The JBL EON206P portable PA system surprised us with how much sonic punch it packs into a lightweight package. This is a system anyone can easily move around and fire up with 160 watts of power for smallish gigs.

We tested the EON206P in an open office environment. We were easily able to generate enough volume to address 100 plus people. The folks in conference rooms on the perimeter commented that they could hear us just fine as well.

The EON206P is like a carry-on suitcase. The two ends snap apart to reveal the powered mixer. JBL includes cables for connecting to the speakers. When snapping everything back together, there is enough room to store cables inside the recessed cavity of the mixer. This makes for very easy setup and transportation.

The Mixer includes two mic / instrument inputs and a pair of inputs for stereo devices such as a keyboard/drum machine, MP3 player, smart phone, computer. The mic inputs include EQ and Reverb. We bumped up the highs a little when using the SM58. We found it very easy to dial in a quality sound and we were pleasantly surprised by the bass response despite not having a sub hooked up.

We have a couple of meetings coming up where we can really put the EON206P to the test and we’ll add to this review in a couple of weeks. But we wanted to kick it off because we were really impressed right out of the box with the sonic quality of this smallish all-in-one PA.

UPDATE:  After living with this system we're still happy with the purchase.   It's ideal for gatherings when we're playing music, happy hours and need to make some announcements...etc.   The company has grown and we're using a more sophisticated setup when we have multiple presenters and need a proper mixer.  However, this is still the go to unit for smaller gatherings.   

Visit JBL for all the specs and more information.



The PX270 is an amazing HD camera for ENG, corporate and documentary work. Over the years we’ve used the DVX100, HVX200, HPX250 and now the AJ-PX270 which is the next evolutionary step in Panasonic’s hand held family of cameras. This camera has very good dynamic range and the ability to achieve shallow depth of field. The AV-Ultra codecs are very robust and the microP2 cars make it very easy to dump footage into your NLE in the field using standard SD card readers. We really like this camera.

The AJ-PX270 is pretty much everything we’ve been asking for from this type of camera aside from 4k resolution. Panasonic has also been slow with the promised firmware upgrade to AVC-ULTRA 200. This higher bit rate will allow for even more robust capture of high speed action such as sports. Panasonic promised the firmware upgrade in 2014. We’re still waiting.

The first thing you notice about the PX270 is how light it is. You can truly operate this camera without a tripod with minimal fatigue. The HVX200 and even the HPX250 were more cumbersome in the field. Anyone still clinging to the HVX200 will be blown away by how easy it is to handle the PX270. The battery is now recessed inside the body of the camera which also makes for a better on-center feel. It also, makes it more comfortable to support the camera with you torso.

All is not sweetness and light however. We’re all for light weight designs but we’d like to see more ruggedized choices for some of the hinges, switches and buttons. We feel we could easily snap off the LCD display, the display buttons and the cheap plastic cover of the P2 slots.

The display and electronic view finder are very good on the PX270. There are a plethora of options for image and quality settings. The menu also has a fast option and a more complete option when you hold the button longer. This is something we had to discover after some frustration trying to dig into the menus.

The PX270 has much improved dynamic range and low light performance compared to the HPX250 and it’s a revelation if you are upgrading from an older camera like the HVX200. We were able to shoot with little to no gain scenes at dusk that would have been mostly noise with prior handheld cameras from Panasonic.

The PX270 is a really great HD camera. You can achieve a variety of looks that range from TV to film and decent shallow depth of field that makes solid choice for an HD handheld around $5k. We love the ergonomics of this camera and the image it captures and we’re comfortable with the P2 workflow. Over the years we’ve seen standard SD, CF cards and SSDs and HDDs all experience hiccups in the field. We’ve yet to have any problems with P2, either full size or micro. That confidence makes shooting with the PX270 feel even better.

UPDATE 2015 January 19:  Panasonic has finally released firmware update that includes the AVC-Intra200 Codec and 1080 30p, 25p and 24p.   You can download the latest firmware for the Panasonic PX270 here.    It's free and will not be a paid upgrade as originally planned.   



Visit Panasonic for more information about the AJ-PX270



If you buy only 1 VFX package for your NLE this year we highly recommend Boris Continuum Complete 9 or BCC 9. BCC 9 is available for all major NLEs and it’s packed with goodness to feed your creative mojo. BCC 9 for Sony Vegas Pro has over 200+ filters is easier to use than BCC 8 and includes CUDA and Open CL acceleration. We enjoyed very good performance in our workstation using the Quadro K4200.

We reviewed BCC 8 a couple of years ago so this will be a shorter review but one of the things that bogged us down in BCC 8 was the ability to effectively browse VFX. The FX Browser in BCC 9 is a welcome addition to the suite that makes it much easier to play and test effects. Now we can see previews of VFX over moving video. This is a much faster way to preview FX before we drop them on the timeline and encourages more experimentation which is critical with such a vast and powerful suite.

Just like BCC 8, BCC 9 requires lots of discovery and experimentation to appreciate the power of this suite. A review like this can only scratch the surface. Luckily Boris provides 2,500+ presets to help jump start your creativity. Follow Boris FX on social media and you’ll be treated to some random freebies as well. For example, we grabbed the fireworks preset and whipped up some sound design to make a 4th of July message for our facebook page. It took just a few minutes and added a little something extra to a static message.

We used some Beat Reactor driven lighting effects to bring the open to life in a recruiting video for Houzz. Plus there are countless subtle fixes we use the filters for. For example, we'll often use film process and play with the dynamic range or go for a low contrast look like we did in this special feature on this incredible tree house in Texas. We wanted more a timeless look and BCC 8/9 helped us get it. 

Having this suite in post makes us want to shoot more in 4k S-log and experiment in post versus trying to get the perfect look in the field too.

There’s more to love in BCC 9 including transitions, image restoration, keying, compositing, lens correction (saving some GoPro footage as we type), and the list goes on and on.  John Rafrano put together a nice set of tutorials on BCC 9 for Sony Vegas here so you can a lot of these effects in action.

So if you’re in the market for VFX for your NLE we highly recommend downloading BCC 9. You’ll barely scratch the surface of this powerful suite during the trial but you’ll quickly learn just how powerful this package is.

Visit Boris FX for more information and to grab a trial version of BCC 9.



Sony Vegas Pro 13 feels a lot like Vegas Pro 12 with some minor updates to the UI. It features a new proxy editing mode that could be useful for ENG style workflows, enhanced audio level monitoring and new collaboration features.

