Category Archives: Audio

The Aspen Mics Belt Clip Completes My Zoom H1 Recorder

I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of my Zoom H1. For the price, it’s simplicity and quality has not really been matched even after all these years. However, the one feature that many Zoom H1 owners have gotten used to is the lack of a belt clip. Sure we’ve used all sorts of clamps, arms, and even the old “drop it in the pocket” method to mount the thing. Now, with the Aspen Mic Belt Clip, the Zoom H1 finally feels “complete”. Where have you been all my life?

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Aspen Mics Belt Clip for Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

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product information button runplayback Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder

The 24 Hour Shootout Survival Kit

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Last week Arbor Day Pictures aka Nancy Mitchell, Hannah Mitchell and myself participated in YPSI24, a 24 hour shootout competition where we won second place amongst 40+ entries. It was an awesome experience to witness so many filmmakers of all levels express themselves using a variety of video techniques within experimental and narrative storytelling.

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However, with a 24 hour time limit and a 3 person crew including myself (2 of whom were acting on camera), it was vital that I assemble an equipment package that worked for our story. Too much gear and I’d risk a lot of unncessary setup and breakdown time. Too little gear and I’d lose the visual storytelling that was essential for characterization. We were super honored to win an award and it may not have happened without our 24 Hour Shootout Survival Kit. So here’s how we did it.

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THE STORY
A few weeks before the shoot, we bounced around some preliminary ideas, some that either proved too difficult or too time consuming. Finally, the night before YPSI24, Nancy assembled all of our initial ideas into a creepy story about supernatural revenge. Next, I fleshed out the summary into a rough, 5 page script which would be our blueprint for the day. We all agreed that the concept would remain loose in order to incorporate the YPSI24 “ingredients” that we would be given. Creating a script as a guide for our shotlist/schedule was definitely a critical part of our planning.

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THE SUPPORT
For Camera A support I went with the heavy duty yet light and portable 8.5lb ProAm Heavy Duty Tripod Legs which are typically built for jib cranes but work great with a Manfrotto fluid head and Konova K3 slider as they can hold up to 80 lbs. It even has a super convenient mid level spreader for added stability and adjustable rubber or spiked feet for all kinds of terrain. At $120 shipped, the ProAm Heavy Duty Tripod Legs are an exceptional deal for the quality.

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product information button runplayback ProAm USA PROAMFT Pro Tripod Legs & Bag Kit

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product information button runplayback Manfrotto MVH500AH Fluid Video Head with Flat Base

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product information button runplayback Konova Slider K3 100cm (39.4-Inch)

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THE LIGHTING
Lighting was very minimal as we were mostly daylight dependent. For the ending interior shots we used a pair of budget friendly ePhoto 600 CN600HS LED Lights with Kayo Maxtar V-Mount Li-Ion Batteries. The Kayo Maxtar is a new addition to my kit and one of the best V-Mount battery options out right now. Fully charged, the Kayo can power these lights for up to 6 hours straight. Very impressive!

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ePhoto 600 Led Dimmable CN600HS Video Photography Light

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Kayo Maxtar 177Wh(12000mAh/14.8V) V Mount Battery

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THE SOUND
To keep our sound kit as light and simple as possible, I went with the Zoom H1, Rode Micro Boompole, Rode VideoMic Pro, Aspen HQ-S Lav Mic, P&C Handgrip and an audio extension cable. Our rule was that whoever wasn’t on camera would be the Sound Recordist. With some easy to remember sound recording basics and having a kit this simple ensured that no one would have to be a pro to capture quality sound.

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product information button runplayback Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder

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product information button runplayback Rode Micro Boompole – 3-Section Boom Pole

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product information button runplayback Rode VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun Microphone

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AspenMics Lavalier Microphones

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product information button runplayback Dot Line P&C Handgrip

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THE CAMERA A KIT
Having some early success with the latest Panasonic V-Log color profile, I decided to use my workhorse GH4 mounted with a Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster and classic Canon FD glass – 20mm, 28mm, 50mm and 35-105mm. This combination would create a vintage, lived-in look that I thought would be perfect for a horror film.

