Filmmaking Gear Highlights of 2020 - Indie Edition
Sony A7siii Ci.jpg

As with most industries, the video equipment market has been inundated with new equipment this year. Here are a few selected highlights to consider.

I wouldn't say I would like to open this article with a comment on the grueling character of 2020 as I'm sure you've read it a hundred times for other year-end lists. However, it is difficult to negate the impact of the pandemic on the creative industries. It was a turbulent year, from production to a standstill until equipment manufacturing hit the pause button.

However, as we got past the storm, we saw companies announce new items in due course. Some eagerly awaited, others a big surprise.

This is by no means the best of list or any form of tiered ranking. It's just a catalog of items that have piqued my interest over the year. Let's check out some of my favorite 2020 announcements that cover the mid-range of around $ 5,000.

Sony A7S III – $ 3,498

The Sony A7S II was released in 2015, which is thousands of years ago by camera standards. The technology quickly became obsolete because of its low-light conditions and enhanced film functions, which five years later were preferred to the functions of the A7 II and A7 III. However, for every broadcast event after 2015, users eagerly awaited the next iteration of the filmmaker's variant of the A7 line. But it never came – year after year. There was even speculation that the A7S III would never happen.

The a7S III was released earlier this year and was a welcome addition to this year's competitors. Image via Sony.

However, after several teasers, the A7S III was finally announced and released earlier this year. The primary specifications are:

  • 12.1 Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • 4K at 120p
  • 120p & 240p in full HD
  • 10-bit internal recording
  • 4: 2: 2 color sampling
  • 409,600 ISO
  • 15+ stops of dynamic range

As expected and perfectly coordinated with the heating problems of the Canon EOS R5, the a7S III was received with joy by the users.

DJI RS2 – $ 849

The DJI RS 2 is the successor to the Ronin-S. It's inherently lighter and weighs only 2.36 pounds, but can hold up to ten pounds.

There was some gap between the Ronin-S and the Ronin-M. While the M model can carry larger cameras, it costs a higher price at $ 1,119. The S is aimed at the mirrorless user for $ 749. However, in recent years we've noticed that smaller cameras are getting heavier and wider, and the Ronin-S is obsolete or difficult to use for some models (like the BMPCC6K).

DJI RS2Though light, it can hold up to ten pounds. Image via DJI.

The RS 2 is intended to fill this gap as a DJI flagship stabilizer for professional filmmakers. The RS2 can handle heavier rigs, so you can use cameras like the ARRi ALEXA Mini LF, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, the Canon 1DX, or even a battery-grip camera.

As Mike Maher noted in our article:

Not only do you keep 3-axis controls, but there are much better tracking systems out there, as well as more configurations to take photos in. The RS 2 is a great combination of the full size Ronin 2 and Ronin-S features. You can say that a lot of thought and testing has gone into the stabilizer to bring us the most versatile tool.

The RS2 is a bit cheaper than the Ronin-M, but costs more than the Ronin-S with the advanced features.

  • 3 axes
  • Weighs 2.36 lbs
  • 10 pound payload
  • 12 hours of battery life
  • Active lane 3.0
  • 1.4 "full color LCD touch screen
  • Compact design for easy portability
  • RavenEye 1080p transmitter compatible

DaVinci Resolve Speed ​​Editor – $ 295

DaVinci Resolve Speed ​​Editor may be the newest entry in the list. The company announced this release in November and users have just started receiving their broadcasts.

DaVinci Resolve Speed ​​EditorUse the DaVinci Resolve Speed ​​Editor to perform multiple tasks at the same time.

Like the DaVinci Resolve 2019 keyboard, the speed editor is a peripheral device that allows the editor to precisely and efficiently control the time axis using special function keys and a multifunctional search wheel.

While the 2019 keyboard is a fantastic tool, it comes at a high price and is just as big and heavy. The Speed ​​Editor is relatively cheap and more compact. As mentioned in our review, while the speed editor can mainly be used to use cut sides, it can also greatly improve the workflow on the standard edit side. And while the keyboard's QWERTY range has been lost, the controls for each edit function allow you to perform multiple tasks at once.

  • The source tape enables a faster clip search
  • Large on and off buttons
  • New keyboard modes for intelligent editing
  • Buttons that can be used to trim the search wheel live
  • Buttons for changing the transition type
  • Integrated search dial control
  • Keyboard for direct entry of the time code

NVIDIA RTX 3000 Series – $ 499 / $ 699 / $ 1,499

Earlier this year, NVIDIA announced three brand new GPUs to launch the 3000 series.

NVIDIA RTX 3080This mid-priced RTX 3080 is fast, efficient, and capable of 3D rendering. Image via NVIDIA.

  • The affordable (for some) RTX 3070 for $ 499
  • The flagship RTX 3080 for $ 699
  • The Colossus RTX 3090 is priced at $ 1,499

While it might seem confusing at first to include a bunch of new GPUs for an end-of-year movie gear list, you need to be aware that with the increase in camera resolution and RAW recording, 2015's GPUs and CPUs no longer cut them.

The RTX 3000 series GPUs can achieve 3D render times that are up to two times faster than current NVIDIA GPUs. Alejandro notes that visual effects artists and animators use 3D rendering software such as Blender Cycles and Maxon Cinema 4D.

While some NLEs put less of a load on the CPU, they have other software such as: B. Resolve, which is more reliant on GPU performance. If you find these 6K files stuttering, you may need an upgrade. However, you cannot just plug the 3000 series into an old computer. You may need to update the entire system.

Aputure 600D – $1,890

Aputure usually makes their announcements on either NAB or IBC, but since both shows were canceled this year, we were treated to live coverage (and goodies for who they were).

LS 600D ProThe 600D comes with a reflector and a 1200W lamp. Image via Aputure.

First, we have the 600D. This light is similar to the rest of the “D” family – a single-chip LED light with a reflector. Like the 120D and 300D, the 600D takes a hit, but hits much harder. For example, as mentioned in our coverage of the 600D, it is considerably brighter than an M18 with a 1200W lamp. That is 100,000 lux compared to 70,000 lux of a D12 HMI.

  • Color: 5600 K, CRI / TLCI: 96
  • Beam angle with 55 ° reflector
  • Wireless DMX, bluetooth control
  • 4 dimming modes, wireless range: 328 ′

Nova P300C – $ 1,699

The second lightweight Aputure released this year is the Nova P300C. It feels like this light has been teased almost as much as the A7SIII.

Nova P300CThe Nova P300C has an extensive RGB color wheel. Image via Aputure.

What makes this light particularly unique and eagerly awaited is that it is an RGBWW light. This means that it can be integrated into almost any ambient lighting situation, combined with other lights or simply switched to the millions of colors that can be found with the RGB wheel for creative expression.

This light follows Aputure's tradition of developing devices that offer more clout than the usual competitor, but cost only a fraction of the high-end manufacturers'. The C300P offers more power than the ARRI S30-C and the Kino Flo Image L80. Both cost well over $ 4,000 while the P300C is only $ 1,699. However, right now it's just as difficult to get an NVIDIA 3000 series GPU.

  • Variable color temperature: 2000-10,000K
  • CRI / TLCI: 95, full RGB adjustments
  • Hue, saturation, light intensity control
  • DMX, Bluetooth, Sidus Link Control

Canon EOS C70 – $ 5,499

In 2020, the EOS R5 should be a revolutionary tool, as was the 5D Mk II with its 8K recording output. It was going to be the next big thing from Canon. But with the camera overheating and a host of other issues, the anticipation was quickly satisfied.

However, a few months later, they introduced the Canon EOS C70. This camera is something of a cross between the new EOS R line and their cine camera line.

Canon EOS C70Canon's EOS C70 has a super 35mm sensor and a considerable dynamic range. Image via Canon.

