Cost Effective, Compact, Media Wrangling Tools

When it comes to managing your media on location shoots, the tool of choice is typically a laptop. However, laptops can get very expensive quickly, require big external power supplies and bags, and, for simple media management (copying files to a client’s drive) they are overkill. Today’s laptops are also powerful enough do basic grading, editing, and even media conversion and uploading while in the field. But what if you don’t need all of that capability? What if you just need to copy your camera files to an external hard drive for the client to take with them?

Continue reading “Cost Effective, Compact, Media Wrangling Tools”

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The Nikon P7700 – a compact stills/video powerhouse.

The Nikon P7700.Video DSLRS have revolutionized the way we shoot video at all levels of production. But can the same thoughts now be applied to smaller internal-zoom cameras? They can all shoot full HD now. Add a microphone input, a built-in hot shoe & image stabilization, and lots of external controls, and it becomes a capable production tool.

The advantages are obvious. You don’t have to carry around several different lenses, or bother with lens changes because something is too close or too far. Another key advantage in this particular camera is the f2 – f4 28-200mm, image stabilized, Nikkor lens you get in a $399 (street) camera. A DSLR lens alone with that capability would cost you considerably more than the Nikon P7700, before you even add a camera body.

But what are the caveats?

I have been following the Nikon P7000 series cameras since they launched several years ago. The first generation was lauded for the quality of the stills, but overall it was very slow. The P7100 was a noted improvement, but it was still slow in comparison to other similar cameras. Now the P7700 is here with even more capability- especially with the video. Nikon added numerous video formats, and a microphone input. They also added a tilt-swivel display and several under-the-hood improvements. Does it finally perform as expected? Continue reading “The Nikon P7700 – a compact stills/video powerhouse.”

Testing CS-mount lenses on the Panasonic GH2

As a new owner of a Panasonic GH2 Micro 4/3 camera, I have entered the experimental phase of lens gathering.

The large sensor still cameras that also offer video capability are now plentiful and there’s a resurgence in interest in older lenses from still cameras, film cameras, and even security cameras. My research showed that CS lenses use the same screw thread and size as C-mount lenses, but they were designed to be 5mm closer to the sensor. I wanted to see for myself what exactly that differences meant in terms of usability for the GH2. Continue reading “Testing CS-mount lenses on the Panasonic GH2”

Preview: NEXTO DI’s NVS2500 portable media storage.

picture-8.png The big buzz surrounding the NVS2500 is all about three features built into this diminutive, battery operated media storage device:

  • the fast SxS transfer to internal hard drive
  • the ability to play back professional codecs like XDCAM EX
  • the eSATA slot for fast transfer to a computer

I’ve performed some preliminary tests and have some numbers to report. Continue reading “Preview: NEXTO DI’s NVS2500 portable media storage.”

Consumer Digital Still HD video shoutout.

If you can get a consumer camera that shoots HD for just a couple hundred bucks, why not load up on the cameras and get multiple angles of an event for next to no cost. img_6430w.jpgPlus, you can move them around easily, perch them in unusual places and you don’t need a half-dozen video camera operators. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well, the reality is that the rolling shutter CMOS image distortion in video cameras is just as prevalent in digital still cameras. You can easily see it when you bounce the camera up and down lightly, or pan the camera side to side. Things that you naturally do when you are recording video with the camera in your hands instead of on a tripod. These motions distort the image from what really exists in reality. Camera flashes are partially bad- partially illuminating multiple frames. When you play that back, it looks completely unnatural.

To quantify these CMOS distortions, I secured two brand new digital still cameras that shoot HD video and pitted them side by side in some critical tests and the results clearly demonstrate the difference between CMOS and CCD when it comes to capturing video that faithfully represents what happened.

Continue reading “Consumer Digital Still HD video shoutout.”

NAB Marketing 102. Spaghetti

clipart_food_spaghetti.jpgThe urban myth is – you find out if spaghetti is done by taking  a piece and throwing it at the wall to see if it sticks.

However, one of the tips we shot for Healthy Flavors‘ “Mythbusters” show, explains this to be false, but it hasn’t stopped companies from trying the same tactic: when you don’t know what to make, make all kinds of things, throw it at the market, and see what sticks.

Is this a good idea? Continue reading “NAB Marketing 102. Spaghetti”

HD Everywhere?

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Well, the 2009 Photo Marketing Association’s annual conference is March 3-5 and it’s expected that most everyone who hasn’t already announced a still camera capable of HD video recording— will at the event. This is not to say that video camcorders are not needed any more. I have already shot video with these new “HD-capable” still cameras… and let me tell all the video camcorders out there: your jobs are secure.

The other shoe to drop recently is the first cell phone to tout HD video recording capability. Personally, I am hoping for about 5 MP of quality pictures, but HD video? I doubt it. The proof will be in the pudding when these things actually ship and the video makes its way onto the web for everyone to critically assess.

Either way, the main problem these devices have, aside from the complete lack of control of “camera” functions while shooting, is video that is plagued with problems… Continue reading “HD Everywhere?”

Mystery Alaska

img_0990.jpgCan single-chip camcorder models priced less than $1,000 and bearing the bold “Full HD” logo do the job of prosumer and professional camcorders costing many times that price?

In this article I’ll take two high-end consumer HD camcorders into the field—specifically, the wilds of the Alaskan bush—to see what I can do with these little devices.

You may be pleasantly surprised by what I find. Continue reading “Mystery Alaska”

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