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I kitted out my GH4 shoulder rig with a Varavon Armor Cage, Aputure V-Screen field monitor, Fotga follow focus, Ikan Tilta V-Mount Plate and a Kayo Maxtar BP-GL175 Li-Ion Battery. With the Kayo, I was able to power the Aputure monitor and use it as a counterweight for the GH4. There’s also a convenient USB port located on the side which kept my iPhone charged at every location.


product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4
Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter

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Varavon Armor II GH4 & GH3 Cage

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Aputure VS-3 V-Screen 7″ IPS Field Monitor

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Fotga DP500IIS Follow Focus

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ikan Tilta TT-C12 HyperDeck Shuttle Mount with V-Mount Plate

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Kayo Maxtar 177Wh(12000mAh/14.8V) V Mount Battery

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THE CAMERA B KIT
Our story included many scenes of walking through the woods so I wanted to incorporate gimbal tracking shots without having to spend any time balancing or breaking down the Camera A Kit. For this situation I went with the Ikan Fly-X3 Gimbal paired with the Xiaomi Yi Action Camera aka the $80 Chinese GoPro. Since these walking shots would include both Hannah and Nancy in the shot, it would leave me as the Sound Recordist. The Ikan Fly-X3 doesn’t have a 1/4-20 thread so I rigged a Joby GorillaPod to the handle and fitted it with a Rode VideoMic, Zoom H1, an audio extension cable and a pair of lightweight Auvio Headphones. With the shotgun mic I was then able to capture realtime location sound while also performing stable gimbal shots while walking backwards through the woods. Trust me, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

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product information button runplayback Ikan Fly-X3 Plus 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer Kit with GoPro HERO3/4 mount

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Xiaomi Yi Action Camera with Wi-Fi

Joby Action Clamp GorillaPod Arm
product information button runplayback Joby Action Clamp with GorillaPod Arm

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Auvio Black Ear-Cup Foldable Headphones

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Another interesting rig we built was an Indy Mogul style DIY 3rd person POV action camera backpack. Designed with cheap PVC pipe from Home Depot, we mounted an Oben Mini Ballhead and the Xiaomi Yi on the rig to create the over the shoulder look during the “search” scenes in the woods. With the Xiamoi’s Wi-Fi app, I would be able to monitor the shots while giving direction to Nancy. We wanted to present an unusual sense of vertigo during these scenes since her character would become more desperate as day turned to night.

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product information button runplayback Oben BD-0 Mini Ball Head

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THE CAMERA C KIT
For a 24 Hour Shootout, it would be tempting to use the DJI Phantom 3 Professional as a shortcut for production value but we didn’t want to go that route. Our initial thought was that an aerial would take up valuable time that we could put towards characterization. Also, because of the hazardous weather conditions on the shoot day, flying a drone would prove too risky. However, nature was on our side when we had a small 10 minute window of clear weather. It was a tricky manuever as I had to fly through a 10 foot clearing in the trees towards a height that revealed just enough of the forest without showing any residential homes or highways. I fitted the Phantom 3 with a Polar Pro Polarizer Filter to prevent glare off the water and was able to get the shot in just two takes. However, flying the drone back to home point was nerve racking as I clipped a few small branches due to the wind and unstable GPS lock. Luckily I had Nancy and Hannah as my spotters on each side of the clearing to prevent the Phantom from going down into the water. The shot was definitely worth it as it created a vast sense of exploration for the Alice character, establishing the forest as a kind of supernatural playground.

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product information button runplayback DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter with 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal

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Polar Pro DJI Phantom 3 Professional Filter 6-Pack

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THE POST PRODUCTION
We finished our last shot at about 11:30pm and after ingesting all the footage in Adobe Premiere, post production began at 12 midnight. By this time, I was exhausted but not completely tapped out. I knew that once I got past the hump of assembly I would go into creative mode, driven by pure adrenaline. With the help of a large iced coffee I finished assembly by 2:00am and edited straight until 9:00am. The GH4 V-Log setting was especially helpful in color correction for each clip. After dropping in the Panasonic Varicam 35 LUT, I simply adjusted exposure within Lumetri Color and did my best to match the Xiaomi Yi and Phantom 3 footage.

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As the sun started to rise and the 10:00am delivery deadline looming, I did a few last touches and exported the file onto a flash drive. Since the YSPI24 rendevouz was a half hour away, I wasn’t able to do a final preview. At this point, I was completely delirious and just grateful that we completed our film.

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THE EXPERIENCE
YPSI24 was an insanely inspiring good time. From the cordial and energizing meetup with our fellow filmmakers to the hack-a-thon like shooting experience to the final screening at the 500 seat venue, YPSI24 reminded me of why I got into video in the first place. It wasn’t to win awards or make commercials. It was to tell a story using a language that didn’t require an army of people pontificating about the laws of Cinema. It’s a relief to know that the DIY spirit that’s shaped both my personal and professional life has never left me. Hashtag #setlife is not enough. Old traditions and new technologies are not enough. It’s the communal experience of being vulnerable with people that I care about which matters most. Check out our 2015 YPSI24 short “Always Alice” below and remember to always stay inspired!


Always Alice (2015 YPSI24)

SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Wired Ear Buds with Heart Monitor Review

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As a big fan of wireless headphones, it can often be draining on your device especially when running multiple applications. For example, I like to keep my Bluetooth connection off on my first generation Pebble smartwatch because tracking my daily steps is more important to me than reminders which are battery killers. When I heard about the SMS Biosport Earbuds, which could monitor your heartbeart without the need for another battery to charge, I was intrigued. I’m happy to say that it met my expectations but with minor limitations.

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DESIGN
The Biosport has an angular design with a black and yellow colorway that resembles athletic wear. Although the earbuds are made to fit snug into your inner ear, it takes a little time for the ear gels to break in. Make sure that you choose the right size gel as your ears can get sore if they are the wrong size.

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A closer look at the wires reveal the heart monitor switch which activates the optical sensor that sits inside of the right ear bud. Unlike other heart monitors, this one doesn’t require any additional charging as the power is fed from your smartphone jack. While the heart symbol on the Biosport wire signifies that’s it on, what’s missing is a microphone symbol on the other side when it’s in the off position. I figured that out when I made a phone call to a friend and he couldn’t hear me until I turned the heart monitor switch off. A minor inconvenience that could have been solved with a simple image of a microphone. Another caveat is that it’s missing a volume rocker and track buttons which is simply a must have feature when exercising. The less distractions the better, and having to look at my phone to change the volume is a bummer.

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PERFORMANCE
Nothing can ruin a good workout more than a pair of sport earbuds that can’t keep up with your daily activity. Thankfully, the Biosport can hold it’s own wether it’s on the treadmill or on the track. These things stay put inside of your ear and are both water and sweat resistant. The cord has a flat design making them tangle resistant and the length is just enough to stay put on a treadmill tray without getting pulled out of it’s jack from a sudden move.

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The heart rate monitor is a nice feature that’s a nice companion to the step counter on my smartwatch. I typically like to put in about 5,000 steps before I go about my day and being able to measure my heart rate gives me a better idea on how to modulate my workouts during those days when I can’t commit more than 35 minutes. As of now, the Biosport only works with the RunKeeper app so the heart rate monitor is pretty much non-existent without it.

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Overall, the heart rate monitor performed very accurately. While I don’t have other monitors to compare it to, the Biosport gave me consistent stats that matched up with my treadmill inputs. For example, my fast walking rate would measure around 100bpm, jogging about 130bpm and running about 140-150bpm. Curiously, the heart monitor would occasionally drop out for a few seconds and restart. I assumed that it’s from the vibrations during a run but it’s happened during a slow walk as well. Also, the RunKeeper app does voiceover updates which create a minor pause in your music. If your music helps you keep pace, this feature can be jarring.

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The SMS Biosport are not bass heavy earbuds, nor were they meant to be. The sound is full but not particularly detailed when compared to other models in the SMS product line. Music is fine but don’t expect to be blown away if you’re using them to watch a movie or to enjoy your favorite albums. However, because of their design, I’m able to enjoy music more while working out because they block out every other noise in the vicinity.

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CONCLUSION
Once you go wireless, it’s hard to back, yet the SMS Biosport Earbuds gave me a reason to enjoy wired earbuds again. Sure the sound quality isn’t rich but it’s the self powered optical heart monitor that’s the big draw. While the Biosport has room for improvement (simultaneous microphone and heart rate monitor ability, more compatible apps, and more dynamic sound), it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking to improve your daily activity.

