Tag Archives: gh4

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

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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!

$70 REVO SR-1000 Modded Shoulder Rig for the GH4 & Sony A7S

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On a recent trip overseas, I worked alongside a videographer who was shooting with a Sony A7s on a Revo SR-1000 shoulder rig with counterweight. Although I’ve had passing glances at the Revo while browsing online, I’ve never seen it up close. Because of its minimalist, almost artistic design, affordable cost, and versatility, I got my hands on the SR-1000 and proceeded to add modifications to it. The Revo SR-1000 is currently on sale at B&H for $67.96, a savings of 15%, but only until March 9, 2015.

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product information button runplayback Revo SR-1000 Shoulder Support Rig

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product information button runplayback Revo Counterweight for SR-1000

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The SR-1000 is strikingly simple with clean, curved lines thats very attractive for video enthusiasts. There are rigs that make my back hurt just by looking at them but the SR-1000 is sleek and forgoes the chunkiness of universal compatibility for aesthetics. A single handle attached to a sliding baseplate allows for one handed operation with thin, curved rails that bend seamlessly with the adjustable the foam padded shoulder mount. An optional Revo Counterweight can then be added to the rear to complete the design. Although I took it off for my mod, it’s definitely a must have accessory when shooting with only the camera.

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My first add on was the Varavon Armor Cage for the Pansonic GH4. The lightweight cage also features red trim that matches the colors of the SR-1000. The top handle can be reversed to attach accessories such as the Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder which hangs slightly behind the GH4 for even weight distribution across the middle of the rig.

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Varavon Armor GH4 & GH3 Cage

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product information button runplayback Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7″ Monitor

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For the rear counterweight, I detached the plate from the Revo Counterweight and attached it to the Ikan Tilta HyperDeck V-Mount using a standard 1/4-20 screw which connects to the Revo shoulder mount with the remaining screws.

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

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The Ikan Tilta is then fitted with a Switronix XP-L90S Li-Ion battery and Fiilex D-Tap power cable. Because the Switronix battery is unusually light, I added a Flashpoint 2.5lb Counterweight to the Tilta HyperDeck using two short 15mm rods. This evened out the weight distribution for the rear.

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Switronix XP-L90S V-Type 14.8VDC Lithium Battery

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Switronix GP-2LSJ 2-Position Simultaneous Charger


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Fiilex Coiled D-Tap Cable (1.9′)

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Flashpoint Counter Weight 2.5 LB for 15MM Rods

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There are countless ways to configure the Revo SR-1000 such as adding additional handles and accessories to the baseplate but I found this setup to be the most efficient for run and gun shooting. Hit me up in the comments if you have any questions.

Behind the Scenes of Jared Evan & Taryn Manning “Bass Is Low” Music Video

Recently I had the chance to work with talented actress Taryn Manning (Orange is the New Black, 8 Mile, Hustle & Flow) on a short film/music video for music artist Jared Evan. The concept was a slight narrative mixed with surreal fantasy elements set in a dark, maze-like atmosphere.

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Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster

Other than a few handheld shots for the intro, we stayed primarily on the Varavon Birdycam Gimbal with my Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster and a Canon FD 20mm 2.8 lens.

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Actress Taryn Manning using the Panasonic GH4 + Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal combo

Without focus control or the luxury of time for lens changes, we went with a wide angle fluid look. The camera was always moving on the Birdycam Gimbal, from side to side, strafing performance shots, low to high panning shots and following shots. It was so intuitive even Taryn got in on the action.

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Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal

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Music Artist Jared Evan lit by the F&V LED Lite Panel

My favorite scene by far was a front gimbal tracking shot as Jared walks backwards down an aisle flanked by 20 foot steel shelves. We also had an F&V LED Light providing fill from another aisle casting strange and mysterious shadows on his face. As Jared backs into the exit, Taryn finds him and together they run towards a massive light source at the end of a tunnel. We then track them from behind as they run into the light.

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product information button runplayback F&V K4000 LED Light Panel Kit

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Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster + Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal + Aputure V-Screen VS-3 7″ Monitor

It was a great shoot and actually my first time using the Varavon Birdycam. Here’s a few tips I discovered when shooting entirely with a camera gimbal.

