by Kevin Alexander | 15th May 2015
Here’s an interesting Kickstarter campaign that will provide options for CFast users. The C-Box System allows SSD drives to be used as cheap CFast media. CFast cards are the recording medium of choice for many professional cameras, especially those that shoot 4K (Blackmagic URSA, URSA Mini, Canon C300 mkII, etc.). But they’re currently expensive in comparison to regular Compact Flash or SD cards. Well, there’s a new Kickstarter campaign that could provide an alternative to CFast cards. The C-Box System is a dual-SSD bay with an adapter cable that connects to the CFast ports in the camera. Since the C-Box connects directly to the CFast ports, and not to a SDI or HDMI port, it’s not sending out a video signal. Since it’s not an external recorder it isn’t limited to a different set of recording options. You can record all of the cameras native recording formats. It’s also worth noting that any SSD drive can be used; there are no proprietary drives. It receives power either through an Anton Bauer or V-Lock 5V plug (2.1 x 5.5mm). If funding goals are met the C-Box System will start shipping in August for a retail price of $499.95. For more information check out their Kickstarter page. C-Box System Features Dual SSD Bay Uncompressed Footage: Record at any of your cameras native recording formats Plug and Play: No camera modifications required 1/4” Screw Thread for Rig Mounting Use any SSD Powered by Anton Bauer/V-Lock 5V What’s Included One (1) Dual-SSD Bay C-Box System One (1) 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC to USB Cable One (1) 2.1mm x 5.5mm DC to DC Cable Two (2) SSD Spacers (for 7mm SSD’s) One (1) “I Helped Launch C-Box” Sticker One (1) User Guide With Special Thanks InformationRead more
Canon today announced the long-awaited successor to its popular C300 camera, the C300 Mark II. Canon EOS C300 Mark II After a long wait for a successor to the immensely popular C300 – which has been my main cameras for many years – telling from the specs it truly seems like Canon won’t disappoint with the C300 Mark II. Canon uses a new high-bitrate codec called XF-AVC (which sounds remarkably similar to XAVC, which is what Sony is using in all their new cameras), with up to 410 Mbps (Sony’s XAVC I codec records up to 600Mbps). They have switched recording from CF cards to CFast 2.0, which is also used by Arri in the new Alexa Mini. While still not exactly cheap, we have seen these cards come in price recently a lot (e.g. this Lexar 128GB CFast 2.0 card), and they compare favorably to Sony’s own XQD standard which is used in the FS7. High-speed recording, which is something where Canon was clearly lacking behind the competition in the past, has been significantly improved as well: The C300 Mark II records up to 120 fps in 2K / 1080p (and 30p in 4K). That’s not as impressive as Sony FS7’s up to 180 fps, however a huge step up from the C300’s original 60p in 720p only. Here is a rundown of the significant tech specs: 10-bit 4:2:2 in 4K recording (UHD 3840 x 2160 & DCI cinematic (4096 x 2160 pixels) up to 410Mbps (in 4K) 10/12-bit 4:4:4 in 2K & Full HD up to 30p in 4K, 120p in 2K/Full HD 4K RAW files to external recorder dual DIGIC DV5 processors dual CFast 2.0 slots 15 stops of dynamic range with new Canon Log2 Dual Pixel CMOS AF New XF-AVC Intra, Long GOP and Proxy H.265 codecs in 4K, UHD, 2K and 1080p 4-channel audio in 16 or 24 bit and 48 kHz sensor-read out 2x faster than C300, less rolling shutter The new C300 Mark II will be priced at $15,999, which is the original price bracket of the C300. It’s expected to be available in September, but B&H has started to take preorders today. Full press release: The EOS C300 Mark II – Stunning 4K quality, creativity and versatility City, Country, 8 April 2014 – Canon today unveils the EOS C300 Mark II, a new 4K video camera allowing filmmakers and broadcast producers to realise their creative vision in stunning cinematic detail. Building on the unprecedented success of the acclaimed EOS C300, the more rugged EOS C300 Mark II features an advanced imaging engine with dual DIGIC DV5 processors, new professional codecs and outstanding dynamic range, making it the most capable, flexible and accessible Cinema EOS video camera to date. Supreme 4K image quality and versatility With the ability to record 10-bit 4:2:2 files internally at up to 410Mbps in 4K, or 10/12-bit 4:4:4 files in 2K/Full HD, with up to 15 stops of dynamic range, the EOS C300 Mark II provides footage suitable for extensive post-production work, producing crisper images across the full colour spectrum with reduced “colour bleed”. The camera offers professional filmmakers and broadcasters alike the very best image quality, recording 4K in both broadcast (3840 x 2160) and DCI cinematic (4096 x 2160) resolutions. The EOS C300 Mark II can record high bitrate 4K files internally to dual CFast 2.0™[i] media, while simultaneously recording 4K RAW files to an external recorder, offering the flexibility and universal appeal for production at the highest quality available today. Additionally, the ability to record 2K/Full HD Proxy files to an internal SD card, at the same time, further streamlines the production workflow process. The new Canon-designed Super 35mm CMOS sensor and an increased ISO range up to ISO 102,400 deliver exceptional low light performance, allowing operators to capture low-noise footage across a variety of challenging environments without compromising on image quality. To meet the requirements of a diverse range of shooting applications, the EOS C300 Mark II offers both full manual control, ideal for cinematic environments, as well as automatic modes. These include, enhanced Dual Pixel CMOS AF (now covering approx. 