WHAT S GOING ON AT THE OFFICE

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  • what’s inside a Cine SSD DJI, Can you use a simple SSD instead?

    Always wondering what’s inside a DJI cine SSD and if you could get you way around it?

    Not sure you can do that!

    After opening it, you will find a Samsung SSD, connected to a sub board with a proprietary board to restrain from using your own system

    If you take out only the SSD, you will find very close aspect of a Samsung EVO series SSD, it’s exact ref is HPV-1280 for the 128G version


    At leat, you are free to try upgrade it with a larger drive or if the drive fail at one point..

    It’s not soldered to the SSD, but just a plug to connect both together, so if a bit a glue do not refrain you, you can be ready for saving few bucks!

    source .. FCC

    But the main idea is to save few buck as the price of a 960 M2 EVO is half the price of the DJI one .
    The exact EOM denomination is PM961 at samsung and the potential 960 EVO retail counterpart. you can find more details and pricing there.

    The best is to be able to use the Cine SSD as a support for your cheaper SSD.
    For example, you buy only one CineSSD, and switch SSD drive in between flight inside.
    It will save you a lot of time as you don’t need the station anymore to read it, you just need a very cheap M key SSD reader to any standard you like (ref: Sata M SSD PCI-E M key NVMe M.2)




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  • Zacuto Gratical Eye Findings and thoughts

      Investing in a EVF is a interesting choice; either it’s by comfort as your camera do not offer a decent one, either it’s by obligations on your side when your eyes start to make close object not so sharp anymore.
      For me, that was the second one but I realized that I should have bought one sooner. The Zacuto Gratical EYE OLED is my first one, so i can’t compare only to the one you can have on camera as the fixed one on c300 or the Sony lens piece on the ex3 or fs7.
      In any case, the advantages of owning one are now obvious and I will buy another this again and again if you ask me.
      The main characteristics of the Zacuto is how to get extra shooting information on the bottom of the image simultaneously, being OLED picture quality, and very lightweight as power supply is provided separately. There is also only one button for all menu access to keep it sturdy and simple.

    The advantages of any EVF (that you owned) :
    – Better stability during shooting as your eye give you a extra connection point with your camera body.
    – Picture is consistent with any camera you are using and don’t get fooled by too bright or non contrasted camera monitor.
    – Shooting outside under any condition is now possible, big time.
    – Getting the picture in a full eye helps you checking your frame. No distraction from reflection or client remarks looking at your monitor.
    – Better look in front of the client making small rig looking better for situations where it matters

    Disadvantages of any EVF :
    – It need an external power system and will add weight on your shoulder.
    – It may use the only signal output of your camera and a signal converter may be needed, or, in a case of Sony fs7, the HD output can’t be working when using 4k output in HDMI. You will need to connect your evf to a down-converted signal from the 4k recorder with, maybe, a slight delay on the picture.
    – Usually located on the left side of the camera, it needs to be attached securely without blocking the existing screen and buttons which could be challenging.
    – Some low or high level shot position are not easy to get due to the limitation of your EVF support. You need now to follow the camera with your eyes attached on and your entire body in case of large pan for example. The EVF support design should be an important part of your shopping.

    Specifics advantages of the Zacuto OLED EVF Gratical Eye :
    – Very lightweight and do not brake the balance of the camera. It allows also a light EVF support system that you can easily re-position with friction. I have used some SmallRig part to get it done.
    – Having two mounting points with Arri rosette is perfect.
    – The screen quality is great and picture is very detailed.
    – It do not use too much power, it can run for hours on a V-lock 90 Wh battery.

    Disadvantages of the Zacuto Gratical Eye
    – The eyes cover is full plastic and not comfortable.
    – They designed a lens cover that you should push with your head to open it but it’s not convenient. Also this cover is not holding firmly in the eyecup, so it will be soon on the floor.
    – The power meter display can’t be adjusted and it’s start blinking red if it sensed a lower voltage even if it’s not so low. I have to turn it off. I guess a firmware may be able to add a meter threshold level should be done.
    – I also found annoying that it can be powered by a lower 7.4V and always need to add a heavy and large V lock pack on my rig.

    How to make it work?
    – I bought the Cineroid eye cup cover and it’s almost a fit to get better and smoother sensations. The only downside was shooting in a dusty place and it was impossible to clean it and i kept putting my head in this dirty cover.

      The focusing ring can’t be locked and very easy to have fully fuzzy screen. I would love to see a way to lock it. This is not something you adjust everyday usually.
    -The unique button is too easy to touch and it happens often to push it by mistake when moving the evf position. I would prefer to get it a bit protected behind some metal bars.
    – The absence of power switch forces you unplug it or keep it on all the time. A small switch as you can have on sounddevice mixer should be possible to add in the mk2 model.
    -The provided sdi and power cable are not well designed; one is 90 degrees plug and one is a straight one. When you plug both it makes the rig too big and very easy to break the power cable.

      I bought a 90 degree Lemo plug and change this myself, note that you will also need to reverse the female plug to get the right angle.


      As you can see, It’s quite a easy mod and will save a lot of space in your bag and avoid to see it destroyed when hitting something or having to unplug it every time to move your camera back in your bag.

      The EVF system is actually 2 part I put from SmallRig where I also change the Arri locking to a smaller and shorter one to avoid hitting the rail when moving it. It’s also easier this way to dismantle and put in a bag.

      The second part is an articulating system quite strong to hold this Gratical Eye. I suggest to put a rotating spot from the top of the camera, but if you do not have space, another one from the bottom is also possible.

