and in real time.


SAME GREAT IMAGE QUALITY

Outputting UHD broadens the distribution options for the superior image quality that

has helped make AMIRA, and ALEXA, such a success. The wide, 14+-stop dynamic

range remains unaltered, as does the accurate colorimetry, natural skin tones, and

organic look and feel. By making that high-quality image data coming out of the sensor

compatible with higher spatial resolution formats, the UHD upgrade answers the

concerns of certain regions and productions about a 4K future, allowing AMIRA to be

used on any project, no matter what deliverables are required.

Markus Duerr, ARRI’s Product Manager for the AMIRA system, says, “Feedback about

AMIRA from all over the world has been overwhelmingly positive and it is clear that the

camera is already a great success, being used on an amazing variety of challenging

productions. Already acclaimed for its phenomenal image quality, ease of use and

versatility, the new ProRes UHD output will take these benefits even further, adding

value for customers in areas like China, where 4K is a major focus of industry attention.”

Wildlife cinematographer Rolf Steinmann, who was nominated for an Emmy Award this

year in recognition of his work with ALEXA on the BBC’s Wild Arabia series, is currently

using his AMIRA on a movie for Disney Nature. He comments, “For cameramen like

me who own their gear, the UHD upgrade is a great way to stay future-proof. From now

on when there’s pressure from the production side to deliver UHD, I can continue to

work with AMIRA and won’t have to compromise on image quality or on the camera’s

robustness and reliability.”

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Posted on August 26th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K, Arri Alexa, Arri Amira | Permalink | Comments (0)

The DJI Ronin brushless gimbal put through its paces by Roger Price

Guest post by Roger Price:

The DJI Ronin set up with Canon C300

The DJI Ronin set up with Canon C300

When the Ronin Gimbal arrived I couldn’t wait to tear open the cardbord box to see what it was like, let alone put it together and use a camera stabiliser gimbal for the first time. It was a daunting purchase, not knowing the build quality or how well it would perform. I really had no idea what to expect, except for what was on DJI’s website and a few forums and a Vimeo video or two telling me it could do everything a MoVi could and more for less coin.

Inside the box was a fantastic Pelican-style hard case. It weighs in at 22kg fully packed, for those thinking of flying with it.

The Ronin comes in a large case

Everything fits in the case

My first impression of the Ronin was its superb build. Everything was packed neatly in the included case and was easy to access. The professional finish on everything was surprisingly good.

No instructions were included but working out how to put it altogether was an easy process. It’s basically two pieces that click together with arrows showing you the direction and a stand for balancing.

Balancing the gimbal requires you to follow DJI's instructions

Balancing the gimbal requires you to follow DJI’s instructions

I popped the base plate to the C300 and slid it on to the Ronin, got it to balance like a seesaw and thought well, that’s it: Easy. Without knowing how to balance anything I went ahead and installed the battery, tried to find an ON switch (there isn’t one), then gave up, looked on the DJI website, found the documentation and started the step by step balancing process on the gimbal head with the C300. Okay: so there was a little more balancing to do. I won’t bore you with all that, you can read for yourself here.

When I turned the battery on (by holding the button on its top for two seconds), the gimbal swung into action. I installed the DJI Assistant app on my iPhone, opened it up and signed in. The app itself is very easy to navigate through and at the push of a button I did a “full calibrate” and the Ronin was ready for its first run. There are settings galore in there for speed and smoothness control.

I took it off the stand and went walking out of my shed and around the garden. I could see the picture on the smallHD monitor and it seemed pretty smooth. Then I started panning and because that didn’t happen as fast as I expected I had to keep panning further. That meant my hands were in shot half the time.

There had to be a way of fixing the panning speed, so I went back to the app, changed things and pushed buttons and gave it another go. It was still not really responding how I thought it would. It turns out there is a setting called Deadband, so I changed that to 0 from 6 and Wow – what a difference it made. I got the settings to where everything was tilting and panning smoothly and at the right speed with a little lag for stability and took it out a few more times, this time running, jumping, twisting around corners, up stairs, through doors, around my car and back to the shed. I had just produced enough sweat to power a hydro electric power station. Okay, maybe not that much. But it is a workout. I found myself picking up the phone to cancel my gym membership for this year.
There are different modes of operation: single operator (smooth track), two person operation via supplied DJI remote or a mix of the two modes.

