Sony to Cannon

So since I have been a 'You Tuber' I have went through what seems like a ton of different gear, sometimes to just try something new but most of the time it is to upgrade. The only thing I haven't upgraded in years is my microphones which in my opinion I have the best Lav and Shot gun set up on the planet, the AVX MKE2 (LAV) and the MKH416 (shotgun). So I am comfortable with audio but camera is where I always seem to be checking out whats new and hot, I started the channel off with my phone then a camcorder but later went to the Canon 70D and then jumped to 4k with the GH4 after that I got the Sony bug and went to the A7R2 and used that for well over a year before I went back to Canon.

 

The Canon 5D Mark IV has stolen my heart, I love the colors it produces as well as the ease of use, it has short comings for video but that's not why I switched. I wanted a work hours for photography, I do a lot more photography work then videography so I wanted to put photo first and with Canon DSLRs it's photos then video and Sony its the other way around. 

 

So far I am really happy with my new set up which also includes the SmallHD 501 monitor, I plan on doing a complete set up video to show you all what I am now using and how. If that's something your interested in please make sure to subscribe to the You Tube channel to make sure you don't miss out.

 

Larry dickerson

 

The gear I use to make videos

 

During 2015 I was able to upgrade all of my audio gear and by the years end I was able to upgrade my camera and a few other goodies to compliment the new camera. I did an Office/Set up tour where I showed all of my gear but I wanted to go into a little more detail about the stuff that I use to produce my videos.

Let’s start with Audio because I feel like audio is more important than the video quality in the overall scope of a video.

Audio Gear

 Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3

So if you clicked on the link above then you saw the price tag of this mic and it is expensive but this is a top of the line mic and well worth the money… if you have it to spend. There are many mics that will give you great quality for less money, I discuss one such mic later in this same article, but this mic can be used as an on camera mic as well as a voice over mic so the more uses you can find for any gear the better your return on investment will be.

The 416 was developed in the 1970’s and about 40 years later it is still the first choice for most audio engineers and will give you broadcast quality audio. One thing to keep in mind is that the 416 needs phantom power so that means you will need a camera that offers mic power or a separate audio recorder with phantom power.

Like I mentioned this mic can be used on camera as well as a voice over mic, this videos audio was completely recorded with the 416.

 

If you are a spec head (which I am not) this is for you

    Pick-up pattern: super-cardioid/lobar

    Sensitivity in free field, no load (1kHz): 25 mV/Pa +- 1 dB

    Nominal impedance: 25 Ohm

    Min. terminating impedance: 800 Ohm

    Equivalent noise level: 13 dB

    Equivalent noise level weighted as per CCIR 468-3: 24 dB

    Voltage: Phantom 48 +- 12 V

    Current consumption: 2 mA

    Dimensions: d 19 x 250 mm

    Weight: 165 g

 

Sennheiser MKE 600

This is the mic that I alluded to above, the MKE 600 is another amazing shotgun mic at about a 1/3 the cost of the MKH416. So you may be asking yourself why in the heck does he have the 416 and the 600, well I have a great relationship with Sennheiser and am blessed to do some work with them so they offer me great pricing on equipment. The 600 is a mic I use plugged in to my camera because unlike the 416 this doesn’t need a separate power source, it has a place to put a AA battery to provide power. This gives you the ability to plug this mic (with an XLR to 3.5mm adapter) directly into your camera, which is what I do for run and gun or for when I am using the 416 on camera I can use this as scratch audio and match the scratch audio to my main audio coming from my 416 that is being recorded on a separate recorder. This is the mic you want if you are looking for great quality audio that wont break the bank. If you would like to great video comparing the MHK416 and the MKE 600 click HERE , Tomas Villegas put together a great comparison.

Specs

·      Diameter 20 mm, length 256 mm

·      Super-cardioid/lobar

·      Frequency response- 40 Hz to 20 kHz

·      Max. sound pressure level- 132 dB SPL at P48; 126 dB SPLwith battery powering

·      Weight- 128 g (without battery)

·      Sensitivity in free field, no load (1kHz)   21 mV/Pa at P48; 19mV/Pa with battery powering

·      Equivalent noise level- 15 dB (A) at P48; 16 dB (A) with battery powering

·      Operating time- approx. 150 hrs

·      Power supply- 48 V +/- 4V (P48, IEC 61938) or battery/rechargeable batt. 1,5V/1,2V AA size

·      Current consumption- 4,4 mA at P48


Sennheiser AVX MKE2

AVX is Sennheisers newest line of wireless systems, the MKE2 refers to the mic and it is the highest quality out of the 2 that they sell, the other being the ME2. I have tried both and both are great the MKE2 is just on another level of great audio. I used this one for on camera before I got the 416 now its more for if I am moving around in the shot. This works great at trade shows or any busy and loud environment because it does a great job of blocking outside noise. Now if a mic that sounds great but is hard to set up it may not be worth the trouble, this system will auto select the best frequency for you and adjusting the the level is a simple push of a button.

One of the best thing about this system is rechargeable batteries that can be charged via the micro usb port on the receiver and the transmitter and with the same port you can hook up an external battery to the mics if you are out on location and need to keep recording or you can buy extra batteries. Also the battery life is amazing and I love how the read out gives you hours left and not just a percentage.


