“… Ultimately this documentary is about how a tool has helped democratize movie making. It is also a product of what it preaches. Final Cut Pro X does empower storytellers and that message was what made me passionate enough to take all the time and energy to make this documentary. It’s a real meta sort of thing.…”
A confession: when I first cracked open Final Cut Pro X in its first iteration, I felt at home with it and its magnetic timeline concept in a way I never had with more conventional NLE products including Final Cut Pro.
In 2011 Apple ended Final Cut Pro as we knew it and started over with a brand new video editing application: Final Cut Pro X. The disruption from this change is still being felt by the film, television, and video industries to this day.
With misinformation running amok, Off The Tracks aims to clear the air once and for all.
This documentary features exclusive interviews with the creative professionals who use the software and the developers who created it. Why did Apple make Final Cut Pro X?
Flanders Scientific Inc. – B&H – although movie editors and color graders regard FSI monitors as the best there are, bizarrely B&H does not appear to stock the monitors themselves but only the accessories for them. I hope that this changes soon. Check out the FSI Solutions MediaLight 6500K Bias Light products for lighting your workstation area with light that will not throw your colour judgement seriously out of whack.
GTI Standard Gray Neutral N8 Vinyl Latex Paint (1 Gallon) – B&H – “Standard Neutral Gray Munsell N8,
Made for the Photo and Graphic Industry, Used in Color Viewing Areas, Water-Reducible Vinyl Latex Paint, Eliminates Simultaneous Color Contrast, Reduces Color Pollution of Viewing Area”
“Short documentary films have the power to reveal a unique story, inspire with insights and even motivate change in the brief duration. How easy or difficult it is to make one? In this post, we will discuss the steps involved in making a short social documentary film….”
“Months ago, I got the crazy idea to write, produce and direct my first documentary. I wasn’t completely unrealistic — I knew enough to start small with a short, micro-budgetfilm. I also knew I could count on a supportive network of documentary filmmakers — including pros such as Doug Block, Marshall Curry, Laura Nix, Tracy Droz Tragos, Robert Greene, and others — to help guide me through the process. Later in this piece, I’ll share some of their invaluable wisdom. But first, here’s a bit about my film and my process so far….”
Seercam has released its Cube GH5 cage for the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera and it is impressive, a major leap forward from the company’s GH4 predecessor camera cages the CubeMix GH4/3 and CubeMix GH4/3 Pro that were released under the Motion9 brand. Cage designs tend to fall into either of two fundamental types, minimalist or full wraparound, and Seercam’s design is uniquely not only almost fully wraparound but also protective. I’m impressed.
I have been reading online about cages by other makers and it appears the vast majority have chosen the minimalist route with lightweight designs that are, in essence, perforated aluminium straps wrapping around the GH5’s widest dimension.
Seercam, just as it did under its former Motion9 moniker, has followed the path of maximum protection and maximum support, with two cold shoes built into the body of the cage and plenty of threaded mounting holes all over for extra cold-shoes, Arri rosettes, NATO Rails or dovetail rails for any number of accessories as needed.
Seercam’s Cube GH5 cage with two other cages for comparison
I photographed the Cube GH5 along with a Motion9 CubeMix GH4/3 cage and a minimalist-style SmallRig cage made for the Panasonic Lumix GX8. Please refer to the captions for further information.
Why a First Look?
This article is subtitled “First Look” due to the fact that I am waiting for delivery of a GH5 review loaner but did not want to delay sharing my observations and experience of Seercam’s Cube GH5 cage.
I have used and loved the cage’s predecessor for the GH4, the original CubeMix GH4/3, for several years now and it has proven itself time and again in the field, on tripods and most importantly in the hand with or without all sorts accessories attached. I expect the same of Seercam’s Cube GH5.
From the many design advances the Seercam team has built into their GH5 cage, it looks like the experience of using it with a GH5 will be even better. In the absence of an actual GH5, the best I can do right now is share photographs of the Seercam Cube GH5 cage along with Motion9’s CubeMix GH4/3 and a minimalist cage for one of the GH5’s sister cameras, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8.
I have avoided showing the base of the cage as I don’t have the rod riser made to go with it and some questions about how cage and dedicated riser fit together remain for the time being.
Coming soon, a handle raiser/rod holder extension kit
Work-in-progress shots of an extension kit currently being designed by Seercam for their Cube GH5 cage.
The folks at Seercam are working on an extension kit for the Cube GH5 cage to raise the handle up for the GH5’s XLR audio unit and attach a long 15mm rod for mounting side handles, monitors or accessory arms. I hope to receive one in due course.
Three brands of audio field recorders are most commonly used by independent documentary moviemakers – Sound Devices, Tascam and Zoom. Sound Devices recorders, the Nagras of the digital age, have been more the province of professional audio recordists than one-person-crew moviemakers, until now, until the advent of its MixPre series with the first two models being the MixPre-3 and MixPre-6.
