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Full frame versus cropped sensors - which are better and which should you choose?
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 26, 2014, at 2:11 AM

Noam Kroll of Premiumbeat wrote an article on camera sensors and their crop factors. He admits that full frame shots undeniably look great and full frame cameras were a breakthrough in the indie filmmaking work, but there's no doubt that crop sensor cameras also have their advantages and according to Noam, crop sensor cameras offer some huge advantages over their full frame counterparts. He reports that while full frame sensors offer you an ultra shallow depth of field, smooth bokeh, and a surreal almost bigger than life feeling, it comes with many compromises - for example a full frame camera has a much larger frame size than Super 35mm film. Another disadvantage is that your lens choices on a full frame camera is more limited and such lenses are usually much more expensive.

In the case of crop sensor cameras there are also a few problems:

"The Lumix GH4 that I mentioned at the top of this post, that have a Micro Four Thirds sized sensor, which is significantly smaller than full frame and will effectively give you a 2x crop. What this means is if you put on a 50mm lens, it will look more like a 100mm lens on your MFT camera. (...) The downside to this is that it can be challenging to get some specific types of shots that are relatively easy on full frame cameras. One example is the extreme wide angle (non-fisheye) shot, which would need a very specific type of wide angle lens. Luckily there are a number of MFT lenses that fit this bill, but many of them are either slow or not particularly great quality."

But there are some other issues. Full frame cameras are way better in low light conditions, so you need to have fast primes if you want to shoot with a crop sensor camera and fast lenses are quite expensive. On the other hand you can buy an old Canon lens that offers some great specs and the choice of lenses is really wide thanks to various adapters.

So, which type of sensor should you choose?

"It all comes down to what you are going to use the camera for. There have been absolutely gorgeous images captured with cameras across the board – full frame, MFT, APS-C, you name it. So don’t worry about the image quality too much as part of your decision making process, because at the end of the day if the camera is in the right hands, the images will look good.

Instead, focus your attention on what you as a filmmaker need. If you plan on shooting a lot of run and gun material, or documentary content, I would strongly suggest thinking about the MFT format."

For more head over to the full version of the article (here).


The Redrock Micro's One Man Crew motorized parabolic slider - review!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 26, 2014, at 1:29 AM

The Redrock Micro's One Man Crew is an exciting slider - not only because it is the world's first motorized parabolic motion system. The concept is very simple and useful though - Its drive guides your camera on precision-curved track at any speed you choose while keeping your subject stationary in frame. Matt Allard of News Shooter had the chance to work with this interesting device and he took this opportunity to write an indeep review of the slider. He even posted a video featuring examples of shots obtained using the Redrock Micro One Man Crew (you can watch it below). What he really likes about this product is not only the price (it retails for $1495 - not bad for a motorized parabolic slider), but also the fact that it is easy to set up and use, so it can perfectly work in a one-man-band situation.

The con (for some) might be, that the device can only be used as a parabolic slider, but an ordinary version is also available.

"A motor moves the camera in one direction along the track and when it reaches the end it reverses and goes back in the opposite direction. This action is repeated for as long as you want and the idea of the setup is that you can leave your second camera running unattended for the entire duration of an interview, giving you a beautiful slow-moving cutaway shot. Better still, because the subject is kept in the same distance from the camera, it will stay in focus."

Setting up the slider is fast and easy and the product is practically ready to go, so all you need to do is use the built-in laser guides to line up your subject. You can also adjust many settings (including speed) and according to Matt, the controls are straightforward to use. And even though now there are a few similar products on the market, the One Man Crew is a self contained system, so it's more intuitive and easier to use.

"I really enjoyed using this One Man Crew and Redrockmicro have created a unique product – it works as advertised and gives some fantastic results. Overall it is a very intuitive and easy to use device that can really add creative flare to your projects. It would be perfect if it wasn’t for the motor being so noisy. I hope they can somehow figure out how to make it quieter at higher speeds in future versions. At the moment it is a little bit too loud to use for a lot of interviews at the speed I would like to run it at."

Fore more on this product, head over to the full version of the interview - here.


