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Blackmagic URSA 4K with PL MountA little over two years ago, Blackmagic Design completely disrupted the cinema camera market, and changed expectations about how much we should be paying for excellent image quality. Their goal with the first 2.5K Cinema Camera was to make something with as much flexibility in post as possible, and would be a companion to cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II — which is why they chose the Canon EF mount. They haven’t stopped with just one camera model, as they have since introduced the Pocket Cinema Camera, Production Camera 4K, and the URSA 4K Digital Cinema Camera, which features interchangeable sensors. At the recent NAB show, I interviewed Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty and asked him all sorts of questions about their camera line, firmware updates, and what he thought about the image issues some people have experienced with the Production Camera 4K. More »

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Matthews Slider Stand DemonstrationMatthews has new stands that were designed with sliders in mind. If you’re using heavier cameras and heavy-duty sliders like the Dana Dolly or even Matthews’ own slider, you need something supporting the whole rig at both ends. While you could use a smaller C-stand, the Matthews Slider Stand has a built-in Junior Receiver and is made to be more stable and versatile, allowing you to level easier with two rocky mountain legs. Here is the introduction video, followed by a demonstration of the stand: More »

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Domenic Barbero T-shirt Diffusion CroppedDiffusion is an important part of getting the light in a scene to look pleasing. While there are plenty of professional materials made just to diffuse entertainment lighting (like silks, spun, frost, etc.), sometimes you run out, don’t have what you need with you, or just want a different quality of light that you can’t get with what you currently have. That’s where regular household diffusers come in. Cinematographer Domenic Barbero did a test with Casey Schmidt of Northwest Grip to see what kind of light would be produced by using everyday items as their diffusion material. More »

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blackmagic-ursa small[UPDATE: You can hear the full interview here.] I had the chance to talk with Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty back at NAB 2014, and while it’s taken a while to get the interview together, it will finally be going live on Monday. Grant offered up tons of fascinating details about his mindset with hardware, his take on the rest of the industry, and what’s going on with the Production Camera 4K, and he also gave some interesting tidbits about the new URSA 4K Digital Cinema Camera, which was first announced back at NAB. I’ve put together a teaser in which Grant mentions that the URSA is not only capable of frame rates higher than 60fps, but that they should be coming this year. More »

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Dave Dugdale Downscaling 4K to 1080pDave Dugdale of Learning DSLR Video recently produced a terrific review of the new Panasonic GH4, which shoots 4K internally to SD cards. Since the majority of work is still being finished in 1080p, he’s been downscaling most of the stuff he’s shot to 1080p, but he wanted to explore the differences between downscaling in the timeline or after he’s finished editing in a 4K timeline in Premiere. He also addresses people accusing him of being paid off by Panasonic for his review. More »

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YouTube-logo-darkBack in May, YouTube teased some of the stuff they were working on to improve the experience for both users and creators. Just this week at Vidcon, they provided more details about new features they are working on, including a Vimeo-like Tip Jar that will allow fans to contribute $1-$500 to any channel. While it will be more beneficial to those uploading video game clips, the company also announced that they are introducing higher frame rates, including support for 48fps and 60fps. More »

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ProRes 4444 LogoApple just recently updated Final Cut Pro X, with better options for managing optimized, proxy, and rendered media, so that they can be stored anywhere outside of the library, and also all be deleted from inside Final Cut Pro X. In addition to the changes in FCPX 10.1.2, Apple updated Compressor and Motion, and they also launched a brand new codec, ProRes 4444 XQ, which promises even higher fidelity than ProRes 4444 at the cost of additional disk space. More »

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Nikon D810 FrontEven though Nikon was the first DSLR out of the gate with 24p video, it was Canon that really made a splash with the Mark II not long after. Nikon tried to get back some of that market with the D800 and D4 aimed at video shooters, and now they are pushing even harder with the new D810, which adds 1080p 60fps, higher ISO capabilities, and simultaneous recording to both internal cards and an external recorder. While there is a big push to add 4K recording to these kinds of cameras, neither the newer D4s nor the new D810 have it. More »

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Grant Petty - Blackmagic Firmware Update 1.8There was quite a bit of confusion yesterday when a private download link for the newest firmware 1.8 was made live before an official release. That situation was corrected soon after it was made available, and users were told that this was not an official release. Now the company has announced the official firmware 1.8 update, and they are showing off a video with their CEO that goes through all of the new features and also hints at many more firmware updates coming very soon. More »

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Blackmagic Firmware 1.8 on BMPC4KEarlier today there was a bit of a surprise when the Blackmagic website showed a brand new firmware update download without any press releases or fanfare. We’ve been told for a while that this 1.8 update was coming, with the promise of unifying firmware across all of their cameras so that only one download would be needed. The 1.8 firmware update was available for a little while, but was then quickly removed. Downloads are floating around online, but apparently this update isn’t ready for primetime, and could have bugs that won’t be in the release version. More »

