In this month's Creative Network Story we chat with Sara Goehner. This talented animator has decided to take her life and work on the road in her airstream trailer. Going mobile has given Sara the freedom to see the country, get inspired, and still maintain her thriving freelance business. Click below to Read Sara's Story.

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AuthorCameron Gray

This blog post was written by StudioNow Creative Network Intern, Linsee Davis.

Filmmaking is by no means a cheap endeavor, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into debt to start your career in video. Here are a few gear options for new shooters at around $1,000. Once you start building your portfolio and acquiring paying clients you can upgrade and expand your equipment list. 

DSLR Camera:

Canon EOS Rebel T3i (Body Only) $499

OR

Nikon D3300 w/18-55mm $496.95

Personally I am a Canon shooter, but Nikon’s D3300 is a very worthy competitor with a long battery life, and an ISO of 100-12,800. Canon’s T3i has a tilting viewfinder feature making different angles easier to capture. Whether you are a Canon or Nikon shooter, either DSLR is perfect for beginners with comparable prices at affordable rates.

Lenses:

Canon

Tamron Zoom Super Wide Angle 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Lens for Canon Digital EOS $199

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens $115

OR

Nikon

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di-II Macro Lens for Nikon Digital SLR $199

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens $196.95

Although Canon’s 50mm lens has a fixed focal length, it captures beautiful footage. Check out this test footage filmed on the Canon T3i with the Canon 50mm lens. If you are looking for something that has a little more versatility, Tamron’s 18-200mm zoom lens is a great option for either camera. As for Nikon, you can never go wrong with a 35mm lens. Here is test footage filmed with the Nikon 35mm lens.

Tripod:

Magnus VT-300 Video Tripod with Fluid Head $79.95

A tripod is essential for getting good stable footage, and they can get a little pricey.  The Magnus VT-300 can hold up to 15 pounds, and has a build in level to ensure you get the shot you are looking for without breaking the bank. This tripod is perfect for new shooters looking for a tripod to fit their needs.

Tip: use a rubber band when panning to help capture more fluid motion.

Audio:

Tascam DR-40 4-Track Handheld Digital Audio Recorder $179.99

OR

Zoom H4n 4-Channel Handy Recorder $199.99

and

Lav mic:

Shure SM93 - Omni-Directional Lavalier Condenser Microphone with Preamplifier $155

and room tone/ambient noise...

Rode VideoMic GO On-Camera Shotgun Microphone  $91.99

Ahh, audio. We all know it can make or break a video, and DSLR’s don’t always capture the best quality. Having a good audio recorder, lavalier mic, and on camera mic is pertinent, especially for interviews. 

Whether you decide Canon or Nikon, they remain around the same price range, coming in around $1000.

Canon Total = $1,120.93 - $1224.93

OR

Nikon Total = $1200.83 - $1222.88

 

Posted
AuthorStudio Now

NAB 2015 RECAP

Last week the world’s largest film and video trade show took place in Las Vegas. I am of course talking about NAB – a week where filmmakers and videographers spend most of their day on the internet drooling over the new gear being announced. This year was no different, and there was a frenzy of exciting new equipment that accrued a hefty amount of buzz. While we would love to discuss every new piece of gear, software, hardware, tool, and technique that came of this year’s show, we’ve compiled a short list of a handful of our favorites.

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First up is what might be one of the most exciting camera announcements in a while. Blackmagic stole the show with what might unfortunately be a quantity over quality approach, but fingers crossed that the Ursa Mini and Blackmagic Micro will not disappoint. Black Magic’s Ursa Mini is available in multiple configurations: either with a 4k sensor with 12 stops of dynamic range or Blackmagic’s new 4.6k sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range, and each has the option of an EF or PL mount. Perhaps the best part of this camera? The price. The 4K EF version starts at just $2,995.

In addition to the Ursa Mini, Blackmagic also announced the Micro Cinema Camera. With a super 16 sensor and 13 stops of DR, this looks like the same sensor that’s in the pocket cinema camera, however the Micro is in a compact cube like body perfect for mounting to a drone. The Micro comes in at just $995.

On the audio front, Tascam added a slew of new recorders to their lineup. The DR-70D seemingly replaces the previous DR-60D and DR-60D Mk II. Like the DR-60D, this recorder is designed specifically for DSLR filmmaking and meant to be mounted directly to the bottom of the camera or a shoulder rig, but unlike the DR-60D the DR-70D is a fraction of the size and includes dual built-in omnidirectional mics. With a price tag of $300, this recorder is definitely worth some consideration if you are a primarily DSLR shooter.

