Hooray For Hollywood

Hollywood Center Studios and NewTek create a virtual back lot

Virtual sets have been around for more than a decade, but in an era of runaway productions and cutthroat tax incentives, they’ve never looked so good—both economically and aesthetically—thanks to lower costs and vastly improved technology. For a while, Hollywood once ruled supreme when it came to stages and back lots, and while the town may... Read more

Tools For Everyone

HD-DSLR accessories that will elevate your production without breaking your budget

Using a traditional still camera for video capture is revolutionary not only because it’s unconventional, but also because the relative low cost of shooting with HD DSLRs allows anyone with a little money to shoot stunning footage. Of course, you can spend a small fortune on expensive gadgets that may or may not elevate your production value;... Read more


Ideal for Final Cut Studio users, the modular JVC GY-HM790U excels in both field and studio environments

Two JVC camcorders are hanging from my hands. In my right is my trusty D-9 SD DY-90W, bought in 2001. Costing $30,000 with lens, weighing 17 pounds (all weights given are without batteries) and shooting NTSC SD with 2/3-inch 16:9 CCDs to ½-inch video cassettes, it served me well but is now totally obsolete. In my left is the new GY-HM790U that... Read more

The NEX Step

The Sony NEX-VG10 with its APS HD sensor delivers full 1920×1080 HD with “35mm-like” shallow depth of field

It was only a matter of time before the camcorder industry would take notice and react. In less than two years, the HD DSLR movement has revolutionized indie filmmaking by further leveling the playing field between low-budget and studio productions. In addition, a large percentage of still photographers have caught the filmmaking bug, creating an even... Read more

At A Glance: Matrox MXO2 Mini

Cost-effective HD monitoring and more

On average, professional HD studio monitors used in postproduction can run anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 on the low end to nearly $20,000 on the high end. With the popularity of laptop editing, which gives filmmakers the opportunity to edit their projects in any environment, Matrox has released a great new product, the MXO2 Mini, which not only can... Read more

At A Glance: Panasonic VariCam 2700 AJ-HPX2700

The cinema-like VariCam line now offers tapeless acquisition as part of the solid-state P2 system

The Panasonic VariCam 2700 (AJ-HPX2700) is the latest iteration in the VariCam line, a workhorse camera designed for use with field productions, thanks to its in-camera production abilities, including a variety of slow- and fast-motion frame rates and AVC-Intra 100 recording in full 10-bit, 4:2:2, as well as the half-compression AVC-Intra 50 codec for... Read more

Xtreme Moves

HDVideoPro examines gear that moves the camera in difficult environments

Cinema has always excelled at capturing the movement and kinetic energy of modern society, and the evolution of the camera—from the heavy, cumbersome, static machines of the early days to the freewheeling palm-sized digital devices of today—and the way it’s moved neatly parallel the acceleration of life’s pace. A century ago, locked-down... Read more

We’re Lit

New energy-efficient lighting gear gives cinematographers and gaffers the ability to light any location

Today’s productions are happening at all types of locations—modern stages, remote mountains, sandy deserts, historic buildings and even your neighbor’s backyard. Being able to go with the flow means having the right lighting tools for the job. And that often means portable, expandable, multitasking and, of course, as “green”... Read more

The HD DSLR Killer?

With the XF300 camcorder, will Canon lure back its own EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D users?

Way back in 1997 (light years in the digital video world), Canon released a landmark camera, the XL-1. The three-CCD, standard-def camcorder was wildly popular with indie filmmakers who were drawn to professional features like interchangeable lenses, a high-quality viewfinder and XLR inputs—all in an affordable priced-to-own package. In the... Read more

Prime Time

In part two of our new lens report, we look at the latest prime lenses designed for both film and digital cameras

The past year has seen an avalanche of new lenses. Some of this development can be attributed to the exponential growth in the field of digital motion-picture cameras, with new products from RED and ARRI, as well as the explosion of HD DSLRs, which are being used in professional applications, including music videos, television, commercials and even... Read more


Sony’s HXR-NX5U is an affordable, tapeless HD camcorder based on AVCHD technology

As you probably know, HD DSLRs have been receiving a lot of attention from both low-budget and professional filmmakers, who are buying the compact, inexpensive cameras to shoot their projects. But with 35mm-like, shallow depth of field and low-light shooting ability come a different set of problems, including inadequate onboard audio, a lack of long,... Read more

Going The Distance

HDVideoPro examines companies and technology that enable productions to share media, ideas and workflows across the globe

Executive producer Mike Young hangs up the phone in the production office and walks 20 feet to the soundstage door. As I follow Young through the doorway, a large greenscreen stage unfolds before us. The crew readies the next setup. Actors dressed in superhero costumes have their makeup touched up between takes. Two RED ONE cameras flank the stage,... Read more