Own 4k cameras - new school or old faithfuls?

Discussion in 'Cinestar 8' started by Chris Ross Leong, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. Chris Ross Leong

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    Hi all
    Had a quick question for the owner/operators of C8s.

    In the 4k camera realm, how many of you have opted for the newest 4k lightweight cameras, and who has remained with the old faithfuls (5D2, GH4, Scarlet, etc)?

    Of course, if you're out for hire, then of course, Alexas, mini Ursas, Weapons, etc, whatever's the latest out there, but even that's probably hired by the production company.

    So I'm more talking about owning and operating your own gear - investment vs return on self-produced shots where one uses one's own cameras, for 4k video production.

    I think that most of us started with something inexpensive to fly and test the gimbals out, then upgraded?
    How many are using the latest lightweights? A7ii's and the like?
    If so, how useful has IBIS or other in-camera stabilization been for you?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jason Herring

    Jason Herring Member

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    This team is in my opinion is one of the best out there, the new gh5 that they use looks really good,

     
  3. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I was for a while carrying Gh4's,A7S's and the A6300. TBH, since I got the Inspire 1 RAW last year and soon to get the I2. I have pretty much hung up my Cinestar 8. I haven't flown it in 8 months. Other than some rare occasions where I need a RED I will use the M600 and do exactly like you said, put productions camera on it. We try to get producers and DP's to gravitate to the X5R. I like to use the risk argument, lower footprint and quicker to setup. If I am doing my own stuff which is rare other than practice in rural roads I typically drag out the Inspires. I sat down with my business partner on what makes sense. Really running the CS for me has no value anymore, especially when I finally pull the trigger for the Inspire 2. For all intents and purposes my I1 with the X5R is getting pretty damn good footage that matches very well to the high dollar cameras. I am sure if someone were to go frame by frame on a high end monitor they can pick out nitnoid differences in the footage. I have used even the cheaper cameras like the Inspire X3 on set. Getting work on the X5R is no problem. On cheaper gigs I will run a X5 which is no where near the quality of the GH4 or A7. It gets the job done. I kinda got spoiled with the I1 in the sense that everything is integrated and is quick to setup and get in the air. One of my least favorite things to do is charge batteries. With the CS8 I am charging like 20 10,000ma packs and babysitting each one for hours, hoping one of them does not become a nuclear bomb in our shop, then carry them in four ammo cans.

    Pretty much all I do with my CS8 is use as a static display at various film conferences now where I have one more big carbon bird on display for the neophytes who have no idea in this equipment.
     
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  4. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    no CS8 anymore, so ignore following if u want.

    I have been using Inspire 1 a ton recently per all shauns reasons. i purchased alta 8 during october deals, and look forward to using that when people ask me for it, as setup has been much easier then CS8. not enough availability right now for people to be hitting me up for alta8/movi pro rentals, and still learning.

    I use nikon d810/d5. sony fs7. own those and like the footage. used a7lls, great. not great enough that anyone has offered me more money to sub for my nikons/ fs7. a few people around town have scarletts and i get asked for those for 4K stuff also.

    I have a lot of long-term projects, making a really expensive body a liability. My company does a lot of completely in-house projects, which i think that may be what your asking about?

    Most outside jobs i get/ bid would rather have the ability to capture multiple high quality 1080p/4K angles, and rent the biggest/baddest/lightest when it seems like a necessity.

    None of my regulars have been asking me for the latest in 4K prosumer cameras (thought the charcoal inspire 2 has been requested, and will be purchased next time I1 encounters a tree). My projects have not been struggling without them either fwiw.


    Old faithfuls (of all types) for the cost-effective win.
     
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  5. Chris Ross Leong

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    Yeah, Sebastian, that's more or less what I was on about. I own and fly several of my own cameras, between GH4, Leica 114, Sony RX10iii, BMProd Camera. I do that mainly for my own edification as since even though I completely revamped my entire post production pipeline to take 4k DCI from soup to nuts, nobody I've worked for since that time has asked for anything more than a ProRes 422HQ master copy.
    However, I feel that if I had produced my older X Pro 1 or Nikon D800E, I wouldn't have gotten those jobs.