The number one thing we were looking for in Vegas Pro 13 is increased performance, stability and exploitation of multicore and GPU heavy systems for real time editing and faster rendering times. Sony makes no mention of any improvements to the fundamental Vegas engine. In our tests it seems to perform very much like Vegas Pro 12. Projects that experience hiccups in 12 performed just the same in Vegas 13.

Our favorite new feature of Vegas Pro 13 is the multi-tool pop up menu that is now located beneath the timeline. It’s a subtle change that’s implemented in a seamless way that feels instantly familiar and is very handy.  

The CALM loudness meters are a nice addition to Vegas Pro that adds a level of confidence when mastering assets for broadcast distribution. However, considering the Vegas pedigree as an audio platform from the beginning, this should be a rev upgrade to Vegas Pro 11 and 12 users anyway.

Project archiving is useful. Despite our best efforts in the past we always seem to be missing a file in our manually created archives. Again, should have been a rev upgrade.

Vegas Pro Connect seems like the product team was told it had to incorporate a mobile app somehow to make the platform more relevant. We think this feature is good intentioned but would require more work on the client side than necessary. A simple conversation to discuss the edit is faster and easier. We don’t think we’ll ever use this and it’s certainly not a reason to upgrade to Vegas Pro 13.   

Overall we’re unimpressed with Vegas Pro 13. The features we enjoy seem like revision rather than release updates. We’re disappointed because Vegas is still one of our favorite NLEs that we use on a regular basis. The feature set is extremely robust and it's still the most intutive NLE on the market.  In our view Sony missed a major opportunity here. Our advice would be to focus on exploiting workstation horsepower and provide the most versatile and stable NLE on the market. Internally the code name for Vegas 14 should be Kevlar.  The CALM meters, Archiving and Multitool menue are all nice additions but please, no more goofy iPad collaboration features.  

For more information and all the specs visit Sony Creative Software.



The Odyssey7Q combines a high quality 7.7 OLED monitor with an SSD based recorder to allow the capture of high bit rate quality codecs such as ProRes, DNxHD, Sony FS700 Raw, Canonc500 4K Raw and other options available via pay firmware upgrades. We used it with the Sony FS700 to capture ProRes HQ at 220Mbps.

The file based workflow is all about flash memory. On our shoot we utilized a variety of flash memory. The Odyssey7Q requires Convergent's branded SSD. We also recorded the native FS700 files to an SD card inside the Sony, glad we did and more on that shortly. The DLSR and Sound Devices recorder used compact flash.

The OLED display on the Odyssey is very nice. It's large enough Before we go any further we have one work of advice for any file based acquisition day, redundancy. We recorded audio to both cameras and the Odyssey7Q as well as the Sound Devices Mixer. We recorded video to both cameras natively and Odyssey7Q.

Our shoot was a series of sit down interviews. Pretty straightforward. Once we were setup we let it rip and then it became more about data management. The Odyssey7Q recorded in chunks of 3.94GB for every 2:45 worth of roll. So after each interview we'd have about 8 files to assemble and cut. The 7D records in 3.99GB chunks for every 13:05. So a couple of files per interview and we'd interrupt the flow periodically to reslate.  With a couple of SSDs it's easy to keep rolling while transferring files.  We highly advise having a system with USB 3.0 to transfer the files and we're looking forward to Thunderbolt in the future.  After a full day of shooting on the two cameras plus redundant files we had 600GB of data to manage.      

The Odyssey7Q was easy to figure out and worked seamlessly for the most part. The 7.7 inch OLED makes for a good size touch screen. However, all is not sweetness and light. We encountered corrupted files for a portion of two of the interviews. Just flat out corrupt files. This is the gotcha in the file based workflow. When it goes bad it's just gone. It's not a few hits in an analog tape. The good news is we had the second camera and the native codec from the FS700 as a backup. However, for a field recorder that's approaching $3K in cost this is not acceptable. It's been years and years of SxS and P2 with and we've never lost a file to corruption. Devices like the Odyssey7Q need to be just as robust. And from our initial field test it appears they're not.

Our advice isn't to shy away from the Oddyssey7Q. This is where things are headed and we expect the folks at Convergent and industry as a whole to make these types of external recorder/displays as rock solid as P2 and SxS. For now remember our keyword for the day, redundancy. As you embrace new technologies that enable you to capture the most brilliant images possible, have a plan in place to capture at least an image, in case you happen to lose a few a long the way.

For more information and all the specs on the Odyssey 7Q visit Convergent Design. 

Pixelan Software’s DissolveMaster provides endless options for creating compelling dissolves that can add production value in subtle ways or be pushed to create interesting effects. We tested DissolveMaster in Sony Vegas Pro 12. The brief 30 second clip above was made by dropping in presets before playing with settings. It comes with myriad presets that can be adjusted with intuitive controls, like shape, glow, color, and percentage of effect.

It’s a clean and easy to use plug-in that also makes it easy to save your favorite presets with a simple right mouse click.  It the video above we used the same seqence and tweaked the settings to create new looks. It's easy to see how quickly you can create your own looks with the presets provided in DissolveMaster. You can spend hours and hours experimenting with DissolveMaster to create your own presents.

The plug-in is hardware accelerated and worked fine on our 2 year old workstation with a Quadro 4000 inside. We tend to primarily use cuts and dissolves in our edits and not a lot of special effects. DissolveMaster gives the dissolves a little something extra. DissolveMaster includes film dissolves, soft directional dissolves, blur dissolves, glow/flash dissolves and endless ways to tweak all the settings. So you can keep it clean and simple or experiment with color changes and visual effects made possible as DissolveMaster organically animates the video.

A well-crafted dissolve can certainly have an impact on the overall quality of your edit and effective story telling. On the flip side it can be a noticeable distraction which is always a pitfall of a new toy. Experimentation and restraint when necessary will lead to success with DissolveMaster. Dissolve Master offers good value at $50 and will get more useful over time as you create your own presets to complement your content. Visit Pixelan Software to find out more and test it with your NLE of choice.



Izotope RX3 Advanced is an elegantly designed suite of audio restoration tools with a beautiful and intuitive interface that delivers transparent and effective results when used judiciously. We used it both in standalone mode and as a plug-in with Sony Vegas Pro 12. Most tools in the suite worked as a plug-in except for Spectral Repair which had to be run in standalone mode.

Izotope RX3 has become an essential part of our post production workflow.  When shooting video we encounter a variety of audio challenges related to the environment, equipment or the performance. Plus there's the crew. We have an awesome network of audio engineers but no one's perfect and audio levels can be too weak or too hot in dynamic situations. So that's a lot of variables to deal with.