NAB not only gave us a lot of cool gear, but also some pretty great software as well. Final Cut Pro X saw a much needed update which included improvements in color grading and motion graphics. Probably the coolest software announcement was Adobe’s Character Animator. Character Animator allows users to take still artwork from Photoshop or Illustrator and animates it using your computer’s camera and microphone to mimic an individuals speech and movements.  Movements of the character are also programmable via the mouse and keyboard. The fact  that this type of technology is available to the average consumer is pretty game-changing.

Last but certainly not least, perhaps one of the coolest things we’ve seen to come out of NAB this year was the 3DR Solo Smart Drone. This thing is beautifully designed, easy to use, and best of all only $999. The Solo is available for pre-order now from B&H. A lot can be said about this thing, but I’ll let the video speak for itself.







Posted
AuthorCameron Gray

Calm Dog Productions is a full-service film-making team based in New Orleans.  They are excited at every new challenge, and ready to take on any story.  From script to edit, in documentary commercial and narrative, Calm Dog brings a passion for the craft to every project.

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AuthorCameron Gray

We are please to announce the launch of Creative Network Stories.

Every member of the StudioNow Creative Network has a unique perspective that gives way to their individual expression. Join us every month as we bring you an inside look into the perspective of a Creative professional who is tirelessly seeking innovation.  

 
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AuthorCameron Gray

SONY A7S

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Okay, okay so I know it has been almost a year since Sony unveiled the impressive A7S, but the truth is that we just got our hands on one here at the StudioNow office. The verdict: believe the hype. You’ve heard the features: Full frame sensor in a compact body, unbelievable low light performance, ability to record 4K externally, but the bottom line is this camera is awesome.

A lot of people are drawing comparisons between the A7S the Panasonic GH4, and rightfully so. Both are compact, both can shoot 4K, and both have their own set of advantages and drawbacks. The most notable drawback of the A7S, and what keeps a lot of people from purchasing it is its inability to record 4K internally, but this is a marginal disadvantage given what you will get with the A7s that you won’t get in other cameras. So, if you are in the market for a new camera, here are our reasons why we’d have the A7s. 

  1. Great Low Light Performance: This is definitely Sony’s biggest selling point with the A7S. In fact it’s about the only thing A7S fanboys talk about, but they're right. It's unbelievable. You tend to forget about 4K when you’re recording entire films by moonlight
  2. 4K When You Want It: Hook the A7S up to an external recorder like the Atomos Ninja via HDMI and boom, you’ve got uncompressed 4:2:2 UHD 4K. Not interested in 4K yet? Don’t worry about it. 
  3. Full Frame: One thing you definitely won’t get from GH4 is a full frame sensor. Full frame = stunning shallow depth of field + better low light performance.
  4. Small Package: What you get out of the small body of the A7S is extremely impressive. In fact, the A7S is smaller than the GH4 despite the full frame sensor, and it is definitely more compact than a full frame DSLR. 

Bottom Line: Internal 4K is great, but with the low light performance of the A7S you are going to be a lot more flexible in capturing moments that you might otherwise miss with other cameras. The large sensor of the A7S is going to give you the ability to pull off that cinematic look with a shallow depth of field and 35mm sensor size. Don’t get me wrong, both cameras put up a good fight, but we just love the A7S.

Posted
AuthorCameron Gray

Konova K2 Slider

Whether you are new to video production or a seasoned filmmaker, a slider is a great piece of gear to take your production to the next level. Sliders are easy to operate, fairly portable, and extremely versatile. Throw a slider on a tripod and break away from the typical panning or stagnant shot. Use it to create “reveal" shots that slide around a corner, or introduce subjects slowly into the frame. Use it to add some dynamic motion to an interview. Get Creative! Most people think of sliders as adding a simple side-to-side motion to their video, but with the right combination of tripod heads and a little bit of practice you can orient your slider vertically to get some awesome up-and-down shots. 

If you are thinking about purchasing your first slider, replacing your old one, or just adding a second to your arsenal, we recommend Konova Sliders. Konova offers a wide range of affordable sliders to meet any filmmaker’s needs. Their base model, the K2, comes in 4 different sizes - 60cm, 80cm, 100cm, and 120cm. For most productions, we find that 60cm is more than enough length, and you can’t beat the price at $229.00 (On sale as of this posting for $189 on their website).

Another great thing about the Konova K2 is it’s versatility, and available accessories. The legs are fully adjustable to adapt to various surfaces, and the slider is equipped with 1/4” and 3/8" threads throughout for attaching the slider to tripods and light stands, as well as adding friction arms for monitors and lights. Available accessories include a crank handle set for smoother slides, and a remote motion controller for automated use. 

Pick up your Konova K2 on Amazon.com

Caleb Pike at DSLRVideoShooter.com reviews the Konova K2

 https://www.youtube.com/user/dslrvideoshooter

Posted
AuthorCameron Gray