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Posted 09/10/20
Here at B&H Photo, we're happy to announce something special for owners and users of Sony’s FX9 and Venice cameras. Sony PXW-FX9 XDCAM 6K Full-Frame Camera System Sony PXW-FX9 Version 2.0 of the camera’s firmware will greatly expand the FX9’s already-impressive capabilities. UPDATE: Sony has officially released version 2.0 for the FX9. It is available for download on Sony's Support Page. DCI 4K and RAW Recording With this update, DCI 4K will be supported in Full Frame and Super 35mm, including 60, 50, 30, 25, and 24p. This is for the cinema purists, as well as anyone who has been asking for DCI support since before the FX9 was even released. You can also shoot 1920 x 1080p at 150/180 fps, in Full Frame, for creating even more dramatic cinematic effects. Firmware V 2.0 also brings the promised 16-bit RAW recording functionality, although it does require the addition of the XDCA-FX9 Extension Unit, but if you want or need RAW, this is the firmware update for you. 6G-SDI While the FX-9 originally supported 4K 59.94/50p over its 12G SDI connection, the new firmware will add 6G support, which in turns adds 30/23.98p output via a single SDI cable. LUTs, HDR, and Expanded ISO Range Create your own 3D LUTs in the.cube format, or upload them from an SD card, because the V 2.0 firmware enables your camera to store up to 16 LUTs to work with. Along with LUT support, the firmware delivers HDR support for HLG (in-camera HDR). Expanded ISO ranges in both Base ISO and High ISO settings allow the camera to see even farther into the shadows, for improved low-light performance. Audio Improvements Need more reasons for adding the XDCA-FX9 to your shooting arsenal than just the RAW output? Figure this into your gear purchase equations: The XDCA-FX9 will support DWX and URX slot-in wireless receivers when your camera has the V 2.0 firmware installed. And if you are using the XLR-K3M to bring in analog audio through the Multi-Interface Shoe, the firmware update will also allow for digital I/F. Autofocus and Improved Touch Menu With the V 2.0 firmware, your camera will support Sony's eye-tracking technology, which keeps your focus locked on your subject's eye and is especially useful in intimate interview situations. Focus Touch Control will allow you to lock in a specific area and keep that in focus, without deactivating autofocus; this is in addition to the current Touch AF feature. You can also assign AF Speed/Sens to a function button of your choice, allowing you to tune the AF settings without having to go back into the AF menu. Touch screen control has been made for faster adjustments, and the new firmware expands the touch menu operation. It will highlight in orange all the features that are touch-control adjustable, and the FPS, ISO, Shutter, ND, LUT, and WB menu layout is now similar to the Venice menu layout, for simpler operation when switching between cameras. Sony Venice The Version 5.0 firmware (already released earlier this year) brought many improvements to the Venice’s capabilities. These included High Frame Rates when shooting at 6K, up to 90 fps at 2.39:1, and 72 fps at either 17:9 or 1.85:1, useful for general filmmaking when you don’t need a dedicated high-speed camera for ultra-high-speed filming. Version 5.0 also brought the ability to capture HD ProRes 4444 at up to 30 fps onto SxS Pro+ cards, and compatibility with the Cooke/i2 lens information system. In addition to improved monitoring function, including marker settings, V 5.0 activated the camera’s gyro sensor. These are the most recent improvements, and if you don’t have V 5.0, you should probably think about downloading it. But hold onto your hat, because come November, Sony will be releasing V 6.0 of the Sony Venice firmware. The Version 6.0 firmware update will bring even more HFR capabilities, up to 72 fps at 5.7k 16:9 and also at 4K 6:5, as well as allow a blazing 110 fps at 3.8K 16:9 capture. Pretty decent for a Full-Frame camera that isn’t dedicated to high-speed filmmaking. Shooting Functions Improvements will include gyro information embedded in the Metadata, and the camera will add support for the Fujinon Premista series Zeiss eXtended Data. Personally, I love it when manufacturers play nice with each other; it really allows us to use the tools we want for each situation, opening up more possibilities. Monitoring The 6.0 firmware allows you to use 3D LUTs on the camera’s viewfinder, for instant feedback on how you expect the shot to look. This goes hand in hand with the new.ART (Advanced Rendering Transform) file import, which provides smoother rending of areas that used to suffer from banding artifacts, providing a less distracting image and removing unnecessary concern when monitoring from the viewfinder. Shooting Assist Functions Rounding out this update for the Venice are the addition of a second User Frame Line, as well as both 9:16 and 1:1 Frame lines presets (9:16, it’s here, might as well be able to frame it up properly). Some small tweaks to the camera’s functionality will include individual adjustment of the REC beep and alarm volume, and the CamID+Reel# won’t be lost when loading ALL File. The firmware 6.0 update will also allow you to display Genlock and TC status on the OSD screen, and De-Squeeze On/Off is now available by a User button. Virtually New Cameras With an expected release in November 2020, these firmware updates will unleash more performance and more functionality from your cameras, essentially giving you a new camera. For more information on Sony professional video cameras, visit the B&H Photo Website.