1. A wireless follow focus option.

2. A wireless video option such as the CMR Radian Pro.

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product information button runplayback Camera Motion Research Radian Pro – Unicast Wireless HDMI Set

3. A tether support such as an Easy Rig Mini to provide hands free camera adjustments and save time having to set it on a stand.

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product information button runplayback Easyrig Mini Camera Support

4. At least two Varavon Gimbal Power 16V batteries when running a full 10 hour day.

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Varavon 16V Battery

Check out the final video and hit me up with any questions about the Varavon Birdycam Gimbal in the comments below.

Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder Behind the Scenes

I recently received the long anticipated Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder and paired it up with the Panasonic GH4 on a branded content shoot for ICON Q featuring Producer, DJ and Designer Emily Oberg. After reaching out to a few Shogun owners I came prepared with all the essentials necessary for this beast of a recorder: a few SanDisk Extreme PRO 240GB SSD drives, a Fiilex D-Tap Cable, Switronix V-Mount Batteries and an Ikan Tilta V-Mount Plate.

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We used a GH4 mounted on a Varavon Armor cage and RedRock Shoulder Rig. The Atomos Shogun was powered by the Switronix XP-L90S Lithium Battery that doubled as a counterweight while attached to the Ikan Tilta HyperDeck Shuttle V-Mount Plate. This would be our main rig setup throughout the day as we had to run and gun across multiple interiors and exteriors throughout New York City.

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The Shogun is a serious accessory for the GH4 which create a ProRes 10-bit 4K image that really does make a difference when compared to recording on SD cards. I noticed less artifacts when shooting in lowlight situations, deeper shadows and more detail overall. There are however, some caveats when shooting with this workflow.

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Just when you got used to capturing loads of manageable 4K footage, the Shogun will immediately humble you. Shooting at regular ProRes 422 will give you about an hour and change with a 240gb SSD drive. While SSD drives continue to drop in price, having to copy these files to your edit and backup drives can quickly fill up space.

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SanDisk 240GB Extreme Pro Solid State Drive

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Another thing to consider is power. The Shogun uses standard Sony NP batteries but you’ll quickly run through them if you’re not constantly powering on and off. I opted for using Switronix V-Mount batteries to double as my main power source as well as a counterweight to the Shogun. One Switronix XP-L90S should get you through an entire day unless you’re powering other devices.

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Switronix XP-L90S V-Type 14.8VDC Lithium Battery

charger
Switronix GP-2LSJ 2-Position Simultaneous Charger

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


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Fiilex Coiled D-Tap Cable (1.9′)

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The Shogun’s image quality is top notch with a highly responsive touchscreen. A red outline and flashing front and rear lights let you know when you’re recording and the ability to auto trigger record through the GH4 body is also a nice touch. One major thing to keep in mind is the delay on HDMI output. It’s somewhere around 3 frames of delay which is pretty significant. Hopefully this will be improved with firmware upgrades but for now it’s manageable. The GH4 LCD screen should still be used as a way to double check your settings and also serve as a backup “real time” preview screen.

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Overall, the Atomos Shogun is a hefty investment but worth the price tag for those who want to unlock the 10bit capabilities of the Panasonic GH4 and 4K capture on the Sony A7S. Just be prepared to shell out more money for extra accessories and a beefier, data heavy workflow. Be sure to check out the final ICON Q video featuring Emily Oberg coming soon.

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product information button runplayback Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7″ Monitor

DEFY Ready to Launch the G2X 3-Axis Camera Gimbal for GH4 and A7S

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U.S. based DEFY is gearing up to launch the G2x lightweight camera gimbal next year. As you may recall, we showed a preview of the G2x during the PhotoPlus Expo event in New York City back in October. The G2x was designed with the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7S in addition to the new wave of small mirrorless 4K cameras that are being introduced. According to DEFY:

The G2x is everything you could want from a gimbal with a small footprint. Lightweight and Portable, with multiple modes of operation including an inverted mode to easily get those eye level shots…

Visit the DEFY website for more information.

Behind the Scenes of the Joey Bada$$ “No. 99” Music Video

A few weeks ago, rapper Joey Bada$$ and I collaborated on a music video for the single “No. 99”, an uptempo Hip Hop anthem reminiscent of a 1990’s classic. Our goal was to create a voyeuristic, gritty street video with many scenes of chaos sprinkled throughout. Realizing this would require two shoot days and multiple locations, I came up with a simple gear list that would get us through our many setups.

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Dual GH4’s with Metabones Canon FD Speedboosters were used. B Cam was mounted with a Canon FD 35-105mm f3.5 for mediums and closeups while A Cam used the Canon FD 20mm f2.8 with the ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light rigged to a custom shoulder mount. To power the ring light we used a Switronix XP-L90S Lithium Battery with a Fiilex D-Tap Cable.

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

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ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light

switronix
Switronix XP-L90S V-Type 14.8VDC Lithium Battery


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Fiilex Coiled D-Tap Cable (1.9′)

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P&C Shoulder Rig Handles and a Honu GH4 Cage with a top handle were used to mount the ring light across three points with velcro straps. Since the camera had to sit in the middle of the ring, this was the most efficient way to rig it. From there we ran the Fiilex D-Tap cable to the Switronix battery inside of our Camera Operator’s jacket, giving us a power source that would last all day. And since we were going for a voyeuristic, run and gun feel, this would be our main camera setup for every scene.

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P&C Shoulder Rig Handles

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Honu 2.0 GH3/GH4 AND SONY A7/A7R Video Cage

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Honu Top Handle

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To shoot Joey and a mob full of his crew performing, we utilized the Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis Camera Gimbal with a Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye for our C Cam while shooting from the back of a cargo van. Since the road at our main location was littered with potholes, the Birdycam eliminated almost 95% of the shakiness.

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Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

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product information button runplayback Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Ultra Wide-Angle Fisheye Lens for Micro 4/3

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We also incorporated the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter mounted with the GoPro HERO4 for a few scenes that would simulate footage from a news helicopter. Our location in Willets Point, NY also known as the Iron Triangle has a very post-apocalyptic appearance and is filled with auto repair shops and scrap yards – a feast for aerial shooting.

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product information button runplayback DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter with Extra Battery Bundle

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product information button runplayback GoPro HERO4 Black Edition 4K Video Action Camera

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Occasionally we would require some fill or backlight so we used the F&V K4000 LED Light Panel. This worked great with the ring light and helped to enhance all the background action. Any additional fill on Joey came from the prop torches he was wielding. A run and gun yet highly organized effort made this a great shoot to work on. By minimizing our gear list, we were able to get more setups and candid moments. Check out the full video below and let me know what you think!

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K4000 Daylight LED Studio Panel

SLR Magic’s Anamorphic Adapter On Sale For $529.00 At Adorama

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I’ve been a big fan of shooting anamorphic with the Panasonic GH3/GH4 for quite some time beginning with the rare Panasonic AG-LA7200 with 14mm pancake lens combination. From focusing to transcoding, it’s an intense workflow that’s not really suited for run and gun shooting. However, in controlled environments, it’s very fun to use. Here’s some clips I shot with my Panasonic GH3 and LA7200 anamorphic setup.


Asher Roth “Turnip The Beet” Music Video


Action Bronson & Party Supplies “Blue Chips 2” Trailer


Chris Miles “Bounce” Music Video

It seems the anamorphic look is making a comeback with the new SLR Magic Anamorphic Lens Adapter which is currently on sale for $529 at Adorama. The lens offers a very unique feature – a built in adjustable diopter to help with focusing. As with most anamorphic lenses you’ll be getting sweet horizontal flare and streaks and in increase in resolution by maximizing the image on the camera sensor.

Check out this clip by Roger Sieber which features the SLR Magic Anamorphic Lens Adapter with a Canon 28mm f1.8. After selling my AG-LA7200 months ago, I think this adapter might reel me back into anamorphic shooting. What do you guys think?


“Crystallized GH4 Anamorphic Test


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product information button runplayback SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x 50 Anamorphic Adapter

Varavon Birdycam Gimbal Custom Settings

Frequently, I’ve been asked what my PID settings are for the Varavon Birdycam Gimbal mounted with a Panasonic GH4, Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster and a Canon FD 20mm 2.8 lens. While this is slightly heavier than a GH4 with a plastic digital lens, my PID settings might get you close to the weight of a speedbooster and a manual prime lens like the Canon FD’s.

