If you’ve spotted the tiny new DJI Osmo Pocket but dismissed it alongside GoPro-style action cameras as little more than a consumer toy of no use to serious professional work, then it might be time to take another look.
Mirrorless cameras may have revolutionised the lives of many independent filmmakers with their small sizes, large sensors and affordability, but this shrunken form factor means the screens are small and often difficult to see. They often also lack pro-style monitoring tools, such as waveforms, there are sometimes time limits as to how long you can record for and the footage is sometimes heavily compressed to squeeze it onto SD cards.
Professional filmmakers will know all about the advantages of solid state SSD drives over hard disc HDD drives, which roughly translate into greater speed and better resilience – the latter of which is crucial if you’re travelling on location and want the greatest possible safeguard against loss of data.
Anyone who has ever used a laptop fitted with an SSD drive instead of an old-school spinning, mechanical hard drive will no doubt have been impressed with its speed to not only boot up the machine in record time, but also read and write data. If you are trying to edit 4K on a laptop, it’s pretty much the only way that you can do it.
Sigma’s Art lenses not only set the stills photo world alight but have been a big hit with filmmakers using them on DSLR and mirrorless cameras. It was no surprise Sigma rehoused them in cinema-style metal bodies with geared manual focusing as real cine lenses, and they have been getting rave reviews. But the price is high.
If you are shooting multi-camera films, or recording audio separately to get away from the poor audio on your mirrorless or DSLR, making footage and sound sync together is vital. Years ago, independent filmmakers used software like PluralEyes, and now Apple’s Final Cut Pro X and Adobe’s Premiere Pro do a decent job.
If you want to fit the larger, professional filters to your DSLR or cinema camera, then nothing can beat the flexibility of a purpose-made matte box. And it’s the only way of fitting the 2mm-plus standard broadcast filters, which are too fat for most stills photo-style filter holders.