Tag Archives: Metabones Speedbooster

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.

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.

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.

varavon birdycam
Varavon Birdycam2 Gimbal

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.

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

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.

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.

product information button runplayback Easyrig Mini Camera Support

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

Varavon 16V Battery

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

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.


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

ePhoto R640 18” LED Ring Light

Switronix XP-L90S V-Type 14.8VDC Lithium Battery

Fiilex Coiled D-Tap Cable (1.9′)


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.

P&C Shoulder Rig Handles

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

Honu Top Handle


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.

varavon birdycam
Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

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


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.

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

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


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!

K4000 Daylight LED Studio Panel

Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Speedbooster + Adobe Premiere Color Correction

I’m often asked about the color settings I use for my Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster combo. I did a few extensive tests and these are the settings I came up with to create a “lived-in” look with the least amount of noise in low light situations. I’ve included a few of my selected works that prominently feature this color correction.

Amalgamated Bank & Rock the Vote Present: City of the Sun

I try to steer away from film-style effects in post unless the concept explicitly calls for it. Also that out-of-the-box, sharp digital look isn’t my cup of tea.

Live In Levi’s (60 Second Spot)

Cinelike V
Contrast: 0
Sharpness: -5
Noise Reduction: 0
Saturation: -2
Hue: +2
Highlight Shadow: Standard
i.Dynamic: Off
i.Resolution: Standard
Master Pedestal Level: +10
Luminance Level: 0-255

Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014

I used to combine a bunch of different color correction filters like Three-Way Color Corrector or Fast Color Corrector with RGB Curves until I realized I could achieve the best results using only RGB Curves which makes matching footage with various exposure levels a piece of cake. This is my typical starting point for RGB Curves for a standard daylight scene. Remember to apply this effect to an adjustment layer to maintain the look throughout your sequence.

Nico & Vinz “Am I Wrong” Music Video (Official U.S. Version)

Master: I’ll either do an S curve for overexposed footage or a reverse S curve for underexposed. You’ll want to dial in carefully here as the keyframes can be pretty sensitive.

Red: I play with this curve to dial in scenes that are tungsten or too warm.

Green: I don’t touch the green curve too much unless there’s too much green in the shot.

Blue: I also like to bring the bottom left Blue keyframe up slightly to bring some color into the shadows and dark highlights. Dial this in for scenes that are too cool.

I also like to add a little post sharpening (20-30 is the sweet spot) to punch up the details. Follow these settings if you dig this look and if you can push it even further, please share your settings in the comments below.

Migos “Bando” Musical

product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4Metabones FD speed booster GH4 4k adapter
Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 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.

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

Metabones Canon FD to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster

One of the first things I bought after receiving my Panasonic GH4 was the Metabones Canon FD to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster. The Speed Booster is an adapter that allows full frame lenses to be mounted to Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. Not only do you gain a (sort of) full frame view you also increase the lens’s aperture by a full stop. There’s more affordable Speed Boosters available online but Metabones is made with such a high build quality, its difficult for me to try anything less. Optics are a big deal and you don’t want to skimp on quality glass.

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

I chose the Canon FD Speed Booster because Canon FD lenses, to me, are true modern classics that have an excellent overall mechanical build and feel “lived in”. By some careful bids on ebay I was able to amass a wide variety of lenses for under $300.

Canon FD 20mm 2.8, 28mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 35-105mm 3.5, 80-200mm 4.0

The Metabones Speed Booster makes the GH4 feel like another camera all together, especially shooting in 4K. There’s a real sense of appreciation when putting an SLR lens on a mirrorless body without altering your field of view. It’s pretty liberating to be honest. As someone who likes shooting with manual focus, this is a must have and since I have a few Canon FD lenses, I’ll probably pick up another one for a B camera. This is the first video I shot using the GH4 + Metabones combo:

Jared Evan “Charlie Brown” Music Video

Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4Metabones FD speed booster GH4 4k adapter
Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter