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Stunning gear to give a boost to your sound

Master fast edits in the new Adobe Premiere Pro


@ProMoviemaker £4.99

REVIEWED Sennheiser wireless audio, Gemini light panel, Tokina prime, Voigtlander lens, plus a gimbal, bag, hard drive and more

RADICAL RIGS Bolt-on accessories to boost your cinema camera MASTERCLASS TESTED


JVC HC500 camcorder is first of a new breed



Tips and tricks on creating the mood you want

Easy Rider: Filming an homage to the classic road movie from the seat of a Harley My first movie: How one filmmaker created a feature-length film on a budget

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The ultimate magazine for next generation filmmakers

EDITORIAL Editor in chief Adam Duckworth Staff writer Chelsea Fearnley Contributing editor Kingsley Singleton Chief sub editor Beth Fletcher Senior sub editor Siobhan Godwood Sub editor Felicity Evans Junior sub editor Elisha Young ADVERTISING Sales director Matt Snow 01223 499453 Advertising manager Krishan Parmar 01223 499462 DESIGN Design director Andy Jennings Design manager Alan Gray Designers Lucy Woolcomb, Laura Bryant, Emily Lancaster & Emma Di’Iuorio PUBLISHING Managing directors Andy Brogden & Matt Pluck MEDIA SUPPORTERS AND PARTNERS OF:

Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridgeshire CB22 3HJ Pro Moviemaker is published quarterly by Bright Publishing Ltd, Bright House, 82 High Street, Sawston, Cambridge CB22 3HJ. No part of this magazine can be used without prior written permission of Bright Publishing Ltd. ISSN number: 2045-3892. Pro Moviemaker is a registered trademark of Bright Publishing Ltd. The advertisements published in Pro Moviemaker that have been written, designed or produced by employees of Bright Publishing Ltd remain the copyright of Bright Publishing Ltd and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Prices quoted are street prices. In sterling they include VAT but US dollar prices are without local sales taxes. Prices are where available or converted using the exchange rate on the day the magazine went to press.


Welcome to the summer edition of Pro Moviemaker magazine, and I sincerely hope you can find the time to read it in what should be a filmmaker’s busiest period of the year – the run-up to many people’s annual summer holiday. So often as freelancers, we end up working to a schedule imposed on us by full-time employees who all want everything done and dusted before they go on leave for their couple of weeks lounging beside a pool. In many parts of Europe, it feels like August is a complete write-off as seemingly whole countries take the month off. At least this time of year we have longer days, and the promise of the golden hours of light at the end of the working day – the time when we want to keep shooting in that most wonderful light, while the nine-to-five employees want to scuttle home for their dinner. They often want everything shot in normal working hours when the midday summer sun causes havoc with extreme contrast. But in so many cases, they are paying the bill and you have to work to their rules. Most successful independent filmmakers, luckily, are problem solvers. Given a super-tight time frame, uncooperative subjects, unflattering light and a client changing their mind unpredictably, it’s a true test of thinking on your feet and getting a decent result. That’s despite hurdles put in the way by clients who may not share your quest for the ultimate images. To get the best results in all potential situations, you need to be at one with your camera and kit, so it’s one less thing to worry about on set. You don’t want to be fiddling with tripod plates and assorted gubbins while the important stuff – getting the shot – is disappearing in front of you. That’s why it’s crucial to not only know how to get the best out of your camera and master its important settings such as white-balance, codec and ISO, but also to have the camera handling right for your specific need. That could mean having a quick-release plate for your tripod that always works, a comfortable grip handle for going handheld for extended periods of time, a shoulder rig for perfect balance, a higher-quality EVF so you can really see what’s going on, a foolproof wireless mic set-up, a monitor recorder with advanced monitoring tools or even a higher-powered battery with a D-tap connector to power accessories. All cameras – even premium cinema cams like the Canon C200, Panasonic EVA1 or Sony FS7 Mark II – need the right bolt-on bits to customise them into working, professional tools. And in this month’s issue, we take a look at some of the best and most useful kit you can buy to pimp your camera, so you can use it to its full potential. We also have tests of some of the summer’s hottest new cameras, like the Panasonic S1R, Olympus OM-D E-M1X and JVC HC500 as well as lots of other accessories in our huge section all about filmmaking gear. All to help you make wise buying decisions, which can make a very real difference to the films you make – either creatively or by speeding things up – and therefore give your business a boost. After all, time is money: so spend both wisely.


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Samyang’s speedy NEW KIT Z-mount glass TIFFEN FILTERS TO FIT OSMO

Nikon’s latest full-frame mirrorless Z 7 and Z 6 make great filmmaking cameras, but are hindered by the lack of native fast lenses, with the 35mm and 50mm f/1.8 lenses being the quickest. Although you can use Nikon F-mount lenses via an adapter, many filmmakers prefer to keep things as light and simple as possible. Samyang comes to the rescue with two manual-focus lenses for the new Nikon Z mount: the ultra-wide 14mm f/2.8 Z; and the 85mm f/1.4 Z, which is an ideal portrait lens. There is also a new autofocus version of the 85mm lens in a Nikon F mount, which joins the AF 14mm f/2.8 lens which debuted last year. All three new Nikon lenses are multi-coated to provide excellent image quality and contrast from the centre to edges of the image, and they are all weather-sealed. The AF 85mm lens features a nine-bladed iris while the 85mm Z optic has an eightbladed circular aperture for smooth bokeh. Price and availability will be announced soon.

Nitro technology trickles down Manfrotto has taken the Nitrotech technology from its popular N8 and N12 fluid tripod heads and is using it in its 600 series with the 608 and 612 models. The Nitrotech 608 and 612 use the unique nitrogen piston mechanism to provide continuous counterbalance and securely support loads up to 17.6lb/8kg on the 608 and from 8.8lb/4kg up to 26.4 lb/12kg on the 612. The heads also feature a 3/8in Easy Link connector. No prices have yet been announced.

