Just finished a big review of three new pieces of gear from one of the best camera accessory makers around. Wooden Camera's new Shoulder Rig v2, Universal Mattebox UMB-1 and Magic Arm accessory arm all go the extra mile in terms of quality and value, and I'd recommend that anyone that works with a camera regularly should check them out. You can read the full review on Pro Video Coalition right here.
Just finished up a review of a great Cloud-based invoicing and overall business management service for freelancers called FreshBooks. It costs $9.95 a month, but makes invoicing a lot quicker, easier and more reliable for everyone involved in the process. It also helps freelancers track their expenses with little effort, minimizing tax preparation. It's not sexy, but it does free up more of your time for the stuff you really care about. See the full review right here.
Finally finished my write up of the superb Gratical HD, which specifically compares the Gratical to the former third-party viewfinder champion, Alphatron's EVF-035W.
The Gratical improves on the Alphatron in every respect, including a streamlined form factor, sharper screen, better battery life, better dynamic range, better shortcut buttons and more. At $3100, you pay the price for all those improvements, but if a viewfinder is a regular tool for you, it's probably justified. Plus, as I mention at the bottom of the article, Zacuto is working on another Gratical model due later this year that cuts the price substantially.
See the whole review right here on Pro Video Coalition.
This is my last follow focus review for a long while, but the MK3.1 was definitely worth taking a look at. It's unique because when you buy into a single channel system (about $4,500), you get a receiver and a controller that are ready to expand to two or three channels (focus, iris and zoom) — all you have to do is add one or two additional motors. That's makes the MK system a great option for people that want the opportunity to grow into a more powerful system over time.
Also, the MK3.1's motor and especially its receiver are very small and lightweight, so they're great for rigs where size matters.
You can read the full review right here on Pro Video Coalition....
I'm looking forward to spending time with the new Gratical viewfinder from Zacuto, which appears to have several things going for it:
1) It uses an OLED screen that's apparently a beauty to behold, with great dynamic range, color depth and very crisp resolution (1280x720p), so pulling focus should never be an issue.
2) Its viewfinder image in isn't overly large, so your eye doesn't have to scan back and forth to register what's in the corners of the frame. That's something that's personally real appealing.
3) It's fairly power-efficient, running all day on a small Canon LP-E6 battery.
4) It has 4 easy-to-reach function buttons, which let you turn on features like a waveform, focus-in-red, magnification, audio meters, false color, etc.
5) It actually has its own LUT system, so you can compensate when you're shooting in various LOG modes.
6) It works with both HDMI and SDI connections, and can pass the video signal from one through another.
That all sounds great -- the only catch is, the Gratical is $3100! But if it works well, it could make sense as a long-term investment that you can use with any camera you own or rent.
I'll be trying it out over the next couple of weeks, and doing a review in Pro Video Coalition in April.
By the way, here's one more pic showing the Gratical side-by-side with the popular viewfinder from Alphatron. The Gratical is taller, but thinner, which seems to be a better balance when you're mounting it on a shoulder rig. We'll see.