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The Redrock DSLR Cinema Bundle

The Redrock DSLR Cinema Bundle enables cinema-style shooting with cameras that are otherwise limited due to size and design.  DSLR cameras such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D boast a number of benefits (excellent image quality, low light shooting, etc) but are less than ideal for handheld shooting.  The Redrock DSLR rig solves this problem. The Redrock Cinema Bundle features a protective and stabilizing microSupport cage built from carbon fiber rods (easily disassembled for storage).  A padded shoulder mount, including front handgrips, increases mobility.  Rounding out the Redrock system is the microFollowFocus, which attaches seamlessly and enables fully functional focus pulling. The Redrock camera support package also includes a number of options that make life easy for camera operators.  With a cheeseplate and rod clamp included, the entire system can go from handheld to tripod in a matter of seconds.  Additional add-ons such as the Hoodman Viewfinder Cinema Kit and Marshall V-LCD70P-HDMI Lightweight Monitor can be integrated into the system to meet your specific needs. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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The Steadicam Pilot

For decades, filmmaking and massive budgets have been wed to one another.  With the invention and evolution of digital video, the floodgates of quality, yet low cost production have opened.  Emerging from the waves of this revolution is the Steadicam Pilot, a newly accessible and functional version of the device that has been beyond the reach of low budget cinema for so long. Having released the Steadicam Merlin and Steadicam Flyer in recent history, Tiffen (formerly Cinema Products) has shown a distinct interest in reaching digitally inclined consumers.  While these models accommodated the needs of certain consumer and prosumer enthusiasts, there were several barriers preventing filmmakers from obtaining truly professional results. As a handheld device, the Merlin was simply exhausting for its user, proving to be impractical for extended use.  With the arm/vest addition to the Flyer, we saw a closer resemblance in look and operation to Tiffen’s top end Steadicam Ultra and Steadicam Clipper models.  Unfortunately, with weight restrictions preventing the Merlin and Flyer from securing professional video cameras, the quality of cameras available for use with these models left much to be desired. With the rapid advancement of lightweight, yet high quality digital video cameras, the ten-pound weight restriction of Tiffen’s Steadicam Pilot doesn’t retract from its overall quality.  There exists an entire range of professional cameras that fall within this weight class, including but not limited to the: Panasonic AG-DVX-100B, Sony DSR-PD170, Canon XL-1, and Canon EOS 5D Mark II. No longer relegated to matrimony with cameras of insufferable quality, the Steadicam technology available in the Pilotprovides filmmakers with long awaited professional workflow.  Fitted with the essential vest, arm, and sled with monitor, the Steadicam Pilot is a streamlined version of the Flyer yet still closely resembles the aforementioned larger rigs.  In contrast to these larger models, the Pilot’s low total weight allows for an entire day of shooting without losing much stamina. Additionally, while many other competing devices require the loosening and tightening of a series of screws to adjust fore-and-aft and side-to-side balancing, the Steadicam Pilot uses two simple knobs.  The Pilot also allows for quality shooting in both high and low modes (you can flip the camera’s orientation for high and low filming) with little time needed for the switch. All this comes at a price tag of about $4,000, making professional quality Steadicam footage more accessible than ever.  A viable option for independent filmmakers and enthusiasts alike, the Pilot is absolutely worth its cost. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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The Sanken CUB-01 Mini Cardioid Boundary Microphone

The Sanken Mini Cardioid Boundary Mic is a huge step forward for audio devices of its kind.  Extremely small and inconspicuous, the CUB-01 can easily be concealed within a set, incorporated into the sound engineering of a broadcast news station, and much more. At a mere 45-gram weight, this boundary mic is more versatile than its predecessors.  This allows for placement in a broad range of areas – all you need is some double stick tape and the possibilities appear to be endless.  Receptive to phantom power, the CUB-01 works seamlessly with wireless systems.  This makes audio recoding as simple as placing the CUB and a transmitter in your chosen location and monitoring the results. With a redesign of the cardioid capsule that, in the past, has been largely responsible for the bad reputations of boundary mics (gaunt audio quality), Sanken has made the CUB-01 a truly capable mic for film and video production.  The CUB-01 is now adept at capturing the robust audio quality we’ve come to expect from professional audio devices. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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The Cineflex V14 HD Camera System

The Cineflex V14 HD camera system has taken aerial cinematography to the next level. Equipped with a technologically advanced gimbal, the Cineflex V14 HD system uses sensors to recognize vibrations and immediately correct the camera accordingly.  This is a vast improvement upon previous gyro gimbal systems that relied on a system of spinning (and sometimes unstable) wheels to capture smooth images.  At about 65 pounds and a mere 14.5 inches wide, this gimbal also allows for more versatile shooting.  Uniquely, the Cineflex V14 Turret can be used in conjunction with more than just helicopters.  Attach the turret to cars, boats, etc to capture the best footage for your specific circumstance. Sporting the robust Sony HDW-1500 camera, the Cineflex V14 HD system separates elements of the camera to reduce strain on the gimbal.  The body of the HDW-1500 remains inside the chopper while its CCD block and lens attach to the gimbal.  With an attached SR-recorder, the Cineflex can output 1920 x 1080 HDCAM video to 50-minute tapes.  As of late, this system has been used to record aerial footage for television shows such as Burn Notice, Brooke Knows Best, and Ugly Betty. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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Digital Hollywood

In recent history, several of Hollywood’s most prominent directors have begun to favor digital cinematography.  For nearly a decade, Michael Mann has been at the forefront of this filmmaking revolution.  Mann, quoted as saying “the future is digital, without a doubt,” has favored digital video cameras such as the Viper FilmStream and Sony CineAlta HD in the production of his most recent films.  Mann shot around 50 percent of 2004’s “Collateral” in HD after considering the results of low light footage shot with high-end digital cameras.  With most of “Collateral” filmed at night, Mann turned to digital filmmaking for its ability to capture a broader and more detailed range of colors than 35mm technologies.                   When Mann returned to Florida to direct 2006 feature film “Miami Vice,” digital filmmaking continued as a cornerstone to his approach.  Roughly 75 percent of “Miami Vice” was filmed on Viper cameras with supplemental footage captured by Sony HDW-F950, Sony HDW-F900 cameras and 35mm film cameras.  Shooting on 35mm for less than five percent of the production, “Miami Vice” director of photography Dion Beebe explained that he and Mann “did not want to mimic a film look.”  Rather, as seen in Mann’s most recent attempt with “Public Enemies,” he sought to establish an image that relies on the uniqueness of the digital medium rather than attempting to emulate the celluloid aesthetic.  While digital cinematography’s evolution has allowed for its adoption by big time directors and name brand studios, it has equally become more available to independent and aspiring filmmakers.  With the introduction of digital behemoths such as the Red One and Phantom HD, indy filmmakers are now, more than ever before, finding opportunities to create technically spectacular films without a blockbuster budget. Bookmark it to Stumbleupon, Digg, and more! Hide...

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