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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.

GH3 News Reporting

I have been using my Panasonic GH3 for news reporting for some time now.  As a former news photographer I was asked by our local radio station to shoot new stories for their YouTube channel.  I must say that this camera is an ideal camera for news reporting.  Great, weight, size, convenience, electronic viewfinder, image stabilization, No Rig, one shot auto focus, low depth of field, great audio, headphone monitoring, wonderful MOV codec at All-I 70, long life battery.  In Final Cut Pro X the footage is ready for editing right out of the camera and Final Cut loves the All-I 70 codec.  Never a hiccup.

Yes I could use another camera and shoot raw, but that is a lot more work and the camera requires a rig which is heavier and more expensive.  In news reporting one of the main things to consider is how fast you can get your story to air. Anything that gets in the way of that hinders your ability to finish on time.  I don't think there is a faster system out there then my GH3 with Final Cut Pro X.

For the news story below, I shot with my GH3, the Lumix G X 12 – 35mm image stabilized lens, handheld with no rig and a Rode Video Mike Pro microphone.

Parading GH2 in FCPX

I have been busy with my GH2 lately with videos of my local area. Last week end was the Sequim 117th Irrigation Festival. I used my GH2 to shoot the Fireworks on Friday and the Grand Parade on Saturday. Both vids were edited in FCPX. I am getting quite used to FCPX am starting to like it. In the parade I used a couple of effects from Noise Industries development partner SUGARfx which introduces Punchline for FCPX. I will be reviewing it soon.

The parade is the longest video I have edited in FCPX and I can say it handled it well. I just imported the footage from my cards and started editing. No transcoding.

Here are the videos on YouTube.

Panasonic Leica 25mm Summilux Review

PanaLeica Summilux 25mm

There comes a time when a lens can define a camera system.  The Panasonic 25mm Leica DG Summilux ƒ/1.4 is one of those lenses.  The other lens that defines greatness in the micro four thirds system is the excellent Panasonic G 7-14mm  f/4.  Micro four thirds has some excellent lenses. In fact as a whole I would put up most of the lenses for micro four thirds against other formats like full frame 35mm and these small lenses would be considered above average.  They are well made, sharp corner to corner, contrasty and cost effective.

PanaLeica Summilux 25mm

PanaLeica Summilux 25mm f/1.4 on my GH2

Back to the Pan Leica 25mm.  Before zoom lenses, when I started in photography 35mm SLRs and rangefinders had a 50mm lens that was considered a “normal”.  The view from it was considered normal perspective.  What the eye sees.  That is what the 25mm is to the four thirds format because the sensor on a four thirds camera is 1/2 the size of a full frame 35mm camera sensor.  The aperture on the lenses ranged from f/0.95 to 3.5, with f/1.4 considered a fast lens.  A good compromise between speed and affordability.  The 1.4 aperture allows low light photography as well as low depth of field.  On most lenses you want as fast aperture because the best sharpness is about 2 stops down from the maximum. I have found this not to be true with this lens.  It is very sharp wide open and has a lovely out of focus look.

Taken with 25mm @ f/1.4 (click for enlarged view)

There have been complaints that the aperture is quite noisy and this is true but I have not had any problems during video.  I usually don't change once I have started shooting.  I use Auto ISO if necessary for exposure changes since most automatic lenses do not change aperture smoothly.  The focus is by the wire like on most four thirds lenses.  This does not bother me because I don't use a follow focus unit and just turn the ring watching the image.  The GH2 viewfinder is sharp enough to see it pop into focus.  I also like the focus by wire because on four thirds cameras as there is an option to focus manually after auto focus like the Full Time manual focus on other camera systems specific individual lenses.  This works on all focus by wire four thirds lenses.  The focus is very quiet.  It has worked very well on the GH2 and an AF100 video camera.

The lens is very light in weight because of the plastic lens barrel, but it seems sturdy enough.  It has a metal lens mount which attaches firmly on the camera.

One of the more strange design items is the included lens shade.  It bayonets on but can not be reversed for storage.  The lens with the shade is not that large so I just put it attached in my Tamrac Velocity 7 sling camera bag.  Panasonic includes a pinch lens cap so I can leave the shade on.

Here is a video edited with FCPX shot with this lens.  The lens was used for the shot in the entrance hallway and the laundry room.  The other lens used is the Panasonic G 7-14mm  f/4.

Here is another review by Kirk Tuck on The Online Photographer, who did an excellent review of the Panasonic 25mm Leica DG Summilux ƒ/1.4.

Kirk's Take: Leica 25mm Summilux Review

Philip Hodgetts on 7toX for FCP

For those of you who have legacy Final Cut Pro 7 projects this looks great. I am using Final Cut Pro X more recently because of the 1.03 update.

If you missed Philip Hodgetts on 7toX for FCP at our Feb. 16th BOSCPUG, LAFCPUG just posted their Feb. mtg. featuring Philip on 7toX. Philip Hodgetts demonstrates to The L.A. Final Cut Pro User Group at the February 2012 meeting Intelligent Assistance's new program for moving Final Cut Pro 7 projects to Final Cut Pro X Projects.

FCPX introduces Multicam Editing and more

Apple has delivered a significant upgrade to Final Cut Pro X.