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Posted 09/06/20
Jake and the B&H crew try out Lupo’s LED panel lights. These three lights boast 96 CRI and 98 TLCI for accuracy in color rendering: The Superpanel boasts a 13,000 LUX output, allows control of hue, saturation, and color intensity in HSI mode, and has fully customizable color in RGBWW mode and color temperature control in CCT mode from 2800 to 10,000K. The Actionpanel also has these modes while putting out 5000 LUX. The Smartpanel comes in at 4200 LUX and has color temperature control from 3200 to 5600K. Would you add any of these lights to your film or YouTube video lighting setup? Check out our video lighting tutorial videos: YouTube Lighting Setup for Beginners Lighting & Filming Darker Skin Tones with ARRI Signature Primes
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Posted 08/26/20
DJI has announced its new OM 4 Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer, upgraded with a stronger motor and new intuitive software features. The more powerful motor provides better support for the latest multi-lens smartphones and for smoother operation in general, and it also does most of the initial balancing for you when you attach your phone. DJI OM 4 Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer The companion iOS/Android app now offers three new features when used with the OM 4. DynamicZoom produces the famed “Hitchcock effect,” which rotates your shot in a somewhat zooming motion as you follow your subject. The only effort required on your part is to just press the corresponding button in the app, and the built-in algorithms will take care of the rest. CloneMe is a creative panorama tool that combines multiple shots not from the same location but from different ones. This feature creates a panorama of several completely separate photos, allowing you to combine them into one. You can create a panorama image with you and/or your subject in different places at the same time. Another new feature is Flashlight mode, an addition to the existing Upright, Underslung, and Side Grip modes. Flashlight mode relies on a new built-in sensor to recognize your hand movements and automatically make intuitive adjustments for optimal positioning in low-angle shots. All the key features from earlier versions have also been carried over, including gesture control, time-lapse, motion-lapse, hyper-lapse, portrait and landscape positioning, slow motion, SpinShot effect, and much more, and the gimbal is still ergonomic, compact, and foldable like the previous model. The phone holder has been redesigned into a thinner, spring-loaded, magnetic smartphone clamp, and there’s also a magnetic ring holder included for snapping your phone right onto the gimbal. When you remove your phone, the ring holder can be used as a kickstand or a loop with which to securely hold your phone in your hand. And as always, DJI Care Refresh service and replacement plans are offered for the gimbal for cases of accidental damage. Check out the new DJI OM 4 and accessories on the B&H Photo Website today, and stop in at the B&H Photo SuperStore to see the wide range of DJI professional and consumer products.
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Posted 08/20/20
Are you looking to level up your YouTube video lighting? Jake shows you his home studio setup and discusses three-point lighting, as well as DIY solutions appropriate to your filming location. What do you think is the best lighting for YouTube videos? Feel free to share your thoughts.
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Posted 07/26/20
Jake chats with Glenn Connelly, Head of Production of the Kansas City Chiefs, about using ARRI camera systems for filming their long form and social media content.
