Stoked! We Like The Luxli Viola On-Camera LED, So We're Giving One Away

It recently became clear that we needed a small, bi-color, diffusable on-camera (or almost on-camera) light. Then we learned about the Luxli Viola, tested it with a little help from our friends, and liked it so much we decided to give one away:

Read More

Secced Reach Plus 1 Tripod: Inspired by German Company Sachtler, Priced by Chinese Capitalism - But No One's Sitting Still

The Reach Plus 1 is a Sachtler-inspired tripod kit from Chinese manufacturer Secced. It also competes against my own Cartoni Focus HD -- even though the Cartoni has much higher payload maximums -- because it demands to be taken seriously and my A-cam is the light weight Sony a6300. How well does it succeed (geddit)? Read on.

Read More

Finally! iPro Case for iPhone 6s+ is Shipping, Enables the Full Monty!

I left a Pelican 1510 full of Sony bodies and prime lenses at home as I flew to Vegas for NAB 2016 (don't get me wrong: I LOVE them), vowing to repeat my NAB 2015 party trick of filming all my interviews and taking all of my pictures with an iPhone. But it was only after I arrived that I finally got my hands on the updated iPhone 6s+ iPro case, cornerstone of Schneider Optics' iPro lens system. And then some. 

Of COURSE there are compromises when using an iPhone as your sole imaging device (more on that in a moment). But at a venue like NAB, they are far outweighed by the benefits -- at least for me. Incredibly small, lightweight and unobtrusive, the iPhone allows me to focus on the people with whom I'm speaking. 

I just didn't want to put it in a rig like I did for the cover of my eBook Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution. At NAB, bulking it up like that would defeat the whole purpose. 

So I was stoked when NAB bud Niki Mustain of Schneider Optics snagged a just-shipping iPro case for the iPhone 6s+. I already had all the other gear I'd need to rock it - three iPro lenses by Schneider (Super-Wide, 2X and Macro), RØDE Videomic Me, Manfrotto's Pixi mini-tripod with integrated push-button locking ball head, and Aputure's not-yet-released-but-based-on-people's-reactions-Aputure-should-get-on-it Lightning Up micro-LED panel.

Apple iPhone 6s+, iPro case, iPro 2x lens, Manfrotto Pixi mini-tripod, RØDE Videomic Me, Las Vegas NAB 2016

Apple iPhone 6s+, iPro case, iPro 2x lens, Manfrotto Pixi mini-tripod, RØDE Videomic Me, Las Vegas NAB 2016

I've already posted some shots from NAB, and next week I'll be posting videos. But videos are also where those compromises are really felt.  I did an interview with Blackmagic Design bud (and Americas President) Dan May, but I REALLY could have used shallow depth of field. I also took no chances with audio, relying on a really great combo of gear (a TASCAM DR70-D field recorder and a pair of RØDElink Filmmaking Kits, packed in a little Domke bag). To be fair, I only used the RØDE Videomic Me once, and while it was credible, it wasn't nearly as good as my larger setup. Then again, acoustics at NAB are ALWAYS horrible -- it's just the nature of the beast.

PS: If anyone has a truly outstanding over-the-shoulder solution for one-man band hybrid video/stills shooter, let me know. Seems to me this is a hole in the market -- and I've looked at a lot of bags!

Pricing and availability:

  • iPhone 6s+ Amazon
  • iPro Lens Trio Kit for for iPhone 6 Plus [6s Plus not yet listed, though Schneider shipped last week)  [B&H|Amazon
  • Manfrotto Pixi Mini-Tripod  [B&H|Amazon
  • RØDE Videomic Me  [B&H]
  • RØDElink Filmmaking Kit [B&H]
  • TASCAM DR70-D  [B&H|Amazon
  • Domke F-5XA (black)  [B&H|Amazon