New Year’s Resolutions

Trying to improve our production and postproduction habits

Since this is our January/February issue, my thoughts have turned to the new year and, of course, to resolutions. And for once when I say "resolutions," I’m not referring to 4K or 2K. I mean the age-old tradition of turning over new leaves and attempting to improve ourselves. What would a column called Video Assist be without a little... Read more

GoPro Goes Cinema

Is an inexpensive 4K camera helpful or hurtful?

A few years ago, a little company with a little consumer camera made the pro video scene. They showed their wares at NAB and placed them in the hands of a few shooters with massive Twitter audiences. Initially, GoPro was seen as a novelty, a cool little tool that delivered good video and nice stills. Since then, GoPro has upped their game by making... Read more

Shure FP Wireless Microphone System

A professional, yet affordable wireless sound system

Q I’m shooting a long-term documentary in Angola with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Since I’m working alone, a boom mic is out of the question. What do you recommend to obtain decent sound from a moving subject? I’m shooting interviews with several people, but my main subject is a doctor, and I need to follow him as he makes house calls... Read more

Sense And Sensitivity

Explaining ISO, Exposure Index and gain

Recently, a client who purchased a Sony PMW-F3 from AbelCine gave me a call with a "quick question." He had just updated his camera with the S-Log recording option and discovered that he now could set his camera’s sensitivity in a number of different ways. He could set the camera’s gain, ISO or, with the S-Log mode turned on,... Read more

The Need For Speed

Getting HD data at 24 and 30 fps can still be an issue

FASTER BETTER? Q I swapped out a FireWire drive with a new Thunderbolt drive, but the performance doesn’t seem to be that much better. Isn’t it supposed to be? John Via email A Performance with drives depends on a couple of things: how fast the data can be read from or written to the drive’s platters, and how data gets from the... Read more

Digital Democracy

The dark side of a level playing field

With just a few dollars, a would-be (or wannabe) filmmaker can purchase a DSLR for less than $1,000 and a program like Final Cut Pro X for $299, and go on to produce a movie that, if good enough, could be seen at your local multiplex. But what if it isn’t good enough for theatrical release? Just as remarkable, a filmmaker now can upload a movie—minutes... Read more

4K Plug-And-Play

The process of shooting and playing back 4K at home

At AbelCine, we’re always trying to stay on the cutting edge of technological development in the camera world, so we often get questions about the latest cameras and workflows. Recently, a client asked about playing back 4K footage on his new Sony 4K home theater projector, which he primarily used for HD screenings. Now he wanted to be able to... Read more

Future Proofed

Examining the Sound Devices 664 Field Production Mixer and the Sennheiser MKE 600

SOUND DEVICES 664 FIELD PRODUCTION MIXER Q I’m looking to upgrade from my current sound setup of a Zoom H4n and a Shure FP33 mixer. I feel as if I’ve pushed the technology as far as I can and I want to get serious about my location sound gear. I can’t afford top-of-the-line sound gear, but I want a setup that’s as future-proofed... Read more

Crossing The Line

HD-SDI cable, and the 180° rule explained

HD-SDI CABLE Q What’s the longest distance that I can run an SDI cable? Frank S. Forest Park, Illinois A When an analog cable run was too long, the picture quality would diminish. On the other hand, digital video cable runs give you a solid indication when you’ve gone too far: You won’t get an image. The maximum distance before... Read more

The Right 8 Bits

What’s two bits between friends?

For DSLR shooters, the cool current "must-have" feature is Clean HDMI. When used in conjunction with a digital recorder, cameras like the Nikon D4 and D800, as well as the Panasonic GH2 and a few others, can capture high-quality ProRes files via the cameras’ HDMI output. ProRes is a lossy intermediate codec that gives you a much higher... Read more

Serial Digital What?

3G, 4:4:4 and HD-SDI explained

At AbelCine, we’ve embraced the trend toward external video recorders. Convergent Design’s nanoFlash, launched in 2009, was one of the first on-camera HD recorders that actually offered improved recording quality over what was found in the camera. Since then, companies like AJA, Atomos, Cinedeck, Codex, Blackmagic Design and Sound Devices... Read more

All By Myself

A unique USB microphone, and devising a preproduction sound checklist

AUDIO-TECHNICA ATR2100-USB Q I was hired by an ad agency to record voiceover narrations for a corporate project. I’m producing the sessions myself and the budget is tight. I can’t afford to work in a recording studio. What’s your recommendation for the most cost-effective, reasonable-quality microphone that I could use at home to... Read more