You always hope that there’s some amazing news from NAB, that some company announces a real gamechanger. Kudos, BMD, for keeping this hope alive.
Now, if this thing would only make phone calls and run Angry Birds…
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
A true Super 16 digital film camera
that’s small enough to take anywhere!
Introducing the pocket sized Super 16 digital film camera that’s small enough to keep with you at all times, so you’ll never miss a shot! Get true digital film images with feature film style 13 stops of dynamic range, Super 16 sensor size, high quality lossless CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes™ recording and the flexibility of an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount, all packed into an incredibly tiny size! The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera records 1080HD
resolution ProRes 422 (HQ) files direct to fast SD cards, so you can immediately edit or color correct your media on your laptop. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is everything you need to bring cinematic film look shooting to the most difficult and remote locations, perfect for documentaries, independent films, photo journalism, music festivals, ENG, protest marches and even war zones.
Features an active MFT lens mount and high resolution 3.5″ LCD.
Shoot True Digital Film
The digital film camera
that’s always with you!
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a true high dynamic range film look camera in an extremely portable size, so now you can shoot cinema quality in situations never before possible! Imagine shooting a documentary, episodic television production, television commercial or independent film in the true quality of digital film. With its extremely compact size, you can covertly shoot important and historic events such as wars, protests and other conflict in cinema quality and get a more realistic record of the event. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a true revolution in how you can shoot digital cinema!
Wide Dynamic Range
Retain more image detail for more color grading power
Regular video cameras shoot limited dynamic range, which is why their pictures look like video. Digital cinema cameras have a much wider dynamic range and is the reason why high end television commercials and feature films look so beautiful.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera delivers a true film look because it captures a super wide dynamic range of 13 stops, so your images look truly cinematic. This means you retain all sensor data for DaVinci Resolve color grading!
The technology of a digital film camera packed into a tiny size
Precision engineered with state of the art technology, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera takes all the high quality features of a professional digital cinema camera and packs them into an incredibly small size. This premium quality design features a solid magnesium alloy chassis, an MFT mount for interchangeable optics, Super 16 size sensor, 13 stops of dynamic range and high quality ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless CinemaDNG RAW file formats! Every aspect of the image path has been totally optimized for quality!
Micro Four Thirds Lenses
Flexible lens mount for all types of quality glass
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera lets you use the most incredible range of lenses. With the Super 16 size sensor you can use a wide range of adapters for film quality Super 16 lenses, or use commonly available low cost Micro Four Thirds lenses and more. With full electronic control of your lens, you can simply point and set iris all on command! The Micro Four Thirds lens mount also gives you the flexibility to adapt to PL or other lens mounts as required.
Record to SD Cards
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera features a built in SD card recorder that captures stunning ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG files to fast SDXC cards. As an open format, it’s compatible with most popular NLE software so you get a digital camera that’s perfectly designed for post production workflows. When you’ve finished recording you can easily mount the card straight into a laptop, ready for editing. You can even color grade direct from the card with the included DaVinci Resolve Lite! SD cards are commonly available and can be formatted for either HFS+ or exFAT, making them compatible with either Mac OS X or Windows.
Open File Format
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera records into high quality ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG files so you retain fine image detail with wide dynamic range for amazing images. This means that Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is one of the few cameras to support true open file formats, so you’re not locked into a strange file format that your editing software can’t handle. You get two dynamic range settings, film Log or video REC709, so you can choose the right dynamic range for your project. Using DaVinci Resolve Lite you can color correct files natively or transcode them into a different file format to suit your post production workflow.
Ultra Portable Design
Lightweight and incredibly strong
Designed as the world’s most compact digital film camera, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera features a lightweight, elegant design that fits into your pocket. Produced from magnesium alloy for incredible strength, it includes a high resolution LCD for precise focusing and a built in SD recorder, so you get a complete solution without the need to buy expensive accessories. That’s vital in such an ultra compact design! With integrated stereo microphones you can also capture great quality sound. The removable rechargeable battery can be swapped quickly, so is perfect when you’re on the run!
High Resolution Display
Crystal clear view of your work
The extremely high resolution 3.5” LCD allows you to monitor while shooting and review recorded files on the SD card. The high resolution screen makes it easy to focus accurately and lets you zoom in to 1:1 size so you focus precisely every time. Camera status displayed at the bottom of the screen shows record status, shutter angle, time lapse interval, aperture setting, ISO, battery level and record time. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera even includes built in metadata entry.
The professional connections on the side include a micro HDMI out with optional overlays for easy on set monitoring. You also get a standard mini jack microphone input that’s compatible with common AV style microphones, plus a mini jack headphone socket for audio monitoring using headphones. A LANC control input is included for remote operation, and you can power the camera and recharge the removable battery with the 12V DC input.
Using an MFT lens adapter you can mount almost any professional lens.
Crafted from super strong magnesium alloy, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera’s incredibly compact design is tough and stylish.
With 13 stops of wide dynamic range, Super 16 size sensor and high quality ProRes recording you get a true digital film look.
Perfect for a wide range of shooting styles, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera can be taken almost anywhere.
Loads of Accessories
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera can be used with a huge amount of lenses and third party accessories.
Panasonic wants in on the wearable cam market, so it’s devised one of these action cameras. But rather than just copying what’s already out there, the company has come up with something a bit different. The result is a camera that bolts to a mount designed to be worn on your head. Unlike the GoPro, there’s no requirement for a helmet mount, or a hard mount to something else. The Pani is worn on a band that goes around the back of your head, and is located quite close to one of your eyes.
It’s also set up differently. First, the camera has no built-in recorder. Instead, it’s connected via a cable to a separate recorder. The battery and microSD card are located in here and it’s designed to be worn somewhere else on your body, or slung in a pocket.
Oops! Better wait a bit for the T4i to be retooled a bit.
Blackmagic announced their Cinema Camera today:
It features an amazing 2.5K image sensor with 13 stops of dynamic range, with a built-in SSD recorder, records to Pro Res and DNxHD, uses EF and ZF mount lenses.
Info still coming in, but it looks cool, and the price is amazing!