SMARTPHONE CONTROL FOR LYKOS A dedicated smartphone app to give full remote control is the latest tech upgrade for the revamped Lykos 2.0 LED portable lights. The water-resistant LEDs are available in Daylight and Bicolor options and use an app to control key functions such as brightness and colour temperature. Power is by dual-mount Sony L-type or Canon LP-E6 batteries, or by standard AC cable. The Daylight version has an illuminance of 1600 lux at one metre while the Bicolor is 1500 lux.


The Lykos 2.0 Daylight LED has a colour temperature of 5600K – ideal for cooling down skin tones – while the Bicolor features whiter, warmer LEDs, and is ideal for giving skin extra warmth. The lights use hotshoe mounts which can connect up to four Lykos units together. They can be controlled simultaneously via the app.

Neutral density and polarising filters have been launched to fit the DJI Osmo Pocket gimbal camera by Tiffen. The £49/$49 kit comes with an ND4, an ND8 and an ND16 that are also polarising filters. For £79/$79 the kit adds plain ND4, ND8 and ND16 filters. The filters are coated, waterproof and scratch resistant.


Monitor giant SmallHD has revealed a new seven-inch touchscreen monitor with a stunning 1500 nits of brightness that’s guaranteed to be 100% DCI-P3 colour accurate. The 702 Touch’s resolution is 1920x1200, it has an SD card slot, two 3G SDI inputs, HDMI/SDI crossconversion capability and can be powered by a pair of Sony L-series batteries. It costs £1554/$1299.


If you have dreamed of a doit-all lens then the new Foton 25-300mm f/2.8 zoom could be what you’re looking for. It’s a manual focus cinema zoom from a new lens company, but is made in China by DZO. It is PL mount and covers Super35 sensors, weighs 8.98kg/19.8lb (it’s no lightweight), and the company says it has a vintage look. It will be on sale next year at roughly £16,850/$22,000. The company doesn’t even have a website yet!


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It was a dream job: the chance for photographer and filmmaker Richard Bradbury to retrace the steps of the anti-heroes from Easy Rider and to take to a Harley-Davidson for the ultimate road trip WORDS AND IMAGES RICHARD BRADBURY


he year 1969 was a big one for the US arts scene. Andy Warhol’s factory churned out multiple soup tins, and The Rolling Stones arrived with what would be named the ‘world’s first mythical rock tour’. The first draft of US troops to fight the Vietnam war were crying out for a cinematic backdrop. The sterile consumerism of the fifties celebrated the middle-aged married couple, but Easy Rider, released in July 1969, made it cool to be young, free and rebellious. Even if their parents didn’t approve, every teenage girl in America wanted to hang out with a badass biker gang.

Starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, (long before they became global superstars), Easy Rider tells the tale of two Harley-Davidson-riding anti-heroes doing a one-off drug deal in LA. They ride across the states to spend their earnings in New Orleans but, let’s face it, I don’t need to tell you that, because I know you’ve seen the movie. It’s the Eleanor Rigby of the film world: you’re not sure when you first saw it, but you just know all the words. It’s part of every movie lover’s DNA. Easy Rider has become a rite of passage for every cool teenage boy (and quite a few teenage girls) in the English-speaking world.

“I was determined to have a ‘no compromise’ kit to shoot 4K that I could carry on a motorcycle”

RIGHT With a remit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic film Easy Rider, the shoot became a glorious road trip

This year marks the film’s 50th anniversary, so Harley-Davidson, in partnership with the US Tourist Board, contacted motoring writer Jeremy Taylor and myself to ask us if we’d like to re-enact the road trip (minus the narcotics). It took us the best part of five or ten seconds to say, ‘Yes, please!’ There were, however, a few issues to deal with. First, we could only find one free week in our calendars that coincided. We had to do the trip early last December and we could only reasonably do half the journey from LA to Phoenix. Also, we wanted the trip to be for real, just like in the movie, so no support vehicles allowed. Packing gear Pete, Dennis and Jack didn’t need to carry camera kit to shoot stills and video along the way, so they could travel light. We, on the other hand, needed to think carefully about how much we could take with us. Our gear needed to be light and small enough to fit in the panniers of a Harley, but powerful enough to offer 4K video and advertisingquality stills. My brand of location stills involves off-camera flash for a rich, dramatic effect and we wanted to get plenty of high-end video for PR and promotional purposes. I like a challenge and I was determined to have a ‘no compromise’ kit to shoot full-frame stills and 4K video that I could carry on a motorcycle.



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I’m still a stills guy, albeit one that shoots increasing amounts of video, so I had a fair bit of research to do. I had just taken the bold step of changing my 25-year commitment to Canon to the new-wave mirrorless world of the Sony A7R III. I still own both kits, but the Sony is considerably smaller and lighter than the Canon, which is pretty important when you’re travelling on just two wheels. The A7R III’s video capability is also incredible: in addition to 42-megapixel stills giving billboard-quality imagery, the camera offers uncropped video with all versions of 4K and up to 120 fps HD. In lowlight conditions, it’s among the best on the market, giving usable, clean imagery even at ISO 256,000, while the NP-FZ100 battery has a two-hour life (unlike its predecessor) and the camera rarely overheats while delivering a maximum 30-minute record time. Meanwhile, in-camera sound recording is no worse than any other camera and it has the usual external audio options available via the microphone jack. I had brought a full set of lenses, but wanted to save space, so I took the G Master 16-35mm f/2.8 for extreme-wide landscapes and the G Master 24-70mm f/2.8 as a more general-use lens. Both these lenses offer staggering performance, with the A7R III’s in-body stabilisation giving almost gimbal-like stability. I was tempted