 

Features

     Very fast setup

     Plugs directly into XLR audio input

     Ultra compact receiver

     Switches on/off by P48 Phantom power

     Optimized dynamic range

     Auto frequency management

     AES 256 encryption

     Accessories included for DSLR use

     Metal housing

 

Audio Recorder/Interface

I use two different devices for taking in my audio, one is the Zoom H5 and the other is the Forte from Focusrite. I use the H5 almost exclusively now that I use the 416 for voice over, so anytime I use the 416 I use the H5 to take in the audio and record it to an SD card. I keep the Forte just incase I ever do anything on the internet, like a podcast. The Forte is an audio interface for my Mac and I used to have a dedicated mic connected to it for voice over work, you can also connect studio monitors and control them through the Forte.

*The H5 can also be used as a USB interface but I like having the dedicated on always connected to my Mac.

 

Video Gear

 I bought the GH4 in February of 2015 and I absolutely loved that camera but when Sony announced the A7R2 I knew that was for me. The 2 things that really drew me to it were

1.     42 mega pixel full frame sensor

2.     Low light performance

I know the A7S2 has better low light but but I love the versatility of the A7R2 and I love taking pictures so to me it was a no brainer. I kept my lenses, the Sigma 18-35 and the Tokina 11-16, I also got a Metabones adapter so that I could still use my Canon Lenses (I used a Metabones adapter with the GH4 also). Using these lenses, I shoot in Super 35 mode with the A7R2 which I think looks amazing. I will end up getting a Sony lens for photos so I can take advantage of the full frame lens and the amazing auto focus features.

 

I had a monitor that I used with the GH4 but it didn’t work with the Sony so I started looking for a good monitor and finally settled on the Atomos Ninja Assassin. The Ninja is way more than just a monitor and that is part of the reason I bought it, it is also an external recorder which allows me to record in ProRes 422 which is Apple’s native codex. This makes editing with Final Cut Pro X super smooth, I mean amazingly smooth! You also get focus peaking, false color and a whole lot more all built in and it all makes my work flow so much easier. I use a 1TB SSD that connects to the back of the Ninja to record to, with this set up the card in the camera is only for photos now.

 

Accessories

I also have an Atomos Power Station coming soon (it was back ordered) since the battery life on the Ninja and the A7R2 are both horrible. With the Power Station you can power the camera, the Ninja and still have 2 USB ports for charging anything else you may need.

 

 

Every since got a cage for my GH4 it is a must have accessory now, the main reason I love cages is all the mounting points it gives me…and also the protection it gives me. The one I have for my A7R2 is the Zeus by Varavon, it has a handle with 2 cold shoes it also has a cold shoe on the right side of the cage not to mention all the ¼” and 3/8” tapped holes all over the cage so I have more options than I will ever need to add accessories to this rig. It has a wood grip built in and a screw that will hold your cables in place nicely.

 

Now the one down side to the Ninja Assassin is the build is all plastic, which scares me to death so Varavon has a solution for this in the form of the Armor and this first the Ninja Assassin as well as the Shogun. Now I really only bought this for the protection factor but it does offer screws to lock in your HDMI cables and a bunch of tapped holes to mount accessories. I use the Manfrotto 492 Ball head to make the Ninja easily positioned in any direction I need.

 

I have everything mounted to the Manfrotto 502 Fluid Head which I have used for years and the only issue I have had is the locking button broke when I had it packed during a flight but I made a new one out of aluminum and it had been great ever since. Under the 502 head is my tripod and that is a Manfrotto 755XB and it has a 50mm ball level which makes leveling the shot a snap, it also extends to 65” and as low as 16.3” so its very versatile in that respect.

 

Well that about covers all I use to make my videos, if you want to check out anything here just click the name of the item anywhere in the article and it will take you to Amazon where I purchased it from. Also I have even more gear listed on My Gear page on this website. If you have any questions, feel free to hit me up down below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

 

Thanks

Larry

Lookout Mountain and Romance

So me and the family headed to Rock City on Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga this morning. We go there at least once a year since we have moved to Tennessee almost 5 years ago. It has amazing views and is a very awesome place to visit which we and the kids love. This time though we brought the newest member of our family Paula who is our exchange student from Germany. We thought it would be really cool for her to see since she loves photography and like I said the views are amazing.  

 

image.jpg

Once we made it to "the main" spot in Rock City where you can see 7 states from the one spot (it's located above the area in the pic above) I decided to take some pics on phones I'm reviewing. I also did a very little bit of filming  

 

image.jpg

While doing this a girl came up and asked if I could take a pic of her and her boyfriend with her phone (it was an LG G3 😀). I of course said no problem so I took a few pics and then he said "can you take one more? " I said "sure" assuming he wanted me to take one with his phone...but instead he dropped to his knee and pulled out a ring! I was shocked but I started to record it with her phone after I took the pic of him on his knee. Now if you ask my wife she would tell you I'm a huge softy and I must admit I am a romantic, I love  watching proposals and I usual shed a tear. I didn't make it through my proposal to my wife before just breaking down lol. 

So it was one of the coolest moments that I have ever been apart of and just wanted to share it with you guys. I love romance and I wish them the best in the future. 

 

-Larry Dickerson

Me and the happy couple! 

Me and the happy couple! 

Samsung Galaxy S6 Camera tests

Test shots from the Galaxy S6

 

This camera may be the best smart phone camera on the market. To me its a toss up between the iPhone 6 Plus, the LG G4 and the Samsung Galaxy S6...pick your poison because you won't be disappointed with any of them!

The rear is a 16 mega pixel beast with a f1.9 aperture and optical image stabilization so light light performance should not be a issue here. As for video you can shoot 4k and slow motion...pretty much this thing has all the bells and whistles you would want on a camera. Check out some samples below.

 

The rear camera 

 

Now here are some video samples

Front Camera

Rear Camera