IBC 2015: LED Flex light maker Aladdin show new additions to their range

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Last year at IBC we showed you the very first flexible LED light made by Korean company Aladdin. This year at the show they were showing us some of their latest additions to the Flex Light range.


Expanding on their successful 1×1 which we awarded last year, Aladdin are now offering a 2’x 1′ Flex light that allows for a much brighter output and bigger light source. Not stopping there, they have also developed a 4′ x 1′ version that was on display in a giant 3 light configuration on a velcro backed screen. This provided a giant light weight light source that can easily be packed down for transport. A soft box is also under development for the 4′ x 1′ which should provide a large high quality diffused lighting source.


Earlier in the year Aladdin launched a bi-colour Flex LED and at IBC they also showed us a matching softbox and honeycomb grid to better help control the light spread. A nice pancake diffuser was also on display that will work on any of the company’s existing LED Flex lights. This provides a soft lighting source and could easily be mounted to a boom pole or light stand arm.


The 2′ x 1′ Flex lights will be available in at the end of September for around £1500, whether that price will be similar in the US and Asia is unclear. The 4′ x 1′ is expected to be around £1900. For more information head to the Aladdin website.

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Posted on September 29th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: IBC show, LED lights, Lighting | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2015: Wasp Lighting Hive plasma PAR light with mechanical dimmer

By associate editor Elliot Smith and Adam Plowden:

Hive Lighting were exhibiting alongside high speed camera company Vision Research at IBC this year, showing off their new Wasp plasma PAR light fixture. Hive are positioning this model as an ideal partner for cameras like Vision Research’s Phantom, as it offers a stable colour temperature and a light output that won’t flicker even at very high frame rates.

Hive Lighting Wasp plasma par light

Hive Lighting Wasp plasma par light

Hive’s Plasma lights offer the output of an HMI with power consumption of a LED. The Wasp has the option for a mechanical dimmer which is actually a physical iris that sits in front of the front face and cuts down the light output. This has the advantage of keeping the light quality constant as it is being dimmed. Many other LED based fixtures exhibit a colour shift when dimmed and the mechanical dimmer avoids this. In addition there is a range of interchangeable discs that allow you to add diffusion or other light modifiers.

There’s a lot to like about the technology and the unit itself seems rugged and well-suited to life on location. New tech doesn’t come cheap though, and the Wasp is available now for around £2,500 / €3,000.

For more details visit the Hive lighting website.

Posted on September 29th, 2015 by Elliot Smith | Category: IBC show, Lighting | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mashable shoot short 4K film with iPhone 6S Plus and DJI Ronin-M

By site editor Dan Chung:

Alan Haburchak from Mashable dropped us a line today to point out a new iPhone 6S Plus video that they have just posted. Keith Hopkin and Jon Lynn took the phone and used it mounted to a DJI Ronin-M brushless gimbal to create an entertaining short film, following a BMX cyclist doing some pretty impressive stunts. It was shot in 4K video at 30 frames per second (fps) and HD slow motion at 120fps.

Even allowing for YouTube’s poor 4K compression the iPhone seems to have held up quite well. They don’t say, but it looks like they used the default camera app and not FiLMiC Pro with its higher bitrates. There is no sign of ND filters or additional lenses either and it would be interesting to have seen just how much of a difference these would have made to the motion.

You can read more about how they did it here.

Mashable are not the only online news organisation to have been using the iPhone 6S. RYOT had early access to the phones to shoot the piece below using a DJI drone, Ikan handheld stabiliser and a 35mm adapter with SLR lenses. The results are fairly impressive.