    So if you're an owner / operator rather than a gun-for-hire I do believe that, within reason, one sticks to what one knows will get the job done (in my case, the GH4, Leica and Sony have all been flawless performers) and therefore, why fix it?

    However, freelancers doing a day gig will want their producers to rent them the latest greatest with most bells on camera gear, just because they can. And of course everybody wants to get a selfie with the Arri mini or whatever... : )
     
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  6. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I suppose to add on my thoughts, we do use all of our legacy gear for in house stuff that is ground work. I guess I have very little reason to fly them anymore FWIW. If I have job that would require a GH4 I will use a X5 instead, in most cases the X3 "Golf Ball." I suppose I look at in house work having the least demand for the latest and greatest. I suppose on some very rare occasions a use of a specific lens might need to be used that the X5/X5R can not use so I may have to gravitate to the GH4 or the two Sony's. Then possibly the CS8 might go back in the air. In most cases if we need just some basic aerial I don't see the need to drag out a big Cinestar a gimbal all of the batteries to get a shot that is easily accomplished on the I1 Pro. In fact a lot of our independent aerial work is very basic and does not require a lot aircraft and camera movement. I have been seriously thinking of the (Nasty "P" word that I thought I would never say) Phantom 4 Pro or the Autel Xstar Premium when the new 1" camera is available. I have to say having been a complete anti phantom guy for a long, long time. I have to say I am impressed with the P4 Pro and its 1" sensor and the ability to record h.265. I guess I look at this stuff as a tool to do a job. My wow factor has kind of gone away almost after the first year of the original 4S CS8.

    I look at the fact, that I carried DSLR or mirrorless bodies out of necessity, not because I really wanted to. I mean most of us flew things like the 5D's, NEX 5/7's and even HD handy cams. At the time they were considered acceptable for most work until the SkyJib's came out and changed the game requiring any serious shop to have a 4K capability which meant RED lifter. The way I see it now, unless I were high end aerial stills, there would be no value to lugging a 5D series up in the air for my own work. It crazy to think what we had 5 years ago is out classed by a used Phantom 3 Pro for most aerial work.
     
  7. Chris Ross Leong

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    Yeah, that's the bleeding edge of technology for you.

    I started off in stills photography in 1975, and was brought up on Sinars and Linhofs and 8x10 negatives and transparencies, so all of this is light stuff to me : )

    Yes, the Sony and Nikon D810 have many pixels. Yes, I can outshoot either of them, quite easily, with a Speed Graphic 4x5 and a drum scanner every time.

    No I don't do that any more. Plus that was for landscapes and I sold my Gowland a long time ago, so portraits and such? Not so much large format any more, the GH4 and XPro 2 are fine these days, with the D810 in case there's clients around.

    Also, yes, I do still fly my D810 to get high quality stills shots, mainly of real estate for printed brochures and posters, and so the X8 is great for that. Plus I do have a pilot's license and can't fly as much as I want to for medical reasons, and so love to get the big bird up in the sky with a sensor op doing the camera and a decent fpv screen for an occasional glimpse, so for me and an A3 with lightbridge, it's as much a pleasure as anything to do with money.

    But enough people have seen us out there having fun on a big rig to have asked us to come shoot for them, so I guess something of the old school appeal still works well!

    Hey, at $xxx a gallon for aviation fuel, a LiPo recharge is cheap, cheap!

    All the best
    C
     
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  8. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    I started in sports and event stills, knowing i would get into video eventually, hence the nikons with 5-14 still FPS and 4k ability. For most stills work we get these days (emphasis on MOST, glad i never have to rent), d810 and d5 are def excessive. but have gotten a lot of 1080p at 60fps work with the need for multiple angles, so return on investment has inadvertently been great. we bought them as client-specific rigs (along with fs7), and recently have been using them on our work.

    i put a lot of effort/equip into my recent inhouse stuff, as i was really excited about the content. whether it be the content or the use of equipment we typically reserve exclusively for clients, we have been feeling the love. And there have def been comments on how smooth the 4k footage was, could not have gotten that with 4 wings. . . tho i have not tried the 4k inspire. I love me some inspire 1, its almost comparable to the d5/fs7 in the air. . . but certain shots i needed to get the big guns up there, and it has been paying off. So i guess i used to be more conservative when equipping our in house work, but branching out has been good for us.

