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I recently had the pleasure of purchasing the latest album from Luke Neumann at Neumann Films titled “The Drama Toolbag“. The vibe of this new album fit perfectly into a project that I have had on the back burner for awhile now. In fact, the album has provided some needed inspiration to get back out and do some filming.
At this point, you might be asking what the “new approach” is that I referred to in the title of this post. Well, the way Neumann Films sells music is quite unique and unlike anything I have come across before.
First, rather than one song (30 second, 60 second & full length) like you would commonly get for $40 at other stock music sites, with the Nuemann Films albums you get several songs for that price. Specifically with the Drama Toolbag, you get ten unique songs, ranging from 48 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds in length. Second, this album will receive additions to it over the next year and by buying in now, you get a “free upgrade path”. This means, you will receive an email when there are are additions to the album and can download them at no charge. The album price goes up with every addition and thus you will pay more if you buy the album later. Now you see why it is called a free upgrade. Keep in mind that the earlier you get in, the less the toolbag will cost you.
Update: Due to the recent new additions the Drama Toolbag is currently running around $70 (on sale), still a major bargin for all that is included.
Think of the Neumann Films “Toolbag” albums as the Swiss Army Knife of stock and royalty free music.
So, here is where it really starts to get interesting. The reason it is called a “Toolbag” is that you get over 70 files (now over 100 files) including Atmospheres (9), Orchestral Elements (10), Piano (15 x 4 bpm variations of each), Songs (17) and Transitions (3). The unique format gives the end user WAY more options than one would normally get with standard stock music purchases.
You can now mix and match the proper song and other album elements to your footage, not the other way around. For instance, you might combine a piano track that transitions into a song for one scene. Then for another scene, you may just want to use just an atmosphere as the background, you get the idea. Quite frankly, it does not seem like stock music at all, it seems more like “music stock options.” Think of the Neumann Films “Toolbag” albums as the Swiss Army Knife of stock and royalty free music.
So, why am I writing this post? Well, I have followed the Neumann Films video tutorials for quite some time, but never really explored their royalty free music until recently. I have a hunch that others may not be aware their music offerings either.
It is such a pleasure and so refreshing when someone thinks outside the normal boundaries of their industry to come up with a great product at a reasonable price. Hat tip to Neumann Films for doing just this.
December 2013 update: The first update to the Drama Toolbag was delivered on December 1st (Update #2 will be sent out in February), the update size was 439MB with 21 more files which included 7 more songs, 2 more atmospheres and 3 more piano tracks in 4 different beats per minute options.
My favorite additions are the two new atmospheres and the songs Change of Guard and Memories. However, all the additions are excellent and will provide some great options when trying to find or fit a piece of music to a particular scene or piece of footage. Here are some samples of songs from the update: https://soundcloud.com/luke-daniel-neumann/sets/the-drama-t
Just a reminder that the earlier you purchase the “Toolbag” the more files you get at the current price. If you wait, you will pay more for the same content you could have received for less. If you have ever been inspired by any of Neumann Films work, go show you support and purchase something from his site. There truly is something for everybody.
What are you wanting for? Go check out all their Cinematic Music offerings.
Other ways to connect with Neumann Films:
Youtube Main account: http://www.youtube.com/user/Neumannfilms/
Youtube Short Films account: http://www.youtube.com/user/Dod3032
BTW, I received no compensation or other incentive for writing this post. I am simply a happy customer enjoying a excellent product. Cheers
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It is no secret that we like minimalist tools when it comes to adding functionality to HDSLR, cinema, mirrorless or traditional video cameras. After all, what good is a small camera that has been made HUGE by mounting it to a large cage or extremely complex shoulder support and focusing system?
If you are filming high-dollar motion pictures or other major money projects, perhaps the larger camera and all the expensive tools and accessories are “worth their weight in gold.” But, for most of us, they are not. Independent filmmakers are usually on a tight budget, travel light and are in desperate need of more affordable options for better film making.
At DSLR Solutions, we feel the best tool is the one you have with you which functions well and gets used, but does not cost a fortune. I see press releases all the time touting some product’s upgraded features, but here’s the problem, that usually means the new version is even more complex (more handles, new gearbox, nifty gizmos, and so on) making it less portable and more expensive.
By contrast, our new product, called the Ultra-Simple Follow Focus™, is more versatile than our previous tool – one handle fits nearly every lens on the market – but now weighs less and costs less than the previous version.
That’s right, our new product, the Ultra-Simple Follow Focus™ fits lenses with diameters from 1-1/2″ (38mm) to 4-1/2″ (114mm) with a minimum 3/8″ (9mm) wide focus ring. Priced at only $25 for the handle and $45 for the complete kit, this product might just be the perfect focusing aid to have in your camera bag or pocket. The handle weighs less than 1/2 ounce, in fact, the entire kit weighs less than 2 ounces. Best of all, it is made by us in the USA and your satisfaction is guaranteed.
As you can tell, I am pretty excited about the new product launch.
If our new simple focus shifter sounds interesting, head over to the page we created that explains how it works. It was truly a pleasure simplifying our previous design even further and I hope you like what we have come up with.
FYI: We still offer our previous design for those with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens or the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM lens because their focus rings are not wide enough to accommodate the latest handle design. Those products are available on our products page.
The 5th anniversary of the Canon 5D Mark II it is a great time to take a step back and assess where we have been and where we might still travel down the HDSLR road. Is the HDSLR market dead or dying? I say emphatically no, but it is changing and progressing into more of an HD (including 2k & 4k) market. To quote from Star Wars, “I Think It Is Time We Demonstrated The Full Power Of This Station.”
Technology has jumped ahead of where many of the camera manufacturers feel comfortable treading. Thus, they hold back major improvements in favor of smaller ones, falsely thinking that they only need to keep up with their competitors. Let’s not forget that the Nikon D90 rocked the market and was the first DSLR to offer HD video. Soon after, Canon, to stay competitive, introduced the Canon 5D Mark II. The HD video capability was obviously pretty mature in-house or Canon would not have been able to so quickly bring the industry-changing 5D Mark II to market. Large camera manufacturers appear to offer only whatever updates are necessary to sell the next batch of new model cameras, and that is truly a shame for the entire industry.
The developers at Magic Lantern have proven time and time again that even cameras like the Canon 50D, which is over five years old, are capable of shooting RAW video using their innovative free tool. The capabilities of my Canon 60D are spectacular using the Magic Lantern add-on and if the same capabilities were offered in a stock camera, I would likely purchase it.
The new RAW video feature that the Magic Lantern team has enabled on the Canon 5D Mark III is truly amazing! I predict that the first company to produce a top notch algorithm to help reduce the RAW video file size in-camera without losing color and dynamic range quality will rule the market for a couple of years. You see, RAW video files require lots of computer power and storage space to cope with them and thus will be limited, at least for now, to those who have the time and processor power to incorporate RAW into their workflow. The developers at Magic Lantern have truly moved the bar and they are dragging the major camera manufacturers kicking and screaming into the next generation of video capture. Perhaps the upcoming H.265 codec will make the 2k and 4k file sizes manageable for everyone, but RAW video files are likely still going to be huge.
For my style of shooting, the flip-out LCD is really appreciated and something that helps me introduce alternate creative shooting angles into my footage, not to mention the beauty of being able to reverse the screen for protection when the camera is not in use. So, here is the question: Why is there no full-frame sensor camera on the market that offers a large flip-out high-resolution LCD screen? I was really hoping the Canon 5D Mark III would have this feature, but again Canon went with the status quo. There is no doubt that the Canon 5D Mark III is a great camera and a large jump ahead, but it could have been a quantum leap rather than a just another standard upgrade. The new Canon 70D is a great example of focus innovation mixed with the same video quality of the previous generation 60D. I am sure there are some minimal improvements, ISO etc., but again the upgrade is underwhelming and my guess is that sales of the 70D camera will be as well.
Will the HDSLR market still exist in 5 years? Unless Canon and the other big name manufacturers start putting the features into their cameras that the independent filmmakers are clamoring for, the HDSLR market share will dwindle and they will lose dollars to the other more nimble and innovative companies like Black Magic. I personally think we are moving toward the mirrorless cameras, as the smaller form is something that we can all appreciate. Give me a full-frame sensor, mirrorless camera, large enough to hold comfortably, that will shoot a modified version of RAW video and fit my existing Canon glass with good audio capabilities along with a high resolution EVF plus a large high resolution flip-out LCD screen and I will be a pretty happy camper.
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P.S. This was my contribution to the Planet5D eBook which includes over 30 contributions from various people from all over the world. You can get your copy of the full version on Planet5D.
The face of professional video cameras has changed a lot over the last several years, bringing ever more capable cameras like the Canon’s 5D Mark II, Mark III 6D & 70D and Panasonic’s GH2 & GH3 and Nikon D600 & D800 into the hands of the amateur and professional alike. What used to be two distinct markets, video camera, and movie camera, have now nearly merged into one.
I remember when I first heard about DSLR cameras getting video capabilities. At the time, I owned a Panasonic DVX100 and I was not sure why anyone would want to capture video with a DSLR when they lacked the much-needed features only available on professional video cameras. Well, times have changed rather quickly and thanks to tools like Magic Lantern, the DSLR can now compete with many of the professional video cameras. In fact, many DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III are being considered professional video cameras in their own right.
Even now, some electronic news gathering (ENG) organizations are choosing the DSLR for its portability and the robust capabilities housed in such a small form factor. As sensors have gotten better, and most recording mechanisms have moved to solid state, the need for these large cameras is shrinking along with the cameras themselves. However, many news gathering cameramen and camerawomen love the stability a large shoulder mounted camera provides, but many of them also have related back problems brought on by lugging around such a large camera.
In the early 80’s the Betacam was introduced and it was one of the first, and most successful video cameras with on board recording. Before that, these types of ENG cameras consisted of a shoulder-mounted camera with a separate backpack or shoulder pack that held the recorder portion, which was then connected to the camera by cable. At least the two-unit system provided for some weight on the other shoulder helping equalize the pressure on the spine a little.
Fortunately technology has progressed and we no longer have to haul around huge weights on our shoulders to achieve great video results… or do we?
From the looks of many of the recent DSLR camera rigs on the market, you would think we are moving backwards. I am quite perplexed as to why so many camera support manufacturers think that placing everything back on the shoulder, creating offset plates, and even adding counter weights is such a great idea. Fatigue is a huge factor when hauling around so much stuff and it eventually affects the resulting video and the health of the operator. Ergonomics seems to take a back seat as designers reach to the past rather than reaching forward for new, more innovative designs.
A few manufacturers have created small shoulder braces. Unfortunately, they sacrifice stability for portability in hopes of providing a lighter option for those operators not wanting to haul around so much weight.
Occasionally a new idea will come to market such as the Fig Rig, which puts the camera on a hoop that is supported with both hands. This design ended the myth that stability and good video results could only be achieved with large shoulder-mounted DSLR camera rigs. I am truly surprised that more manufacturers are not thinking outside the 1980s era shoulder-mounted Betacam box.
This is where the new DSLR Solutions Camera Rig comes in. The new camera rig design provides up to three stabilization points per arm giving you really stable video results without having to put additional weight on your shoulder and rig. It also gives the user many ways to comfortably grip the camera rig without needing to adjust a single handle.
On top of that the design puts the camera in front of the operator (no electronic view finder (EVF) or offset plate required) and gives the ability to rest the rig on the waist between shots, which even allows for hands-free operation when shooting from the hip. Lastly, the DSLR Solutions Camera Rig opens up even more creative options with easy high- and low-angle capabilities.
It is an exciting time to be a videographer or filmmaker. New camera capabilities are continually being developed with increased resolution at lower cost in smaller form factors. I am personally looking forward to seeing even more simple and innovative designs brought to market.
More information about the DSLR Solutions Camera Rig can be found here: http://www.dslrsolutions.net
P.S. Why do we carry such heavy burdens on our shoulders? Here’s a bit of humor from Neumann Films to lighten things up: http://youtu.be/ixVjpvrn7n4
Our latest product, the DSLR Solutions Camera Rig was launched today.
We have put months of hard work into crafting a simple camera support that would give the user lots of creative options without the complexity and weight of a standard shoulder rig. Our camera rig is extremely comfortable to hold, easy to use and provides really stable video results.
We are quite excited to finally launch this new product and let you all see what we have been working on so diligently. We hope you like what we have come up with.
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One of the first lenses a DSLR video shooter usually purchases is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. The main reason is price as the 50mm f/1.8 lens is around $200 less than its closest relative the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. However, do not let the low price fool you, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (aka “Nifty Fifty”) is a solid performer, has great optics and provides excellent results for video. The main problem with the lens is the small focus ring. Not only is the focus ring very small, it is also tapers toward the front making it nearly impossible to attach any follow focus. Notice I said nearly impossible.
Awhile back we developed a follow focus solution for Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, and while it works pretty well, I was never quite satisfied with the way marking focus points worked out. With that in mind, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a new Main Focus Arrow that is specifically designed to clip over the stainless steel handle and step up to the focus marker strap on the 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Here is a video detailing how Version 2.0 of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Follow Focus works.
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Most DSLR video shooters start out with a Canon 18-55mm kit lens. Unfortunately, there are little to no follow focus options for that lens. Or is there?