ABOVE Richard Bradbury used a DJI Mavic Air to capture aerial footage of his motorcycle road trip across the US

to take the G Master 70-200mm f/2.8 along as well for a more candid look and its dreamy bokeh, but it’s a big piece of glass and this trip was really about capturing the grandeur of the ‘Big Country’, rather than compressed long shots. Historic Route 66 Our route took us out of LA across Death Valley, down towards Palm Springs then

back up to meet the iconic Route 66. We travelled through Joshua Tree and finally crossed the Mojave Desert before arriving at the largest Harley-Davidson dealership I have ever seen in Phoenix, Arizona. It didn’t take a genius to work out that, with that kind of scenery, a drone would be a useful companion in terms of producing footage for my personal use. I knew nothing about drones before this


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The latest Adobe Premiere Pro CC software offers intuitive tools to get the colours right. Soho Editors boss Rory Cantwell explains the basics WORDS RORY CANTWELL IMAGES SOHO EDITORS


ne of the great things about the Premiere Pro approach to colour correction is that it adopts the same basic controls as Adobe Lightroom, where photographers fix hundreds of images fast and on the go. With Premiere Pro‛s integrated Lumetri Color correction tools, you can do many of the same fast corrections on video, with a whole host of other tools available help stylise your footage and design more


creative looks. Let‛s have a quick look at some of the features, and how and why to use them. Colour correction and film grading is usually a two-part process. Different people use different terminology with the same aim – to make shots look great. Colour correction Fixing issues that become apparent in the edit is the first step. This might be due to

“The bright highlights on the car and horizon looked very strong in the Luma Scope” ABOVE Colour correction in Premiere Pro is efficient and effective, using the same basic controls as Lightroom


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ABOVE Footage taken at different times of the day proved problematic for colour consistency. Instead of matching one to the other, a middle ground was achieved

poor camera work, but it‛s often down to different cameras and lenses being used, or weather and lighting changes due to filming over a series of days. When the footage is edited together, it just doesn‛t flow. 1 Shot A (left) was filmed early afternoon. By the time the drone was up for shot B (right) the light was fading. In the edit, there is clearly a jump; I could have tried to push shot A and B to match, but I preferred to meet both shots midway. I used the Comparison View mode to select my shots, then jumped into the Lumetri Workspace and opened the Basic Correction panel. In Tone controls, I lifted the Exposure to see how much brighter I could make the darker shot. As the footage was filmed with a high data rate, I had quite a lot of information in the shadow areas to work with. The bright highlights on the car, road markings and horizon looked very strong in the Luma Scope, so I used the Highlights slider to bring them down. As the sun is much lower in shot B, I had darker shadows to bring up via the Shadows slider. To view the change, I hit the tick box for the Basic Correction to view Before and After. 2 Next, the medium shot of the car. The Basic Correction panel again was the best place to start. As it‛s naturally a brighter shot, I started by bringing the exposure


down and the highlights up. As I did, I noticed a hot-spot on the car, so I used the Whites slider to bring the overall white level down. As the sunlight isn‛t as low in shot A, the shadows are not as dark, so I brought the shadows down a touch. In the Comparison view the two shots looked much closer, but I wanted to tweak further. The grass in shot B was more vibrant, the grass in shot A less so, therefore I needed to be more precise in the detailing. 3 In the HSL Secondary Panel, I selected a sample of the grass colour using the colour picker. As there are a few shades present, I used the plus colour picker to increase the number of shades selected, and then tweaked the selection. Then, I used the


colour sliders and colour wheel to enhance the grass. In this case, I wanted to increase the saturation and contrast, bring the brightness down and introduce a bit more green from the colour wheel to help the grass colour match shot B. After a bit of back and forth, I could tweak both shots to bring the whole edit much closer together. 4 If you have a bunch of shots that are similar, you don‛t need to start from scratch every time. You simply select the clip with the correction you‛re happy with and hit Edit/Copy. Then find the clip you want to paste the effect to and Edit/Past Attributes. This gives you the option of which Attributes (video effects, audio effects, speed effects) you want to paste onto the clip and it instantly applies all the changes. If you have multiple shots, just select them all before hitting Paste Attributes and you‛ll have all your shots matching in no time. Some shots will be harder than others to match, but there are more tools available. Including the three-way colour wheels, you also have Hue/Saturation and Curves, which allows detailed selecting of colour based on hue, brightness and saturation. The number one tip for correction is – never use Auto correction; it‛s more trouble than it‛s worth as it uses computer values to balance, rather than the human eye. Best of all, if you don‛t trust your eye - or more likely, your monitor - you have the Scopes to check what is black, white, and what colours you are adding or removing.


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Find out how careful use of colour in your lighting design can make a huge difference to the atmosphere in your movies. Writer and director Tom Paton explains all WORDS KINGSLEY SINGLETON



Adding atmospheric colour to your movies is easier and more affordable than ever, thanks in the main to bi-colour and RGB LED lights. Bi-colour lights are usually going to give you a range of colour temperatures, say between 3150K and 6300K. So that might give you some slight variation, but if you want more striking colour effects you’ll want a full-spectrum RGB light. Of course you can always go down the route of adding gels to a white LED, too, and many lights come with bespoke options to fit directly to them.

The NanGuang RGB173 LED can be used as a stepless white light from 3200-5600K at CRI 95, and with 0-100% brightness control, as well as offering 360 more colours by mixing its red, green and blue LEDs. As well as solid colours, there’s a colour cycling mode, and flash mode to simulate effects like emergency lighting, television and firelight. The RGB173 has a 27W output and can be controlled on the light or remotely. It can run off the mains or a pair of Sony NP-F type batteries.