The end result of this imperfect sonic wonderland is unwanted hum and noise, rumble, occasional distortion, unwanted reverb and more. It all has to be addressed in post so we can deliver a pristine audio mix with our final video.

In the past we've had mixed results using noise reduction and audio restoration tools because of the artifacts introduced by the algorithms, mainly the phasing and thinning of the sound. The harder the tool was pushed the worse the artifacts got. The results were never really transparent enough to our liking.

Izotope RX3 is a smart prescription for post because it allows you to fix complex problems without introducing artifacts. Yes, if pushed too hard it's easy to do more harm than good, but we generally were able to improve the quality of the audio before introducing unwanted sonic garbage.

We've now used RX3 Advanced on multiple video projects to remove rumble, reverb, HVAC noise..etc.  The more we use it the more we appreciate what a powerful tool it is for making our dialogue pop through the mix.  The cleaner we can get it the better we're able to sweeten it.  

The RX3 noise reduction module does an excellent job removing unwanted hum and white noise from the HVAC.  We got excellent results with 10 seconds of room tone as our noise profile.  About 6dB of reduction was ideal for removing most of the unwanted noise with minimal artifacts.  This was more than enough for projects where a music bed would help mask any remaining noise.  We also tested it with shorter noise profile and it worked very well. 

In most cases, we were able to use RX3 to improve the audio in a transparent way. Removing reverb from a recording is still very challenging to do and takes more time to dial in. Luckily, the intuitive controls make it easy to simply experiment until you get the desired results.

In general we got the best results by pushing the software until we would start to hear unwanted artifacts and then dialing back a bit, and then maybe a bit more. Interestingly, with the declipper we tended to push it a little harder for the best results. We even ran the audio through a UAD plug-in before the declipper and that yielded good results.  So experimentation is very important.  

The folks at iZotope have optimized RX3 to take advantage of multicore systems.  Our 12 core Xeon test system was pushed to the max and yielded very good performance.  Nice to see software like RX3 putting all those cores to work.  What use to be an arduous task of cleaning up audio is now a simple batch process that can be done in minutes.  It's also been very stable and has not crashed in standalone mode.   It did cause occasional problems in plugin mode.  We recommend working in standalone mode for most work.  Little fixes are fine in plugin mode.

Izotope RX3 Advanced is one of those tools that is best used sparingly with the goal of improving the quality of the audio without giving it an overly processed sound, unless you're going for some sort of effect of course.  Super clean is not better than what we would call sonically authentic. For example, we still prefer the sound of a clean FM radio signal to XM radio because of the compression used by XM. To our ears it just sounds bad. It's sterile, compressed and sad. With Izotope RX3 you can make your mixes cleaner but still happy and bright. Taking the time to clean up your mix with a tool like Izotope RX3 is well worth the effort.  It's an essential tool for post. 

Here you can listen to a sample with and without using the RX3 noise reduction.

Visit Izotope to download a trial version or RX3 Advanced and test it in your post production workflow.  

 

The good news is Edius 7 should benefit from a more open platform going forward. The bad news is anyone upgrading from recent versions such as 6 or 6.5 will have to get new plug-ins for Edius 7 or wait for current plug-ins to be upgraded to 64-bit. You quickly realize how handy a plug-in like Colorfast or Titler Pro is when you no longer can use it.  Plug-in vendor, NewBlue has said an update to Titler Pro is in the works while proDAD has already released service packs for some of its plug-ins. So it appears the 3rd party plug-in support will be there for Edius 7 going forward although we’d like to see more at launch.

Edius 7 is 4k ready. Grass Valley has done a good job of keeping up with codecs and formats over the years. We're starting to see interest in 4k pick up especially with the new found love affair with the Sony FS700. We're seeing this camera more and more on reality shoots.  You'll be seenig a lot more slow motion in reality TV as a directy result of this camera.  Sure, we're not there yet in terms of 4k playback but it's coming. What HD did to SD 4K will do to HD. In the meantime the ability to have multiple framings and play with the extra pixels in 4k while delivering in 1080p is a real luxury.  The layouter in Edius makes this super easy.  

Today, the majority of our work is shot using the C300, 5D Mark III and various P2 cams. All of these formats edit like butter in Edius and the Canon XF codec and multi-folder creation of the MXF wrapper is not a problem. Edius is smart enough to scan all folders once you point it to the root. It's fast too. We like seeing that green progress bar float across the screen.  Sometimes other NLEs choke on the Canon XF codec resulting in a slower workflow.   Cutting C300 footage in Edius 7 is easy.

Edius 7 will take advantage of multiple CPU cores, memory and GPU power. Our roughly two year old test system with dual hex core XEONs, SSDs, 24GB of memory and Quadro K4000 provided excellent real time performance.  We also tested Edius 7 on a quad core i7 laptop with 8GBs or memory and it performed very well cutting in the field.  Render times were longer of course but Edius 7 does a good job of maximizing the use of available resources.  On both systems we only experienced 1 crash and none since updating version 7.2 of Edius.  By the way, we were able to install Edius 7 on both our field production PC and our studio workstation using the same serial number without any problems.  GPU accelerated transitions and effects look really good and preview in real time.  

We expected Edius 7 to have an updated UI mainly for aesthetic reasons but it looks the same as Edius 6-6.5 and the only way we could tell the difference at first glance was an updated splash screen when Edius 7 launches.  We're fine with that.  Once we get used to using an editor we'd rather not have the controls and UI change too much.  What we care most about is performance and stability.   Edius continues to deliver on that front.   We also no longer have a problem running avast! antivirus in the background. So, that's nice.  It's rare that we have an NLE that's not online so the abiilty to run antivirus in the background is important.

The improvements to Edius 7 are mainly under the hood. Filters now support 10-bit color depth and with the right hardware real time 10-bit video output. A key-frameable Gaussian blur filter is also new, cool for rack focus effects. The GPU accelerated transitions and effects built into Edius 7 are very good and work seamlessly. Combined with the 3D Layouter, title effects and color tools you’ve got a very powerful NLE before you even add any plug-ins.   The more we get familiar with Edius the more we appreciate how much is built-in to the NLE from the get go.  We'd like to see some of the 3D GPU accelerated effects that come standard in Edius be offered in other NLEs.

