This blog was written by StudioNow Creative Network Intern, Alina Tichacek

Video is a passion, a way of life. It is a calling, consuming you like nothing else.

But what happens when your life calling begins to feel routine? What do you do when the creative spark and unquenchable thirst is, well, quenched?

No artist is immune to dry spells. Some days the ideas flow so fast you can barely keep up, but other times even the simplest of tasks can become an intense struggle.

A creative block is not the end of a career, but rather a turning point. It is how you respond to and learn from the dry spells that determines whether you are truly an artist or just a hobbyist.

I have no doubt that each of our creatives is an artist. It is inspiring to view the professionalism and creativity with which you tackle each of your projects. I know you are all more than capable of moving above and beyond the turning point of a creative block.

If you’re eager to learn how to get past your block, read on for some tips on rediscovering your passion for video.

1. Stop Working and Just Play 

When you first began making video, it was because you wanted to make a video, not because you had a deadline to meet. Sometimes all we need to do to reignite our creativity is to go back to roots of what made us choose video in the first place.

Take a step back from your “real” projects and work on a video just for fun again. Choose a subject that you’ve always dreamed of working on, and just go for it. Who knows, you just might end up with some of your best work.

2. Explore Your Hobbies

As a professional artist, it’s tempting to put aside the rest of your hobbies. That’s the worst thing you can do for your art.

Art is born of a diverse range of interests, inspirations, and experiences. To reinvigorate your passion for video, you need to explore your other passions as well.

Perhaps you love to read. Curl up with a good book and learn the fundamental building blocks of a good story, a crucial part of any art form.

Take a walk outside and stop to notice the beauty around you. Nature has a way of clearing the mind and allowing the ideas to flow, helping us to find our center and regain right perspectives.

Whatever it is that makes you happy and distressed, go do it. Nurture your inner artist by taking a step back to reenergize and refocus. 

3. Collaborate with Other Videographers

Working with the same people for too long can lead to stale ideas.  Without creative new ideas, video can start to feel routine.

Take a step outside of your comfort zone and collaborate with new videographers. If you usually work alone, try working with a team. If you work with the same team all the time, switch it up for a project or two and invite a new member to your crew. The fresh set of eyes may provide the perfect jumpstart you need.

Video is still the same medium you fell in love with years ago. Don’t let creative fatigue steal your passion away from you. Rediscover your passion and awaken the artist within.

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AuthorStudio Now

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter

It's been almost two months since NAB 2015, yet we are still feeling the effects. New product videos are rolling out all the time and exciting new gear is popping up everywhere on film blogs. 

This month we caught word of the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter. This device not only acts as an adapter for EF to E mount and EF to MFT, but it also comes with a wireless remote that allows the user to control focus and aperture with the turn of a dial and a push of a button. 

Here's why we think the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter is awesome:

  1. There are 2 adapter options- Canon EF to Sony E mount, or Canon EF to MFT. In other words, you can attach Canon lenses to the hugely popular Sony a7s, Panasonic GH4, or Black Magic Pocket Camera. 
  2. You can pull focus without ever touching the lense using the fluid dial on the wireless remote. 
  3. The DEC remote allows you to set A and B focus points for quick and accurate pulls. 
  4. The adapter/remote also includes aperture adjustment, which means no more fiddling with dials on your camera. 
  5. The Aputure DEC remote is ergonomic and easily mountable to your rig. Because it is so lightweight we could see this being especially useful on a Gimbal system. 
  6. The Price: The Aputure DEC comes in at a price of $390, which is actually comparable to most lens adapters that don't have such capabilities.

The Aputure DEC is currently available from B&H for $390 for both EF to E mount and EF to MFT.

Check out No Film Schools first look at the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter below:


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AuthorCameron Gray

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.

Posted
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