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DJI Inspire 1 – A professional drone operator’s perspective from Hexcam’s Elliott Corke

Guest post by Elliott Corke of Hexcam:

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Last week I received one of the first DJI Inspire 1 quadcopters in the UK. Like any machine I had to put it through its paces properly before supplying it to any of our clients. I run HexCam, a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) operator based in the UK. We have been operating for three years in different sectors but have now begun to develop a specialism in supplying equipment and training new pilots. In the UK, commercial operators have to hold a CAA permission for aerial work and now need further permissions to operate machines over 7Kg in congested areas, which basically means most areas of towns and cities. Thanks to the pragmatic approach taken by the UK CAA, the industry is growing rapidly with 442 active legal operators as I write this article.

I have to say, I was like a excited kid in a candy store as I opened the Inspire 1 case, and I wasn’t disappointed. The Inspire 1 is a slick looking machine, all carbon fibre, CNC metal and ice-white plastic. A Phantom this is not. It has a satisfying, solid, well engineered feel to it. The box has everything you need except an Android device (note the lack of Apple device… I’ll get to that later). After transforming the device from transport mode into flight mode it is really simple to attach the camera module. It really feels that there should be some kind of mini stormtrooper piloting this thing, it would not look out of place in a Star Wars film.

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The DJI Pilot app has been well thought through, with a variety of sub-menus to control almost every aspect of the aircraft’s flight systems as well as the gimbal and camera. It took me twenty minutes or so to perform a required firmware update and unshackle my aircraft from the various beginner modes and limited flight modes before I took it out for its first flight. I have to say the first flight in GPS assisted mode was fairly disappointing. The machine felt almost too ‘locked in’, jolting to a stop when the controls were released. This seemed to improve with altitude so it feels like the new Vision Positioning technology may be making the Inspire’s position lock just a little too harsh. However, once in atti mode the machine was able to fly with much more fluidity and it did begin to feel like the machine I had been hoping it would be.

The below video is just a short test flight where the body of the machine was deliberately left in shot at times to show stability. Video was set on full auto.

We have had limited time for flying recently thanks to the Great British January weather, so most of my flights were carried out in 10-15mph winds. It has been sunny, although it has been a harsh winter sunlight that makes getting good shots very difficult. The Inspire 1 camera ships with a ND filter so I put that on most of the time. As I was predominantly testing the flight characteristics rather than the camera, I left the camera in full auto most of the time alternating between 4K and 1080 video resolutions to allow me to compare them when I have a moment. I sent a sample of 4K footage to Tom at Fast Forward Media who does most of our video editing and has machines that can deal with the footage in all its 4K glory. Here is what he had to say:

“I’ve taken a look, and overall it looks promising. The gimbal stabilisation itself is very impressive. There’s a good amount of detail present, though it seems that if anything its a bit over-sharpened, with some noise present in high detail areas. Some tweaks to the picture profile to lessen the sharpening being applied in camera will likely fix that. Its also quite a constrasty image, so again, would be good to get a flatter image for post work if possible. It also appears to be filming at a slightly letterboxed aspect ratio; seems like about 1.85:1, might be something to do with full auto, but worth mentioning. The dynamic range seems pretty good, looking at the second clip with the sky. There’s a fair amount of compression noise, especially in the darker areas. Also had some juddery playback when you’re spinning around in the second video, which is odd given my machine deals with 4K very easily usually.”

Removing the sharpening that Tom mentioned is certainly possible in custom mode, as is using a flat colour profile. I believe the letterboxing may have been due to me choosing the wrong 4K aspect ratio from the options. When I play back my footage from the Inspire 1 it doesn’t really come close to the quality from my GH4 – but it is worth bearing in mind that the Inspire 1 completely ready to go costs about a third of my GH4 rig, comes in a smidge under 3Kg and can give me a clean HD feed to the ground that is probably good enough for live streaming.

Hexcam fly larger and smaller multirotors

Hexcam fly larger and smaller multirotors

I shoot most of my stills on a 24MP Sony NEX7, so it was clear that the 12.4MP stills from the Inspire 1 weren’t going to match my normal standard. However I was pleased with the fact that the fisheye effect that we see on the GoPro/Phantom combo isn’t there. It is easy to switch between stills and video in flight and I was even able to review video in flight if I wanted to. The stills quality will probably please someone upgrading from a GoPro rig.

When working as a single operator I normally use yaw follow mode, where the camera tracks the aircraft so the camera is turned by turning the aircraft. Using the DJI Pilot app I was able to switch to “free” mode and move the camera independently of the aircraft by holding and dragging on the screen of my android device. This has great potential for still shoots and 3D panoramas as often turning the machine causes it to lose position slightly. The camera is able to be returned to centre with a touch of a button on the app, or one of the programmable buttons on the back of the remote.

One new feature the DJI Inspire 1 brings to the party is Vision Positioning technology. This uses a combination of camera and sonar to maintain a position without a GPS signal – something that has traditionally been a problem when flying quadcopters like the Phantom indoors. When working over a textured or patterned surface, I found that the hold was, if anything, better than GPS hold. However the results were less impressive while working in a white-floored film studio – the Inspire reverted to atti mode.

The Inspire 1 flight simulator

The Inspire 1 flight simulator

Another useful feature is the simulator that is built into the app. It flies in a very similar way to the real aircraft and simulates all functions offered in the DJI Pilot app. The one downside is that you can’t run the simulator without the Inspire turned on and connected – which seems a bit silly given that the simulator would be great to use practise without having to get the Inspire out.

I also tried taking the propellers off and using the Inspire itself as a basic handheld gimbal. Handholding is actually quite comfortable thanks to the position of the arm struts. The camera direction could easily be controlled by a second person using the transmitter and app or the Inspire can simply be used in follow mode.

So where’s the catch? There have been a few teething issues. Within 48 hours of release reports began to appear of seemingly random crashes and the video below began to do the rounds on the forums.

My machine seemed fine but then DJI did something that even 6 months ago might have seemed unthinkable… they admitted there was a bug in the firmware and rapidly released an updated firmware to solve the bug. That, combined with their new 24/7 online support, really shows that DJI have begun to cotton on to the importance of customer service and support. I used the online chat earlier this week to resolve a small technical issue (actually it was more of a “read the manual more carefully” issue) and they had me sorted within 30 minutes. Once I had installed the upgraded firmware the Inspire did seem better to fly. It still has a certain twitchiness in the air but that may be to do with the slightly inward angled props and the unique design of the airframe. A few people have reported issues with a degree of looseness in the motor arms causing vibrations but I didn’t find that affected me.

In a very unusual move, DJI have also advised that customers not to fly the DJI Inspire 1 until the release of propeller locks to solve a problem that some customers have had where the self tightening props spin themselves off (click here to read the posting from DJI on their forum site). Please see the video below.

Over the last few days the iOS version of the DJI Pilot app has also been removed from the app store. It is apparently because DJI may have released the app under the wrong kind of certificate (click here for the link to the posting). As a result only Android devices can currently be used to run the DJI Pilot app. I find this a real shame as the video downlink definitely seemed less laggy on iOS (and this is speaking as a hardened Android user).

Even with these three fairly major issues in the first week of release I don’t think it will put me off the Inspire 1 in the long term. I am sure they’ll all be resolved soon and the Inspire 1 is certainly going to find its way into my tool bag.

I don’t feel that the DJI Inspire 1 is a replacement for the Phantom 2. The Phantom’s small size and optional propeller guards make it an ideal machine for interior use. But the Inspire 1 does form a bridge between the Phantom and the larger aircraft that can carry the likes of the Panasonic GH4. For the technology that is packed into the Inspire 1 the price point is genuinely excellent. The Inspire has the equivalent of a top of the range DJI A2 flight controller and Lightbridge HD downlink which six months ago cost the price of the Inspire on their own.

I think it is likely DJI will begin to produce more cameras to fit the new mounting system and I genuinely hope they will release the interface specs to other manufacturers so they can provide better cameras for some of our high-end applications.

Although DJI have built in huge amount of assistance for new pilots, I do feel that people need to appreciate that this is a serious machine and I would strongly recommend that inexperienced pilots ask their supplier where they can obtain training in their local area. The Inspire 1 has 13 inch props that are more than capable of doing damage to people – please enjoy yourself but fly safe and make sure you adhere to any local regulations regarding the use of remote controlled aircraft for recreation or commercial use.

To find out more about Hexcam head over to their website for more information.

Editor: This is just one of several reviews we will be posting by differnt Inspire 1 owners over the next few weeks.