Edius is still one of our favorite NLEs to cut with. It’s easy to see why Edius has been so popular with news organizations for this reason. When you need to bang out a story quickly Edius is hard to beat. It’s also very good for event and corporate work. It’s easy to learn, and now Edius runs well on Win 7.  You can pimp it out with extra hardware if you need to but can easily get by in the field with a reasonably powered laptop.  In terms of A-rolling a story and adding transitions, titles and sweetening a basic audio mix it competes well with any NLE and is certainly one of the fastest.  

However, when we’re doing more sophisticated compositing with lots of layers, text, media and especially audio we love Edius 7 less. We simply cannot master our audio in Edius and have to round trip the audio to our favorite DAW to make it work. Not a killer but we’d love it if Edius had a stronger audio workflow.   The built in effects are actually pretty good and the ability to record fader movements in real time is nice.  However, we're more likely to work in Saw Studio and bring the audio back in for critical work.

Edius 7 offers a wide range of options when it comes time to render your project. The HQX codec looks every bit as good as other intermediary codecs such as QuickTime ProRes or AVID DNxHD at similar bit rates and settings. There’s also lots of other pro options such as P2 AVC-Intra 100, XDCAM, MPEG2, H.264 and more.   In most cases we’re either delivering a master quality file or uploading to YouTube and Vimeo so the rendering options available in Edius 7 are plenty. If you have the need to regularly provide a wide variety of playback formats you may need a third party program in addition to Edius 7.  

So, if you're running Edius 6 or 6.5 should you upgrade now? Maybe. If you're happy with the performance and 8-bit color depth is working for you and you have a variety of 32-bit plug-ins, you may want to hold off for a bit. However, if you've embraced a 64-bit workflow and you want the best possible performance going forward than the upgrade to Edius 7 is a worthwhile investment.   If you're committed to Edius as your future NLE then we see no need to wait.

We like the Edius has evolved over the years. We're happy the USB key authorization got abandoned with 6.5 and now Grass Valley is moving forward with 64bit development with the release of Edius 7. We hope the next steps are a subtle UI update and improved audio tools.

Visit Grass Valley for more information and all the specs on Edius 7.

And check out the recently launched Edius World micro site.



The Akai MPX8 is a portable sample player with decent playability and sound for a hundred bucks. The eight velocity sensitive pads have a decent feel given the MPX8 only weighs about a pound. Akai includes a USB cable for data and power connectivity and a 3.5mm MIDI in and out cable. The sound out of the MPX8 is about what you would expect for $99. For Sound Test 1 We plugged it into the Mackie and direct to our DAW without any processing and here’s a sample of a basic urban kit that gives you some feeling for the oomph. For Sound Test 2 we sweeted the mix with a little reverb and external processsing. This is a box that definitely needs a little help to make it shine.

Again, keep in mind the price point. We would not use the MPX8 for recording critical tracks. Instead, it would be handy in a live performance or broadcast situation where having a batch of samples, musical or otherwise, ready to go can come in handy. It’s easy to load sounds and different kits but the performance is slow. Turn the dial and wait. Turn the dial and wait. We updated the firmware which is supposed to improve performance but still found the MPX8 too slow to respond. So this would inhibit live performance beyond pre-configured kits. Akai includes a batch of loops and sounds for download that are a good starting point. There’s nothing special or new about the sounds but the quality and variety is pretty good and of course you can make your own samples. All sounds can be tuned and enhanced with the built-in reverb. It’s enough to make a batch of sounds more versatile but limited in scope. Turn it up or turn it down. Akai doesn’t include much in the way of built-in memory so an SD card is required to load samples. The included software to edit kits is straightforward. We recommend using the software instead of trying to edit kids using the slow responding dial and wobbly buttons on the MPX8. For $99 the Akai MPX8 is actually a fun portable sample player to have on hand. It’s a good entry level device for anyone new to sampling. Keep in mind, you still need to create and manage your samples on a computer. But, once you load them on the MPX8 you're good to go. Just power up and play or trigger via MIDI. Because of its size and decent sound don’t be surprised if you see these popping up in the studio and on stage. Visit Akai for more information and all the specs.



The Atomos Samurai Blade is an excellent addition to a DSLR video workflow. We recently used the Blade on a shoot recording 4:2:2 ProRes from a Canon 5D Mark III. This codec eats up about 43% more storage compared to native files created by the 5D. So, for example, if you're used to using 128GB worth of CF cards on a shoot, a 128GB SSD won't cut it. You'll need a 256GB SSD to account for the increased data rate that the Blade requires.

So is it worth it to have another box hanging off your DSLR rig? For the most part yes. One of the reasons we like shooting with the C300 is the audio is captured directly which saves us a step in post. The 5D of course has the mini jack for audio but in most cases benefits from using recordings made to external audio recorders.

Now with the Samurai Blade we capture in ProRes or DNxHD and we have the audio in synch with an edit friendly codec ready for post. Best of all, we capture to SSD which is more rugged and plenty fast to plug right into our workstation. We would never advise using HDDs in the Blade. It's just silly to risk a hard disk failure when SSDs are available at $99 for 128GB.

Atomos really pimps the Blade as a multifunction devices, especially the quality of the monitor. Our DPs agree. The Blade is sharp, crisp and has beautiful color. The screen on the Blade is 5 inches in size, runs at a native resolution of 1280 × 720, and also works as a Waveform monitor/vectorscope and includes other functions such as peaking, zebras, blue only, false color, it's all pretty much here.

The screen is bright and is good for shooting in most conditions. Atomos has a sunshade option which should significantly improve shooting in bright conditions but we didn't use it.

We're liking the waveform/vectorscope. Simply switch it on and choose full-screen, bottom right as an overlay, or show the scopes as a horizontal strip down the bottom of screen.

When we shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III we like to capture DNxHD or ProRes to the Blade and a backup copy in the native Canon MP4 format direct to Compact Flash.  Capturing the audio in synch with the video can be done by adjusting the settings on the Blade.  In our tests we were able to synch the audio by adjusting the Blade +5.   Of course we also capture audio to the Sound Devices 664.  This way we have multiple copies of both audio and video.  Capturing the audio with the DNxHD and ProRes video saves us the task of synching it in post.  Depending on your geat you may have to experiement a little before you get everything synched up.  

The BNC connectors are full-size, industry standard. This device is built to connect to anything in a post production or broadcast environment. The unit feels light and solid. The recorder will trigger over SDI from camera giving you seamless start/stop recording. We used the dual recording feature to capture to CF and SSD simultaneously. The ProRes footage is cleaner. It doesn't have that darkening effect of the MP4 codec inside the 5D. Yes, it's subtle difference and without having side by side footage to compare they both look great. But, if you want the cleanest footage and better performance in post ProRes 4.2.2 or DNxHD are both excellent choices.

