February 2016

Optimized for the wide-ranging needs of field work, the economical Canon XA35 and XA30 HD camcorders weigh only 2.6 pounds with battery

TWIN STARS Optimized for the wide-ranging needs of field work, the economical Canon XA35 and XA30 HD camcorders weigh only 2.6 pounds with battery, while also housing a 20x optical zoom, built-in WiFi, detachable handles and a new HD CMOS PRO imaging sensor with low-luminance noise of only +3 dB for working in minimal light. With 60p/24p in AVCHD at... Read more

At A Glance: Zoom F8

A multitrack field recorder for location sound that offers value-for-cost performance

I was lucky enough to be invited to the West Coast introduction of the new Zoom F8, an 8-input, 10-track recorder capable of recording a stereo (or 2-track) mix, plus 8 isolated tracks. The F8 is the first product from Japanese audio company Zoom that’s designed to compete with industry-established offerings from high-end pro competitors such as Sound... Read more

Leica SL

The Leica SL-System is a sign of things to come from Leica AG—and perhaps the future of the DSLR form factor

The Leica SL-System taps into many production possibilities all at the same time, and once it’s in your hands, you’re torn on how you want to use it. While my intent was to fully review and test the camera’s video capabilities, I couldn’t resist what the SL offers in the stills format. Considering that Leica is a relative newcomer to the DSLR... Read more

Maxing Out With The ALEXA Mini

A compelling new option for filmmakers, the ALEXA Mini uses the same ALEV III sensor as all other ALEXA cameras
Since its rollout at NAB this year, the ALEXA Mini from ARRI has become one of the most sought-after cinema cameras on the market today. Word on the street is, “Have you seen the Mini?” or “Have you shot with the Mini?” For most cinematographers, the answer is no, and as orders are sent out to private buyers and rental houses, the ultimate question... Read more

The Sounds Of Chaos

Overcoming location audio challenges on the frontlines of production

It’s no secret that location sound is challenging. While the other departments have their own unique obstacles to overcome, it seems that the production sound team is often tasked with capturing clear, dynamic and legible sound in noisy, chaotic situations that seem to make that assignment nearly impossible to complete. Speaking with location sound... Read more

Blackmagic Goes Minimalist

The diminutive Micro Studio Camera 4K houses innovative built-in features that make it especially appealing to live productions

Designed as an affordable multiple-setup camera that also offers large-sensor, cinematic capture with live production capabilities, the Micro Studio Camera 4K (MSC4K) from Blackmagic Design is an extremely versatile tool given its size, housing myriad options for reality television, sporting events, live performances, comedy stand-up, educational... Read more

In The Driver’s Seat

With groundbreaking new cameras, ARRI looks to dominate all sectors of the high-end production industry

Along with Panavision, ARRI has been the gold standard in the production industry for decades, but the Munich-based company has had a much smoother transition to the digital age than their American rival. ARRI released the Arriflex D-20/21 in 2005, and although it wasn’t an immediate success, cinematographers appreciated that ARRI listened to... Read more

Virtual Reality Cinema: A New Medium Emerges

VR has arrived, and with it, a new type of filmmaker capable of engaging viewers more deeply with content than ever before

Virtual Reality (VR), the next great frontier for film and entertainment, is no longer in a phase of incubation, but rather in its last throes of anonymity. For those unfamiliar with this technology, VR involves wearing a headset that covers your entire field of vision with a screen to envelop the user with dynamic imagery and sound. You may recall... Read more

December 2015

Featuring a Micro Four Thirds sensor with an integrated 13x Leica Dicomar zoom lens, Panasonic has announced the affordable and highly anticipated AG-DVX200PJ.

HEAVY ROTATION With an 8.4-megapixel Super 35-sized CMOS sensor and a Sony E-mount for use with an extensive lineup of compact and interchangeable Sony and Zeiss lenses, the Sony PXW-FS5 XDCAM offers UHD at 24/30 fps, as well as HD at up to 240 fps. The form factor makes it an ideal choice for handholding, while internals provide cinematic features... Read more

At A Glance: RØDE Stereo VideoMic X

Setting the standard for single-system audio

Although you can capture high-quality images, DSLRs and compact mirrorless cameras were never designed to capture high-quality sound. Their built-in microphones are pretty useless except for capturing scratch audio for dual-system sound. Also, the cameras lack XLR inputs for use with professional mics and their preamps are pretty rudimentary. Since... Read more

Wireless Lens Control, ARRI Style

With three-axis lens control and a lens data display, the WCU-4 is an impressive remote system in an ergonomic housing

Designed to work seamlessly with the ARRI ALEXA line of cameras—the Plus, Plus 4:3, XT/SXT Plus, Studio, XT/SXT Studio, 65 and Mini—ARRI’s Wireless Compact Unit WCU-4 is a lightweight, handheld, remote-control system for lenses. No motor controller or extra power is required to use the WCU-4, as each camera possesses its own onboard wireless... Read more

Light It Up

A decade ago, no one was talking about the problems of lighting for digital because traditional Tungsten and HMI lights were dominating the market.

A decade ago, no one was talking about the problems of lighting for digital because traditional Tungsten and HMI lights were dominating the market. What a difference a few years can make. Although Tungsten and HMIs are still popular with cinematographers, a new generation of LEDs has flooded the marketplace, as well as sets. Lighting equipment has quickly... Read more