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Adjust the PID settings using the Bluetooth SimpleBGC app for Android devices

Unless you have my exact camera combination I would highly suggest that you dig into the PID settings via Bluetooth app or software and tweak the P’s and D’s until you find the right balance. Emm from Cheesycam goes into great detail with fine tuning here, but my general rule is that you can achieve the perfect the balance when the motors aren’t fighting too hard or too little. Essentially, they shouldn’t make any noise vibrations once the settings are dialed in correctly. Hit me up if you have any questions and check out my first video shot almost entirely with the Varavon Birdycam Gimbal using the above settings:


Joell Ortiz “Q&A” Music Video


Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal

Panasonic GH4 Multi-Camera Shooting

I’ve known Emm from Cheesycam for quite some time but our first collaboration was a shoot for Heineken, Complex and Team Epiphany who wanted a branded content piece featuring big names in fashion such as Chris Gibbs from Union LA and luxury brand Parabellum. The task was straightforward: a multi-camera shoot featuring three on camera talent intercut with slick fashion product shots and Heineken branding.

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A slew of Panasonic GH4’s are great for multi-camera interview shoots

Since I knew he’d be in the area, I reached out to Emm to help with the shoot and we came up with a simple gear list: 4 Panasonic GH4’s, tripods, a Zoom H6 recorder, a few Sennheiser G3 wireless lav kits, a Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic, F&V K4000 LED Light panels with stands, and of course one of his homemade gimbal stabilizers.

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Panasonic GH4 + Panasonic Lumix 14mm 2.5 pancake lens + Homemade Gimbal

The size and weight of the Panasonic GH4 means less gear you are required to pack. With the compact size of the GH4, we were able to use smaller lenses, smaller tripods, and smaller stabilizers. Traveling to different locations, we knew this would make moving around the city fast and easy while being able to manage multiple camera angles.


product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

The Zoom H6 was chosen specifically as we knew we would be recording audio from at least three subjects and used the Rode NTG-2 as a backup audio source. The Zoom H6 can input at least 5 audio sources – (4) XLR (1) 3.5mm.

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product information button runplayback Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder

When working with wireless audio, there is always the potential of interference. To avoid any issues, stick with using a high quality proven system. The Sennheiser G3 Wireless Kits are a solid and reliable industry standard that I’ve been using for years. A Rode NTG-2 Shotgun mic was placed close to the subjects mainly as a backup audio recording.

sennheiser g3 wireless audio
product information button runplayback Sennheiser G3 Wireless Audio

Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Mic
product information button runplayback Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone

We knew all of the shots would take place during the day, so we mainly needed a set of lights as fill for our subjects. We wanted to work with a set of panels that offered soft lighting and can be battery operated. The F&V K4000 LED Light Panels offers a good amount of light output and were powered by cheap Sony NPF batteries through a V-Mount Adapter. These worked great and supplemented a lot of the natural daylight setups that we were fortunate enough to shoot in. I wanted a very subtle lighting setup that highlighted some of the cool products featured in the designer’s studios.

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product information button runplayback F&V K4000 LED Light Panel Kit

Sony NPF Battery V Mount adapter
product information button runplayback V-Mount Battery Adapter using Sony NPF Batteries

For the detail shots and closeups we used my GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster combo while everything else was shot on Panasonic Lumix lenses. GH4’s are great for long conversational style interviews because the batteries seem to last forever. The less interruptions, the better the soundbites.

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Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster + Canon FD 35-105mm 3.5 lens

Although we matched our color profiles and settings across each camera, Emm and I noticed the Speedboosted GH4 had a much creamier quality than his sharper digital cousins. I couldn’t part with the “lived in” look of the Metabones Speedbooster so we decided to roll with it anyway.

