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NAB is Over – An Overall Video Report


The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention just concluded in Las Vegas.  One of the reasons I go to NAB is to meet up with old friends and make new ones. It was great to see them and compare notes.  I saw the latest and greatest.  I will be filing some 20+ reports.

I saw trends at the show that are encouraging to frugal filmmakers.  The technology is getting better.  Also, Micro Four Thirds saw a significant new camera from Black Magic Design.  One guy had a GH3 on a steady cam like rig.  4K was everywhere.  In the Sony booth was four 4K cameras.  Another trend was the use of Global Shutters in cameras. A global shutter is like the shutter on a motion picture camera.  It exposes all of the image at once so there is no rolling shutter and skew unlike the standard CMOS sensor.  Alas, my GH3 does not have a global shutter.  My next camera probably will.

The rig used for my video reports was just me, my GH3 with the Lumix 12-35 f2.8 Power O.I.S. lens, head phones and the Rode Video Mic Pro.  Nothing else or no rig. Very few traveled as light as I.

Get your GH3 here and check out the Lumix G X 12-35mm f2.8 Pro Zoom here while they stay in stock!

This is the first report that I recorded from NAB 2013.

Frugal Will Be At NAB This Year, Will You?


Frugal will be t NAB this year, will you?  That's right it is that time again when to get out your walking shoes.  There are miles of exhibit floor to explore for to interview exhibitors about the latest and greatest for the Frugal Filmmaker.  Monday thru Wednesday we will be wandering the halls.

A little background on the NAB show.  The National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas is the biggest media convention of the year.  NAB is one of the biggest conventions to hit Las Vegas.  91,000+ media and entertainment professionals from 150+ countries; 63 delegations attend. They spend over $20.7 billion (USD) in purchasing power. With over 1,500+ Exhibiting companies and 805,000 net square feet of floor space this convention is huge.

Every industry employs audio and video to communicate, educate and entertain. They all come together at NAB Show for creative inspiration and next-generation technologies to help breathe new life into their content: Broadcast, Digital Media, Film, Entertainment, Telecom, Production/ Post-Production, Education, Houses of Worship, Advertising, Military/Government, Retail, Security, Sports, IT and more.  A few years ago the show was opened up to all media producers as we use some of the same gear.  Now I would say media is more important than broadcasting.

There is a twitter hash tag for the post content: #PostChat  for the show: #NABShow  another: #NAB2013

Follow frugal on twitter at: halfmac  On Facebook too.

Apple Aims To Win Over Video Editors

The LA Times featured an articleScreen shot Peak Limiter about how Apple is starting to win back video editors.  They don't need to for me as FCPX has become my editor of choice.

“The backlash over Apple's redesign of Final Cut Pro video editing software two years ago was so severe that even slashing the price by $700, to $299, caused an uproar.”

Doddleme also has an article.  “Here at doddle, both the co-founder Jim Robertson and I are big fans of Final Cut Pro X, and I often post video tutorials from both Ripple Trainingand Larry Jordan. We feel that FCP X is the fastest, most powerful and modern NLE out there. Two years after their big announcement at NAB 2011, and the release that summer, Apple is ready to win back pro editors, and they’ve released the 8th update to the software that found itself at the center of controversy.”

I commented:  I use FCPX professionally and love it. It took a while to grow on me. I look forward to when I use it. It is the best editor on the market right now at least for me. I have to whole Adobe Production Suite and I still use FCPX. It is the fastest editor. Apple has challenged the editing community to rethink the non-linar editor. FCPX feels more like film editing than video editing.”

Apple has released an new update to Final Cut Pro X.  The new update brings FCP X to 10.0.8, and features include:
▪ Support for Sony XAVC codec up to 4K resolution
▪ Option to display ProRes Log C files from ARRI ALEXA cameras with standard Rec. 709 color and contrast levels
▪ Resolves an issue where some third-party effects generated green frames during render
▪ Resolves performance issues that could occur with certain titles and effects
▪ Time reversed clips render in the background
▪ Ability to use key commands to adjust Clip Appearance settings in the timeline
▪ Ability to view reel number metadata located in the timecode track of video files
▪ Mono audio files in a surround project export with correct volume levels
▪ Drop zones no longer reset to the first frame of video after application restart
▪ Fixes a performance issue which resulted from selecting multiple ranges on a single clip
▪ Fixes an issue where the Play Around function did not work properly on certain clips when viewed through external video devices


Bought the Nik Software Suite for Huge Discount


For those of you who do photography as well as motion pictures, Google has reduced the price of the entire Nik image software suite from $499 to just $149.  There are coupon codes allegedly giving further savingsIf you do purchase the collection enter the code DZISER at checkout for an additional 25% off.

