At just about $5,000 for a fluid head alone, Sachtler's Video 18 S2 costs more than the cameras owned by most people who read this blog (and just about five times my daily shooter, the Sony a6300). But if you want to know why it costs so much -- or how good it is (spoiler alert: incredible) and when it makes sense -- read on.Read More
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.
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: