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Apple introduces iPad Air 2, the thinnest iPad ever, and the iPad mini 3!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
October 17, 2014, at 12:43 AM

The wait is finally over! At Apple Special Event the Cupertino company revealed many awesome products. The iPad Air 2 was among them and it is the thinnest and most powerful iPad ever. The new iPad is just 6.1mm thin and it weights less than a pound. The new tablet also features an improved Retina display (enhanced contrast and richer, more vibrant colors), as well as better cameras for taking great photos and videos - for many users this is an important upgrade, because many of them are taking pictures and videos on their iPads. The new model will be available in gold, silver and space gray. In the same colors you will be able to get the new iPad mini 3 and they both also offer Touch ID so just like in the case of latest iPhones, now you will have the option to unlock your iPad with just the touch of a finger.



The iPad Air 2 is powered by the new Apple-designed A8X chip, which according to the company delivers a 40 percent improvement in CPU performance and 2.5 times the graphics performance of iPad Air, and still delivers the up to 10-hour battery life. The tablet is combined with Metal, the new graphics technology in iOS 8 that unlocks realistic visual effects comparable to the most advanced gaming consoles. The new iSight camera enables better photos and videos, with an 8MP sensor and advanced optics, it also adds features including time-lapse video, slo-mo and 1080p HD video.

The iPad mini line on the other hand has been updated to include iPad mini 3 with Touch ID and iPad mini with Retina display, now called iPad mini 2 and starting at $299 and both iPads feature a Retina display, the A7 chip, 5MP iSight camera and FaceTime HD.

Pricing & Availability (via Apple):

"iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 come in three gorgeous metallic finishes including gold, silver and space gray, and customers in 29 countries and territories can order online beginning Friday, October 17. Both iPads will be available starting later next week in the US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China (Wi-Fi models only), Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau (Wi-Fi models only), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. Availability in Croatia, Greece, Puerto Rico, Russia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and elsewhere around the world, will continue through the end of October with additional global availability in the coming months. iPads are sold through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, additional carriers and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi models will be available for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 64GB model and $699 (US) for the 128GB model. iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 64GB model and $829 (US) for the 128GB model. iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi models will be available for a suggested retail price of $399 (US) for the 16GB model, $499 (US) for the 64GB model and $599 (US) for the 128GB model. iPad mini 3 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models will be available for a suggested retail price of $529 (US) for the 16GB model, $629 (US) for the 64GB model and $729 (US) for the 128GB model.

iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and iPad mini, available in silver or space gray, are offered at now more affordable prices. iPad Air starts at $399 (US) for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model, iPad mini 2 starts at $299 (US) for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model, and iPad mini starts at $249 (US) for the 16GB with Wi-Fi model."

Source: http://www.apple.com

First iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus reviews are now live - best iPhones yet?
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
September 18, 2014, at 12:06 AM

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are revolutionary, because Apple finally made the decision to offer us larger displays and in the case of the iPhone 6 Plus the screen is enormous (5.5-inch / 1080p). The iPhone 6 line will be released on September 19, 2014, but early reviews are already here and guess what - Apple's new smartphones get very positive ratings and with the new iOS 8 they gain new possibilities and are even better, so it seems that users who switched to Android due to small iPhone's screens now have many reasons to come back to iOS. What's more all reviewers agree that the new iSight camera is much better in low-light thanks to the new sensor and in the case of the iPhone 6 Plus it also includes optical image stabilization, so pictures and videos just look great. The Verge published two videos (one for each iPhone 6 model) and both iPhones were rated around 9/10 (the iPhone 6 Plus was rated 8.7/10 to be exact). Most cons are reliated to iOS - the system got not optimized for larger screens and many apps need an update, but this is not something related to hardware and things should improve in the future. Nevertheless check out the videos:

iPhone 6

 

iPhone 6 Plus

 

Stuff Magazine on the other hand rated the new iPhone 6 5/5:

"It's a real looker, with an amazingly slim and deeply attractive build. It feels lovely in the hand, despite the extra size. It has the best screen of any iPhone - big enough to be useful, with gorgeous colours. It's the most powerful iPhone ever, even if in use all you'll know is that it feels very fast. It has the best battery of any iPhone ever, lasting well into a second day. And it also packs some of Apple's biggest software innovations in years, although we'll have to wait for the likes of Apple Pay to make their way over here."

The iPhone 6 Plus got a 4/5 rating, due to its size:

"The iPhone 6 Plus will undoubtedly be too big for some hands. It's far bigger physically than any previous iPhone but also bigger than any comparable Android. The LG G3, which has the same size screen, is dwarfed by it. Even the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, with its 5.7in display, is shorter.

That said, the combination of its super-thin body and smooth metal build make it easier to hold and use than you might expect. Plus, it offers a few advantages over the iPhone 6, namely that bigger, higher-res screen and increased battery life.

Really, there's very little wrong with it beyond its size. But it is very big."

On the other hand Stuff admits, that the iPhone 6 Plus camera is a bit better:

"On the 6 Plus, though, there’s superior optical image stabilisation available, which means you can shoot in lower light situations and still get sharp images.

All the other new features - for instance improved slo-mo which now maxes out at 240fps, time-lapse and more - are present. The advantage of the bigger screen is you can frame up more exactly, without looking quite so preposterous as anyone using their iPad's camera does. Plus, you can see the results more clearly on this bigger, more detailed display."