A detailed list of specifications of both MixPre models is available in the MixPre Series Sell Sheet at the MixPre-6 product page as well as a Sound Devices catalog, MixPre-3 and MixPre-6 Quick Start Guides and User Guides.
Standout features of both MixPre models include Sound Devices’ legendary audio quality via new microphone preamps, the ability to use both MixPre recorders as USB audio interfaces, durability of manufacture, intuitive interface, flexible power options, advanced mixing functionality, easy mounting on tripods and cameras, and a range of accessories and software.
For what felt like the longest time, Fujifilm staff members acknowledged privately then publicly that the company needed to do better on video, first with the groundbreaking Fujifilm Finepix X100 – which I use for shooting documentary stills to this very day – then through the X-E1, X-Pro1 and X-T1 and their smaller, more affordable companion cameras.
Fujifilm’s current flagship cameras, the X-Pro2 and X-T2 are the ones where they have finally begun to get it right for video, but there is some way to go yet, as indicated by Paul Leeming’s letter to Fujifilm citing the GH4 and GH5 as exemplars.
Panasonic was the first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (ILC) maker to start to get it right so far as video goes, with Panasonic’s Lumix GH4 cementing that company’s position as masters of the Super 16/Micro Four Thirds sensored, eminently portable, day-long usable ergonomically-advanced documentary video and stills camera.
The GH4 and now GH5 have not been adopted only by documentary moviemakers. Paul Leeming shoots feature films with his GH4 and now his similarly-rigged GH5 camera after moving away from the RED Super 35 cameras he owned and rented out for some years.
Veydra’s Mini Prime lenses filled a yawning gap in matched set lens options for Super 16 moviemakers relying on the GH4 and now GH5, and, with Duclos Lenses’ announcement of their X-Mount adapter, a subset of Veydra’s lenses is poised to do the same for Fujifilm’s X-T2 and rumoured “ultimate APS-C camera” for stills and video.
Fujifilm’s X-Mount lenses have been eyed-off by video professionals familiar with their Fujinon broadcast and movie production zoom lenses, for some time and for good reason, as Matthew Duclos shares in his post about the X-Mount adapter:
Any Fujifilm fan (including myself) knows that Fujinon makes some amazing lenses for their X line of cameras. They’re fast, lightweight, sharp, and relatively affordable. I firmly believe lens quality and selection is what sets Fujifilm apart from the rest of the mirrorless pack. But for motion picture work, the current lineup of Fuji X lenses simply isn’t going to produce good results. Will they get the job done? Sure… They’ll be good enough.
There is a difference between the needs of higher-end motion picture cinematographers and other moviemakers for whom stills lenses can be good enough for shooting video. Fujifilm seems to have recognized that with their recently released Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 and MK 50-135mm T2.9 zoom lenses but there is no sign they will be coming up with videocentric prime lenses any time soon.
Veydra Mini Prime lenses for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds and Super 35/APS-C
Veydra 12mm mini prime lens with metric scale, for Super16/Micro Four Thirds only.
Veydra 16mm mini prime lens with metric scale, for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds only.
Veydra 19mm mini prime lens with metric scale, for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds and Super 35/APS-C.
Veydra 25mm mini prime lens with metric scale, for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds and Super 35/APS-C.
Veydra 35mm mini prime lens with metric scale, for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds and Super 35/APS-C.
Veydra 50mm T2.2 Mini Prime
Veydra 85mm mini prime lens with metric scale, for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds and Super 35/APS-C.
That is where five out of seven of Veydra’s Mini Primes come in. All seven of them provide a well-spaced set of focal lengths from 12mm through to 85mm, in 35mm equivalent terms from 24mm to 170mm for Super 16 cameras. The Veydra subset suitable for Super 35 cameras like the X-T2 and its successors covers 19mm through to the 85mm focal lengths.
Veydra primes for Super 16/Micro Four Thirds cameras
12mm – 24mm, in 35mm equivalence
16mm – 32mm, in 35mm equivalence
19mm – 38mm, in 35mm equivalence
25mm – 50mm, in 35mm equivalence
35mm – 70mm, in 35mm equivalence
50mm – 100mm, in 35mm equivalence
85mm – 170mm, in 35mm equivalence
The Veydra team was working on a wider lens than 12mm but had to abandon the idea as it would have been prohibitively expensive and oversized. Pity, as a 21mm equivalent or wider makes for excellent scene-setting and interiors shots.
Veydra primes for Super 35/APS-C cameras
19mm – 28.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
25mm – 37.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
35mm – 52.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
50mm – 75mm, in 35mm equivalence
85mm – 127.5mm, in 35mm equivalence
The 12mm and 16mm lenses vignette on Super 35 cameras. Wider focal lengths than 19mm would come in handy, so may have to be sought from amongst Fujifilm’s prime lenses such as the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R or XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR with their clutch manual focus option.