SteadXP show how their technology could be used on documentaries

By site editor Dan Chung:

The new black version of the SteadXP+

The new black version of the SteadXP+

SteadXP, the hardware and software based video stabilisation solution we previously tested on Newsshooter, is now fully funded on Kickstarter. The system designed for video cameras and GoPro records information about the camera’s motion and uses it to assist dedicated software to create a stabilised image. You can see my earlier tests with a beta of the system here.

Now in the last few days of their campaign the creators have laid out a stretch goal that would enable the construction of a HDMI version, The standard camera top version requires a composite input which can come from a video camera or a convertor box. A HDMI version would be the simplest setup for most DSLR and camcorder users, as the camera output could be fed directly into it without the need for intermediate boxes. Backers who have already opted for the original version will be given the chance to switch to the HDMI version at special reward pricing. If the 450,000 Euro goal is reached a SteadXP HDMI will cost 230 Euro as an early bird offer, 260 Euro as a regular reward and 410 Euro for both the Stead XP and SteadXP HDMI units.

To reassure backers of the system’s usefulness in real world shooting situations, SteadXP’s creators have also posted a series of videos showing different aspects of its use. The first is a typical handheld documentary type situation where a subject is followed with a Panasonic GH4 and 14mm lens (near 35mm equivalent in full-frame). You can see how the system has cropped in around 25% to achieve a stable result:

SteadXP+ stabilizing a typical documentary subject from SteadXP on Vimeo.

Next they demonstrate how SteadXP works with longer lenses. They don’t recommend lenses longer than 70mm when shooting handheld. Anything longer won’t yield a usable result. The video below is shot with both 50mm and 70mm focal lengths. It was done on a 5D mkII in 1080P HD and a 18% was needed to create the result you see. In the software there is a horizon lock feature which was enabled along with high smoothing. The result is pretty impressive although you can see the resolution loss that the system introduces. Personally I would use it exclusively with 4K cameras if possible:

Stabilizing handheld 50 and 70mm shots with SteadXP+ from SteadXP on Vimeo.

Lastly they have shown new black versions of both the regular and GoPro SteadXP boxes. These are much more understated than the original bright blue model that I tested.

The black GoPro version of SteadXP

The black GoPro version of SteadXP

For more info and to back the campaign check out the SteadXP website. Please be aware that, like all Kickstarter projects, a fully funded campaign does not guarantee that the product can be successfully made. Having tried the beta unit myself though, I have a lot more confidence in the SteadXP team’s ability to deliver than most other Kickstarters.

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Posted on October 5th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera stabilsation systems | Permalink | Comments (1)

Metabones EF to FZ CIne smart adapter reviewed by Paul Ream of ExtraShot

By site editor Dan Chung:

The new Metabones FZ to EF Cine Smart adapter. Photo courtesy of Paul Ream/ExtraShot

The new Metabones FZ to EF Cine Smart adapter. Photo courtesy of Paul Ream/ExtraShot

Metabones are well known for their Speedbooster and Smart adapter lines for Sony E-mount and M4/3 cameras. Now they have created a new smart adapter to allow Canon EF lenses to be controlled on Sony FZ mount cameras – the F5, F55 and probably the ageing F3.

First seen in prototype form at IBC 2014, the adapter is now in working form and our friend Paul Ream over at Extrashot has had a chance to try it out. The adapter is not a Speedbooster and there are no glass elements. The focal length of the Canon lens is maintained. Unlike the E-mount and M4/3 smart adapters there is no autofocus with the FZ version.

The aperture ring is clearly marked and geared. Photo courtesy of Paul Ream/ExtraShot

The aperture ring is clearly marked and geared. Photo courtesy of Paul Ream/ExtraShot

The main feature is a oversized geared aperture ring that is marked with actual aperture values and moves smoothly. This is actually a fly-by-wire system that electronically adjusts the iris in the lens as you turn the ring mechanically. At present this is a manual only system and there is no option to wirelessly adjust the iris with a handheld controller, unlike the competing MTF Effect 3 and Optitek OptiTron 2. The gear on the iris does mean you could add a remote motor to control iris if you really wanted to though.

