I’ve been looking for some versatile camera dolly wheels for a while and didn’t want to spend a ton of money. I found these wheels called the CW2s by a company called CamOnWheels. These are really strong and smooth rolling wheels. You can use them on just about anything you can think of. I built a DIY PVC dolly and drilled 1/4inch holes to each end of where you would put the skater wheels. This way, you have the option to use skaterwheels or CamOnWheels. You can buy a set of 4 for only $50, which is a lot cheaper than RigWheels, the other dolly wheels competitor. Are these wheels better than RigWheels? We’ll see, watch our review.
Please visit CamOnWheels.com to order a set of CW2 wheels and check out their other products.
I wanted to share this piece by Stillmotion. I love the work they do, such perfection in story telling. I don’t really want to talk about gear, what camera they used, lenses, etc. Just watch and enjoy. Storytelling is the hardest part of movie making. That’s why only a handful of movies are considered the best. I love the sincerity and honesty of this video. It’s great seeing kids being transformed by certain people and having a sense of direction in life. If we had more people doing this, we wouldn’t have such a crappy world.
One of my favorite cinematographers is the great Shane Hurlbut. He’s the man behind “Act of Valor”, a movie shot with the Canon 5Dm mkII and other Canon DSLRs. He shot the music video for the movie with a Canon C300 and Arri Alexa and Canon 7D. Check out the video and the behind the scenes below.
Behind the Scenes Video
Footage and video courtesy of
If you haven’t seen Philip Bloom’s latest review on the Sony FS700, you should spend some time watching them. He is the best in making these video camera reviews with humor and outstanding cinematography. He recently shot a 2 part video review and you can watch them here below. Enjoy.
by Philip Bloom
I recently created some opening titles for my good friend. He was participating the the 48 Hour Guerilla Film Challenge. He did a great job and I wanted to share some of the different concepts we tried out.
Here’s a video on using a macro lens with a Canon 5D mkIII. I only used 1 LED light for these shots. It’s super easy to setup and you can move the light in any direction to get a different look. I will have a tutorial on creating macro videography soon, in the meanwhile, please check out this video. Thanks.
Here’s a great short film that recently won the best British Short Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. A beautiful film that has great cinematography, direction and acting. I really wanted to talk about the cinematography of this film. Not a heck of a lot of light was used, mostly candles, lanterns and natural light. It didn’t seem overly produced, just 3 characters is all you need. It was shot on a RED camera with Zeiss prime lenses.
Nominated for Best British Short Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and ultimately recognised in the festival Trailblazer section for Achievement in Direction.
“A harsh world. Hard to watch sometimes which I always like. Amongst all this, a beautiful boy with a lovely face, rising somehow above the pain.” – Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights, Fish Tank)
If you shoot outdoors and want to keep that shallow depth of field, a must to own is a Variable ND Filter. Some of these filters cost in excess of $200 so I would like to show you some alternatives. Yes, optics in the more expensive ones are far superior, but not by that much. There’s cool videos that show expensive vs cheapy solutions.
Poloroid makes a 77mm Variable ND Filter for $50 or so, check it out. With the Polaroid variable range ND filter , you can enjoy total control of virtually any lighting environment. Simply turn it’s exterior ring to access any of the 8 ND settings without wasting time changing or adding filters.
These filters reduce the amount of light passing through the camera lens without changing the color of the scene. They are especially useful in bright light conditions to help prevent overexposure. Neutral Density filters also allow proper exposure at a wider lens opening for reduced depth-of-field to highlight a key subject by making the foreground and/or background out of focus.
- Eliminates overly bright, washed-out images.
- Balances exposure.
- Controls depth-of-field.
- Allows slower shutter speeds to produce blurred motion effects.
You can purchase on eBay from here.
Zacuto makes some awesome camera accessories for every camera you can think of. Check out this video on their new Recoil rigs. These new Recoil and Tornado rigs are extremely versatile and exactly what DSLR and smaller cameras need. You have the focus at your fingertips, which enables you not to move your hands while focusing.
by Dan Chung
Here’s a great video showing how good or not so good the Canon 5D mkIII is compared to the Sony FS100 and Panasonic GH2. The Sony FS100 is outstanding in low light, we know that, the Panasonic is actually quite good in low light considering it only has a small micro 4/3rds chip.
by Andrew Reid
Philip Bloom does it again. He compared both the Nikon D800 and the Nikon D4 in low light, detail and close up. He also threw in the Canon 5D mkIII for comparison. Yes, the Nikon D800 has a bit more detail than the Canon 5D mkIII, but with the moire and aliasing from the Nikons, the Canon 5D mkIII is much better in that respect out of the box. It’s up to you, if you own a crap load of Nikon glass, then buy the Nikon, if you own a crap load of Canon glass, stick with the 5D mkIII. Both cameras are outstanding, and remember, the D800 can output clean HDMI onto an external recorder bumping the bitrate higher than in camera. Check out this great comparison video.
by Philip Bloom
Here’s a great review on the Canon EOS 1D-C Cinema DSLR camera. I had a chance to touch it and play with it at a Canon learning event and was able to watch the short film called “The Ticket” by Director Po Chan and Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, ASC on a 4K theater and the quality of this camera is outstanding. Shane Hurlbut, ASC described the camera being better than a Arri Alexa and RED, wow!
Make sure not to miss “The Ticket”.
Colored with Magic Bullet Colorista II
35mm look using R-Grain’s Ultra Fine Film Grain
Canon 16-35mm 2.8L
Canon 50mm 1.2L
Canon 70-200mm 2.8L II
Head on over to BH Photo for some really cool Canon rebates on tons of lenses. Check it out here.
We are not strangers in knowing that Canon DSLRs are being used on hi dollar Hollywood Blockbusters. The Avengers used Canon 5D mkII’s and Canon 7Ds to shoot different extra angles that other cinema cameras cannot capture. It still blows my mind that they are using these small compact DSLRs to film big budget movies. There are still people out there that hate these cameras and will do everything to keep them out of productions, but I think they are fighting a losing battle. These DSLRs are here to stay and nobody can say otherwise.
“On the set of “Marvel’s The Avengers,” McGarvey and his crew used five Canon 5D Mark II cameras and two 7D models. Using multiple cameras limited the need to re-shoot complex action scenes, and the affordability and compact size of the cameras enabled the crew to obtain ample coverage by strategically angling them from various vantage points throughout the set. “The cameras’ small size was a major advantage to us. We were able to place them in tight locations that were really close to the big stunts, which would be too risky to do with bigger cameras that would require an operator and two assistants,” McGarvey said. He was able to slide one of the Canon cameras into a sewer grating, while placing another under a pile of debris for a key shot of a car hurtling toward the lens, flipping through the air on fire.
“We are thrilled that the EOS 5D Mark II and 7D Digital SLR cameras were called to action on the set of ‘Marvel’s The Avengers.’ We designed these cameras with versatility and flexibility in mind, and their ability to record beautiful 1920 x 1080 HD video, coupled with their compact size, make them an ideal fit for filmmakers looking to capture tight action shots,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies and Communications Group, Canon U.S.A.
Compact, lightweight, and compatible with Canon’s wide selection of EF Series lenses, the Canon 5D Mark II and EOS 7D digital SLR cameras are equipped with large Canon CMOS sensors and Canon DIGIC 4 image processors that enable them to record exceptional full 1920 x 1080 HD video at the user-selectable frame rate of 24p (23.976 fps), which is the standard for today’s high-end filmmaking. Additionally, the cameras’ low-light capabilities were of major importance on the set of “Marvel’s the Avengers,” as many of the film’s scenes were shot at night.”
If you are looking for an audio recorder and don’t want to spend $$$, look into the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder. I own one and I absolutely love it. The audio quality is outstanding. Being a recording engineer, I find that the Zoom H2 is easy to use, and only uses 2 AA batteries. You can also use it for a USB mic for your computer, which is really cool. I am using it now with my Canon 5D mkIII on the hot shoe and with the mkIII’s manual audio controls and monitoring capability, I can easily adjust the levels with ease.
Check out these videos below, all using the Zoom H2.
I wanted to do something fun to test out my new Canon 5D mkIII’s low light capability. What can I say, awesome! This scene is lit only using my computer’s monitor, which acts as a nice 24 inch soft box. I used a Canon FD 50mm f/1.4 which is an older lens, but works great for manual focusing DSLRs.
You don’t need expensive L series glass for a project. Sometimes having a very sharp image detracts from what you want to show. These older Canon FD or AI Nikkor lens are great for video and they cost almost nothing compared to newer lenses.
The Nikon D800 looks very promising and seems to resolve more than the 5d mkIII. It does have it’s issues with moire and aliasing, but there are always ways around it. I wanted to share this video of the D800E. Here are some specs on the D800E.
Please note – The D800E is optimized for photographers that are looking to get the maximum sharpness out of their NEF raw files. Shooters that rely predominantly on capturing JPEGs may want to choose the D800 camera instead.
- Optimized for NEF Raw File Capture
- Low Pass Filter w/ Anti-Aliasing Removed
- 36.3Mp CMOS FX Format Sensor
- EXPEED 3 Image-Processing Engine
- 3.2″ LCD Monitor
- Nikon F Mount Lens Mount
- Eye-Level Pentaprism Viewfinder
- 1920 x 1080/30/25/24p HD Video Capture
- Built-In Flash + i-TTL Flash Control
- Matrix/Center-Weighted/Spot Metering