Archive for the '720p' Category


Zacuto Does It Again…With The DSLR Z-Cage

Zacuto never ceases to amaze me with their new and innovative products, and the Z-Cage is no exception. This expandable, ergonomic and customizable stabilization system is the perfect, light weight system for the HDSLR. The big punch here is the base plate.  You adjust the height of the plate with the twist of a knob to accommodate all cameras even the 1D Mark IV or if you use a battery grip – nice!   Really, really nice –  the baseplate also has a quick release for your camera. This is huge if you want to shed the cage quickly and easily without hassling with a ¼ 20 connection. The cost, $827, and if you’ve owned Zacuto before, you know it’s worth every penny. Zacuto is now taking orders, and they estimate delivery in two or three weeks. You can find out more information at

The Zacuto DSLR Z-Cage allows you to have a small, stable, and portable mounting solution for your DSLR and all of the accessories used with it. The Z-Cage allows you to gain a better form factor for holding the camera in your hands, thus giving you more stability when shooting and lots of options and space for all of your additional accessories such as an HD monitor, audio recorder and so forth. The Z-Cage uses our DSLR baseplate and our DSLR handles which are very durable and form fitting to your hands.

The DSLR baseplate is fully adjustable and expandable. You can adjust the height of the plate for compatibility with all DSLR cameras with and without battery grips simply by using the Allen screws on the front of the baseplate. The DSLR baseplate is also the platform for building your kit into a shoulder mounted rig. The plate also has multiple 1/2″ 13 threads on the sides so you can expand the cage into a shoulder mounted rig if you ever choose to change or create your own system.A huge advantage we have over competitors is that your camera can be quickly released from the rig by turning the red knob on the side of the DSLR baseplate then pulling up on your camera. The camera quick release plate stays mounted to your camera so you can quickly switch between using the camera as part of the cage or on its own. Your tripod plate mounts to the bottom of the plate by using the standard tripod screws, (2) ¼ 20” and (1) 3/8 16”. The 3.5″ rods on the front of the baseplate are perfect for mounting a follow focus or matte box. If you are using longer lenses, rod extensions might be needed.For mounting a small hd monitor as pictured, a monitor mount is needed.


Letus Announces New HDSLR Gear!

Got an email today from Letus introducing their line of gear for HDSLRs.  Without having seen these devices, I have to say I’m impressed.  I’m impressed with the restraint it must have taken to hold the individual configurations from the market place until they were all completed.  I’m also impressed with the build quality, if they are everything they appear to be, these should be some fine pieces of equipment.

The Letus Talon Series consists of 5 variations of rail system/viewfinder.  The “Talon K5”  (pictured) uses the extended base and Talon riser. This allows you to have a “step” in the telescoping support rods and includes a 90mm long stainless steel front rod extension. This is great for easily repositioning a follow focus or matte box when changing out lenses. The riser gives you more vertical clearance then you would have with a straight telescoping rod.  Cost:  $1384

The “Hawk” viewfinder is a radical new design and doesn’t resemble anything on the market.  According to Letus, “we were not satisfied with viewfinders on the market so using our knowledge of optics, we decided to build our own.”   Unlike others on the market, the Hawkeye uses totally custom optics designed and manufactured by Letus using 3 lenses in 2 groups rather than a single, off-the-shelf diopter.   Cost:  $385.

They even have a cage!   The Letus Talon DSLR cage has a releasable camera plate along with a sliding / removable top bridge. The camera plate can be attached from the bottom or the front of the cage for easy camera removal when transporting. The top bridge can slide on standard 15mm diameter rods.   Price:  $699.

You can find all of these items and their entire line of HDSLR gear at


Burrard (Canon 7D)

First Canon 7D skate Footage.

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New Vimeo Channel!!!!

We now have our own HDSRL channel on vimeo. If you’re a member, and who isn’t, please subscribe, and don’t forget to submit. When you do submit, please tell us about your video, challenges with your HDSLR, etc.


Canon 7D Slow Motion Test

Just bought a Canon 7D, and just started trying out it’s video functions. This was just a very quick test to see how well the slow motion would come out. My little brother is the boy in the video. The song was just slapped in there to add noise.

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My Experience with Canon Tech Support

Last week, after taking several stills with my 7D and having shot with the 5D Mark II previously, I felt like I was really missing that extra something you can only find with the full frame sensor.  To be honest, I felt a little jaded too, as the E2i is essentially the 7D only lighter and 1k less.  Some colleagues of mine told me that the resell price would be determined by the shutter count.  However, they had no clue how to determine this.  So I scoured the net trying to find out how to find the shutter count.  There is some user-created software that claims to be able to determine the shutter count, but I couldn’t get it to even recognize my camera.  So I contacted Canon.

What I found out was more than just an answer to my questions, but a company that returned my emails by a real person.  They answered my questions very quickly and very clearly, as they have done since I purchased the camera 2 months ago.  I mention this not to ride Canon’s jock, but I work in a customer service driven industry myself, and I know how difficult it can be to answer the same questions over and over.  Questions regarding a feature, or questions that are not a clear warranty issue sometimes fall between the cracks.

Even if I do sell my 7D, I have to tell you, I will always be a Canon customer.  Their fast, informative and courteous responses have made a life long customer out of me, and I hope this story instills confidence in anyone thinking of buying an HDSLR from Canon.  Please see the email exchange below, with the answer for finding out the shutter count on a 7D.  Let me stress that these emails were answered within eight hours of when I sent them.

My First Email: Can you tell me how I can check the shutter count on my 7D? I’m thinking of reselling it, and I’m told they need the shutter count.