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ilmmaking is about transferring the ideas of a creator to a viewer. It’s like a conversation. But like any conversation, you need to use the right words, the right language, or it won’t make sense at all. “Fortunately,” says writer and director Tom Paton, “we have over 100 years of cinematic language we can draw on to get our stories across.” A huge part of the vocabulary is in the lighting of a film, he says, which is something any filmmaker can work to improve, whether they’re shooting feature films like Tom, or something smaller. Suggestive, guiding and emotional, small changes will make a big difference to mood and atmosphere. It all starts with careful planning, says Tom, where the film as a whole, as well as each scene is plotted out in terms of its lighting design before shooting starts. “It’s just like deciding on set design, costumes and the actors,” he explains, “your lighting should be just as important as those.” Literally page by page? “Yes, definitely. My director of photography is George Burt, and he is in my opinion one of the best cinematographers working today. We’ve been shooting together for 11 years, together on all five of my movies – and now we’re green-lit for a sixth – so we collaborate very well.” “On the most recent film, G-Loc, which we’ve just finished,” continues Tom, “we had our own office and we sat in there for four weeks prior to filming, mapping out camera movement and lighting. Of course you can adapt somewhat on set, but you really should be spending that time with your cinematographer to find out what the language of the film is, especially if you’re working with a DOP who might have very different ideas about what the script needs. “If that happens, the clash of ideas is going to get felt on screen, and it’s not going to work as well. You need to be on the same page, agreeing on the mood and tone, that the lighting brings.” LEFT Tom Paton shooting in a stairwell, demonstrating that the life of a filmmaker isn’t all about glamour

“Good lighting doesn’t need to cost a lot, even on a feature film, but its effect is priceless” Light on cash Good lighting doesn’t need to cost a lot, even on a feature film, but its effect is priceless. As Tom explains, on his first two films, Pandorica and Redwood, “both those movies were shot at night and they have a unique lighting palette. We were trying to get a consistent look and feel for each film, but also trying to achieve a classic horror atmosphere. Though it did very well and ended up with a bit of a cult following, the first film was very low budget. We shot it in a paintball arena in Essex at night, at ISO 20,000 on Sony A7Ss. It was real grass roots indie filmmaking, but we knew we had to give it this cinematic moonlit feel.” To get the look he wanted, Tom used “a 5K lamp to light the background and then pretty much the rest was lit with fire or with two 1K Rotolight LEDs on stands. We also had a big wedding balloon – basically a white reflective balloon filled with helium, which cost about £30 off Amazon, and we had the idea of bouncing the LED lights off


A light and powerful LED model, at home in the studio or on location. This bi-colour model gives output between 3150 and 6300K, and delivers 10,700lux output at 3ft; 70% more power than its predecessor. Dimming is flicker free and colour reproduction is an excellent CRI >96, TLCI 91. Its 72W consumption makes it efficient on location, running off V-Lock batteries. For colour effects there are gels to add to the holder and Rotolight’s CineSFX Mode for effects like lightning, gunshot and police, all remote controllable.

that. The reflection give this cool moonlight look across the set. Coupled with the lowlight performance of the camera it gave us this consistent, ethereal, almost otherworldly look to the movie. It’s not overly stylised, but it’s also got something different.” Less is more? With the success of his first movie, the budget was scaled up on his second, “so suddenly I’ve got access to all the lighting I want – three lighting trucks showed up! We shot the whole thing on the Alexa Mini and were using huge HMI lights, 18Ks and 20Ks to give the forest this moody Friday the 13th look. The thing was though, it really made me keen to go back to my indie roots next time around, as I think there can be something more interesting when you’re forced to come up with solutions. The next film, Black Site, was all shot in an old nuclear base, and we had three miles of tunnels to light. We used a lot of

KINO FLO DIVA-LITE 21 £2415/$1976

With a lightweight design and full DMX remote functions, making it easy to rig and control, the Kino Flow Select 20 offers dial-in colour temperature control between 2700-6500K, and an extended colour palette from 2500-9900K. There’s full RGB control with hue and saturation adjustment, and a series of creative effects. Light levels are flicker free and constant throughout the range, and it has a high colour rendering index of 95.


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In our last issue, we heard from David Spurdens about the journey he made from sports photographer to action film producer. One young reader got in touch to find out more HOW DO I BREAK IN? David Spurdens Action photographer and filmmaker

I’m 18 years old and currently on a gap year. As an aspiring filmmaker, specifically interested in documentary, I read your feature in Pro Moviemaker with great interest. I could relate to you in that I like the challenge filmmaking can bring. I want to shoot footage that seems impossible, which is what I think you are amazing at. Do you have any tips to pass on about entering the action sports film/photography industry? Thank you for your kind words. My advice would be that, at your age, you don’t need to limit yourself to just the documentary field. Instead, you should consider learning all aspects of the industry. Those with their jobs intact in the future will need to have multiple skills, so they can turn their hand to any aspect of filming. It may be you decide to go down just one road at a later point, but if you’ve got the skills to cover everything, then you’ll have given yourself choices. Also, learn all you can about photography, even if it’s filmmaking that primarily interests you. Stills will be relevant for a very long time yet.

“My main advice is to be polite, fair, thoughtful and to listen to those who know more than you” IMAGES The ability to take striking still images is a useful skill

Although it’s possible to take decent quality images from moving footage, you still need to know how to make a striking still image and then be capable of editing this in Photoshop to a high professional standard. So, if you’re asked during an interview whether you can handle stills you can say yes, and that will be a positive blend of skills. Remember, when you sit down for an interview in front of a prospective boss, they aren’t looking for an Oscarwinning camera operator. Rather, they’ll be hoping for someone eager, enthusiastic and as willing to make tea for everyone as they are to stay late and help out with a tough project. Those that fit into that bracket will get noticed and be given opportunities. It’s a tougher job than people imagine: the hours are long, the pay not always as great as hoped, the customers can be tricky and you’re only ever as good as your last piece of work. Having said all that, it’s a fun business to be in. You can see the world with a camera and it’s amazingly fulfilling to see your work on TV or in the cinema or a magazine. The industry is interesting and you’ll encounter really nice people along the way.