So how do you know you're getting the good stuff? The Blade is a great unit for reviewing and pre-editing your footage. You can quickly review footage, marking clips as Favorites or Rejects; you can also mark "in" and "out" points for each of the clips you select this information can then be exported as an XML file readable by your NLE. We didn't use this much but nice for organization.

One of our DPs said, "My view on the Blade is that it is so good as a monitor I would use it for this reason alone. ProRes recording is something I don’t always have to have but good monitoring is essential."

The Blade is light and portable and runs off light-weight Sony batteries or compatible batteries. You can use the Blade on-camera, off-camera, or attached to an arm and position wherever you wish. We used it with our Zacuto rig.

The accessories that come with the Blade seem a little unrefined. We have the external box the SSD slides into and the external connector that the SSD just snaps onto. The box could use some refinement, such as softer rounded edges. You could easily cut open a cardboard box with the sharp corners on this thing.

Other than the accessories the overall Samurai Blade package is dynamite and is a good addition to most any video acquisition and post workflow, especially with cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark III or similar.

Visit Atomos for more information and all the specs.



The Squeeze 9 pro bundle with Sorenson 360 is a powerful solution for encoding, sharing, getting approvals and streaming. Sorenson has added standard post production codecs such as DNxHD and improved the speed of the engine taking better advantage of multi-core systems.

On the surface it's not so obvious why you would need 360. YouTube and Vimeo make it pretty easy to share, stream and embed content. And in many regards that's true. If you have a fast connection and upload a video using a master quality codec such as ProRes or DNxHD, YouTube or Vimeo both do an excellent job of encoding and streaming content at all levels of quality, whether it’s to your smart TV at 1080p or your mobile devices at 360.

However, once you experience the complete Sorenson Squeeze/360 workflow you quickly realize the value in the solution. Essentially, it boils down to quality, control and brand. There's more, but those three qualities are what drives adoption at agencies and the enterprise. Plus, it's easy to use. So non-production geeks will have no trouble getting up to speed and managing assets.

The 360 UI is gorgeous. The team at Sorenson really did an outstanding job of packing in a lot of functionality but making it intuitive and even fun to use. 360 does not feel like some bolted on FTP and CMS utility with limited functionality. It's so much more than that. It's a media platform that allows full customization of your content for nearly any kind of playback device.  Still pics don't do it justice.  So it's best to test it in action for yourself.

With the 360 platform you have complete control of your brand and assets. There will not be arbitrary recommended videos displayed alongside your branded content. Logos and bugs can be dynamically updated. The player can be customized in endless ways to work with your brand. Setting up emails lists for approvals is seamless. It's clear that the development team has a profound understanding of professional workflows.

Also included with 360 is nicely designed dashboard that gives you everything you need to know about your content at a glance: encoding profile, metrics, live status, video thumbnail, password protection, format and download, closed captioning, SEO, permalink, review and approval status. Yes, if you've done any kind of content development for a Fortune 500, agency, or even a busy startup you know how important all this stuff is and how often you'll use it.

So back to Squeeze 9. Yes it's better than previous versions. Sorenson updated Squeeze with more production codecs such as DNxHD and faster performance. We were able to push our 12 core Xeon workstation to full utilization while performing multiple encodes. The h.264 and x.264 options
are improved with more customization and take full advantage of CPU and CUDA cores for very good performance.

So the Squeeze/360 bundle delivers. Sorenson really understands today's video workflow and it shows in its latest offering. While we like Squeeze what really impressed us most was the well thought out design of 360. The beautiful UI, features and seamless workflow make this an attractive solution where quality, control and brand come first.

Visit Sorenson for more information, all the specs and to take Squeeze/360 for a spin.

You can check out a recent batch of encodes featuring common Squeeze presets here.


The Sound Devices 664 is a mixer than can do it all and so much more. One of our regular sound guys just updated his rig to the 664. He's been up and running for about six months and we wanted to get his real world review of the 664 in action.  The 664 has been put to use on all the major networks, reality programming and sporting events.

Here's his take. From corporate shoots to run and gun reality jobs I have a new level of confidence work with the Sound Devices 664. The brand has really established itself as the industry standard that you'll see on 9 out of 10 shoots and for good reason. When sound is just as important as video, which for us is always, you don't want to mess around.

The Sound Devices 664 is a far more capable mixer that has made my life easier in the field. The 664 features six 6 XLR inputs backed by incredible pre-amps that provide that clean, crisp sound with plenty of headroom. Whether I'm doing a simple single camera shoot or multi-camera production the 664 gives me plenty of flexibility.

With two 10 pin Hirose connectors you get one simple cable connecting to camera sending a stereo mix with also a stereo return going back from the camera to assure that what you are sending is 100% clean. Standard left and right output XLRs also have their own separate return making the 664 have 3 stereo returns to monitor to assure that everything is hunky dorie. And if that's not enough you have another pair of TA3 outputs just in case you have to send more out.

What I love most about the 664 is the LCD screen. It displays all the metering, returns and menu controls of the mixer. With just 2 push buttons it's easy to navigate through the settings and make quick and easy adjustments.

Oh, and let's not forget it is also a full-fledged digital audio recorder as well. Borrowing DNA from the Sound Devices 7 series of recorders, the 664 can record 10 channels. Two of the channels are a left right mix, 6 are isolated channels and the last 2 are for the auxiliary channels. The aux channels are completely assignable and also have their own dedicated outs separate from the other 4 main outs which gives you even more capability.  We always record.  If anything goes wrong with a feed to the camera or something happens in post we always have pristine backups on the 664.  These days we often shoot with a 5D Mark III workflow so pristine audio from the 664 is essential for post.  We had one scenario where the memory card in the 5D was curropt but the producer was able to salvage the interview with the recording of the inteview on the 664 and broll.   We've had good results on the 664 using 64GB Extreme Pro compact flash cards from SanDisk.

For example, say your producer has 2 cameras and he/she wants channel 1 and 2 of your mixer to camera A but also wants channel 3 and 4 going to camera B. Well with the aux outs that's no problem. Before the 664 I'd have to bring a second audio mixer to pull this off.

So that's pretty sweet. The 664 is a 6 channel mixer that is also a full-on timecoded recorder with plenty of outputs. Get a curveball thrown at you, no problem. You still have 2 more separate aux outs in your back pocket and its all displayed with a easy straight forward LCD screen.

But wait there's more. What is this a Ronco ad? With the Sound Devices CL6 adaptor attached to the 664 you now get a total of 12 channels! Crazy!