    Either way though, I cant justify latest/greatest anymore, i happened to luck into a couple of great cost-effective options for what i need to get done, and they have yet to fall short. we get a lot of music videos, and i swear every person i have worked with was a referral that heard about our rigs. . . excessive paid off there. luckily, market is not demanding 4k at 60fps yet
     
  9. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I see what you are saying. I suppose if I were in your shoes, I might have a different outlook. Yeah imagine having the A3 setup makes the world of difference also. I have that setup on the M600. I had thought about putting it on the CS for a brief moment. I still run WKM on this rig, don't get me wrong. Even with the WKM my CS8 is solid as a rock with the exception of the DJI dip. The A3 is the best stand alone FC I have ever put on a rig. The A3 is everything we all bitched about in flight control performance and finally answered. There are thousands of post on here from those of use who started with the Mikrokopter setup. That was a two year headache from hell for me. The thing was very unforgiving, it really wouuld bite you in the ass if you did not pay constant attention to it. There was a lot of DJI hate on here back in the day I finally made the plunge and said screw it I am putting a Wookong on. At that time I never regretted it since. One guy on here boked at it saying "tell me how that flyaway goes." Nope. never had a fly away, never had a glitch. Plug in battery it flew every time. With my MK setup, plug in the battery and fingers crossed I can get it in the air, and fingers still crossed that it does not do something stupid in flight. Now everything that was wrong with WKM which was it did not track perfectly and it dropped altitude a little, has been solved with the A3. Plus I love the simplicity of the DP2 controller on LB2. Its the same as my Inspires. No one needs to be trained where all of the mode switches are. They are all in the same spot. It is impressive.
     
  10. Chris Ross Leong

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    And you know what? When the marketplace finally does get around to demanding 4k @ 60fps, well that's when cameras like the GH5 will be coming down in price and we then can, once again, sail quietly and peacefully along, one generation behind the bleeding edge of technology... :)
    Okay, so the GH5 is only UHD at 60 and not DCI, but hey, it's still not out yet and so maybe the GH6 by that time?
    All I know is that I had to upgrade my entire post production setup to state of the art to handle 4k-6k feature film work around three years ago, and, aside from my first feature film cut in native 4k (why? I'm still asking the client) I have not had ONE SINGLE request for anything higher than a ProRes422HQ in 1080p30 deliverable. Not one.
     
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  11. Chris Ross Leong

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    And yes, I totally agree with the A3 deal.
    It's far superior to anything else on the market, save of course the A3 Pro setup, IMO.

    And since all of that new-fangled hardware needs something very stable, what better than an old-school CS8? Without the old-school MK headaches that, let's face it, were the hallmark of the bleeding edge, back then?

    It's still "black box"y enough to warrant a lot more attention (and rental fees) than the DJIs, and nobody can argue with a D810's stills resolution, or a D4's sheer firepower, on the ground and in the air. Heck, I've used my D800E on many a feature film B camera setup where it came in with the goods / captured that quintessential "movie moment" just as well as or better than the Alexa A camera that was bigger, better, but slower to set up.
     
  12. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    I agree with that. I have never been asked to do anything other than 24fps. In fact the last time we shot 60 was 1080 so that we had more frames to warp stab back in the dark ages of the original RC servo gimbal. What a piece of crap that was. Another bleeding edge of technology I am glad not to ever deal with. I suppose if I ever did do live sports I could see the need which is solved also by the X5S.



    No argument that the D810 would be the goto camera for high end stills. As for the D800E on set. That makes sense. I have worked on a recent show where they were constantly using A7ii's for B cams. For years in my area a lot of productions were using 5DMIII's as B cams.

