By site editor Dan Chung:
So Christmas is nearly here but if the loved ones in your life still don’t know what to get you, or you just want to treat yourself, here are a few last minute suggestions from the Newsshooter team for you.
One of our technical editor Matt Allard’s favorite discoveries at the NAB show earlier this year were the inflatable softboxes for LED lights from Airbox lights. They come in various sizes and have to be the most portable softbox solution available. Starting at $35.99 for the Mini model they range up to $99.99 for the larger Model 1×1 for Litepanels and other 12”x12” panels. An option eggcrate can also be added to any of the softboxes. Check the range our at http://www.airboxlights.com/. Pure genius.
The Rode SmartLav is a great little backup mic for any real world shooter. The lav mic plugs into your iOS device and some Android phones , transforming them into a pocketable audio recorder. The condenser mic capsule has an Omni-directional pick-up pattern and can be used with Rode’s RodeRec App or any other recording app that uses the headset mic input. It can be used as an inexpensive alternative to a wireless mic setup by popping it into the pocket of your presenter or talent and then using dual system sound to sync the audio with the camera audio in post. A couple of things to be aware of are that as it ships there is no way to monitor what you are recording using headphones and you have to rely on level meters for proper setup. Also remember to turn off the radio of your iPhone before you record to stop interference noises. Great value at around $60.
Kessler Kwik quick release plates are very popular with many Newsshooters. When shooting DSLR I have one on each of my tripod heads, sliders, jibs and stabilizers. Designed to be compatible with the Arca swiss standard release plates used by Really Right Stuff, Zacuto and others the system is rapid to use and yet very secure. Even though I have several already, another is always a welcome gift. Availabe now for $139.95 at Kessler.
The Steadicam Curve doesn’t seem to be shipping just yet, but if you don’t mind waiting at least your loved ones order it for you right now. Designed for the GoPro Hero the Curve is a great way to get smooth Steadicam shots for less than $100. No mean feat. Don’t believe us, check out what legandary inventor Garrett Brown had to say about it earlier in the year:
Storage is another gift most shooters won’t turn their noses up at. What better this year than to receive an extra G-drive EV or two from your family. The 1TB portable drive is about as fast as a 2.5” spinning drive gets right now and can transfer data at up to 140MB/s. Better still, plug it into a G-Dock EV and you can connect via Thunderbolt and also configure the a pair of drives in RAID 0 or 1.
There aren’t too many shooters out there who don’t have a GoPro these days. What better gift then than a Genus GoPro cage. With multiple mounting options and super tough build this little cage should do a great job of protecting your GoPro from damage. It can accept 52mm filters or larger ones with an optional set-up ring. In stock now on the Genus webstore at $99.
Nasty clamps also impressed Matt Allard at NAB this year. Basically a small clamp with a flexible arm that allows you to mount LED lights, small accessories or lightweight cameras pretty much anywhere. Simple yet practical for less than $60.
Cinecoil SDI cables are great for connecting SDI monitors, EVFs. external recorders or wireless transmitters to your rig. As the name implies they are coiled and are a great way to keep thing tidier. Another benefit is that the BNC connectors at each end are right angled. A ten inch cable is a wallet friendly $22.95.
I’m always on the lookout for new and efficient ways to carry my laptop. With the new Think Tank Photo My 2nd Brain range of laptop cases I think I might have found my new best friend. With different models to fit 11, 13 and 15 inch laptops they follow they are well constructed out of water-resistant fabric and most importantly feature lots of pockets for all your accessories. All the regular bits like chargers and USB cables have their own home either in the bag or an included zippered accessory pocket.
Talking of bags its also worth checking out the range from fstopgear.com A personal favorite of our regular contributor Jonah Kessel they are offering Newsshooter readers a special $15 discount on orders of more than $50 (EU customers will receive a 15 Euro discount instead). Simply enter the code 15OFF50 on checkout on their webstore before Jan. 3rd, 2014.
Another classic product that is recommended by Jonah Kessel is the Noga Arm. It has proved itself popular with shooters over the years and is still going strong today. We recommend the Cine Arm at $140. There are cheaper arms but good luck finding one that lasts as well or holds as well.
So those are our recommendations for this year. To all our readers have a wonderful festive season and we’ll be back in the New Year.