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Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Drones | Permalink | Comments (0)

Blackmagic Camera 2.0 Firmware Released – URSA gets 4K and HD 444 ProRes Recording

By technical editor Matt Allard:

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Blackmagic today released Camera Firmware 2.0 that adds new features for the URSA. The Studio Camera 4K, Studio Camera, BMPCC and BMCC all get minor improvements or bug fixes.

For owners of the URSA Blackmagic have added Apple ProRes 444 recording in 4K and HD. As far as I’m aware the URSA and the AJA Cion are the only 4K sensor cameras currently capable of recording 444 ProRes internally.

What’s new in Blackmagic Camera Utility 2.0:

Blackmagic URSA
Adds support for Apple ProRes 444 recording in 4K and HD
Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K
Performance improvements for optical fiber output
Blackmagic Studio Camera
Fixes an issue where the overlays settings are not remembered after turning off camera
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
Fixes an issue where dropped frames are occurring during ProRes LT and Proxy recording
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
Performance enhancements and improvements
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
No changes

You can download the new firmware here.

Posted on January 23rd, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, Blackmagic design | Permalink | Comments (0)

Latest Go Creative show talks tech with Matt Allard and Monster makeup

By site editor Dan Chung:

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This week on the Go Creative Show our own technical editor Matt Allard talks about some of the latest gear with show host Ben Consoli. (Matt’s segment starts about 45 minutes into the show).

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The main part of this week’s podcast is taken up talking “monster makeup” with special effects makeup artist Frank Ippolito – the subject is something that most news and documentary shooters probably will never use for their day jobs. Even though this episode is a fascinating listen and its great to get an insight into a completely different part of the industry.

Click below to listen in:

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Posted on January 22nd, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Go Creative show | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tascam DR-10X micro audio recorder with XLR connection

By technical editor Matt Allard:

The Tascam DR-10X

The Tascam DR-10X

Recently I’ve been looking at small audio recording devices to remotely capture broadcast quality sound. There are several small recorders like the Zoom H1, or alternatively iPhone or iPod based solutions such as Rode’s smartLav+ coupled with their Rode Record app. Finding a small device with a professional XLR audio connection has been near impossible until now. Enter the Tascam DR-10X – a tiny device with some very professional features.

The the DR-10X compact PCM recorder is designed to capture audio during interviews, press conferences and meetings. It attaches directly to any dynamic or battery-powered condenser microphone with a XLR output. The captive XLR connector attaches firmly to the microphone and essentially turns it into a single hand holdable unit. It can capture audio at Broadcast standard 48kHz/24-bit in WAV format. Offloading recordings is a simple matter of connecting through the microUSB connection or by removing the microSD card and placing it in a reader.

The DR-10X has both manual and automatic gain settings, with a low cut filter and limiter to prevent overloads. There is however no way of fine tuning the volume manually, you have to either set the gain to low/mid/high, or leave it on automatic. Recording can begin instantly when turning the device on – you hold the record side switch during startup.

The record lever

The record lever

The recording switch uses a sliding mechanism instead of a designated recording button. There is a hold function that can prevent recording from being stopped by accidental button presses.

Duel recording option

Duel recording option

The DR-10X has a headphone socket for monitoring, but in many cases the locations where you put this recorder will prohibit the use of headphones. You aren’t going to be able to trail a headphone cable half way across a room to the front of a news conference from your camera position.

If you can’t easily monitor setting the record level correctly can become problematic. The DR-10X has several functions to prevent issues related to recording level settings, These include a dual recording function that allows you to set one recording level while simultaneously recording a backup track at a lower level. If the primary track overloads and clips then you can simply use the one recorded at the lower level. This is a really nice feature and I would use this all the time as there is no downside in doing it. In addition the unit has an automatic gain control function that can adjust the input level. In common with most other professional recorders it also has a limiter function.

Headphone monitoring

Headphone monitoring

Even though this unit is very compact it can still play back recorded files via the headphones. You can check the battery level on the easy-to-read display. Even if the battery should run out the unit will automatically close the current audio file to prevent the loss of already recorded data before it shuts down. While the display is handy I did find it a little too small for my eyes.

Attached to the Rode Reporter Mic

Attached to the Rode Reporter Mic

I tried the DR-10X with a multitude of different microphones and was very pleased with the results. The locking mechanism at the base of the XLR connector enables you to use a large microphone such at the Rode Reporter Mic and keep a solid connection that doesn’t wobble around. You can also use a normal lapel style mic as long as it is powered, then use the DR-10X as a bodypack. It is a very cost effective alternative to a wireless mic as long as you are prepared to sync up the audio and video tracks in post production. Even if you have expensive wireless solutions there are times when you can’t use a radio mic because of restrictions or transmission break up – in these cases the DR-10X could be a life saver. I have used it to record a third channel of audio when I have had to mic up three people and have only had two radio mics.

You can't record stereo tracks from a microphone such as the Rode Stereo VideoMic X

You can’t record stereo tracks from a microphone such as the Rode Stereo VideoMic X

The only negative aspect about the DR-10X is that it only records a single (mono) channel of audio. If you wanted to use it with something like the Rode Stereo Video Mic X to record great ambient location sound somewhere you wouldn’t get stereo recording. In the future it would be good to see Tascam release a stereo version of the DR-10X. The other thing that puzzled me was when I initially put a MicroSD card into the device is that it would not work. I was using a 4GB card and only after looking carefully at the specifications did I find out that it would only work with a microSD card between 64MB to 2GB. Be careful too if you choose to use microSDHC cards – these you can only use between 4GB to 32GB. I would of also liked to see full manual control for setting the record level included.

Overall the DR-10X is easy to use, light weight and versatile. There are other solutions that can record multiple channels of audio and include more features but they lack the compact size and low cost of the DR-10X. To have a small recorder that you can carry in your kit at all times can be very handy in a lot of situations.

Here are some audio samples recording to the DR-10X.

DR-10X SPECIFICATIONS

Recording media microSD card(64MB to 2GB), microSDHC card(4GB to 32GB)

Media discharging Push-Push type (Guard cover mounted)

Recording format WAV(BWF)

Sampling frequency 48kHz

Quantization bit rate 24bit

Number of channels 1-channel (Mono)

Analog audio iInputs

Connector XLR-3-31

Input Impedance 10k ohm or more

MIC input gain LOW / MID / HIGH

PHONES Connector 3.5mm(1/8″) stereo mini jack (DUAL MONO)

USB Connector Micro-B type 4pin

Power 1 AAA batteries (Alkaline or NiMH), USB bus power

Battery Operation Time Alkaline batteries (EVOLTA) About 10 hours

Battery (RTC) Lithium × 1(built in with soldering)

Dimensions 52(W) × 94.4(H) × 28(D) mm

Weight 68.3g (including batteries) / 56.3g (without batteries)

Accessories USB cable, Owner’s Manual (including warranty)

Posted on January 22nd, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Audio | Permalink | Comments (1)

Pond5 public domain project – ‘World’s greatest’ collection of copyright-free content now available

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Having to purchase stock footage, images, sound clips and other forms of media can be very costly. Your only other option is to find copyright-free content to use for your projects, but that can often be a very difficult task. You can waste a lot of time digging through remote archives and clumsy websites, or spend valuable money to access media which supposedly exists for free in the public domain.

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Pond5 has come up with a great solution. Called the Public Domain Project, it gives anyone the ability to access an ever-expanding collection of copyright-free multimedia content that’s accessible for free search, free download and free use.

Pond5′s aim is to assemble the world’s greatest collection of free public domain content tailored specifically for editors, designers, musicians, and other media makers. Pond5 have searched government and public archives around the globe, pulling together some of the best examples of copyright-free footage, photography, sound recordings, 3D models and more.

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Posted on January 22nd, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments (0)

Atomos to finally add playback to the Shogun 4K recorder-Updated

By site editor Dan Chung:

Atomos Shogun Playback Update from Atomos Video on Vimeo.

Update: Here is Atomos CEO Jeromy Young explaining the playback functions and other features users can expect with future firmware releases.

Atomos have today published a schedule that states that an upcoming firmware 6.1 update this Friday (23rd of Jan) will finally add playback to the Shogun 4K recorder. This somewhat basic function has been unavailable since launch due to problems firmware programming issues.

Here is Atomos CEO Jeromy Young explaining the playback features and other features users can expect with future firmware releases.

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The company have also said that the much needed custom sunhood will be available from the end of the 1st week of Feb.

Perhaps just as importantly Atomos have also given details of further firmware releases. 6.2 to come at the end of February should bring the ability to downconvert the 4K image to HD on loop-through and playback. This is essential for use of HD monitors and EVFs (such as Zacuto’s new Gratical HD) as well as many wireless transmission systems such as the Teradek Bolt.

6.2 will also have the ability to load 3D look up tables (LUTs) and add the Avid DNxHD codec.

FS700 and FS7 users wanting RAW to Prores recording will have to 6.3 firmware scheduled for March. RAW recording in CinemaDNG format with the Sony FS 700, FS7 and Canon C500 will have to wait until the second quarter.

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Posted on January 21st, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K, External recorders, Uncategorized | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rode announces the RodeLink 2.4GHz digital worldwide wireless system and new NTG4 and 4+ pro shotgun microphones

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Introducing the RØDELink Digital Wireless Audio System from RØDE Microphones on Vimeo.

Australian audio company RØDE Microphones has just held the largest simultaneous product launch in the company’s history, introducing multiple new products and categories at an exclusive event in San Diego, USA.

The RodeLink Digital Wireless System TX

The RodeLink Digital Wireless System TX

The most exciting is the RØDELink Digital Wireless System. A fully-digital wireless audio system, RØDELink utilises a next-generation 2.4GHz, 128-bit encrypted digital transmission sent on two channels simultaneously, providing a high-resolution 24-bit/44.1k digital audio signal at a range of up to 100 meters (over 100 yards). The use of 2.4GHz means that the RØDELink should be able to work worldwide – most UHF and digital hybrid wireless systems like the Sennheiser G3 and Sony UWP-D work on different frequency bands in different countries due to different regulations. Traveling internationally with wireless mics could be a real headache in the past – RØDELink may just have made it a whole lot easier.

The new RodeLink  works well on small camera set ups.

The new RodeLink works well on small camera set ups.

The RØDELink system will consist of a number of receiver and transmitter options, and will be available in kits for specific audio needs across film, news gathering, presentation and stage use. The first of these to be released – The Filmmaker Kit, will consist of a beltpack transmitter, on-camera or beltpack receiver and a RØDE Lavalier microphone.

The RodeLink filmmaker kit

The RodeLink filmmaker kit

This from the Rode press release: “We’re very excited to announce the launch of the RØDELink fully-digital wireless audio system. Continuing RØDE’s mission to provide premium performance products at an accessible price, the RØDELink system will be one of the most affordable wireless solutions on the market.” Commented Peter Freedman, RØDE’s Founder and President, at the company event in San Diego. “20 years ago RØDE revolutionized the home recording experience. 10 Years ago RØDE did the same in the video category. Now the time is right for a revolution in wireless audio capabilities, and I believe that RØDELink will become the category leader in a very short space of time.”

The RØDELink Filmmaker kit will be shipping globally in April 2015. For more information, please visit www.rode.com/wireless. No pricing has been announced officially but we are told it should be sub US$500 (edit – B+H now has it listed at $399 US) – making it considerably less than the cheapest pro wireless systems from rivals Sony and Sennheiser.

This is a great announcement as I am sure the Rodelink system is sure to be a hit with filmmakers across the World. For me, a wireless mic system was the missing link in the Rode product range. The use of the 2.4Ghz part of the spectrum is novel and it will be interesting to test how the Rodelink compares to hybrid digital wireless systems like Sony’s UWP-D range.

Introducing the NTG4 and NTG4+ Shotgun Microphones from RØDE Microphones on Vimeo.

RØDE has also announced two new shotgun microphones, the NTG4 and NTG4+. Drawing on the success of the current RØDE shotgun mic the new NTG 4 and 4+ are a step up from the lower cost NTG 1 and 2 shotguns which are very popular with news and documentary shooters on budgets. The NTG 4 and 4+ have higher audio quality but are similar in size. This should be a great upgrade for existing NTG 1 and 2 users

The NTG4+

The NTG4+

Starting with an all-new capsule, the NTG4 and NTG4+ exhibit lower noise and higher sensitivity, giving you cleaner audio at the source. On-board digital switching now controls a 75Hz high pass filter, 10db PAD and innovative high frequency boost which was first available on the Stereo VideoMic X, allowing you to compensate for any high frequency attenuation when using a DeadCat style furry windshield.

The NTG4+ can be charged via USB

The NTG4+ can be charged via USB

Enhancing the dual-powered flexibility of the NTG2, the NTG4+ comes equipped with an internal rechargeable lithium battery – a world first for a professional shotgun microphone. Providing up to 150 hours operating time, the battery is conveniently charged via any USB power source such as a phone battery or laptop – using the supplied MicroUSB cable.

Until now to get much better camera top sound has required either a longer microphone like the Rode NTG 3 and Sennheiser ME66/K6 which can be unwieldy, or spending some serious cash on something like a Sanken CS1e. The NTG 4 looks to be the perfect solution without breaking the bank.

Size comparison: The NTG4+ (top), NTG2 (middle) and NTG4

Size comparison: The NTG4+ (top), NTG2 (middle) and NTG4

The NTG4 and NTG4+ will be available globally in February 2015. For more information, please visit www.rode.com/ntg4.

The new Rode NTR studio ribbon microphone

The new Rode NTR studio ribbon microphone

For studio folk RØDE has also announced the RØDE NTR, which they claim is the world’s very best ribbon microphone. This is what they have to say about it:

The NTR is unlike any ribbon microphone ever created. The unique design places the ribbon distinctly separate to the microphone frame and body, allowing the greatest possible acoustic transparency around the ribbon element and minimising resonance. The ribbon element itself is designed completely from scratch, using extremely fine aluminium that is only 1.8 microns thick – one of the thinnest ribbons in existence. An innovative, in-house, proprietary technique was developed to laser cut the ribbon, giving a level of precision and accuracy never before seen in a ribbon microphone.

Surrounding the ribbon element is a chemically etched all-metal layer of mesh – the same used on the SMR pop shield. This is extremely rigid while exhibiting super low density, resulting in greater acoustic transparency.

Married to RØDE’s ribbon element is a high output, ultra-low noise, low impedance transformer. Combined with world-class active electronics, this allows the NTR to be used with a wide range of preamps without the additional gain requirements of many other ribbon offerings.

“It’s always been a dream of RØDE’s to create the world’s very best ribbon microphone, but the time was never quite right.” Exclaimed Damien Wilson, RØDE’s Global Sales and Marketing Director. “As many of you know, our manufacturing capabilities have expanded dramatically over the past few years and now we’re proud to say we have a facility unlike any other in the world. These expanded capabilities have allowed us to realize this dream, and bring the NTR to life.”

An intricate blend of art and science, the NTR reaffirms RØDE as a world leader in microphones for studio recording of vocals and instruments.

The NTR will be available globally in February 2015. For more information, please visit www.rode.com/ntr.

Full disclosure: Rode microphones is a sponsor of Newsshooter.com

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Posted on January 21st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Audio | Permalink | Comments (3)

The Varavon Birdycam 2 brushless gimbal gets a price drop to $1,999.00

By technical editor Matt Allard:

The Varavon Birdycam 2 and Sony a7S

The Varavon Birdycam 2 and Sony a7S

The price of brushless gimbals have continued to drop in recent times and the latest one to do so is the Varavon Birdycam 2. The Korean made gimbal uses the common Alexmos platform and newer 32-bit control, but unlike many cheap rivals it comes pre-built and ready to fly.

At a time limited special offer price of $1999 the Birdycam 2 joins the GyroVu-S Stabilized Gimbal, came-tv CAME-7800 3-Axis Camera Gimbal and the DEFY G2x in the sub $2000 range. The Birdycam2 will sell for $1999 till Feburary 10th – instead of its usual price of $2375.

Like other handheld brushless gimbals the Varavon Birdycam 2 is a motorised stabilization system that balances out your camera as you follow moving subjects. The steering handle moves along three axes (up/down, left/right, and sideways), and the camera hangs suspended on a gimbal in the centre. Additionally, there’s also a thumb-control joystick on the steering handle that lets you pan and tilt the gimbal without moving the handle itself. It is nice to see the thumb controller included in the box – other companies like DJI and Freefly charge extra for theirs.

The camera platform is adjustable to support various mid-size cameras including DSLRs, the Blackmagic Cinema and Production Cameras, Sony a7S, and Panasonic GH4. The maximum weight capacity is 5.5 lb. The motors are battery powered by up to two Varavon batteries – one battery is included in the kit. A stand is also included for setting the Birdycam down. All the components come in a compartmentalized case and require very little assembly.

The Varavon Wirecam

The Varavon Wirecam

The Birdycam 2 can also be used on the Varavon Wirecam system for added flexibility. For more information and online ordering you can go to the Varavon website.

Posted on January 21st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Brushless gimbals | Permalink | Comments (0)

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