In the video production world, gear is important. New pieces of equipment are vital in order to upgrade, or resupply failing or aging gear. Having every piece of gear is nearly impossible for most film producers, so hard choices have to be made when deciding what gear to buy. Budgets are real things and with constraints, so come the tough choices. A piece of gear that, to be perfectly honest, is more of a luxury, than a necessity is the Color Checker Passport.

While true colorist will quickly argue it’s the best way to get true colors and skin tones, it is possible to get very close without it. So what exactly is a Color Checker Passport and how does it help when color grading in post? First off, it’s the size of a passport, making it portable and easy to bring in a bag. When opened, it has 4 charts: white balance card, focus checker, color pallet, and a set of grade levels for setting exposure.

For now, I mainly want to focus on the usefulness of the color pallet. While I am not going to go into detail on how to use it exactly, the main idea is that when filming, capture a frame of video that has the color checker in the shot. Once you have downloaded your footage, when color grading, you can check the brand name of the color checker passport and then look up the grade table in a video editing software program such as Divinci Resolve. After selecting your passport checker in the drop down menu, when you sample a color in the footage, the program knows what the color is supposed to look like and will apply the necessary changes to the footage to achieve the most natural look. It takes the guess work out of color grading/adjusting the white balance.

Once again, I see this piece of gear as a luxury as it does come in at a cost of nearly $100 and it is an extra step to take when starting to work on the final look of your project. However, if you are a die-hard fan of the truest skin tones, it might be exactly what is needed to achieve better looking footage. I own one, and hardly use it. I have never had a client complain. But, there is a small part of me that wonders how much better the colors might be if I did use it.

DJI has been leading the aerial drone industry for several years already, and now they have really set themselves apart from the competition. Featuring one of their newest products, the DJI Mavic Air is one the most portable, ergonomic, and strategically built aircraft to take to the skies.

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Harness the power of Canon’s powerhouse flagship cinema camera, the Canon C200. The Canon C200 comes fully loaded with a super 35mm CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, and Dual DIGIC DV 6 Processors.  In addition, it shoots in 4K and in UHD 1920 resolutions at 59.94/50/29.97/25/24/23.98p & 120p in HD frame rates.

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Though it’s not the newest piece of gear on the market, it’s solid, and it is reliable. The Odyssey 7Q+ is an industry standard 4K video recorder and monitor that has been used by professional film makers for several years. Toted as the best ProRes and Raw video recorder on the market, the Odyssey 7Q+ is a feature rich professional recording monitor. Some of the most notable features are the multiple SDI inputs, HDMI inputs, and the HDMI and SDI outputs, allowing it to connect quickly to different cameras and devices.

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We all know the importance of using a good camera. When the right moment comes, you need a camera that is reliable, high quality, and going to be something that you are proud of. The Sony A7s II fits this bill. If you can afford this camera, coming in at just under $3000, this full frame camera is going to deliver a powerful image. With 12.2 megapixel images, and BIONZ X Image Processor, the images this camera produces are maintain crispness, as well as detail.

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Power is an important aspect when shooting a scene away from standard outlets or civilization. What is important to realize is that while batteries the best source for being able to power equipment in remote places, batteries do have their own limitations. For one, they eventually wear down and need to be recharged. So, what do you do when your batteries are nearly spent and your hours away from a place where you can recharge?

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The Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration announced major changes to drone regulation, including commercial use of aerial footage. This is been long forth coming as we have been waiting for permission to use this new technology for business purposes. The FAA originally required all drone operators to obtain a pilot’s license at it’s lowest, legal level. The new rules take effect in August following a lengthy battle between UAS operators and regulators.

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free stock footage, free nature footage

My friend and I recently got some new toys. I bought the GoPro Hero 4 Black edition, and my friend got the DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter. We decided to put these new cameras to work and the outcome was absolutely incredible. I will do another post later on about the footage from the GoPro Hero 4. The quadcopter had excellent stability running multiple satellites using GPS coordinate for precision navigation.

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