This is what Paul had to say – “The actual adapter weighs 717 grams but you wouldn’t really notice that when using Canon EF lenses.  It certainly feels solid and professional, in the same chunky way that those with an FZ mount will be used to.  As well as the firm but smooth moving aperture ring, which is clearly marked with f/stops, there are two small function buttons and a three way switch labeled Auto-Lock-Manual.”

The adapter itself is powered via the mount and there is no need for external power supplies or power tap cables. Another nice touch is the addition of a locking EF mount which is similar to the one found on the Canon C500 EF version. This secures the lens much more than a regular EF mount would, making pulling focus much easier.

Photo courtesy of Paul Ream/ExtraShot

Photo courtesy of Paul Ream/ExtraShot

The actual movement of the iris blades is something Paul addresses in his review: “Obviously, although the aperture ring is well damped and moves extremely smoothly, EF lenses are not stepless.  This is a function of lenses designed for stills and even Canon have to work with the limitation on their own cameras.  When testing, all of my lenses appear to step at 1/8th stops, so this is certainly fine enough to be nicely usable.  As you open a lens beyond its maximum aperture, the wheel will continue to turn all the way to 1 but the viewfinder display remains correct.  When you then close down, the wheel automatically picks up at the correct point so that the lens and aperture marks remain in sync.  This is a very clever solution and one I didn’t even believe could be possible with EF lenses.”

Paul made the video below to demonstrate this:

Another feature is an auto-iris function. This is something many camera operators don’t use often, but its nice to see it included anyway. Paul details all of this and gives a list of lenses he has tested with it successfully on the ExtraShot blog.

Price is expected to cost $999 US and it should be available this month from Metabones.

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Lenses, Sony F3, Sony F5, Sony F55 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sony confirm FS7 will get 2K center crop and other new features by end of 2015

By technical editor Matt Allard:


As previously announced, Sony have confirmed that an upcoming firmware release for the popular Sony PXW-FS7 will enable several new features by the end of the year. The most notable addition will be the 2K center scan function which crops a 2K image out of the middle of the sensor’s 4K frame. The feature, that is also found on the new FS5, will effectively double your lenses’ focal length without losing any stops of light when shooting in HD or 2K modes.

The FS5 with MTF Optical b4 adapter and Canon ENG lens. The FS7 will soon have the same S16 crop mode.

The FS5 with MTF Optical b4 adapter and Canon ENG lens. The FS7 will soon have the same S16 crop mode.

This function, which was previously only available on the more expensive F5 and F55 cameras, was originally intended for those wanting to use Super 16mm lenses or B4 2/3″ glass (with an optical adapter like the recently announced MTF b4 to E-mount version) on their cameras. It is also commonly used by operators to double the focal length of their lenses electronically for added shooting versatility. For documentary and news shooters this allows you to run and gun with fewer lenses when shooting in 2K or HD resolutions.

Old Super16 zoom lenses will get a new lease of life with the FS7 centre scan mode

Old Super16 zoom lenses will get a new lease of life with the FS7 centre scan mode

The FS7 will also receive an interval record function that will allow users to capture timelapses that are recorded in camera and don’t require post processing. Noise suppression will be added as an option when shooting in Cine EI mode, potentially useful as the base ISO for shooting in Cine EI is 2000.


It is nice to see Sony implementing new features in the FS7 to give it functionality from the cheaper FS5, although there are no details yet as to when in 2015 the firmware will be available to download.

This from Sony:

PXW-FS7 Firmware V3.0

Upgrade is free of charge and available during 2015 (TBC)

New Features & Improvements:
●Support for adjusting the Focus Magnification area position
●Support for “2K Full, “2K Center” setting in Imager Scan Mode
●Support for Interval Recording function
●Support for Noise Suppression setting in Cine EI mode
●Expand lowest value of Zebra level to 0%

PXW-FS7 V3.0 firmware will be downloadable here during 2015.