I was lucky my mum and dad bought me a camera when I was your age. My dad owned a football magazine, so I sat on the touchline during games and learned through trial and error. If I had my time again, I’d consider going on to further education to help smooth out some of the bumps. That route can be a good idea if you work hard and the course is teaching skills relevant to today’s industry. An alternative might be getting in on the ground floor with a production company: by gaining experience you can learn new skills every day. Right now, the industry is moving so fast it’s difficult for me to offer advice on what’s coming next. Whatever it is, it will be a challenge for me, too. You’ll have to learn fresh skills and they will be another string to your bow. Listen to your heart: if you think it’s a good shot, film it and see: there’s nothing to lose and a lot of knowledge to be gained. My main advice, though, is to be polite, fair, thoughtful and to listen to those who know more than you do. I still listen to people and read books by the old film directors because, even at 54 years old, I’m still learning every single day!


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A new gimbal takes to the skies, while a helicopter firm branches out into drone technology and big memory gets smaller than ever WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH



The new Shotover B1 gimbal is the smallest the firm has ever made and is ideal for mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7s with a zoom lens in a drone. Like the firm’s bigger gimbals, it is still six-axis stabilised. Shotover says the B1 is ideal for mirrorless cameras shooting for web content, TV and commercials. The B1 gimbal comes with a five-year warranty which includes maintenance, parts and labour. No price has been announced as yet. Shotover makes a huge range of highend kit including camera mounts to fit on Formula One cars, MotoGP racing bikes and even fighter jets!

Little big card It wasn’t too long ago that a 500GB hard drive was a relatively large desktop storage device. Now, you can store a mammoth 512GB of data on a tiny Samsung microSD card that has read and write speeds to humble many desktop drives. The EVO Plus 512GB MicroSDXC is a Class 10 UHS-1 Grade U3 microSD memory card with very fast read and write speeds up to 100MB/s and 90MB/s. That means it’s ideal for everything from drones and motorised gimbals, as well as phones. And as it comes with an SD adapter, it can be used in DSLR and mirrorless cameras and camcorders to record footage up to 4K. It comes with a 10-year warranty, is designed to withstand up to 72 hours in seawater and isn’t affected by extreme temperatures of -25 to 85C, airport

X-Ray machines and magnetic fields. In our tests, it coped with the cold of a snowy winter’s day and the heat of summer in a DJI Phantom 3 Pro and DJI Spark drones without any issues. Samsung claims 512GB is enough for 24 hours of 4K video, 78 hours of HD video or 150,300 photos. Just don’t lose a full card! At £164/$199, it’s fast, has a huge capacity and is rugged.

Although it usually flies fullsized choppers to get aerial shots, Helicopter Film Services has built its own drone to carry big cinema cameras like the Arri Alexa 65 and even film cameras such as the Panaflex. It’s called the Titan and can obviously fly in places where a full-size helicopter can’t. It was completely designed and constructed in HFS’ own engineering department. “The development has been going on for around a year and we’re building the production model at the moment,” said the firm’s Jeremy Braben. The Titan carries a parachute in case of an engine failure. “Others do have parachutes, but ours can be tested and repacked,” he said. “Battery management is a big thing; we’ve had to work around existing technology and that hasn’t really allowed us more power along with less weight yet. But as new technology comes along, we’ll obviously adopt that. “We’re also looking at a lot of other industries to market our drone. There are a lot of other applications and some of them involve small and very lightweight aircraft.” There is no news of the Titan’s price, but it’s believed HFS would prefer to rent out the kit complete with a skilled operator.


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Capturing the drama of motocross

Award-winning filmmaker Mikey Neale has always tried to inject a cinematic style into his motor sports videography, so when he was asked to test the three new Sigma cine prime lenses on location in Spain, he jumped at the chance


hether you are spectating or taking part, there’s nothing quite like the adrenaline-fuelled excitement of motor sports: the flashing speed, the chest-rumbling sound and the nail-biting tension create a buzz that is hard to match. However, remote locations and restricted access have encouraged videographers to adopt handheld and shoulder-mounted techniques, making it harder for them to capture the true atmosphere of the environment. Motor sports filmmaker, Mikey Neale, has spent his career going to great lengths to do things a little differently, bringing a dramatic, cinematic feel to an otherwise documentary-style genre. “Even when I started doing off-road motorcycle films I didn’t shoot the typical motor sports filmmaking,” says Neale. And his commitment to his art didn’t just earn him a reputation for great videography. “I tried to make more cinematic choices in terms of framing and lens choices to a point where at times I used to drag a mini

jib around with me on an off-road track. People thought I was crazy,” he laughs. This commitment has paid off, with Mikey having had the pleasure of working with the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi and, thankfully, these days achieving his trademark style is not quite as difficult. “I think it’s easier now for anyone to put a cinematic quality and style on things. Everything’s getting more affordable and more portable, giving you the opportunity to mimic these larger budget moves and shots,” Neale explains. This is a big reason why he is such a fan of the new Sigma prime lens line-up. The FF High Speed Prime Line is a collection of ten high-quality cine lenses that range from 14mm to 135mm at T1.5 or T2. Most recently, Neale has been using the three latest additions: the 28mm T1.5, 40mm T1.5 and 105mm T1.5, which he sees as the perfect match for his Red Epic M-X. “I think it’s a really good combination and in a way I wish I hadn’t tested them, because I think it’s going cost me a bit of money now,” he says, grinning.

