The new Saramonic UwMic10 wireless line is the company’s latest addition to their wide catalogue of affordable audio solutions for DSLR/M shooters. One of their most popular products is the SR-AX100, a passive splitter that turns your camera’s stereo mic input to dual mono, and provides individual level controls for two 3.5mm inputs. This simple solution makes it easy to dial the levels of two powered sources, such as a wireless receiver and battery-powered shotgun microphone (like the Rode VideoMic Pro), a common setup for run-and-gun shooters. Alternatively, it allows you to create a safety track at lower gain if you’re only capturing audio with one input. Saramonic also offers similar, battery-powered adapters with XLR inputs, like the SR-AX107. Now, the company’s social media pages have started showcasing their new Saramonic UwMic10 wireless UHF range. Perhaps the most interesting of these is the dual channel TX10 receiver, which can accept two signals simultaneously. The receiver comes bundled with a single RX10 bodypack transmitter that accepts an included lavalier mic through what seems to be a locking 3.5mm jack: a nice touch. At $270, the bundle is certainly priced very attractively, considering it opens the possibility of a versatile two-channel wireless system without extensively (or expensively!) rigging up your camera. Saramonic also offers the HU10, a dynamic handheld microphone with a built-in transmitter. There is also a plug version of the transmitter for use with your own XLR microphone, although it is unclear whether the unit will also provide phantom power. This would be a very useful feature to use, for example, with a condenser shotgun microphone on a boom. As you can see, the sound quality seems to be adequate, offering a decent range without any audio dropouts. A compact setup like this would be ideal for a wide range of run-and-gun situations such as documentary, ENG, weddings and events. The products are available for pre-order from Amazon.com at a highly reduced price, with a shipping date of March 1st. This means the Saramonic wireless line will be available just before Rode’s long-awaited Rodelink Newsshooter announced at last year’s IBC. The latest addition to the Rodelink series is an all-in-one 2.4 GHz digital signal system powerhouse, accepting XLR and 3.5mm, providing phantom power and compatible with NF batteries. It is available for pre-order from B&H with a mid-May estimated release date and will be priced very competitively, at least, when compared to the other big name in wireless microphones for video: the venerable Sennheiser AVX. Will you be trying the Saramonic system?Read more
FilmConvert is our film look plugin of choice for many of the review videos we shoot here at cinema5D. It’s easy to use, there are integrated versions for Premiere and Final Cut Pro X as well as a standalone version, and in our opinion, there isn’t an easier and faster way to achieve a very sophisticated film look without much more effort (and no, this is not a sponsored post … I just like it!). One of the qualities of FilmConvert is that they develop their presets specifically for each camera, which makes it actually easy to match different cameras across models and even manufacturers using the plugin. On the other hand, you need to download these profile packs individually. Luckily they have become quite fast in implementing new picture profiles for new cameras. There’s the two fairly new Sony RX100 IV and Sony RX10 II cameras, (small sensor, fixed-lens cameras) that have gained popularity among semi pro filmmakers as B-cameras or quick always-in-your-pocket tools. The amount of possible movie mode adjustments in these cameras make them viable tools also for professionals – just look at my colleague Johnnie Behiri’s great video reviews of the RX100 IV as well as the RX10. To make grading easy with these cameras, head over to FilmConvert to download the appropriate plugin pack for free (if you already own the software).Read more
Italy. Nov 13th. In my hands I have a camera that can change the news/documentary filming industry forever: the Sony RX10 (available and shipping now). Now, before you raise your eyebrow, please take a moment to read what this camera offers: -1 inch new sensor and new engine behind it -“All data read out” from the sensor -Build in ND filter (first in a bridge/VDSLR camera) -Nice range of min/max focal length -Constant fast aperture through the range (2.8) -Min. focus distance of 3cm (in wide open focal length) -Good OLED EVF and LCD screen -Ability to connect Sony’s XLR-K1M (A professional audio accessory) -Can monitor and control audio while recording -Zebra -Peaking -Ability to zoom in for accurate focus while filming -Good “auto focus” performance -Clean HDMI output (8 bit, 4:2:2) -Clear menu structure -Extremely customizable “custom keys” feature! You can assign