REVIEW: CN600-SA LED Light Panels w/ wireless dimmer!

Here is a quick review of the new CN600-SA LED Panels. Being able to control up to 4 lights with one remote is great. Ohh..I forgot to mention in the video, but the wireless dimmer switch will also work in the older version panels. Sorry I didn’t have time to shoot a segment on the light quality, but please check out Matt Allard’s in depth video HERE.

Shot on: Canon T4i

Thanks for watching, why don’t you follow me on twitter!
http://twitter.com/rod_guajardo

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Gear: Canon 5D Mark III + Test Video + Q&A

5DM3 with Zacuto EVF, Gorilla Plate Adapter, and HDMI Pincher

I received the new Canon 5D Mark III two days after it was launched.  I have had some time to play around with the new system and although not revolutionary like the 5DMII, it definately has some upgrades that are important to me.  I will be posting another blog post with my thoughts on the camera, however, in the meantime, below is a short outdoor test video I shot last week on the Texas/Mexico border.

I have received a few questions on the test video above and will start sharing my responses below.

Q. Very nicely done, I must say, did you use a glidetrack? What in camera “picture processing”settings did you use? -RuneL via CanonRumors.com
A.  I used a IndisliderMini (which I don’t recommend) for the first 2 shots.  In camera, I started with the Neutral Picture Style, modified with Stu’s recommended settings below:

Start with the Neutral Picture Style
Set Sharpness to zero—all the way to the left
Set Contrast all the way to the left
Set Saturation two notches to the left

Q.  Very nice.  did you do any post processing to sharpen the video?  -Jacques via CanonRumors.com
A.  I did add sharpening in post with Premiere Pro’s built-in “Sharpen” effect.  However, for each shot it differed, but I don’t believe I ever went above the 40 mark.

Q.  Great vid. Can you tell us what settings you used on your export from Premiere? Did you use the Vimeo HD preset? My exports from premiere into Vimeo never seem to be this sharp (I assume this is 1080p 24fps). Thanks!-Ben M. via Vimeo.com
A.  Hi Ben, great question! Just so I don’t miss anything, I have taken a screenshot of my export settings and uploaded here for you: foursandyfeet.com/images/export_settings.jpg

Q.  Very Nice ! Did you used All-i or IBP codec ? -Matheus Oliveira via Vimeo
A.  Matheus, I used All-I for this. Thanks for watching!

Twixtor Help

Hello,

If you found this page I appreciate you taking the time out to take a look.  I am extremely new to Twixtor and let me tell you up front that when I originally shot this footage I had no intention of slowing it down in post.  But, after checking out all the cool things people have been doing with Twixtor, I thought it would be fun to give it a try.  However, from what I have gathered, the shot I am trying to work on was taken with all the incorrect settings,

1920×1080
24fps
ISO: 640

So my question is, by looking at the settings I used below, can you see a switch that can/should be modifed to improve the clip with the drummer banging away? Most of what I have done so far has just been trial and error, which has been quite interesting and fun, but I just don’t know if I am missing something or even headed in the right direction. Please, if you have any ideas, leave them in the comments section below and I will give it a try and re-export and post below the above video.

Again, thanks for your time and assistance!

Rod

Review: Express35.com Event In-Line Shoulder Rig

Coming Soon!  A video review of one of the latest pieces of gear from our friend Chris at Express35.com.  The all new Event Shoulder Rig was customer inspired and is marketed for those looking for something compact, ergonomic and balanced (comes with counterweight, yay!).  There are (2) versions available, an offset version for those who would like to use their non-electronic viewfinders, like the LCDVF or Zacuto Z-Finder.  This is perfect solution to get the eyepiece positioned directly in front of your eye.  I will be reviewing the second option, the inline version which will allow me the option to utilize my Zacuto EVF Snap and perfect for newer cameras with the flip-out screens like the T3i, 60D, etc..  I have been putting it through it’s paces and almost ready to share my thoughts.  Express35 is known for their high quality products, extremely reasonable prices and helpful customer service..  Their website is a must stop for all filmmakers on a limited budget.

If you would like to know when the video review is available for viewing, please leave a comment below to be notified.
Thanks!
Rod

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig Part 3 w/ Zacuto EVF

Last week I received the awesome Zacuto EVF Flip. This left me to totally redesign my Cowboy Studio/Express35 shoulder rig. At first I thought I would no longer need the Express35.com offset adapter (reviewed here), but after trying different combinations, it is still a vital piece of the configuration.  The camera is no longer directly in front of my left eye, now with the EVF in place, I can now move it back onto the rig itself, inline with the shoulder support.  The EVF is supported to a rod with an articulating arm, which now sits in Continue reading

Ask Rod: Tools, camera settings, and more…

Hi Rod,

My name is Jose, I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I recently bought the Canon T2I (Christmas present). I was so amazed and happy to see that you were using the same camera to produce some awesome results. I really wish I could get the same results….lol. So you just started videography last year or DSLR videography? Either way, your work inspires me to learn more!!

I just bought the LCDVF because of your recommendation. Seems to be a great alternative to the Zacuto. I wish I would have bought this sooner because focusing is such a challenge with just the LCD screen.  Also, what ND filter do you recommend for the Continue reading

Review: Calumet BP1500 Backpack

Click here to visit the Calumet website to view more details. I do not work for Calumet, I am just a happy BP1500 owner. :)

For additional information on the messenger bag, please visit Coyote Tactical’s website located HERE. Dave, the owner is an awesome guy and makes quality custom gear for Special Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies.

White background created with the help of a queen sized white bed flat sheet and (2) ePhoto 1650 watt 6 bank fluorescent video light panels as reviewed on Cheesycam.com, click here. This was my first attempt and I learned a few things.

Ask Rod: Mounting Mics and Recorders

Hi Rod,
I notice in your video, that you have your Zoom H1 mounted in a shock mount on top of the camera. I am on the verge of purchasing the Zoom H4n and hopefully the Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone. My intension is to mount the NTG-2 on top of the camera and the Zoom H4n (somehow) in a vertical position to one side of the camera so I can easily view the screen while monitoring the audio levels.  I would like to later add an external LCD screen to assist in better focus. My questions are: Continue reading

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig Part 2

**6/23/2011 Update:  Part 3 with Zacuto EVF now posted!

Follow-up to my previous blog post, “Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig“.  This time showing a new piece to the shoulder rig, the Express.35.com “Rig X“. I am located in San Antonio, TX, if you are in the Central Texas area and would like a demo, just let me know!  Continue reading

Testing: T2i with Magic Lantern Firmware

I recently installed the Magic Lantern Firmware for my Canon T2i/550D and was interested in seeing how the Zoom H1 and Audio Technica ATR-3350 would perform. I don’t mind recording externally and sync’ing in post, however for run and gun stuff I wanted to test if the recording the sound to straight the camera would be permissible. Continue reading

Review: Cowboy Studio Shoulder Rig

A few days ago I tweeted a couple pics of my new Run and Gun DSLR Rig, the Cowboy Studio (CBS) Shoulder Support Pad.  Since then I have received a lot of requests for more information and additional pics, so here we go….

First off thanks to Caleb Pike and Phil Hoyt for turning me on to this idea and saving me hundreds of dollars!  I was looking for an affordable solution and this sure did fit the bill.

For those unfamiliar with the product it’s basically a low cost, lightweight shoulder rig, and retails anywhere from $20.00 to $30.00 online. I have used other DSLR rigs, including the Red Rock Micro eyeSpy Standard, which sells for $826.50. However, I must say I greatly prefer the CBS solution. One of the biggest features I like about the CBS rig is that it can be completely hands free. While using the Red Rock Micro system, I often found myself needing to use both of my hands, which was simply impossible. With the CBS I can do just that.  Ohhh..and did I mention how comfortable it is?  It’s much lighter then anything else I have tried and put’s less strain on my back and shoulders, which allows me to go longer with less fatigue. Continue reading

Review: D|Focus D|Riser

In a previous blog post I raved how much I was enjoying my new D|FOCUS Follow Focus V3.  However, one of the bummers for me was not able to use my new focusing solution on my Canon T2i/550d, with Canon 50mm 1.4 lens and BATTERY GRIP, battery grip being the key word here.  Thankfully, I wasn’t bummed out long, as David Aldrich, the man behind D|FOCUS Systems, noticed the need for a solution and is now producing the D|Riser!

Description for website:

“The D|Riser is a riser and offset block to raise the height of the standard D|Focus V3 gearbox.  The D|Focus V3 has a low profile design for a light weight and space saving configuration but in some cases it may be necessary to raise the height of the D|Focus V3. Continue reading

Ask Rod: Premiere Pro CS5 Export Settings?

via comment:  “What are your settings for premiere pro cs-5 and what do you export as?”  -Randy

Great question Randy!  In fact, I had this very same question when I first started using Premiere Pro CS5.  I was lucky enough to be pointed in the right direction by a fellow HDSLR shooter and Premiere user, Richard Allen Crook.  Below are a couple of screenshots I took of the settings I use to produce a 1080p, 16:9 aspect ratio video and 1080p 2.35:1 cropped cinema version.  Please remember, the export setting’s I use below is what has worked for me and might not necessarily be the right way to do it. Continue reading

TIP: B&H HDSLR Guide

Be sure to check out B&H’s new HDSLR Guide!

“The guide is an educational tool meant to provide critical information to independent filmmakers, photographers and cinematographers that want to create compelling content but would like to know more about the new form of filmmaking. In the guide, also find different categories of products that may be useful on a film set such as the latest lens controls, viewfinders, cameras, audio accessories, etc.”

Continue reading

Review: LCDVF 3:2

After reading Nino Leitner’s Epic DSLR Viewfinder Review, I knew what had to be purchased next, an LCD viewfinder.  There are quite a few viewfinders out on the market, however I had narrowed it down to the LCDVF 3:2 and the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5.  It did’nt take me long to decide which unit to get and there were three reasons why I went with the LCDVF:

1)  LCDVF has introduced a viewfinder made specifically for the Canon T2i/550D and it’s 3:2 screen.  So when I got it home, I knew it would fit my platform perfectly.  This was my most deciding factor.

