Reflections on AbelCine's Behind the Lens: A Look at Documentary Zooms

Equipment / Tech Reviews Monday, September 18, 2017
I was lucky enough to serve as the technical advisor on AbelCine’s Behind the Lens project, a web series looking at 11 professional zoom lenses covering the indispensable 3x wide-to-tight range, perfect for handheld shooting in run-and-gun documentary situations. New York-based cinematographer Matt Porwoll graciously agreed to helm Behind the Lens: A Look at Documentary Zooms, which launched in April. We just posted the final episode in the series and wanted to look back and highlight some key findings about each lens.

Getting Started with Drone Production: Save Time and Money

Advice / Tips & Tricks Monday, August 11, 2014
by Stephan Guarch & Edgar Cohen Aerial photography and videography are nothing new to the production world. But how we achieve those shots certainly has in the last 12 months. Drones have exploded in popularity as a way to get aerial and low altitude footage for videos, for everything from full feature films such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” to the everyday film hobbyist who flies leisurely at the local park. But for anyone who has actually tried to capture this footage there’s quite the learning curve involved when it comes to choosing the right drone and what seems like an infinite amount of accessories and upgrades. This week the team at Experience Above posts a nice overview of the top 3 tips for getting started with drone video production, a handy starters guide.

Sony’s Unorthodox, Barnyard Filming of the Tour de France

Miscellaneous Wednesday, July 9, 2014
by Matt Thames For the very early stage of the race, Sony outfitted five sheep with its latest AS100VR Action Cams, complete with waterproof features and image stabilization capacity. Sony then handed over the keys to local shepherd, Ian Hammond, to remotely control the cameras atop his flock. Attached using a modified dog harness, Sony hopes to catch a very unorthodox perspective of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France.

Stories Through the Lenses: Canon C300 on 'Spent: Looking for Change'

Miscellaneous Monday, June 23, 2014
Spent: Looking for Change, from Academy Award-winning executive producer Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) and cinematographer Greg Ephraim (All Cheerleaders Die) premiered online on The Young Turks' YouTube and Hulu channels. The film was shot by Ephraim on the Canon C300 and the EF and cinema lenses; the camera’s small profile and ease-of-use helped the filmmakers capture an intimate look into the lives of four American families wrestling with the costs of living outside the traditional financial system. Greg Ephraim takes us behind the scenes on his film-making experience on the documentary.

What Truly Makes the Carl Zeiss Compact CZ.2 Lens One of a Kind

Miscellaneous Thursday, May 8, 2014
"Due to the bigger image circle the Compact Zoom CZ.2 15-30 has no distortion or vignetting in the corners on Super 35 sensors (Sweet Spot Effect). Due to the full frame coverage, all members of the Compact Zoom lens family cover the RED Dragon senor at 6K. There is no other competitor cine-style lens that can do the same at this point." Learn what makes this lens one of a kind, along with its show reel & more.

SOLOSHOT: The Next Generation Robot Cameraman

Miscellaneous Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Chris Boyle is a nomadic inventor who strives to keep one foot in the laboratory and one in the sand. SOLOSHOT is a great new tool for filmmakers, videographers, and indies. It's a cost effective way to create stellar shots and a great way to take care of filming as if you had your own ESPN cameraman filming the game for you. With gear like SOLOSHOT coming on the market, Boyle, SOLOSHOT's CEO and is Chairman of the Board, thinks it's possible that they’ll start to see studio sized scenes like Braveheart coming from independents. Learn how the idea of SOLOSHOT came to be and where it will be in the future.

2014 Sundance Selection: Me+Her

Miscellaneous Thursday, January 16, 2014
Director Joseph Oxford and cinematographer Bradley Stonesifer created a unique live action short film “Me+Her,” which was accepted into this year’s Sundance Short Film program. What makes this film so special is that Joseph and Bradley created an incredible imaginary world where all of the main characters and sets were built out of standard cardboard boxes. While any film admitted into the Sundance competition is going to look amazing, the fact that Joseph and Bradley captured stunning images using only cardboard really sets this project apart.

Equipment Review: Canon XA25 Professional HD Camcorder

Equipment / Tech Reviews Monday, December 30, 2013
by Bradford HillThe Canon XA25 Pro HD Camcorder is a compact 1/2" inch CMOS Sensor Camera with a lot of great and unexpected stand-out features. To start, its full auto & manual modes, its two XLR inputs, and an HDSDI slot packaged with the ability to shoot 1920x1080 at 59.94p are notable. While traveling on shoots, I was impressed with the capability to be able to record 1080p at 60fps within a moment’s notice. This frame rate is a new feature to the Canon line of cameras, which gives this camera a competitive edge. It is also easy to manage when set to auto mode, which comes in handy if a novice needs to use the camera on a small crew shoot, or to simply capture any ‘run-and-gun’ footage.
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