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Panasonic GH4 + Panasonic Lumix 14mm 2.5 pancake lens + Homemade Gimbal + Electric Skateboard

The opening and outro shots were shot with Emm’s homemade gimbal while walking or riding on his electric skateboard. And seriously Emm is like Q from James Bond in that he’d present and demonstrate a new gadget for me and it was a near guarantee that each tool would be invaluable to the shoot. The final product was a hit with the agency and client and a lot of it was attributed to the flawless performance of the GH4 and some solid DIY technology. Check it out below.


Heineken 100 “Open Your World” Branded Content

Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

As you can tell from the video above, the Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal is a lot of fun (especially in 4K)! After a few days of indoor balancing, I was able to put the Birdycam to the test by running and gunning around Midtown Manhattan in New York City with rapper Joell Ortiz for his upcoming music video “Q&A”. From a rooftop in Times Square to the C train subway platform, the Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal performed with ease. Here’s a few details that some of you will find helpful:

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Varavon Birdycam2 Quick Release System

UNPACKING
The quality of the Birdycam2 is pretty impressive. Any camera related gear I’ve received from Korea has a level of quality that feels solid and the instructions were straightforward (though it helps to have gimbal balancing experience). The only place I got stuck, literally, was the baseplate. It was too tight and I had no idea how much force I was supposed to apply to remove it until I unscrewed the top of the mount and discovered the metal red loop thing is a crank lever. I balanced my GH4 + Metabones Speedbooster + 20mm 2.8 Canon FD combo quickly while watching the Cheesycam tutorial video. Everything worked pretty solid except my calibration was a bit off. Now I didn’t enter any PID settings, so out of the box, it was a pretty good balance. Then I practiced packing it into the bag to see how fast I could take apart and rebuild. It’s surprisingly easy to fold up and fold out. Just watch your battery and joystick wires as they tend to flop around the handles.

BALANCING
The second day I put a Manfrotto baseplate on top of the Birdycam baseplate to give it some extra weight for my GH4. And that’s when the gimbal freaked out. I removed the Manfrotto to regain my original balance but the gimbal just wasn’t having it. That’s when I went into PID settings to fix.

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7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 running SimpleBGC Bluetooth App

PID SETTINGS
I ended up purchasing a used 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 to use the Bluetooth control that’s built into the Birdycam2. Please keep in mind that in order to download the SimpleBGC app into the Galaxy you’ll have to download the actual .apk file here:

http://www.basecamelectronics.com/downloads/android/

For some reason, the Google Play Store will not download it through the Galaxy. I emailed Basecam and they’re trying to solve the issue. The software does seem to download on other Samsung devices such as the Note and the S series. Go figure.

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7″ Android Tablet Samsung Galaxy 4

So, after some tweaking I got my PID settings to a great place. The only thing that felt off was the calibration. No matter how many times I balanced it on the stand, the camera would favor a slight 10 degree rotation to the right. To correct that I turned off the motors using the Bluetooth app. Then I placed the gimbal on a solid desk surface, with the rear kickstand sitting flat. Finally I calibrated both the Camera IMU and Sensor IMU and that did the trick. So basically if you want a proper calibration, do it on a flat surface instead of the stand.

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Pelican 1610 Rolling Hardcase for Birdycam2 Gimbal

TRAVELING
While the soft carrying case that comes with the Birdycam is nicely padded, I could see the thing falling apart, especially with how I like to move around the city. To solve this, I ended up using a Pelican 1610 Rolling Hard Case that is a perfect fit. I simply removed the padded foam from the soft bag, transferred it into the Pelican and added some loose foam pieces around the edges to keep it secure. It’s the perfect size as you can tell from the photo.

Pelican 1610 Hard Case gimbal Birdycam
Pelican 1610 Case with Foam for Camera (Black)

FINAL THOUGHTS
So far so good! I had a brief time flying the DJI Ronin but it’s a bit heavy for my GH4 combo so the Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal seems to hit the sweet spot for me in terms of functionality and price. Like most gimbals I’ll have the occasional freak out glitch where I have to reset before a take and wait 10 seconds. But that can be solved by some shortcut programming in the PID software. Also I’m a short guy so shooting in upright mode will most likely be my main gimbal style. Since the rear kickstand blocks the lens when turning it to upright mode, I’ll have to mount the camera backwards.

Well done Varavon.


Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal