Category: Creative Filmmaking

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First impressions review

The long awaited active Canon EF mount Speed Booster adapter for Micro Four Thirds is finally here. I have a review sample, currently putting it through a few shoots to see how it performs. This is not the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera version but the general Micro Four Thirds mount adapter, so fully compatible with all Panasonic and Olympus cameras including the GH4 and E-M1. Finally you can use all your Canon lenses with full electronic support for aperture control and stabilisation.

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I’ve recently worked with the Grammy Award winning DJ, from Berlin – Paul Van Dyk. Although the final cut and grade was done by his record label, the shots are taken from my EOSHD camera test videos and personal creative shoots shot in Berlin over the past 12 months and it’s a real honour that such a major commercial artist appreciates my shots enough to associate them with his music.

There’s a variety of cameras in the mix, used to shoot the images - see if you can tell which. A big thanks to Christina Mj Zahra (dark haired girl dancing) and Frank Sauer (my collaborator on the Digital Bolex shoot with Christina).

Paul Van Dyk was one of the first real superstar DJs (For An Angel being one of his most well known tracks) and he’s a huge part of the Berlin music scene. Dance / trance fans enjoy!

Iscorama anamorphic

An Iscorama owner and interested in joining this project? Simply email me here

The Iscorama is a wonder of vintage optics. No focus breathing, a unique patented focus mechanism, small size and sharp at fast apertures. The beauty is the sheer number of primes you can use it with. Whilst an Iscorama may look expensive at $3000 a pop (used!), a full set of Zeiss master anamorphics cost an eye watering $305,000 ($43,600 per lens).

Now it’s about to become even better, but only if we club together as Iscorama users to make this happen…

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I shot ‘Nomad’ with my friend Susanna and the Sony A7S a few days ago, in 120fps slow-mo mode.

Light sources were only a candle, iPhone torch and an old industrial German desk lamp with red filter on the front. I am amazed at the clean results. ISO levels were pushing on for 12,800 in most of the shots.

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Now I See” by Philip Bloom shot on the Sony A7S

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OK Go - GH4

I don’t know at what point OK Go’s music turned into New Order but I like the new direction almost as much as their choice of camera!

Here’s the behind the scenes video of how OK Go made their latest video with the Panasonic GH4.

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Just $19.99

Written by Andrew Reid

The new EOSHD Panasonic GH4 Shooter’s Guide is for filmmakers, photographers and all users interested in mastering video on the GH4!

The guide covers the features of the camera concisely telling you only what you need to know and nothing that you don’t.

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The EOSHD Panasonic GH4 Shooter’s Guide is now available

8bit DSLR codecs get quite a lot of bashing for banding, and it is something we’re well used too… A sky or a wall taking up half the shot with only 4 or 5 shades where there should be a silky smooth gradient with thousands of tiny steps in-between darker and slightly lighter areas of the image.

However one of the first things I noticed with the Panasonic GH4 was that banding was greatly reduced and it looked like my 10bit Blackmagic footage, even though it was still an 8bit codec (internally with 4K). Why such a turn-around for an 8bit codec? It turns out the 4K mode on the GH4 holds the key to hiding this banding… yet it is something we can apply to all DSLRS

Here’s how…

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My full review of the Panasonic GH4 (final retail unit) is coming next week. Until then I am enjoying Philip Bloom’s views on the camera here!

A big thanks to B&H Photo & Video in the US for shipping internationally a GH4 unit with no recording limits, I got it before it was even available in Europe. Delivery took just 2 days! Impressed! Also thanks to Susanna, the star of my video above shot in Berlin.

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A Drop In The Ocean:

Behind The Move:

Kendy Ty shoots with a Canon 550D / T2i and Sigma 30mm F1.4 (old version). The results are staggering considering the ‘low-fi’ performance of the gear. If ever there was a spur to get out and shoot something, this is it…

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The GH4′s internally recorded 4K files can be converted to a chunky 2K 10bit ProRes 4444 image which grades extremely well.