Most people reading this website will not be surprised to hear that the era of film is coming to an end. Even those of you who, like me, spent days in darkrooms perfecting your dodge technique, are likely unruffled at the notion. But in Hollywood film has been clinging tenaciously to life, if only out of a sort of traditionalist inertia. But this last year was marked by a sort of quiet final surrender by the film cadre: Arri, Panavision, and Aaton have all ceased production of film cameras. These companies have been driving the film industry for decades, and for them all to throw in the towel at once suggests that the end truly is approaching.
By Zach Honig posted Sep 15th 2011 6:21PM
Oh, what’s this, Canon? You want your turn in the spotlight as well? Well, we suppose a hint of an announcement is better than a non-announcement, so bring it on! The imaging company just sent us word of a presumably star-studded SoCal event on November 3rd, giving its cameras a chance to walk the red carpet in a rather surprising Hollywood role reversal. We’re not sure exactly what Canon plans to unveil that night — a new mirrorless camera, or perhaps some fancy pants camcorder, destined for Hollywood’s elite? But assuming the company isn’t crying wolf, we’ll be there with a live report from the red carpet.
The feature film, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, used Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR cameras to capture many of the movie’s action shots. Throughout the super hero action picture, the 5D Mark II was used to shoot motion sequences that were seamlessly integrated with the production’s 35mm film footage.
More compact and lightweight than traditional motion-picture cameras, the 5D Mark II offers creative advantages such as compatibility with Canon’s wide range of high-performance EF lenses, user-selectable frame rates, including 24p (23.976 fps), the standard for motion-picture cinematography, and full 1920 x 1080 HD imagery captured by the camera’s high-resolution 21.1-megapixel (36mm by 24mm) Canon CMOS sensor. According to Jonathan Taylor, second unit director/director of photography on “Captain America: The First Avenger”, these features made the 5D Mark II an excellent choice for the capture of dramatic POV (point-of-view) action shots.
“The challenge with a lot of action photography is getting the camera in the right position,” Taylor noted.
“I’m always looking to get the camera into impossible to reach places because those kinds of shots make action sequences much more exciting. Most 35mm motion-picture cameras and even the leading digital cinematography cameras are just too big to get into interesting positions.” – Taylor
Action scenes in “Captain America: The First Avenger” in which Taylor used 5D Mark II cameras for POV shots include a car chase and crash, and a high-speed motorcycle pursuit. The small size of the camera enabled Taylor to mount it on the interiors and exteriors of moving vehicles to capture dramatic action shots. The camera’s size also ensured that it was “invisible” to the film cameras shooting the same scene from a distance.
“The thing with action is that the more angles you can shoot, the faster the cuts you can use, and the more energy you get into a sequence,” Taylor added.
Previously, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II cameras and EF lenses were used for action shots in the blockbuster hit “Iron Man 2”.
The things that got me really excited went largely unnoticed, but here’s some of my favorites:
Under tight NDA the night before NAB, a few of us were allowed to preview the Blackmagic goods. I was astonished at what I heard as I held a slim $995 piece of 19″ hardware. The ATEM Television Studio.
It’s an IO device with HDMI and HD-SDI ports. It can replace a traditional HD Mixer/Switcher/Keyer. If you’ve seen the traditional big video mixers with a gazillion lit buttons and T-bars, then you probably are familiar with the broadcast price point of $5-75k.
So where’s the rest of this device? How do you switch, there’s seeming no controls? Well, you could buy the external switcher for $5k. Or you can simply attach the ATEM via ethernet to your computer and switch via a virtual control panel.
Here’s what the app looks like on-screen (click to enlarge):
My friend John Herbert formerly of Reflecmedia and now with Blackmagic recorded a bit of “green screen” from the “studio” at the Reflecmedia booth on the NAB show Central Hall floor. He was then able to feed the footage in and live “key” the footage using the ATEM keyer. By the way, how did he record the footage?
Using another new Blackmagic product announced at the show called the HyperDeck Shuttle. This lil guy is $345 and records Uncompressed QuickTime movies to SSD drives. You simply connect your HDMI or HD-SDI cable into the device and hit “Record”. It’s basically a small HD deck with battery. The built-in battery will last about an hour, the 512GB SSD drives will set you back about $1200 and only record about 50 minutes. So, we then took the footage to the Blackmagic booth and used it as a source via HD-SDI into the IO box- the ATEM keyed it out very well for a live HD keyer. Although there are not as many controls for fine tuning the key like you would find in an $80k Ultimatte, the result was still very nice. I’m excited to try it out in our studio sort of like what we did with the Edirol in this video where I walk into the computer screen using real time chroma key:
I see all kinds of uses for inexpensive real time HD keying, including on the set pre-viz. Now your actors can have a large monitor to see the “world” that they’ll be in. This should make for some more interesting acting and lighting on set.
Where will a $995 HD switcher find a home? I see tons of uses in live sporting events, musical performances, house of worship, live tv/web shows, and live seminars. One more cool feature allows you to record an H.264 movie out of the switcher. Could you imagine finishing a live event and already having the encoded file ready to drop on the server?
Atomos Ninja ProRes recorder
I was able to get the Atomos Ninja before the NAB show and was hoping to be blown away with HDSLR recording. Unfortunately the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D do not have a “clean” output so I went and bought a Panasonic GH2 HDSLR to try out. The GH2 does indeed have an HDMI out with no overlays (superimposed on-screen images), however, the signal’s color isn’t as pristine as it should be and it requires a bit of a process to remove 3:2 pulldown so I wrote the GH2 HDSLR off as well. I have high hopes for a solution, though for now I’d recommend only using it with traditional video cameras. I’m using it with the Sony Z7U and the Panasonic AF100 – both HD cameras with HDMI output.
The beauty of the Ninja is in the workflow. How fast can you go from lens to post? It’s pretty amazing really. It’s kind of like a FireStore if you remember those, they recorded an HDV stream from the FireWire port. Not so with the Ninja, you’re recording up to 220mbps ProRes. Let’s think about that for a second, HDV is 35mbps and ProRes HQ is 220mbps. Do you think that the footage will be any better?
To the average person, not so much, however, being able to edit in the ProRes format with no “Log and Transfer” or “Log and Capture” step is huge. I can shoot, then simply drag the files from the drive into the timeline and start cutting. The Ninja uses standard off the shelf 2.5″ laptop drives. Around $50 for 500GB. At ProRes HQ thats 5 hours! The Ninja kit even includes two batteries so that you can actually record for 7 hours non-stop. Oh, and did I mention that the Ninja also has a 4.3-inch monitor so that you can view your footage as you’re rolling? There is a 1/4-20 thread on top and bottom.