“Some lenses get a little soft on the edges when they’re wide open, but I didn’t see that with these Sigma primes”

ABOVE The three latest additions to the Sigma prime lens line-up were the perfect combination for Neale’s recent shoot of a commercial film in Spain, which included shots of trail riding



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ABOVE For the action shots, Neale used the Sigma 105mm T1.5 the most and then the 28mm T1.5

Neale is currently shooting a commercial film in Spain for a motocross clothing brand using exclusively Sigma glass. The shoot was split into three parts: enduro, which features trail riding and big landscapes; motocross, which involves a set track and jumps; and finally some portraiture of the riders modelling the products. With the three Sigma lenses in his bag, he had the perfect combination for the shots he needed. “From an action point of view, the 105mm T1.5 was the lens we used the most. Then the next one was the 28mm T1.5. We used the 40mm T1.5 for the portraiture shot to try and get a natural perspective,” Neale explains. He goes on to commend the durability of the lenses on location. “This type of shoot is probably the ultimate test for a lens, because you’re talking about lots of rocks, stones and dust getting thrown around, but I have every confidence in the

lenses in this type of tough environment. They feel incredibly well built,” he reveals. In addition to build quality, Sigma’s prime lenses are renowned for their image quality, a sentiment echoed by Neale. “I’ve used the Art lenses in the past and I’ve always been impressed with how sharp and how well those images resolve. “The in-focus areas are pin-sharp and there’s a really nice milkiness and smoothness to the out-of-focus areas.” He was also impressed with the colour rendition and contrast in a variety of lighting conditions. “We were shooting in quite bright sunshine a lot of the time, which means we had a lot of natural contrast anyway, but even when we did lose the sun, and it got a little more overcast and cloudy, there was still good contrast in the image,” he says. Upon moving inside, Neale was also impressed with the speed of the Sigma primes. “Sigma is really pushing the envelope in terms of speed and flexibility. I shot between wide open at T1.5 to T1.8 and didn’t stop down any further than that,

but even the wide-open images were tack sharp. Some lenses get a little soft on the edges when they’re wide open, but I didn’t see any problem like that with these Sigma primes, which is really impressive.” For Neale, this trio of lenses completes a full-frame cine prime range that offers everything a filmmaker could want, not to mention made his life a lot easier. “I had my Red, four batteries plus the three prime lenses all in a bag that I could jump on a plane and fly with, so they’re certainly portable,” he enthuses. “Optically they’re excellent, sharpness is great and the three focal lengths give you the variety you need as a cinematographer.”

More information


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JVC’s affordable new 4K camcorder is packed with spec to make live streaming easier than ever WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH


or independent filmmakers taking a tentative step into the potentially lucrative realm of live streaming, there’s a brave new world of exciting – yet potentially complicated – emerging technologies. It’s only been in recent years that live streaming on social media platforms has become not only possible, but in high demand from clients. Whether it’s for streaming church services, sporting fixtures, product launches or gigs, there is a demand for professional streaming that’s superior to a smartphone – and there’s cash to pay for it. With broadband Wi-Fi, 4G (and soon 5G) mobile technology and even wired ethernet, it’s now possible to stream your footage without massive expense. And of course, the general public use the same technology to see content on their smartphones, tablets, laptops or smart TVs. The reality is that live video streaming is not new at all and has been around for decades. It’s live TV, but this used to be the domain of broadcasters with finely honed technology, big outside broadcast trucks and satellite uplinks.


So, it’s perhaps no surprise that the camera company really leading the headlong charge into streaming for non-traditional broadcasters is one that has experience with making workhorse kit for TV companies. JVC has taken what it has learned from years of working with television and blended it with the latest large-chip sensor technology in its brand new range of cameras, like the GY-HC500 – the most affordable of the range. What you might say was the predecessor to this camera – the JVC GY-HM660 – sold in bucketloads to TV firms who wanted broadcastready, ENG-style portable cameras that could be used by trained cameramen or news journalists grabbing a camera for run-and-gun work. The BBC alone bought over 700 of them, and they are still in daily use. But technology has moved on, and the demand is now for larger sensors, with their great low-light performance and shallow depth-offield to give a cinematic look, plus 4K and HDR, as well as streaming. All those things are in the new HC500, which at £3180/$3900 is actually cheaper than the HM660, which uses three smaller sensors and has no 4K or HDR. It’s easy to understand why demand for the HC500 has been high since it was unveiled to the public. But filmmakers have to wait a little longer to get their hands on one, as the camera may be available to pre-order, but its spec and firmware has not been finalised. We got our hands on a fully-functioning prototype, but as it’s not a final product, it would be unfair to take a critical look at the actual footage. But getting up close and personal with the camera shows it’s a seriously professional bit of kit, with a

SPECIFICATIONS Price: £3180/$3900 Sensor: 1-inch CMOS, 9.35 megapixels Formats: 4K 60/50p 10-bit, 4K 30/25/24p 4:2:2 10-bit 150/70Mbps H.264, HD to 120fps 4:2:2 10-bit 50-8Mbps, Apple ProRes 422, MPEG-4. MOV, MP4 Colour profiles: HLG, J-Log1, Rec. 709, BT. 2020 Dynamic range: 12 stops Storage: 2 x SDXC slots. SSD slot Lens: 20x zoom, 9.43188.6mm f/2.8-4.5 (equivalent to 28-560mm) Image stabilisation: Optical Autofocus: AF with face detection, customisable AD speed, sensitivity and area Output: HDMI, 3G-SDI, ethernet Shutter range: 1/6-1/10,000sec Screen: 10cm/3.97-inch LCD Audio: Integrated microphones, 2 x XLR inputs with phantom power support Dimensions (WxHxD): 195x230x445mm/ 7.68x9.06x17.5in Weight: 3.1kg/6.83lb


