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Posted 02/23/21
Emphasizing compactness, Sony's FX3 Cinema Camera is the latest take on blurring the lines between Sony's Cinema and Alpha lines of cameras, marrying the top-end video capabilities of the FX cameras with a portable, handheld-optimized form factor like the a7S III. As a camera straddling the lines of capability and versatility, the FX3 takes some of the most coveted features from both to make the ideal camera for solo shooters, for travel needs, for use as a B-camera on high-end shoots, or simply as the main camera for filmmakers who treasure the idea of a sleek and well-spec'd full-frame cinema camera. Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera What Is It? Covering the imaging tech, the FX3 has a familiar set of features, which is honestly fine because it's complementing two lines that have just been marked by homeruns in terms of imaging assets. • Just like the a7S III, the FX3 features Sony's full-frame 12.1MP Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor and BIONZ XR processor. This sensor-processor combination gives you that desirable "full-frame look" along with 15+ stops of dynamic range, impressive write speeds to help limit rolling shutter, ISO 80-102400 sensitivity that can expand to ISO 409600, and the BSI design limits noise and promotes clarity for low-light shooting. • UHD 4K recording up to 120p using the full-frame recording area, as well as Full HD shooting at 240p within a Super 35mm area. • Internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording to CFexpress Type A or SD memory cards. Recording externally, via the full-size HDMI port, 16-bit raw output is possible along with 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, too. • XAVC HS codec uses H.265 encoding to retain detail at smaller bitrates while the XAVC S-I ALL-I H.264 codec supports recording up to 600 Mb/s. • S-Cinetone support for distinct film-like colors and matching to VENICE, FX9, and FX6 sources, or even a7S III or Alpha 1 cameras. Also, S-Log3/2 gamut support and 10-bit HLG for simple HDR productions. • Fast Hybrid AF, which uses 627 points covering approximately 89% of the image frame, is a feature well known to Alpha-series users and also affords Eye AF, Eye and Face Detection, and subject-tracking capabilities. • Built-in cooling fan and heat-dissipating design for uninterrupted recording up to 4K 60. • Weather-sealed body features a magnesium-alloy chassis, stainless-steel components, and an anti-dust system to reinforce working outdoors further. • USB Type-C port for in-camera battery charging or power delivery via an external battery pack. • Same NP-FZ100 battery as the a7S III; however, offers more efficient performance for 1.6x longer battery life. The core specs are great, and what you'd expect from a camera of this class. The FX3 relies heavily on the well-regarded a7S III capabilities, but with a bit more emphasis on just video rather than catering to photo users. So, What's Unique About It? The design. The FX3 is distinct because of how it looks, how it feels, and how it operates. While it borrows a bit from the FX6 in terms of imaging, it leans more into its video-oriented nook with regard to operation and handling. • It's compact! Measuring roughly 5 x 3 x 3", it's about the same size as the a7-series of cameras but sheds the viewfinder hump for a more streamlined and minimal rectangular shape. There's still a large right-hand grip for handheld shooting, and the touchscreen 3.0" LCD flips out to the side and tilts for working from high and low angles. • As a camera meant for handheld shooting, it features the Alpha series 5-axis image stabilization, which offers an Active mode to help steady shots when walking, even without a gimbal. • Catalyst Prepare/Browse software can use the "shake metadata" to help compensate for shake and realign footage during post. • Included removable handle attaches via the Multi-Interface Shoe and makes it easier to shoot handheld from low angles. • Newly designed body is specifically meant to be used without a cage; it