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Metabones Canon EF to MFT Speed BoosterLast year Metabones came out of nowhere with the Speed Booster, a product that seems too good to be true until you look at the results. While it does have its faults, your lenses do really become faster and wider, giving you a lot more options for mirrorless cameras that have smaller than full-frame sensors. We’ve heard rumors about a Metabones Canon EF to Micro 4/3 Speed Booster that would give full iris control on MFT cameras (we’ve already got the Nikon version which is all-manual), but nothing was concrete until now. The first product out of the gate is for the Blackmagic Pocket, which is going to make the camera that much more usable with full-frame lenses. More »

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cinema5D ARRI AMIRA ReviewARRI introduced the ENG-style AMIRA back in September of last year, surprising quite a few people who were expecting a low-cost ALEXA, but not necessarily aimed at a different audience. ARRI sees this new camera as more of a TV or documentary tool, since it is designed to fit more comfortably on your shoulder and has better access to functions on the operator side. Even though it has a max resolution of 2K, it has the same sensor as the ALEXA, which means the footage has that signature ARRI look. Sebastian from cinema5D recently reviewed the camera and shot some beautiful footage with it. More »

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Dave Dugdale Swim CommercialBack at NAB 2014, Dave Dugdale, who runs Learning DSLR Video, took some interview footage and b-roll he had shot previously, and sat down with editor Chris Fenwick for a three-hour editing session. The goal was to see what Chris could do with the footage having never seen it before. The video has some great tips for editing interviews down to their most powerful and interesting bits, and if you’ve never used Final Cut Pro X (or you want to know it better), Chris talks about how he uses the program effectively. More »

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Atomos CFast CardWe talked with Atomos back at NAB about their new Shogun, Ninja Star, and Ninja Blade/Samurai Blade recorders, and now they’ve got a few more surprises related to these products up their sleeves. The $300 monitor-less Ninja Star compares favorably to the Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle, except the Ninja has a CFast card slot to keep the size down. The biggest issue with this is that CFast is a very expensive format at the moment, and so Atomos have built their own CFast cards that are just fast enough to record ProRes HQ. More »

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Canon Call Center - Taking Care of Lenses and CamerasOver a long enough time period, cameras and lenses can take a beating, and the best way to keep them functioning and minimize issues like dust is to clean them on a frequent basis. What’s the best way to do that? While you will likely get different answers from different people, Canon has released a video that aims to provide some basic information on maintaining lenses and cameras. This might be a Canon-focused video, but the tips are certainly applicable to any brand out there. More »

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Kickstarter Launch NowWhile Kickstarter projects have already raised over $1 billion dollars collectively, the site is still growing considerably as more and more people are starting their first crowdfunding campaign or even launching their second or third. To keep up with this growth, the company has decided to make it even easier to launch your campaign, and they’ve also greatly simplified their rules to help you understand what kinds of projects are allowed on the site. More »

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Panasonic GH4 vs Canon 5D3 RAW vs C100We already saw how the new Panasonic GH4 compares to the RED EPIC and the Canon 5D Mark III shooting Magic Lantern RAW, and today we’ve another comparison with the 5D Mark III shooting RAW. We’ve also got an interesting look at the GH4 versus the more video-oriented C100, so you can see how the budget-friendly Panasonic fares against the beefier and more expensive Canon camera. Check out both tests below to see which cameras came out on top. More »

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Video thumbnail for youtube video Kevin Smith Talks About the Things You Can't Learn in Film School - No Film SchoolWhile this website might be called No Film School, we have always acknowledged that there are positives and negatives for attending or not attending film school. The mission that hasn’t changed since the site was created is to provide as much daily inspiration, knowledge, and news as possible on all sorts of topics related to filmmaking and shooting video, and this next clip is no different. Writer/director Kevin Smith, a film school dropout himself, talked during a Q&A about whether going to film school is worth it, and the skills that really can’t be taught in school. More »

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New RØDE Blimp System 2If you’ve done any sort of sound work, a microphone blimp attached to your boom pole is an absolutely essential piece of kit. One of the more affordable/solid options out there is the RØDE blimp, and they’ve just announced a new version that has been made 25% lighter, and has a number of useful new features designed to minimize the noise from boom pole vibrations. Check out their introduction video below: More »

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ARRI ALEXA XTThere were some rumors that ARRI might be talking about a new 6K 65mm camera or a new 4K camera at NAB 2014, but there wasn’t a peep from the company about any new cameras except for the AMIRA. While there are plenty of ALEXA projects shot at 1080p and 2K, Michael Cioni, CEO of Hollywood post house Light Iron, talks about how shooters can get the most out of the almost-3K sensor in a 4K world and how to optimize the ALEXA XT for 4K and UHD applications. More »