Here you can see the Ninja mounted on our Panasonic AF100 with a Noga arm. Fully loaded with drive and two batteries weighed in at about 1.9lbs.
The Atomos Ninja is available in a kit with 2 Sony style batteries, dual charger, 2 master caddies and a Master Caddy dock. The dock allows you to slide the Master Caddy in and connect to your computer via USB 2.0, USB 3.0, or FireWire 800. Using a $50 Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200 RPM drive, I was able to drag and drop the files into FCP and begin editing immediately. The first thing I noticed is how much zippier the footage feels as opposed to long GOP HDV, and how much further I can push color correction. The acquired color via the HDMI port is 4:2:2, not the lossy 4:1:1 or 4:2:0. So there is less banding and jaggies in gradations.
One thing to note, the drives are not included, only the blank caddies. You must add your own drive. The Ninja is available by itself at $649 or at $999 with the complete kit, including hard case and accessories. Just add drives and an HDMI cable.
More HD Recorders…
Sound Devices, known for their high quality mixers and recorders also announced two new HD Video Field recorders, the PIX 240 and 220. Also being shown on the show floor was the Cinedeck, Convergent Design’s Gemini, Blackmagic’s $345 Hyperdeck Shuttle and FFV’s Sidekick.
Each recorder has it’s unique pluses and minus. For example all of the models mentioned above will handle an HD-SDI source whereas the Atomos Ninja only handles HDMI input. A future model set to release this Summer and dubbed “Samurai” will include HD-SDI at the $1,495 price point. Let’s also not forget the two models which have been out in the field and record to compact flash, the AJA Ki Pro Mini, and the Convergent Design nanoFlash. The Ki Pro Mini has not begun shipping in high quantity and has built up quite the demand. Both the nanoFlash and Ki Pro mini record to Compact Flash cards, whereas most of the new recorders shown at NAB are recording to 2.5″ spinning disk or SSD. You’ll want to weigh in battery/power options and media costs if you’re looking at one of these recorders to breathe new life into your current camera.
LaCie Thunderbolt drives
LaCie showed offer four Thunderbolt enabled “Little Big Disk” drives raided together producing over 700MB/sec throughput. Very impressive, especially as these new file formats push the envelope. You’ll need something like this to edit uncompressed. Being able to take these small drives in the field and edit in a hotel is very cool. I would not take our 8 bay RAID on the road.
Lowel finally stepped into the LED world with two new offerings, the Studio 250 and the Studio 400 with CRI numbers hitting 91. Most of the inexpensive offerings on the market are more around the 87 range and tend to to produce a green tinge on skin tones when viewed on an accurate monitor. Sure you can gel green light with a bit of magenta to correct, but its still off. It’s great to see Lowel finally coming to market with a professional, accurate LED fixture with a true “flood” beam. These are dimmable fixtures offering the highest quality LEDs on the market. The Lowel Studio 250 is in the $1800 range while the Studio 400 is in the $2000-2200 range.
AJA and Matrox IO devices
Matrox announced a $299 Thunderbolt adapter. This adapter allows the Matrox Mini line as well as the AJA IO Express to be hooked up to a Thunderbolt port on the new MacBooks. This summer both companies will be offering native Thunderbolt devices, however, existing customers may be interested in just buying one of these nifty adapters to use with legacy gear. Matrox showed the device working in their booth. I’m sure there are many 15-inch MacBook Pro users that are happy to have IO in the field. I didn’t mind the weight of the 17-inch with the Express34 slot for my IO, however Thunderbolt on all the new Macs is very cool. Now those that want to travel light can still just carry a small computer, and edit with a big HDMI or HD-SDI monitor out in the field or on-site.
The new Compact Primes are simply stunning. These are a filmmaker’s dream. When using the SLR style lenses from most manufacturers, you’ll notice it’s tough to rack focus. The CP.2 lenses make it easy and more “Cine style” by offering the focus control to be spread across a wider spinning range. Instead of having a short distance to spin from say 2 feet to 5 feet, you have a very long spin, thus allowing your focus puller a very finite level of control. The other nice thing is that the CP.2 lenses is that they offer manual aperture without hard “click stops”. I was informed at the show that there is a shop in LA that will take the less expensive line of Zeiss ZE SLR lenses and take out the hard click stops. The Compact Primes are in the $4-6k range each, while the SLR lenses are a bit more affordable in the $700-1000 range.
Manfrotto brought out the new 509HD tripod head, the Photo Movie head, some cool new “snake” arms, LANC zoom controllers, and LED lights. In case you didn’t know, Vitek owns Manfrotto and Litepanels, so these new lights are from the high quality Litepanels designers. The Photo Movie head may work well for those still folks venturing into video for the first time, however, long time videographers will quickly find the unit to be a very lateral flowing device. Unlike the full blown video heads from Manfrotto, this one is tough to perform a smooth “Z” test. It just wants to pan left/right and keep on going.
IKAN showed a new multicolor light called the Multi-K XL. It allows you to dial in any specific color with its RGB controls. There are also six presets between 2800 K – 6500 K. Output power is 1000 watts. Street price $2495. http://ikancorp.com/productInfo.php?id=311#
Matthews demonstrated a new slider they’re calling it the DC Slider.
Marshall demonstrated the V-LCD70XP-HDMIPT 7-inch LCD Monitor with HDMI loop through. This allows a second user the ability to take the signal to another monitor for client, director, focus puller, crew etc. You can view all the features of the Marshall including a video we produced at http://www.lcdracks.com/monitors/v-lcd70xp-hdmipt.html
MXL revealed a tiny shotgun mic called the FR-305 which looked surprisingly similar to the Sennheiser MKE400. We’ll have to see how this one sounds.
