Category | gear

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:

DJI-Inspire-CrystalSky-smallHD-stack-diy-hack

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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.
video-FullHD-crew-shenzhen-hefei-shangha-china-local-camera-operator-4k-rent

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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.
shooting-in-china-video-film-news-team-crew-to-hire-visa-working

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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)

  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 product about to be release, 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.


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,
_New_FrontView_Full
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.
electronic_steadycam_front

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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Drone tips

After about 2 years of experience in flying, I learn a lot and found out that I was very lucky to not have more trouble during my flight at the beginning of these projects.
So, I save you a lot of trouble by writing down all what I found so far as a list of things to think before and during flight. You will have to read but also follow these. Don’t jump too fast to the next step…
I supposed you already read all the checking list before sending something in the air, so I will jump to other matters.

It’s always good to picture in your head how will look the view from the sky, it will help to decide your flying path.
This castle is almost invisible from the ground, but looking great at 150m high (France, 2012)
VisionRouge_Chateau

Don’t over estimate yourself.
Flying is easy at first: you buy a copter, you turn it on, it’s flying in a field, and you are a pilot!

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DJI Phantom 3.0

Drone2.0
We are proud to get our third version of this DJI project.
After tweaking for 6 months the incredible DJI toys, we have to a very usable tools for production.
Here are the list of changes I did on the basic model available anywhere.

Landing gear.
The foam tube help lifting up a bit the copter and avoid hard landing as well as increasing the footprint to protect from flipping.

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Sony UP DR150 printing problem : Black line around dark area

It’s when some black lines creating a shadow each time the printer need to have a deep black area.

Here is the sample with the used ink rollupc_R154_black_Line

And here with the brand new ink roll.

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Fixing the sony z7 tele lens

On a shoot, i realize that i can’t control the zoom level by remote.
I was able to switch to manual/remote, feel the motor or not, but nothing happen when i press zoom in or zoom out, both on the camera button or handle!
I had no idea if it was a sender (the camera) or receiver problem (the lens).

I bring back the camera to Sony and they said to me that the lens is dead, a new one is around rmb 7,000 (750 Euros)!
The repair guy did not touch the lens, just plug a new lens, test it, so affirm that i need a new one, without even opening mine!.

I was not prepare to pay for a new one so decide to take back the lens at the office and open it to see how it is, anyway, the lens is dead to them.

Z7_Lens_open

I start opening the motor panel as it was for me a dead motor.
And i notice a slight lift under the motor where the switch is. (See the red arrow)

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