Category | gear

Time lapse controller review: BixiCon Vs DigiSnap Pro

Long Time lapse controllers review: BixiCon VS DigiSnap Pro

After many years in the photography business, I came across an new possible open time lapse control system with Bixion.
The closest system being Digisnap Pro from Harbortronics. I removed all the offers forcing you to rent their servers and offering a complete and rigid offer. For example, systems as Photosentinel or TBox are clearly at a higher price range with plenty of limitations on the way to design your enclosure and camera to use. You need to buy all from them, from the solar panel to battery. If you are looking for a complete offer; they may fits you. But for something more flexible; designing your own enclosure is more suitable. Here is my time lapse controller review : BixiCon vs Digisnap Pro.

Time lapse controller BixiCon Vs DigiSnap Pro

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DJI Inspire 2 remote control wont charge: Fixed!

DJI Inspire 2 remote control wont charge: fixed!

I let my DJI Inspire 2 remote control for 6 months without using it. That was the biggest mistake ever! When I turned back on; only the last white led was rapidly blinking with the alert beep asking for a full charge. The status LED was on. It was a bit a surprise cause all the other batteries for my DJI Inspire 2 were only half depleted.
It got worst when I plugged the DJI charger. I discover a new embarrassing problem; my DJI Inspire 2 remote control wont charge anymore. When powered off, the first white LED is blinking at fast pace for a while and turn off. The DJI Inspire 2 remote control charger is not even warm.
One day prior to my assignment, that’s a big problem. And I guess another warning that you need to to not trust so much these DJI toys.

Open your DJI Inspire 2 remote control.

DJI Inspire 2 remote control wont charge fixed

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Sony PXW-FS7 mark1 vs mark 2, Which one to choose?

Sony PXW-FS7, mark1 vs mark 2, Which one to choose? 

This is a very classic question when you like to enter the Sony S35 camera world, maybe upgrading from a FS5 or switching, as me, from Canon EOS C300.
There are few obvious differences between the FS7 mark I and the FS7 mark II. Where most of them can be seen as an improvement, I have to agree that the new lens locking system is still not perfect. I own both camera, bough a FS7 mark 2 first to get my my work covered. I bought a second FS7 mark 1 when a second angle was necessary for interview.
Sony FS7 mark1 vs mark 2, which one is the best for you? Please check the differences below from an owner point of view.
And if you don’t know that the Sony FS7 is still the smartest choice for one man band ENG setup, please check the competition here.


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Sony FS7 2019 ultimate ENG Kit: Wooden Camera / Zacuto / Smallrig

Zacuto, Wooden Camera & Smallrig for the 2019 ultimate ENG kit for your Sony FS7

As an happy owner of two Sony’s PXW-FS7 (FS7M2 & FS7M1), I wanted to share my findings on the best way to gear it up for my camera operator on ENG assignment.
You can already see a similar post there done about 15 months ago during Victoria Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai. This is the new version that I used as freelance cameraman in Hong Kong last week. To gear up y camera I used few different brand as Zacuto, Wooden Camera and Smallrig.

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Why white balance do not matters when shooting RAW or Cine EI?

What is a white balance and why it do not matters when shooting RAW or Cine EI.

For once, a long explanation for basic understanding of what is a white balance. Why it do not maters so much when you are shooting RAW or Cine EI. It’s a bit about lighting source but more about what white balance means for RAW footage to help you understand how your camera is working to get the better of it.

What means: “white balance”?

To be simple; let’s says it’s a way to balance the amount of each colors to makes them look natural. The image colors can be shifted from blue to yellow and from green to magenta to get as natural as possible. “Natural as possible” may looks like a crazy concept, but let says that on a sunny day; the snow should be white, trees looking green, sky should be blue…
why white balance do not matters when shooting raw or cine ei

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Smallrig handheld ring for DJI Ronin review’s

My Smallrig cage for DJI Ronin M/MX and DJI Ronin review’s.

On a past work as camera operator in Hefei, I was asked to get my FS7 on a DJI Ronin for most of the shooting time. Is the SmallRig Handheld Ring would have been a great option? How the Smallrig cage stands in real life situation? What improvement can you make and get safety and usability fixed? You own already a DJI Ronin and looking for an upgrade?
Here are few tips to check if it’s the cage for you.
My Smallrig cage for DJI Ronin M MX and DJI Ronin review camera operator in Hefei
This is my final setup with few tweak and hacks.

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DJI CrystalSky and SmallHD 702 for Inspire remote support DIY

How to put a CrystalSky screen and SmallHD on top of our DJI Inspire 2 remote?

This is a DIY Hack using smallrig product to be able to stack in an elegant way 2 screens on your DJI Inspire or Phantom drone. Here the final result:


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NATO Handle #1688, One handle to rules them all.

Sometimes, I have a feeling my blog is more a catalog of Smallrig product presentation, but it’s also a way to says that something is happening in Shenzhen area and DJI is not the only one to get out of the copycat market. I have been using plenty of their products and have positive feedback to share here.

Going for a project last month where one of my Sony FS7 should have been used half of the time as a regular camera and the second half on a gimbal. I wanted to check how makes thing even smarter for me. I was planning on using with a Ronin-M as it was actual a successful test, but needed also a strong way to carry the camera when put on sticks. You can check my past setup here.

I love the Nato system as it keep the camera body with a limited weight on the gimbal, but still super sturdy and can be locked when adding a handle. I wish I could even have a longer NATO plate. It seems that Smallrig is thinking about it.

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Hand held gimbal for mirrorless: Sony A7R3 with ZhiYun Crane 2.

Things are moving fast, super fast.
From few years ago when hiring a steadycam operator was the only way to go, to the rise of Ronin and similar gimbals, to the new trend of DSLR only on top of one single hand held gimbal. I feel that every 2 years, a revolution is happening on how we produce moving images.

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What’s in your bag? Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Shanghai 2017.

Covering Victoria’s Secret 2017 Shanghai fashion shows happened in 4 different parts; The Backstage/Make up where you can interview models during a 20mn session, The VIPs Pink Carpet where VIPs are coming to the show and can also be interviewed about 90mn long for 40 pax, the Show recording itself and another Pink Carpet for the party after the show where models have way more time to talk and feel more relaxed, about 1 hour long.

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Streaming unit, LiveU 500: tips for first time user

Streaming unit, LiveU 500, what to know about if you need to work with it.
I was recently asked to use a new device for me, the LiveU500. I first was surprised as I never mention my ability of working with these, but I kind of knew already what it was and was happy to see that my client will help me with some training.
Here is my experience working with one unit to let you one day, using it on your own. It’s actually simpler than I though.

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How to shoot S-LOG with Sony PXW-FS7?

How to shoot S-Log in with the Sony FS7? (and why you should)
Shooting S-log is a bit like recording in 4K but watching it on your phone, compressed by Youtube.
You recording more information and see if you want to use it or not later. Shooting large resolution as 4K let you have more room for re-framing or stabilizing your footage. With S-Log, it a bit the same; You record more of the highlight and shadows and see is you may want to change the exposure later. It works a bit the same than shooting raw. The main difference is that raw takes a lot of space in your memory card, where S log tried to keep all acceptable. There are less latitude than in raw, but way less space also, and it can be done without any external recorder.

Why this name?
S log stand for Sony Log, You have also C log for canon and so on. The principle is the same even if I will be talking here only about using it on a Sony FS7 camera. LOG stand for logarithmic as the shape of the mathematical calculation the camera need to do, have this S logarithmic shape .

How does it work?
Screens on you TV or your computer actually did not follow the fast development your camera sensor; you can record more information than your TV can display. This may change with HDR TV, but for now, let keep it with regular TV/computer screen audience. Again, a bit like watching a Full HD video on a lower resolution screen, the picture look great, but you can’t tell the difference cause your screen is not able to display it.

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How to pimp your Sony FS7.

  Getting a new camera is always something exciting and the first thing you may want to do is to fix few of the design flaw from Sony and get your personal touch.

(1) Better soft pad for your shoulder by using a wrist resting pad

Pick up a gel filled one and just pinch 2 or 3 holes on it, it’s very soft and

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Battery SWIT S-8U93 review (updated)

Battery SWIT S-8U93 review

Being the happy owner of a FS7M2; the question of choosing the right battery will come very quickly.
You may also need to power accessories as a real EVF. Of course, one simple way will be to use the large V-lock battery and a rig to mount all at the rear of the camera.
This is one of my setup with the Sony FS7 mark I using Smallrig accessories.

The power out of the V-mount battery is sent to a distribution board in order to split it to the camera body and to the EVF.

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DJI Inspire 3.0, what do we need?

Dream list of the main changes to dream of on the new version of the DJI Inspire.

dji drone in china to rent tournage
Software Application DJI GO
I would love to get a landscape photo preset; Something like 6 or 9 HDR photo of a dedicated area and surrounding. I can for example, put my main subject in the center of the screen, press the landscape preset and the head is automatically moving up and down, right and left to be able to get a patchwork of the surrounding in hdr mode. As this, it will be a amazing tools to create high resolution picture of a large building or area in just one click. Later, it will be very easy to assemble them in Photoshop.

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DJI Inspire, One year after (2016)

You may find online some information about products to be released, product just released, but what about the product released one year ago and how do they hold they promises. This post also hold a lot of tips from my experience.

Here are my thoughts after one year of using as a professional tools the DJI Inspire. This product evolved a lot, mostly its software, from a amazingly powerful designed device to a more family oriented product.

