Welcome to the AirView Blog.

Here you will find assorted writings about things that we find interesting, or ideas that we need to hash out in writing. It will be mostly about gear, policy related to drones, and maybe the occasional piece about art and aesthetics. Thank you for coming by, we hope to have you back again and again.

The DJI X7 – Why We Passed On It

The DJI X7 – Why We Passed On It

As lovers of the Inspire 2 system, and all that it offers, we were really excited to hear that the X7 was announced.  As all of our ground cameras are Super 35, it seemed like a perfect match to how we like to shoot. Unfortunately, those stats on paper didn’t lead up to the kind of results we need in the air.  This post explains our thoughts on the matter.

Sensor

A larger sensor increases the depth within an image.  On the ground this serves to help isolate a subject from its background, in the air, it increases the complexity of achieving critical focus.  This was experienced firsthand on set when the director called for a long dolly out over a lake, with the camera focused on the subject on the shore.  Even when removing the NDs, putting the aperture at its max of F16, there was no way to keep the subject in focus without a dedicated puller.

Lenses

This was the first thing we had against the X7, the X7-specific DL Mount lenses.  The Inspire 2 already suffers from being a complex, expensive (our kit pushing around $12k), and proprietary system.  The X7 takes propriety one step further with lenses that can only be used on this one single camera.  But, where the propriety of the system once resulted in having an extremely cohesive system that allowed you to focus on image-making, this addition stifles creativity by locking you into a very small amount of lens choices.  Adding in the cost of a larger camera, and a full set of DL mount lenses, would drive up the price of our kit up to nearly $20k all in.

Overhead Cost

Having a respectable number of shows under our belt, we know how drone shots are used in most productions.  Adding the X7 adds another crew member to the aerial team, and almost doubles the value of the gear hovering in the air.  Ultimately, this would require us to nearly double our daily rate while only offering a very small increment of improved quality.

Summary

Admittedly it’s hard to say no to new gear.  We always want to bring the newest and best tools to set.  This is why passing on the X7 is a choice we don’t make lightly, and that we keep revisiting.  Now that the camera has come down in price, and 3rd parties like Laowa have started releasing lenses for the DL mount, we’re keeping our minds open to the idea of picking one up.  In the meantime, we are more than willing to rent and fly the X7 if requested for your project.

NAB 2019

NAB 2019

National Association of Broadcasters Show 2019

To say that we’re excited to go to NAB this year is an understatement.  As a company that uses cutting edge technology to deliver stunning footage to our clients, it is important for use to know what’s just around the corner.  It’s our first trip to NAB, and first Las Vegas Convention.  With that said, we’re playing it pretty low-key.  We’ll be visiting the vendors of our favorite products and keeping an eye out for new trends and gear.

Stay tuned to this blog over the next week or two as we’ll be posting up our thoughts on the convention.

AirView Leaves Facebook

Due to the destabilizing effect that Facebook has had on our democracy, socialization, and cognition, we will be permanently deleting our Facebook account.

We believe a line has to be drawn somewhere. We believe we’ve crossed that line a while back, but didn’t take it serious enough.

You can continue to see our image-heavy exploits on Instagram (unless it falls into abuse too).

This choice doesn’t come lightly, as we know that the way in which people communicate with friends and family has fundamental changed. I, the owner of AirView Cinematography have lost real friend by removing myself from Facebook because this is now how people communicate. It’s a contemporary move akin to moving into the woods without a phone. People don’t write you, and they surely don’t come to visit. So, following deletion always comes a wave of loneliness as a vast interface of human interaction is removed. But, it’s a pain like setting a fracture. And we must attempt to heal what is broken.

Here’s how you can keep in touch:
Instagram: @airviewcinematography
Website: www.airview.us
Email: Adam@airview.us
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/airviewcinematography/

And if you want to go real old school, phone/text: 5035120461

With that said, if you’re considering doing the same, there are somethings you might want to consider to get your digital house in order.

Here’s a rough facebook delete tutorial. A little bit dated.
https://www.flickr.com/ph…/twelvizm/albums/72157647701633210

#deletefacebook

The Inspire 2

Were happy to finally announce our new aerial A-camera.  We have chosen the DJI Inspire 2 as our new cinematography drone.  The image quality is nothing short of amazing, while offering the performance and safety and redundancy that we require.  We have been waiting and watching for months to vet the second generation Inspire.  The original Inspire is arguably the best built, most reliable product DJI has made.  It’s looking like they may have taken themselves to task of being a drone better built and more capable than the first model.

We had a hard time choosing another DJI product, as putting all our eggs in a single manufacturer’s basket is frankly a little scary, especially with DJI’s new aggressive geo fencing.

The problem really is that the rest of the drone industry is over a year behind DJI.  There’s nothing on the market that can compete with the Inspire 2.  We briefly considered getting a larger Hex copter like a the Freefly Alta 6 and fly our Sony FS5, but put up against the Inspire 2, it would cost significantly more, have a much higher cost of operation and insurance, and limit us to the camera capabilities of the FS5 which don’t measure up to the X5S.

In the end, we’re very happy with our new drone and camera system and look forward to expanding its capability with additional batteries, multi-charger, tracking antenna, and future cameras.

 

Portland’s Forest Park

Spring is here (for the most part), and the Pacific Northwest is on the verge of blooming into one of the most beautiful places on this planet.  Pardon the hyperbole, but we’re pretty biased about the beauty found here.  The video short here was a quick stop on the side of the road to capture the light that was just starting to peek into this little draw.  It reminds us that beauty, and a little magic can be found almost anywhere if you have an open mind and sharp eye.

Gear Pondering

Gear Pondering

As I sit here updating the website

I’m flipping between this, and my B&H Wish Lists that I use for planning, and budgeting gear updates and replacements. Currently, I’m torn between whether to get the Sony FS7, or the Sony FS7 II. Both are a bit of overkill for what my current client list requires of me. I’m of the mindset that you should tool up for the work that you want to do, not just what you’re doing currently.

The FS7 II solves all of the issues that come up with FS7, such as the lens mount, the EVF mount, adds REC2020, etc. It’s really a no-brainer, if money isn’t an issue. Which it is.  My grand total for a proper video camera capable of shooting 4k 4:2:2 internally, along with a DSLR capable of shooting 4K that cuts well with the former, lenses, and required accessories, is $15k.  If I get the FS7II, the body takes up $10k of that, leaving $5k for the A7R II ($3k), and $2k for lenses and accessories.  The budget gets eaten quickly, and I ultimately end up with amazing camera bodies and some pretty disappointing lenses.  This means I’ll be using a rental house to get glass for any larger gigs.

The FS7, with it’s issues is a great machine.  It’s been a sweet spot filling camera capable of run and gun, cinema, or live broadcast.  And if I get the FS7, then I have enough left over to get the PZ 28-135mm kit lens.  I’ve rented that lens, and like it very much.  Despite it not getting wide enough, almost everything else about it shines.  I would likely be able to use it for 90% (pulled that number off my shoe) of the work I would use the FS7 for.
screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-8-54-30-pm

The first 4k video camera that I considered was the Sony FS5.  It’s small and lightweight design would make it easy to take anywhere (including to the air on a DJI M600).  I’ve rented the FS5, and really liked shooting with it.  Although, the in-camera 4:2:0 left me wishing for more.  Also, the camera was almost too light.  It made it seem a bit cheap feeling.

The FS5, is certainly better than any DSLR or Mirrorless camera that I’m used to using.  But, that’s the point.  I am tired of settling for the quality of video that is eeked out of photography cameras.
I want to have the data, and dynamic range to be able to polish the footage into something that’s diamond-like.  I don’t expect that any of these solutions are going to give me ARRI-results.  But, I do think that either FS7 will push me (and remind me) to shoot better video. I am almost certain that I’m going to go with the FS7 II, as it is a second generation model, and all my experience points me towards buying something that’s got the bugs worked out. The Rec BT-2020, 4:2:2, and the infinitely variable ND pretty much seal the deal. The lenses options I’ll have for it aren’t too terrible, but not very exciting. I’ll have to fight with what glass I have available for it for the time being.

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