So yeah, I'm pretty happy with the 664. It's my go to workhorse. It has a small form factor for bag applications and is very light so all this kick ass sound stuff doesn't break my back. Nice.

For the complete specs and more information about the 664 and other Sound Devices products assembled here in the US check'em out here.


The first time we got a preview of Smoke 2013 at last year’s NAB show it was very impressive and we eagerly awaited the final release this year. Now, that we’ve had a chance to play with it we’re still excited about the potential of Smoke 2013 but our initial attempt to get up to speed on the software has us a little less enthused. Smoke just isn’t as intuitive as we had hoped and the transition from a traditional NLE and effects package may take some time.  So while some experienced Smoke users may find this latest iteration easier to master we were having a harder time.

For this review we worked with two active bay area pros who are experienced using Final Cut, Premiere, Vegas, After Effects, Edius..etc and regularly do broadcast and corporate work.  The iniital conclusion from two independent pros is; “Smoke is hard”. This isn’t really a review of the software in action but rather a review of the initial migration form say Final Cut/CS6 + After Effects  to simply using Smoke 2013.  Everyone's excited by the possibility of working entirely in smoke but getting there will take some time.

Pro 1 writes:
As I try to find ways to break into the "Autodesk Way of Thinking", I keep running into roadblocks. My initial perception is that AutoDesk has created a basic screen layout for Smoke 2013 that is similar to the standard NLEs. But beneath the surface is a way of thinking that is very different from Final Cut or Premiere.

For example, last night I just spent about 20-minutes trying to use the resize filter on a clip. In Final Cut I can resize and move a video clip in just a few clicks. In Smoke...well...I'm still not sure exactly how to do it and the help menu didn't really help, which brings me to another point: I'm finding it hard to find tutorials online that are specifically helpful to what I want to learn.

There is an abundance of material out there, but I just haven't had time to wade through it to find the good stuff yet. And many of the tutorials "assume knowledge" that I don't yet have. On the other hand, I find it really easy to find helpful tutorials for Final Cut, Premiere, Photoshop, etc. The user-community must simply be larger and more robust for these other programs.

On the flip side, I'm excited about what may be Smoke's biggest strength for editors like me. If I can get past these initial hurdles, I think Smoke offers a way of editing that is not only very powerful, but requires a lot less "round tripping". Instead of using multiple programs like Final Cut, Photoshop, After Effects, etc to complete a project, I may be able to do it all in Smoke. And so, if I can learn Smoke, then it's possible that I won't have to spend as much time mastering all those other programs.

Here's the catch. When I first started editing with Final Cut Pro, I fell in love. I had been trying to learn Avid and found it very frustrating. But the "Apple Way of Thinking" in Final Cut just immediately made sense to me. Once I learned something, I could put it in my tool bag and use it any time I wanted. It wasn't hard to remember stuff. And so I'm concerned that, in the end, I will be unhappy with Smoke if it is just too complicated. On the other hand, I'm hopeful that Smoke will soon begin to feel more like Photoshop: very complicated, lots of depth...but so useful that it's worth the effort.

Pro 2 Writes:
Autodesk says Smoke is designed for video editors who need to do more than just edit.  That's pretty much all of us these days. I’m one of those people that will take the time to figure out a program if I think the payoff will be worth it. I’m excited about Smoke 2013 because of the potential of having such a powerful all in one program. And I’m a long term Autodesk fan. I still use Combustion and actually prefer it to After Effects although these days I’m forced to use After Effects much more to stay current.

I was expecting Smoke 2013 to be more intuitive than it is. I moved off the Mac platform after Apple decided it was no longer making Mac towers, at least not as frequently as they used to. I’ve been working on PC workstations for several years and had fully committed to the Windows platform.

Along comes Smoke 2013 and I now have a reason to by a new Mac tower, which Apple finally decided to release in the fall. That’s how excited I am about Smoke. I literally will invest in a new tower just to run it.

To be fair I’ve been running Smoke on an underpowered MacBook Pro. I'm not trying to evaluate the performance and speed but rather just get familiar with the work flow to see if I really could move from CS6 and Vegas to Smoke 2013.

Combustion and even Cleaner Xl back in the day were always a little quirky and never intuitive as other software to me. However, with some work I was able to get comfortable and master the software. My initial foray into Smoke 2013 is a different story. Even after watching the tutorials, I still find myself stumbling through the interface to the point of frustration and simply closing the program down. I normally love playing with new software and I want to love Smoke 2013 but the learning curve is getting in the way.

So that’s where we are right now.  We're about 60 days in with two pros who are actively working on video projects and would love to learn Smoke 2013 but are struggling to get up to speed. To be fair, we’ll give these pros more time to see what the reaction is once they actually figure out how to do real work with Smoke 2013.  The release of the new Mac Pros will help as well.  

Visit Autodesk for more information on Smoke 2013.



The NVIDIA Quadro K4000 Kepler based cards are a nice step up from the previous generation Quadro 4000 Fermi based cards. This card is in the sweet spot of workstation performance and is a solid choice for users considering a single slot design in the $800 price range.

The Quadro K4000 has upped the CUDA cores by 3x to 768 and 1GB of memory for a total of 3GB of GDDR5 memory. Most impressively perhaps is the reduction in power consumption. This single slot design now has a maximum power rating of 80W. This made a huge difference in our workstation with quieter and better overall system performance.

The K4000 can drive multiple displays but in most cases we find ourselves driving 1 large display, such as a 30inch at 2560x1600, versus multiple displays. This gives us lots of real estate and detail without shifting our eyes back and forth. Most of the creative houses we work with have artists in front of 1 large display with the occasional video reference monitor, of course. However, we mostly used just 1 display with the K4000. For advanced high-end visual computing needs or video walls you can drive multiple displays using DP 1.2 resolution of 3840x2160.

In our working environment, noise and sound are an important consideration. We don't have the luxury of an isolated workstation we access remotely in the edit suite. Our test Supermicro workstation does not have the interior space or optimized workflow that a Dell or HP workstation benefits from. It’s tighter inside the Supermicro case and requires more active cooling from the mid-plane fans. Our test system was fully populated with 1 SSD and 7 HDDs. We also used every available slot for sound, DSP, SATA III and either eSata or legacy firewire cards, all generating some heat.

This system is primarily used to run the Adobe CS6 suite, the Sony Creative suite, Grass Valley Edius, Combustion and myriad utilities, effects plug-ins and compression apps. We’re still waiting for Apple to unleash its new Mac towers so we can test the Quadro K5000 Mac version with Smoke 2013. However, for now we’re very pleased with the performance of the K4000 in our Windows 7 workstation. We like that NVIDIA is active in the pro video community and actively working with companies such as AJA, Blackmagic Design and Matrox to further utilize its designs and improve performance and workflows.

We ran this system continuously from the time we got the Quadro K4000. It's been about three months and it’s been rock solid. All of our creative suites run butter smooth and benefit from fast render times when using codecs that exploit the extra CUDA cores. Premiere CS6 and its Mercury engine love the K4000. We like the instant previews, real time editing and general performance that feels more like pure hardware. The H.264 renders in Vegas under specific settings were very fast but the software doesn't always take advantage of the GPU for rendering.

The previous Quadro 4000 was hot to the touch after extended use and occasionally our system fans would cycle up and down as needed to keep the system running cool. The Quadro K4000 runs warm to the touch and our system fans do not cycle up and down. Because the Quadro K4000 consumes less power and produces less heat it’s less taxing on the system overall.

With better performance and less power consumption in the same single slot footprint the K4000 is a worthy upgrade over the previous generation Quadro 4000.

Visit NVIDIA for more information and all the specs on the Kepler line of Quadro workstation cards.


HitFilm 2 Ultimate is an easy to use effects and compositing tool that offers outstanding value under $400. With the latest release just yesterday of Vegas Pro 12 being more stable we’re looking forward to integrating HitFilm 2 Ultimate into the work flow.

We’ve been primarily testing HitFilm 2 Ultimate in standalone mode and it takes a little getting used to the XML GUI. We’ve certainly grown accustomed to more traditional Windows programs. However, once you start to play with the software a bit and understand the flow it quickly becomes addictive.

HitFilm 2 Ultimate has a lot of useful presets and offers infinite ways to tweak and create new ones from scratch. Be prepared to spend hours and hours experimenting and playing. It’s fun.

HitFilm 2 Ultimate offers a decent NLE workflow making it possible to complete an entire project without round-tripping to other apps. However, this is better suited toward tweaking an edit versus building it from scratch. Hang on to your preferred NLE of choice.

We were hoping that HitFilm 2 Ultimate would allow us to export a codec optimized for editing such as AVID DNxHD but the software currently has limited export options. In spite of that, HitFilm 2 Ultimate offers a very good value compare to other popular effects software and is certainly worth a download to test for you.

Visit HitFilm for all the specs and to download a trial version.
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The 6TB version of the Glyph GT 062E external RAID can be configured as JBOD, RAID 0 or RAID 1. We tested it in both the RAID 0 and the RAID 1 configurations and were generally pleased with the performance.

Glyph Technologies created a solid box with an internal power supply to house the two internal 7200 RPM SATA drives. The GT 062E starts up quickly and creates just a bit of white noise. We placed it on the desk in the edit suite and it was barely audible. Placing it a few feet away or in a rack and the sound of the GT 062E will be masked by other equipment in the room.

The case includes a cooling fan that sucks in air through the nicely designed vents in front and out the back of the unit. After prolonged periods of use the case never appeared to heat up much. This is the opposite of passive designs that rely on the case as a heat sink. Over time this could become a noise issue once the fan starts to fail but we like the peace of mind knowing the drives are being ventilated properly.

The Glyph GT 062E performs best in RAID 0 mode. We primarily used it with Avid DNxHD files and native P2 formats such as AVC Intra-100. However, in RAID 0 mode the GT 062E takes much longer to be recognized by the system when first connected. Whether using USB, eSATA or Firewire modes the RAID 0 configuration can cause some frustration. We connected it to a couple of workstations with the Sonnet E4P card installed and experience the same slow initial behavior. When we change the configuration to RAID 1 we didn’t experience any strange delays in the drive being recognized and ready for use.

We don’t find the Glyph Manager software very friendly or useful. It reports the status of the drive but doesn’t seem to have much functionality other than changing the RAID configuration.

We’d primarily use the Glyph GT 062E as a backup and transfer drive between sessions and vendors versus an online array. It’s great to have a rugged, portable drive set in RAID 1 with nearly 3TB of usable capacity and a built in power supply. Firewire 400/800, eSATA and USB 2.0 offer plenty of connectivity although USB 2.0 is really a turtle for large amounts of data. USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt should be included in next gen products to keep pace.

Visit Glyph Technologies for more information and all the specs on teh GT 062E



The Lowepro Pro Roller x300 Case can accommodate a couple of DSLRs with grips and up to 10 lenses and accessories. It includes a nicely padded interior that’s fully customizable and removable. The interior pops out and can be worn like a back pack. However, when we filled it with gear we much preferred to roll it around.

The x300 is made of a touch nylon similar to what you would find on more expensive travel gear and it’s water resistant if you get caught in less than ideal conditions. The wheels are touch enough for most conditions however outside on rough terrain, cobblestone paths…etc., we found ourselves carrying the entire case versus risking breaking a wheel.

Fully packed with gear the x300 is easy to maneuver and lift into the overhead bin of an airplane. It sized just about right and everything can be packed nice and tight so you don’t feel like there’s anything shifting around inside the case.

There is a Lock and Go System that is a retractable cable connecting a TSA approved Travel Sentry lock that secures all components and pockets. There is a Hideaway Tripod Mount that secures a tripod two ways at the front or side of the case. Perhaps these features are useful to some but we’d mostly use this case as a carry-on and we usually have a human to carry the tripod. We also, didn’t use the prop foot too much. The 30-45° angle wasn’t a big time save and we generally just laid the case flat when moving gear in and out.

Overall, the Pro Roller x300 functions like a really good camera case on wheels. When you break it down to the fundamentals the wheels are what we would like to see improved. It would have been such a great feeling to wheel the case down that gobble stone street without fear versus picking it up and carrying it. Not a big deal, but more important to us than a tripod mount or the prop foot. Still the Lowepro x300 is a good choice for the DSLR shooter that needs a quality carry-on for travel. We've taken it on several trips now and it has held up very well. We can recommend this for the traveling DSLR shooter.

Visit Lowepro for more information and all the specs on the x300 and other rolling cases.


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With ColorFast

NewBlue Colorfast makes it very easy to correct, control and experiment with color in any of the leading NLE platforms. The white balance with eyedropper is super handy as a starting point. You can precisely control how much correction is applied and very quickly dial in your video. Very handy under tight deadlines.

Additional controls include brightness, film gamma, saturation and the ability to mask portions of the image and isolate regions for specific adjustments such as skin tone while still tweaking the rest of the image.



















