THE DJI RS2 IS PERFECT FOR WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHERS
MAY 11th, 2021
In this blog post, we'll be discussing a piece of equipment that has become absolutely essential in my equipment kit: the DJI RS2 camera gimbal. I'll cut right to the chase if you are considering buying one to shoot your videos: it's pretty awesome. Having used the gimbal for multiple shoots by this point, I'll take you through what I consider to be the pro's and con's of DJI's newest flagship camera stabilizer.
Pro #1: Your Shots will be Buttery Smooth
This is probably the most important for us videographers. After all, this is obviously why we use the gimbal in the first place: to achieve those awesome looking, cinematic tracking shots. The new SuperSmooth option provides an added layer of stabilization even when you are moving quickly (such as leading the bride down the aisle when she makes her grand entrance or circling around your couple during their first dance). There are bound to be those slight bumps in the footage from your footsteps (as with any gimbal), but overall my experience with the actual stabilization of footage has been a positive one.
Pro #2: Compact, Light, and Mobile
I recently purchased this gimbal as an upgrade from the Ronin M, and while the M is great for stabilization in general, it can be extremely cumbersome to lug around while shooting at weddings. When protracted over the course of a full shooting day, that can be downright exhausting. In order to sit the gimbal down, you have to carry the balancing bracket along with the gimbal itself. Overall, it was too heavy to be practical and can be a pain to deal with if you're a wedding videographer.
The DJI RS2 eliminates all those problems. The bottom screw-on handle of the gimbal also functions as a mini-tripod with three legs attached. You can sit it down on any stable surface, and oh my lord is it easy to carry. If you need to walk a considerable distance, you can even lock the three axis' motors into place and carry the fully-rigged gimbal with one hand. The convenience can't be beat.
Pro #3: Easy to Use
The gimbal itself is extremely intuitive to use in general. While initial setup can take a little bit of time (I'll discuss that as a con later in this article), once your camera is fired up and ready to go, the controls are placed in extremely convenient positions within a finger's reach. The ability to control the focus motor with a roll of your index finger is absolutely critical when shooting can't-miss moments such as first looks with the bride and groom. If you decide to purchase the new 3D Focus System, even better (in my case I went without it and settled for the Pro Combo package that included a focus motor). There is another added feature on the gimbal that's fantastic: a touch screen. If you need to calibrate your gimbal and make sure those motors are nice and tight, a couple of buttons and the RS2 will test out each axis' stiffness using Auto Tune. If you need a quick view of the gimbal's active track shot, it will show up on the screen when activated (although this isn't as good as an actual external monitor). So when it comes to ease of use and ergonomic design: bravo DJI.
Pro #4: The Raven Eye Wireless Video Transmitter
The Raven Eye is essential if you're deciding whether or not to purchase the RS2. You may not think you'll need it, but oh will you. There are many times when I would want to get low to the ground when shooting, and in cases like this it's essential that you use the Raven Eye so you can view your shot. Not only that, it eliminates the need for a bulky external monitor like you would need to use with the Ronin M. I have almost no complaints about this system. It's easy to use and the convenience of using your phone as an external monitor is ingenious.
Pro & Con: Battery Life
I'll list this feature as both a pro and con, seeing as there are both some great positives here while also recognizing some caveats. While the battery life of the DJI RS2 is ample, I'd say you'll be able to get a solid 10 hours of use out of the gimbal if you use it constantly. If you let the gimbal rest in sleep mode occasionally, the advertised 12-hour battery life is more feasible. That's crucial if you're shooting a wedding over the course of a full day. I think DJI's claim that the battery can last a full 12 hours while in constant use is overestimating things just a bit. If you're putting this gimbal through the ringer with hours of non-stop shooting, it's my opinion your battery will run out before those 12 hours are up. I can't complain about this too much, as being as able to shoot potentially for 10 to 12 without a recharge is fantastic. But this is something to be aware of if you start shooting a wedding at, say, 10 AM in the morning and go all the way to 10 PM at night. I would carry your charger with you just in case you need to recharge later in the day as your battery drains. A note on charging: it takes a while - and by that I mean a couple of hours. You'll certainly want to let the battery charge overnight before you head off to your shoot.
Con #1: Assembly. Cords, Cords, and more Cords
Out of the box, the RS2 can be intimidating in terms of assembly. When I received the gimbal in the mail, I spent a solid half day doing nothing but putting it together. While DJI does a good job of providing plenty of instruction booklets and how-to videos, it's still a bit confusing as to which cord plugs into which port. With a complete rig, I ended up with four cords in total plugged into the gimbal and camera (and this isn't including the optional 3D Focus System). I'm sure in the future DJI may find a way to integrate all connectors into a single cable, and granted I'm no engineer, but overall this is a small price to pay for the overall convenience once fully assembled. I can undoubtedly say that I'm much faster in building the rig having shot with the RS2 over the course of the last few months, but this is something else to bear in mind when you are up against the clock on wedding day. I always assemble the RS2 the night before specifically so I can save time when I show up to the venue.​​​​​​​
Con #2: Active Track Could Still Use Some Work
I think an enormous benefit to future iterations of Active Track would be improvements in facial recognition, similar to the software used in iPhones. It honestly might be that I'm new to using the gimbal's firmware, but there were times when my focus point was lost and the camera struggled to track the point I dictated to it. This is something that DJI is undoubtedly working on improving, and will only improve with each new version of Active Track.
It's also a requirement that you purchase the Raven Eye system in order to use Active Track in general, and while the system works great, I'm sure there are videographers out there that would like to be able to use it strictly with the built-in touchscreen for a more cost-effective option.
Conclusion: Absolutely Worth the Price Tag
If you're deciding whether or not to purchase the RS2, I can say wholeheartedly that this gimbal is worth the money. Obviously the pro's outweigh the con's, and ff you're a wedding videographer, look no further the RS2. I can't say whether it would be worth your an upgrade from the Ronin S, as I jumped directly from the Ronin M to the RS2, but I'll definitely say my experience with this gimbal has been a positive one. The convenience of mobility and intuitive controls make for a perfect run-and-gun videographer's gimbal.
- Jack Moffet
why i still use the panasonic gh5 to shoot video

February 11th, 2021
In this blog post, we'll be discussing a camera that needs absolutely no introduction in the world of videography: the Panasonic GH5, and why - even going on four years after its original release - I still use it for shooting video.
The GH5 (at the time of its release in March 2017) was a major game-changer: it was the first mirrorless camera capable of shooting 4K resolution video with 10-bit 4:2:2 chroma subsampling. When its sister camera, the GH5S, was released nearly a year later in January 2018, providing even better performance in low light, videographers the world over understandably felt their eyes pop out of their head when reviewing the dynamic range and color space of their footage. Suddenly, anyone with a GH5S in their hands could consider themselves a filmmaker at an unbeatable price-point. I purchased my own GH5S in November of 2018, and I've fallen in love with the camera ever since.

This is a still from a video I shot in February of 2020 with the GH5 and a Rokinon 24MM lens

As goes without saying, the GH5 is an absolute workhorse of a camera. The footage is breathtaking even in today's era of popular full-frame cameras such as the GH5's big sister the S1H or Black Magic's Pocket Cinema 6K. When equipped with V-Log, the camera is capable of shooting footage that is downright cinema-worthy. I've been shooting with the camera for several years now, and I can tell you first-hand that the camera is worth every penny of its price-tag if you are an aspiring videographer or filmmaker. If you are interested in wedding videography, just take a look at the still below taken directly from a wedding video I shot in last November of 2020.

amazing color space and dynamic range from the footage out of the GH5S

If you are looking for a starter camera, I can't recommend it enough. With the GH5 currently priced at about $1400 and the GH5S at $1900, both are a steal. All that being said, I will also be the first to admit that the camera is due for an update. Four years after the original camera's release, professional videographers have been waiting breathlessly for an update to the GH5. The S1H, released in September 2019, took the lead in full-frame mirrorless video and has been a very popular choice ever since. So.... where is the next camera in the GH series?
Behold...
The Panasonic GH6 is rumored to finally arrive this year.
And the potential specs are nothing short of exciting. According to 43Rumors, it's rumored that the camera will be capable of recording 8K video - an astonishing resolution for any videographer. Although it was originally slated to be released in mid-2020, the camera was withheld from release due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the rumors hold true, the GH6 could well become the first practical 8K video camera at its size and price-point. Once again, the GH line of cameras may break barriers for countless professional videographers looking to achieve the "Hollywood" look in their footage.

