Get Your FS700 Ready for 4K

You are the proud owner of a Sony FS700 and you’re looking to finally take advantage of what the camera can really do. You’re in the market for a new camera. You’d like to go 4K but $25,000 for a Sony F5 or Canon C500 equiped with 4K recorders is out of the price range. Lets talk about how to get 4K and 240 frame continues recording from a Sony FS700.

Lets start with the Sony configuration. What you’ll need: FS700 body, HXR-IFR5 interface buffer and processor, AXS-R5 media recording deck, 512GB AXS card. Grand total $16,849. Features: RAW recording up to 4K resolution, 240fps at 2K RAW with no buffer limit, 60fps at 4K RAW. About 30 minutes of record time at 4K RAW 24fps.

Now lets talk about the alternative by Convergent Design. It’s extremely important to note that this alternative is officially licensed by Sony. In fact Sony showed the Convergent Design solution in their booth at NAB.

What you’ll need: FS700 body, Odyssey 7Q, FS700 software pack, 512GB SSD from Convergent Design. Grand total $11,384. Features: RAW 4K, 2K RAW, 240fps at 2K RAW, 60fps at 4K RAW, an awesome 7″ LCD monitor with lots of whistles and bells.

What do you think of these options? What kind of questions do you have? We are the Northwests solution for digital cinema video equipment. Let us guide you into 4K cinema. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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So Many Freak’in Sensor Sizes!

Now that the latest Blackmagic camera is upon us we now have another “new” sensor size for the video industry, 16mm. But what the heck is 16mm? How does it compare to the Blackmagic Cinema sensor with the 2.5 “conversion” factor? How does that compare to that super popular Canon C100 or my buddies 5DmkIII? Lets find out.

This is a fantastic chart that was assmbled by Abel Cine (our friendly competetors) a couple years back. The information is still mostly relevent but it doesn’t have 16mm or the Blackmagic Cinema camera on it. Still i like this chart because its graphical interface is super clear. Yellow=traditional Super35mm motion picture film, Blue=digital sensor. You can see that the APS-C used in a lot of DSLRs is the closest thing in the consumer world to Super35. You also can clearly see that Micro 4/3, while smaller, is actually closer to Super35 then the 5DmkIII.

Here is another chart that shows the Blackmagic Cinema sensor and the Suepr16mm size. Super16 is smaller then the existing BMD Cinema sensor. S16 comes in at just under 1″ on the diagonal. This puts it right about middle ground between a traditional 2/3″ broadcast camera and a 4/3″ sensor. Super35mm measures 1.7″ diagonal. While it may be bigger then a broadcast sensor it’s not a ton bigger. Will this limit you creativly? No, not if you know ways around it’s limitaions. Another consideration is your field of view is affected by a near 3x “conversion” compared to Full Frame still photo 35mm. Field of view is changed roughly by a 2x “conversion” to Super35mm motion picture. Want a nice wide angle to get interior shots? You’re going to want something below 10mm. That can be a tad tricky to find.

Study up on the sensor sizes. Don’t worry about it too much though. With everything there is a balance, bigger is not always better. Post by Eric C. Petrie


A Useful Tool for Depth of Field and Angle of View Measuring

I’ve been using this sweet app for a while called Lens Lab. It’s a super useful tool for understanding the relationship between your image sensor size, your lens focal length, the aperture your lens is at, and how these things effect depth of field and angle of view. Get it on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android device, or on a Windows PC if you’ve got an Android emulator.

It’s fun to play around with this on your computer to really help you visualize the relationship between all of these variables. It’s so customizable you can really see what changing one variable will impact and start to understand why lens choice is so important.

On your mobile device i love it for on-set work. I won’t set up a shot with out consulting the app to see what my area of apparent focus is going to be. If i’m shooting a person speaking and i know i need about 18 inches of sharp focus in case the person moves their head around this app will tell me how far away from the subject i should be, what aperture to use, or what lens to use. We’ve all seen the interviews where someone had an 85mm lens at f/1.8 and the subject moved their head two inches and wen totally out of focus. Use this app to prevent it. One thing to note the app is geared at still shooters so it doesn’t mention Super35mm sensor size, you’ll want to use the APS-C size sensor instead. There is less then a 10% difference between the two so it will get very close. Click here to lean more. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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What the Heck is Focal Length & Does it Really Change Based on the Camera?