Without ColorFast

We tested NewBlue Colorfast with both Vegas Pro 11/12 and Adobe Premiere CS6. It shows up like any other plug-in and is very intuitive and easy to use. You can make simple adjustments just to make your video pop a bit more or really go crazy and experiment.

Colorfast played nice with both of our test NLEs and we didn't experience any strange behavior or crashes as a result of using the plug-in, which is not always the case with some of these plugs. Most importantly we were very pleased with the end results.

NewBlue has created a very handy little plug-in with ColorFast that's effortless to use. It's certainly worth a trial for anyone considering adding a simple yet powerful color correction tool to their NLE arsenal.

Visit NewBlue to find out more about ColorFast.

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All right, now we're talking. The initial release of Vegas Pro 12 let us down with constant crashing and problems with our P2 media. Sony released an update on November 2nd that has us feeling much better about Vegas Pro 12 and its ability to handle P2 media natively. We tested it using the AVC-Intra 100 codec and about 100GB worth of files. We just dragged everything to the timeline. Vegas Pro 12 took a little time to catch up and draw the wav forms but everything was in synch and it didn't crash. Not removing Vegas 11 and Raylight from the system just yet but the latest update seems to have fixed the P2 issues.


We also dumped lots of different media into the timeline while very aggressivley jumping around, scrubbing, right clicking and trying to work very fast. So far, "Build 394" is much more stable than the initial release. If you recently made the jump to Vegas Pro 12 you should get the notification of the new software release automatically unless you've turned this off in the software or your NLE system isn't online. Be sure to grab the latest update here. Update: we're now on build 770 and it's been very stable.  Every now and then we have an issue rendering DNxHD but for the most part it's been quite good.

Audio is such an important part of what we do and after working in Media Composer, Premiere and Edius we really appreciate the audio capabilites of Vegas Pro 12.  

We experienced good peformance with HD footage taken on the Canon 5D Mark III. Vegas 12 is able to work with these files without the need to transcode to DNxHD or ProRes and the performance seems improved over Vegas 11. This is a huge time saver, especially under tight deadlines. For the next example, we shot the interviews using the 5D Mark III and dropped in additional broll from the Antartica expedition. We also mastered the sound and added some wind for the open. All done in the Vegas Pro 12 timeline. No transcoding and no roundtrips to another application.


We were really glad ot see the update to Vegas 12 because in our first version of this review Vegas Pro 12 was not functioning on all cylinders. The product marketing team did a good job of adding the right features to Vegas Pro 12 but the execution isn't entirely there. If Vegas 11 is working for you you might want to hold off on the upgrade. If Vegas 11 is crashing on you for whatever reason definitely run the trial of Vegas 12 to see if things improve. There are lots of new features but we're a little skeptical given our initial first impression. We imagine it will keep improving with subsequent updates and now that the P2 issues have been worked out it's much more compelling.

Sony's tech support group is very slow to respond. We usually find the various online forums to be a more effective way to get answers on little tweaks and fixes that can help performance. We encountered a scenario where the explorer tab in Sony Vegas Pro 12 no longer displayed the contents inside the folders. It just stopped working. We didn't make any changes to our preferences or the layout. Needless to say once you no longer have the ability to browse for files using the Explorer window in Sony Vegas it becomes very frustrating to use requiring you to toggle in and out of directories. Well, after quite a bit of searching, we tried a master reset of all our Vegas settings and that did the trick. Control + Shift during restart while launching Vegas and low and behold the Explorer tab returned to its normal operation.

One last thing to note is the GPU acceleration. We've experienced a couple of problems with plug-ins when GPU acceleration is turned on. So to keep things stable we've opted to keep it turned off. We didn't notice much of an improvement in performance anyway. This is an area where Sony could make some improvements and offer better real time previews at higher resolutions.

Test System: Supermicro Workstation Dual hexcore Xeons 24 GB memory SSD for OS and apps, SSDs and Velociraptors for data, Quadro 4000/video Windows 7 Pro. Other software that is running great on this system includes: Adobe CS6 Production Suite, Edius 6.5, Combustion, Sorenson Squeeze, AVID Media Composer, and Vegas 11.

Visit Sony for more information and all the specs on Sony Vegas Pro 12.




















We just finished this video shot solely on the Canon 5D Mark III. Originally, we were going to use the Sony EX3 or Panasonic HPX250, both which work very well in a conference setting where portability and a versatile lens are required. However, this time we opted for the Canon 5D Mark III to give the piece a little more of that cinematic look everyone is after these days.



Canon made some really nice improvements with the 5D Mark III including the improved 22.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, and 61-Point autofocus with extended ISO range. This camera is capable of taking great still and HD video making it extremely versatile, especially in tight situations. Of course, a handful of your favorite EF lenses are required to get the variety of shots you want.

One of the best parts of using a DSLR to shoot video is the ability to travel with less stuff and a smaller overall footprint. We easily fit everything in the hatch of a small wagon. For once, our audio engineer and DP were lugging the same amount of stuff. Sachtler sticks and a Zacuto Scorpion rig came in handy.

The downside to using a camera like the Canon 5D Mark III is you might find yourself in a situation where you don’t have the right lens on the camera to capture the shot you anticipated getting when the unexpected happens. However, for the most part with good planning we were able to swap lenses in time for most of what we wanted to shoot.  

Unlike the C300 that has proper XLR connectors the Canon 5D Mark III features a mini stereo plug. For our interviews we fed audio into the camera via mini stereo connectors from the Sound Devices mixer and also captured audio directly to compact flash on the mixer as a backup. Sure, we prefer the XLRs on the C300 for audio but in this form factor the mini-stereo plug worked just fine and having the backup files made us more comfortable.  Video was recorded in 1080p at 30fps using the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec in a .mov wrapper. At the end of nearly 2 full days of shooting we had about 110GB or data.

The video codec used on the 5D Mark III is not ideal for editing. On the same systems we edit AVC-Intra 100 and a variety of other source footage without any hiccups, the MPEG4 AVC codec used by the 5D tended to bog things down. When you think of how aggressively the codec works to maximize the amount of video that can be saved to flash memory it's not surprising.  We ended up rendering initial rough cuts of interviews and broll as AVID DNxHD files and working with these. This was well worth the extra step for better real time previewing and finishing.

Overall, we were very impressed with the 5D Mark III for capturing both stills and video and found it to be an incredibly versatile camera.

Visit Canon for more infomation on the 5D Mark III.