It’s fun to see the iPhone being used with gear like the DJI Ronin-M, but as I’ve said before, this kind of production isn’t the iPhone’s strength. Yes, the results are impressive – but if you can afford to rent or buy a MoVI, then you can certainly get hold of a Sony a7S or GH4 instead. Why make life complicated for yourself by shooting on a phone? Indeed, the iPhone isn’t cheaper than a good 4K compact like the Panasonic LX100 and the excellent Sony RX10 II is just a little more than the top end iPhone 6S Plus. In the behind the scenes video below the guy from RYOT describes the 4K footage from the 6S with 35mm adapter as being “just as good as some of the footage we are getting out of really high-end more expensive cameras” – I’m not sure which cameras he is talking about but from a technical standpoint the 6S just doesn’t beat a GH4 or a7R II.

Where the iPhone excels is as a spur-of-the-moment camera to grab fleeting shots. It is also good for shoots where you need to keep a low profile or for extremely sensitive subjects where the presence of anything that even looks like a camera could endanger your ability to shoot (or even the people you’re filming). It’s also the camera you have in your pocket for any breaking news that might happen right in front of you. The ability to stream video reports live from the iPhone is becoming almost routine at some broadcasters – although the new 6S and 6S Plus don’t really offer much improvement when used this way, as the resolutions are usually low for bandwidth reasons.

I’m sure that these two iPhone movies will enjoy some high audience figures in the coming days. That’s great for the content creators, but when the dust settles, I expect we’ll start to see some more hard-hitting journalism from users of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus.

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Posted on September 29th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K, IPhone | Permalink | Comments (1)

IBC 2015: SWIT Battery Power Station Box turn four batteries into one big power source

By technical editor Matt Allard:

This year at IBC there were quite a lot of new battery solutions. SWIT were showing a nice system that is capable of running high power draw devices such as lights or big cine cameras while on location. Their 4-Battery Power Station Box is a take-anywhere, rugged yet portable remote power device.


The box houses four V-lock batteries from any manufacturer, regardless of their output, inside a hard enclosure. The power station uses two XLR outputs to supply either 12v or 24v power (depending on the model) to external devices. A LED display also provides real time output voltage and a low battery warning light.

There are a lot of high draw LED lights on the market that can be only powered by bigger batteries with capacities that most airlines won’t let you fly with. Using several smaller batteries that are airline approved, in conjunction with the Power Station Box, you should still be able to fly with enough power for your lights.


The Power Station Box also doubles as a charger, so you can plug the box into mains power and re charge up your batteries without ever having to take your batteries out.


Three different versions of the Power Station Box are available:

S-4010 Dual 12V output
4-pin XLR 11-16.8V DC output x2
Max load: 15A per channel
2 channels output simultaneously

S-4020 12V + 24V output
4-pin XLR 11-16,8V DC output x1
Max load: 15A
3-pin XLR 22-33.6V DC output x1
Max load: 15A
12V and 24V will not output simultaneously

S-4030 24V + 24V output
3-pin XLR 22-33.6V DC output x2
Max load: 7.5A per channel
2 channel output simultaneously


The 4-Battery Power Station Box should be a great solution for news, documentary and film crews who want to power lights and other devices without the need for mains power or a generator. By taking your existing camera batteries you not only get a charger but a portable power solution as well.

The 4-Battery Power Station Box will cost around $700 US and be available in the next few months. Keep an eye out on the SWIT website for more details.

Posted on September 29th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Batteries, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

iPhone 6S part 2: Closer to the film look with additional lenses and ND filters

By site editor Dan Chung:

My first outing with the iPhone 6S has convinced me it can produce results that can be used for professional work. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not about to replace my FS7 or a7R II with it. But for low profile shooting and catching fleeting moments, the iPhone has its uses.

In the first shoot I used FiLMiC Pro and shooting at higher bitrates to get a better image. The resolution and colour stand up reasonably well against prosumer video cameras, but the thing that gave away the iPhone 6S footage more than anything else was the staccato appearance of motion in bright light. This is of course caused by the iPhone using high shutter speeds. FiLMiC Pro allows you to lock the shutter speed at 1/48 or 1/50 but you’ll need a way to control the amount of light hitting the sensor.

Another giveaway was the lack of lens choice. The one on the iPhone is equivalent to a slightly wide standard lens, which is somewhat limiting.

