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by Adam Wilt

Adam Wilt has been working off and on in film and video for the past thirty years, while paying the bills writing software for animation, automation, broadcast graphics, and real-time control for companies including Abekas, Pinnacle, Omneon, CBS, and ABC. Since 1997 his website, adamwilt.com, has been a popular reference for information on the DV formats. He has reviewed cameras for DV Magazine and written its "Technical Difficulties" column, and taught classes and led panels at NAB, IBC, and DV Expo. He co-authored the book,"Optimizing Your Fi...

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Review: Blue Mikey Digital

Review: Blue Mikey Digital

A $99 digital stereo microphone and line-in adapter for recent-model Apple iDevices.

By Adam Wilt | November 01, 2012

Mikey Digital on an iPhone 4S running Voice Memo.

Blue Microphones recently started shipping the Mikey Digital, an add-on stereo mike for iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, and iPod touch 4G (iOS 6 only), and Blue offered to lend me one for review. I'd been intrigued by earlier, analog Blue Mikeys at trade shows, so I jumped at the chance to look at—and listen to—this digital descendant. Read More

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Breaking news: Sony PMW-F5 & PMW-F55 4K Cine Cameras

Sony announces new 4K Cine cameras, and shows it's getting a clue about cine cam ergonomics.

By Adam Wilt | October 30, 2012

Sony has announced its next generation of affordable (?) (relatively speaking?) S35mm cine cameras, the PMW-F5 and PMW-F55. They use the same FZ lens mount as the PMW-F3, but sport 4K-capable sensors. Even more importantly, these cameras have a compact, modular layout eminently suitable for shoulder mounting and building into usable rigs, and a side-mounted, hotkey-driven, operator-oriented menu system that looks more like the UI on an Alexa or an F65 than those on an F3 or other cameras with their roots in ENG. Read More

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Quick Test: FCPX 10.0.6

Solid gains in the new FCPX release, with no obvious drawbacks.

By Adam Wilt | October 24, 2012

Someone has to be the first to stick a toe in the water when a new update comes out, so I jumped in with both feet. I'm running FCPX 10.0.6 on two different Macs, and so far, everything is OK. I plan to upgrade Mac #3 later today. Read More

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Video: With Art Adams on “The Canyon”

See the Bell & Howell 2709 hand-cranked 35mm rackover camera in action

By Adam Wilt | October 21, 2012

I shot motion as well as stills on the production of "The Canyon" last weekend, and I've assembled a short doc showing what it's like to work with the Bell & Howell 2709 camera. Read More

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Photos: the Bell & Howell 2709 and “The Canyon”

Shooting a silent film with a hand-cranked camera.

By Adam Wilt | October 18, 2012

The Bell & Howell 2709 and 1st AC Art Adams.

This past weekend I had the privilege of observing a crew from the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum as they filmed (yes, filmed) scenes for a silent movie, "The Canyon", using a 1922 Bell & Howell 2709 hand-cranked 35mm camera—the first film camera not made of wood. Our own Art Adams is the 1st AC on this show, and these pictures complement his articles about it. I've got a quick overview of the camera, I'll show what's involved with loading the film, and close with a few snapshots of operating the 2709 and filming "The Canyon". Read More

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An[other] OS X 10.6 to 10.8 Survival Guide for Editors

"It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine." Well, mostly.

By Adam Wilt | August 14, 2012

Test rig: 10.7.4 MacBook Air, 10.6.8 MacBook Air, three different kinds of antacids, dual-boot 10.6.8/10.8 Mac mini (display; mini itself hidden behind MacBook Pro), 10.8 MacBook Pro.

With the release of Mac OS X 10.8 (the word "Mac" has been struck from the name of the OS), an increasing number of apps requiring 10.7 or later, and the presumed end of Apple's support for 10.6, it's getting to the point where Mac users have to decide to make the jump, or remain forever on 10.6. I've spent the last two weeks systematically testing 10.8 in real-world scenarios, and I've got both good news and bad news, or, more precisely: the good, the bad, and the ugly... and the just plain "think different" stuff... and how to fix [most of] what's broken.[Updates: 2012-17: contact info added; 2012-8-15: MPEG Streamclip works; Canon XF importers won't install, but there's a workaround.] Read More

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Quick Review: Canon C300 Super35mm LSS Cine Camera

The C300 is a shooter's camera: a large sensor recording pretty pix with a broadcast-ready codec in a thoughtfully designed, highly flexible package.

By Adam Wilt | July 24, 2012

Canon C300 EF with Canon 24-105mm f/4 EF-L IS zoom.

The US$16,000 Canon EOS C300 looks like nothing else, and works like it, too: its ergonomics, controls, and menus are rules unto themselves. It's a fearless re-imagining of how a large-single-sensor camera should be designed, held, and operated, but it doesn't hurt that the C300 inherits the broadcaster-approved, edit-ready XF codec from Canon's 1/3" camcorders along with Canon's usual looks-good-right-out-of-the-box image rendering. The camera renders crisp, clean images with 12+ stops of dynamic range, and the package handholds very well; overall, I'd rate this experiment as a success. Read More

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Review: Sony NEX-FS700 “Super35” LSS AVCHD Camcorder

The FS100's new sibling adds Super Slo-Mo, Cine Gammas, NDs, and a new sensor.

By Adam Wilt | June 30, 2012

The NEX-FS700 (US$8000; $8600 with 18-200mm zoom lens) is an E-mount Large-Single-Sensor camcorder with the back end, user interface, and lens mount of the NEX-FS100, but with an entirely new camera section sandwiched between 'em. The FS700 still takes E-Mount lenses (and other lenses via adapters) and still records AVCHD clips to SDHC cards, Memory Sticks, and an optional 11-hour Flash Memory Unit, but those clips now come from a camera with ND filters, slow-motion options to 960fps, and up to 14 stops of dynamic range with highlight-friendly cine gamma rendering.

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Cine Gear Expo LA 2012 - Assorted Photos

Various interesting sights seen at Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles.

By Adam Wilt | June 23, 2012

Cinoflex power-distro baseplate for the Canon C300, plus accessories. Yes, you can bulk up a C300 to the size of a CineAlta HDCAM!

I attended Cine Gear Expo on the Paramount lot in L.A. earlier this month. When I wasn't busy discussing the FS700, I had a chance to walk around and look at a few of the unusual things on offer... Read More

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Just for Fun: Shooting the Transit of Venus

Using a mirrorless camera, long lens, and a variable ND for solar event photography.

By Adam Wilt | June 07, 2012

Using a mirrorless still camera (or DSLR with Live View capability) or a video camera in combination with a long lens and heavy neutral density filtration, it's easy to view and photograph solar phenomena like the recent transit of Venus. Read More

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High Speed and Low Light with the NEX-FS700

Showing off what the FS700 can do, at Cine Gear Expo 2012 in LA.

By Adam Wilt | June 05, 2012

Sony asked Art Adams and me to talk about our experiences with and impressions of the NEX-FS700 camera at Cine Gear Expo in LA this past weekend. Here's my half of our combined presentation. Read More

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NAB 2012: Assorted Snapshots

A few cool things I saw at the show that didn't fit into any other articles.

By Adam Wilt | May 08, 2012

I got this fisheye lens, y'see, and by gosh and by golly I'm a-gonna use it.

NAB is too big a show in too short a time to see more than a fraction of it. I've covered a few things in some depth (as have other PVC folks), but there's plenty more that slips by without proper coverage. Here, I have a few photos of interesting things that I saw in passing, with pointers for more info should anything catch your fancy. Read More

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NAB 2012: RED

RED's Ted Schilowitz discusses 2012's products, and a photo gallery.

By Adam Wilt | May 07, 2012

RED's "Leader of the Rebellion" Ted Schilowitz held a press conference at NAB on Monday, describing the projects and products RED is working on. Rather than paraphrase him, I've got him on card (well, it's not "on tape" and it's not "on film"; what are we supposed to say these days?) so he can tell you himself. I also have a collection of images shot around the RED booth, for your viewing pleasure. Read More

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NAB 2012: Camera Support

A few of the interesting bits 'n' bobs that make cameras usable.

By Adam Wilt | May 05, 2012

At NAB I found support vendors at the affordable end of the spectrum I hadn't seen before, comfy Aaton-style handgrips, F65 tweaks by Carlos Acosta, and a "drive-by demo" of a handy zoom/focusing lever. Read More

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NAB 2012: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Quadcopters, hexacopters, and octocopters, oh my!

By Adam Wilt | May 04, 2012

It's true: the black helicopters are coming after you.

In the first two days of NAB, I saw five different folks walking through the halls carrying multi-rotor camera copters. In previous years? None. UAVs of all sort were all over the show; here are pix of a few of them. Read More

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NAB 2012: Recorders

2012 marks the return to the rack, only without the tape decks...

By Adam Wilt | May 04, 2012

AJA Ki Pro Quad 4K-capable recorder hooked to a Canon C500.

In the past few years the industry has been moving away from rack-mounted tape decks in favor of small, on-camera or near-camera, portable recorders using CF cards, SSDs, and hard disks. At NAB 2012, we saw a partial reversal of that trend: the recorders are moving back into the racks. Read More

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NAB 2012: New EVFs

Two new viewfinders to compete with Zacuto and Cineroid, plus a bizarre prototype from Band Pro.

By Adam Wilt | May 04, 2012

Kinotehnik's LCDVFe showing a semitransparent mask.

Just when you thought you need only decide between Zacuto and Cineroid for add-on EVFs, NAB gave us two new choices. Also, Band Pro showed their own high-end EVF, and it's a weird one. Read More

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NAB 2012: Cameras & Lenses

A brief sampling of interesting photographic tools at NAB.

By Adam Wilt | May 02, 2012

JVC's 4K tinycam is actively cooled via grilles in front and back.

I've already covered the basics of what Sony and Panasonic announced, as well as looking at Canon's C500 and the BMD Cine Camera, but JVC also had interesting camera announcements worth looking at. And of course that's not all there was to see... Read More

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NAB 2012: Canon C300 Image Processing

Canon's Larry Thorpe on the C300's quad-HD sensor and "super green" sampling

By Adam Wilt | May 01, 2012

Canon held a press dinner Monday night at NAB, where Larry Thorpe held forth on the Canon C300's use of a quad-HD sensor (2x HD resolution in both H and V dimensions) and how Canon's "super green" sampling boosts MTF and suppresses aliasing in the camera's 1080p images. Read More

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NAB 2012: Is BMD the new RED, Part 2?

NAB 2012: Is BMD the new RED, Part 2?

BMD Cinema Camera specs; video preso from Dan May; unwarranted speculation and wild conjecture.

By Adam Wilt | April 27, 2012

The Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera was the surprise of the show. In this second report on the BMDCC, I gather together facts (such as they are at this early stage of the game), informed commentary, crazed guesswork, and pointers to more info. [updated 2012-04-29: CinemaDNG data rate corrected; 2012-05-07: better video embedding.] Read More

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