Version 10.0.3 introduces Multicam Editing, Broadcast Monitoring, and more new features that extend the power and flexibility of Final Cut Pro X.  Download the update free from the Mac App Store


Edit multicam projects faster than ever before with a collection of innovative features that provide unmatched speed and flexibility. Select video and photos, then create a Multicam Clip by automatically syncing different angles based on time of day, timecode, markers, or audio waveforms. Play back multiple angles at once in the customizable Angle Viewer, and use the powerful new Angle Editor to dive into any Multicam Clip and make precise adjustments. You can change, add, or delete camera angles at any time and work with different codecs, frame sizes, and frame rates without conversion. When it’s time to cut your multicam project, simply click in the Angle Viewer or use keyboard shortcuts to switch between angles on the fly.

Advanced Chroma Keying

In addition to using the high-quality, one-step chroma key in Final Cut Pro X, you can now access advanced keying controls for color sampling, edge adjustment, and light wrap. Tackle complex keying challenges without exporting to a motion graphics application. And play back results instantly and in context to make critical editing decisions.

Media Relink

Reconnect media and exchange files with third-party applications using a robust relink interface. Select media that has been moved or modified, or locate clips that have been transcoded, trimmed, or color graded by third-party tools. Then easily relink to your Final Cut Pro X project or Event.

Import Layered Adobe Photoshop Graphics

Import and keep all the object layers from a Photoshop file in a single Compound Clip so you can animate, colorize, and add effects to individual layers while editing in Final Cut Pro X.

XML 1.1

Final Cut Pro version 10.0.3 includes support for exporting basic primary color grades to third-party applications like DaVinci Resolve. In addition, you can import and export audio keyframes and intrinsic effects parameters such as opacity and scale. This improved XML support saves time and reduces creative rework when moving projects and media between applications.

7toX for Final Cut Pro

A Third Party has released a utility, 7toX for Final Cut Pro By Assisted Editing, for moving FCP7 to FCPX for $9.99 from the App Store.


7toX for Final Cut Pro brings your Final Cut Pro 7 projects forward to Final Cut Pro X so you can use Apple’s powerful new professional editing tools to update or finish your older projects. The lightweight application is simple to use, with drag-and-drop support and progress information. 7toX translates important metadata from your Final Cut Pro 7 Project — including bins, clips and sequences — to a new Event in Final Cut Pro X with the highest fidelity of any translation application for Final Cut Pro. In addition, the application provides clear, detailed reporting after every transfer.

Choose from three simple methods to translate Final Cut Pro 7 XML to Final Cut Pro X XML:
• Run 7toX and use the Open dialog to locate your exported XML file
• Drag-and-drop the XML file onto the 7toX application icon
• Right-click on the XML file in the Finder and choose Open With > 7toX
7toX displays a progress bar during translation and, when completed, runs Final Cut Pro X to add the new Event to the Event Library. The Event contains clips for each media file and Compound Clips for each sequence.
7toX supports both Final Cut Pro X and the Final Cut Pro X Trial.

Apple Releases First Final Cut Pro X Software Update

StudioDaily has this article about FCPX

Apple today released the first significant software update to its Final Cut Pro X editing software, which it unveiled to much controversy in late June. In a one-on-one call earlier today with Apple's Richard Townhill, senior director of applications product marketing, we learned more about the 10.0.1 update that includes critical support missing from the original release, notably for XML import and export and Xsan-based workgroup editing. The update is free to existing users and went live in the Mac App Store during our call.

Go to the article to read more

Apple Puts Legacy Final Cut Studio Back on Sale

I am using both, Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X.

This is from MacRumors:

Apple has put the previous version of its Final Cut Studio video editing suite back on sale after a mixed reception to the new and completely redesigned Final Cut X. We received word that Apple had issued a memo this afternoon announcing re-availability of the product.

We confirmed with an Apple telesales representative at 800-MY-APPLE that Final Cut Studio, part number MB642Z/A, is again available for $999 (and $899 for educational customers). The product is only available through the 800-number and is not available in Apple Retail Stores or on the Apple Online Store.

Final Cut Studio is a comprehensive video editing package that includes Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Soundtrack Pro 3, DVD Studio Pro 4, Color 1.5 and Compressor 3.5. Apple had discontinued the product at the launch of Final Cut Pro X, their next generation video editing suite. Critics of the new product had complained that the abrupt discontinuation of the previous version of the software had made the transition more difficult. Apple had promised regular updates to Final Cut Pro X.

CrumplePop’s Take on FCP X

This just came in from CrumplePop makers of some great FCP Plug-ins: Here is the complete article:

“A lot of you have been asking about FCP X, and what we think about it. Here is the answer for you:

Conclusion: In a Year, Most Professional Editors will be Using FCP X

As developers for FCP, we have a strong bias in favor of FCP’s continued success. That said, we had spent much of the year prior to FCP X’s release expecting that we might have to leave the platform. We were hearing the same rumors that everyone else was – that FCP X would be another iMovie, wouldn’t be pro, etc. – and we were ready to bail. Happily, we don’t have to. While there are obviously missing features (like a comprehensive redo of Compressor), the foundation of FCP X is extremely solid. FCP X, for the reasons listed above, is going to be what most professional editors use to edit. Maybe not tomorrow, but likely within a year. In many ways, FCP X is ten steps forward, three steps back. It’s not perfect, but as a company, we’re comfortable betting everything on it.”