    I got to finally work with some of the industries best DP's. We got to pick their brains. Come to find out that camera fanboyisms tend to be the thing of the newer crowed. That the old hats see all of these as tools that can deliver excellent results if you know what you are doing. To them its about the setup and the overall result. I have to believe that to be a true point. I have seen some real garbage come out of RED's and Alexa minis from people who did not know what they were doing. Some hotshot newb with a lot of money goes and gets a weaponized dragon puts it in the air and sucks.

    I have a seen a demo from a highly experienced aerial DP get phenomenal results on a DJI Mavic which has pretty much a gimbaled cell phone camera. So tech is one thing capturing the art is another.
     
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  13. Chris Ross Leong

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  14. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    Do you actually get decent pay from those? My experience form Music Vids is that the people who want them always seem to have zero budget. I did one for a somewhat pro talent a few years back. It was two runner ups from America's got Talent. It seems like most of them are "Homie Hookups." When they would ask us they would offer a 100 bucks and that was when we were exclusively flying the big black spider. Now they have a friend who owns a Phantom and just does their aerial for them. I was just curious.
     
  15. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    yea i almost had a fist fight with my CIO when he wouldnt let me buy the blackmagic extreme thunderbolt 3 4k to jumpstart my switch to 4k dci when it came out. . . . months later, with zero requests for 4k yet, i need to use some of that $3500 to give him a raise.

    And fanboyism is a real thing.. . . how many "im new to all this, which $20,000-$30000 dollar camera should i buy?" am i going to see on this site? lol.

    d810 as a B cam is a known entity. . . and looking like d5 for 4k uhd b cam will be useful, whenever that catches on.

    :) thats a thing, for sure. it started with the homie hookup. then we got a job that had us meeting bigger names, which converted it to a real money-making option. For smaller names though (said "homies"),$1000 will get u one of my employees and an inspire/d810 for a few hours. But we do the entire production often, rarely just aerials. I dont break out the alta for anything less than 2 grand, not too many music videos like that.

    But thats also why i love shooting them . . . . i cant think of a shot in a music video i couldnt get with an inspire that i could with an alta 8. . . well there is one, but it will be epic when its released.
    With-out the bigger name step-up, as well as our in-house stuff garnering some respected attention, I would not bother with music videos.
     
    #15 SeBaStIaN BArrEtT, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  16. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    oh yea. . . living in atlanta, the 30% film credit combined with the potential %25 music credit. . . . . makes music videos a tough thing to ignore. not too tough, just tough.;)
     
  17. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    and on a tangent, seems ok now, i have a question. . .
    is 4k dci even going to catch on? UHD is better (forgive me for my sins), and i feel like the market will wiffle waffle while 8k or telekinesis becomes a reality.
     
  18. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    We have the same thing in New Mexico, in fact we were the first state to offer this incentive under Gov Richardson. Its funny Canada even took the same idea. Talking to other 600 dudes I heard you guys blew up in work when Louisiana and Virginia pulled theirs. We even see some spill over.

    We are heavy in film and TV but we are a bit weak in the music scene. Mostly its locals that have a regional and radio presence that want them here.
    Even with our incentives we don't get much music videos, unless they are looking for the New Mexico or South Western backdrop. That's how we got the pseudo pro gig a year back, to shoot these two guys from the Got talent show.
     
    #18 Shaun Stanton, Feb 17, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2017
  19. SeBaStIaN BArrEtT

    SeBaStIaN BArrEtT Active Member

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    Atlanta's is catching on. . . .my evidence is the 45 minute, 10 mile drive to work. the taxes give people a reason to leave that crazy $#@ airport. Foot traffic is not an issue. . .

    I am scrambling to afford expansion before its a complete mob scene.
     
  20. Shaun Stanton

    Shaun Stanton Active Member

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    It must be, I noticed you guys have a few Local 600 shops for Aerial in the area. You are guys in the guild?
     

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