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JVC HC500 significant weight and ruggedness to it. It’s meant to be tough, and has a splash-proof body made out of magnesium. The JVC-branded lens has a decent amount of glass in it in order to be useable in manual focus mode, as well as provide a fast maximum aperture and an image circle large enough to cover the oneinch CMOS sensor. What really makes the HC500 special is its connectivity, and JVC has gone to extreme lengths to ensure it comes with the most number of options compared to its rivals, allowing streaming via a range of networks to most of the popular streaming services, including Facebook and YouTube. To stream, you can either plug the camera into a wired network via its ethernet socket, or use an inexpensive plug-in Wi-Fi or 4G dongle. The camera’s big brother, the more expensive HC550, comes with its own Wi-Fi built in. It also has the TV-standard MXF format, GPS

“The HC500 can stream in HD or SD at up to 24Mbps with very low latency” and broadcast overlays, so is more suitable for TV use. The HC500 camera can stream in HD or SD at up to 24Mbps with very low latency of around 0.5secs. That’s a very high bit rate for streaming, as Facebook Live only runs at 5Mbps and Sky Sports transmits live football at 12Mbps. So 24Mbps is way above what anyone currently needs and is a great future-proofing option. When the camera is connected to a network, its controls can be altered remotely via a smartphone or PC, and there’s an auto FTP mode, so as soon as each clip is shot, it automatically transfers to an FTP server ready


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Our round-up of great kit we’ve tested in this issue includes a bright cameratop monitor, roller bag, hard drive, motorised gimbal, lenses and more WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH, KINGSLEY SINGLETON, WILL CHEUNG & PHIL RHODES


If you have lots of experience setting up audio equipment, then there are already many full-featured wireless kits available with suitable pro-level adjustment. However, to many, audio is not only a black art but is filled with equipment that has complex settings. Sennheiser comes to the rescue with the latest XS Wireless Digital series that still offers the professional-level audio quality, but in kit that’s minimal and offers easy plug-and-play use. At the heart of the system are the cylindrical wireless and transmitter packs which are much smaller than the conventional Sennheiser wireless systems. You plug your mic into the stereo input jack on the transmitter, and the receiver comes with a clip-on hotshoe mount that sits on top of your camera, and plugs into the mic socket with the included coiled lead. Turn both the packs on with the single button and they automatically link up together. You’re ready to shoot. Pushing the main button once mutes the audio. Hold the button for three

“We had no dropouts, just clear and crisp audio” 62


seconds and the kit powers down. It’s that simple, and worked flawlessly every time we used it. The units are charged via USB which lasts for up to five hours, and are part of a whole system so you can use them for live performances or anything else that needs to transmit audio wirelessly. The kit we tried was the ENG kit which adds the ME 2-II clip-on lavalier mic, and a second transmitter with an XLR mount that you can use on a handheld mic. We tried it with one of Sony’s E835 cardioid mics which costs a reasonable £74/$99. The lav mic was crisp, clear and to our ears every bit as good as Sennheiser’s more expensive audio wireless kits – but obviously without the control these offer. The XLR worked excellently and was simply plug-andplay. It’s simple and fuss free. We had no dropouts, just clear and crisp audio. The range is claimed to be 75 metres/250 feet in ideal conditions. We tried them outdoors past this distance and they still worked. But like all 2.4GHz systems, objects in the way

ABOVE Add a handheld mic and you’re ready to shoot

SPECIFICATIONS Range: 75m/250ft Audio frequency response: 10-18,000Hz Audio output: Max 12dBu Signal-to-noise ratio: >106dB Run time: 5 hours Wireless network: 2.4GHz External charging: USB Connections: USB-A, ⅛in mic socket, XLR

or electrical interference can reduce this. AD PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING: 9/10 Light, easy to use, affordable, very portable and expandable into a full system. All this makes these ideal for the less tech obsessed Pros: Very simple to use, small and light Cons: No full manual control


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SPECIFICATIONS Number of axes: 3 (360º pitch, roll and yaw) Connectivity: USB and Bluetooth Battery type: 2x 26500 5v 3200mAh rechargeable Battery life: 12 hours

No moviemaker’s kit is complete without a gimbal to add stability to motion shots. The market is full of options to suit all sorts of camera sizes and budgets. Increasingly popular are motorised versions with extra features, such as Benro’s RedDog R1. For instance, via a dedicated app, the R1 allows motion control effects and remote camera control. It’s not the first gimbal to do this, but it’s reasonably priced and works well. The R1 will take a payload of up to 1.8kg or 3.97lb, but we found using a Nikon D850 with a 20mm f/1.8 lens a bit unwieldy. It’s OK with most mirrorless cameras. The instructions aren’t exactly clear when it comes to setting up and balancing, but a series of Benro’s videos online explain everything. Each axis is unlocked by a knurled locking knob, then you slide an arm to achieve equilibrium. The only thing that would improve it would be to incorporate a geared mechanism to take some of the randomness out of pushing and pulling the metal arms, but overall balancing was quick and easy. You then connect the Benro RedDog app to the R1, update the firmware and calibrate it, then you’re off and running. There are three main stabilising modes, which are cycled through with a downward dab of the on/off button, and each is identified by a change in colour of the main LED.

