Aputure COB300d BIG LED Light for Film & Video

Since Aputure announced the new Light Storm COB 300d at NAB earlier this year, I’ve been looking forward to getting my hands on it! The 300d is a daylight balance single point LED light which draws about 320 watts which is a ton for an LED. They say this is a 2K tungsten equivalent - if that really means anything, but it is a much more powerful LED light than I’ve ever worked with before. In this episode we run it through its paces and look at its build quality, included accessories, features, color quality and light output. I hope you find this helpful!

Thanks to Aputure for providing the COB300d for this review. They have not paid me beyond providing the light and previously provided accessories. All of the opinions shared here are my own.

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:
Aputure COB 300d LED Light

Aputure COB120d LED Light - The little brother

Aputure COB120t LED Light - The other little brother with tungsten color balance. I use this one as a key light in studio in most cases.

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box - I use this for almost every interview/talking head shot

Aputure Fresnel Lens - great when you need to focus the light beam and throw the light farther

Photo Basics Barn Doors - nice way to cut the light for dramatic light and shadow

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Super-cardioid Condenser Microphone - Review/comparison coming.

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound for Video Session: Sync, Timecode, Noise, Preamps, Monitors and More!

In this week's question and answer session, we tackle the following topics:

00:04 Audio Sync
02:15 Timecode, Breakaway Cables
05:16 Noise Reduction, External Preamps
08:06 Mixing Monitors
12:19 Sound Blankets vs Moving Blankets vs Quilts
15:17 Sennheiser MKE 600, Shock mounts, Wind Protection, Audio Interfaces
23:22 Monitor Placement
25:42 Compression Ratio, Sound Floor

Gear and links to previous sessions discussed in this session:

Remote Audio Breakaway Cable

Avantone Pro Mix Cube Powered Monitor (set)

KRK Rokit 5 G3 Powered Monitor (one)

Sennheiser MKE600 Shotgun Microphone

Rycote InVision Lyre Shock Mount:

Sennheiser MZS 600 Shock Mount for MKE600:

Rycote Hot Shoe Adapter - Mount your shock mount on your camera's shoe

Rycote Softie Furry Windscreen (good for light wind)

RODE Blimp Wind Cover (good for stronger wind)

Rycote Cyclone (the best wind protector I've used and own)

Electrovoice RE20 Broadcast Microphone - this is what I used to record this session

Producer's Choice Sound Blankets

Timecode demonstration:

Noise Cleanup:

Sound Design, Effects, Foley:

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

RØDELink Performer Wireless Handheld Microphone Kit

Sometimes I shoot live events. In my case that is mostly corporate conference meetings. In these cases, sometimes a wireless lavalier is the best option but in others, we don’t have time to get the lavalier microphone in place and a handheld wireless mic is a better option. RODE has just introduced their new RODELink wireless handheld microphone kit which fits this niche for me quite nicely. In this overview I cover my initial impressions as well as the features of the kit. In short: RODE has added an affordable, high quality option to their RODELink wireless system!

Thanks to RODE for providing the Performer kit for this review. They have not paid me beyond providing the mic and all of the opinions shared here are my own.

The RODELink Performer kit is slated to start shipping in mid October 2017.

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:

RODELink Performer Handheld Wireless Microphone Kit

RODELink Filmmaker Wireless Lavalier Kit

My review of the RØDELink Filmmaker kit: 

RODELink Newsshooter Wireless Reporter’s Microphone Kit

Aputure COB120t (used to light light me in the talking head shots)

FalconEyes CLL-1600TDX (used as the background light in the talking head portions of this video. This thing is HUGE)

FalconEyes RX-18TD (used as a rim light bounced off of foam core in the talking head portions of this video)

Aputure COB120d (used to light the product shots)

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro Cinema Camera

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound for Video Session: Room Tone

This week we cover room tone: what is it, why record it, how to record it? This is a critical part of doing a good job as a production sound mixer/recordist.

Links to gear used to record this session:

Electrovoice RE20 Dynamic Microphone:

Antelope Audio Orion Studio Audio Interface

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound Devices Announces the MixPre-10T

Wow, I wasn't expecting this, especially this soon after the release of the MixPre-3 and 6!

Sound Devices' new MixPre-10T is very interesting from a few different standpoints. First, the 10T adds several features usually required by pros to the MixPre line including an in-built timecode generator, redundant storage, and a locking hirose power input. Of course there are more inputs - 8 XLR/TRS mic/line and another 3.5mm stereo unbalanced input. Oh, and balanced XLR outputs (on mini-TA3). Those were the main concerns I had about using the MixPre-6 for professional location gigs but it looks like they just addressed them all.

The second and perhaps more interesting thing is that with these additional features, the MixPre-10T potentially cannibalizes some of their 6xx series sales. This is a $1,800 recorder/mixer. The 633 sells for $3300, almost double the price.

It takes a bold company to make a decision like this and from my perspective, they're doing something good for their potential customers. Now I'm still not suggesting that the 10T completely replaces the 633 entirely. Maybe it does for many workflows, but I definitely plan to hold on to mine. Nevertheless, I'm really impressed that they are forward looking enough to move this direction.

Now I've got to figure out how to get my hands on one for review!

Sound for Video Session: Hiding Lavaliers On & Under Shirts with Rycote Stickies and Overcovers

This week we cover a couple of ways to hide lavalier microphones under a button placket of a shirt, or on a shirt with a furry wind cover. I've had really good luck on the last two sound jobs using the Rycote Stickies and Overcovers. They don't leave residue, the adhesive is rock solid, and they're quick and easy to use when setting up the talent.

Links to gear we discussed or used to record this session:

Rycote Stickies Advanced - New adhesive which is stronger, hypoallergenic, and does not leave residue (Square):

Rycote Stickies Advanced (same thing but circular):

Rycote Overcovers Advanced (you can reuse the furry covers, stickies are one-time use. Available in black, beige, gray, and white):

3M Transpore Tape (hypoallergenic medical tape which works quite nicely for taping down lavalier cables to peoples' skin or clothing.

Voice Technologies VT500 Lavalier Microphone (This is my favorite lavalier for production recording at the moment):

Sanken COS-11D Lavalier Microphone (one of the most commonly used lavaliers by professional sound mixers/engineers):

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

I have purchased Rycote products in the past and Rycote was kind enough to send me some of their new advanced Stickies and Overcovers free of charge. They did not otherwise pay me to produce this video. I genuinely have had a very good experience with their products.

Flexible LED Light: FalconEyes RX 18TD Overview

LED panel lights have evolved! A few years ago we began seeing flexible LED lights which are nice for when you’re shooting on location, and especially when traveling. And we’ve seen some very nice improvements in the color quality produced by LEDs which make them much better than they used to be for video and film production. The trick has been that the flexible LEDs were rather expensive. The RX-18TD comes in at around $300 USD. Let’s see how it does…

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:

FalconEyes RX-18TD - used as a rim light bounced off of foam core in the talking head portions of this video

FalconEyes CLL-1600TDX - used as the key light shot through a scrim in the talking head portions of this video

Aputure COB120d LED Light - used to light the white paper backdrop

V-mount Battery (IDX 95Wh)

XRite Color Checker Video Color Chart - used for color quality tests

Schoeps CMC641 Super-cardioid Microphone - One of the most commonly used microphones for indoor dialogue by profession sound mixers

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro - My primary camera

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

Sound for Video Session: Lav Mics, Recording to Phones, Presets in RX, Headphone Volume

This week we have a question and answer session. These are the questions submitted:
- Best lav mic for recording in very noisy environments?
- Best microphone for recording to phones?
- Universal presets in RX?
- What do I set my headphone volume to so that I can tell whether I’ve set the gain correctly?

Links to gear we discussed or used to record this session:
Countryman E6i Cardioid Ear Set Microphone:

RODE VideoMicro - miniature cardioid microphone you could use on a smartphone rig (with the adapter below)

RODE SC4 Adapter (Use the VideoMicro with your phone)

Aputure A.Lav Lavalier Microphone:

Previous Sessions where we’ve covered how to process dialogue audio in Izotope RX:

Izoope RX6 demo:

Reduce reverb with RX6:

Loudness normalization in RX:

Process dialogue demo with RX:

Clean up extreme noise in RX and Audition:

Electrovoice RE20 (recorded this session)

Antelope Audio Orion Studio Audio Computer Interface

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!

3-axis motorized gimbals have become incredibly popular camera tools to smooth out movement while shooting video with a mirrorless or DSLR camera. The problem I’ve run into with the larger cameras is that many of the single handle gimbals don’t have quite enough power to really work with the larger cameras. That’s where the Zhiyun Crane 2 comes in - perfect for larger mirrorless and DSLR cameras and even has a follow-focus knob which works with Canon 5D (mkII through mkIV).

Links to Gear Discussed and used to shoot this review:
Zhiyun Crane 2 for larger Mirrorless and DSLR Cameras (pre-order starting September 15th) at MomanPlay International Shipping, Crane 2 at Amazon US, UK, FR, ES

Zhiyun Smooth 3 (at Amazon, for smartphones)

Zhiyun Smooth Q (at Amazon, for smartphones)

Zhiyun Crane V2 (at Amazon, original version for small to medium mirrorless and DSLR cameras)

Schoeps CMC641 Super-cardioid Microphone (Recorded this review)

Sound Devices 633 Audio Recorder

Panasonic GH5 Camera (at Amazon, for product shots)

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd 

Ethics statement: Some of the links above are affiliate links which means that if you click on them and buy, I get a small commission. You don't pay more by clicking these links than if you just went to the retailer’s web site on your own. I use the proceeds to buy additional gear to review and help you improve your sound, lighting, and video. Thanks for your support!