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product information button runplayback SMS Audio BioSport In-Ear Wired Ear Buds with Heart Monitor (Yellow)

Shooting with the Panasonic GH4 and LG G3 in the Dominican Republic

A few months ago I had the opportunity to shoot overseas in the Dominican Republic for Project Picture Day, a non-profit organization that creates school pictures for children in under developing countries. The clip above chronicles our journey through Cienfuegos, Santiago.

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Campos

The Panasonic GH4 and LG G3 became my tools of choice for the portability. For a more detailed explanation on how I used the LG G3 on this shoot click here. I realized early on that it was best to travel as light as possible and to only bring the essentials to avoid attracting too much attention. According to our local hosts, DSLR-style cameras are common items targeted by opportunists on motorcycles.


product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

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product information button runplayback LG G3 32GB Smartphone (Unlocked, Metallic Black)

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product information button runplayback Dot Line SMARTbracket Smartphone Tripod Adapter

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Campos

For on camera sound I used the Rode VideoMic and for the interviews, the Aspen HQ-S Stereo Lav Mic and Zoom H1 were a perfect combo. Everything was contained in my Lowepro Pro Runner which fits into most carry on compartments and can handle a lot of abuse.

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product information button runplayback Rode VideoMic Pro Compact Shotgun Microphone

aspenmics
AspenMics Lavalier Microphones

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product information button runplayback Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder

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product information button runplayback Lowepro Pro Runner x450 Rolling AW Backpack

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Campos

Since our goal was to capture candid moments with school children, I wanted to appear as if I was just another photographer shooting stills. The GH4’s built in EVF is surprisingly sharp and detailed and was perfect for shooting in the carribean climate of Santiago. Without the need for a huge rig or a field monitor, I could quickly and easily build out my camera to shoot spontaneous moments.

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Photo Credit: Jennifer Campos

I’m really pleased with the work we accomplished in the Dominican Republic. To shoot for a positive cause that can directly influence or inspire children is a feeling that’s very different than any other job and I look forward to doing it again. Please visit the Project Picture Day website for more information and hit me up in the comments if you have any questions!

Receive a 10% Discount Off All AspenMics Lavalier Microphones for DSLR Video

Recently, we created the above promo video for RunPlayBack that highlights choregrapher/dancer Britnee Hay. Utilizing voiceover, garnered through a one on one interview and mixed with B-Roll shots of her creative process in New York City, we were able to tell her story. Everyone should ideally have a wireless audio system as part of their kit, but for quick, run and gun situations, I like to use the affordable AspenMic HQ-S Stereo Lav Mic paired with a Zoom H1 that’s placed with the talent. This is the easiest and most straightforward way to record audio during interviews.

The Aspen HQ-S will work directly with any camera or audio recorder. If you want to use the HQ-S with your iPhone, you’ll need to purchase the kit that includes the TRRS adapter. The AspenMics are currently available at $55 dollars, which is almost half the price of other wired lav mics. And with our custom coupon code: runplayback, you will receive a 10% discount off all AspenMics Lavalier Microphones.

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aspenmics
AspenMics Lavalier Microphones

zoomh1
product information button runplayback Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder

Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition First Impressions

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I recently took the plunge into the virtual reality scene with the much buzzed about Samsung Gear VR paired with a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Moga Pro Bluetooth Game Controller and the Icon Q Boundless H3 Bluetooth Headphones. After reading all of the hype and anticipation about the first mobile virtual reality system, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this thing. Here’s my first impressions…

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Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Frosted White 32GB (AT&T)

First off, the Gear VR is actually the Gear VR Innovator Edition which means it’s not available at any electronic big box store. It’s available online for $200 at the official Samsung Gear VR site and works only with U.S. carrier Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphones. I was able to get an unlocked Sprint Note 4 on ebay but you should definitely browse this forum thread first to view Note 4 model compatibility should you choose to buy one.

