Thursday, January 21, 2016

Panasonic unveiling a new camera module for Varicam on February 10th?


Is this.....
...a new version of this?
Panasonic has announced the rollout of a new member of the Varicam family on February 10th at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles.

The tease is "Mobile cinema acquisition is about to change....forever. Join us for the unveiling of the newest addition to the Panasonic Varicam lineup of cinema cameras."

Well, from the outline of the box "concealed" by the tarp in the image, it's pretty clear this is a new camera module - but the question is - what's the sensor size and resolution? And, more importantly, what's the price point?

Hopefully, it's a lower-spec Super 35 camera module at a lower price point than the $29,000 AU-V35C1 Super 35 4K camera head.

Sadly, though, no matter how inexpensive the camera head is, with the current Varicam configuration you still need a $17,000 recording module to make it work.

What Panasonic really needs to do in order to "change mobile digital cinema acquisition...forever" is develop a Super 35 camera with a total price that is competitive with the sub $10,000 FS7/Raven/URSA Mini 4.6K class cameras that currently dominate the low end cinema camcorder market.

Even better would be a Super 35, interchangeable lens camera in the sub $6000 FS5/LS300/URSA Mini 4K class (the fixed lens, micro 4/3 DVX200 doesn't count).

That said, a less expensive front end for Varicam would be a good start - I just hope they don't try putting a micro 4/3 sensor or mount on it.

Looking forward to February 10th to see what Panasonic comes up with.

What do you think it is?  Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12.2 Studio for Mac marked down 50% to $499.99

Blackmagic Resolve for Mac - now $499.99 - 


Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve, arguably the best combination color grading/editing software suite on the market, has been available in two versions for the past several years - Resolve Studio ($1000) and Resolve Lite (free).

For most users, the free version of DaVinci Resolve 12 does everything they need - but for pro users or serious amateurs who need support for multiple GPUs, 4K output, motion blur effects, temporal and spatial noise reduction, 3D stereoscopic tools, remote rendering, and/or collaboration tools allowing multiple users work on the same project at the same time - Resolve Studio is the way to go.

Sadly, until today, pro users either had to buy a Blackmagic Camera that retailed for over $1000 (and came bundled with a free copy of Resolve Studio) - or pay $1000 to get the full, professional version of Resolve.

Today, with a pre-Christmas press release, Blackmagic Design has changed all that - at least for Mac users.

Now, you can download DaVinci Resolve Studio Version 12.2 from the Mac App Store for $499.99!

From the press release:
"Now available on the Mac App Store for only USD$499, customers have more flexibility than ever before because the software downloaded from the App Store features built in security and does not require a hardware dongle to run. That means customers that purchase DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio from the Mac App Store can run it on multiple personal Macs, like their laptop and desktop computers, simply by using their Apple ID.

This Mac only version of DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio greatly simplifies the purchasing and installation of the software because customers only pay once and do not have to suffer from the problems and high costs of monthly licensing for other cloud based software. In addition, the DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio license will not expire so customers never have worry about unexpected software expiration in the middle of a project or when on location without a network.

Customers that need to switch between Mac and Windows, or that are using DaVinci Resolve in a facility that does not use Apple ID, can still purchase DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio with a hardware dongle from Blackmagic Design resellers."
This is clearly a shot aimed at Premiere Pro and Adobe's "Creative Cloud" subscription model, which is $49.99 per month for a bundle of Adobe products.

Now, instead of paying $600 a year for Creative Cloud, Mac users can pay for a one-time, $500 license and run a dongle-free version of Resolve Studio 12.2.

That is still $200 more than Final Cut Pro, but may be worth it for direct access to Resolve's industry leading coloring tools in an all-in-one editing suite.

Sadly, Windows users are still stuck with the dongle (and the $1000 price tag), but let's hope that changes soon.

At least Windows (and Linux) are getting a free upgrade from Resolve 12 to Resolve 12.2 with support for h.265.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, December 12, 2015

URSA Mini first aerial footage vs. Alexa Mini





So far, Alexa Mini has had the Super 35 4K/global shutter aerial market pretty much to itself. That is about to change.

Courtesy of Grit Visual in Salt Lake, here is the first aerial footage shot with the $2,995 URSA Mini 4K:


The gimbal for the ground shots was a $2,279 DJI Ronin - and the multicopter used for the aerials was an $11,995 Freefly Alta with a 4.8 kg/15 lb maximum payload.

Here's the behind-the-scenes - interestingly, they had to come up with a custom battery solution to get it airborne:



Dynamic range, highlight rolloff, color (after a light grade) and the absence of rolling shutter are all impressive here.

To my eye, this compares pretty well with a similarly-themed commercial shot with the $45,000 Alexa Mini and an $11,330 Freefly MoVI M15:


Now that we've seen actual footage from the URSA Mini, some people are comparing it to other cameras in the sub-$10,000 price range in interesting categories such as "cost of media" measured in  "dollars per gigabyte".

There are far important metrics that should take priority when comparing these cameras.