features five ¼"-20 mounts for direct accessory attachment, as well as three more threaded mounts on the handle. • While the physical exposure controls match Cinema Line cameras, and it includes direct dials for adjusting Iris, ISO, and Shutter settings, along with integrated zoom adjustment and a tally lamp, the menu system is taken from the a7S III for intuitive navigation. • The removable handle incorporates dual XLR/TRS connectors to make use of the four-channel, 24-bit digital audio interface. The body itself also has 3.5mm ports for a mic and headphones. • Wireless connectivity using 2.4 or 5 GHz speeds, along with 2x2 MIMO support, for mobile tethering. Also compatible with optional USB Type-C to Ethernet adapter. The FX3 feels inspired by the Alpha series, because it's a camera that's more at home in the hand rather than atop a tripod in the studio. It's something that's meant to be used outdoors, on the go, and it has the feature set to complement this type of shooting. FX3 versus a7S III Anyone considering the FX3 may also be thinking to themselves, "How does it differ from the a7S III?" The two are fairly similar in many ways but are apparently targeting different imaging sectors. According to Sony, the a7S III is still very much a photo and video camera, whereas the FX3 is a cinema camera that can shoot stills in a pinch. More than just a twist of words, the FX3 is deliberately lacking some of the photo assets to make room for more video operability. Whereas the a7S III has the built-in EVF, and the characteristic viewfinder "hump," the FX3 opts for a more minimal and functional rectangular profile with purpose-built design elements, including multiple ¼"-20 mounts on the body and a removable top handle that slots into the Multi-Interface Shoe for improved audio and low-angle ergonomics. FX3 Cinema Camera a7S III Mirrorless Camera 12.1MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor BIONZ XR Processor Sensor and Processor 12.1MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor BIONZ XR Processor FF: UHD 4K 120p S35: FHD 240p Video Resolution (FF/S35) FF: UHD 4K 120p S35: FHD 240p 10-Bit 4:2:2 Internal Bit Rate 10-Bit 4:2:2 Internal ISO 80-409600 (Extended) ISO Range ISO 80-409600 (Extended) S-Cinetone S-Log3, S-Log2, HLG Cinema Look/Gamma S-Log3, S-Log2, HLG 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Fast Hybrid AF with Eye AF and Subject Tracking Autofocus Fast Hybrid AF with Eye AF and Subject Tracking Removable Top Handle 5 x ¼"-20 Mounts Handle/1/4 "-20 Mounts 1 x ¼"-20 Mount Front, Top, and Rear Tally Lamp- Yes Zoom Lever- 2 x XLR/TRS via Handle 1 x 3.5mm Headphone 1 x 3.5mm Microphone 1 x 3.5mm Microphone via Handle Linear PCM 4 Channel/24-Bit Audio Recording 1 x 3.5mm Headphone 1 x 3.5mm Microphone Linear PCM 2 Channel/16-Bit 16-Bit Raw Output via HDMI Raw Output 16-Bit Raw Output via HDMI Internal Fan Active Cooling- 2 x CFexpress Type A/SD Memory Card Compatibility 2 x CFexpress Type A/SD NP-FZ100 Battery NP-FZ100 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.3" Dimensions 5.1 x 3.8 x 3.2" 1.4 lb / 640 g Weight 1.35 lb / 614 g Looking at the two side by side, there's little in it if you just want to go spec by spec. The biggest practical differences for filmmakers, beyond form factor, will be access to improved audio recording via the XLR ports in the handle of the FX3 and the inclusion of an internal fan to regulate temps for longer, unrestricted takes, and the FX3's inclusion of the S-Cinetone profile to make it a better fit within the Cinema Line of cameras, which includes the VENICE and FX6. When you take those advantages, plus the optimized body design, you get what the FX3 is all about: a great option for solo, handheld shooters and a perfect choice for a B-cam when the FX6 or VENICE is your A-cam. FX3 versus FX6 While the FX3 versus a7S III is the more realistic comparison for most, you might also be curious how the FX3 stacks up to its bigger brother, the FX6. The ergonomic and operability differences alone make the FX6 a more serious option for high-end productions, and also contribute to