Dana Dolly Review

Dana Dolly: Smooth Moves and Flexability #DanaDolly #SmoothMove #FilmGear

FiveSix Productions recently acquired at very cool, new tool for our arsenal that once again adds big tool/big budget features and abilities in a manageable size and for our Las Vegas Video Production team.

The Dana Dolly enables traditional dolly moves with equipment that is a fraction of the size, utilizing a fraction of the space. Now, before anyone gets too excited, there of course are limitations to the Dana Dolly that a traditional dolly wouldn't encounter. There is a weight limit for cameras on the Dana Dolly, a traditional dolly may be able to allow for more maneuverability of the camera on the mount (if it is equipped with a hydraulic arm that can raise and lower), and with the Dana Dolly, the operator can't switch sides mid shot, should that need arise. However, the Dana Dolly can hold up to 100lbs of camera, there certainly is a fair amount of maneuverability with the Dana Dolly's heads and attachments, and finally, there shouldn't be too many instances where the op wouldn't be able to get the shot from one side of the track. On top of all of that, the Dana Dolly can be positioned much more liberally and creatively compared to a very large and cumbersome cinedolly.

There are many different dollies of varying size, dimensions, uses, and more; the best thing is to buy what is going to be most practical and affordable for your most common needs. Having a dolly on set can add a really wonderful touch to any shoot, especially when doing pick-up shots during an interview, and it's a dream to have for b-roll.

If you are interested in renting a Dana Dolly, or full size cinedolly, our friends at F11 Rentals have both to accommodate your needs.


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Safety On Set #SafetyOnSet #FilmSetSafetyPractices

Safety on a film or video set should be priority one. On a big film or television set, or even on a music video, many times there are huge lights, a forest of stands and arms, and many lines of electricity running about. On a smaller video set, much like the ones that we at FiveSix Productions work on frequently, there are smaller lights, a much thinner forest of stands and arms, and typically, not deadly amounts of electricity, but still, one small mishap could be the difference between a good shoot, and a trip to the emergency room.

Some very simple, but often times overlooked or ignored safety precaution, that if done regularly, will become second nature, is utilizing sand bags on all your stands, irregardless of the size of light or flag attached. Even though a C-Stand seems stable, physics will prove that they're actually quite easy to knock over; I would hate to take even a 150 to the noodle. Bonus tip: the more sand bags you use, the more jacked and ripped you'll get; as the bros say, "Curls get the girls".

Whether you're a grip or not, proper work gloves can save your hands from burns, cuts, and pinches; I'd rather have healthy digits with which to eat delicious tacos with, eating with hooks is for chumps.

Also, never underestimate the value and power of your voice. Calling out "points" on set, can save you from nailing your director or talent in the grill with that 650 you're flying in. With your big boy or big girl voice, call out "striking" or "eyes" when you turn on any light; while it seems refreshing to have 1000 watts of beautiful 3200 Kelvin light blasting in your eye balls, it's not a healthy choice.

Corralling and organizing your stingers, XLRs, B&Cs, and emotions will also help in the prevention of slips, trips, and ... nothing else rhymes. Keep it organized, and use that gaff tape, there's plenty to go around.

Lastly, and most difficult of all, use common sense. It may not seem like you have any, but, it's in there, deep, deep down. Use your common sense, take an extra moment to "get it right", and no need to rush, let's be honest, there's no real hurry on any set.


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Get Your Head in the Cloud #Adobe #Creative Cloud #PremiereProCC

In recent years, the accessibility and approachability of cinema quality recording devices has allowed film making to find it's way into our everyday life. From cinema quality images created by DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III (only $2,800.00) and even the 6D or 7D Mark II (both of which come in under $2,o00.00), and even the awesome images created by the Apple iPhone, film making has become something that anyone can do for a reasonable price. It's not just the ability to create video for the common person, it's now that you, your buddy, your mom, anyone, can not only create video with their smart phone, but the images are beautiful, cinema quality. (Good lighting, angles, and story are sold separately.)

Along with the influx of cameras is the recent accessibility and affordability of editing software that is not only user friendly and simple to learn, but it's also Hollywood quality. While Avid has been the industry standard, and is still used by many an editing house and on many a feature film, Adobe's Premiere Pro and even for a while Apple's Final Cut Pro have (had) been used increasingly more on television, feature films (such as Gone Girl) and on your mom's documentary of Christmas morning and your first date - you didn't see her in the bushes filming you with her iPhone 6 did you? While there are many "seasoned" editors who swear that there is no way you can produce a quality edited product on Premiere, more and more pieces are coming out that prove just the opposite. Again though, it's not just the ability to create professional products, it's the fact that, like with a DSLR, you don't have to be a seasoned, long time film/television professional to even understand and utilize the equipment/software.

With the advent of "the cloud", Adobe has made their long and generous line of software products available at an incredibly affordable rate per month. For around $50 a month, one could get their "holy-crap" package that comes with literally everything they have to offer; you could edit a film, color correct it, do professional audio editing, after effects, and more for a fraction of what Avid costs.

So, there you go... if you love Avid, which there is nothing wrong with, have a ball; but, if you're like most people on Earth, I say go with the budget friendly option that will work just as well. You can take that extra cash and buy a sweet shirt or... some tacos for your friends.


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This is what Christmas is like in Australia #Canon C300 MarkII #Upgrade #What Mattress Did I Put Those Unmarked Non-sequential $20s In?

It's odd to think of celebrating our "winter" holidays of Christmas/Hanukkah, New Years, etc., in the summer when it's time for baseball, grilling, and vacations at the beach- but that's what's going on for some of our friends in the Southern Hemisphere. I think though, with the recent announcement of the Canon C300 Mark II, I'm beginning to understand the combined joy of home runs, boogie boards, and chestnuts on an open fire. All in all, it's 90 degrees and sunny, and it feels like it's time to light the menorah.

The Canon C300 Mark II is an evolutionary cinema EOS 4K camera that has raised the bar higher than our pals in Colorado and Washington. Not only is it capable of internal and external 4K/2K/full HD recording, but Canon developed an 8.85 Megapixel Canon Super 35mm 16:9 CMOS image sensor that records at a maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels and provides a high-speed readout for reduced rolling shutter distortion. That all equates to a larger-than-life, gorgeous picture that will make your neighbors feel like the poor kid at the arcade.

Canon didn't stop with sensors, they threw dual DIGIC DV5 image processors in to help reduce visual noise and enable high-sensitivity shooting at an unheard of max speed of ISO 102,400 (or +54dB), i.e. you could shoot in your creepy cousin's dark apartment without much fuss.

That's a lot of numbers and acronyms, so lets wrap this up. The Mark II is an incredible new machine that will certainly revolutionize the industry; but make sure not to forget how amazing the older brother (the always dependable Canon C300) is. Our friends at F11 rentals have a couple if you find the need.


Why Panasonic p2 is failing #videoproduction #AU-XPD1 #Panasonic #p2

 

With the recent announcement of Panasonic's new AU-XPD1 Usb 3.0 p2 reader, it's a reminder why the P2 format is getting left behind.

Years back we relied solely on the Panasonic line of cameras. SDX-900s, HDX-900s, HVX-200s, HPX-500s and so on. About 3 years ago our projects were getting bottlenecked because off the off-load time of the P2. Panasonic offered a USB 2.0 card reader for over $300 or a firewire reader for over $2000. We looked into a new camera the Canon C300 which had better compression rates and shot to CF card. A usb 3.0 card reader runs under $20.

We also invested in the Sony SXS cameras. A 64GB card can record 144 minutes of footage and transfers via usb 3.0 4X faster than the p2. Our p2 cameras sat on the shelf for over a year until sonnet released a thunderbolt to p2 reader for under $300. While more expensive than a CF reader it was a great investment to make our cameras relevant again.

Which is why today's announcement reinforces why Panasonic is going the way of the dinosaur. A usb 3.0 drive for $495. Panasonic, the saying goes "Good/Fast/Cheap, pick 2". Your giving us Outdated/Slow/Expensive.

 


DJI Inspire 1- We Love Our Robot! #drone #las vegas video production #atlantic city video prpduction

So, do you remember that scene in I-Robot with Will Smith, where all the robots are enveloping him and his lady friend? Yeah, it's cloudy to me too. Decent flick, but no where near as cool as the Isaac Asimov novel that inspired it. He instilled a lovely fear of robots and technology in us all.

Rob Jax of FiveSix has a drone. This drone has a camera. This camera is of quality design and build. We got some decent footage (I hope) of beach and establishing shots of Caesars Atlantic City from the ocean.

The trick is to compensate for the wind, equate for the sun, and watch the birds! Holy cheese, watch the birds! They attack at will. Tip: small birds attack, big birds observe; it's a a size, territory thing.

Drones are dope, they offer great shots for a great value- and are a huge addition to so many projects. Just remember that you're the master, not the machine.

 

Check the flight out here: https://vimeo.com/125388988


General Sessions are for Coffee Lovers

Good morning from general session! There is no better time for convention goers to shake off last night's Vegas frolicking than a nice general session.

Free coffee, hot breakfast, and occasionally, a riveting keynote speaker have all attendees winning and feeling like they have tiger blood flowing through their veins. Find yourself in fortune's graces and you might even get a Billy Bean or show by Vegas' own Jabbawockeez.

FiveSix' HPX 500 and crew of courageous artisans are knee deep in the excitement and morning joe of another inspiring general session. If lady luck is ready to take a break from the table games, and the hopeful dreamers who bet the farm there every day, maybe she'll provide a Cameron-esque cinematic masterpiece to get us to lunch.


A Day on the Links #HPX500 #ENGshooting #runandgun #fore!

FiveSix Productions recently spent a wonderful day on the links with the always rugged and dependable HPX 500, and a furry, Chipotle burrito inspired wind screen.

The HPX 500 is a wonderful ENG -centric camera that shoots brilliant, broadcast quality HD video, and is perfect for run and gun. The shoulder mounted design coupled with easy access menus and operating buttons/dials, and zoom lens makes this camera both versital and quintessential on any ENG type shoot.

Even on a windy day, with over a dozen interviews and pick-up b-roll, the camera allowed our crew an easy go of it; and our awesome wind screen made audio a breeze- the pun was definitely intended.

Our friends at F11 Rentals can help you get the HPX 500 and many more tools on your next shoot.


FiveSix Video Production

Keepin' It Loose #FilmTechniques #LooseTripod #LasVegasVideoProduction #B-Roll

To set the tone, please watch this short clip from a cinematic masterpiece known as "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Here's the link.

As we can see, young Cameron here is having a hard time relaxing, he is caught in a moral and psychological dilemma about whether or not to accompany his pal Ferris on a day off from school. Cameron is already excused from school because of a subtle illness, but none the less, is no worse for the wear; there is no excuse not to join Ferris and Sloan on a gorgeous, Spring-day in Chicago. Cameron though, is still wound a little tight, so tight in fact, that Ferris claims Cameron can personally and physically assist in the process of converting a lump of coal into a diamond.

The moral of this story is, you've got to keep it loose. There is no sense in being wound so tight, or constrained beyond reason. The same can be said about your tripod head. David Dalasta of FiveSix Productions once imparted a bit of knowledge to me about keeping a loose and fluid tripod head when shooting anything from b-roll to some interviews (follow the link to view some FiveSix footage). Having a locked off tripod often can result in boring, and lack-luster shots, causing the audience to lose focus; by continually having slight movement and freedom in the shot, a much more organic and natural product will materialize.

Now, this technique is obviously not appropriate for every situation, but keep the thought on the back burner and don't be afraid to give it a try, you might just like what you find.

Ferris Bueller: Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.


Attack of the Drones #Drones #FilmingWithDrones #Awesomeness

Long ago, in a galaxy far far away...

There is unrest in the production company. A swelling desire to film from the sky persists. Until now, only a twelve foot jib or a one-time throwing of the camera into the air would allow for beautiful over-heads.

Enter the DJI Inspire 1. Equipped with a 4K camera, optional dual-operator control, and a universe of awesomeness, the Inspire 1 can take on any task, from sweeping panoramic shots to battles with TIE Fighters.

This work of art that can surely be put on the same platform as say, a Millennium Falcon, will further enhance the FiveSix arsenal, and add another dimension to the Las Vegas video production world, as well as the Las Vegas production gear rental sphere.

May the force, and drones, be with you.