If you purchased one of the programs recently they'll give you the rest for free.  This comes with an assurance from Google that the famous imaging tools aren't going to be abandoned (Google acquired Nik last fall—primarily, it was widely believed, to get Snapseed. That left the fate of the rest of Nik's products not in limbo but in doubt.)

The present offer includes Nik's famous Sharpener (the latest Pro 3 version). Nik software is prized by a great many photographers and post-processing ninjas.  The download process is efficient and quick and loads right into your applicable programs.

To see more go to the opening page of the Nik Software site or just Google “Nik software.”


Oly 45mm f1.8 Mini Review – This is a Great Lens

Olympus 45mm f1.8

One of my mini reviews at Adorama Camera.

When I bought this lens, I really did not think that I really needed it. I was wrong. I use this lens a lot. It is small, compact, lightweight and is in my bag always. If i what low depth of field, this is a great lens for this.  Did I mention that it is sharp. Yes.

The other usage it is getting is for video. It is a great interview lens because of the low depth of field. The background blur is wonderful. I am not using it as much because of the 35-100mm Lumix lens. Still it is a great lens and a lot smaller than the Lumix. I use it on my GH2 and AF100 and now my GH3.

Thank you Olympus.

Adorama White 20″ Umbrella

Originally submitted at Adorama

Adorama White, 20″ Umbrella with Universal Swivel Holder


By halfmac from Pacific Northwest on 3/26/2013
4out of 5

Pros: Durable, Reliable, Easy To Use, Lightweight

Best Uses: Macro Photography, Landscape Photography, Traveling, Studio, Home, Everyday use, Portraits

Describe Yourself: Professional

Was this a gift?: No

I needed another umbrella for my LED lights and this was at a good price so I bought it. It turned out a little smaller than I thought it would be but it still works just fine. The swivel holder does not work with the brackets for my LED lights. I could recommend it to someone else.

A Bright Idea

R-300 LED Light

R-300 LED Light


There is new light flicker-free for photography and video, with an excellent quality light coming from it at an excellent price, so we picked up 2 of them them.  F&V is the company behind the popular Z96 LED video light and they have one exciting product that is now available, the R-300 LED Video Ring Light.  Perfect for portraits, interviews, or any scene calling for a soft, full light.

Starting at $199 dollars, the R-300 LED Light features 300 daylight-balanced LEDs which produce 1950 Lux @ 1-meter. With this output, the ring light is equivalent in power to a conventional 1×1 light panel. The video from the light is brighter than Litepanel’s $1800 dollar 1×1. An onboard dimmer offers seamless power variation from 0-100%. Keep your shoots portable with the built-in battery plate, or power your R-300 through the wide-voltage DC jack to keep the juice running all day. (60 min with a Sony NP-F550 battery) Battery and AC Adapter Sold Separately. I use the ac adapters that came with my Seagate Backup Plus hard drives.

R-300 LED Light

R-300 LED Light

Quickly modify your light with two magnetic filters that easily snap on and off the face of your light. This is a great light to be used both on camera as a ring light and off camera as a stand light.

I’ve performed some basic comparisons of the output and spread and it shows that it does not carry the same slightly green cast which is common for inexpensive LED lights. The real true benefit of this light is the cheaper price of the R-300, smaller and lighter form factor, and the ability to power with inexpensive Sony NPF batteries. I like this set of lights for lightweight traveling.

You can find the R-300 LED Ring lights via F&V product page (Click Here).

There was a occasional problem that I will show in the video below and I found a solution.