Panasonic introduced a new 3D camera AG-3DP1 and also the AG-HPX250 which shoots AVC-Intra 100 to P2 Cards. Read more http://www.panasonic.com/promos/nab/2011/
Sony FS100 and F3
These two cameras seemed to be everywhere on the show floor. That’s the great thing about NAB, being able to get your hands on very pricey equipment that your local reseller may not carry. Especially these two cameras which have the ability to interchange lenses. These two cameras are going to be popular with filmmakers, most all the cameras we saw had the Zeiss Compact Primes on, ready to roll. Some incredible footage was shot in Vegas by Next Level Pictures showing off the shear latitude that the F3 is capable of. It’s a pricey combo, sure, great to know that we’re getting closer and closer to film every year and the price just keep coming down.
Que Audio was on the show floor with their new mini shotgun. Looks like a field friendly design with the small form factor.
One cool NAB tip I learned this year: Wear different shoes each day! If you’re on your feet all day walking for miles, the worn part of the shoe is usually deteriorated because of the constant pressure you’re putting on the sole. Mix ‘em up!
Once again, another great show is down in history. Looking forward to NAB 2012!
At this point, there are several choices for HDSLRs, but my philosophy is this:
If your budget is limited at all, spend the minimum on the camera and spend the money where it will really count– on the other goodies that really make an impact, like lenses, (especially lenses!), a decent tripod, mics, lights, stabilizers, dollies or jibs, and other valuable and essential tools of the trade.
If you are an expert cinematographer, the viewers of your final video project won’t have any idea whether you shot on a T3i, 60D, 5D or RED. But they will definitely notice the beautiful wide angle shot from the 14mm 2.8 lens, that sparking eye light, the crisp clear sound from that Rode NTG-3 or that sweeping jib move.
But the 60D and T3i are so close in price. Is the 60D worth $170 more than the T3i?
The two cameras are almost identical, both with the same sensor, processing, articulated LCD and most other features.
The T3i and 60D bodies are both made of polycarbonate, but the 60D has an aluminum frame compared to the stainless steel frame of the T3i, making it a bit sturdier. The 60D seems to be sealed a bit better, making it perhaps less susceptible to dust or sand getting inside the body.
The manual controls of the 60D are slightly more more accessible, some having buttons on the body for functions that must be accessed via menus on the T3i. Easy access to controls is a definite plus.
The 60D also has more menu features, allowing greater customization of controls, as well as allowing you to tweak some settings more, but nothing too important.
But the big thing is, the 60D uses the LP-E6 battery (same as the 7D and 5D) which stores more power than the smaller LP-E8 battery the T3i and T2i use.
Swapping batteries less often, along with the accessibility to controls, in my opinion, is worth the extra $170 (at the time of this writing). So I recommend the 60D for the best value in an HDSLR.
If you click on the links below, and purchase anything, you get great prices, plus, help support DVcreators.network!
Filmmakers have long been using Google SketchUp Pro to map out complicated scenes, camera moves, and set designs — according to Google, the $495 program has been used for planning shots for projects including Inception, 300, The Social Network, and Tron: Legacy. Offering robust 3D visualization without the complexity of real 3D toolsets, SketchUp has proved itself so useful as a previs tool that it’s hard to believe that the core functionality for filmmakers, a “Film & Stage” plug-in that dates to 2004, hasn’t been updated to keep pace with the ongoing revolution in digital filmmaking. That’s finally changed with the announcement that those ragged-trousered tools have just been given a kick in the pants.
The new Advanced Camera Tools plugin is free to paid users of SketchUp Pro 8 on both Windows and Mac. It lets you drop any one of dozens of new, pre-configured camera types into your scene, or build your own virtual camera if the one you need isn’t included. (Lots of cameras are included, from 35mm and 65mm film cameras to Reds and Phantoms and more.) Once your camera is in the scene, you can select the right focal length and aspect ratio and then move the camera using the computer keyboard. Frustrum lines (for overhead views) and volumes (for views from within the scene) help you visualize exactly which parts of a given scene multiple cameras will have in their field of view.
Do you own a great piece of video that you thought to yourself, “man, what if I could sell this as stock video?” Well, you might be able to. Opportunities are available to sell your videos to stock video companies and make royalties off of licensing fees when someone downloads your clip.
So how do you do this?
When interviewed about how to make money selling stock video content, Jim Goertz, Director of Content Development for video at istockphoto.com said,
“I’m not going to say you should go out and find a popular file and copy it, but you can definitely see on our Website where the trends are, and what kind of content people are looking for.” If you see that a (video) file is selling an awful lot, well, it must mean that there are a lot of people in our world who need that kind of, or who are conducting a search that brings up that kind of file.
Here are some additional tips for selling your video content to iStockPhoto and other licensing agencies with their own public digital library websites:
- Search and buy video content yourself. “It’s funny because some of our most astute contributors are people who buy content themselves; and that also opens their own minds up to stuff that they need, others likely will, too. Footage with people outsells footage without people in them. I think that’s because people want to see the human contact.” He says.
- Check out the download numbers. iStockphoto shows the range of downloads that a video file has, so you can sort of see if a file is popular or not. “That’s something a lot of other (stock media) sites don’t share.” Jim says.
- Check out the contributor guidelines. Here you should find information about the application process for submitting video content, more on the type of video content they’re looking for, and their royalty payment system(s). I also recommend checking out the FAQs for contributors, and submitting any questions in advance.
For more tips on making money selling stock video, check out this clip:
We couldn’t be more impressed with the way the Gizmodo community has pushed their photography skills with Shooting Challenges. So today, we’re expanding the idea with a once-a-month expansion called the Video Challenge. Our first topic: time lapse.
So How Will This Work?
With the existing Shooting Challenge, you get a little under a week to email us your photos that we feature and judge. With Video Challenges, we’re giving you a lot more time, but we simply cannot handle the HD videos internally. So we’re using Vimeo. And to keep the projects reasonable, all clips must be 45 seconds or less and begin with content, not slates, credits, colorbars or countdowns. They”ll be due February 9th by 8am Eastern. Results will be posted on the 11th.
Become a member of our Vimeo group and add your video by the deadline. We’ll then go through the submissions and highlight our favorites on Gizmodo.
The Rules – READ THESE
1. Submissions need to be your own, and you must have rights to use all content within them.
2. Videos must be produced (shot and edited) since this contest was announced.
3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind the clip.
4. Tag all vimeo clips “video challenge” and “time lapse”
5. All clips must be 45 seconds or less…
6. …and begin with content, not slates, credits, colorbars or countdowns.