New Kickstarter project: Casper Mini Stabilizer for BMPCC, GH4, A7S and DSLRs!
Posted by Michal, motionVFX Team
August 25, 2014, at 6:09 PM

If you own a small camera or a DSLR, here's a product that might get your attention. It is called The Casper Mini Stabilizer and it is a lightweight, collapsible and easy to balance camera stabilizer for many popular cameras on the market - such as the BMPCC, the Panasonic GH4, the Sony A7S and most Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Right now the stabilizer is just a Kickastarter project, but as we know many such ideas become reality thanks to the community. In this case you'll get a product that is designed in-house, made from industrial grade aluminum and will be priced at $339 - however early backers are able to get the Casper Mini Stabilizer for a lower price ($289). You can watch the demonstration of the project below and if you want to support it, simply follow this link. The creators expect to ship out all Casper Mini Stabilizers to the backers by October 15th.


And here's some more on the stabilizer and a bit of info on what's special about it (via Kickstarter):

  • It will be the fastest stabilizer to balance because of a unique 2-axis slide developed in-house.
  • It is completely collapsible, can be stored easily and assembled quickly. You can pull it out of of your camera bag and put it together in just 30 seconds.
  • It is very light, weighing only 1.1kg (2.4 lb.), and is easy to carry. We have also designed a special quick release system that further reduces the final weight after the camera is attached.
  • Our custom designed quick release plates for the BMPCC, GH4 and Sony A7 will prevent the camera from getting misaligned or accidentally turning because of a heavy lens.
  • The unique cross shaped base adds greater mass and therefore greater inertia to the balance of the stabilizer. This also allows you to set down the stabilizer without having to worry about it tipping over.


DJI's new 3-axis gimbal Ronin tested in the field
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
August 21, 2014, at 10:34 PM

A while ago we posted info about DJI introducing their 3-axis stabilized handheld gimbal called Ronin, and later about a $1500 price drop. As we mentioned, the system raised some questions, which were to be answered by its first users. The video below is probably the first that shows Ronin in action – it’s been recorde and posted by Asi Ze’evi . Unfortunately there isn’t all that much info in the video description, but the video maker actively participates in the discussion in the comments section.

Let’s start with the video:

One of advantages of Ronin is the ability to support heavier cameras, but that comes at the price of increased weight. Among the questions that were raised was whether an operator can hold Ronin for prolonged time. Although Asi does not answer the question directly, he states that the crew shot it for long hours, but with the use of EasyRig for support.

We used EasyRig to support it for long hours of use. The Ronin can do super long shots, I just preferred to edit it by shorter cuts.

In the video description Asi presents the crew that participated in the making of this footage as well as enumerates the gear that was used. This includes:

  • Panasonic GH4
  • Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 V2
  • Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95
  • Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asp
  • Sony CLM-V55 5" Camera Monitor
  • Easyrig Mini Strong

The footage was edited and colored with Final Cut Pro X by Asi himself.


Production Technology 2014 - a survey by Televisual
Posted by Andrzej, motionVFX Team
August 21, 2014, at 11:58 AM

It’s getting harder to keep up with all the gear and software changes; it’s also difficult to observe changes in the industry when you stick to your workflow and camera system. Such trends can indicate which companies are on the rise, and may therefore invest more in this particular branch, and which are declining. At we read:

That’s where the Production Technology Survey comes in. Amidst a sea of competing products, we’ve sought to establish which are the most popular technology brands and models in production today, as well as highlighting the key technology trends that are driving the market. We’ve done this by asking 100 senior production execs for their views about the technology they use in production.

The survey is divided into several sections, one of which deals with the cameras. The 100 respondents gave the following answers regarding cameras they’ve been using in the past year:

It gets more interesting, though. Another question represented with a chart focuses on the cameras the same respondents hope to use in the next 12 months. This clearly indicates whether they’re satisfied with their manufacturer, or would like to switch to another. Of course, ‘hope’ does not mean they will (for whatever reasons). Nevertheless, please notice the big difference for Arri and Canon on the second chart:

The remaining parts of the survey are available via links on the first page of the article at here. You'll find there sections on:

  • The top editing, compositing and grading systems
  • 4K: how long before it's mainstream?
  • The cloud and digital workflows
  • Who took part in the Production Technology Survey 2014?



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