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mogapro
Moga Pro Power Bluetooth Game Controller

Once I ordered the Note 4 and Gear VR online, I wanted to prepare for their arrival by gathering some must have accessories. Due to poor reviews of the Samsung Game Controller, I picked up the Moga Pro Power Bluetooth Game Controller instead which is available at most retail stores. The Moga Pro has a full set of console-style buttons like dual clickable analog sticks, L1/R1 shoulder buttons, L2/R2 shoulder triggers and a D-pad. It also comes with a tablet holder, a 2200 mAh internal battery and fold out smartphone holder that fits the Note 4 like a glove.

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For audio, I used the Icon Q Boundless H3 Bluetooth Headphones which I recently reviewed here. The Boundless H3, with it’s polished glossy white finish, matches the Samsung Gear VR perfectly. To the untrained eye, the H3 looks like it’s part of the actual headset. As someone whose big on wearable technology, it’s important that whatever crazy contraptions I’m strapping to my face has some kind of style coordination.

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Icon Q Boundless H3 Bluetooth v4.0 NFC Headphones

I’m happy to report that performance wise, the Boundless H3’s Bluetooth connection to the Note 4 has no latency when pairing with the Gear VR. Curiously, the performance and frequencies of the H3 performed much better on the Note 4 than on my iPhone 6. The bass hit where I wanted it to hit, voices were clear and the overall sound quality assisted my immersion into a virtual world. I would highly recommend a wireless Bluetooth headphone connection for the Gear VR. I tried using the 3.5mm cable and it was really annoying. Nothing pulls you out of virtual reality like a cable that constantly slaps against your shoulder. Go for the full experience of mobile VR and try to be as untethered as possible.

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The Note 4 fits seamlessly into the Gear VR headset with a retractable micro USB port. There’s also a lens cloth, a removable foam liner, a focusing dial for the lenses, internal tracking sensors that aid the Note 4’s accelerometer and gyro sensors and an automatic on/off sensor that calibrates once you put the headset on. It also comes with a microSD card loaded with videos, a cosmetic visor cover and a really high quality hard shell case with a divider space to hold a game controller. The Moga Pro fits perfect. Be sure to adjust the headstraps for optimal comfort. This is important as it’s easy to get VR sickness if there’s too much pressure on your head and if anything appears blurry. If you want to perform quick demos of the Gear VR to others I suggest taking the straps off and covering the on/off sensor with black tape. This will allow others to jump out of VR if their senses get overwhelmed. Lens fog is a big issue since your face is completely enclosed in the headset and your body temperature can quickly moisten the lens which can literally dampen your VR experience. Oculus God John Carmack recommends getting the Clarity Defog It Reusable Wipes which is serious military grade stuff.

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Clarity Defog It Dry Anti-Fog Cloths

Let’s go back to VR sickness for a minute. Personally, I’ve had some pretty sensitive inner ear issues all of my life which require me to take Dramamine whenever I travel by air. If you’re anywhere near my level of sensitivity I would definitely urge you to take precautions with some of the VR experiences in Gear VR. Seriously, unless you are a tech geek or an action sports junkie, this can be a huge turnoff for most people. Any games or experiences that create a forward movement can confuse the brain because it detects moving forward but you aren’t physically moving. Stationary experiences where your head is moving in 360 space is fine because the tracking is fast enough to fool your brain but trying to lean forward or walk around is asking for trouble. I believe this will eventually be solved by positional cameras but for now, anything that involves walking forward or backward with a controller is an utter nightmare. I lasted maybe 30 seconds in Temple Run VR, Dreadhalls and even Matterport VR before ripping off the headset and laying down for about an hour. Seriously Oculus, if you expect mobile VR to be accessible for the masses, VR sickness has gots to go. So now let’s get to the good stuff.

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There are far too many apps and games to cover but my most favorite Gear VR experience by far is the Oculus Cinema app. Essentially, it’s like having your own private 80 foot theater complete with photorealistic objects like movie chairs or a projector, popcorn, and even light reflections from the film bouncing off the different environments. I immediately tested my own videos in Oculus Cinema and this will now be the main way to screen my video work that I truly care about. Without the threat of texting, less than ideal screening conditions and real world distractions, I can instantly transport someone into my own private virtual theater. I can see this being a major tool for digital filmmakers who can now screen their films for potential investors or producers without the need for renting an actual theater which is always expensive. In fact, because the Galaxy Note 4 has a Super AMOLED high resolution screen, the quality is surprisingly high because the video isn’t being stretched to it’s maximum resolution. Instead it’s condensed into the screen which packs the pixels together. It’s like watching an HD YouTube video in the player without maximizing the screen, it appears sharper with more clarity. Even watching some of my older films in Oculus Cinema has gotten me inspired. It reminds me why I love movies so much. To be able to instantly capture that immersive theater experience makes the Samsung Gear VR one of the most important technological achievements of the decade.

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Wow that’s a bold statement, but damn if it isn’t true! Another big revelation to me were the 360 videos, some of which were pretty cringe worthy and others, most notably, Strangers with Patrick Watson and Cirque Du Soleil’s Zarkana were totally on the ball. A Canadian production team called Felix & Paul Studios seem to be the front runners of premium VR content using proprietary hardware and software. But more importantly, these guys are obvious storytellers and their ability to capture an immediate emotional connection to another world is pretty impressive.

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I think we’ll be seeing a lot of people just planting 360 cameras anywhere and just calling it a day. But there’s more to it than that. It’s not only about being tech savvy (yet it kinda is) and it’s not only about being a great storyteller (but wait, it is). I envision a new generation of filmmakers who will grow up understanding video as a natural 3D canvas who will able to write and direct without the limitations of 2 dimensions, 24 frames per second, wide, medium, closeups and all of the cinematic language we’ve been tethered to for over a century. As mobile phones and wearable tech continue to invade our real world, for better or worse, it’s ironic that Oculus and Samsung have made me feel something I haven’t known since I was a 9 year old kid watching Die Hard, my first R rated movie theater experience:

Unbridled Enthusiasm.

Icon Q Boundless H3 Bluetooth Headphones Review

After purchasing my original Pebble Smartwatch and getting geeked out on all things wireless, I began my search for the ultimate Bluetooth headphones that would work for my needs which include: my daily commute, office lifestyle and my set lifestyle. Like a sign from above, the Icon Q Boundless H3 landed on my desk and I’m happy to report that it met my expectations, with some minor caveats.

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DESIGN
The Boundless H3, to my knowledge, is one of the lightest Bluetooth headphones out there, featuring two slightly oversized earcups with soft padding joined by a foldable headset. It’s surprisingly lightweight for it’s size and great for traveling.

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A closer look at the buttons reveal a multifunctional play button, flanked by volume and track controls. The play button doubles as a call/answer control that can automatically connect to incoming calls without having to reach for your smartphone.

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What I love about my Pebble is that after I pair it to my smartphone, it will always remember the device and automatically pair even if when I power off/on or go out/in range. The same thing happens with the Boundless H3. With Bluetooth enabled on your device, hold down the play button for a second, turn it on and they’ll automatically pair with a sound that signals a solid connection. A steady bluish-white light flashes on and off to signal that it’s on and turns red when the battery is low. A cool feature for iOS devices is a small battery-life indicator that gets displayed at the top of screen once you’ve paired. It sounds like a minor thing but it’s actually quite convenient.

The Bose Soundlink is a beautifully designed Bluetooth headset but the protruding buttons completely ruins it for me. With it’s smooth lines, flush buttons and simple branding, the Boundless H3 is much more appealing to the eyes. There’s a sophistication here that appeals to those who care about the aesthetics of wearable technology and not just loudness or geek appeal.

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PERFORMANCE
Speaking of performance, the H3 has a warm, full sound but I can’t tell if it’s super detailed. Like most Bluetooth headphones, music sometimes comes across as flat. But for my needs, the pros of not being tethered to my device outweighh the cons of not being able to distinguish every frequency in a song. It definitely holds its own in the $99 range. My last pair of headphones were the wired Monster DNA’s which were uncomfortable and gave me headaches after prolonged use. The Boundless H3 however should conform to all kinds of head sizes. I wore it for about 3 hours in one sitting with no complaints.

I spend most of my time in the office editing in Adobe Premiere but for some reason the software would crash if I tried to use the H3 as my sound device. Bluetooth headphones are not exactly ideal for video editing but it was surprising since I’m running the latest Adobe CC updates on a robust system – MacPro 3.7 GHZ Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 with 32GB. How can Bluetooth headphones crash video editing software? I have no idea.

I could see myself using the Boundless H3 on shoots to preview music playback on my smartphone or to hold a private conversation in a loud area. And if an artist wants to rehearse their song privately before a take, I can easily pair it to their device. As for the call quality, there is a built in mic below the buttons that requires talking at a volume that isn’t very discreet. I typically like to keep my conversations low key so if I’m on the train or somewhere public, I wouldn’t use this feature that often.

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CONCLUSION
I’ve always been more into earphones than headphones but the Boundless H3 surprised me with it’s user friendly functionality and minimalist aesthetics. Battery life is solid (although the 10 hour playback claim is a bit reaching) and the sound quality is rich in noisy areas. I don’t have any hands-on experience with the first-generation Boundless but it seems to be a major improvement cosmetically.

While the Boundless H3 has room for improvement (additional carrying case, a smaller design and a smaller foldable profile), it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for wireless headphones at a great value.

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Icon Q Boundless H3 Bluetooth v4.0 NFC Headphones

Using the Pebble Smartwatch for Music Videos

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Having a dedicated crew member to “run playback” on a music video is often a luxury that is not always an option. Running playback is the act of playing a music track at an acceptable volume for the artist to lip sync to. This job is important because it often dictates the flow of each performance setup and energy level of the artist. Neglecting playback responsibilities often leads to frustration all around. With today’s wearable technology such as the affordable Pebble Smartwatch, running playback should be fun and interactive. So here’s what you do.

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The day before a shoot, split the music track into sections using Adobe Premiere. By dropping the audio file into a sequence you will be able to easily identify the 1st verse, 1st chorus, 2nd verse, 2nd chorus, bridge, etc. First, create markers a few seconds before each section so you have “slack” before playback.

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It’s important for the artist to have some lead time before performing and not have to jump right into an energetic performance. Give a little bit of room here. Once you’ve marked everything, highlight each selection and export with an easy name such as “Artist_1st_verse.mp3”. Next, drop the files into your smartphone and load into your music application. Remember to create short file names for quick and easy access while shooting.

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product information button runplayback Monster Power ClarityHD Micro Bluetooth Speaker (Black)

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product information button runplayback Beats by Dr. Dre pill 2.0 Portable Speaker (Red)

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product information button runplayback Jawbone Big Jambox – Portable Bluetooth Speaker Graphite Hex

For small run and gun shoots I like to use the Monster Clarity HD Micro bluetooth speaker but you can use anything with big portable sound such as the Beats Pill 2.0 or Jawbone Jambox. Don’t skimp here. Powerful sound creates the right atmosphere for an artist and ultimately a better take for the camera. You want your artist to get lost in the music and not get distracted by crew interactions, chatty entourage, street noise, etc.

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When you’re ready for the first take, load up the music album on your smartphone. With a paired Pebble Smartwatch, on the music setting, you will instantly get music player controls with large title text. After camera is rolling, announce “Playback!” and simply activate play on your wrist then go immediately into camera operating. The physical buttons and strong Bluetooth connectivity on the Pebble makes this one of the fastest ways to run playback on a set.

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product information button runplayback Pebble Smartwatch (Jet Black)

Running playback on set is very much related to assistant directing. It gets everyone to pay attention and do their job. And when you’re a one man band or shooting with a skeleton crew, the time saved by running playback in a quick and efficient manner can be priceless. What do you think? Share some of your best and worst “Run Playback” stories in the comments below.

Tascam DR-70D in Stock at Adorama with Free Overnight Shipping

The highly anticipated Tascam DR-70D is now currently in stock at Adorama for $299.99 with FREE overnight shipping.

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The Tascam DR-70D is designed to compete with the Zoom H6 and includes new features such as 4 channel recording with independent level adjustment, 2 built-in mics on the front and 4 XLR combo inputs with phantom power, stereo 1/8″ input with plug-in power and more. I think the best improvement over the Tascam DR-60D is the design which makes it more compact and less tower-like, perfect for DSLR cameras.

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product information button runplaybackTascam DR-70D