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Hello From Beijing at the BIRTV Show

BIRTVI am always looking for new products, better ways to do things and cutting costs … that’s why I am the Frugal Filmmaker.

With so many products now coming out of China I thought why not go there and see what they are doing. And no place better than to start with the BIRTV (Beijing International Radio & Television) show in Beijing. I was asked by Personal-View.com to cover the show for them and their YouTube Channel.

BIRTV

Alan Halfhill at BIRTV

Similar to the NAB in Las Vegas, this is a huge show for Chinese manufacturers of broadcast and filmmaking equipment.  In four full days at the show I could barely cover 3 of the 8 buildings. It was mostly indoors with some outdoors displays. What I did learn about was some amazing new products from some great Chinese manufactures. There was, accessories for cameras, lighting, monitors and microphones that were top notch, world class as these firms are the manufactures for other well-known Companies. In the camera gear area there were new cages, rails, cheese plates, shoulder rigs and gimbals. Also, I found incredible monitors, small lightweight, high rez and a low price. 4K Larger monitors are being put into flight cases. Very cool. The lighting was almost all LED now and much better than earlier units with a better quality of light. There are all types, from big high powered Fresnel’s to small on camera lights. The new category is flexible LED lights.

The whole experience was wonderful and the Chinese welcomed me with open arms. In most of the booths the people were young and quite a few spoke English. There were a lot of women working the booths also.

I really like Beijing. It is a modern city with English words on most street signs because of the Olympic a few years back. There was English names on the Subway system when we took a ride. All the younger people had cellphones and were in them just as much as our young people do. The older ones did not as much.

Where we were staying was a Chinese hotel near the convention center in what I would call an upscale part of town. We ate at local Chinese restaurants and walked with the other commuters to the Expo Hall. It was quicker than taking a taxi in crowded traffic. We found at quite a few restaurants the menu was written in English as well as Chinese. Also, there were pictures. The food was great and not like our Americanized versions. Westerners are still new to the locals as they would look at us and my wife had her picture taken with two women for no reason.

To learn more, watch my BIRTV product interviews at the Personal-View channel on YouTube or just click the link below. Please subscribe to the channel as that is where my reporting is being done. Happy Filming.

Insta360 Nano Unboxing

Insta360 Nano
Insta360 Nano

Insta360 Nano

A camera has arrived here at frugalfilmmakers.com and it is for my iPhone. The Insta360 Nano. A very small 360 degree camera. Lets see what it is.

This little camera mounts in the iPhone lighting connector with the phone upside down. It is easy to set up and use as you will see.

Here are my first samples of it in action:

Photos with my 360 degree Camera

Posted by FrugalFilmmakers.com on Saturday, April 15, 2017

Here is the video it can produce:

GH5 DMW XLR1 Audio Adapter Setup and Tests

With my new Lumix GH5, I bought the DMW XLR1 Audio Adapter to add XLR connector audio to the camera. This optional adapter is powered by the camera with no cables. It slides intro the hot shoe of the camera and makes a direct connection. It is very lightweight and compact. The are all the controls that one needs for getting great audio. This the first still hybrid camera that is a true video (motion picture) camera because of the audio adapter.

On the unit there is plenty of controls. It has 2 XLR inputs with line, mic and mic plus 48 volts for phantom power switchable independently. Gain controls of +20db, 0db, -20db independently. Low cut of 160 hz, 16 hz and Off. 2 audio gain knobs. The choice of channel 1 and channel 1 on two audio channels for a mono signal or channel 1 and channel 2 for a stereo signal. All this is controlled by independent preamps

We will do some tests with it to see how it sounds with voice. More GH5 videos coming soon.

Its Here! The Lumix GH5

The camera has arrived. The Lumix GH5 is here. Panasonic has pulled out all the stops on this one. They did not hold back. They did give us the farm. This is the camera that has changed the independent filmmakers dream. At $2000 it is not a cheap camera but thousands less than the competition.

This the first still hybrid camera that is a true video (motion picture) camera. It can record as long as you want with a long lasting battery. There are two SD card slots so relay recording (swap cards out while recording) can be done. It has XLR audio with an optional adapter than is powered by the camera with no cables. It Does Not Overheat! It is whether sealed (I don't know of any video cameras that are). All manual controls for every aspect of the camera. White balance, ISO (DB), shutter (angle), audio, frame rate and image size up to 4K video.

There are things that new as well. In body image stabilization is long overdue. Now any lens mounted on the camera can be stabilized even all manual lenses. The 4K mov files can be recorded at 60 frames per second for slow motion. The 4K and can now be recorded with 10bit 422 color. (Right now does play well on my MacBook Pro Touch Bar so I have transcoded it to ProRes.) XLR adapter for audio. Waveform and vectorscope displays on the free angle LCD.

We will be testing and using this camera so check FrugalFilmmakers.com for more videos. Coming soon are tests of the audio adapter, the Menus and more!

Here is the introduction.

SLR Magic 8mm f4 Review

This is a review of the SLR Magic 8mm f4. It is a new lens from SLR Magic, a Hong Kong based company. They gave an opportunity to review this lens.