any button you need for very easy control With so many inventive features I was very excited to finally start shooting the little “custom made” mini doc you see above. My plan was to simulate a real news/documentary run&gun situation when mostly available light is what you have and filming time is very limited. After all, I believe that this camera is aimed for VJ’s (video journalists) and is NOT meant to replace the work/look with a large sensor camera in any way. OK, enough with “words of wisdom”. How was the camera in the field? Well, I am a little bit less excited now after working with it and watching the footage. Here are my main concerns: -The lens is very confusing. While it is really good with manual aperture it is really bad with zoom. There is no real “manual zoom”. It is a “fly-by-wire” one. You can only zoom with your hand on the lens when not in “manual focus mode” as the focus and zoom are using the same ring. If you use your hand to zoom you will find yourself twisting the focus/zoom ring at least 3 times from end to end. Now, if you are in manual focus mode, you can use the little rocker opposite the “on/off” switch for zooming. This rocker has a certain “zooming speed” when not filming. In the minute you press the “REC button” it slows down dramatically. -OLED EVF, the one on the RX10 is less good in my opinion then the one found on the A7/A7r. Focusing is not always easy. For many of the run&gun wide angle situations filmed above I had to rely on the “auto focus” which is pretty good!. -Another thing to consider is the ability to magnify (zoom in) before or while recording. Unfortunately it is only x4 which makes life a bit harder when searching for optimal focus. -Low light capability of the camera is as expected from “less then APS-C” sensor size. The “Pizza scene” was all shot at ISO 1000 and the picture turns (in some shoot which I did not include) to very very soft even if in focus. -Most important, picture quality. This camera DOES have strong aliasing and even worse, kind of micro blocking in “low light parts of the picture” or when it comes to “fine structure” like hair. I wish Sony would have taken a “brave” decision and equipped all their current new cameras with a better codec. Camera settings: Creative style: Netural (All settings on 0 as recommended by Sony) A small amount of brightness/contrast was added to some shots. UPDATE: I can confirm the following regarding Sony’s RX10 SteadyShot as stated by Sony’s technical marketing manager: -Optical SteadyShot Active Mode: roll correction is achieved by crop-out of the picture. -Optical SteadyShot Standard Mode: pitch and yaw correction are done only with optical stabiliser function, therefore no cropping. -OFF: Neither optical nor electrical stabilisation is processed. The resolution of Active Mode is a bit worse than the other 2. Standard mode and OFF should be the same image quality. Music: The music bed “Perfect day” by Holley Maher A big thank you to Isabella and Enrico from en&is studio Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.comRead more
Another Sony camera release, this time it’s in the form of a bridge camera – The Sony RX10. You may ask why a camera of this sort receives any form of acknowledgement from a filmmaking blog – a fixed lens 1″ stills camera. But it holds some very interesting features that not only looking exciting for video but offer groundbreaking technology for any sort of video-able stills camera. Let’s first look at the basic specifications of the Sony RX10. It sports a 20-megapixel 1.0″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm) CMOS sensor, with a constant aperture f/2.8 8.3x optical zoom. In full frame talk this is a sensor with a crop factor of 2.7x and a lens that covers an impressive 24-200mm equivalent focal length. It has a 3″ 1,228,000 dot tilt-able LCD display and OLED 1,440,000 dot EVF. It weighs 1.79lbs/813g and is 5.1 x 3.5 x 4.0″/129.0 x 88.1 x 102.2mm which in DSLR terms is about the size and weight of a Canon T5i with kit lens, in Compact Systems Cameras (CSC) terms that’s a little on the bulky side. Concentrating more on the video side of things it shoots up to 1920X1080 50/60p – This is pretty much the norm for a Sony camera, (I could count the amount of Nikon and Canon cameras that support this feature on one hand) with alternative flavours of 1280X720 and 1440X1080 resolutions, and interlaced scanning up to Full HD. It shoots this in a pretty standard AVCHD 28mbps format to popular SD cards. It gets a little more interesting with its physical connectivity. The camera has two 3.5mm jack ports; one for stereo sound for an external microphone and one for audio monitoring. It also has a micro-HDMI port which supports “uncompressed off-camera recording”; I assume this means that the HDMI is clean (no displays) like the 5D mark iii and the Nikon D800. So far the camera is looking very well spec’d, beyond that of just a bridge camera; its 1080 50/60p and clean HDMI challenge many DSLRs. It gets more interesting though. First to point is one that other may overlook; its button layout is highly configurable. 6 of the RX10’s main buttons offer up to 42 optional features per button. This is something I feel some pro cameras overlook. Take the 5D mark iii for example. Granted, more customizable buttons (10 in their custom menu) but each one can only access 3-8 or so functions. Giving each customizable button almost free reign of the cameras settings make it a highly efficient camera for the individual user. Second is displayed in the below video. At the flick of a switch, the aperture de-clicks to provide you with smooth aperture changes for video: Third is the camera’s inbuilt 3-stop ND filter. Brilliant, no more hassle with attaching fader ND (although granted not much of a hassle on a fixed lens camera). The final point was highlighted by Imaging Resource that was brought to our attention by Andrew Reid from EOSHD. The Sony RX10 appears to read out its full 5k resolution to the powerful BIONZ X processor, meaning proper down sample of the image to 1920X1080 resolution. This is thought to be a first for video-able stills cameras, and will have a dramatic effect on reduction of moiré patterns and aliasing artifacts due to the down sample. Here’s what Imaging Resource say on the technology: “Where the Sony RX10 really breaks new ground for video, though, is that it’s the first camera we’re aware of that reads out the entire sensor pixel array for every frame, performing sub-sampling/video anti-aliasing in the processor. This potentially addresses the huge bugaboo of still-camera video recording, namely the tendency towards moiré and false-color artifacts, thanks to the mismatch between still-image and video resolution. Pretty much every digital still camera we’ve tested produces very noticeable moiré patterns and color artifacts in its video. (The Canon 5D Mark III deserves note as doing better than most, but even it still shows some level of video artifacts.) The issue is that a still camera has to get rid of a lot of its image data in order to output a 1,920 x 1,080 video image. They usually don’t have enough processor horsepower to do a proper job of sub-sampling the image in the vertical direction (across scan lines), so resort to simply skipping rows of pixels, jumping 2, 3, or 4 rows for each one actually output. The problem with this is that the image data is way undersampled from an image-processing standpoint, so moiré and artifacts are pretty much guaranteed. It’s not that the industry doesn’t know what to do to prevent the problem, it’s just that there isn’t enough processing horsepower available to do what the job requires. Until now. Besides its advantages for still image processing, the new BIONZ X processor in the Sony RX10 has a special LSI front-end processing section ideally suited to processing huge amounts of video data on the fly. For the first time (that we’re aware of), the RX10′s processor clocks the entire 20-megapixel image off the array up to 60 times/second, and then sub-samples (think of it as a special class of signal averaging) the raw image data digitally, to produce the final 1,920 x 1,080 video image. Doing so effectively performs a low-pass filtering operation on the video data, thus greatly reducing the propensity for moiré and false color artifacts. While our sample camera was only a prototype, we did take it outside and challenge it with some subjects that typically produce bad moiré or false-color patterns with cameras we test. The results were very encouraging. It didn’t completely eliminate moiré patterns, but they were greatly reduced relative to just about every other camera we’ve seen, and there were no false-color artifacts to be seen anywhere. Not only that, but the video itself was very clean and crisp-looking, so the reduction in false color and moiré didn’t seem to come at the expense of mushy subject detail.” Whilst its fixed lens is restrictive for professional use, and its relatively small sensor will yield inferior low light results compared to larger sensor cameras the Sony RX10 packs a very impressive package. We can only hope it’s paving the way to more video conscious stills cameras further up the chain. Like Canon however, it has a video line to protect so we can’t get too excited about what this format can offer. The full resolution down scale is big news, and one effort that all manufacturers should be making to provide processors which can produce the right amount of juice to correctly down sample the image for video (forget this line skipping business!). The Sony RX10 is available for pre-order from B&H for $1,298.00 via/Imaging Resource & EOSHDRead more
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