To most DPs, avoiding CMOS skew from a fast-moving drone or maximizing the palette of colors for flexibility in post matter more than how much a storage card costs - but other than URSA Mini, the old Production Camera 4K (and the hard-to-find Kinefinity Kinemini), no Super 35 camera below $10K has both a global shutter and the ability to record to RAW internally.

As a result, in my view, other sub-$10,000 Super 35 cameras are not really competitive with the gold standard of digital cinema - the camera that 80% of last year's cinematography Oscar nominees was shot on - the Arri Alexa.

Yes, RED Raven records to REDCODE RAW, but it lacks a global shutter.  While Sony cameras in this price class have neither internal RAW recording nor a global shutter.

URSA Mini, on the other hand, is competitive with Alexa in both of these key areas.

For what it does, the price point on URSA Mini is amazing and will change the economics of filmmaking when it starts to ship in large numbers.

Pretty impressive for a camera that costs less than the $4,500 deposit on the Alexa Mini.

If anything here has helped you to make a buying decision, please click on the links above or the display ads below or in the margins.  It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, November 26, 2015

New URSA Mini 4.6K narrative film footage



URSA Mini 4.6K test footage seems to be coming fast and furious now. Some nice narrative rushes from Blackmagic tester and DP Kholi Hicks' short film Spooks:


Recorded to ProRes HQ, lightly graded and shot mostly in natural light, this is the best looking footage from the 4.6K sensor to date. Again, the roll-off from the highlights and the color seem very "Arri-like" - for 1/10th the price.

Really looking forward to seeing footage recorded to CinemaDNG RAW with this sensor.

If anything here has helped you to make a buying decision, please click on the links above or the display ads below or in the margins.  It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

First ever URSA Mini 4.6K footage posted to Vimeo!



Finally - Blackmagic beta tester and cinematographer Tom Majerski posts two examples of footage from the URSA Mini 4.6K to Vimeo! Without further ado, here they are:




As Tom said in a tweet earlier day, "It's better than I expected...worth the wait."

I agree- the dynamic range and the richness and depth of the colors seem much more (dare I say it) "Alexa-like" than the 4K camera to my eye.

Now that we have started to see footage from both the 4K and 4.6K versions of this camera, I'm going to go out on a limb.  I think Blackmagic has a price/performance winner here - and we're about to see a wave of creative destruction in camera prices.

With a ready-to-shoot LCD-only URSA Mini 4K coming in at a little under $3500 (with media, battery plate, a battery solution and shoulder kit) the 8-bit JVC LS300 has a real problem at $3495.

In addition, I think Canon Cinema EOS and Sony FS prices are going to have to come down across their product lines.  I really cannot see buying a C300 Mark II for $15,999 rather than a $7,000 viewfinder-equipped Mini 4.6K.

As for me, my Panasonic GH cameras are for sale.

If anything here has helped you to make a buying decision, please click on the links above or the display ads below or in the margins.  It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wooden Camera rolls out custom accessories for the URSA Mini

Pictured: URSA Mini with Wooden Camera NATO Handle Kit, Top Plate, Quick Base & 2x 15mm Rods

If you want to rig your new URSA Mini and you need more mounting points or flexibility than Blackmagic's URSA Mini Shoulder Kit can provide, the folks at Wooden Camera are ready with a solution for just about every need.  Wooden Camera President Ryan Schorman explains:




With the Wooden Camera NATO Handle Kit, Top Plate, Quick Base (or Fixed Base),  2x 15mm Rods and the Universal View Finder (UVF) Mount, you can use any EVF with your Mini, add a follow focus or matte box and mount the camera pretty much anywhere.

Wooden Camera products cost a little more than other brands - but I have used them personally and they are a great value for the money.

Kudos to Wooden Camera for being ready with a full set of accessories for the camera as the first units arrive in the hands of customers.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

3 axis gimbal prices plummet - Kovacam Sabre Digi for A7/GH4/G7/A6000 just $398!

New Kovacam Sabre Digi 3 axis gimbal just $398

Kovacam has been building counterbalanced stabilizers and selling them in the US market for a while - such as this well-reviewed combination stabilizer monopod and the interesting Xcam Sabre mini tripod stabilizer.

Now, they have decided to step into the 3 axis gimbal market in a big way - with the new Kovacam Sabre Digi SD-01 - priced at an amazing $398.

At this price, Sabre Digi undercuts the nearest competition, the $499.90 Beholder MS-1, by almost $100 - and makes the $998 CAME-TV Single look seriously overpriced.

Here are a couple of Kovacam promo videos showing the SD-01 flying the Panasonic G7 and GH4:





At $398, it starts to make a lot of sense for mirrorless shooters to replace their old counterbalanced stabilizers with an easy to use gimbal.

It also means the higher-end gimbal manufacturers will  have to lower their prices if they want to stay competitive.

A real win-win for videographers and filmmakers on a budget.

Please follow HCR here, on G+, on YouTube on Vimeo and on Twitter (button below) for more of the latest news in micro-budget video and cinema.






Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”