The remote (included) works well when needing to use it more as a hothead with a second person walking or  running the gimbal for you.

The Ronin rigged in a vehicle

The Ronin rigged in a vehicle

There are also Upright, Underslung and Briefcase modes. It does take some practice to get used to getting into these modes quickly. I like the two hands underslung mode the best (the typical gimbal stance) but have used the upright mode and it’s great for getting the right eyeline and maintaining headroom on the shot.

It’s reasonably heavy when loaded: 7.5kg with the Canon C300 and lens, small battery, two CF cards, SmallHD DP6 monitor and a Paralinx Arrow wireless HD setup. Now I’m not sure on the weight of the MoVi, Defy or others but the C300 with everything on was only 3kg + SmallHD 0.5kg – leaving the Ronin at just under 4kg by itself.

I think that holding any gimbal for long periods will get heavy as the blood rushes from your arms to never be seen again. Yes, it’s heavy after 20 minutes of use, but for short runs, walking around for one or two minutes, it’s totally fine and well worth the effort.

I can see room for improvement: better telephone or email support and different plates for mounting different gear, including base plate options for different cameras and common quick-release plates like the one from Kessler.

The Cinemilled DJI Ronin Quick Plate

The Cinemilled plate

I also purchased from www.cinemilled.com a mounting plate that can be used instead of the handle bars. I will be able to mount the Ronin on some ropes for long dolly type shots and also being able to mount it as a hot head just about anywhere, they also make a Steadicam plate.

CineMilled Ronin Quick Plate adaptor intro from Pedro Guimaraes on Vimeo.

My main camera is the C300 and I have the set-up time down to about 5 minutes from tripod to gimbal. The other day I did pop on an RED Epic and I can say that it does fit but only just. I had to strip it down to a V-lock battery, 17-50mm RED lens and follow focus unit.

You can make the Ronin work with a Red Epic

You can make the Ronin work with a Red Epic

For monitoring I usually use a SmallHD DP6 but have recently tried the Alphatron EVF attached to the top bar instead so that I could get my eye in and check the shot for better reference, focus etc, then flip the eye piece and use it as a monitor when I actually roll. It works really well and keeps the weight down.

The Alphatron EVF works well on the Ronin

The Alphatron EVF works well on the Ronin

I think I would now use the Ronin where I left off with the Glidecam. I was a big fan of using a Glidecam (no arm or vest) to do the odd piece to camera with a presenter when travelling. We pulled off some awesome shots from time to time. I look forward to using the new Ronin gimbal as a replacement, to help that process to be smoother and more inventive.

I’m also thinking I will use it for general views for a floating effect on scenes, where I would otherwise use a pan or dolly with interesting foreground. I do think I will be limiting its use though, as there is nothing worse in storytelling than to see every shot the same. Variety is the spice of life.

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Summing up, I think it’s a great, well-built product and for the money (AUD$3700) is something that most of us will now have in our kits, whereas before we would have needed a bigger production to fund a $15k Movi M10 price tag.

The only problem so far that has happened is the app and gimbal having a freak out together. I tend to power off and on again if I notice anything weird. I recalibrate via the app and restart the power on the gimbal and it always fixes itself. This maybe just an update needed for the app. It has only happened once in 10 Ronin sessions.

Tips: Get the balance right from the start in all directions (you should not be able to hear the motors if you have it right) and stay away from lenses 50mm and longer unless you like a challenge. Remember there is no fourth axis either – that’s you – so practice makes perfect. Walk light and smooth. And enjoy the workout.

You can learn more about Roger and his work on his website.

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Posted on August 26th, 2014 by admin | Category: Brushless gimbals, Camera stabilsation systems, Canon C300 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Video review: Movcam cage for Sony a7S – the best yet?

By site editor Dan Chung:

Movcam are well known for making high quality cages and rigs for DSLRs and cinema cameras. I’ve used their Sony FS700 and F5 setups for some time now and found them to be extremely durable and much better made than most.

The Movcam a7S cage integrates perfectly with Sony's XLR-K1M audio pack

The Movcam a7S cage integrates perfectly with Sony’s XLR-K1M audio pack

I was excited to receive a pre-production version of their new Sony a7S cage for testing. It seems very nicely made but more importantly Movcam have really thought about how the cage will be used by shooters. Instead of an overly bulky or unwieldy design they have created a very close fitting cage that still gives good access to all the necessary controls. The have left the a7S hotshoe exposed so that the Sony XLR-K1M XLR audio pack or other accessories can be mounted – pure genius.

The Movcam a7S cage with Red Pro Prime PL lens attached

The Movcam a7S cage with Red Pro Prime PL lens attached

It can be configured as a full cage or a half cage (well closer to 2/3rds cage actually). The latter being useful if you want totally unimpeded access to all the controls. The full cage has the benefit of an extra coldshoe mount which is the perfect place to mount the Sony audio pack. The removable top handle is sturdy and yet not too heavy and has another coldshoe with optional 15mm rails adapter for adding monitors, recorders or EVFs.

The cage can be used in full or half cage configurations

The cage can be used in full or half cage configurations

On the downside the cage does take a few minutes to install and it is not a screwless operation. This is a cage that is designed for the camera to be left it – not taken in and out of while shooting. The only issue I had was how to attach a strap. The Sony’s strap lugs are covered by the cage and make fitting a normal strap hard. My simple solution was to attach a BlackRapid strap instead.

The cage is light enough that the a7S is still hand holdable with the cage attached – something that can’t be said for some other out there. If you do want to build it out into a bigger rig there is a rod adapter that simply clamps to the base of the cage allowing the easy addition of rails or Movcam’s own dovetail plate system accessories. There is also a handy 1/4-20 mounting attachment to secure a lens adapter such as the Metabones to the front of the a7S.

The cage gives access to all the main controls

The cage gives access to all the main controls

There is no pricing yet on the cage but if other Movcam products are a guide then it should be competitive.

In Europe Movcam products can be purchased from BandPro. In the USA they are available from 16x9inc.

Video shot by CY Xu.

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Posted on August 25th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera support systems, Sony a7S | Permalink | Comments (3)

Redrockmicro One Man Crew parabolic slider – the perfect interview tool? by Matt Allard

By technical editor Matt Allard:

I almost always work in a one-man-band situation and that requires equipment that is easy to set up and use. As far as motion control devices go, the Redrockmicro one man crew is about as simple to operate as it gets. It is an all-in-one motorised parabolic slider – this might sound complicated, but it is essentially a slider with a curved rail that allows your camera to move back and forth while keeping your subject at the same position in the frame.

The curved path of the One Man Crew

The curved path of the One Man Crew

The One Man Crew can only be used as a parabolic slider – there is no way to make a straight slide with it. A motor moves the camera in one direction along the track and when it reaches the end it reverses and goes back in the opposite direction. This action is repeated for as long as you want and the idea of the setup is that you can leave your second camera running unattended for the entire duration of an interview, giving you a beautiful slow-moving cutaway shot. Better still, because the subject is kept in the same distance from the camera, it will stay in focus.

Shooting a recent Aljazzera documentary with the One Man Crew

Shooting a recent Aljazzera documentary with the One Man Crew

Setting up is super quick. You take it out of the bag, screw the included tripod head on, plug it into mains electricity and you are practically ready to go. All that remains to be done is to use the built-in laser guides to line up your subject – moving it closer or further away until the red dots vertically align. Normally this is fine, but the subject must be placed in a particular spot and the distance from the subject must be approximately 6 feet away for the effect to work. Occasionally I found that if I placed and framed up my ‘A’ interview camera first, it forced me to put the One Man Crew in a less than ideal position. Like everything this is a compromise and just something to be aware of when you are planning your shots. I found you could cheat a little and use the system without necessarily having the red dots line up – but it produced mixed results, working best when the range of the parabolic move was limited.

There are numerous settings and speed adjustments that you can tailor, from a simple back-and-forth move, to a 8 hour end-to-end time lapse. The controls are straightforward to use and you can be up and running within a few minutes.

There are several other parabolic slider systems out there now, but most require you to add bolt-on motors and a parabolic arm to achieve the same result. What attracted me to the One Man Crew was the fact that it is a self contained system. It weighs 14lb (6.3kg), which is pretty light considering what it does. The included tripod head will take a camera load of up to 20lb (9kg), so it will support a large range of cameras. I did find that if you have the tripod head pointed up or down at certain angles that weight limit is reduced.

The One Man Crew may not weigh that much but it is rather long by necessity, which can be a problem for transportation in some instances. At 46” (117cm) long you won’t be able to fit it in a suitcase or most tripod cases. It does come in its own soft case but care should be taken when transporting it on planes. I put additional bubble wrap inside my case to give it some extra protection.

Talking about the case, one small but useful thing Redrockmicro have done is print the operating instructions right on the inside. This way you always have a reference for use without worrying about losing paper instructions.

OMC_iso_ultraCage_lg

You can also power the One Man Crew from a battery source. They do sell a D-tap connector cable to allow DC battery powering. Luckily I found I already had a connection cable that worked from another piece of equipment. For shooters like me it is a must to have the ability to power gear in the field, as very often you just don’t have access to mains power. It is also worth mentioning that the One Man Crew doesn’t work without power and you can’t simply push it along as you can with some competing systems such as the Kessler Parallax.

The One Man Crew’s motor is both the hero and the villain of the unit. It is very smooth and precise. The speed ramps up and down very gradually as it starts or reaches the end of the track or its programmed movement. This gives you very soft and organic movement which works really well. I used the One Man Crew on numerous occasions with a 100mm macro lens and found the movement to be very smooth.

If you run the motor at lower speeds there is virtually no noise at all. The problems begins when you speed the unit up – it becomes quite noisy and this can become a factor when shooting interviews in quiet locations. While other users of the One Man Crew may argue that you don’t usually have the device moving fast during an interview, I disagree. To really get a sense of movement I found the device had to be set to at least a mid-range speed; otherwise, I didn’t see the point of using it. For many documentary or news shooters the actual part of the interview used in the edit may only last 10-15 seconds at a time. Maybe if I were to shoot more feature-length documentaries this would be different.

Unfortunately, the motor is also noticeably noisier when it moves in one direction rather than the other. I suspect this comes down to whether the motor is pushing or pulling the belt to move the camera along the rails.

It is also important to be aware that the unit will only be smooth when on a level solid surface or stand. I didn’t have the optional light stand or c-stand adaptors which would have helped me out a lot, so I ended up placing the One Man Crew on tables, pieces of furniture or anything else flat that I could find. This can definitely affect your results because if the device doesn’t sit perfectly flat it can wobble as your camera changes the weight distribution when moving down the track. If you are using a heavier camera be very aware that you need a very solid support at both ends of the One man Crew or you just won’t get smooth results. I would like to see the light stand or c-stand mounts and the D-tap power cable included in the kit so that it really is a ready to go device as the name suggests. Redrockmicro also seem to be often backordered on accessories for the One Man Crew which is frustrating.

The One Man Crew is designed for interviews but you can also use it elsewhere - I used it to shoot various shots that I would otherwise have done with a traditional slider. This sort of versatility is always something I look for in a product. Anything that can do the work of two or more devices not only saves time but also lessens the amount of equipment I have to move around.

You can use the One Man Crew for other shots too

You can use the One Man Crew for other shots too

I really enjoyed using this One Man Crew and Redrockmicro have created a unique product – it works as advertised and gives some fantastic results. Overall it is a very intuitive and easy to use device that can really add creative flare to your projects. It would be perfect if it wasn’t for the motor being so noisy. I hope they can somehow figure out how to make it quieter at higher speeds in future versions. At the moment it is a little bit too loud to use for a lot of interviews at the speed I would like to run it at.

News and documentary shooters often have very limited set-up time and the One Man Crew can be set up reasonably quickly, which adds to its appeal. For many shooters the noise of the motor will not be an issue; for others, it may be a deal breaker. For me it is a problem in some circumstances, but is something I can live with given the product’s other impressive features.

It retails for $1495, which is reasonable given that long sliders with this sort of payload usually run at well over $1000 without the parabolic capabilites.

See the Redrockmicro website for more information.

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Posted on August 23rd, 2014 by Matthew Allard | Category: SIiders | Permalink | Comments (3)

Blackmagic Design firmware 1.9.3 finally offers audio level meters, time remaining indicator and histograms to the Pocket cam and BMCC

By site editor Dan Chung:

The BMPCC and Olympus 14-35mm f2 lens

The BMPCC and Olympus 14-35mm f2 lens

Blackmagic Design have finally added key features to their Pocket Cinema Camera and BMCC with the announcement of their 1.9.3 firmware. At long last they now offer audio level metering, a time remaining indicator and histograms bringing the cameras’ display functions into line with the newer 4K and URSA models. The lack of these features until now have been a major impediment to greater use of the cameras by factual shooters. Blackmagic have certainly made the lives of factual shooters using these cameras a lot easier with this firmware update.

To download the update now go to the Blackmagic Design’s support site.

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Posted on August 21st, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Blackmagic design | Permalink | Comments (1)

“I didn’t expect it to feel like war”: Covering Ferguson

From original writing by Abbey Adkison for Columbia Visuals, edited by Dan Chung:

The images of heavily militarised police in Ferguson confronting protests over the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by an officer have shocked the world. Even the United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has stepped in, urging law enforcement to respect international standards in dealing with demonstrations.
Journalists at the scene in Missouri have faced a double challenge. The first has been dealing with police hostility – including the arrest of veteran Getty photographer Scott Olsen on Monday.

The second has been covering the underlying story: not just filming the SWAT teams, tear gas grenades and angry exchanges, but capturing the emotions and experiences of residents.

Columbia Visuals have kindly allowed us to run extracts from their interviews with three visual journalists on the scene. For the full stories, please click through to read about the experiences of Salima Koroma, a video producer for Time, on her first out-of-state assignment; photographer David Carson, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; and Brent McDonald, a senior video journalist with the New York Times. Carson arrived at the scene of the 18-year-old’s death on August 10, “as the police were washing the blood off the street”, he said.

“This is history. This is something that people are going to talk to their grandkids about. It’s important to have a visual record of what actually happened here.

Salima Koroma said that when the curfew was announced, she knew the response would be angry: “I’d been there the night before, and I could feel the frustration and hopelessness.  We [the journalists] knew that something was going to happen. I didn’t expect the police tear gas; I didn’t think that they would really do it. I didn’t expect it to feel like war. I didn’t expect it to be so scary,” she said.

Koroma also noted the practical problems. She worked with a Canon 5D mkII with a Rode shotgun microphone, putting the Tascam recorder away “just because I knew I was going to be running all over the place” and trying to avoid using a light because it was “imposing” for interviewees.

She added: “I am a young, black woman. A lot of people have been a little more trusting of me, especially because I don’t have these big cameras…I’m very low-maintenance. I’m a one-man band. Whereas you have these big news organizations: a lot of them are white, a lot of them seem to not really care.

“There is a lot of distrust from protestors toward the media. When you’re talking historically, about how the media has covered African-Americans, it has not been great. Think of what the media shows of African-Americans: we are portrayed in the media as thugs, as gangsters, as poor, without talking about the root problems.”

Brent McDonald has also been travelling light: “I’m shooting with a Canon 5D mkIII that I’ve rigged out with a Zoom H6 that’s cabled line-in to the camera. Most of that video I went handheld, but sometimes I used a monopod with little feet. My Sennheiser mic is the MKE 600. I also shoot with a Audio Technica short cardioid mic.”

For him it was important to convey “what it’s like to live in this neighborhood, what it’s like to live with a police force that they didn’t trust, and was, at least this with particular officer, responsible for a pretty heinous act, if indeed it happened as witnesses describe.”

He added: “A lot of the way people cover a protest is when it gets gnarly and shit hits the fan, but there’s a whole progression to a protest when it escalates, particularly when there’s the sort of response we’ve been seeing, and it isn’t just that moment…It’s not just about people throwing bottles and police throwing tear gas, it’s about people coming out and having a voice, expressing their anger and frustration and making sense of them, respecting that.

“These are people, not sound bites.”

Like other journalists on the ground, he said his task had been made harder by law enforcement officers.

“Police did not distinguish between reporters and protestors. They threatened everyone there. They’ve threatened arrest. There were reporters who have been shot at with rubber bullets,” said McDonald.

Carson caveated that while there were police officers who had threatened him with arrest and ordered him from scenes, he had also “run into some incredibly helpful and good police officers who are certainly doing their jobs…[and are] interested in protecting me and making sure I’m safe” – just as, while some protestors were keen to see events documented, other people in the area had assaulted him.

David Carson’s Twitter picture with the Ferguson residents who gave him shelter during the protests Aug 13th.

David Carson’s Twitter picture with the Ferguson residents who gave him shelter during the protests Aug 13th.

He warned students who have asked his advice on reporting from the scene: “They’re not fooling around down here.

“I think it’s very easy to get sucked up into the excitement of it, but there’s not a picture you could make out here that would be worth being hurt for.”

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Posted on August 20th, 2014 by Dan Chung | Category: Canon EOS 5D MkIII, Journalism | Permalink | Comments (0)

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