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Capture full colour images the dark at 4 million ISO with the Canon ME20F-SH HD camera

By site editor Dan Chung:

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If you spend your nights filming animals in the dark then this camera is for you. The new Canon ME20F-SH is a special purpose super low light camera that is capable of capturing full colour HD images at in excess of 4 million ISO. It does this by using a specially developed high sensitivity 2.26 MP full-frame CMOS sensor that has giant sized pixels and some very special circuitry. We previously reported on the development of this sensor and it is interesting to see Canon actually putting a special use camera onto the market.

The design is essentially that of an oversized block camera. It is a compact cube with no internal recording, just SDI and HDMI outputs. It uses a locking EF mount like the one found on the C500. Married with lenses like the old Canon 200mm f1.8L it really should be able to see in the dark.

Canon are targeting the camera at wildlife, security and astronomy applications – which is a good thing, considering the price tag is expected to be over $30,000. But I imagine that some of the low light technologies found in the ME20F-SH will be winging their way into cinema EOS cameras at some point in the future.

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This from Canon:

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, 30 July 2015 – Canon today announces the launch of the ME20F-SH, a professional multi-purpose video camera capable of capturing full colour images in extremely low-light environments. Boasting an industry leading unrivalled maximum ISO in excess of 4 million (+75dB), the ME20F-SH is designed to be as small as possible whilst delivering high quality professional grade Full HD footage.


Supporting image capture in situations where it previously would not have been possible, the ME20F-SH is ideal for use within specialist applications such as TV productions of nighttime wildlife, deep sea/cave exploration, astronomy and surveillance. The ability to install the camera in a semi-permanent location, with remote control operability also means that for documentary and natural history filmmakers, long term projects and events can be captured with minimum staffing. Due to the specialist nature and demand for this product, the ME20F-SH will only be available to selected partners.

First class infrared capability
Capturing video in low-light conditions often requires the use of infrared illumination, a technique that traditionally only yields footage in black and white. The ME20F-SH however, achieves impressive high-sensitivity performance enabling the capture of colour Full HD video with reduced noise, even in low-light conditions and without the need for infrared illumination.

Exceptionally high sensitivity
Designed to be used in situations where ambient light levels are extremely low, the ME20F-SH features a newly developed Full Frame 35mm with 2.26 MP CMOS sensor and a DIGIC DV4 processor. The sensor’s pixels and readout circuitry use Canon’s proprietary technologies to achieve both reduced noise and exceptionally high sensitivity, allowing you to capture subjects illuminated with less than 0.0005 lux. Similar to Canon’s Cinema EOS cameras, the ME20F-SH includes Canon Log and Wide DR settings, which enable a wide dynamic range (800%), delivering high-quality results across a variety of ambient lighting conditions, without the need for supplemental lighting.


Connectivity
The ME20F-SH offers several options with regard to connectivity to external third party devices for recording or remote viewing purposes, and is also compatible with Canon’s RC-V100 for full remote control over the camera.

Enabling a wide range of imaging possibilities
The new ME20F-SH employs Canon’s EF mount with Cinema Lock, as found on the Cinema EOS C500, allowing users to take advantage of the company’s extensive lineup of interchangeable lenses. By enabling operators to select the ideal lens based on their shooting or application requirements, taking into consideration such factors as angle of view and level of brightness, the multi-purpose camera facilitates a wide range of shooting possibilities.

ME20F-SH Key features:
Ultra low-light performance at ISO 4million
High quality Full HD 1080p/1080i/720p output
Flexible control with auto and custom settings
Compatible with a wide range of EF lenses
Remote control of camera settings and built-in ND and IR cut filters possible
Small and lightweight for ease of integration

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Posted on July 30th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Canon | Permalink | Comments (0)

Zacuto first look at the Canon C300 Mark II

By technical editor Matt Allard:

Zacuto’s Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn talk to Canon’s Jon Sagud about all the new features of the Canon C300 MkII. The original C300 is still one of the most popular rental cameras out there, and both Steve and Jens think its sucessor will be just as successful.

The EOS C300 Mark II Digital Cinema Camera boasts a wide range of new and improved features, including 4K/2K/Full HD internal and external recording (including 4K RAW output) and a new 10-bit Canon Log 2 Gamma. The camera also features an expanded dynamic range of 15 stops, improved Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus, innovative focus assist engineering and CFast recording technology.

Zacuto also show their own rig and accessory line up for the C300 mkII, including the next gen Recoil and Gratical HD and X EVFs. Zacuto will release the new Next Generation Recoil Rig for the Canon C300 mkII in August 2015.

The camera is expected to start shipping in September for $15999 US.