The C70 lacks the typical big numbers and apps that other brands haunt, like 6K RAW or 8K in full screen mode. However, the C70's Super 35mm sensor with 4K is absolutely respectable.

  • Super 35 DGO sensor (Dual Gain Output)
  • 4K 120p, 2K Crop 180p HDR recording
  • Canon Log 2, 3, PQ & HLG recording
  • RF Lens Mount / EF Mount with adapter
  • DIG! C DV7 image processor
  • 16+ stops of full dynamic range
  • Built-in ND filters
  • Auto ISO & Gain
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF and EOS iTR AF X.
  • 1 BNC timecode
  • 2 mini XLR audio inputs
  • Two SD card slots, LUT / Long GOP support

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K – $ 9,995

Okay, this obviously doesn't fall within the bounds of the sub-5,000 margin. It was such a big announcement, however, that it deserves a mention.

URSA Mini Pro 12KThe URSA Mini Pro 12K has new internal electronics, including a new sensor and additional recording functions. Image via Blackmagic Design.

Yes, in 2020 we were given the first 12K camera with the URSA Mini Pro 12K. The bodywork remains largely the same design as the other readily available models such as the URSA Mini 4.6K and the URSA Mini Pro G2. However, the internal electronics of the 12K have been replaced. There's a new sensor, a new film curve, a new color science, and a whole new set of shooting features.

  • Blackmagic RAW for all resolutions
  • Up to 60fps 12K
  • 110 fps at 8K
  • 220 fps (Super 16 crop) at 4K
  • Interchangeable lens holder (included with PL)
  • Built-in ND filters
  • Dual CFast & USH-II SD
  • SuperSpeed ​​USB-C expansion port
  • And of course it comes classically with the studio version of Resolve

There has been a bit of confusion as to why 12K is needed when many consumers are just moving to 4K, let alone 8K! However, filming in 12K is not possible in 12K resolution. Instead, this 12K sensor delivers oversampled 4K and 6K images. We have a 12K on the way and will explain this feature in more detail in early 2021.

Fuji XF 50mm f / 1.0- $ 1,499

I was very excited about this lens and said it would be a year-end treat, but I never got around to ordering it. The Fuji F / 1.0 is an unprecedented entry from Fuji as it is the fastest autofocus lens for mirrorless cameras.

Fuji XF 50mm 1: 1.0The Fuji F / 1.0 has an impressive autofocus that creates beautiful bokeh. Image via Fuji Film.

At 50mm, it has an equivalent field of view of around 75mm (Fuji uses APS-C sensors). As an owner of a Fuji 16-55mm 2.8 Red Label lens, this lens is probably just as clunky and heavy as the zoom. With an aperture of 1: 1.0, you can expect beautiful, dreamy bokeh.

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  • For more (mm) 77
  • Total length (télе) 50
  • Fill in the length (with) 50
  • Léns eEléntes 12
  • Let's 9
  • –Ах ареrturе – tеlе 1
  • –Ах ареrturе – widе 1
  • Destination 16
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Although 2020 was a troubled year for almost everyone in every industry, there is still an abundance of new pieces of equipment out there.

However, as mentioned earlier, I suggested that this is a cherry-picked list of gear that appeals to me. With so much gear introduced this year, you might be asking, "Why these picks?"

As a filmmaker, who often works either as a sole trader or in a skeleton crew, I look for devices that condense tasks and increase my efficiency. The less I wear, the better. The gear I highlighted on this list reflects that ethos. Of course, we can't overlook the fact that I left out the RED KOMODO and instead the C70. A main sin for some, I'm sure of that. However, the C70 has electronic image stabilization with an integrated ND filter. This makes it a more efficient choice for my workflow in many circumstances.

And that is the subject covered in this list. It's not so much about the bigger resolution, better color science, or the faster frame rates found elsewhere. Instead, I've been thinking about how this device relieves the tension of filmmaking.

For more information on equipment, tips and tricks, see the following articles:

Cover photo via Sony.

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