7. Entries should be uploaded to our vimeo group by Feb 9th and 8am Eastern.
The JustFilms initiative will invest $10 million a year in film, video and digital works “that show courageous people confronting difficult issues and actively pursuing a more just, secure and sustainable world.”
You know what that means don’t you? Get out your gear. Swipe through your contact list, and collaborate with your creative friends and associates… Because there’s money to be made creating digital video. Most of us know somebody who does something extraordinary, courageous or socially conscious. Now you can help them with their cause, and get your film funded too!
Acclaimed South Korean film director Park Chan-wook is wielding a new cinematic tool: the iPhone.
Park, director of the internationally known “Old Boy,”"Lady Vengeance” and “Thirst,” said Monday that his new fantasy-horror film “Paranmanjang” was shot entirely on Apple Inc.’s iconic smartphone.
“The new technology creates strange effects because it is new and because it is a medium the audience is used to,” Park told reporters Monday.
(Heath McKnight is Senior Writer at TopTenREVIEWS.com and a filmmaker. He co-wrote VASST’s two best-selling books on HD production.)
With the rise of 3D films, television programming and video games, many hope to get in the stereoscopic game. The technology is new, but good techniques aren’t.
No matter the movie at the multiplex, chances are you’ll be offered the chance to see it while wearing big funky glasses that would have looked really hip back when bellbottoms were in style. With that much exposure, it’s only a matter of time before a client will ask the question, “Can this be delivered in 3D?” Not so surprisingly, the answer to that question is, “Yes.” Just like any other new technology, though, there are some new terms and rules that have to be learned to deliver the best video possible.
Simple to Pick Up, Difficult to Master
One of the most dangerous things about shooting in 3D is that it’s deceptively easy. After all, anybody can strap two video cameras side-by-side and shoot some test footage. Then load the output into a non-linear editor, slap a red filter over the left camera’s output, and a cyan filter over the right camera’s output, render and voilá! A cheap pair of paper 3D glasses and a computer monitor is all that’s needed to enjoy the newly-minted 3D video. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look that good. The world looks like it’s a tiny model, or worse, gigantic? Meanwhile everything in the foreground seems to float in space, while the background elements rest on the screen. What went wrong?
Back to School
Answering these questions involves learning a bit of new vocabulary and a couple of new techniques. Oh, and not a little bit of patience. There are two terms that any 3D videographer needs to know: Interocular Distance and Convergence.
Try this experiment. Grab a ruler and measure the distance from the center of your left eye to the center of your right eye. The number will probably be pretty close to 2.5″. This separation between eyes is known as the Interocular Distance, and it is, in part, why we see the world in three dimensions.
In order for your footage to best simulate what viewers would see with their own eyes, it’s important to match the human interocular distance as closely as possible. This means that the distance between the centers of your camera lenses should be approximately 2.5″.
Ignoring the interocular distance can result in some surprising and even unpleasant effects. Move the cameras too far apart, and the world will look like it’s been miniaturized. Move them too close together, and suddenly the smallest object appears gigantic. 2.5″. Learn it. Live it. Love it.
Now that you’ve got this interocular distance thing down, you decide to shoot some piece of test footage. You take your son and daughter out to a scenic overlook and frame a nice 3D shot. You place your son close to the lenses, your daughter further back, while in the distance you have a mountain range to complete the shot.
After your post-production and rendering work, you pop on your glasses to check out your handiwork. Unfortunately, things are still not right. The depth in the shot is all wrong. Your son and your daughter both appear to float off the screen, while the mountains in the distance appear to be on the screen itself. What gives?
The reason is that both of your lenses are aimed straight forward. This parallel focus plane results in objects of infinite distance (the mountain range) appearing to be on the screen, while all other closer objects (your son and daughter) seem to pop off the screen into space. In order to get more depth to the shot, both cameras have to be rotated slightly inward. This converges the main image plane, and provides more 3D data to the camera.
To get the best effect, the image planes for both cameras need to be centered on the subject that is intended to appear to be on the screen during 3D playback. Objects closer to the lenses than the image plane will appear to come off the screen, while objects in the distance will appear to be behind the screen. With this new knowledge, you take your kids back to the same spot, and frame it as before, but with the cameras converged on your daughter. Result? Your son, being close to the lens, pops off the screen, while your daughter appears to rest on the surface of your display. Finally, the mountains rest comfortably behind the surface of the screen.
The Devil is in the Details
Given the added complexity of any 3D shoot, planning becomes even more critical than normal. There are, however, some pre-production steps you can take to ease the whole process:
- 3D Location Scouting – Shoot 3D stills of the locations in your film using a pair of digital still cameras. What better time to work out the best convergence angles for your shots than in pre-production?
- 3D Storyboards – As helpful as 3D location images are, a 3D storyboard – created in part from the 3D location images – will be an enormous boon for the entire project. Getting the most impact from your 3D landscape can be planned in this way far before the first shot is lit.
- 3D Pre-Visualization – Once the 3D storyboards are locked, bring them into your non-linear editor and produce a timed, 3D pre-viz cut of your project. Once rendered, you can not only judge the flow of the project better, you can show it to your clients, ensuring that they are happy with the intended use of 3D.
Unlearn what You have Learned
So you’ve got your cameras set, you’ve got your 3D storyboards put together, and you’ve even cut a 3D pre-viz video. Why, then, does the whole thing still seem off? The 3D is disorienting, the images still seem somewhat flat, and for some reason the project is harder to follow than a normal 2D video. What’s wrong? The problem is that, no matter how many years you’ve spent behind the camera, shooting in 3D is a new experience. Rules that work well in 2D actually hurt 3D projects.
To better get acclimated to the process, here are some simple rules to help you get started:
1. Put Some “D” Into Your 3D Shots: Make sure that all of your shots have real depth. Good foreground, midground and background information, while important in normal cinematography, is critical in 3D shots. Oh, and if you get the urge to have a sharp pokey thing fly straight at the camera to scare the audience, do yourself a favor: Don’t. It didn’t work in 1955, and it doesn’t work now.