I am going to let you in on a little secret, we have had a follow focus solution for the Canon 18-55mm lens for more than a year. That’s right, our “Small” size focus handle fits the Canon 18-55mm lens when the rubber reducer is installed. And if you are interested in marking focus points, just be sure to order the “Standard” small kit with the accessory tin rather than just the handle. Visit our Products page for more information.
We just finished a video that will show you how the DSLR Follow Focus works with the Canon 18-55mm kit lens.
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Many video shooters still do not realize the benefits of having a handle to help with focusing and zooming while recording video. Our premier product, the DSLR Follow Focus was initially developed to give DSLR video professionals an inexpensive on-the-go follow focus and rack focus option. However, over the past year, users are discovering just how nice it is to have a focus handle or zoom handle in their camera bag and are reaching for the DSLR Follow Focus time and again.
Well, the secret is out! We now offer the DSLR Focus Handle separately from the other accessories and video professionals from all over the world are using our handles on many different cameras and lenses to assist with focusing and zooming. Whether it is on a Sony PMW-EX3, Sony PMW-F3, Canon C-300 or Canon 5d Mark III using lenses such as Fujinon zoom, Zeiss Super Speeds, Canon L lenses, or Nikon Nikkor lenses, the DSLR Focus Handle is a fantastic option for a multitude of professionals.
Many electronic news gathering (ENG) organizations find the DSLR Follow Focus especially useful for field work when traveling light is an absolute necessity. In addition, documentary filmmakers have told us how much they appreciate our product, noting that the best follow focus is one you have with you.
Photo credits: Joseph Friedman, Director of Photography
Starting at just $30 the DSLR Focus Handle is available now in four different sizes with custom sizes available by request. Check out the list of lenses the DSLR Focus Handle fits or measure your lens to determine what size you need.
We have just developed a special DSLR Follow Focus Handle for the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake lens. The new handle is available now, although initial quantity will be limited.
You can check out a short video demonstration below.
I often have the pleasure of speaking with customers directly and I am always surprised at how many Canon DSLR video shooters do not know about, or simply do not use Magic Lantern’s free Canon firmware enhancement for their DSLR video work. All I can figure is that people see the “Use this software at your own risk.” statement on the download page and decide that it is not for them. Let me just say that I will not shoot video on my DSLR without Magic Lantern. It is on every SD card I own and has turned my Canon 60d into a truly amazing tool.
The Magic Lantern Canon firmware enhancement provides so many of those missing features I had become accustomed to on more professional cameras such as my older Panasonic DVX-100. It even does some things the DVX-100 only dreamed of doing. Magic Lantern is not only for video work, but has loads of great features for any avid photographer.
Here are a list of features to help give you an idea of the power of Magic Lantern (my favorites noted in bold):
- Audio: disable AGC, audio meters, manual audio controls, selectable input source (internal, internal+external, external stereo, balanced), audio monitoring via A/V cable.
- Exposure helpers: zebras, false color, histogram, waveform, spotmeter, vectorscope.
- Focus tools: focus peaking, zoom while recording, trap focus, rack focus, follow focus, focus stacking.
- Movie helpers: Bitrate control, movie logging (Exif-like metadata), auto-restart after buffer overflow or 4 GB limit, HDR video, advanced FPS control.
- LiveView adjustments: contrast, saturation, display gain for using LiveView in darkness.
- Cropmark images: user-editable overlays to assist framing and composition.
- Fine control for ISO, Shutter, Kelvin white balance and other image settings.
- Bracketing: advanced exposure bracketing, focus stacking.
- Remote release with LCD face sensor and audio trigger, without extra hardware.
- Timelapse: intervalometer (for photos and movies), bulb ramping (manual and automatic), recording at very low FPS (down to 0.2 FPS), silent pictures without shutter actuation.
- Astro- and night photography: bulb timer for very long exposures (up to 8h).
- Info displays: focus and DOF info, CMOS temperature, shutter count, clock.
- For strobists: flash exposure compensation, range up to -10 to +3 EV (depends on the camera).
- Power saving: Turn off display or reduce backlight in LiveView during idle times.
- Handy features: Quick zoom in PLAY mode, key shortcuts for commonly-used features, customizable menus.
If any of the above features sound interesting, head over to the Magic Lantern website and get more information on this amazing free upgrade to your Canon DSLR camera. Version 2.3 release note can be found here.
Version 2.3 works on camera/firmware: 5Dmk2/2.1.2, 50D/1.0.9, 60D/1.1.1, 500D/1.1.1, 550D/1.0.9, 600D/1.0.2 — Installation instructions
Lastly, if you use Magic Lantern and like it, please consider dropping Alex and the team a few dollars for all their excellent work.
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I hope you found this information helpful.