The iPhone on the Rigwheels mount

The iPhone 6S on the Rigwheels mount

To try to solve both of these things I decided to accessorise the 6S a little. I added the Schneider iPro lens system case and lenses (I got the lenses a few years ago when I shot stills at the Olympics using just an iPhone 4S). The case is designed for an iPhone 6 and is a very tight fit on the 6S, but I managed to get it on. (The iPhone 6S is ever so slightly thicker than the original iPhone 6, while the 6S Plus is quite different in size to the 6 Plus – don’t expect the iPro 6 Plus case to fit if you go for the larger phone.)

The lenses attach to the case using a bayonet fitting and can be removed quickly and easily. For the shoot I used the wide angle and telephoto adapters.

The iPro wide angle lens with ND filter gaffer taped to the front

The iPro wide angle lens with ND filter gaffer taped to the front

Next I attached a fixed 0.6 (two stop) neutral density filter to the front of the lens. The filter is 30.5mm and quite doesn’t fit the iPro lenses, so I used gaffer tape to hold it on the front. I happened to pick the filter up secondhand from a camera store a few weeks ago and I believe it is originally designed to fit the rear of a mirror lens. Obviously, with a fixed ND filter there is no way to guarantee you get the shutter speed you want; it’s a bit of a crap shoot. In very bright light the shutter speed will still be high. In low light the images may be unnecessarily noisy.

The final touch to my new kit was a Rigwheels magnetic ball-head mount. This little gadget works well when placing the camera on the ground and stuck, or held onto other flat surfaces. It fitted straight into the 1/4 20 thread on the iPro system case. I’ve also got a mini tripod that works well, but didn’t bring it on this test.

With my iPhone now rigged out I went out to test it. Time was too tight to find a real story, so these are just a few test shots.

As soon as I started to roll I immediately hit a big problem. FiLMiC Pro just wouldn’t allow me to record 4K at all. It kept locking up no matter what I did. Several reboots later I abandoned the app and used the default camera app instead. This limited the iPhone to shooting 4K at 30fps at a lower bitrate. I also lost direct control of exposure. I really hope there is a fix for FiLMiC Pro soon, or a competing app that gives full manual control when shooting 4K.

Because of this, the results you see here are not as good as they could be. The lack of controls was annoying, but even so you can hopefully see how the ND filter helps to make thing a bit more natural. The lenses help too; just don’t expect miracles. There is some distortion, chromatic aberration and edge softness evident, but it was great to have at least some limited lens choices.

The iPhone 6S with iPro case, lens and ND filter

The iPhone 6S with iPro case, lens and ND filter

The final video was rough graded using FilmConvert using the FJ 8543 VD film emulation and film grain was applied. Make sure you login to Vimeo and download the 4K version if you want to get a better idea of what the footage actually looks like. As with the previous video some of the highlights are blown out and this is hard to avoid with the iPhone 6S. The native camera app definitely has more compression artifacting and I missed the 150 Mbps setting of FiLMiC Pro.

The results aren’t great, but I do think this is a step in the right direction. I could at least cut a few of these shots into a quick sequence and most people probably wouldn’t suspect it was shot on iPhone. I’d like to try the exercise again when FiLMiC sort out a fully working version of the app. The other thing I would like to try and fit to the iPhone is a variable ND filter rather than a fixed one – this should allow much greater control of speeds.

The form factor of the iPhone isn't ruined by the iPro system

The form factor of the iPhone isn’t ruined by the iPro system

The form factor of the iPhone isn’t really compromised by the iPro case and the lenses and filters just slip into your pocket. Others have fitted 35mm lens adapters to the iPhone to get more cinematic results but to me this doesn’t make much sense for factual work. If you totally break the form factor of the iPhone then you may as well just shoot on a RX10, a7S or a7R II.

If and when I get my hands on a better iPhone 6S solution, or a 6S Plus with optical image stabiliser, I’ll report again.

