Lens sharpness does matter, Mr. Ken Rockwell.

Warning: This is a controlled rant alert. When I first started with a DSLR, one of the first websites I found was Ken Rockwell’s lens reviews. Chances are, you’ve seen his site too – seeing as they rank highly on Google – and he’s pretty darn good. Nevertheless, there is one article on his site that I beg to differ with: Lens Sharpness Doesn’t Matter. Well, Ken – sorry to disagree with you, but sharpness does matter. Sure, lens sharpness may be overrated – especially when comparing some of Canon’s…

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Follow focus jumping teeth? 5D Mark II won’t sit straight? Try this.

First of all, let’s get the legally-binding blog disclaimer over with: Nobody sent me this doo-dad free (or paid me) to review it. Too bad. Bleeding pocketbooks aside, one of the other endless oddities about DSLR filmmaking is that us fellows in the 5D Mark II camp have only one 1/4″-20tpi threaded boss at the bottom of the camera to work with. It doesn’t even have a recess to accept the pin supplied on basic tripod plates either. That’s where CoolLCD came in and designed this handy little solution for…

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Powering a BeachTek audio adapter with an external battery source

I run my rig off an Anton-Bauer Dionic 90 battery (through a 3rd-party battery adapter), a 3-hour-rated lithium-ion setup which has more stored power than I know what to do with. Given this convenient power source (with 5v, 7.2v, 12v and 15v connections on the adapter), I prefer that all the accessories on the rig run off the same power source to avoid last-minute confusion as to what on the camera has fresh batteries and what doesn’t. That, and it sure saves on batteries. Amongst the accessories on my rig…

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The Top 5 DSLR Video Accessories You Need, Mr. Beer Budget Filmmaker

Lots of articles have been written online about what gear you “need” as a DSLR filmmaker, most of them quite useless, e.g.: “Buy a memory card!” Yes, dear, we will. Hence, I present the following list of what will truly help you as a budget DSLR filmmaker, and – most importantly – the reasoning behind these suggestions so you may make an informed decision. FYI – the following items are related to camera accessories only. You should already have a good lighting kit. Drumroll, please. 1. A good fluid head…

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The importance of framing: Jib shots

FreddieW on YouTube once remarked that the camera you use is not as important as how you use it. Being a film-look perfectionist, I can come up with a few hundred reasons why that is not always the case. Nevertheless, provided one has the talent for it, this statement is – in essence – true. A perfect example can be seen in a recent test video I shot when I was checking the usability of the second-hand 8′ jib crane seen here: Not in the mood to smash my 5D…

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Flat is better: Setting up for film look

Don’t let the simple look of this video fool you – it is one of the most valuable you’ll ever see: I’ve covered this subject before for ENG cameras – such as the JVC GY-HD110 – but it bears repeating for DSLRs: Getting the film look is not just 24P or the way you frame your shots. Out of the box, just about any ENG or prosumer camera will be set with contrasts and saturations set far too aggressively. Case in point, the video I shot for the HD110 settings:…

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When 15mm rail systems don’t fit: Fixing Cinematics’ High Riser Baseplate

I cannot fault anyone for using a 15mm rail system. They’re modular and most convenient – provided you don’t run into an oddity. But that’s what I found when I mounted a Cinematics High Riser Baseplate to my own rig. After installation, neither my Fotga DP500II follow focus block or Cordvision arms fit with ease, so I decided to look into the matter further. From bottom to top: Cordvision 90 degree angle armsGeneric, Chinese 15mm rail block (all over eBay and often supplied with cheese plates)Fotga DP500/DP500II Follow Focus Q/R…

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