Propellers: During this year, DJI changed 3 time its locking propeller system, so I guess many of the pilot experimented some propeller trouble, it also avoid any unbranded carbon fiber propeller and forced you to stick to the DJI as the shape is quite hard to reproduced by third party. I have no trouble with that. Just make sure it doesn’t get loose after each mounting/dismantle operation. Get plenty of propeller around and don’t get cheap if you feel something is not right; just put a new one!
DJI INSPIRE Propeller V01 vs V02 drone tournage sur shanghai

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DJI Inspire 1 versus Phantom and Mikrokopter. Pro and cons.

DJI inspire 1 vs phantom vs mikrokopter

I’m the happy owner of 4 different flying platform. Few years back, I started with a large Mikrokopter Hexa XL, moving later to phantom 1 and 2 and my last buy is a DJI Inspire. I’m using these for different jobs in different configuration as I think they are very different from each other and also. I will try to explain how different they are from each other.

Over the age…
My first drone, a Mikrokopter multi-blade drone Hexa XL;
To be honest, I built it way before the drone trend in order to get different pictures from the air. It was a very long and risky process at this time as only few passionate where moving from RC plane to these so called “drone” blog and online help were very hard to get right as everyone was publishing its own experience with no commercial model available.
I trained myself first in 3D simulated software using my remote connected to my computer at first as you cannot afford any crash. I still think that the right way to start with learning how to control your drone.

Mikrokopet setup with Canon 5D camera

My Mikrokopter setup with Canon 5D camera

It was a more larger DIY project and I do not advice someone without good electronic, programming and mechanical experience to start such project. I had the feeling that I was spending most of my time upgrading in order to get it better after each flight. I was still an extreme rewarded experience and a perfect way to learn how to flight without all the GPS and gyroscope help.

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Why I choose to buy a Canon C100

Canon C100 review, main advantage with the competition<1H1>
The perfect equation
Let’s be frank, I never been crazy of the huge sensor DSLR trend. Each time a client contacting me for a Canon 5D shooting, I was trying to avoid it; poor resolution, too large sensor making you struggling to get the main subject in focus, no proper sound, lack of ND filter and a very poor handling system. Yes, for a very fraction of the price, you can have the look of a cine camera, but as the team needed to be reduced in the same proportion, no way to get a film look with nobody around the camera without a lot of pressure on the operator.

2 years ago, the Canon C300 was introduced to add all the missing DSLR feature in a nice body, but clearly the price was far beyond my reach in a keep changing market. The C100 came out the year after with almost all included and even extra improvement excepted the recording format. That was still not the right camera as adding a recorder was adding a lot of weight.

But recently, I start using the new Atomos Ninja Blade; great resolution, acceptable battery life, lightweight and all footage available for review or editing right out of the recorder. As, in my opinion, I will always add a preview monitor to any camera system, having it on a C100 was a complete acceptable solution.

So, here I come buying a C100 after many shooting with a rented C300,.. and I do not regret it!
The main preview is done with the Atomos Blade Ninja and I discovered that the few difference with the C300 were more actually in favor of the C100 if you put the price in the balance.

The cons and the way out of it

– Recording format limited.
Need to add an external recorder in HDMI + preview monitor as the Atomos, but that give you actually a dual recording, one prores HQ even better than the C300 and a compressed one for quick upload for your overseas client.

-No SDI output, just HDMI.
The HDMI output have a screw linked to the body of the camera, you can create your own cable and lock it, it will be even a stronger connection that the one you could have in SDI! Please read the remark at the bottom of this page about the HDMI output.

-No Time lapse function.
Maybe one fun feature missing just to keep this to the C300. But if you shoot with the internal codec, you can still run hours with a 64SD card and keep your footage small in size. The quality difference will fade as soon as you will speed up the footage.

-No slow motion.
The C300 is not also a slow motion king. The EOS series cameras are not the one you should be using if slow mo is your thing, nothing new.

-The camera screen is not easy to adjust compare the C300 one.
That will be my main complain, there is an angle where you can’t have the screen right in front of you with the right tilted angle and that when the camera is high on the tripod to get a 2 buttons framing shoot, quite a common situation… But as the preview screen will be added, not to worry.

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DIY Alexmos gimbals VS FreeFly movi

First, here are the latest update on my E-Steady system,
I did few improvement on the last setup, making it completely workable unit and ready to rent it to non experimented shooters. It’s available with different options at the rental section.

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Electronic-SteadyCam 2.0

Since flying object are in the sky with video camera, the engineer have tried to make the footage less shaky by adding gyroscope and motors to compensate the tilt and roll. With time, technology shift to faster motor and better gyroscope, It took not so much time to build bigger gimbals for bigger camera.
Turn out that any hand held system may benefice from this technology and the development from a single engineer in Russia finally took over everything we knew.

Alexmos developed a simple board, based on Arduino processor, including anything you need to balance with specific motors, the brushless one you could found anywhere.

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