2. Cut Back: 3D information takes longer to process in the human brain than 2D images. To allow for that, consider the following for your shots and edits:
- No fast camera moves
- Avoid jump cuts
- Don’t hit audiences with any sudden changes in the depth-of-field from shot-to-shot
- Slow down the pace of editing
3. No Zoom-Zoom: Nothing is worse than 3D elements that look like they are cardboard cutouts pasted at different distances away from the camera. Using zoom lenses during 3D shoots can cause this effect. Save yourself the headache. Don’t use zoom lenses on 3D projects.
4. Wide Open: With the added complexity of the interocular distance and convergence, focus becomes not merely another checklist item, but a genuine nuisance. Simplify your project by using wide-angle lenses and focusing to infinity. It might not be as artsy as a shot with lovely depth of field, but you’ll avoid a few more gray hairs in the process.
World of Tomorrow
With 3D entering the home market, the argument about whether it is just a passing fad or not is rapidly becoming moot. Though it’s a difficult to master medium, it’s better to learn its strengths and foibles now, when time is still a luxury, rather than later, when it’s a short-deadlined necessity.
Heath McKnight is Senior Writer at TopTenREVIEWS.com and a filmmaker. He co-wrote VASST’s two best-selling books on HD production.
(originally written and published by Kevin Rockwell)
Getting the most out of your digital video camera can mean being able to create some really cool stuff. You just have to step outside the manual a bit and find the cool things you can do with your digital video camera and your editing software.
We have all seen them in a movie or a TV show, those very cool shots where they speed up time and capture a long segment of time and condense it into a very short amount of video. My very favorite example of this technique was an arty movie of many years ago that was called Koyaanisqatsi. In that movie they had some very interesting segments where they did time lapse effects to show driving on a bridge, flowers growing, clouds flying by and so on. Another example is many of the TV news stations nowadays have a camera that captures the day’s weather and then they process it down to a 20 second clip to show the clouds and weather racing by on screen.
Well this technique is not just a tool in the hands of the movie makers or the big TV stations. You can do this with your digital video camera gear too. I will go into two ways that you can accomplish this effect and get some cool results for your next video project. This one is worth playing around with in order to find the right settings to get the most dramatic effect.
Technique number one is to use the camera itself to do the time lapse recording for you. Almost all digital video cameras have the ability to do an interval recording. What this means in a nutshell is that you tell the camera how long you want to record for and how long in between recordings and it will go on autopilot for you for as long as the battery lasts or the tape runs out. This is what those cameras at the convenience store do, they record a few seconds of motion every 30-60 seconds giving the overall view of the traffic in the store over time.
Now if you want to capture some time lapse in your digital video camera you will need to get into your cameras menu and find Interval Recording (or in my case Int Rec, as I use a Sony PD 150 for my camera) When you select this option you will decide how long of an interval between shots you want and how long to record each time. If you are trying to capture something that takes a long time to occur and in which not much happens quickly you will want to set the interval at around a minute and the record time as short as possible on your camera. An example would be if you wanted to record a day in the life of a flower or the clouds rolling by in the sky. Suppose however that you want to capture an event that has lots of action and occurs over a much shorter time frame. Then you would want to shorten the interval between recordings and increase the time of each recording. So in this case you might record every 15-30 seconds and record up to 2-3 seconds of video each time.
I used this technique to capture an afternoon of work being done by a team of carpenters on my house remodeling project. The result was a flurry of activity as workers raced hither and yon nailing boards, carrying equipment and building walls. I have added it to my photo collection of the project. (Hey I had to live through the project so I might as well have a great record of it for posterity!)
Now suppose you have one of the great software video editing packages on your computer to work with your digital video camera. Now you can do it in post as they say in the business. You can record any length of video you want (subject to the limitations of your tape length) and then import it into your editing program.
There are many ways to manipulate DSLR cameras for video work. Here are a few tips I have picked up along the way that I would recommend to anyone shooting video with a HDSLR.
1. For all Professional Canon HDSLR’s, we have discovered what we call “Native” ISO’s. They are 160, 320, 640, 1250 and 2500. We have found that the other ISO’s are either a pull down or push up from the native ISO’s. This will improve the quality of the video dramatically.
2. Decrease your depth of field and use it to isolate the subject. DOF is a very powerful tool in cinema. It is much more aesthetically pleasing to the audience. ND filters will help you get into the f2.8-f4 zone that works well for cinema.
3. Take advantage of Neutral Picture style. The H.264 Codec is always trying to loose information before its compresses it onto the CF card. A Neutral or Flat picture style will give you more latitude in post for corrections.
Browsing the web reading various reports and reviews about Premiere Pro I keep coming across the statement that because Premiere Pro works without the need to transcode H.264 DSLR files the footage inherently retains more quality.
After using Premiere Pro for a week or so I decided to spend some time investigating this theory and came up with some interesting results that I thought I’d share with you. Firstly let me describe the workflow involved in each process.
For both workflows I used the same H.264 mov file from an interview I shot recently on the Canon 5D mark II. The file has a runtime of 4:41 and in it’s original state is 1.5GB. This was a particularly tricky shot for the codec as the background contains shaded solids caused by a natural vignette from my 70-200 lens. The H.264 codec in the 5D struggled with this and the source footage contains some macro blocking, but nothing too terrible. Lets see how the two workflows deal with it…
The 60D, Canon’s new midrange DSLR, is a whole lot like the Rebel T2i inside—still fantastic. It’s what’s outside that’s better, a flip-out swivel screen and more rugged body that tug the camera closer toward video DSLR nirvana.
The 60D replaces the horribly aged 50D, sitting between the pricier 7D ($1900) and T2i ($900) in terms of features and specs, but for $1100 (body only, or $1400 with an 18-135mm kit lens). It’s using an 18-megapixel image sensor with a 4-channel readout that’s closer to the T2i (vs. the 8-channel readout on the 7D) along with the T2i’s metering system, but the auto-focusing system uses nine cross-type points, so it’s more pro than T2i in that regard. ISO goes up to 6400 normally, and 12,800 on expanded range. It shooters faster than the T2i, too, at 5.3fps. But like an entry-level camera, it’s moved to SDXC cards instead of glorious old CF.
Video is the now-standard Canon package: 1080p at 24 and 30fps, 720p at 60fps, in H.264.