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Posted on September 29th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: IPhone | Permalink | Comments (0)

World Nomads announce Colombia travel film scholarship winner

By associate editor Elliot Smith:

Travel insurance provider World Nomads have announced the winner of a competition we featured earlier in the year to find a shooter to make a personal travel doc in Colombia under the watchful eye of expert Brian Rapsey.

The brief was to film a short 2-3 minute video profiling someone who inspires you to travel the world, and the competition was only open to non-professional filmmakers. The judges sifted through over 600 entries, but one stood out. The winning short, embedded above, was shot by Coleman Lowndes and features cyclist Guillermo Federico Aimar en route from Argentina to Alaska by bike.

Mentor-to-be Rapsey felt that the film allowed Guillermo’s personality to shine through and that the viewer really feels like you’re on the road with him.

The standard of entries on the shortlist seems very high too – clearly there’s lots of untapped filmmaking talent out there. So congratulations to Coleman, and happy shooting in Colombia!

Posted on September 28th, 2015 by Elliot Smith | Category: Competitions | Permalink | Comments (0)

GoPro bring Wi-fi and Bluetooth to their entry level with the $199.99 Hero+

By site editor Dan Chung:

It seems like GoPro are releasing new cameras every few months now. Not content with their entry level Hero and Hero+ LCD models, the new Hero+ is essentially a Hero with the addition of Wi-fi and Bluetooth control, taken from the higher up models. Looked at another way it is the Hero+ LCD, but without the LCD.


This allows the camera to maintain a relatively low sub $200 price point and still offer remote control via smartphone. It weighs in at a mere 123g and is waterproof to 40m. It also has a timelapse mode and 8 megapixel stills.

The Hero+ framerates include 1080P 60, 50, 30, 25 which make it a good low budget option for multimedia shooters who can’t step up to a Hero4 model. Obviously there is no 4K, super slow motion, or flat picture options, but that is to be expected at the price.


At the same time the recently released tiny Hero4 Session has had a price drop to $299 US, a move that likely reflects the fact that the camera perhaps isn’t as popular as the company expected.

GoPro has faced greater competition in the lower end of the action camera market this year. The biggest single threat coming from China’s Xiaomi Yi which has similar image quality and specs to the Hero+, but comes in at just over $80 online (without a waterproof case).

The Chinese competitor

The Chinese competitor

The Yi has its quirks and isn’t officially supported outside of Asia right now, but the Chinese company has strong ambitions so GoPro could have a real fight on its hands in the near future.

The Hero+ ships in October. For more details go to the GoPro website.

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Posted on September 28th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: GoPro | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2015: Motion9 Cube camera cage and Single Linecam slider

By associate editor Elliot Smith:

Motion9 were showing some nicely-machined products at IBC this year, including a Sony a7R II / a7s II camera cage and a very compact lightweight slider. The Cube cage features a well thought-through quick release handle that can be adjusted for balance and repositioned on the cage body; and an HDMI port protector that doubles as an extra handle and can be locked and unlocked via a thumbscrew.

motion9 cube camera cage for Sony a7 series cameras

motion9 cube camera cage for Sony a7 series cameras

The production version will also feature a record button on the exterior of the cage (it’s in a slightly awkward position on the camera itself).The cage will be shipping on the first Friday of October for $330 US.

motion9 Single Linecam 60 slider - surprisingly rigid, very lightweight and with foldable legs that protect the ends of the rail when not in use

motion9 Single Linecam 60 slider – surprisingly rigid, very lightweight and with foldable legs that protect the ends of the rail when not in use

The Single Linecam slider is a very rigid, very slim design that can be supported on a small tripod head and used with cameras like the Sony a7 series or a Panasonic GH4. It also features some very neat integrated legs that fold away when not in use and are locked in place by thumbscrews. It will be available in 60cm ($185 US) and 80cm ($245 US) lengths at the end of October.

Posted on September 27th, 2015 by Elliot Smith | Category: Camera support systems, SIiders | Permalink | Comments (0)

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