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Posted 06/24/20
Today, anyone can create, and everyone can publish. Panasonic saw this trend and designed something specifically for this new breed of creators: the G100. It is a lightweight, powerful mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera with a fully articulating touchscreen, advanced OZO Audio by Nokia, 4K video, and plenty of sharing-oriented recording features that will appeal to the vlogger in everyone. Panasonic Lumix G100 Mirrorless Digital Camera The Details Image quality is great—as it should be. The imaging pipeline is a familiar one to the G9 and GH series, so this is going to be a winner. The real differences come with the body design. For vloggers, there is perhaps nothing more important than having a flip-out screen. If you can't see yourself, you can't effectively shoot. The screen flips out to the side, can face front or back, and can even be tucked away for protection. It measures 3.0", has a 1.84m-dot resolution, and has a high brightness, making it useful when outdoors in bright sunlight. A vlogging-specific interface and Video Selfie Mode make using this device even easier by automating many processes. Image quality is superb, which is not surprising considering it is using a 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds MOS sensor and a Venus Engine—just like the GH5 and G9. This allows it to capture beautiful UHD 4K at 30p and Full HD at 60p with such a compact form factor. V-Log L comes built-in here, for advanced color grading and integration with other systems. It's also good for capturing stills. Panasonic Lumix G100- Sample Photos Image stabilization comes as standard with a 5-axis hybrid setup. This uses electronic stabilization from the camera as well as optical stabilization from compatible lenses. This should help smooth out your walking videos. It even works with 4K recording, though this drops down to 4 axes. Heading back to more content creation features, we have to discuss a lot more body design features. Related to the screen is the addition of a sharp, high brightness EVF. It has a 3.68m-dot resolution and should be no problem for recording footage on a bright day. To help with recording, the camera also has a nice large, red record button on the top next to the shutter. Autofocus has been upgraded to be faster and more effective at tracking faces and eyes. This will be huge for vlogging or doing interviews, as you can just let the camera do what it needs to do. For other speedy moments, the G100 has a Slow and Quick mode that can help you capture video at up to 120 fps in Full HD and get a nice, slowed down image straight out of the camera. For vlogging, the G100 features a brand-new microphone system, called OZO Audio by Nokia. What this does is use an array of three microphones at the top of the camera and smart software to focus the pickup pattern. The coolest application is the Tracking option. The camera's autofocus system will actually track your face and eye as you shoot and then adjust the audio system to make sure you are always coming in clear while the background noise does not. Other options include Surround, which appears to just capture everything around you; Front, which focuses in on anything in front of the camera and is perfect for interviews or vlogs; and Behind, which can help keep narration clean as you capture things in front of you. An Auto setting can switch between Tracking and Surround based on what it sees. If you want to use your own mic, there is a standard 3.5mm input. There is a lot of fun stuff packed into the menus and operation modes. For starters, when you hit Record there is a red box that shows up around the entire image that clearly tells you that you are recording. The G100 also has frame markers, which will make it easier to shoot for various platforms and social media sites. These include 5:4, 1:1, 4:5, and 9:16. Variable opacity will give you control over how much outside the frame video is visible. And, the camera will automatically tag video shot vertically so it plays back properly on your devices. Finally, it is worth talking about the sharing features. There is a button at the top that will help you quickly transfer stuff to your smartphone from the Playback menu. You'll need to connect to your device using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth using the Lumix Sync App. Combined with built-in tools to make capturing easier for finishing on your devices, this should streamline the creation process without needing a computer in the middle. If you want to make the most of the system, Panasonic has created the DMW-SHGR1 Tripod Grip. This mini tripod can also work as a handheld grip, and if you connect it to the camera you are given controls for the shutter, recording, and sleep. It's great for quickly setting up and moving around with the G100. You can get the camera and grip in a nice starter kit. On paper, this looks to be a stellar camera, especially if you want to upgrade your vlogs. The Hands-On Experience Honestly, the G100 matches what the specs on paper tell you. It is a great, compact mirrorless camera that is especially well suited to vlogging. The relatively large Four Thirds sensor will make a difference to your images in certain situations, and it manages to keep the camera size competitive with point-and-shoots commonly found in the industry. This camera feels good in the hand, it's lightweight, and it could easily squeeze into an everyday bag or even a jacket pocket with relative ease. It's not the smallest thing out there, but it's close enough, considering all the other advantages it brings. The audio system actually works surprisingly well. The lack of a windscreen means that you might struggle in windy conditions, but for the most part it delivers as promised. Setting to Front or Back provides the most clarity for speaking, and it does a great job. This really helps with most vlogging situations and is very helpful. Tracking is also sounding good, especially for walking and talking. I love the new content creation features. Having a big red box indicating you are recording just makes me feel so much better. It's an underrated feature I think everyone should adopt at least as an option in lieu of traditional tally lights. The different frame markers are also super helpful. Before that required having a good external monitor; now you can just see it right on the camera, and needing one less tool is always an advantage. Moving on to image quality, I can't say I'm surprised. It looks great. The optional color effects are also nice to have for quick workflows where minimal editing is desired. As for autofocus, this is where I was very surprised. It exceeds that of the ever-popular GH series. It caught my face and tracked with ease, even when I was using it as a webcam. Previous Pause Next Panasonic Lumix G100- Sample Photos Since it is all the rage these days, you can use the G100 as a webcam if you use the camera's HDMI output and have a capture device for your computer. It's a nice option to have, but I do wish that it was native or supported by Panasonic's Lumix Tether for Streaming (Beta). The HDMI out is also limited to Full HD 60p and turns off the camera's screen when in use. There is one point of disappointment from my hands-on review, and that is that I think the camera is being held back by the included kit lens. The lens is okay, but it is slow and lacks some cool features like power zoom. If you have any additional Micro Four Thirds lenses or are looking to pick some more up, this camera can unleash its full potential. To be fair, the lens choice keeps the camera tiny and affordable, but it is a limiting factor for something that is being billed as an all-in-one solution in the kit. The mini tripod was a nice touch, and if you aim to do vlogging I highly recommend going for the kit. It completes the package. Overall, I think this is a great system to start with vlogging, particularly because you can expand it later on with new lenses or even match it with more serious cameras. It's a standard format, which should help, and V-Log L will allow it to integrate into more serious workflows. I would only knock the lens, which can be easily swapped out if you want to get an even better image. What are your thoughts on the new Lumix G100? Are you thinking of giving it a try? Let us know in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 06/21/20
Whether you’re a full-time filmmaker or YouTuber, the Hollyland Mars 400S Wireless Video Transmission System is a welcome addition during a video production. This portable transmitter/receiver allows flexibility on set, because it is able to transmit to up to four mobile devices over built-in Wi-Fi. Features include: bright, easy-to-read OLED screen, 1080p 60 fps video transmission over HDMI and SDI, access to HollyView App, and more!
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Posted 06/19/20
Doug shows you how achieve a high-quality livestreaming setup with this gear guide. He covers lighting, audio interfaces, green screens, Open Broadcast Software (OBS), and more.
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Posted 06/02/20
Perhaps you’re thinking of starting a YouTube channel or podcast. Either way, we have you covered! Doug goes over his basic content creation tips and offers some suggestions on what gear you can use to get started. Learn the basics from Doug, then turn to these videos for more content creation tips: How to Start a Podcast Filmmaking Tips for Beginners Audio for Video
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Posted 05/26/20
Vlogging just got a whole lot easier with the release of the Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera. This ultra-compact system may look familiar to fans of the RX100—it does borrow a lot of that series’ tech—but Sony has redesigned the ZV-1 to better appeal to the everyday content creator. Just by looking at it, you can see the improvements—it has a side flip-out screen, brings back the Multi Interface Shoe, adds a significantly better audio system, and offers some under-the-hood features that will make recording video a breeze. The ZV-1 Is a Compact with a Vlogger Makeover One look at the spec sheet should make you realize that a lot of the RX100’s DNA has returned in the ZV-1—which is good! The ZV-1 uses the same sensor and processor combination as the RX100 VII, which is a 20.1MP 1"-type Exmor RS stacked CMOS and the BIONZ X processor with front-end LSI. Basically, that means it's sharp and fast. It also unlocks some a9-like features, such as Real-time Eye AF and Real-time Tracking in video. Sony ZV-1 Digital Camera Another thing lifted from the RX100 series—specifically from the pocketable Mark V version—is the ZEISS 24-70mm-equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens. Its fast aperture helps in low-light shooting and getting the shallow depth-of-field look in your photos and videos. The lens also has Optical SteadyShot image stabilization to help smooth out your shots, and it can combine with digital stabilization for a much more advanced Active SteadyShot mode. Previous Pause Next Beyond those key features, the ZV-1 takes on a whole new external appearance. It is lighter than RX100-series cameras and has a larger, more pronounced grip that