2)  Cost.  The LCDVF clocks in at $119.00, and the Zacuto 2.5 at $395.00.  Not a huge concern, but after hearing that Zacuto has something that could be “game changing” in the works, I did’nt want to drop money on a Zacuto product that could be obsolete in a few months.  More on this, see #3. Continue reading

Review: D|Focus Follow Focus V3 w/ Canon T2i/550d

I got back from lunch this afternoon, and to my great surprise, a box from Jag35.com was waiting for me on my desk.  Inside was David Aldrich’s latest version of his D|Focus, follow focus system.

I currently do not use rods or a cage, so I also ordered the D|Mount, which will allow me to attach directly to my CanonT2i/550D.  I quickly unboxed both items and placed on my camera.  Looks like there are several different ways to configure, in the pictures below is one way I have found, (please let me know if you come up with something better).

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Continue reading

Ask Rod – “Focus Ring?”

via email – Hi Rod,I’m new to DSLR photography and video.  I bought the 550D/T2i for its great capabilities for the price — and for its video capability.

I learned quickly that, while you can get amazing depth of view, it also requires a lot of manual focusing (something I’m still getting used to).  I’ve found it quite cumbersome to stay focused on subjects that are moving (like my 1 year old son). I noticed in some of your shots in your monopod/tripod post that you have some sort of extended ring around your lens.  What is that thing called?  Do you have any recommendations?  (I was looking at http://www.indisystem.com/products/snap_gears) Do you have to get one specifically for each lens?  Are they expensive?  Does it make a big difference? Best Regards! -Jeff 

  Continue reading

Timelapse- Hong Kong Intervalometer w/ Canon T2i

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at creating a timelapse for a while now.  Last week I finally took the leap and ordered a knockoff intervalometer from ebay seller ADPLO.  Shipping from Hong Kong took 7 days to reach Texas, and last night I was able to give it a test run. Continue reading

Get Magic Bullet Quick Looks 20 Limited for free!

Are you a Premiere Pro CS5 user?  Can’t afford the full blown version of Magic Bullet Looks?  In April 2010, the fine people at Red Giant Software have made Magic Bullet Looks 20 Limited available for registered Premiere Pro CS5 users for FREE!  This plug-in gives you an introduction to Magic Bullet Looks with 20 presets.  So what are you waiting for?  Head on over to the download page, fill out the registration page, and get started!

 

Review: indiSLIDERmini by indiSYSTEM

I first heard about the indiSYSTEM indiSLIDERmini while browsing the forums at cinema5d.com.   I really wanted to try out a portable dolly system but the majority of the one’s I found online were out of my budget starting at $500 and up.

I was pretty impressed with the sample video’s others had posted so I quickly logged into their website and placed my order.  A few days later  my new slider arrived and was waiting for me at my desk.  Packaged securely in a cardboard box, I open it up, took a quick look and placed it back in where it would have to wait until I got home to play with it further.

Continue reading

Ask Rod: How do you enhance your footage in post?

via youtube.com – Rod, Okay, so this is stunningly beautiful. Do you mind if I ask you some advice?
I just got my hands on a T2i, primarily for the video capability (though I am more of a still photographer). What I am dying to know is, what did you do to get such stunning color, contrast, clarity etc? I see you used the stock lens, that is mind boggling to me… What software did you use to enhance the video, and how can I get started learning these techniques?
Thanks in advance. – TheOriginalPol

ANSWER:  Congratulations on your new T2i!  You already have a head start with being a still photographer and familiar with Adobe products.  I’ll try to answer your questions the best I can, however, remember these are just my opinions and what works for me. :)

Continue reading

Ask Rod: Workflow?

via vimeo – “Hi Rod, what was the work flow like editing with CS5? curious, because I just picked up a T2i, and wondering if its going to give me any problems.” -Christopher

Great question!  You made a great move by picking up the T2i, however you may have made an even better choice by thinking of using CS5 to edit your footage.   I am a avid PC user, and unfortunetly Final Cut Pro is not available for us.  Pre-CS5, if you wanted to edit HD footage you have to convert it first with another program like MPEG Streamclip.  That is no longer the case, you can edit natively!  That means you can take the files directly off your camera, drag them into Premiere Pro and you are rolling!  Check out this youtube video from Adobe Ambassador, Jon Barrie, who goes over some of the new great features. -Rod

Ask Rod: Editing Software?

via youtube.com – Hello Rod! What do you use to edit your videos?  I’m going to invest in the t2i very soon, i was debating, but saw your video and it has definitely made my mind up.
Thank You,
Mike
 
ANSWER: I used Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 to edit the video.
They currently have a free 30 day trial.http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere/

Hope this helps!
Rod

Ask Rod: Monopod or Tripod?

 

via email – Rod, I was on YouTube and found a couple of your videos, while my search for the best dSLR for HD recording.  I enjoyed both very much as I am a new Dad and want to capture as much of my kids on video as I can.   Your shorts have made me realize that the T2i is the right choice for me but if I could ask, how do you keep the camera so study while panning or sweeping?  I was thinking about getting a monopod but  any suggestions would  be very much appreciated. -Doug

Continue reading