Posted on July 30th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, Canon, Canon C300, Canon C300 mkII | Permalink | Comments (0)

Video Devices Pix-E5 now shipping for $1395 USD

By associate editor Elliot Smith:

News just in from Video Devices is that their Pix-E5 monitor/recorder is now shipping and should be available at resellers shortly.

Our technical editor Matt Allard had a look at this new range of monitor/recorders at this year’s NAB show and was impressed by what he saw. Sound Devices, Video Devices’ parent company, have long had a reputation for making solid equipment that really delivers, and the Pix-E5 looks like it will continue in that vein.

It’s an increasingly competitive market for small monitor/recorders, and Video Devices hope to stand out by offering ultra high quality ProRes 4444 XQ recording out of the box onto recording media they’re calling a SpeedDrive. These are mSATA solid-state drives that use a SATA connection to write data when connected to a Pix-E unit, and a USB interface to plug into your computer for file transfer. The drives are available as a 240GB complete unit or as bare caddies for you to add your own mSATA drive.

With drives available just over £100 inc VAT for 256GB this system has the potential to offer a more-budget friendly recording media than the competition. The only gotcha appears to be that the size of the case looks like it will foul on anything plugged into adjacent ports. Time to break out that extension cable…

There’s no anamorphic desqueeze at launch and 4K support is only over HDMI (so no 4K Raw recording from the Sony FS700); but the 5″ size and high resolution screen could make this a useful companion to, say, a gimbal-mounted a7S or GH4.

The Pix-E5 is showing a ship date of August 1 at B&H for $1,395.00; EU and UK buyers can expect to pay around that figure in Euro and GBP respectively.

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Posted on July 29th, 2015 by Elliot Smith | Category: Monitors | Permalink | Comments (1)

Eye can see clearly now: G-Cup eyecup for GH4 from Miller & Schneider

By site editor Dan Chung:

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The Panasonic GH4 has been incredibly popular with shooters looking for a discreet camera with 4K capabilities and a good choice of lenses. The upcoming V-log profile and the launch of the Metabones 0.64x XL Speedbooster for the camera have made it even more appealing.

One area where the camera disappoints though is the eyecup. When using the internal electronic viewfinder it can be very hard to see in bright conditions because the standard eyepiece doesn’t seal at all well against your eye socket. It also isn’t particularly comfortable when jammed to your face for long periods. In the past I have used a Chinese made eyepiece which blocked the light out well, but wasn’t the greatest fit and had a habit of falling off. It was also made of rather smelly rubber which wasn’t too pleasant.

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Enter the new G-cup for Miller & Schneider. This looks to be a much better solution that should block out almost all stray light. It is designed by filmmakers Andrew Alden Miller and Thomas Schneider, who were behind the popular C-Cup Kickstarter eyecup that works with the Canon C100. Not only does it block out light, it also provides a comfortable third point of contact when you are handholding the camera.

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The G-cup is available online for $34.95 plus shipping from the Miller & Schneider webstore.

Andrew told me that there has been demand for a similar eyecup for the Sony a7 series as well. This is certainly something that I would like to see and I was pleased to hear that it is in the works. There is no date as yet but hopefully it won’t be too long.

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This from Andrew Alden Miller:

“During the C-Cup Kickstarter campaign, before the C-Cup was complete or the GH4 was released, I received a request to look into creating an eyecup for that camera. More followed, usually from people who’d stumbled onto the C-Cup project and wanted something similar for the GH4. The C-Cup was intended to be a one-off project, but once it became clear that an eyecup for the GH4 was desired by the market, my partner Thomas Schneider and I decided to form a company and get to work.

The G-Cup project came with the same goals as the C-Cup: we wanted to it be simple (read: inexpensive), to block out light, and to provide a comfortable third point of contact. We think this is a winning formula for camera operators who do handheld shooting. It is particularly effective with the new mirrorless cameras because they have excellent EVFs. With the G-Cup we’ve nailed it, at least for my face, and I’m looking forward to hearing feedback from users.”

Posted on July 29th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Panasonic GH4 | Permalink | Comments (0)

RED Weapon gets Internal ProRes Recording

By technical editor Matt Allard:

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RED have just announced firmware build V6.1.6 for the RED Weapon that enables ProRes recording options, Rec.709 and Rec2020 colour spaces and 3D LUT and multi look support. Internal ProRes recording is a big step forwards for RED and is sure to make the Weapon a more appealing prospects for shooters who require high quality, compressed files for fast turn around. It also offers a more customisable post workflow, with the ability to view ProRes dallies instantly.

This comes just as the first Weapons have started to ship. The 6K CF (carbon fiber) cameras will be going out first, with the 6K Magnesium versions to follow later this year. There is still no indication of when the 8k Vista Vision Weapon will be available. According to RED the 6K Magnesium version has slightly lower ProRes specs and can’t be upgraded to the 8K camera directly.

