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.
Loads of filmmakers use plug-in flash drives to transfer images or video data around, but they are often painfully slow. The new SanDisk Ultra Fit USB 3.1 is up to 15 times faster than with standard USB 2.0 drives, and is so tiny you can leave it plugged into your laptop at all times to use as an external, mini hard drive.
Files transfer at up to 130MB/s read speed and you can move around 1GB of data in about 20 seconds. It’s not as fast as a full-size SSD, which transferred the same data in around four seconds, but it’s lots quicker than a normal memory stick.
It comes with encryption software so you can password-protect your files, has RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software and is backward-compatible, so you can plug it into any USB 3.0 or 2.0 port.
Verdict: It’s tiny, fast, inexpensive and works well. Just don’t lose it as it’s so small!
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get decent LED light panels any more. Although they may not have some of the kudos or high-end features of some of the big-name brands, NanGuang has a range of LED panels that offer great no-frills performance at excellent value for money. They may lack wireless, DMX remote control or a full range of sizes, but for features like that you need to pay a lot more.
If you’ve got the desk space and computing power to run it, Philips’ BDM4037U monitor has a curved 40in screen that gives you the impression of being even bigger than its already sizeable dimensions suggest. Many people will have a TV roughly the same size as this monitor, so if you want to get an idea of what using the Philips BDM4037U is like, go and park yourself two feet in front of that and binge on a favourite series for a few hours.
Size does matter, when it comes to sensors at least. A larger sensor can lead to higher resolution or reduced noise at high ISO, or both. And there’s the lovely wafer-thin depth-of-field you can easily get with the right lens. With DSLR and mirrorless cameras popularising full-frame, 35mm-size sensors in recent years, now cinema camera manufacturers are jumping onto the bandwagon. If you want to future-proof your lens investments, or use full-frame cameras now without having to crop the image, then a full-frame cinema zoom makes sense.
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If there’s one filter everyone should have, it’s a circular polariser. Sometimes, for cutting out unwanted reflections from windows or shiny objects, it’s the only realistic solution. It can darken skies, too, especially when used at roughly 90° to the sun. All you have to do is rotate the filter around and watch as reflections disappear and colours become more saturated.