Monsters run Rampant By Ko Maruyama Rampant Design Tools have created a series of images for post production FX in the past. Their newest offering is just in time for the Halloween holiday. MonsterFX Undead provides a series of images that you can use in post for video or still photography. ...Read More »
Canon's XA20 Professional Camcorder By David Hague Some time back we awarded the Canon XA10 Auscam's Camcorder of the Year. It was a truly ground breaking beast with its professional features such as twin XLRs, superb low light capability, brilliant lens and all crammed into a wonderfully ergonomic but small and light compact form factor. So what has changed in the XA20, and is it better? ...Read More »
Artbeats Driving Plates By Stephen Schleicher Problem: Your project has a scene where two characters are driving in a car and having a discussion. You don't have the budget to tow a car around town, and you certainly don't want to risk damaging your camera by attaching it to a moving vehicle and driving on a busy street. Solution? Artbeats Driving Video! ...Read More »
Camera Tripods By David Hague We are often asked when a tripod should be used, and the generic answer is "whenever you have one with you". Unless you purposely want that jerky, jumpy video look that was a trademark of some TV shows for a period, there is nothing worse than a video that is not rock steady. There is a reason that TV camera operators routinely use them no matter the circumstances. Trust me, you wouldn't lug one of those dirty big TV camera tripods around everywhere with you by choice! But not all tripods are created equal. The one you can buy for $15 in Big W has nothing in common with any of the tripods you'll see in this story other than it has three legs and a screw to mount a camera! ...Read More »
Forget Using Smartphone Cams! By David Hague Lately, users have shied away from using lower priced camcorders in favor of shooting video with their smartphones and this is a bit sad in my opinion. The quality of footage from a phone can never replicate that of even the least expensive of genuine camcorders due to a number of factors, not the least being the lens. The physical design is also a factor; camcorders are built the way they are for a reason, primarily the ergonomics with everything at your fingertips. And of course, the camcorder is always the right way up, shooting proper 16:9 high definition footage (PROPER high def) in landscape mode and not portrait as smartphones do. So which are the best low cost camcorders on the market? With a budget of $500, we wondered just what you could get... ...Read More »
The JVC GC-PX100 Camcorder By David Hague Every once in a while, a piece of equipment comes out from a vendor that grabs you by the throat and gives you a shake as it yells, "Look at me!". The new JVC GC-PX100 is such a beast. In terms of camcorders, the GC-PX100 is quite different; the shape is different, access to controls is different and even some functionality is different. ...Read More »
Replay XD: "A POV Camera Designed for Professionals?" By Douglas Spotted Eagle In the earliest days of sport POV production, photographers were excited about the advent of the "lipstick camera" for its small form factor and ease of use. The camera(s) could be mounted on a wing, helmet, or other foundation, cabled to a recorder, and used for new angles in production. These bullet wonders helped create the sense of "being there." They were also horribly expensive and fragile. In modern times, we've seen the camera shrink in size, and dramatically improve in image quality. In many cases, this size-shrink inspires kludgy form factors, and this is where the Replay XD camera shines. ...Read More »
The Panasonic HC-V520M Camcorder By David Hague If you are into sports video, you know that it almost a given that you need a decent zoom to get the action (and it goes without saying, a tripod as well). In still photography terms, my experiences in motor sport suggest a 200mm is the minimum and probably a 400mm the optimal. Of course you need to allow factors such as low light and depth of field to get the best of them. Panasonic has obviously realized this in terms of the video world and released the HC-V520M, a single CMOS hi-def camcorder that will sit easily in the palm of your hand, but sports a genuine 50x optical zoom and an "intelligent" 80x ...Read More »
Artbeats Starfields 2 HD By Stephen Schleicher If you are going to do any kind of sci-fi related project, chances are you are going to have at least one shot that shows off the vastness of space. For those on a budget, spending the time rendering a high resolution space scene may be out of reach. Fortunately, Artbeats returns to outer space with a whole new collection of clips that you can use. ...Read More »
The Canon HF G25 Camcorder By David Hague And still they keep coming. Today we received a new Canon HF G25 for testing, and true to recent form for most of the latest camcorder releases, the features and functions are truly staggering. This camera is designed to be fully automatic or as manual as you like. Things such as Auto Gain can be adjusted as can focus preset and a manual focus assist. Zebra patterning is there as are white balance presets for daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten and by colour temperature. ...Read More »