80% of the frame vertically and 80% horizontally), auto white balance and Face Detection AF, all making it easier for independent news gatherers and documentary filmmakers to shoot on the go. Instant integration into professional workflows Canon’s new range of XF-AVC H.264 codecs, designed to be compatible with industry standard Non-Linear Edit systems, makes integrating both 4K and 2K/Full HD footage into workflows effortless, while maintaining the highest image quality. The range features XF-AVC intra for 4K, and XF-AVC Long GOP and Proxy options for 2K/Full HD recording, both of which utilise H.264 codec, offering post production flexibility and ease of use. Filmmakers can select the resolution and codec type that best suits their production, with the EOS C300 Mark II capable of shooting at up to 30P in 4K or up to 120P in 2K/Full HD. The EOS C300 Mark II offers support for a wide range of colour space options, including BT.2020, the Canon Cinema Gamut and DCI-P3. The camera is also the first Cinema EOS model to feature brand new Canon Log2 technology, which enables the 15-stops of dynamic range, significantly wider than previous Cinema EOS cameras. The camera offers new versatility for sound recording too, supporting 4-channel audio recording in 16 or 24 bit and 48 kHz. Designed for versatility The EOS C300 Mark II boasts the iconic Cinema EOS design DNA – a modular body that can be adapted to suit the needs of each shooter and filming situation, through the extensive range of compatible accessories. Internally, the EOS C300 Mark II also includes built-in electronically controlled glass ND (neutral density) filters, which reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by up to 10 stops in expansion mode. Compatibility with the RC-V100 remote control and optional Wi-Fi control also enables ease of use in a wider range of locations. The camera’s sensor read-out speed is now twice as fast as the original EOS C300, and further reduces rolling shutter distortion, allowing for crisp image capture in a moving environment, making it perfectly suited for capturing action sequences. Leveraging Canon’s rich heritage in lens design, the EOS C300 Mark II is compatible with more than 90 current EF and EF Cinema lenses allowing operators to use their existing EF mount lenses. In addition, the EOS C300 Mark II comes equipped with Canon Cine servo zoom lens support, delivering one of the most comprehensive selections of lens possibilities for movie and broadcast production available in the market today. For further flexibility, shooters can opt to change the lens mount from the default EF Mount, to EF Mount with Cinema Lock, or to the industry standard PL mount, as a service option[ii]. EOS C300 Mark II key benefits: High bitrate internal 4K recording with external RAW High dynamic range files, ideal for post production Seamlessly integrate with professional workflows Automatic features make independent shooting easy Shoot with confidence in low light with low noise [i] Canon is an authorised licensee of the CFast 2.0™ trademark, which may be registered in various jurisdictions [ii] Available via chargeable serviceRead more
News Shooter caught up with Atomos at Cine Gear, showcasing a new line of CFast 1.0 cards and HDMI leads. The cards are made specifically by Atomos for their Ninja Star recorder and the cables are coiled HDMI leads for easy of use with their recorders. I like many were excited at the release of the Ninja Star at NAB 2014, it’s a very affordable and compact external recorder capable of recording into multiple ProRes formats. To save costs against their other products, Atomos went with a screen-less design that made it a very attractable product to GoPro and drone users due to its form factor. The problem, it utilizes CFast 1.0 cards. Despite a huge cost saving over CFast 2.0, CFast 1.0 cards are few and far between. I myself looked thoroughly into this product to use with my C100, but in the end chose the Ninja Blade; here were my calculations for each product. Ninja Blade Shooting Package Ninja Blade $995 X2 240 SSDs $291.98 Total cost $1286.98 Ninja Star Shooting Package Ninja Star $295 X4 128 CFast 1.0 cards $1,460 Total cost $1755.00 So if I wanted the same amount of media (more or less) with a Ninja Star, I would be paying more than if I went with a Ninja Blade package. You could probably get away with buying 2 less CFast cards, but even then you are only saving a couple of hundred dollars. For the extra the Ninja Blade offers and considering the CFast card brand are relatively unknown, it was an easy decision to pick the Ninja Blade. Atomos has now closed the gap with release of their own cards. Their 128G and 64G CFast cards cost $239 and $159 respectively, the cards meet the minimum speed requirement of recording Apple ProRes at 80MB/s. Now, if you went with a Ninja Star package with X2 128G cards, you’d save over $500 versus a Ninja Blade package (albeit less overall media). They’ve also announced a nice looking CFast card reader that they’ll be offering in bundle deals with their cards for further savings. Furthermore to new arrivals, Atomos has announced exploration into the cable industry. In the video at the top of the page Jeromy debuts a pair of coiled micro to micro HDMI cables. The cables come in two lengths, and