Focal length is a greatly misunderstood concept. People in still photo and video often don’t truly understand it but because video guys have so rarely had to think about it in the past there is definitely a broader misunderstanding for videographers stepping into the world of interchangeable lenses.

Prior to the DSLR revolution most videograhpers had never used interchangeable lenses. They may have used cameras with a REMOVABLE lens like most B4-mount ENG cameras. But the point of ENG lenses was to NOT change the lens in most circumstances. Most people that worked with ENG cameras only ever used one lens. Nobody walked about with a bag of 5 ENG lenses switching them out based on the circumstances.

The most misunderstood part of focal length is what is being measured and how that does or does not change based on your camera. Focal length is a set mathematical measurement of where the light converges in the lens. It measures the distance over which the initially collminated light rays are brought together in focus. For an in-depth look at the math and science of how focal length works click here.

Since we are simply measuring the light that passes through the lens you can see that the imaging plane (film or sensor) doesn’t factor into the equation. In fact, here is an interesting how-to on measuring the focal length of unmarked lenses using a piece of paper, no image sensor required.

Now that we know that focal length is a set mathematical formula that only corresponds to the lens itself and how it focuses light we can talk about how and why sensor size factors into focal length conversations.

When people say “that lens looks like a 50mm” they’re not talking about focal length at all. They’re talking about is angle of view. What they should be saying is “that lens looks like its 43 degrees”. The main cause of this confusion is that on a 35mm Full Frame still photo film or sensor a 50mm lens gives a perspective of close to 50 degrees. 50 degrees is thought of as the “normal” human eye perspective. Because of this people often think of a 50mm lens as being the “normal” lens, but that’s only the case on 35mm still photo film. On Super35mm motion picture film a 35mm lens would yield a perspective of close to 50 degrees and therefore is the “normal” perspective lens. On a 1/3″ camcorder a 6.5mm lens would yield a perspective of about 50 degrees and therefore would be the “normal” lens. The takeaway from this is that the lens focal length does not change do to image plane size, the angle of view does. Check out some great charts on focal length and angle of view here, here, and here. It is extremely important to note that all three of these charts are based on the angle of view you would have using a 35mm Full Frame still photo camera, film or digital.

So now that we understand that most of the time what we’re actually talking about is angle of view not focal length how does our image sensor effect that. The first really important myth to debunk is that there is some kind of standard by which all lenses can be stacked up regardless of camera or image sensor size. There is NO STANDARD! The standards are set when you compare like item to like item, a Full Frame camera to a Full Frame camera, a Super35 camera to a Super35 camera, a 2/3″ camera to a 2/3″ camera and so on. I’ve talked to so many customers that refer to the Canon C300 or the Sony FS700 as having a “cropped” sensor. Cropped from what? What has been cropped away? There is no cropping. These cameras feature full-sized Super35mm sensor. People get mislead by the marketing term of “Full Frame”. The marketing term “Full Frame” simply refers to still photo standard 35mm film. Generally speaking movies have never been shot on film of this size. So if you shot a movie on Super35mm film in 1975 using a 35mm Zeiss lens, that same lens would get you the exact same image in 2013 using a C300 or FS700, 100% no cropping. Where sensor size matters is when you chose which lens to use. If i want a wide field of vision thats going to be harder to get with a smaller sensor. It’s harder to make wide angle images with 16mm film then with 35mm film. Similarly if you want wide angle on a Blackmagic Design Cinema its a lot harder to get then on a Canon C300 and a C300 is harder to get wide angle on then a 5DmkIII. On the other hand if you want telephoto its way easier to get really big telephoto angle of view shots with a Blackmagic camera. The sensor size also affects depth of field but for the purposes of this article we are talking about focal length and angle of view.