should make one-handed operation easier. The biggest update is the 3.0" side flip-out touchscreen, which is exactly what most content creators would choose if they were designing a camera. And, there is a large REC button on the top and a tally light on the front to help solidify the camera’s positioning as a compact video creation tool. Looking at the top of the camera reveals a few other tweaks. The big change to the middle is a brand-new directional three-capsule microphone. It has been optimized for audio coming from the front of the camera and will help isolate your subject’s voice while reducing background noise. The ZV-1 even comes with a windscreen that slides into the Multi Interface Shoe. Oh yeah, and it has a hot shoe. Everyone can identify the benefits of a Multi Interface Shoe on a vlogging camera. You can mount all your extra accessories, whether might be a wireless receiver or a light, and you can use it for dedicated attachments such as the Sony ECM-XYST1M Stereo Microphone. It’s also offset to the side of the camera. A standard 3.5mm microphone port is available, too, for even greater mic compatibility. High-Quality 4K Video and Fast AF In terms of video, there should be few surprises here. The ZV-1 is going to match up with the highly regarded RX100 VII. It will record in UHD 4K at up to 30p while doing a true downsampling of the sensor to create detailed footage. The larger 1"-type sensor will help minimize noise in low light, and the ZEISS optics and fast aperture will further benefit the video-quality pipeline. Sony has also eliminated the video record limit for 4K shooting with select settings, and there is a micro-HDMI port for those choosing to use an external recorder as opposed to in-camera recording to an SD memory card. Setting the ZV-1 apart from the rest is Sony’s inclusion of its advanced Picture Profiles. These let you tune the look of your footage in numerous ways. Pros will immediately gravitate toward options like S-Log2 and HLG, both of which are found on Sony’s professional cinema cameras. HLG, especially, will appeal to creators, because it helps unlock an Instant HDR workflow. Additionally, Sony has again tweaked the color science for improved skin tones. Where the ZV-1 excels is going to be in the autofocus department. The RX100 VII’s tech is impressive and can track subjects with ease, even in Movie Mode. Highlights for vlogs and content creators have to be Real-time Eye AF for humans and Real-time Tracking AF. Both of these can be tuned for speed and sensitivity to optimize performance for different situations. It’s something that has to be seen to understand just how good it can be. Another speedy feature is a Super Slow-Motion option. Again, this is a feature we have seen before but greatly appreciate seeing again. It allows for recording in up to 960 fps for extreme slow-motion capture. It’s a niche feature that can be a lot of fun. Dedicated Features for Content Creation Making the ZV-1 even better for vlogs and other content is Sony’s continual addition of new features to improve the filmmaking experience. Sony took the time to tune the ZV-1 to an impressive degree. One of the most interesting is the Product Showcase Setting. If you have watched a YouTube review of a product, you’ve seen how it goes. The presenter holds the item in front of their face and then the camera eventually (hopefully) shifts focus to the item. The Product Showcase Setting optimizes AF performance so that it will quickly and smoothly switch between an individual’s face and the object placed in front of the lens. Helping automate the video process are a couple of new features. The Face-Priority Auto-Exposure (AE) function will use the ZV-1’s advanced face detection tech and make sure the exposure always prioritizes the face. This means that as you walk and talk in changing light, no one will lose track of what is most important: you! Also, something great for beginners is a Background Defocus function. This is simple; it will automatically set the aperture to provide either more or less depth of field without having to think about it. Another new addition is a Skin-Softening function. This should help you look camera-ready any time and anywhere you want. Of course, since everyone is already beautiful in their own way, you can always turn it off. As with nearly every new camera, the ZV-1 does have built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This allows it to transfer photos to your phone easily via Sony’s Imaging Edge Mobile app. It also means it will support the Movie Edit add-on app, which can help edit and crop your video for various social media platforms and perform impressive digital image stabilization. Pick It up with an Accessory Kit Anyone can get started in vlogging with the ZV-1, and to make the jump easier, Sony has developed the Vlogger Accessory Kit. Including the GP-VPT2BT Shooting Wireless Remote Commander Grip and a 64GB SDXC Memory Card, you’ll have everything you need to start your own YouTube channel. At launch, Sony is offering this kit at discount when purchased with the ZV-1, so now is a great time to jump in. If you want to know a few other recommended accessories, I would say to absolutely pick up a couple spare batteries. Then consider compact lighting and audio gear, such as the RØDE Wireless GO or Aputure MC RGBWW LED Light. And, be sure to check out B&H’s video hands-on review for a first look at the ZV-1. Sony Vlogger Accessory Kit Are you a vlogger who is excited about the ZV-1? Anything in particular catch your eye from the feature list? Let us know in the Comments section, below!
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