the FX3's position as being an ideal tool for solo, portable use. The FX6 offers improved exposure control via its built-in variable ND filter, support for timecode in/out, and raw output possible via 12G-SDI. However, the FX3 does have some distinct capabilities of its own compared to the FX6, including mechanical image stabilization and the obvious smaller form factor to better suit handheld shooting. FX3 Cinema Camera FX6 Cinema Camera 12.1MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor BIONZ XR Processor Sensor and Processor 12.9MP Full-Frame Exmor R BSI CMOS Sensor BIONZ XR Processor FF: UHD 4K 120p S35: FHD 240p Video Resolution (FF/S35) FF: DCI & UHD 4K 120p S35: FHD 240p 10-Bit 4:2:2 Internal Bit Rate 10-Bit 4:2:2 Internal ISO 80-409600 (Extended) ISO Range ISO 320-409600 ISO 800 Base ISO 12800 High-Sensitivity Base S-Cinetone S-Log3, S-Log2, HLG Cinema Look/Gamma S-Cinetone S-Log3, HLG 709 (800%) LUT 709 (800%) / s709 Custom User LUT- Variable ND Built-In 1/4-1/128 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization- Fast Hybrid AF with Eye AF and Subject Tracking Autofocus Fast Hybrid AF with Eye AF Removable Top Handle 5 x ¼"-20 Mounts Handle/1/4"-20 Mounts Smart Handle Smart Grip 8 x ¼"-20 Mounts 2 x XLR/TRS via Handle 1 x 3.5mm Headphone 1 x 3.5mm Microphone Linear PCM 4 Channel/24-Bit Audio Recording 2 x XLR via Handle Linear PCM 4 Channel/24-Bit 16-Bit Raw Output via HDMI Raw Output 16-Bit Raw Output via SDI 2 x CFexpress Type A/SD Memory Card Compatibility 2 x CFexpress Type A/SD NP-FZ100 Battery BP-U35, BP-U70, BP-U100 5.1 x 3.1 x 3.3" Dimensions 6 x 4.6 x 4.5" 1.4 lb / 640 g Weight 2 lb / 890 g In terms of imaging performance, the FX3 and FX6 are certainly complementary and can be a great pair for two camera setups or when mixing studio and handheld footage within a production. The FX3 punches high in its class, and it's too bad it's missing a couple of the key features of the FX6 (namely timecode support and an ND filter) that would make it a no-brainer for professional filmmakers looking for a portable option on the next shoot. So, Who's It For? At its core, the FX3 appears to be a marriage between the photo/hybrid-oriented Alpha-series of mirrorless cameras and the high-end series of Cinema Line video cameras. There has been a major push, within the Alpha series and photo-based cameras in general, for cameras to address the multimedia shift in image making. More photographers are turning to video, more videographers are looking for photo capabilities. The lines are blurring and the FX3 is in the middle but strongly leaning toward the filmmaking end of the spectrum. Surprisingly, this makes the FX3 a strong contender for photographers or primarily stills-based image makers to make the jump to high-end video, especially if they're already a Sony Alpha shooter and have a stable of E-mount lenses. For those already working in the video world, the FX3 is a trickier piece to fit into the puzzle. Its greatest and most distinguishing assets are its form factor, its inclusion of image stabilization, and its physical design that's meant to shed the need for a cage to add on whatever accessories you're likely to use, ranging from monitors to mics. However, despite the FX3 missing out on some features of the FX6, if you were already contemplating an a7S III strictly for your filmmaking needs, the FX3 makes an enticing option from a workflow standpoint. What are your first takes on the FX3? How do you see it fitting into your workflow? Let us know, in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 02/04/21
Jake tests out the Hollyland Mars 400S PRO SDI/HDMI Wireless Video Transmission System, which is perfect for livestreaming and filmmaking. This wireless system transmits up to 1080p60 SDI or HDMI video and 400' line-of-sight to receiver (300' to Hollyview app), allowing you and your clients to conveniently and comfortably watch a video’s production. Learn more about the Hollyland Mars 400S PRO SDI/HDMI Wireless Video Transmission System at B&H Explora, and share your thoughts on the Mars 400S PRO in the Comments, below.
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Posted 01/25/21
Looking to stream your video content quickly and reliably from almost anywhere? Count on the VidiU X HD Video Streaming System, from Teradek, for your in-the-field coverage, remote instruction, work presentations, live events, and more. This compact hardware encoder is portable and powerful, letting you stream HD video at the touch of a button. The HDMI-input VidiU X broadcasts your content at resolutions up to 1080p60 using your choice of Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or an optional 4G/3G modem. This latest Teradek encoder is even Wi-Fi 6 and 5G ready, offering faster speeds and higher data rates where available. Compact design with OLED display. Versatile Streaming Options The VidiU X uses high-quality, low-latency AVC H.264 video compression and AAC-LC audio compression. Bit rates range from 250 kb/s to 15 Mb/s with preset bit rates including a mobile setting, making it easy to select a rate that's suitable and start streaming, wherever you are. Compatible with a wide array of HDMI-output cameras and video switchers, the VidiU X incorporates a scaler for converting video resolutions ranging from 720p50 to 60 and 1080p23.98 to 60 fps. The VidiU X supports 2-ch embedded audio, as well as a 2-ch line/mic input. Platform Integration With native integration for Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Vimeo Livestream, Airmix, and similar RTMP/S platforms, the VidiU X is easy to use. A boot-up time of less than 10 seconds gets your content up and out there quickly on your platform of choice. HDMI Input Field or Studio Use Network Capabilities A trio of dual-band Wi-Fi, a 10/100/1000 BASE-T Ethernet port, and a USB Type-A modem port provide the VidiU X with versatile network options. Wi-Fi features include automatic or manual channel selection, and future-proofing functions include Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support where available. Cellular bonding capability using a mix of Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and/or USB cellular modem networks enables the VidiU X to offer you stable, high-bandwidth output. When paired with an optional Teradek Sharelink subscription, you can use the VidiU X to stream to multiple destinations simultaneously. Front panel OLED. App and Web UI Configuration You can configure your VidiU X using the iOS and Android-compatible VidiU app or the feature-rich web-based user interface. Design Features The compact VidiU X features a bright, daylight-viewable OLED panel that displays your platform name, video resolution, signal strength and status, and more. An SD/SDXC card slot can be used for recording and storage. Additional features include a joystick navigator, a USB Type-C power input port, internal antennas, and both ¼"-20 and M3 mounting threads. With mobile content being increasingly popular, the Teradek VidiU X is just the solution you need for secure, stable streaming. Share your thoughts on the new VidiU X in the Comments, below, and let us know if you have any questions.
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Posted 01/21/21
Jake Estes takes the Zhiyun CRANE 3S Pro out for a spin—literally! This camera stabilizer boasts a large 14.3-lb payload, an updated axis-locking system, external power input, and the ViaTouch 2.0 motion control system, connectivity with the Zy Play App and more. It can also accommodate a wide range of cinema camera sizes by utilizing a separately available extension module to extend the horizontal arm, which is now positioned at a 55° angle. Have you ever used a Zhiyun gimbal? What are your thoughts? Share them or ask questions in the Comments section! Special thanks to @Armando Ferreira for allowing us to use some of his footage.
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Posted 01/17/21
See how the brand new ARRI Signature Zooms were integrated into the emerging world of LED Video Wall and Virtual Production for a fashion shoot with the set design rendered in real time via Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. Have you used ARRI Signature Zooms on your film or video production? Tell us about your experience in the Comments, below!
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Posted 12/29/20
Every filmmaker has their own needs on set, so which Canon camera is right for you? In this cinema camera comparison, Doug takes a look at the Canon C70, the Canon C300 Mark III, and the Canon C500 Mark II, as well as rigging options for the latter two. After watching this video, which of these cameras would best suit your next film production? Tell us your choice and why in the Comments, below.
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Posted 12/24/20
Cinematographer Jordan Cowan, aka On Ice Perspectives, shows us how to use a gimbal to achieve cinematic video using the DJI Ronin-SC and Sony a7S III. He discusses and offers tips on how to balance and calibrate your gimbal and more! What are your tips for using gimbals? Leave us a comment or question, below.
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Posted 12/21/20
Jake reviews the new Autel EVO II 8K Drone, which builds upon the success of the EVO I with improvements in every way. With a variety of resolutions and frame rates (such as 25 fps 8K), you can achieve the cinematic drone footage you’ve always wanted. This drone also boasts a video ISO range of 100 to 6400, a stills ISO range of 100 to 3200, the ability to record HDR video at up to Ultra HD 4K resolution, phase detection autofocus, hyperlapse mode, and more. After watching the video,  click here to learn more about the Autel Robotics EVO II 8K Drone at B&H Explora. What do you think about the new EVO II 8K drone? Share your thoughts in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 12/11/20
Have you ever wanted to film breathtaking hyperlapse videos? Emeric Le Bars shares his 5 tips for cinematic and professional-looking hyperlapses, from choosing the best settings to working with Adobe After Effects. Check out Emeric's video, then watch this video and read this article to learn more about time-lapse photography. Have you had experience with hyperlapse photography? Tell us about it in the Comments section, below.
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Posted 12/10/20
Go behind the scenes on our team’s latest video production as they try the Z CAM E2-S6 with the Atomos Ninja V. Doug Guerra shows you his ProRes Raw workflow for filming and color grading, and he also compares the E2-S6 to the ZCAM E2. Have you used either cinema camera on a film production? What are your thoughts on these cameras? Tell us in the Comments section. We hope you enjoy the video, and we invite you to view the wide selection of other instructional and informative videos at BandH.com.
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