(1x) R-300 LED Ring Light
(1x) L-Shape Mounting Bracket
(1x) Magnetic Diffusion Filter
(1x) Magnetic Tungsten Filter

LED Count: 300
Light Output (LUX @ 1 meter): 1950 LX
Correlated Color Temp (CCT): 5600K
Light Beam Angle: 65°
Power Variation: 0-100%
CRI (Ra): ≥85%
1/4″-20 female thread on underside for mounting capabilities.

Adorama Umbrella

Adorama has a translucent umbrella that can be used on this light discounted at this link.

Lumix 12-35mm Shakiness

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI received an email recently from a member on Vimeo that his Lumix 12-35 mm F2.8 lens had a stability problem even when the image stabilization was off while shooting on a tripod. Here's a link to his video.

I decided to test my lens to see if it had the same problem. My lens has the 1.1 firmware. The following video is the test that I conducted with my GH3 and my GH2, plus a test of the Lumix 35-100.

Panasonic Is Listening

Bad GH3 Viewfinder

As many of you know, I now own the Panasonic GH3. But it did not start out the way I had planned.

Something Odd

In early December Kenmore Camera called me and said that the camera was available, so I ordered it and it arrived on my doorstep the next day. They told me they had six cameras and I was getting the last one. I didn't have a chance to look at the camera as we had company at our house that afternoon. That evening when I finally looked at the camera the electronic viewfinder (EVF) looked very odd. The image was very jaggy, very strange looking, it looked a lot worse than my GH2 electronic viewfinder.


So I wrote a post on the DPreview Micro 4/3 forum about my viewfinder. This is what I posted: “I just got my GH3 and the OLED viewfinder has a really jaggy image. The back OLED looks fine. Gets better when I pan. When it comes into focus, the OLED looks like an old color viewfinder from one on my early digital video cameras. Real bitty and jaggy. This quite a step backwards from my GH2. Anyone else seeing this problem? I saw GH3 at a trade show a few weeks back and it seemed fine.”

Panasonic Says Hello

A few days later I got an email from a representative from Panasonic about the forum post.

“We have not received any other reports about this, so I'm very interested / concerned.

Are you, by chance looking at a photo with grid like horizontal / vertical lines such as roof shingles?

Any way you can photograph the image?

Can you send me the original so I can look at it in my GH3? –”

My response was:
“The camera does exhibit this problem, not the pictures. I am not looking at something that would cause moire. The problems is most pronounced on wide angle shots. The sample camera I saw at the Kenmore Digital Expo did not exhibit this problem. I would have noticed it. The jaggies that I am seeing are in the display itself. It is like the fields are reversed, if you're watching NTSC video. This looks worse some of the EVF's on my early digital video cameras.

Kenmore Camera is going to call me when they get some more GH3s in. I will check mine against theirs. As I said, the sample GH3 I saw at the expo did not have this problem. This Camera looks worse than my GH2, both of them and my Olympus EM5. All their electronic viewfinders look okay and I am used to looking at an electronic viewfinder. That is one of the reasons I bought these cameras. The rear LCD looks OK as well, so I don't believe the problem lies in the camera viewfinder processing.

By the way the rest of the camera is behaving normally. The images are quite lovely. The video is outstanding. Once this viewfinder gets fixed I will be very happy with the camera.”


Bad GH3 Viewfinder

Bad GH3 Viewfinder

A Picture

I then sent Bob a photograph I took of the GH3 viewfinder. A few days later he asked me for my contact information and said he would give me a call. He called me back and told me that Panasonic wanted my camera. In all the cameras that they had examined they had never seen a problem like this and wanted to examine my camera. I told him that Kenmore Camera was not expecting to get any more GH3's until the end of the December so he said he would try to expedite a camera to Kenmore so I could do an exchange.

A few days later I visited Kenmore camera and showed them the problem they agreed with me that the viewfinder did not look right. They said they'd be on the lookout for the camera that Panasonic was sending me and give me a call when it arrived. The Friday before Christmas, the new camera arrived at Kenmore and I went over and picked it up. I first checked the viewfinder, it was a lot better. Kenmore Camera took my old camera and shipped it back to Panasonic.

Ends Well

I must say I am grateful to Panasonic and Kenmore Camera for the help in resolving my problem.  I am also very happy with my new GH3.