Canon’s Response: We appreciate your continued correspondence regarding your EOS 7D. I am > sorry to hear that you aren’t happy with your 7D.  If you have taken less than 9,999 shots and have not reset the file numbering you can determine the number of pictures by looking at the file number of your last picture. If you have taken over 9,999 shots or reset the file numbering (this also occurs after 9,999 pictures), only the service center can determine the number of shutter actuations.  I hope this helps. Please write to us again if you have any questions.  Sincerely, Erik Technical Support Representative.
My Second Email: How many shots do I have until the stability of the shutter is questionable?

Canon’s Response: The shutter has a listed durability rating of 150,000 shutter cycles. A shutter cycle is defined as a single full opening, closing and re-cocking of the shutter mechanism. I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with your EOS 7D.  Thank you for choosing Canon.  Sincerely,  Dirk  Technical Support Representative.


DAY 2: Vincent Laforet/CreativeLIVE HDSLR Workshop

In case you’ve missed out on one of the greatest opportunities for those endeavoring to make films with the HDSLR, Vincent Laforet and Creative LIVE are hosting the HDSLR Worshop live webcast.  Did I mention this webcast that goes on for 3 days is totally FREE???  There are so many people trying to capitalize on every aspect of the HDSLR revolution which in my opinion is in conflict with the spirit of it, Vincent La Foret once again, expels the money changers from the temple and puts filmmaking back in the hands of the people. Just tune in at today and Sunday to catch the last two days of the webinar — again FOR FREE!!!  Last night I tuned in just to see what’s on, because even during the breaks they’ve left one of the cameras streaming, and they were replaying Friday’s webinar.  Average number of viewers online has been averaging 2000+.  Also, you can particapate with questions on twitter by typing #creativelive Again, much respect for Vincent Laforet for giving back to the film community by making his knowledge and experience available to everyone who seeks it.  Just as a disclaimer, they are charging for a copy of this webinar that will be available for download next week for about $80.  However, it’s clear to see that the amount of work it took to produce this, they will barely recoup there cost.  Way to give back gentlemen!  Here’s Saturday and Sunday’s schedule. 

DAY TWO:  Saturday May 1st. PART I:  Introduction to Cinema Language and Concepts.   9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. We’ll make sure you know what panning vs tilting is and what a locked off shot it.   CU / ECU / Medium Shot / Establishing shot will become part of your vocabulary – as well as a lateral move, a push or a pull.  We’ll define what a hyperfocal is to you and how to use  is to tackle focusing challenges.   We’ll ask the important question of:  how shallow is too shallow in terms of depth of field – especially when it comes to working with actors.    We’ll get into lens choice and discuss compression and distortion. PART II:  Cinema lighting and camera support.  11 a.m. – 1 p.m. We will not be going into complex lighting on this one – in fact lighting is one of the areas we will be spending the least amount of time on during this workshop given the complexity of the concepts involved and time / gear constraints. We’ll discuss how to use a variety camera support tools – at various price points.   Students will get hands on time with the gear and discuss HOW and WHY it is used (and to what EFFECT.)  We’ll start off by looking into a wide variety of handheld rigs and tools.  We’ll also look at a variety of sliders, dollies, JIB, Pan/Tilt Heads and time lapse tools.  We’ll then discuss wireless focus solutions, wireless video transmitters, and video conversion solutions. We’ll be discussing gear from:  Redrock Micro, Zacuto, Arri, Broncolor, GlideTrack, O’Connor, Cinevate, Kessler Cranes, MicroDolly Hollywood, and Porta Jib, Lite Panels, Black Magic, IDX, and Viewfactor amongst others. BREAK – LUNCH FROM 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. PART III:  The Makeup of a Film Crew  – 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. We’ll quickly discuss the business of film and also make sure you know what a director’s responsibilities are – as well as what a 1st AC does vs a gaffer or script supervisor.  We’ll also discuss what a treatment is and when film permits are needed and/or clearances. PART IV: First Shoot  – 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. The students will gather to shoot their first min-documentary.    They will shoot a sit down interview as well as some B-Roll and learn how to mix an interview with B-Roll footage effectively. PART V BONUS – Live Video Editing Session  – 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. DAY THREE:

Sunday May 2nd PART I:  NARRATIVE SHOOT – Pre Pro  – 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Students will get back together and work on the pre-production of a short narrative piece that they will shoot in the next section.   We’ll discuss storyboarding, managing a shot list and equipment list – and the concept of shooting a scene / piece in a non-linear manner to save time (and expense.) PART II:  NARRATIVE SHOOT –  11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Students will break up into various roles and shoot a short narrative piece together – utilizing the tools and techniques discussed over the prior two days.  This will give us a chance to see everything come together – and also to pick up on some very common mistakes that first time filmmakers make. BREAK – Lunch 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. PART III:  WORKFLOW –  2 p.m.  – 4 p.m. We’ll discuss converting footage and a variety of editing tools for both Mac and PC.   We’ll cover Final Cut Studio, Compressor, Adobe CS5 (we’re still working on this detail given how new the software is) , MPEG Streamclip, and Plural Eyes.  We’ll also discuss backup strategies, from the Canon/Apple FCP Log and Transfer plugin, to Servers, LTO Tape and Drobo. PART IV:  FINISHING   4 p.m. – 6 p.m. We’ll also get a basic introduction to editing – and bring together the pieces we shot together earlier in the day.  Students will get an introduction to editing by qualified FCP and CS5 instructors (see above- we’re trying to get CS5 in…) The class will culminate with a discussion on how to grade the footage in Apple’s Color software.  And we’ll discuss how to deliver the final media to a variety of devices – from iPhones, AppleTV, streaming web movies, all the way to BluRay.

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May 2020