Firmware update Version 1.2.2 incorporates the following improvements and fixes: 1. Fixes a phenomenon in which the set aperture moves when shooting movies in manual exposure mode using some lenses (such as macro lenses). 2. Fixes the AF point-selection behavior of the C.Fn III-7 (Manual AF pt. selec. pattern) custom function when set to . 3. Fixes the AF point display for the viewfinder electronic level when shooting in the vertical position. 4. Corrects misspellings in the Spanish and Thai menus for applicable products.
We highly recommend keeping up to date on these software patches. Link is below.
Ok, so digital isn’t quite at the level of real film just yet. But, it’s getting pretty darned close. Zacuto has put together a series to demonstrate some of the new HD-DSLRs and how they stack up against some beloved 35mm film. Their line up includes the 5D MKII, 7D, 1D, T2i, Nikon D3s, and Panasonic GH1 vs. Kodak and Fuji film scanned at both 2k and 4k. It’s easy to see the HD-DSLRs can’t compete in terms of resolution, and they won’t compete on this front until their sensors can capture at 2k and 4k. But in terms of straight color reproduction, wow.
Check out their whole series and see their full battery of tests:
Essential kit for your Canon T2i/550D if you’re on a budget:
Part 2: Batteries, Memory Cards & Bags
Part 3: Depth of Field, Aperture & ND filters
After posting my early review of the new Canon EOS T2i / 550D and the test short “FEBRUARY“ and the overwhelming response (50.000 views of the clip so far on Vimeo and YouTube combined!) I keep getting asked for tips on all sorts of accessories for the camera: which lenses to use, which memory cards, which tripod …
To give all of you a central starting point on your quest to make your brand-new T2i / 550D a very usable movie machine, I put together this list of accessories aimed at an audience that is very price-conscious – that’s why you ordered that T2i / 550D after all, isn’t it!
Canon EOS 550D as it’s called in Europe and Asia …
As I said before, I’m relatively new to DSLR filming myself, but I have been a full-time cameraman and part-time photographer for years now, and I know what is needed for one and the other.
And that’s the problem with these new crop of “HDSLRs”: They are essentially still photo cameras which “happen to have” a gorgeously-looking video image if used right. But the problem is that everything else about these cameras is totally different from what a professional is used to on a proper camcorder like e.g. the EX3. So you have to “pimp it up” with quite a bit of gear in order to transform it into a really usable video workhorse.
If you’re completely new to DSLRs or filming in general, you should definitely invest in:
- memory cards,
- sound recording gear,
- a tripod / monopod,
- a magnification tool to enable you to really judge the focus on the screen,
- a variable ND filter and
- a handheld shoulder rig.
Considering the TV series House centers around an unorthodox doctor, it isn’t too surprising that the production crew took an unorthodox approach to filming the Season Six finale.
According to a tweet by director Greg Yaitanes, the production crew shot this year’s season finale using the HD video recording feature of a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR still camera.
In replies to fans’ questions on Twitter (via PetaPixel), Yaitanes says that the $2500 Cannon camera was perfect for the finale’s many “tight” scenes. During filming, the production crew didn’t use any stabilization features or tools beyond a small tripod, and used only a couple lenses aside from the standard Canon lenses.
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Shooting Awesome Video is not meant for professionals. It was created for novices who wish to learn Hollywood secrets of camera operation, composition, lighting and location sound in a fun, family-friendly, fast-paced course. However, Shooting Awesome Video is such an excellent complete introduction to production it is the perfect prerequisite to more professional-level courses such as our DV Enlightenment lighting course.
Shooting Awesome Video was originally released on CD-ROM, and has already helped thousands of hobbyists, teachers, students, and budding filmmakers learn the essentials of shooting great-looking and great-sounding footage. The American Film Institute chose Shooting Awesome Video as the world’s best beginning production course for a program to teach Los Angeles District high school teachers about shooting digital video.
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We managed to get our hands on the hot new Canon 5D Mark II camera and put it through the paces. This is an extraordinary hybrid DSLR. The 1920×1080 HD movies produced by this camera are jaw dropping. While the lack of manual controls in movie mode and the poor audio quality leave a lot to be desired, the visual clarity and film-like depth of field are sheer awe inspiring. I haven’t been this excited about a still camera since the early 90′s when I got my plastic Holga medium format camera.
Being a video professional, I have a few complaints about the features of the camera, yet I can understand that it is first generation and a still camera aimed at a traditional photographer. So far, the lack of movie mode’s total manual exposure is a big drawback (UPDATE 5/26 Canon announces firmware update for full manual control) along with lack of SMPTE timecode for a professional multicam shoot and ability to sync with an external audio recorder. These are features which remain high on my list, although I have found a super secret workflow solution. Yes, I have tested two Canon 5D’s wirelessly recording timecode to an audio track and pulling the tracks into Final Cut Pro for perfect sync. Hint: <removed – to be revealed at a later date>
The next cool thing I’ve found about the camera is that you can use older lenses with the Canon EOS 5D camera via lens adapters. For less than $150, I was able to purchase a Canon EOS to FD lens adapter while at our local camera shop Kenmore camera in Seattle. Very cool! On the spot I was able to look through their glass cases full of used equipment where I quickly singled out a beautiful 70-210mm lens for a whopping $89! I giggled with glee in the store as I practiced rack focusing on a few fellow customers. My, my, this camera is a game changer folks.
I have shot with $20k+ cameras, and the video footage from the Canon EOS 5D Mark II is as good or better! No, you do not have the smooth zooms of your video camera nor smooth autofocus or the nice physical balance, but is the camera worth owning?
If you don’t have to shoot live events or need continuous takes longer than 12 minutes, then I would call Obama and tell him you need $2,699 to help do your part in stimulating the US economy. Yes, that is the price of the body only. The kit with 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens is fetching $3,499. I’m using the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 USM AF lens most of the time. The newer professional lenses from Canon are tack sharp and offer advanced features such as image stabilization and ultra fast auto focusing. The bummer about the “old skool” lenses is the lack of auto focusing, and my HAMA lens adapter has the aperture stuck wide open. The Fotodiox EOS to Nikon lens adapter looks like the way to go if you want some inexpensive lenses.
Of the many photographers switching over to video, I foresee three prominent points of potential failure unless they are addressed.
2) Moving camera
Quick tips for avoiding potential pitfalls:
Audio- use a separate recorder for the best results. A small device such as the Edirol R-09 portable recorder will provide a clean track and allow headphone monitoring. A quick clap of the hands at the beginning of each take will give you a spike in the waveform to visually sync to in post. If you want to use XLR based mics and can handle the AGC (Automatic Gain Control) pumping, consider the new BeachTek XLR adapter which is specially made to match the 5D – complete with phantom power and headphone jack!
So far, the cleanest out of the box semi-pro audio solution I could recommend is the Sony UWP wireless system. It comes with a lavalier, and you can also add the RODE NTG-2 shotgun mic. You would make the shotgun mic wireless via the Sony plug on transmitter. The cool thing about this system is two fold – you get headphone monitoring via the Sony receiver – and you get a clean amplification of the signal via the transmitter and the receiver. If you just hook the shotgun mic directly into the camera – the 5D’s “subpar” preamp will give you hissy audio. The other cool thing is that knowing the key to great audio is getting the mic closer to the subject, therefore you’ll want to use a little mic stand or tripod you can the mic right next to your subject. If you a dedicated sound person, then a boom pole would be best.
Here is a great example of a wireless mic in use with the 5D for a short project. Note that the system used is the Sennheiser wireless, which normally would be the model we would recommend for a traditional video camera with built-in headphone output. Since the 5D does not have the heaphone output, the Sony solution is less expensive while also allowing you that ability to monitor your audio with headphones. You do not want to be “flying blind” hoping that you’re getting great audio in a critical project.
Moving camera- one of the coolest and least expensive set-ups is the 15′ of dolly track. I’m amazed at the quality that one can deliver with simple dolly moves. Very simple to push a dolly and achieve Hollywood caliber moves that rival the best fluid head moves. For handheld, a Steady Stick or a new mount from Bruce Dorn called the U-Boat commander looks interesting. Most photographers are going to scoff at the price and learning curve of a Steadicam stabilizer with full vest and arm, although that is the best option on the planet. Take a look at some of the Steadicam work by wedding photographers Still Motion. For an affordable solution, I like the panning ability of the Manfrotto monopod. With the monopod, you now have a steady shot and can still quickly move from position to position.
Focus- along with the shallow depth of field look comes the need to address sharp focus. Before pressing record, you have a great 5x and 10x zooming ability with the camera – access is nice with the button being easy to press with your thumb (it’s right next to exposure lock). The expanded view allows for checking critical focus before pressing record, however it is disabled while recording. We’ve been using the HDMI connected IKAN 8″ HD monitor mounted on the camera’s accessory shoe. However, a more exciting model has been released from Marshall electronics in March ’09. The Marshall model offers something called “peaking.” Video professionals that are accustomed to using full-sized broadcast cameras are familiar with this feature which turns the screen black and white and shows a red outline around items that are in focus – racking focus back and forth shows more or less red. You can also hit the pixel to pixel mode which will zoom the image in 1:1. I’ve tested the monitor and love it. You can use pixel to pixel and peaking at the same time! For follow focus – take a look at some of the options from Redrock Micro and Zacuto.
H.264 compressed clips are not easy to work with in an NLE so you’ll want to transcode to a less compressed, less processor intensive codec. In post, we’re taking the H.264 clips generated from the 5D onto a compact flash card through Apple’s Compressor and transcoding to ProRes 422HQ. The file size jump using ProRes goes from 5MB/sec compressed to 22MB/sec. Holy drive space batman. That’s about 80GB/hr. Update 1/22/09 : Please note that if you are using Apple’s QuickTime, upgrade to version 7.6 for a wider color gamut.
The coolest aspect of shooting with the Canon 5D for me has been this new found notion that I can look at everyday life a little differently. I look at the world around me and think, “Would that make a cool virtual set?” With chroma key technology, you can take a still image or a movie and walk back into that environment whenever you please. This opens up a whole new world. Take a look what you can do by watching the sample below.
Chroma key with the Canon 5D and Reflecmedia.
Oh yeah, and it’s a great still camera too! Here is a shot of my beautiful 5-year-old daughter – taken handheld in “Full Auto” mode with available light. The clean, low light capability at ISO 3200 is something that still photographers have been dreaming of. Most of the shots of the hotel in the video above were taken handheld at ISO 1600 or ISO 3200. This shot above was taken at ISO 800 1/25 F2.8 – with a non image stabilized lens.
Live view is accessable for taking stills so you can frame up your shot on the gorgious 3.0″ LCD screen. In exposure simulation mode, you get a great idea of what the shot is going to look like before you squeeze the shutter.
This case is good up to an amazing 130 feet! You can shoot video, or stills with the camcorder flash. This compact and light-weight housing hugs the camcorder like a wet suit, enabling easy on-camera operation and control.
LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., February 18, 2009 – Canon announces an exciting first with its new WP-V1 Waterproof Case for the VIXIA HF20 and VIXIA HF200 Flash Memory Camcorders. Consumers can now dive up to depths of 130 feet and still be able to capture exciting underwater adventures. The ultimate accessory for divers who want to shoot video and photos while underwater, this compact and light-weight housing hugs the camcorder like a wet suit, enabling easy on-camera operation and control.
This is one thing I never liked about my huge underwater housing- it was way to big and unwieldy, and too hard to operate the camcorder controls.
I predict the HF20 will become the new standard for inexpensive underwater HD video.
About the Canon VIXIA HF20 and VIXIA HF200 Flash Memory Camcorders
The VIXIA HF20 and VIXIA HF200 are Canon’s most compact high-definition Flash Memory camcorders. The VIXIA HF20 offers the option of recording to a 32GB internal Flash drive or SDHC card slot and the VIXIA HF200 records to a SDHC memory card only. Additional features include a 3.89 Megapixel Full HD CMOS Image Sensor, newly designed Genuine Canon 15x HD Video Lens, Genuine Canon Face Detection, Video Snapshot and Dual Shot Modes, and an Advanced Auto Exposure system.
The WP-V1 Waterproof Case for the VIXIA HF20 and VIXIA HF200 Flash Memory Camcorders is scheduled to be available in May for an estimated retail price of $599.
I bought this combo (HF20+WP-V1) and took it to Bali last November, and shot these: