The ProductionHUB 2020 Holiday Gift Guide

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

Happy Holidays! As you all know, there are more than a few ways to think about giving and receiving gifts for the holidays. First, there are the production gifts that we know people really need. It might be a new camera bag, a new light kit, or maybe even a new headset. Nobody is ever going to say “no” to the stuff they need. But you can see it on their face. Think of it as getting that new robe, new socks, or even better yet, the dreaded three pack of underwear. Maybe stuff you need, but not very high on your “Wow this is cool list." 

The second way to think of giving gifts is getting people the really cool stuff they hinted about, really wanted, but didn’t come right out and say it. This is the stuff you thought about in order to make a meaningful and lasting impression. Challenging, but not impossible.  

Our third category is the “I can’t believe you got me this” category. If you can hit this mark, you have just scored big points and made some new friends for life. I call it the Neiman Marcus or "over-the-top" section. The only thing that really matters in this section is the cool and fun factor. It’s a neat trick if you can pull it off. So here we go!  We present our ProductionHUB 2020 Gift Guide. Enjoy.

 

Sennheiser CX 2.00I Earphones

 

When you think of quality audio one thinks the name Sennheiser. These things sound fantastic! The black version of the Sennheiser CX 2.00I Earphones for Apple iOS mobile devices offers an ultra compact ear canal coupling design with a dynamic transducer to deliver a frequency response of 17 to 20,000 Hz, a THD of less than 0.5%, and a maximum SPL of 119 dB. The earphones feature a right angle 1/8" (3.5mm) plug for connecting to your smartphone or other mobile device. They come with a set of four (XS, S, M, L) ear adapters to accommodate ear canals of different sizes, as well as an inline omnidirectional microphone remote control for making calls, changing volume, and navigating tracks when using your Apple iOS mobile device. A must for any serious audiophile.

 

LaCie Rugged USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C External Hard

Back up, back up, and back up. Who could not use extra storage? I use up more than I like to admit, both here in the home office/studio and on the road. With a capacity of 2TB, the Rugged USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C External Hard Drive from LaCie marries a USB 3.0 Type-C interface and data transfer speeds of up to 130 MB/s with rugged durability that provides a drop resistance of up to 4', crush resistance of up to 1 ton, and rain resistance, making this drive suitable for all-terrain storage, whether you're in the field or in your home. It can be used to store large Lightroom libraries, as a shuttle drive to transport footage from a set to a post-production house, or just for general tasks. Included is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C cable, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C to Type-A cable, and two years of Seagate Rescue Data Recovery Services. 

 

Shure SM58-LC Vocal Microphone

Ok, I have to admit I love this mic. It is nearly indestructible. I think I even ran mine over once. It is built like a tank. The Shure SM58-LC Vocal Microphone features a cardioid dynamic vocal design well suited for professional vocal use in live performances, sound reinforcement, and studio recording. A built-in spherical filter minimizes wind and breath "pop" noise, while the cardioid pickup pattern isolates the main sound source while minimizing unwanted background noise. The microphone offers durable construction, a high-quality internal shockmount system, and a steel mesh grille for withstanding rough handling. Like I said, it was run over.

 

Leatherman Signal

Any Leatherman is still an all time favorite request for the gift guide. I have had numerous Leatherman’s over my career. They don’t break. Leatherman’s traditional functional tools pair with features like a shaped diamond coated sharpener for maintaining your straight and serrated blade, fire-starting ferro rod, and an emergency whistle for lunchtime. Does the weather have you socked in on-location? Lightening your load on that all day production? No problem. Stay ready for the expected (and unexpected) no matter where your production takes you.  

 

GoProHero9 Black

This would be at least my third or fourth GoPro. I love how it works—great imaging and reliability. Adding a 23.6MP sensor and new key design and engineering features, GoPro upgrades its flagship camera with more of everything with the rugged HERO9 Black, providing high-detail 5K30 video and 20MP photo capture.

The front display, which in the previous HERO model showed status information, is now larger at 1.4" and offers a live view, allowing you to frame shots for vlogging and similar uses. A new HyperSmooth 3.0 digital image stabilization with in-camera horizon leveling lets you produce even smoother, more stable videos without a gimbal. While a full-on action camera, the HERO9 Black makes use of its immense feature set to also let you use it as a webcam and for 1080p Full HD live streaming. An improved robust design is  33' waterproof without an external housing required. 

 

Canon EOS Rebel T7

My latest still cam choice is the workhorse of workhorses. It's tough, relable and makes for great and easy image capture. The Canon EOS Rebel T7 is a DSLR featuring versatile imaging capabilities and a helpful feature-set. Incorporating a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4+ image processor, the T7 produces high-resolution stills with notable clarity, reduced noise, and a flexible native sensitivity range from ISO 100-6400 for working in a variety of lighting conditions. The sensor and processor also afford shooting continuously at up to 3 fps for photographing moving subjects, as well as Full HD 1080/30p video recording. Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC also offers the ability to wirelessly share imagery from your camera to a linked mobile device for instant online sharing.

 

Panasonic HC-V770

 

This is the camera I like to use for shooting quick test footage. It features a 20x optical zoom lens with a 29.5 to 612mm equivalent focal length - giving you a wide angle when zoomed out, and a substantial amount of telephoto when zoomed in. You're able to record slow motion in Full HD at up to 120 fps, and it can also perform in-camera interpolation to bring the final frame rate up to 240 fps

Through their lens design partnership with Leica, Panasonic incorporated a Leica Dicomar 20x optical zoom lens with four separate optical groups and a maximum aperture of f/1.8. To keep excessive image vibration to a minimum, for steadier handheld shooting, the HC-V770K features Panasonic's HYBRID O.I.S.+, which combines optical and digital image stabilization to provide 5-axis correction. 

The HC-V770's Wi-Fi does more than let you capture video from your phone's camera as a secondary camera angle. You can preview a live image on your mobile device using the Panasonic Image App and change camera settings. If the camera has Internet access, you can even upload videos and photos directly to social media websites. 

 

EV RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone

 

Another mic you can use as a hammer. Just kidding. An industry standard found all over the world. You cannot go wrong with this microphone. A broadcast industry standard, the RE20 Broadcast Announcer Microphone with Variable-D from Electro-Voice is a cardioid dynamic microphone that delivers reliable, low-noise performance with exceptional clarity and definition. A must for any serious voice work.

 

Canon EOS C70

Developed with an idea of combining the Cinema EOS series with the EOS R series, the new EOS C70 offers exceptional image quality and professional video features in a compact and mobile form factor, perfect for documentary, newsgathering, and corporate videos.

The EOS C70 is the first Cinema EOS camera with a built-in RF-lens mount, which was previously a feature that was only used for the EOS R series of mirrorless cameras. The RF-mount offers users access to Canon's superb line of RF-lenses, which are quick, reliable and provide brilliant image quality. There is also a full 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10-stop internal ND filter system in the relatively small flange depth of the RF-mount.

Canon's EOS C70 is also equipped with a Super 35mm Dual Gain Output (DGO) Sensor that is capable of over 16 stops of dynamic range. The DIG!C DV7 Image Processor expands functionality and flexibility by enabling features such as 4K 120p High Frame Rate recording and Dual Pixel Autofocus.

 

LitraStudio RGBWW Photo & Video LED Light

If I could only have one light in the studio, this might be it. Big performance in a compact neat form, the LitraStudio RGBWW Photo & Video LED Light from LITRA offers multiple modes of operation that can be controlled via the onboard OLED display or remotely via a companion iOS/Android app. The compact on-camera light features CCT, HSI, RGBWW, Gel, Effects, and Flash modes all built-in, allowing you to use it in both photo and video applications. It has a highly rugged all-aluminum design, armor-clad on the sides and rear, and it’s waterproof down to 30'. 

 

Tula Microphones

Function meets sexy. The Tula Mic is the first fully portable USB mic that also doubles as a mobile recorder, featuring a nostalgic and modern design, cutting-edge onboard noise reduction, and high-quality audio.

Nostalgic Yet Chic Design

The Tula Mic boasts an eye-catching design a true combination of modern and nostalgic aesthetics of a bygone era that was crafted in conjunction with the Tula Microphones team and Red Dot Award-winning industrial designers out of Barcelona. Upon launch, three variants will be available: A sleek black design, a soft cream, and a vibrant red. 

 

LiveU Solo HDMI Video/Audio Encoder

Start streaming high-quality HD video and audio with the LiveU Solo HDMI Video Encoder by connecting your camera or video device via HDMI. Leveraging LiveU's Cloud Service, you can easily broadcast to a large variety of content delivery networks, including YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Wowza, Ustream, and more, using bonded connectivity over dual cellular networks (requires separately available modems), Wi-Fi, or Ethernet. The plug-and-play functionality, combined with the power of LiveU's Reliable Transport protocol (LRT), enables a simple setup for high-quality streaming video with versatile distribution options as well as stable transmission, even when operating in remote locations. 

 

AJA New v2.0 Firmware for Ki Pro Ultra 12G

AJA Video Systems has released new v2.0 firmware for Ki Pro Ultra 12G, a single-channel 4K/UltraHD recorder and player or four-channel HD recorder, featuring 12G-SDI connectivity for high bandwidth workflows. Ki Pro Ultra 12G v2.0 introduces new features targeted at streamlining high raster workflows with varied video input sources, including new input frame sync for genlock free recording, and 8K link VPID to power 8K/UltraHD2 workflows when four Ki Pro Ultra 12G devices are used in tandem in 12G- or 6G-SDI mode.

“Ki Pro Ultra 12G offers the latest 12G-SDI connectivity for 4K/Ultra HD, as well as powerful multi-channel HD recording,” stated Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. “New v2.0 firmware includes several customer requested features, including genlock-free recording which is crucial for multi-channel camera inputs, as well as deeper support for the latest 8K workflows.”

Lastly, We All Want Cool Stuff

Alright, this is the cool stuff category that I always get a lot of comments about. Sometimes gift giving is not about practicality at all. I like to think about this category as over the top big and getting people something they would never buy for themselves…

 

Apple Mac Pro

Encased within an aluminum housing that completely lifts off for 360° access to the entire system, Apple has completely redesigned the Mac Pro, creating a modular tower system that delivers performance, expansion, and configurability. Designed for professionals who want to push the limits of what a Mac can do, the Mac Pro will serve those who require extreme CPU performance for workflows such as production rendering, 3D film animation, 8K compositing, building complex 3D environments, analyzing huge data sets, running multiple pro applications, playing hundreds of virtual instruments, simulating an app on a dozen iOS devices simultaneously, and other large projects. With a six-channel memory architecture, twelve physical memory slots, and eight PCIe slots, you'll be able to customize and expand the Mac Pro in ways not previously possible.

This Mac Pro is powered by a 3.5 GHz Intel Xeon W Eight-Core processor and 24.5MB of cache memory. The processor can be overclocked to 4.0 GHz, and there is also 32GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 ECC memory. There is 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. Encrypted by the Apple T2 security chip, the SSD module delivers sequential read speeds of up to 2.6 GB/s and sequential write speeds of up to 2.7 GB/s. Visuals are handled by a single AMD Radeon Pro 580X graphics card.

 

Red KOMODO

RED has taken fresh steps with the release of the KOMODO 6K Digital Cinema Camera by bringing their image quality and color science into an ultra-compact, all-in-one design that weighs just 2.1 lb. and measures about 4 x 4 x 4". Key to achieving this goal was the use of the Canon RF lens mount and the KOMODO 19.9MP Super35 CMOS sensor which boasts Global Shutter technology. This sensor can create images with 16+ stops dynamic range and eliminates rolling shutter artifacts. Users can also be certain they are getting RED quality thanks to the ability to record up to 6K at 40 fps, 5K at 48 fps, 4K at 60 fps, and 2K at 120 fps in REDCODE RAW for incredible flexibility in post-production. 

 

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 17

*DaVinci Resolve 17 in public beta) – A major new release with over 100 new features and 200 improvements. The color page features new HDR grading tools, redesigned primary controls, AI based magic mask and more. Fairlight updates mouse and keyboard edit selection tools so customers can work faster, along with Fairlight Audio Core and FlexBus, a next generation audio engine and busing architecture with support for 2,000 tracks. Additionally, the free version of DaVinci Resolve now includes multi user collaboration tools previously available in DaVinci Resolve Studio. That means customers can have multiple users all working on the same project at the same time, for free.

Closing Thoughts 

Hoping that you get everything you want on this list!

Be happy and safe and we will see you soon. 

Happy Holidays! 

*Some features have not been released yet. More info is on the Blackmagic Design website. This was just announced 11/9/2020.

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About the Author

Mark Foley
Mark Foley
Mark J. Foley, MBA BA is an award-winning producer and director and the Technology Editor for ProductionHUB.com. He is on a mission to provide the best in new equipment reviews, along with exclusive analysis and interviews with the best, the brightest and most creative minds in the entertainment and production business. Have a suggestion for a review? Email Mark at mfoley@productionhub.com.

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