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Black Magic Cinema Camera

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Black Magic Cinema Camera.jpgBlack Magic is ushering in a new era of digital camera's with their new Cinema Camera.  Introduced at the NAB show it makes for a smooth workflow at a reasonable price.

For More information about the Black Magic Cinema Camera go to:

Steadicam Operator John E Fry with a Master St...

Steadicam image by Fryfilm2000 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here is a great video where George Peroulas of Below the Line with George Peroulas talks with Steadicam operator David Svenson of Carolina Productions about how he got started in the film business.  David explains how the Steadicam works and discusses some of the costs involved in owning and operating a Steadicam system

Apple with white background

Public Domain Image bu Amada44 via Wikipedia

In this Film Riot DIY episode Ryan Connolly shows how to setup and light your background for the white Apple commercial look.  

Camera operator setting up the video camera

Image by jsawkins via Flickr

Need an inexpensive shoulder mount for you video camera?  With a little time and a few tools you can make one on the cheap. Ryan Connolly shows you how to create a shoulder mount in this episode of Film Riot.

Remarkable films can be made with today's DSLR cameras if you have one, can get one, rent one, or borrow one.  Over the next few weeks we will take a look at some short films made with DSLR cameras that show how capable these new cameras are.

Here's a fun film, Benevolent Mischeif, that was made with a Nikon D7000 camera.   Very nice shots throughout the film show what's possible using a DSLR camera.

DSLR Short Films - To Live

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Remarkable films can be made with today's DSLR cameras if you have one, can get one, rent one, or borrow one.  Over the next few weeks we will take a look at some short films made with DSLR cameras that show how capable these new cameras are.

This first film, To Live, was made with a Canon Rebel T2i/EOS 550D camera.  A touching story about a boy named Walter, a guitar, and his father. 

To Live
Dovescape Productions
Written by Michael Medina & Mark Philipp
Produced by Mark Philipp
Directed by Michael Medina
Edited by Ethan Castro & Michael Medina
Cinematographer Michael Medina
Camera Operator Ethan Castro


Roland R-26 Portable Field Recorder

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English: recording ecoacoustics in rural Illin...

Public Domain Image by  Victorgrigas via Wikipedia

Here's a field recorder that is perfect for the filmmaker or musician wanting to capture sound on location.  It has two sets of built in condenser microphones.  One set is in the X/Y pattern and picks up directional stereo sound.  The second set is spaced further apart and picks up omnidirectional sounds from front sides, and back to capture the ambient sounds of where your are recording.  

Wikimania interview dlf3

Image by Elke Wetzig via Wikipedia

Not enough?  It also has two phantom powered  XLR inputs for additional mics such as shotgun mics or lavaliers.  Since it is capable of recording 6 tracks at a time you can record all six sources to different tracks and create a blend of these sources to suit your taste for the final mix.

Below are some videos that explain all the features of this field recorder and offer some examples of using it in various applications.

Christmas Gifts For Filmmakers

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What does that special little filmmaker want for Christmas?  You'll have to ask.  Here are a few things to get you started thinking.

The GoPro Hero is a great video camera for action and outdoor shots.  They offer sevral ways to mount the camera so that you can take video from your bike, surfboard, car, motorcycle, skiing, etc...  Beginning at $200.

The Zoom H4n Portable Digital Recorder runs on batteries and makes a great external recorder to use when making videos for a better sound that can be achieved with the mic built into your camera.  It comes with a pair of stereo condenser mics built in and also has two XLR inputs for external mics.  $300.

English: The First Moviola?

Image by J&R MoviolaUser:Cutterette via Wikipedia

Learn the art and craft of film editing. Anne DeCorte will be having a class on film editing this coming Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. She will discuss the fundamental concepts of editing including the terms and tools you need to be familiar with.  It is a class for novices to beginners and covers editing software and the user interfaces of these packages.  

Prior to attending you should check out music videos and get an idea of how they are edited as they typically are using the latest trends in cinematography and editing.  Also take a look at Law and Order if you want to familiarize yourself with dialogue editing.  Doing so is a great way to familiarize yourself and learn editing techniques.

Introduction to Film Editing with Anne DeCorte
Saturday, December 10th
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Arvold Studios
Charlottesville Downtown Mall
Charlottesville, Virginia

Cost: $95
To registier email Amy at:

Kessler Pocket Jib

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Art Tollefson showing off the Kessler Jib

Image by NJVA via Flickr

The Kessler Pocket Jib is a great tool for jib shots and is moderately priced for the budget conscious.

Here Ryan Conally demonstrates this jib with some tips on how to use it.

See more gear from Kessler at:


Need Rain In You Film?

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English: Maayan holds her umbrella (Israel, 2002)

Image by Etan J. Tal via Wikipedia

Make a rain wand.  Ryan Connolly of Film Riot shows you how in this video from Revision 3.


Film - It's seen it's better days.

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A small piece of undeveloped 35 mm color camer...

Image by LACameraman via Wikipedia

We still speak of them as films but more often than not they are made digitally, rather than with actual film.  A few years ago with the emergence of digital cameras I thought they would be handy for consumers and reporters but the true artists would stick with film.  Fast forward a couple of years and all you could see in the photography magazines was digital equipment.  Now even Kodak is having trouble as film sales have plummeted and they scramble to find their way  in the digital world.

I guess it's the image that matters most though, not the medium, as even the artists have warmed up to the digital evolution. 

I ran across this article by Roger Ebert about the demise of film.  Take a look.

