Zacuto Z-Finder And Rode Mic Installation On A Canon 7D
If you find it difficult to shoot video with a DSLR (aka HDSLR) straight out of the box, then I've got some accessories that will help out alot. DSLR camera bodies were designed for photo shooting so the ergonomics are far from ideal for video production. My experience with the Canon EOS 7D has been a challenge at times but I’m still learning new techniques with the camera.
I know many of you are considering switching to a DSLR, but if you've only shot with video cameras in the past, here are some of the things to consider before using a DSLR for video production:
Canon 7D vs HDCam – Preliminary Test
Update: I've revised the original video and did some color correction to it. So after you read this post and watch the video, see Canon 7D vs HDCam - Preliminary Test Revisited. The difference is quite amazing!
The other day, we took out a Canon 7D and a Sony HDW-700/1080 to compare HD video shot with both cameras. This is a preliminary test and we're going to do another one sometime soon. One of the problems we had was that the 7D was on a photo tripod with a grip release on the head so panning/tilting was very difficult to keep ...
Create Professional Looking Videos Without Any Software Or Editing Experience
Now anyone can become a video producer and sell awesome looking videos without any editing experience or knowledge of any editing software! Yes, it's true! Anyone can create slick, professional looking videos while investing relatively very little time in front of the computer with Animoto!
I am jealous to say that even I cannot recreate the quality of videos produced by Animoto without spending hours and hours in an editing program layering graphics, images and videos.
Before I get into too much detail about Animoto, check out this beautiful full-length wedding video produced by SchmidtPhoto.com which incorporates photos and HD video shot with a Canon 5d ...
Western Digital My Passport Essential SE 750GB Ultra-portable Hard Drive Review
We're storing more and more files on our computer these days. And not only are we storing more... files are getting bigger and bigger. Music, videos and email attachments quickly eat up hard drive space, especially when you're working with HD video. When you're running low on space on your desktop or laptop computer, the 750GB Western Digital My Passport Essential SE Ultra-portable Hard Drive can help. It is super compact and offers
Creating Reflections in Photoshop
There are many ways to create reflections in Photoshop. In this tutorial, I’ll go through the method I used when working on graphics for an automotive related TV commercial.
Open your image in Photoshop. This happens to be a
For years I really disliked the neck strap that came with my Canon camera. I always thought that it put my camera in an inconvenient spot whenever I wore it. To me, having the camera hang between my chest and stomach felt really uncomfortable especially walking around. It would swing weird and is in the way of things. Not to mention I felt like I looked like a tourist.
However, with the Imorden Falcon F-2 Shoulder Sling, carrying around my DSLR is now very comfortable and it sits safely on my hip. Here’s my video review of the Imorden camera sling:
The Imorden Shoulder Sling uses several metal buckles to connect the different straps. These are not going to break!
Attaching your camera is easy with the metal ball joint connector. It securely fastens your camera to the shoulder strap and they also include a safety strap so you won’t read more…
Using a hand grip with your camera can dramatically improve the way you shoot hand held video. Hand grips are usually simple devices and the Imorden Hand Grip for DSLRs, GoPros and smartphones offers your wrist a break when getting your shots. Using a hand grip eases the tension on your wrist by allowing it to be in a more natural position when holding the camera in front of you.
The Imorden Hand Grip is made completely out of metal and covered in a soft rubber grip that won’t slip. It’s very comfortable to the touch but because it’s made of metal, the Imorden grip is a bit heavier than others that are made of plastic.
Imorden has an entire line of affordable camera accessories that are high quality and useful for video makers. And they continue to develop new products to help video producers. I’ve used the grip on many different types of cameras and I’m surprised just how much better it is using this while shooting. It’s even better on a DSLR if I use a viewfinder on it too.
The Imorden Hand Grip is small enough that you can carry it with you at all times in your bag. When you’re in a run-and-gun situation, it’s easy to screw the grip on and start shooting. So far I have been very impressed with the types of products they have.
Shoulder rigs are an essential part of any video shoot. But shoulder rigs don’t have to be used just for handheld shooting. I recently got a hold of the Imorden IR-02 Shoulder Rig and got to test it with a variety of accessories. The IR-02 is great for getting steady handheld shots with 3 points of stabilization but you already knew that. However, when I started attaching some of my other camera gear to this rig, that’s where the fun began!
First of all, the Imorden IR-02 Shoulder Rig uses 15mm rails in a standard width for smaller cameras. The rig feels pretty solid and is made of mostly metal except for the handgrips and the cover on the shoulder brace. Mounting this rig on a tripod is where I’m going to be using it most of the time and it’s what I’m most excited about.
The first attachment I mounted to the rig was the Kamerar FF-3 Follow Focus. This gear knob assembly attached easily to the rails and provided a good positioning of the gear to the lens. read more…
I really feel like Tony Stark with this easy to make Arc Reactor that won’t break your budget! It’s not meant to be pretty looking but it looks good when glowing under your shirt. My DIY Arc Reactor is powered by AA batteries and a string of micro LED lights so it won’t get hot against your chest. And it’s super thin! I don’t really like costume parties but the Arc Reactor is impressive and it’s virtually unnoticeable when the LEDs are powered off. The main part of the Arc Reactor is made of CDs or DVDs. I used a regular sized DVD and a mini-CD-R disc. Also, we will need the clear filler disc found at the bottom of every stack of blank discs.
The only thing you need to buy are the micro LED lights. This project uses a small string of 20 lights. You can use whatever color you want but the Blue LED lights are more authentic looking when building your Arc Reactor. You may even need to purchase some of the mini-CD-R discs if you don’t have any around.
Connecting and recording audio from an external microphone on an Android phone should be an easy thing to do but many people have found that it is not as simple as it seems. On the surface, one would think that you just plug the microphone in and it should naturally work. But if you’ve tried it you know it won’t work.
There are not dedicated jacks for headphones or microphones on Android devices. Headphones work perfectly fine on Android but so do microphones. You just have to know how. The only place you can plug in a microphone is in the headphone jack. But to get the microphone to work you’ll need an adapter cable. The single port fully functions as a microphone input as well as an audio output for headphones. In my video, I’ll show you exactly how to get a 3.5mm microphone up and running on your Android device.
The adapter cable I used in the video is from StarTech.com and I carry it with me all the time now. The StarTech adapter splits the audio connections to and from the phone into separate jacks/ports. When it’s plugged in, you now have the ability to plug in a microphone and headphone in at the same time. Both will function at the same time also.
The StarTech TRS to TRRS adapter is available on Amazon for under $7 and is a useful cable to have around for many devices that only have one headphone jack.
Lately, I’ve been on the lookout for high-quality yet inexpensive gear for my camera. It wasn’t too long ago when most of the DSLR accessories I wanted were too pricey for my budget. Thank goodness there are now new companies out there that manufacture and sell video gear accessories that almost anyone can afford!
One of the new companies I just discovered is Kamerar. When I first saw their products, I was thinking I wanted to buy all of it because of their quality and price. Previously, I shot an unboxing video for the Kamerar FF-3 Follow Focus but this time, I purchased the Kamerar SD-1 Slider Dolly for DSLRs and other video cameras.
After a few days of playing around with it, I shot a video review to share my experience with it.
As you can see from the video, the Kamerar SD-1 is pretty much a big solid piece of metal. One thing I found out that I didn’t say in the video is that you definitely need a good stable tripod if you want to mount this onto a tripod.
In conclusion, is this the best slider out there? Definitely not! However, for the budget videographer, the Kamerar SD-1 is a highly functional camera slider that combines a skateboard dolly and track slider in one. Good enough for most shots.
I just got my Kamerar FF-3 Follow Focus delivered the other day and wanted to shoot a demonstration video with it… but the problem was that I don’t have a camera rail system yet. I bought the FF-3 because the price was so low on it that I had to pick one up even though I couldn’t use it right away.
So what I did was shoot an unboxing video… You know, it’s those videos where people open a package in front of a camera of a product they received in the mail. I’m quite used to making YouTube videos but I had never shot an unboxing video. I’d have to say it was kinda fun and it built up my own anticipation of opening the box for myself.
One of the most inexpensive and best purchases I have made for my DSLR is the Photography & Cinema Pistol Grip Handle. This gadget is so basic but it makes a huge difference when shooting handheld with my DSLR. In the past, I remember shooting video at school performances and my wrist would be aching after a couple of minutes holding the camera up.
Now, with the P&C Pistol Grip, my wrist feels much better and I can hold the camera up longer without too much strain. This is partly due to the fact that with my hand in a different grip position, I can easily rest my elbow against my chest which helps take some of the pressure off of my wrist. The cost is so low that you wouldn’t even have to think twice about getting one of these. Here’s my latest video review of the P&C Pistol Grip Handle:
One last note, this handle is very lightweight so it doesn’t really increase the load you’re carrying with your camera body and lens. As mentioned in the video, the handle has a great feel to it and feels like it’s part of the camera when attached.
I remember a few years back I was shopping for used lenses and I kept running into Canon lenses with an FD mount. At the time, I thought who would buy these old lenses from 35mm film cameras? Well today, I am one of those who bought and is still seeking out old Canon FD lenses. If only I had made the realization that FD lenses could be used on DSLRs, I could’ve gotten some incredible deals on these lenses. But the cat is out of the bag and demand for FD lenses is increasing!
While the prices have gone up on FD lenses, they’re still dirt cheap. I do not make many impulse buys but I came across an eBay listing for 3 FD lenses for $100 and I immediately pulled out my credit card. Here are the lenses I got:
FD 28mm f2.8
FD 50mm f1.8
FD 50mm f3.5
Because these lenses are old, they had scratches and scuff marks on all of them. However, the physical appearance doesn’t really matter. But on the 28mm, I noticed a few scratches read more…
I have been wanting an optical viewfinder for my Canon 7D ever since I got a chance to use a Zacuto Z-Finder. The Z-Finder really helps with focusing when shooting video. It made all the difference when shooting handheld. But the high price of the Z-Finder has kept me from owning one myself!
But now, I’ve found a suitable alternative for the Z-Finder at half the price with the Carry Speed VF-3 Universal DSLR Viewfinder. When I saw the VF-3 and the price, I purchased it right away. I have not been disappointed with my impulse purchase… and I never buy on impulse! This is a relatively cheap viewfinder but I wouldn’t call the quality cheap.
The Carry Speed VF-3 works superbly and my bank account didn’t take a major hit! I don’t shoot with my 7D as much as I’d like… so its reassuring that I don’t feel like I invested in a super expensive accessory that just sits around gathering dust. However, I will use it when I’m out shooting events, especially when outdoors or handheld.
On the day I shot my video review, I just happened to have access to a 5D Mark II and a Rebel T3i in addition to my 7D. You’ll be able to see how the Carry Speed viewfinder fits on each of these camera bodies.
The great thing is that the Carry Speed VF-3 uses a mounting plate with a frame so I don’t have to stick anything to the LCD screen on my camera. A lot of viewfinders in this price range do use the sticky frames. This was definitely a feature I didn’t want.
According to Carry Speed, the VF-3 is priced at an introductory rate of $120. That special introductory pricing ends on October 31, 2012.
Even if you miss out on the introductory price, you’ll find that the price is still half of Zacuto Z-Finder. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to someday increase prices equal to the Zacuto. The quality of the VF-3 could certainly match that of the high-end DSLR optical viewfinders!
If you want to get an inexpensive viewfinder for your DSLR, the Carry Speed VF-3 is an excellent choice for the budget video producer (like me)! If you own the VF-3, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
The Render Q offers tips and tutorials for DSLR video and HD digital cameras. Our main goal is to demonstrate the fact that you don't need an HD camcorder to shoot HD video. Are you a pro or just starting to shoot video with your camera? We'll show you what we're doing with our cameras and teach you step by step!