If you own a RED Weapon you will be able to record ProRes in the following flavours:
* Apple ProRes 4444 (HD)
* Apple ProRes 4444 XQ (HD)
* Apple ProRes 422 (HD,UHD)
* Apple ProRes 422 HQ (HD, UHD)
* Apple ProRes 422 LT (HD, UHD)

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There is also the ability to simultaneously record R3D files and ProRes to RED MINI-MAGs. Currently their is no 4K SDI or HDMI output available for the weapon. There is also a new sensor auto calibration function.

WEAPON BRAINs are also equipped to support 1D and 3D LUTs and the new firmware now allows you to record in both Rec.709 and the new Rec.2020 colour spaces. LUT options and other features vary between magnesium and carbon fiber models.

Unfortunately this new firmware is only available for Weapon owners and will not work on the RED Dragon. You can download the firmware here. NOTE: Upgrading your camera deletes all in-camera user-generated Preset, Look, and Custom Overlay files.

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Posted on July 29th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, 6K, Red | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Fotokite Phi: a tethered UAV, funded by you

By associate editor Elliot Smith:

Zurich-based company Perspective Robotics have announced an upcoming Indiegogo campaign to produce the Fotokite Phi, a consumer-focused version of their Fotokite ‘legally not a drone’ tethered UAV camera platform.

Actual details are a little thin on the ground at the moment as the campaign isn’t live on Indiegogo just yet, but the company is aiming to adapt their Fotokite Pro (‘Made for professional use cases and live broadcasting’) for a wider market.

The Fotokite is interesting because it offers a way to get aerial footage with an absolute minimum of special training and equipment. The airborne part of the unit is connected to the ground by a tether that also transmits power, meaning it’s possible to fly a camera for a lot longer than a battery-operated system. We took a look at the more expensive pro version of the Fotokite at NAB earlier this year:

Drone systems have been getting more and more accessible recently, with attendant worries about their improper use. It will be very interesting to see whether a radically simplified unit like the Fotokite Phi will broaden the appeal of the technology further, or fall foul of attempts to legislation to control UAVs and curb their use.

The 'Pro' version of the Fotokite which is being aimed at news organisations and commercial users

The ‘Pro’ version of the Fotokite which is being aimed at news organisations and commercial users

Full text of the announcement from Perspective Robotics:

Coming soon to Indiegogo … the Fotokite Phi

One of the most common requests we get is to release a consumer-friendly Fotokite – something affordable for folks who want to use one for photography, a hobby or just fun.

Early on, we made a conscious decision to build high-end tools before developing a consumer product. So while we’ve learned a lot by working with broadcasters and TV crews to make the Fotokite Pro, until now we haven’t had the time to properly develop a consumer version of the Fotokite.

Today, we’re excited to announce that in mid-August we will be unveiling just that – the Fotokite Phi, our first affordable, accessible tethered flying camera.

Based on the same GPS- and pilot-less technology used in the Fotokite Pro, the Phi (named after the golden ratio) enables users to quickly and painlessly fly a small camera such as a GoPro, take it anywhere and just have fun (without worrying about joysticks).

Pricing and features
Thanks to the tether, we’ve been able to considerably reduce the cost of manufacturing the Phi without having to compromise on quality.

It’s no fun for anyone when these things drop out of the sky. While keeping the price low, we’ve packed in a few really exciting features that we think will make the Phi a lot more practical and useful in “real life” (more about that when the crowdfunding campaign launches).

Crowdfunded by you!
The Phi will be crowdfunded on Indiegogo. The Phi is almost manufacture-ready, and will need some serious financial oomph to bring it through manufacturing and certification and get the economies of scale we need to get something affordable to market.

Posted on July 28th, 2015 by Elliot Smith | Category: Drones | Permalink | Comments (0)

First Panasonic DVX200 footage published online by Sebastian Wiegaertner

By site editor Dan Chung:

We’ve looked at the upcoming Panasonic DVX200 several times here on Newsshooter. The 4K camera is designed for documentary and event shooting and has a moderately large Micro4/3 sensor with a built-in zoom lens and neutral density filter. Now we finally get to see some actual footage from the camera courtesy of DP Sebastian Wiegaertner. He was one of ten camera people from around the globe invited to Kyoto, Japan to shoot with pre-production versions of camera by Panasonic.

The footage above is shot in 4K (UHD) 50P using the V-log profile and has been graded with grain added. While it doesn’t show the full picture quality the camera is capable of, it does demonstrate that in the right hands it can produce something that looks reasonably cinematic.

Shooting in Japan with the DVX200

Shooting in Japan with the DVX200

Sebastian told me that the camera has a native ISO of 500 and V-log gamma curves providing a claimed 12 stops of dynamic range. As we previously reported the internal recording is limited to 4:2:0 and Sebastian was quick to point out that 4:2:2 would have been preferable. The lens is variable aperture and not fixed and Sebastian said he would have preferred a constant aperture. Despite this he told me that it produced great images and that the Vimeo version of the video you can see above doesn’t do justice to the camera thanks to the compression applied.

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Sebastian also said he thought the camera was “perfect camera for Documentaries and fast TV report stuff, where you have to be fast and where you still want to achieve a cinematic image” and that “due to the M4/3 sensor it is way easier to focus than with a Super 35 or Full Frame sensor”.

Interestingly Sebastian also said that Panasonic engineers claimed the image from the DVX200 has almost the same colours as the high end Varicam 35.

You can see a behind the scenes video of the tour (with a rather cheesy soundtrack) below:

Separately UK dealer Holdan have also published a video that runs through the camera’s features that is worth watching if you are considering the DVX200:

Sebastian Wiegaertner is a Director of Photography for Feature Film, Commercial and Documentary. Mainly shooting feature films on Alexa and RED Dragon. You can visit his website www.wiegaertnerfilms.com or find him through these links:
www.twitter.com/wiegaertner
www.instagram.com/wiegaertner
www.facebook.com/wiegaertnerfilms

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Posted on July 27th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: 4K | Permalink | Comments (2)

Davinci Resolve 12 public beta now available for download – could it be your new free non linear editing software?

By site editor Dan Chung:

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Blackmagic Design’s Resolve is the industry standard colour grading software. With the latest features, added into version 12, the company have introduced a raft of non-linear video editing features. The aim is to turn Resolve into a single tool allowing you to cut, grade and finish your projects.

Multi-camera editing is also included in this release and clips can be synced using timecode or sound.

Blackmagic have also added a new Smooth Cut transition that uses optical flow algorithms to provide seamless cuts in interviews. This is interesting, although using it for news and factual programme-making does perhaps throw up some ethical dilemmas.

The media page allows easy organisation of your footage

The media page allows easy organisation of your footage

Multi-camera editing is now supported

Multi-camera editing is now supported

The best part about the upgrade is that it is free. The basic Resolve Lite has now been rebranded simply as Resolve. As before this allows most features to be used in resolutions up to UHD, with the exception of some noise reduction and mastering, 3D and collaborative working features. The $995 paid-for version that comes bundled with some Blackmagic cameras is now rebranded as Resolve Studio.

Head over to the Blackmagic Design website to download it now. Below is a video that runs through the new features:

And this one shows the Multicam editing feature:

This from Blackmagic Design:
The brand new version of Blackmagic Design’s colour grading and editing software, DaVinci Resolve 12, is now officially available to download for public beta.

With version 12, we’ve truly made Resolve more powerful than ever before with the introduction of a full professional nonlinear video editing system in addition to enhanced colour correction and finishing capabilities, allowing users to edit, grade, and finish projects all in a single tool.

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We’ve revealed several new features not announced at NAB for the first time today too, including a new Smooth Cut transition that uses proprietary DaVinci optical flow algorithms to create a seamless transition between different parts of an interview, so you don’t have to cover jump cuts with b-roll.

We’ve also added in native support for both Intel Iris and Iris Pro GPUs, which will dramatically improve performance on a wider range of systems, including laptops, so editors and colourists have a much better time working remotely or on-set.

Other new features include:

Enhancements to core editing tools such as all trim modes, multi-slip, slide, and ripple and role. Editors can now select multiple points for dynamic trimming and asymmetric trimming of clips, even if they’re on the same track.

A new multi-camera editing feature that lets editors cut programs from multiple sources in real time. This includes the ability to automatically synchronise different clips and camera angles together based on timecode, any given in/out points, or sound

Timelines can now be nested, edited together, and expanded or collapsed in place to greatly simplify the editing of large, multi-scene projects

New transition curves to let editors create and edit custom curves for transition parameters

New on-screen controls to see and adjust motion paths directly in the timeline viewer for more intuitive animation of titles, graphics, video layers, and more

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Big updates to core grading and colour correction tools for colourists, including an easier to use curves interface, automatic colour analysis and matching between two or more clips, an incredibly accurate 3D perspective tracker, and a new 3D keyer with improved matte finesse options

Custom smart filters for a faster colour grading set-up across projects

New tools to ripple grades across multiple clips and flatten pre and post-group grades into a clip’s individual grade

An entirely new high performance audio engine that offers higher sampling rates and greatly improved realtime audio playback performance

Full disclosure: Blackmagic Design are a supporter of this site.

Posted on July 27th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Grading, Video editing | Permalink | Comments (0)

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