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Posted on October 5th, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: 4K, Sony FS7 | Permalink | Comments (1)

IBC 2015: ARRI Alexa MINI updates – anamorphic shooting and new CCM-1 control panel

By site editor Dan Chung:

The Alexa MINI has quickly established itself as a small camera of choice on many high-end productions. Originally aimed at multirotor, brushless gimbal and Steadicam operators it has found wider use as a general production camera as well. Many rig makers have been making solutions that transform it into a more handholdable camera.

At IBC the MINI’s product manager Michael Jonas walked us through all the updates to the camera that will be in the upcoming SUP3.0 release. Also on display was a working beta of the anamorphic shooting option that is due in November as a paid for licence.

The Alexa MINI with Zeiss Milvus lens

The Alexa MINI with Zeiss Milvus lens

He also showed us improved functionality with the Transvideo/ARRI StarliteHD5 OLED monitor. When used to control the camera it can adjust several parameters via the touchscreen interface.

Another new accessory that works with both Amira and Alexa MINI is the new CCM-1 control panel. This is a cabled remote screen that replicates all the controls found on the EVF, but places them on a panel that can be mounted on the opposite side of the camera so that an assistant can access it. It can also be used when the camera is placed in remote locations.


Also at IBC ARRI had a big screen showcase where various DPs talked about their experiences with the camera. In the clip below Casey Warren and Danielle Krieger of MINDCASTLE explain how they use the ALEXA MINI to create their beautiful imagery.

For more details of the updates keep an eye on the ARRI website.

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Arri Alexa Mini, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2015: SmartSystem fluid drag slider gets Pan head 360 attachment and a new wi-fi controlled motor option

By technical editor Matt Allard:

At IBC, Italian company SmartSystem were showing the latest updates to their range of sliders with a unique fluid drag system system instead of a traditional moving belt. As a result these sliders offer a very smooth travel motion – probably the smoothest I’ve seen. There is a Reflex version for smaller cameras and a Pro version that can carry weights of up to 100kg.

The SmartSlider Pro

The SmartSlider Pro

The sliders can also be motorised and set up to do complex time lapses or programmed moves. I was very impressed with how quiet and powerful the motors were that SmartSystem were using. The company was also showing a nice wi-fi control system that allows the operater to use a tablet or smart phone to access and control all of the functionality. The app was very intuative and well thought out, letting you set up highly precise moves and time lapses with relative ease.

SmartSystem were also showing a prototype parallax type slider attachment called the Pan head 360. It features the unique ability to be able to move a camera through 360 degrees – which would allow for some very creative shots.


Newsshooter previously reviewed the SmartSlider Reflex and you can read about it here. For more information on any of the SmartSystem products, you can head over to their website.

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Posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: IBC show, SIiders, Timelapse | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2015: Shape show Odyssey 7Q and Canon XC10 cages, plus 2-axis gimbal for a7S sized cams

By site editor Dan Chung:

The Shape XC10 rig

The Shape XC10 rig

At IBC Phil Arntz interviewed Canadian company Shape about their new cages for the Canon XC10 and Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q and 7Q+. The form fitting 7Q/7Q+ cage keep can be transformed into a more hand holdable directors monitor with the addition of the company’s side handles.

The company were also showing their new ISEE+ 2-axis handheld gimbal for cameras like the Sony a7S and Panasonic GH4. This has the ability to mount onto a shoulder rig to create stabilised off-the-shoulder shots. Unfortunately the model they had on the show floor had been damaged and we weren’t able to see it working. I’m very curious to see what sort of results a 2-axis system like this can create when mounted on the shoulder.

The ISEE+ with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

The ISEE+ with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

The Shape ISEEPLUS brushless gimbal with shoulder rig option

The Shape ISEE+ brushless gimbal with shoulder rig option

To find out more about Shape’s products visit their website.

Posted on October 2nd, 2015 by Dan Chung | Category: Camera stabilsation systems, Camera support systems, External recorders, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2015: Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q/7Q+ firmware records two cameras at once

By technical editor Matt Allard:

At IBC Convergent Design gave us sneak peak at a feature that will be available in a coming firmware update for the Odyssey 7Q/7Q+. It enable two HD camera inputs to be recorded at the same time on the one device. You can use a combination of SDI or HDMI sources to dual record, just as long as both cameras are set at the same frame rate. If you want to just view and not record two sources then the cameras can run at different frame rates.


Dual stream recording allows for both signals to be recorded in any form of Apple ProRes at up to 60p. For multi camera shoots it will allow the user to have both their cameras record in sync and in the same codec at the same time. This will save a lot of time in the edit as you won’t have to deal with two different codecs and you don’t need to sync up the two clips.

To enable dual stream recording you will need to purchase the Odyssey RAW Bundle for $995. If you have already purchased one of Convergent’s RAW bundles then the feature will be enabled for free. Owners who don’t have one of these upgrades can still view two streams at the same time, but they can only record one of them.


I asked Mitch if the quad stream recording option that was promised is still planned and he said that it is coming at an unspecified point in the future. He told me that Convergent Design have a lot of plans for the quad recording and may even end up allowing you to use the function to live switch between cameras while recording.


The dual stream viewing mode allows the user to see the camera images as picture-in-picture, side-by-side, or top and bottom. A nice feature when viewing in the side-by-side setting is a split waveform that allows for easy exposure matching of the two cameras. For shooting interviews it will enable the operator to see exactly what the other camera is shooting without having to go physically back and forth between cameras. When using cameras that feature multiple outputs you can use the dual stream viewing to monitor a clean image and an image with the cameras information on it, or one image that is Log and another that has a LUT applied.

The new firmware should be available very soon, so keep a look out on the Convergent Design website for more information.

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Posted on October 1st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: External recorders, IBC show | Permalink | Comments (0)

IBC 2015: MTF release Effect V3 Wireless focus and iris control adapter for EF lenses on M4/3, Cion, FZ and E-mount

By technical editor Matt Allard:


At IBC, MTF were showing their new Effect V3 kit that allows you to precisely control the focus and iris of Canon EF lenses wirelessly. It works on a wide variety of cameras and unlike most of the competition the Effect V3 is designed and built in England.

The Effect v3 comes in two main parts: A handheld or rig mounted wireless controlled and a lens adapter that mounts to the camera. There is an illuminated display and external powering via D-Tap or 4-pin Hirose.


The controller adjusts aperture in 1/8th stop increments and displays the focal length as well as aperture stop. On zoom lenses the focal length can be displayed digitally in real time. The Effect will power the image stabilising function of compatible Canon EF lenses. It is also compatible with most third party Canon EF lenses like the popular Zeiss ZE range.


Included in the kit is your choice of mount for one of the following cameras:
AJA Cion (for the AJA Cion camera)
Sony FZ (such as the Sony F3/F5/F55)
Sony E (such as the FS100/FS700)
Micro Four Thirds (such as the Panasonic AG-AF101 and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera mFT/Pocket Cinema Camera)
(additional mounts are sold separately)


The MTF EFFECT MK3 now comes as a complete kit which includes:
A Peli type carry case
Any one of the MTF EFFECT adaptors
A Rossete style mounting bracket for controller
A Charger for controller

The MTF Effect V3 kit is now shipping and costs £1,800.00. For more info visit the MTF website.

Below is a video of the Effect 3.0 pre-production model shown earlier in the year at NAB. Most of the features remain the same but there may be slight differences.

Newsshooter at NAB 2015: MTF – Effect Mark 3 Wireless Controller from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Posted on October 1st, 2015 by Matthew Allard | Category: Canon, IBC show, Lenses | Permalink | Comments (1)

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