The first thing that strikes one is how small and light this lens is. It is like a 16mm lens but covers the full Micro FourThirds image sensor. I seems very well made with all metal construction. I has a click less aperture ring which is designed for video recording. The whole lens seems designed for video and drone photography as the focus ring is lockable. It is designed to be set and forgotten.

The lens is not fast in aperture at f4 and is best used at 5.6 and beyond, with maximum sharpness about f8. Flare improves at 5.6 as well. Being a rectilinear lens, it is very well corrected when looking straight forward. Very little wide angle distortion. Corners improve with aperture closing down.

Flickr Album

SLR Magic 8mm

This would be nice of any videographer or still photographer who wants a very small, simple and light weight lens that is well made. Easily fits in any bag. This lens is ideal for drone operators who use Micro FourThirds cameras as it is the widest lens that fits on the DJI Inspire M43 version and YUNEEC H920 PLUS.

Watch the video for a look at the exciting new lens.

GH5 First Look

GH5 vs GH4

Mark Toal from Panasonic was at Kenmore Camera on January 23 to demo the new Lumix GH4. This is an exciting new camera from Panasonic introduced at Photokina and revealed at CES this January. This is a preproduction sample. He had 2 for being looked at. These cameras were still being finalized and had beta firmware. Some of the menu items did not work. The camera will be available at the end of March for $1999.99.

The camera is bigger and a little heavier than the GH4. The camera no longer has a built in flash. They have added a joystick for pointing to an autofocus point. One of the wonderful things that did not change was the battery which is already great. The 4K video is no longer cropped smaller than the sensor. Dual I.S 2.0 stabilization is added so any lens is stabilized. The camera now has 2 SD card slots. There is now a full size HDMI port with an adapter that can be screwed into the body to lock the cable from pulling out while recording.

The best improvement is the new audio adapter that sits in the hot shoe. The DMW-XLR1 audio adapter will be available at the same time as the camera for 399.99.. It has a direct connection to the camera and is powered (not extra batteries to charge) by the camera's internal battery. Bad news for cage owners, as it mounts only on top of the camera.

Overall this is a major upgrade over the GH4.

Here are some of the specs about the camera:

It includes cutting-edge 4K 60p (4:2:0 8-bit) and 30p (4:2:2 10-bit) in-camera cinematic video, 5Ghz Wi-Fi + Bluetooth for fast connection and image transfer, lightning fast DFD focusing, Dual I.S 2.0 stabilization and exposure technologies not possible with traditional DSLRs. With the exclusive LUMIX 4K PHOTO (~8MP, 30/60 fps) & brand new 6K PHOTO mode (~18MP, 30 fps), simply pause that perfect moment from vide to produce printable high resolution photos.
20.3MP Four Thirds sensor with no low pass filter.
4K Video: Internal recording at 4K60/50p (4:2:0 8bit) & 4K30/25p/24p (4:2:2 10bit).
Variable Video Frame Rates 4K: Max. 60fps & FHD: Max. 180fps.
5-Axis Photo/Video Dual I.S. 2.0 up to 5 stops with compatible LUMIX MFT lenses, plus in-body stabilization support for classic non-O.I.S lenses.
DFD focusing system for fast and accurate focusing utilizing LUMIX 480 fps and Venus Engine 10
Full size (Type A) HDMI terminal with cable lock included & twin SD Card slots (UHS-II U3 Compatible).
3.5mm mic & headphone terminals – optional DMW-XLR1 microphone adaptor.
Eye viewfinder 3680k-dot OLED, 21mm, 0.76x.
V-LogL recording with (Optional) DMW-SFU1 paid upgrade.

Here is a video with Mark Toal.

Blackmagic Video Assist 4K Settings, Audio and 720p on the GH4

BMDVA4K Settings and 720p

In this second review I show most of the settings on the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K. Also the XLR adapter cable arrived so I could test out the Mini XLR audio. I did some tests in the most space efficient mode, 720P PR Proxy. 1 hour and 18 minutes is possible on a 32 GB HC card.  Also is shown how to format a SD card. A 32 GB HC or smaller cards need to be reformatted for ExFat from Fat32. They will no longer work in the GH4 formatted as ExFat. 64 GB XC cards are already formatted as ExFat. Cards formatted in the Video Assist do not work in the GH4 but a GH4 formatted 64 GB XC card does work in the Video Assist.

The mini XLR cables can be purchased at Amazon.

Always tune into www.frugalfilmmakers.com to see the latest videos and reviews. The Blackmagic Video Assist 4K can be ordered now through Adorama.

Blackmagic Video Assist 4K UnBoxing and the GH4

Blackmagic Video Assist 4K UnBoxing and the GH4 copy

The new Blackmagic Video Assist 4K was introduced at NAB2016 this year and is now available. Quite a lot of features for the money: UHD 4K recording, SDI and HDMI inputs and outputs, Mini XLR audio, ProRes Proxy, LT, Standard and HQ recording, Canon LP-E6 batteries, a mental frame all with a 1080p touch display.

Watch this to see it on a GH4 and some early tests. This is the first video and covers some of the basic operation. There will be more that cover cards and audio.

The Blackmagic Video Assist 4K can be ordered through Adorama for $895.00

 

Shot with the Video Assist and GH4: