This is one of those products you run into while walking the show and you just have to stop and check it out. At first it looked like a company selling custom 3D glasses, everyone was trying them on and bobbing their head around. The product really is a nice fitting pair of glasses with a built in camera. You can use your Pivotheads as is, right out of the box. The default settings are engineered for the best all-around video and photo capture. All Pivothead video recording eyewear offers a standard suite of detailed Control Settings. Simply plug the provided USB 2.0 cable from your eyewear into your Mac, PC, or smartphone and press the ON button. Once connected, access the Control Panel to change the settings. The list of user adjustable settings is what really makes this hands free camera stand out. Multiple resolution modes, frame rates, time lapse, focus area control, audio, etc gives the user a wide latitude of capture possibilities. About $350 through Amazon Prime.
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This company has been developing high quality support rigs for many years. I personally believe they make the best adjustable shoulder pad on the market. This year at NAB they were showing off a prototype handle grip extension for the Canon C300. While it was just a pre-production model, it already gave me the chance to now put the C300 or C500 body on a shoulder rig and use the camera’s hand controller as one of the grips. The extension cable mounts securely to the camera body and the factory handle. Several Canon reps stopped by the booth to have a look, and I could tell that they were very impressed with the fit and finish of the product. SHAPE also has made some upgrades to their double click handles, replacing the steel with titanium. It’s now a shipping product and sells for $250 (Canadian) directly from SHAPE.
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Sachtler is a worldwide market leader for professional camera support systems for cinematography and television production. Sachtler products symbolize top quality and reliability. I have owned a wide variety of Sachtler products; most of them are over twenty years old now. They work just as well today as they did when they ere new, so it was not hard for me to like the new ACE system. The really big bonus for anyone looking to upgrade out of a still photo tripod system and move up to a true fluid head is the attractive price of the ACE. My suggestion would be to order the system with the floor spreader legs. For some reason, the tripod with the floor spreaders comes with the attachments already in place to accept the mid-level spreaders. So, all you have to buy would be the mid-level section and you now have both types of tripods. If you order just the mid-level system then you can’t add the floor support due to the difference in the foot design. Well under $550 for the complete kit with head, sticks, spreader, mounting plate and storage bag at B&H Photo/Video.
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You can’t have too many of these, says the Tiffen marketing blurb, and they’re right. Constructed of padded, hook and loop knit with a non-scratch nylon backing, these squares can be wrapped around lenses, camera bodies, or just about anything else. Hook and loop tabs on all four corners let you wrap and stick them in any shape. Available in black, blue, red, yellow and gray for easy organization and quick identification. They’re offered in three sizes: 11″, 15″ and 19″ squares. This is a very simple product that I find myself using more and more as I need to condense bags in my camera kits. I can wrap a camera body and primes up within their own Domke protective wraps, pack them in one or two larger carry on bags and not worry about the items rubbing against each other in transit. The wraps work much faster on location than dedicated zippered lens bags. The range of colors is also a bonus. Around $15 for the large 19″ size (the black color is linked here) and available from Amazon Prime and B&H Photo/Video.
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Billinghams’ new Photovest is made from a water resistant, plain weave textured nylon material. It’s lightweight, extremely durable, and at the same time is machine washable. Rather than traditional metal zippers, heavy-duty plastic coil zips are used because of their excellent reliability and long life, in addition to the fact that metal zippers are rather harsh on camera gear when worn around the neck. To further protect your gear, the zippers are covered with a fabric strip, which prevents them from coming in contact with cameras’ LCD view screens (I have scratched one or two HDSLR screens with traditional jacket zippers). Special attention has been taken to the positioning, size, and shape of the pockets on the Billingham Photovest. Four extra roomy pockets are located just under the arm. These can comfortably accommodate long lenses and can be zipped closed to prevent jostling. In addition, four large pockets located on either side of the vest, where your hand would naturally come to rest, can hold extra camera bodies. Many other pockets, both with and without zips, are located at important locations on the vest. These can carry papers, passport, memory cards, flash, and many other items, while a slightly padded shawl collar gives protection in the field.
I asked about having a roll-up hood sewn into the collar instead of just padding. Seemed like a better thing to have on a vest with so many zipper pockets already in it. An interior snap, located at mid-point of the vest allows it to be partially closed, when you don’t want to zip it closed completely, to help with air circulation. Two mesh lined vents across the upper rear of the vest also aid in air circulation. Billingham’s vest is cut a bit shorter than most. This design is beneficial when walking or climbing might cause items inside to bounce off the wearer’s legs, a common problem with longer photo vests. Another key design feature is that both sides of the vest feature identical layouts to the pockets, inside and out. This helps with distributing weight more evenly. The interior of the vest is fully lined in black nylon material. Billingham also makes a wide selection of “posh” camera bags. If you’re a wedding shooter you will certainly understand looking good while on location and this line of products will do just that. I really loved the shorter fit of the vest. I loaded it up with just about everything I had on me and even borrowed some items off another vendor, just to check out the pockets. He was right about the “bounce.” You never really notice how aggravating that is until it’s not there chaffing your legs. The Billingham Photo Vest is available in a variety of sizes (the XL is linked here) from Amazon Prime and from B&H Photo/Video for less than $300.
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That’s it guys. Hopefully you’ve found something in this list to start you on another internet surfing trail!
About the Author
After almost two decades as Vice President of Production Services for the largest rental facility in central Texas, Craig Chartier has returned to his first passion as Director of Photography. Craig was an early adopter of full frame 4K imaging securing the very first RED One camera delivered in the state of Texas. Recently completing two feature films slated for release later this year, Craig continues to be on the forefront in utilizing the current generation of high definition acquisition. He has served on film festival panels and guest lectured at college film courses.
Contents of this article…
Page One: Foto&Video, Que Audio, MYT WORKS
Page Two: Multiquip, HPRC, Kino Flo, Cinema Forms, SEAR, Petrol Bags
Page Three: JAG35, Alphatron, Rotolight, Airbox, bebob, Lightpanels
Page Four: PivotHead, SHAPE, Sachtler, Domke, Billingham