Category Archives: Reviews

Sony A77 Hands on review

Here is a hands on review of the A77 by TechRadar. It is a multiple page review complete with sample images.

It has very good thoughts about the EVF although it does make it clear that the 12fps burst shooting will not be useful in certain situations.

Great read, check it out!

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IGUS Slider Review & Footage

So after finally catching up on my entire life, I had time to edit together the slider footage I took quite some time ago. I used FCPX also to start learning it.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siDPqB0RO04%5D

Some of the shots are a little be shaky because I was the only one operating the camera so I was simultaneously sliding and panning or focusing. Even these shots though came out very acceptable in my opinion.

IGUS vs. Opteka

I had and returned the Opteka 47″ Slider. The slider itself was not bad, but I just don’t think it could handle the weight of my camera. Thanks to info from Oliviatech I found the ready to go IGUS. The purchased the IGUS W1080-B. This version comes with pre-tapped holes which is great, although I did add some washers to the end so that it would not slide off. The IGUS slider is about double the width that the Opteka was. This distributes the weight of the camera more evenly and allows for a much smoother slide. There was no comparison, the sliding was much easier and more consistent with the IGUS over the Opteka. The IGUS is a bit shorter at just over 3 ft, but 3 ft is plenty of length. The 47″ was actually very difficult to maneuver, and needed more than one tripod to use. I used the IGUS with just one tripod for all of the tests using some techniques described at CheesyCam. I do, however, miss the feet that went on the Opteka they were a very nice addition. Although CheesyCam points to a DIY Solutions for this. Another plus about the IGUS is that it comes with a very tiny allen wrench to adjust the tension.

Number & Letters

There are a few different IGUS models for sale on amazon. It can be confusing as to what is what, and why some are more expensive. They all start with a W, the numbers following dictate the Width of the slider. The 1040 is 2.9″ the 1080 is 4.2″ and the 16 is 4.1.” Now wait a second, the 16 is the most expensive, but thinner than the 1080. The 16 offers 16mm bearings (the size of the rail is slides on) where the other two offer 10mm bearings. The letters at the end stand for what it comes with (is it pre drilled, hand clamp, etc.) A= nothing, just the slider. B=Pre-drilled/tapped. C= no holes, but a hand clamp to adjust tension. All of this information can be found at their website, but it is confusing on amazon.

Competition

Everybody who can afford a Konova slider has one. This is the next step down in sliders and I think it is the best of its price range. I eventually want to add a pulley system to this to get very smooth slides. Compared to the Opteka Slider this is a no brainer, much more stable for larger cameras. I have not used any of the other ones on the market, but all of the ones in a close price range are friction based sliders except for the Juiced Link slider. The Juiced Link slider is new and looked pretty interesting. I do not think that it is as practical as the IGUS though because you cannot easily mount to a tripod.

A Few Hours with the new FCPX

So I finally Purchased FCPX and Motion. Despite all the negative things about FCPX I figured why not. It can never hurt to learn an editing software. This Semi-review is only having played around with the software for a few hours.

IT’S DIFFERENT

WAY different. It isn’t just a changed shortcut key here and there or a different effect name. It feels like I am using a completely different software, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I can tell already that this will take a while for me to learn and get used to. Let’s take transitions for example. By default it has it set up so that when you add a transition, instead of using available media (like what FCP 7 did) it uses “full overlap.”

This uses the portions clips that are in the timeline instead of outside of the in/out points of that clip. So if you had to 30 sec clips placed next to each other your total run time would be 1:00 but if you add a transition (using full overlap) suddenly your run time becomes 59 sec because it takes 30 seconds from each clip to create the transition. I could see this becoming very messy. (esp. when things are synced to music or sound effects and you want to add the transition later.) Of course it is easy enough to turn off and now if there is not enough available media to create the transition ( outside of the in/out points) it will ask if you want to create a full overlap. I like that. This is just one example of completely changed NLE.

The magnetic timeline is difficult to get used to, but I think I like it. It is definitely something different and I think that if I take the time to learn it, it could be very useful.

The Bad

Okay, we all know that this version of FCPX is missing very key essentials for “professional” (really I should say broadcast) use. XML, external monitors, multi-cam, yada yada. Most of that is coming in due time. (the first update promised in Apple’s FAQ is this summer, so that means soon). A big problem that I have with this version is that there is no save button…AT ALL. Now, I understand that they are going towards versioning with Lion and all, but even in Lion there is a save option or save as new version etc. I really don’t care if my computer assures me it is going to save when I quit, I am going to save it myself anyway. It just makes me very uneasy not having a save button. I really hope this comes with a future update and works well with versioning in Lion.

Also, even though you can change what drive FCPX stores your media, it automatically puts it on the root menu or in the movies folder. Not that this is a bad thing, it just feels like I have less control over my files. Although, for many who are not as conscience of all the files that FCP does make this could be a plus, but I would like the option to put any of the files anywhere I want.

The Good

This software has so much potential in my eyes. I think the best thing about this software is how Motion is integrated within it. When you open motion you can create titles, effects, generators, and transitions for FCPX. When you save them in motion they appear in FCPX and you can use and customize this media to a degree. This is wonderful if you are creating lower thirds in motion and do not want to create a new lower third for each person. You can just make a template and change the text in FCPX. This also opens up the door for anybody to create awesome looking effects and transitions and give them to others for FCPX (there is already a lot of this going on).

Of course there is the obvious: background rendering which is very nice along with all the keywords and tagging. I haven’t experimented to much with the organization, but it looks promising. Another great feature is being able to use optical flow right in FCPX. This (although it takes time to render) creates great slow motion playback.

The ease of use with DSLR and internet media is wonderful. I can start to edit the H.264 files as it transcodes the footage to ProRes. Awesome. Plus having a built in plural eyes (haven’t tested out the audio syncing yet) is a must for doing sync sound.

Will I use it?

If I was offered a job that was more than a 5 minute commercial and I had to edit it, I would not use FCPX yet. However, the majority of stuff I edit I do for free and it is going to the internet so FCPX is perfect for me. I am looking forward to getting to know this program front to back. Even if I was paid to do a job that was not broadcast I think I would use this ( of course I would have to get a little more familiar with it first). I feel that the tools this brings, even with its current shortcomings, will greatly help and speed up my workflow. Of course I do not speak for everybody because I am a one man band so to speak. I can see the magnetic timeline getting annoying, but once I get used to it I’m sure I will have no problems. I feel it will actually help my workflow.

You can download FCPX right now from the app store for $299 (provided your on a mac running snow leopard) I would also strongly recommend Motion for $49. Especially for its close integration with FCPX.