Camera Tripod

Public Domain Image via Wikipedia

Need a great camera for next project?  Is your tripod longing for a new mount?  Take a look at two new cameras that are capable of making major feature length movies, the Canon C300, and the Scarlet by Red.   Though the two cameras seem miles apart in price they are fairly similarly priced once you get them both outfitted to begin shooting movies..

Check out  the specifications of both cameras at:

Also, Ryan Connoly of Film Riot compares the two in the video below.

Nikon D700 camera

Image by Motorrad-67 via Wikipedia

Check out this Film Riot video where Ryan Connolly talks about his trip to the Letus Master Cinema Series launch event.  Ryan talks with cinematographer Shane Hurlbut at the show about how Shane helped develop some of the new rigs.  Shane's latest movie Act of Valor was shot with a DSLR for 85% of the film and used the Letus rigs to help develop and test them.
There are 4 new rigs in the series:
Action Cam - Handheld
Man Cam - Shoot with camera out in front of you.
Shoulder Cam - Balanced back on your shoulder.
Studio Cam - For tripod shooting.

Kindle Fire Announced by Amazon

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The Kindle Fire has been announced by Amazon and I think it's sure to be a hit.  For $199 you get a 7 inch easily carried color browser and e-reader.  Access to 18 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, and books through the Amazon service and Amazon Prime members will receive unlimited, instant streaming of 10 thousand plus movies and TV Shows.

It comes with free cloud storage for all of your Amazon content, a dual core processor, and a free month of Amazon Prime.  At 14.6 ounces it's easy to manage and hold with one hand.  The battery life is adequate with up to 8 hours of continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback when the wireless service is switched off.  Using wireless does drain the battery faster  so when you're browsing the Internet the battery life will diminish but should still be reasonble for a device of this type.  

I will be using this device for books and videos that I've already downloaded so I will have the wireless off and be using it whenever I have a moment to catch up on some reading or in bed before I go to sleep.  I won't be needing the wireless for that and will save my battery.  If I do want to check the web for something I'll just switch the wireless back on and start browsing.

Access to over 17 million songs in the Amazon MP3 store is available as well for listening on the go.  You can check your email through a built in email app that puts your Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, etc.. messages into a single inbox.  Download your favorite apps from the Amazon Appstore which has thousands of apps and games.  There are sure to be apps coming that will be handy for filmmakers and photographers alike.

The thing I'm really excited about is keeping this near the chair where I watch TV and movies.  It never fails that when I'm watching something, I have things related to what I'm viewing that I want to look up on the Internet.  Currently I keep my laptop near but it is a little unwieldy to handle easily for a quick grab to see what actors are in this movie and what other films have they been in.  The Kindle Fire will fit in nicely for this purpose.

Kindle Fire, Full Color 7" Multi-touch Display, Wi-Fi

Movie lighting silhouette

Image by Lionel Allorge via Wikipedia

The Roanoke Chapter of the Virginia Production Alliance is having a class called Lighting & Grip 101, an introduction to lighting for film and video.  This is a hands on course.  You will be given a chance to work with 3 ton lighting equipment, learn some lighting techniques, and how to use grip resources to shape and mold the light.

Heavy lifting and crawling in and out of the grip truck will be required so dress for the part and bring work gloves.  You will be required to sign a waiver to work with the equipment or you can choose to just observe if you prefer.

Gaining some knowledge and experience with this equipment can start you on your way to working at day rate on a film set.

Besides the hands on experience you will receive, the next best thing is this class is free!

The Virginia Production Alliance was formed in 1988 to support the state's film and video industry.  Everyone who has an interest in creating moving pictures is encouraged to join the VPA.

Lighting and Grip 101
October 4th
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Greenfield Education & Training Center
57 S. Center Drive
Daleville, VA 


Fast Camera

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Slow motion

Public Domain Image via Wikipedia

What does it take to get a breathtaking slow motion video?  A super fast camera like the Phantom Flex.  

When a camera records video at a fast rate and then the same film is played back at a normal speed, voilĂ  you have slow motion video.

The Phantom Flex by Vision Research, Inc. can shoot up to 2,570 frames per second of 1920 x 1080 HD video.  When you play this back at 30 frames per second the results are amazing.

Check out this film Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex by Tom Guilmette shot at 2,564 fps to 1080p.

Mountain Biking Film

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Mountain biker gets air in Mount Hood National...

Public Domain Image by Jim Semlor via Wikipedia

Here's a short film that puts you in the seat of a mountain biker descending unmm... a mountain.  Experience the thrill without the danger.

I don't know what camera was used here but the GoPro camera I reported on a few months ago in Wearable Film Cameras for Action Shots is great for these sort of things as they have accessories to attach their tiny camera to your head, helmet, body, arm, etc...

Watch your balance!

Here is an episode of Film Riot where Ryan Connolly uses the GoPro Hero camera for underwater filming so that he doesn't risk getting his expensive 5D camera wet.  The video shows how to get bullet shot effects underwater.

The GoPro Hero is great for things like this because it is relatively inexpensive ($180-$300), shoots 1080p, and comes with a waterproof housing and headstrap mount.  It's small size makes it easy to use with a chest mount harness or head strap mount.  In fact GoPro has mounts for helmets, surfboards, bikes, and rollbars as well as suction cup and adhesive mounts when nothing else works.

Related Links: is a service for video content publishers that will take your uploaded video, store it, and convert it into 22 output renditions so it will play in any browser or device your viewers choose.  All platforms.