Finally the reason people often compare the lens behaves to a 35mm still photo lens is because its the most common denominator. Since videographers have so seldom used interchangeable lens video cameras until the last few years if they had any experience with lenses it was probably from the still photo world. Its the one thing that a lot of people can relate to. But that is going to change. Most DSLRs are APS-C size. APS-C is 90% the same size as Super35mm. With in just a few years so-called Full Frame cameras won’t be though of as the standard any more because people will have fully forgotten what lenses looked like on film bodies. When 90% of the work done out in the world; video, still, consumer, professional, is done with an APS-C or Super35 sensor that will quickly become the universal “standard” that people are used to looking at. Full Frame will still exist but it will be something extra, something out of the ordinary. Just like how in the past most still photo shooters didn’t use medium format film. Medium format film changes your lens needs to but most shooters never thought about that because, for the most part, they never used it. That will be what Full Frame becomes. Post by Eric C. Petrie



Professional Video Sponsors PDX Film Fest Networking

The Portland Film Festival is a major event drawing filmmakers attention from around the country. Portland is seen as having it’s collective finger on the pulse of the independent film community. On Wednesday, August 28th a Film Festival networking event called Meet Your (film)Maker will be taking place at the McMenamins Backstage Bar adjacent to the Aladdin Theater. The event will begin at 5pm. This is an event specifically for filmmaker networking. Writers meet Producers, Producers meet Directors, Directors meet Cinematographers, Cinematographers meet the latest in digital cinema cameras brought to you by Professional Video. Here as the schedule for the entire film festival. Post by Eric C. Petrie 

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Canon EOS C100 Brings Cinema Values to News

When people think of cinema cameras they often think of indie movies, commercials, or other cinematic videos. If we zoom out further though the beauty of these cameras insn’t that they make cinematic pictures. Instead it’s that they make pictures that have a “high production value” look. Lets face it, in general the “video look” is usually associated with a simpler production where as the “film look” is usually associated with a polished high-value production. Here is a great testimonial showing how a San Diego news station is using the EOS C100 to set themselves apart. Read the article and watch the video here.

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Canon EOS C300 Testimonial “Everyone Should Have a C300”

With the Canon EOS C300 and the cinema 30-300mm zoom lens writer director Jono Oliver set out to make his film “Home”. Take a look at this incredible testimonial on the success the C300 has had in the world of independent cinema. Keep in mind that everything that is said about the benefits of this camera would also be applicable to the C100. Watch the video here. Post by Eric C. Petrie

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HBOs “Vice” Fresh & Dangerous TV Journalism Using EOS C300

VICE is a weekly newsmagazine airing on HBO that stands in opposition to that premise. With a “gonzo” nod toward Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O’Rourke, the show presents 20-something correspondents in dangerous situations lifting the lid on provocative stories, sometimes served with first-person, emotional reactions. This journalistically ambitious fare is often interspersed with lowbrow and vulgar material more in line with VICE’s roots.

The cameras are usually Canon EOS C300s equipped with Canon zoom lenses. “We chose those based on getting the highest-quality camera that was still going to be compact and reliable,” says FitzGerald. “We’ve always been geared toward things that are as idiot-proof as possible because we don’t have a lot of time to mess around with a camera or software when we shoot. We used to shoot on [Panasonic] HPX170s and those cameras are still in wide use across the company. They’re simple and they work. The 5D never had the right feel for what we do. When Jake made the decision for the C300s, he was sort of following that same philosophy—this is the best camera with the fewest headaches and the most efficiency, and the images look the best.”

The C300 camera is well suited to less than ideal lighting conditions, according to FitzGerald. In uncontrolled day exteriors, Burghart uses polarizing filters and internal NDs to knock down the light. Sometimes shooting in the shade helps. At night, the camera allows the team to shoot scenes that would have been impossible a couple of years ago.

“The C300 is the best camera I’ve ever used in low light,” says FitzGerald. “It’s absolutely amazing. In the Niger River Delta in February, we shot an entire scene at night that would have been grainy and mediocre, at best, with our previous setup. Jake put on a 24mm lens, and we saw things better than our eyes could see them. Everything we saw that night was incredible, and it wasn’t the kind of thing you could have lit. There were oil fires in the distance, and the whole delta had an overall glow that could never have been re-created. We needed something that sensitive to light in order to capture what it really looked like.”

Click here to continue reading the full article. Post by Eric C. Petrie