The Sony PMW-200 Camcorder By David Hague The power of a motor vehicle is usually measured in kilowatts (although still more easily identified by most in the "old currency" of brake horse power). Sadly this is not always an accurate measure of grunt as other factors should also be brought into the equation such as power-to-weight ratios and so on. Similarly, most non-professionals (and advertising blurb and salespeople) tend to measure how good a camcorder is by its zoom factor, number of megapixels or even its internal storage capacity. While all of these are a small part in the total power factor they are by no means anywhere near the be-all and end-all. ...Read More »
Best POV Action Camera Shootout By Douglas Spotted Eagle We set out with 6 of the most popular models of action cameras in an all-out camera review. Our desire was to uncover the answer to the question "What is the best POV camera on the market?", and at the same time determine the strengths and weaknesses of the cameras being reviewed. The overall performance results were a little surprising to us... Could the GoPro be dethroned? ...Read More »
My first impressions of the new Canon C300 are simply - wow! By David Hague The product manager at Canon for Pro video gear, Charles Montesin has sent us a unit to play with, with a 70~300mm EF lens stapled to the front. And this weekend is the Blues Festival in Echuca. A fantastic subject to test it with! ...Read More »
The Panasonic AC160 By Heath McKnight The Panasonic AC160 really surprised me, and not because I wasn't expecting such high quality -- I was -- but because for the price point (between $4100 and $4799), I was sort of expecting a small camera, like the Sony NX5U or some of the smaller Canons. This is a larger, but not heavy, handheld camera that's about the same size as the Panasonic HPX250. Images are crisp in full HD 1080p, the controls are simple to use and it does well in low light with its 1/3-inch 3-MOS sensors, and you easily can customize looks. The multiple frame rate and recording options are also superb, helping make this a quality camera for shooters involved with film, run-and-gun video, documentaries and more. ...Read More »
Tamron 18~200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di III VC E-Mount Lens By David Hague The NEX 7 I have not seen before, but apart from one and a half little niggles, I am in love with this little beastie; it takes fantastic shots. And the niggle and a bit? The viewfinder as it brings up my left eye dominant issue is the big one. The half is as it has an auto LCD to viewfinder switch when you look through the viewfinder, if you wear glasses, sometimes it does 'sense' you unless you press hard against the rubber cup and this tends to smear your specs. ...Read More »
The Azden WLX-Pro Radio Microphone By David Hague Viewers will put up with the occasional skippy frame, shaky image or even the odd out of focus, but lousy or stuttery or out of sync audio will never be tolerated and people will turn off. So to fix audio problems, the first thing to do is make sure you are using the right mic for the job, and for interviews, this generally means using a radio transmitter receiver and lapel (also called lavaliere) mic. ...Read More »
Filming the Fantastic By Ko Maruyama "Filming the Fantastic" has been recently released in its second edition. The book by Mark Sawicki is not only a "guide", but a personal discussion about the ebbs and flows of visual effects trends, and stories of universal truths.Sawicki's book is a great read for directors, VFX supervisors, post-production teams, artists, and - naturally - those who gather around the eyepiece. ...Read More »
The RØDE NTG-3 External Microphone By David Hague It appears there is no set standard for microphone diameters so in the case of the Panasonic AG-HMC41E (the others are a Canon XA10 and Sony NFX5) for example, when the NTG-3 is placed in the external mic holder it rattles around - not enough to simply slide through, but enough to be a worry. ...Read More »
Sony HDR-PJ760 Camcorder - Australian Exclusive By David Hague Bordering between high end consumer and low end professional is the new Sony HDR-PJ760, and it has been packed full of every feature you could possibly think of. Auscam has been lucky enough (or we schmoozed better than anyone else) to get our grubby little hands on a real life version and it is more than fair to say we are impressed. ...Read More »
Final Cut Pro X: Setup, Plus Importing & Organizing Footage By Heath McKnight It's been close to three months since Final Cut Pro X came out, and I wanted to write up some first impressions here regarding the setup of Final Cut Pro X, plus importing and organizing footage. I'll do another article on my first impressions of editing and exporting in the very near future. Right off the bat, I will say that this is a journey where Final Cut Pro (FCP) hasn't gone down before, and I'm actually excited about this new way of thinking when it comes to non-linear editing (NLE). ...Read More »
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