he mentions support for DSLRs and the C100 so I assume a mini and standard version of the cable will be imminent also. Coiled cables are fantastic for use in our industry, the ability to shrink down or double up in size makes them very versatile for an array of shooting configurations; I just wish Atomos had made them slimmer! I’ve spent longer than I’d like to admit sourcing the ideal HDMI cable for my Atomos and SmallHD products, I looked into coiled HDMI leads but most were quite thick; a knock or tug around the port often causes thick leads to drop signal. I therefore settled on an ultra slim HDMI cable (thinner than an iPhone lighting cable) as this offers 0 influence over the HDMI port when knocked or pulled; if it were coiled it would make the perfect cable. We’ve seen both coiled HDMI leads and ultra thin HDMI leads are possible. We just need a company to now combine the two. For reference, the Sennheiser MKE400 microphone has what I’d describe as the perfect cable (ultra thin and coiled); HDMI cable designers please use this as a reference!Read more
You’ve heard about the new Sony A7s that delivers a very fine 4K at unprecedented lowlight levels. Unfortunately the camera is not laid out for internal 4K recording and only outputs that signal via its hdmi port. Atomos and Sony have worked closely together here to offer a seamless integration in recording the feed to the new Atomos Shogun 4K disk recorder that doubles as a very nice display. CEO Jeromy young gave us the details in the video above. The Atomos Shogun records ProRes 422 in 4K and up to 10bit via its hdmi input and can also record 12bit RAW via SDI, while the Sony A7s delivers an 8bit hdmi stream. The results are never the less very pleasing which you can check out yourselves in the video we posted here. The full HD IPS screen doubles as a field monitor and is factory calibrated to SMPTE Rec.709 with 100% gamut and D65 white point. The Shogun records to hard disks, to a dedicated RAID module or the new Cfast CF cards and can even take slow motion up to 120fps. While the Atomos Shogun was announced together with the Sony A7s it does also work with other cameras like the new Panasonic GH4 or the flagship cinemaEOS camera the Canon EOS C500. The Shogun will be $1995 and start shipping in October. It is available for pre-order here. We reported about another nice product by Atomos, the Atomos “Ninja Star” which is their first disk recorder without a display. The Ninja Star can record in both HD and Apple ProRes to capture pristine, 422 10-bit images straight from any camera sensor directly to inexpensive first generation CFast media with up to 3hrs Apple Proes for $250. It also features Timecode and Start/Stop Trigger along with Audio Line-in. The Ninja Star is available for pre-order and cost $295. More information on atomos.comRead more
Arri just announced a run-and-gun camera that seems to fulfill every documentary filmmakers dream. A complete “compact” working tool with Arri Alexa quality, slow motion capabilities, zoom control and no setup time working right out of the box. You could think of it like an old fashioned video camera that had all the ergonomics and versatility laid out for fast one-man poduction, be it a documentary film or news gathering or old fashioned home videos. Here’s a complete solution that brings back all these qualities but made for “cinema” grade results made by the most reliable camera manufacturer of our time. This is an exciting product, so exciting we know it’s going to cost a lot more than most of us could afford. This is definitely a rental camera, not like a 650D you’ve got lying around in your equipment drawer. This is a serious cinema camera, not only for its sensor design, but also because it brings what the Arri Alexa provided: the ergonomics, quality and workflow that helps filmmakers make the best images possible. In terms of workflow Arri integrated “CFast 2.0” which is an in-camera CF memory slot with super-quick data rates. CFast 2.0 is an open format said to deliver a fantastic price-performance ratio through incredible transfer speeds, long recording times and compatibility with standard IT tools. Costs per GB are brought down and higher-than-broadcast-quality image pipelines are made available even to low budget productions. Here are the key features of Arri’s new Amira: • Ready to pick up and shoot straight out of the camera bag. (including startup) • creative liberation through functional, user-friendly design. • same amazing sensor as Arri Alexa. • records HD 1080 or 2K (with 4K imager). • 14 stops (clean!) dynamic range. • up to 200fps. • ProRes LT, 422, 422HQ or 444 codecs. • Integrated, motorized ND filters. • peaking, false color, zebra. • OLED viewfinder with extendable LCD on the side. • comes with a number of preloaded 3D LUT-based looks for fast grading. And here’s a sentence from the press-release concerning durability that just has to be quoted: AMIRA is a highly durable product constructed of the strongest possible materials. Sealed electronics provide top-level protection against humidity and dust, while an integrated thermal core results in highly efficient cooling. Productions can take AMIRA anywhere, from jungles and deserts to snow-capped mountain tops, sure in the knowledge that it will not let them down. There are many productions this product is perfectly tailored to. You can be sure this camera will take the video and cinema production world by storm.Read more
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