Video portraits are amazing ways to preserve unique memories at different stages of life – from baby to adult, a video portrait is a celebration of you in the moment.
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NAB 2013 came and went (if you don’t know what NAB is, it is the biggest event of the year for digital media production) and with that comes cool new products. Below are just a few of the products that I’ll be keeping tabs on this year.
1. Blackmagic Production Camera 4K & Pocket Cinema Camera
The headline for NAB 2013 was by far the Blackmagic Production and Pocket cinema cameras. The Production camera sports a Super35 4K sensor in the same body as the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera for under $3995. The price is amazing for any 4K camera, but I’m hoping that Blackmagic will improve the internal battery life as one would think recording in 4K would drain power even faster than the current Cinema Camera does. We’ll have to wait and see.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera sports the same sensor size and dynamic range as the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera, except now you can fit it in your pocket and it only costs $995! Don’t get confused by the point-and-shoot form factor however – this is a video camera – not a stills cam. I can see the Pocket cam being really useful if you don’t want to lug the regular Cinema Camera around, while maintaining the 13-stops of dynamic range. The Pocket cam can’t record in RAW, nor shoot in 2.5K, but we will have to wait and see how much of a difference in image quality there really is (both cameras shipping in July).
2. Edelkrone SliderPLUS+ Motorized Motion Control Module
Camera rig maker Edelkrone showed off a motorized motion control module that attaches to the SliderPLUS+ that will automatically pan your camera as you move the slider. To adjust the control module, you tell it how far away your subject is, then as you move the slider the pan motor will keep your subject in the frame. Pretty neat idea, however measuring how far your subject is isn’t the easiest way to configure something like this so I’m not sure how well it will work during a shoot. We will have to see how it works once released.
3. Redrock Micro “One Man Crew”
The One Man Crew is a motorized parabolic slider – which means that due to the angled motion of travel, your camera will remain in focus by itself no matter where it is on the slider. The other amazing thing about this slider is that it will move back and forth by itself (easing in and out as well!) so that you can use any part of the footage without needing a person monitoring it. I don’t really see any downsides to this slider other than price ($1,495) as this will give you an automatic, moving 2nd camera shot that will really pump up any production (shipping in July).
4. Multi-axis Motion Control Camera systems
While there seems to be a ton of motorized sliders either out now, or coming out really soon, I’m keeping a closer eye on the next generation of motion control systems – specifically the Kessler CineDrive and the camBLOCK Adventure. These two systems can control not only pan & tilt of a camera, but dolly, focus and zoom of lenses as well! Not cheap by any means, but worth keeping an eye on if you want something even more advanced than a motorized slider.
5. Zacuto Plazma Light
I have a hard time recommending anything from Zacuto due to price, but this one looks really nice if you are looking to get a powerful, portable, soft light that beats out LEDs. I’ve avoided buying any LED panels due to the harsh shadows the technology creates, plus looking into the light hurts your eyes. The Zacuto Plazma light solves both of those problems by creating one unified soft light source, while outputting more power than a comparable LED panel (shipping late summer).
In this video, I go over in detail the parts and pieces that I use on the Sony NEX-FS100 while shooting on a tripod. If you own a camera such as the Sony NEX-FS700, RED, or Blackmagic Cinema Camera, this video will also apply to you.