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  • Best of 2016 #2 Canon C300/C100 top plate

    #2 Top plate for Canon EOS C300/C100 from SmallRig

      As the Vinten extra plate is a must have for vinten AS perfect balance owner, this top plate accessory fro Smallrig is the best top plate you can have to protect and upgrade your C300 camera.

      I have first tried the WoodenCamera plate but it felt short compare the this higly inspired from SmallRig. It comes with 2 side mounts that goes in both sensor marker and gives you a solid 3 point link for this plate. It let you mount many accessories or keep original handle in a much better place.

      It also makes super easy to break down the camera in a bag without unscrewing anything. As I’m doing rental, this top has been protecting my investment ever since I installed it. One major default from Canon being how loose the handle screw always gets and ends damaging it. If your hot shoe screw is gone, it’s a nice way to repair your camera.

      You need a small Nato rail and this amazing Smallrig locker which lock perfectly the Canon screen system, no more wobble, no more constant screwing to keep it firmly lock.

      The handle can come behind and also makes the camera a bit smaller in your bag. I went with smallrig handle to get better shooting angle and versatility, it can easly been adjusted depending on your shooting condition and can be used on other camera as well.

    As you can see in this picture, this is a right setup for a Prores external recorder when you need to go on the shoulder or on stick quickly.
      I have also designed a specific ARRI rosette with both side locker to get the camera handle right along my body and not too much on the side.

    Disclaimer:
      I have been working with Smallrig in developing and reviewing some of their product and few items has been given to me for free. It did not mean I’m working for them or my review is biased in any way. I choose freely to talk about these item without any review or comment from them. It shows how great a company can do when listening and including customers in their development process. Not everything is magical but here is a list of their best items.

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  • The best of 2016 from SmallRig #1 The universal DSLR cage !

      The end of the year is always a quiet time and a perfect moment to look back at your office worktable and check what went on it, what stay in a drawer and what you actually have on your camera rig. I’m always asking myself if I had to do it again, what will be my choices. Here is the first of a series of post about my best of this year!

    #1 The universal DSLR cage, one to rule them all.
      I hate the idea of buying a cage for a DSLR system; unlike for a video camera, with a limited possible model, there is so many DSLR and with a very short lifespan that putting a lot of money in one model seems a complete lost.

    With this particular model, you can almost fit any dslr, from a low profile Sony A3000 to a larger Canon 5D markIV, even better, you can split it to design a very unique camera accessories support (see below in this article).

      The cage is composed of different basic elements with plenty of mounting point to be able to fit any model. the side arm have 2 different length and the vertical one, 3!. As it’s still a 15mm rod compatible system, any other bran can be mixed to keep this cage up to date, or keep your favorite EVF holder.

      I was, for example, able to create a perfect fit for a A7S with the battery grip which is quite unique. The Sony A7S is well known for it’s very short battery life and having the grip is a must have if you want to shoot long interview where the subject may take few time to start be comfortable and you can’t ask him to wait for you at this time.
      The cage in action somewhere in mainland China.

       On top of that, I was able with a small drilling to add a third mounting point to support the Metabones adapter and get a very strong holding cage. I have been looking for other cages, and never found one able to offer both.

      Removing the batteries, card or plug the preview monitor or sound input was also possible. With so mounting points, getting the monitor in any angle is easy.

      On one photography assignment, I was in need of a cage to get the poorly designed Canon WFT module and keep the grip available in both portrait and landscape mode; this cage also get it all.

      You can even go further and with 2 screw, add your flash swapping system and get a very compact system for event with automatic file transfer.

      If you want to go further, you can even use it on other larger camera and get solid mounting points where it not possible as on my Panasonic HPX 250.





    Disclaimer:
      I have been working with Smallrig in developing and reviewing some of their product and few items has been given to me for free. It did not mean I’m working for them or my review is biased in any way. I choose freely to talk about these item without any review or comment from them. It shows how great a company can do when listening and including customers in their development process. Not everything is magical but here is a list of their best items.

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  • #Best of 2016, The Shogun cage.

    #3 SmallRig Shogun cage MarkI and Mark2

      This is the missing part if you own an Atomos recorder. It allows you to lock it and mount it to almost any possible camera or support, it remove the very weak 2 small crew hole from the equation and let you enjoy a lot of other support options. It do not add a lot of weight, but clearly will help getting its lifspan extended.

    It can also accept a very sun-hood that can be kept in place in your bag. I strongly suggest also to use a tablet protective sheet on the screen to avoid possible scratch and ruin your monitor. Please make sure to cut it with a brand new blade and not a pair of ciseau to make sure it will be sticky enough on the corners.

    It can be put as protective layer when you slide it in your camera bag.

      By mounting a nato on the side, you can easly switch to camera sides for interview situation.

    And to a independent tripod for the director to check your frame and have an external power supply support. You can see also the way to power it using the dummy Sony battery, it will avoid using the power plug on the side that I found often loose, especially when your camera is on your shoulder withing a crowd.

      To go also with a reverse screen for your subject.

      Or a very large preview monitor for interview when you need to do the setup alone checking the frame or helping your interviwee feel more confident.

      Or a very large preview monitor for interview if you want to make sure what’s in your frame.


      It also add a very nice SSD/HDD locker clearly missing on Atomos design. Please note that the Mark 2 version of the cage also redisigend this part to get for smaller size.

      and a very good new; since December 2016, Smallrig upgarde it according to users remarks and they even put new advantage to this cage.

    You can now remove the top rod locker making even lighter on your bag and let you have extra mounting option. also, the right side cheese-plate is now redesign to let you mount more accessories easier.

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