To test this theory I call on colourists to have a go at it.

Arri Alexa ProRes files are available from their FTP server. Details below.

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The Digital Bolex has stumbled into the world. It is alive. Now it must find a place for itself. Most importantly of all – is this new replicant Bolex actually convincing?

Time to find out.

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Frank Sauer, Andrew Reid test the GH4

Myself, Andrew Reid (above right) and Frank Sauer (be sure to check out his work here) are currently shooting with the Panasonic GH4!

So the big question has arrived – is the GH4 worth kicking your girlfriend out of bed for at 5am to catch the magic hour light? The answer is yes and we are putting our new girlfriend through her paces with a week of action packed shooting, featuring free-runners, drones, gimbals, abandoned theme parks and apocalyptic Berlin factories.

Here’s day 1 of our GH4 production diary -

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GH4 vs BMPC

Already we have 2 affordable 4K interchangeable lens cinema cameras due and we’re only a month into 2014. Red Dalsa created the first 4K cinema cameras and these were first shot with on set in 2006 (The Dalsa Origin – Wikipedia)

Since then the rate of progress needed to commercialise such powerful hardware and sell it to consumers for $2000 in the case of the GH4 and $4000 for the Blackmagic Production Camera has been relatively speedy. Quicker than the time taken for full frame DSLRs to break the $2000 price barrier. Red never did succeed in making an affordable 4K cinema camera for the masses or a DSLR replacement.

Neither camera is entirely finished yet but I’ve seen footage from both the new cameras and shot with their predecessors for much of 2013. Here’s my opinion on how their strengths and weaknesses are going to work out…

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Based on a pre-production model

Since the GH1 I have been shooting with Panasonic’s mirrorless system for video. Without this series of affordable cameras my early work as a cinematographer and filmmaker simply wouldn’t be the same. The GH4 marks a much needed major leap for the line, the first to shoot 4K to an efficient internal codec AND output 10bit 4:2:2 1080p over HDMI to an affordable external recorder like the Atomos Ninja!

On a visit to Panasonic I got to see the camera, see 4K sample footage and give my feedback. Here’s an account of what I saw…

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Cooke lenses

What is it that makes Cooke cinema lenses so special?

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Shane Meadows - Blackmagic shoot for Jake Buggs

Above, left: Shane Meadows shoots with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Shane Meadows (Dead Man’s Shoes, This Is England) is in my view the best filmmaker since Danny Boyle to come out of the North of England. While shooting his latest film, a Stone Roses documentary “Made of Stone” Meadows met Jake Bugg at a London gig where he was playing as a support act.

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Sony RX10 / A7R

More than any camera that came before it even from Sony themselves, the A7R marks the end of the DSLR era and a transition to a future. Next to this camera the Canon 5D Mark III looks, feels and performs like the dinosaur it is.

However it’s the Sony RX10 that is arguably the most capable from a video perspective.

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Download the LUT now

For the full guide to the world of raw video on the 5D Mark III – order the EOSHD Shooter’s Guide book by Andrew Reid

With the new version of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve (10.0) you can grade and edit 5D Mark III raw DNG sequences, with image quality at the Adobe Camera Raw level for the first time and performance through the roof.

EOSHD Film LUT is an instant cinema style which quickly and easily improves the look of 5D Mark III raw video in Resolve 10. No grading skills required.

This LUT gives you a more film-like image, a less harsh electronic look compared to the standard Rec.709 colour space and default settings. It gives you more detail in the highlights and a smoother more natural feel to colour.

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The Sony RX1 has amazing stills but awful video! I began thinking how could I use this otherwise great little camera for video? The answer is to rough up the image beyond comprehension, with trick filters. Here’s how I did it.

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The EOSHD Panasonic GH4 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD 5D Mark III Raw Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Sony A7 Series Guide to Full Frame Lenses
The EOSHD Panasonic GH3 Shooter's Guide
The EOSHD Anamorphic Shooter's Guide - Second Edition
More EOSHD Guides