RIGHT The Benro RedDog R1 is ideal for Sony A series cameras

Maximum load: 1.8kg/3.97lb Dimensions: 156x171x338mm/ 6.14x6.73x13.31in Weight: 879g/1.94lb (without battery)

“The RedDog R1 is reasonably priced and works well”

BELOW Small, mirrorless cameras are easy to balance and use

Horizontal Follow (red) keeps the camera horizontal, but gives you control of aiming, so for instance you can pan around corners and follow a subject. Locked Down (blue) keeps you pointing in a single direction. Universal Follow (pink) is the most free of the three, smoothing camera movement in whatever direction you’re aiming. Smoothness can be tweaked using the app, so you can set pan and tilt between Weak and Strong boundaries, Strong making movement a bit more ‘whippy’. Ultimately, test footage was smooth, and any juddery movements were either human error or just required slight recalibration to fix. Horizontal and vertical adjustment can also be set to dampen your own movements, or make the gimbal more responsive. As well as set-up and calibration, the app lets you trigger stills or video, aim the camera and zoom the lens, assuming you’ve connected to the gimbal via a USB lead. The rate of zoom can also be set. There’s a Motion Time-lapse mode that lets you set the number of shots, interval, and the path of the camera throughout the time-lapse, from +/60º vertically to 0-150º horizontally, as well its starting position. To do it, you plot points on a graph. This worked really well, and power can be supplied from gimbal to camera for longer working, though only on Sony models. One issue I found was I could only control the camera along an anticlockwise horizontal axis; there didn’t seem to be an option to send it the other way, but Benro claims this should be added in a firmware update.

The rubberised handle gives a good grip, and all the main controls can be accessed by forefinger or thumb, so it can be used one-handed. The R1 also has a Swivel function, switching its orientation from 0 to 90º for low angle work where the camera hangs under the under unit. To do it you unlock and turn a joint above the controls; this took some getting used to, because the natural thing is to hold the rubberised grip and twist – but this will unscrew the battery compartment. The R1 also comes with a mini tripod, for static shooting and calibration, but the screw can be used to fit a boom. Because of the position of the roll axis motor behind the camera, it could block the screen a little, but the camera would have to be sitting quite far back. Using cameras with fully articulating screens obviously removes the issue, but the position of the screen needs to be set before balancing. KS PRO MOVIEMAKER RATING: 8/10 An affordable gimbal that will make an immediate difference to your shooting Pros: Build, price and ease of use Cons: Minor handling issues


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CINEMA CAMERAS We look at the best accessories for three of the most popular cameras used by independent filmmakers WORDS ADAM DUCKWORTH


f you own one of the latest Super35 cinema cameras, then you have the basis to create incredible films, good enough for Netflix and Hollywood, as well as commercial clients’ YouTube and Facebook accounts and everything else in between. Although cameras like the Panasonic EVA1, Canon EOS C200 and Sony FS7 II might be usable right out of the box, they can still be improved by rigging them up with various accessories. Some of these are to improve the handling – or perhaps make up for some design niggle that only surfaces after extended use. Others can actually improve the footage you record by unlocking higher-quality images or audio. So, we take a long look at three of the most popular cinema cameras that we have significant experience with, with lots of feedback from regular users added in. Here are some of the must-buy bits and pieces you should consider flashing the cash on.




If cash flow isn’t a problem, take a look at this Vocas rig kit for the Canon C200, which features a very high-end matte box, top handle, camera cage, follow focus, viewfinder kit and pretty much everything else you could ever need to make the C200 into a camera that can do everything – including the handle extension kit, which really does make the C200 work far more ergonomically. Instead of an actual kit, all the components are bought separately, so you only need to buy what you really want. The heart of the system is the new USBP15 Mark II baseplate, which has the cage and top cheese plate bolted to it, to provide lots of mounting options for accessories. There’s also the quick-release dovetail plate, which makes for fast attachment to tripods and is adjustable for easy balancing. There’s also a safety lock to avoid accidental opening of the quick release. This rig uses Vocas’ high-end MB-436 matte box, which has one fully rotatable 4x5.65-inch or 5.65-inch square filter frame, and one fixed. It comes with a French flag and internal eyebrows for maximum lens flare reduction, and fits lenses up to a maximum of 143mm in diameter. There’s a retro-style walnut palm support and focus knob, which offers different gear ratios for fast ENG or slower cinema use. The rotation direction is reversible. There are 15mm lens supports and the Vocas handgrip system for going handheld. The 15mm viewfinder adapter can be mounted on the original handgrip and has a 15mm rod to mount any NATO accessory. The top handgrip kit has an adjustable and reversible handgrip position, multiple coldshoe attachments, 15mm top rails cheese plate, detachable 15mm viewfinder bracket and pins for attaching a carrying strap.


ZEISS LWZ.3 21-100MM LENS £8484/$9900

Canon obviously makes a huge range of EF-fit lenses, from cheap and small stills primes to expensive cine lenses. But a benefit of the Canon EF mount is that many other lens makers also sell optics to fit. And you’d go a long way to get anything better and more compact, given its range, than the Zeiss Lightweight Zoom LWZ.3 21-100mm lens. It’s a true cine zoom lens that’s designed to be as parfocal as possible and avoid focus breathing. And it has the unique Zeiss look and quality, plus the T* coatings to avoid ghosting. It focuses as close as 0.8 metres and has a front diameter of 114mm, so can be fitted with many cine accessories. The lens features nearly 300° of focus rotation that provides for accurate focus pulls. If your aspirations are potentially to use even more high-end cameras in future, the Zeiss can be converted to a PL mount.


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Sometimes it’s the smallest, least expensive accessory that can really make a big difference to your films. And once you’ve tried to use the Canon C200 outside on a bright sunny day with the standard monitor, you will definitely understand the need for something to take the glare away. SmallRig’s SR2085 sun hood costs just £15.60/$17 and uses hook-and-loop fasteners to mount to the monitor. It weighs just 38g and folds up flat into a small package that you won’t even notice in your kit bag. Once on the monitor, its black anti-reflect material makes a huge difference to being able to really see what’s going on. Don’t leave home without one.


If you ever need to protect your Canon C200 from rain and dust, then you should take a look at this custom Portabrace cover especially designed for the camera. It’s made with a tough nylon outer to fend off the worst of the elements and a soft interior to minimise any damage to your gear. The cover material is waterproof and breathable, to stop the camera lens steaming up or any condensation forming inside the delicate internals. It can also be used with the viewfinder and shoe-mount grip still in place.


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