Source: http://www.stuff.tvhttp://www.theverge.com

Panasonic HC-X1000 - more pro than you'd expect from a camcorder
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
September 9, 2014, at 2:03 PM

After Sony’s ‘2K for 4K’ AX100,  similar position by Panasonic has appeared. It’s called HC-X1000 and it’s really amazing how much has been stuffed into this camcorder-size camera. Yes, it features a small sensor (1/2.3" MOS Sensor), but it has quite a range of pro features. One interesting aspect is that even in 1080 setting,  the sensor still captures 4K, which is downsampled to HD image internally (doesn’t crop like many other cameras) – that allows for a pristine HD image.

B&H has released an early look video for the camera:

So, let’s summarize some key points about this camera (info via bhphotovideo.com) :

HC-X1000 allows to record 4K (MP4/24 fps/100Mbps) and UHD (MP4/60 fps/150 Mbps) and also AVCHD and MOV HD with bitrates up to 200Mbps.

And features

  • electronically linked zoom, focus, and iris rings on the lens
  • built-in ND filters
  • built-in IR emitter and IR recording mode
  • 2 XLR inputs
  • and camera assist functions: histogram, zebra and built-in electronic color bars

The camera is available for pre-oreder with the price set at $3499.99. Find out more in the official Panasonic press release here or at B&H product page here.

Source: http://www.bhphotovideo.com

 

"Chasing the Edge", amazing car racing treat shot on Sony F55 and RED Dragon!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
September 3, 2014, at 12:48 AM

If you love fast cars and filmmaking, you will absolutely love this amazing short film called "Chasing the Edge - Speed Is Not Enough". The movie was directed by Brennan Stasiewicz at the Spa Francorchamps circuit - one of the best racing tracks in Europe. The short film is a great watch, but what's also nice is the fact that Brennan shared a lot of details on making this video - and so he revealed that many cameras were used to film "Chasing the Edge" - such as the Sony F55, the Blackmagic 4K, the RED Dragon and the GoPro (more info will follow). Among others the short features Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel and it's a great look into the racing world - speed, action, great atmosphere, cinematic look, and so on. The crew treated this project like an epic race film, something between "Senna" and "Rush" (great movie btw). Check it out and enjoy!
 


And here's some more info on the cameras and gear:

"The sheer density of the day forced us to shoot multiple cameras at once, covering multiple pieces of content at any given time. The core narrative was portrayed through two cameras – one handheld operated by one of the best DP/Operators I know, Ed David, and one on steadicam. Both Cams were F55s for both its dynamic range and its ability to capture quick shifting colors. The handheld doc cam worked Nikon zooms to build a nice, archival photography feel, while the steadicam was shooting the Angeniux 15-40mm zoom for flexibility. Ed set the tone for all cams on the shoot knowing that ‘archival’ was the aesthetic we were going for.

The racing itself needed to be real. There were no do-overs. This meant we had to add 5 more cameras to ensure we captured that reality in a cinematic way. There were two interior cams: the rear seat mounted F55 with a Super Speed 18mm and the passenger seat profile cam, which became a Blackmagic 4K shooting a Canon 16-35mm 2.8 zoom when we found out the F55 wouldn’t fit in the space effectively. There was a helmet mounted GoPro cam set to ProTune for cheap and easy POV energy. We also used 3 more Blackmagic 4Ks on the exterior mounts – two shooting Canon 16-35mm zooms and the grill POV cam shooting an Ultra Prime 16mm. The mounts themselves were custom-made pressure mounts, since the car’s matte wrap did not allow us to use any suction cups. The grip team on this job was top rate. The talented Joachim Thörnqvist headed the Technical Photography. All Blackmagics were set to Pro Res HQ. Setting an exposure that worked over the weather-varied, 7.02km track was a crap shoot."

Brennan also reports that the RED Dragon was mounted on a drone, because the crew wanted to get a nice aerial shot of the cars hitting the Eau Rouge turn. He also admits that the shoot was a controlled chaos because the weather at Spa is notorious.

Source: https://vimeo.com

Affordable 4K monitor: Asus PB287Q hands-on video review!
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
September 2, 2014, at 5:50 PM

Stepping away from all the gear for filmmakers that we present, here’s something for editors: Asus PV287Q 28’’ UHD 4K Monitor. The video acquisition is there, computers too, but the number of 4K monitors available is still scarce, and many of them have a rather steep price. One of the companies that quite advanced in manufacturing affordable 4K screens is Asus – now a review of one of their products costing $624,99 has been posted at B&H YouTube channel has been posted.

The monitor is presented by Mia McCormick, and what is great about this hands-on review is that it is strongly focused on the cinematography, rather than discussing it in general:



Overall, the monitor offers very good image quality for a reasonable price, but it has the two disadvantages that you might consider significant. The first is that if you connect it via HDMI, you will only get access to 30 Hz refresh rate; to get the full 60 you’ll need to use the Display Port. Another is that due to the technology used, the angle at which you look at the monitor has quite an impact on how the colors look.

Here are some basic specs (via bhphotovideo.com):

  • 28" Widescreen 4K UHD Monitor
  • 3840 x 2160 4K Resolution
  • 1 ms Response Time
  • 300 cd/m² Brightness
  • 1.073 Billion Color Support
  • 170°/160° Viewing Angles
  • 8 x SPLENDID Video Preset Modes
  • 3 x Skin Tone Selection Modes
  • 4 x Color Temperature Selection Modes
  • 2 x 2 W Integrated Stereo Speakers

Source: http://www.bhphotovideo.com



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