BlackMagic Design Announces New Converters

In the world of video, I would hate to be a BlackMagic Design competitor.  They iterate so quickly, and drive their prices down so relentlessly that it must be hard to keep up.  Today they launched a few revisions of their signal conversion boxes.  The link will take you to a page featuring a 25 minute Grant Petty video.  These boxes aren’t sexy, but they are the necessary glue that holds facilities together.  The main news?  All of their Mini Converters now accept 4K signals and can either pass the signal through as 4K, or downconvert to HD, and all for the same price as the previous HD versions.  They also de-imbed audio, and have the capability to add 3D LUTS to the outputted signal.  Their Micro Converters which were already inexpensive at around $100, have had their prices roughly halved again.  They also announced a 8K capture card Today to work with a forthcoming version of Resolve.  Busy beavers!

Negatives?  The Micro Converters have made the new price partially by not shipping with a power supply (since they can power off a standard USB connection).  I haven’t talked to anyone from BM or handled the latest units, but from what I can see in the pictures, a problem I’ve complained about in the past still seems to be present: there is nothing securing the USB connecter to the casing, it is only soldered to the circuit board.  I’ve personally seen two earlier units take a little jolt to the USB connection and break off.  Then what?  Since they are so inexpensive, it’s not worth the shipping, time without the device and cost of repair to send it away to be fixed: just buy a new one.  As they say in the movie Paul “It’s a false economy!”  In the rental market, I can see a LUT being loaded into a Mini Converter, and then not being normalized before it goes out again.  That could make troubleshooting difficult: “I have an image, but why does it look so weird?”

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SmallHD adds display calibration to full line of monitors with OS3 – Newsshooter

SmallHD1

The thing I like about SmallHD is that all they do is monitors.  They are not cheap, but they’re market competitive.  I also like that they’ve avoided the touchscreen craze.  Why are you going to put smears and fingerprints all over your viewing surface?  SmallHD is pretty prevalent out in the field, and calibration could possibly help get them into more edit suites.  I once had a DIT tell me that in his opinion SmallHD’s high brightness panels were not as accurate to his eye as regular brightness Flanders Scientifics or OLED Sonys.  With the release of their P3X, and now the calibration, they are definitely at the same level with those two.

P.S.  That spot metering waveform feature is pretty cool.

Source: SmallHD adds display calibration to full line of monitors with OS3 – Newsshooter

Cinevate HoriZen Video Slider Features | CheesyCam

Our friends at CheesyCam have a look at the Cinevate HoriZen slider.  I’ve been watching the Cinevate products for a while now, and each new iteration seems to build on the features of the last.  One reason I like them is that they are one of the few that are making a reasonably sized slider that accepts a 100mm ball head.  Let’s face it: almost every shoot you go on, you’re likely to be bringing along your everyday tripod too.  So you bring your 100mm tripod, the slider, and with most sliders, a second separate flat head to screw onto the 3/8″ screw of the slider’s shuttle.  Most of these heads aren’t as capable as your existing tripod head.  Why not just use the 100mm head you already have?  And if you decide to put the slider on an angle, leveling the camera is a snap.

Source: Cinevate HoriZen Video Slider Features | CheesyCam

Best SD Cards for The Panasonic GH5

With the latest update of the Panasonic GH5 to firmware 2.1, and the imminent public availability of the Panasonic EVA-1, shooters are going to need SDXC cards that are capable of recording their full 400mbps of quality.  Caleb Pike has a look at your current options.  Spoiler: you need a V90 capable card.

P.S.  Sorry it’s been so long between postings.  I’ve had a few health problems of late, but I should be able to resume now.  Also, there really hasn’t been that much announced that I considered worthy of posting, or so I thought.  I did a comprehensive search beyond my usual subjects, and found a few non-mainstream items that I’ll post.

Source: Best SD Cards for The Panasonic GH5

ARRI Rolls Out New Master Grips, Remote Head, Wireless Lighting System and More

ARRI has announced a number of new products at IBC.  I’m interested in the news that they have adopted the Lumen Radio standard for controlling their LED panels. With Kino-Flo also building Lumen wireless into their lights, I guess it’s “safe” now to invest in what the industry seems to have chosen as a de facto standard.  Check out my two video reports from CineGear on this.

One talks with Lumen Radio about their laptop control software:

The other talks with the company Cinelex, who are making fader/lighting control panels with a Lumen Radio built in:

Source: ARRI Rolls Out New Master Grips, Remote Head, Wireless Lighting System and More

Flowtech – Sachtler and Vinten rethink the tripod – Newsshooter

The Vitec group is launching a new tripod that has been three years in development.  It is a re-think of how carbon fibre tripods have been made, and it will come out under the Sachtler and Vinten brands.  My biggest like from what I’ve seen so far is that all three legs can be height adjusted almost at once from the same area, with locks that you don’t have to bend over to undo.  O’Connor is also a member of the Vitec group now (seems like everyone is), and I used to love their “crazy legs”.  They were a fast set-up, but tended to not function in the cold very well, and had rigidity problems in my experience.  Vitec says they’ve tested this new Flowtech beastie to death, here’s hoping it holds up.  Sachtler in particular has made great field tripods, but my main peeve with them has been the cap on their bottom legs.  When you undid the brake, gravity would allow the leg to fall with some speed and only stop when it “crash landed” on the end cap.  That end cap was only glued on, and repeated use would have it come off, whereupon the entire leg would simply fall out of the brake/support.  It was a poor design, and hard to fix.  I hope they’ve solved that here.  Keeping the legs closed using magnets is an interesting solution, as is the easier snap of the detachable feet.  They’ve obviously thought things through.

The Flowtech is being launched in 75mm form.  I would have thought a 100mm bowl version would be more suitable for a launch of this magnitude, but I’m sure they have polling and internal numbers to back their decision.  I can see no mention in the article of whether they plan a 100mm version or not.  At any rate, I’m glad to see a company trying something legitimately new in the tripod space, I wish them luck.

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Source: Flowtech – Sachtler and Vinten rethink the tripod – Newsshooter

At the Bench: Angénieux Optimo Style 48-130mm Lens

Nicholas Somera (is he new?) from AbelCine gives a short preview of Angénieux’s latest zoom lens.  One of the things I did not realize is that their EZ series of lenses are made in Japan as opposed to the rest of their line which is manufactured in France.  We had a look at changing out the back element of one of their EZ zoom lenses at NAB, showing one of the main advantage of these lenses.  I wish it had more views as I was surprised they did it on the show floor for me, and it’s really instructive.

I think this marks the first time I’ve linked to Abel Cine’s freshly revamped website.  Andy Shipsides mentioned that it was coming at the end of our comprehensive interview and behind the scenes look at AbelCine Tech.  I wish it had more views as well!  Go check it out, and nice job on the revamp guys.

Source: At the Bench: Angenieux Optimo Style 48-130 | Tutorials & Guides | Blog & Knowledge | AbelCine