Would ya just look at it?!?

I'm going to go out on a limb here: I think this is going to be the most popular video camera release of the year. For professional videographers like myself, the camera could well become a dream come true for many. There are rumored to be three versions of the camera: the GH6 (the base model), the GH6V (aimed at video shooting), and the GH6X (likely aimed at professional photographers). The price of the camera is expected to be around $2500. At that price range, if you can afford the camera and have some patience to spare, it will be absolutely worth your wait. If the price tag is outside your budget, you can expect the GH5 to drop in price as soon as the GH6 is released. As stated before, you'd be hard pressed to find a better starter camera than the GH5.
So are you are as excited as we are to get your hands on the GH6? We know we're ready!
- Jack Moffet


VIDEO MARKETING IN THE MODERN AGE

January 25th, 2021

Hello! And welcome to Black Fox Productions' very first blog post. In this post, we'll be discussing the importance of using video in your marketing strategy, and why it has become a standard in virtually all modern marketing infrastructures.​​​​​​​
A common question I get from many business owners is: "How would a video benefit my business?"
This is a very valid question, as the benefits may not be inherently obvious at first glance. It may seem like an extravagant expense to hire a videographer or production company, but the statistics couldn't possibly contradict this notion more and absolutely speak for themselves.
According to a 2020 study by Wyzowl*:
- 89% of video marketers say video gives them a good ROI.
- 83% of video marketers say video helps them with lead generation.
- 87% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.
- 80% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales.
*https://optinmonster.com/video-marketing-statistics-what-you-must-know/

Study after study has shown that businesses (both small, medium, and large alike) are benefitting from video in their marketing strategies. It's not only becoming popular to use video, it's becoming a standard.

When I first began studying film and video back in college, it was somewhat of a novelty trade. There were the professionals who had access to equipment that cost as much as a house, and then there were people who watched the television shows, movies, or news broadcasts produced by those professionals. With the advent of social media - such as Youtube and Facebook - the entire landscape of videography and filmmaking changed. With the invention of smart phones, the access to endless forms of media (especially video) was now available in someone's pocket at the simple push of a button, and it was available instantly.
This democratized media as a whole. Suddenly, anyone with a smart phone could post a video to their business's Facebook page and reach all of their followers within seconds. Videographers could now purchase cinema-grade DSLR cameras at a fraction of the cost, and overnight they were filmmakers. Businesses are now creating their own video departments specifically to address this ever-growing demand for more video in their marketing platforms.​​​​​​​
So when it comes to video benefitting your business (and I'm sure as a professional videographer I have some unapologetic built-in bias here), it's my opinion that video is a worthwhile investment. A single video post on your business's Facebook page can potentially generate thousands of viewers. Overnight, your prospects have ballooned exponentially and that means potential conversion of more leads.​​​​​​​
Are you a small law firm, looking to gain an edge on the other firms in your area? Look no further than video marketing*. There are entire companies dedicated to nothing but law firm video marketing. Are you a medical practice, looking to gain more patients? A video commercial highlighting your services is a great way to go. Do you own a restaurant? A short documentary-style video highlighting delicious food being made will make your customers want to come eat dinner at your business on Friday night. Run a dance studio? How about a cinema-style short showcasing one your student's dancing skills? Are you a real estate agent, hoping to sell a hot new property? A video walkthrough of the listing is statistically more likely to generate leads.**
*https://www.sundownmarketing.com/5-ways-to-use-video-in-law-firm-marketing/
**https://www.inman.com/next/by-the-numbers-how-to-focus-your-video-marketing-for-the-biggest-return-on-investment/
Not only that, but video is entertaining and easy to watch. It's the easiest and most effective way for a prospect to research your brand before deciding to buy from you. A quick "About You" video introducing yourself as business owner develops a sense of openness and trust. We live in a highly risk-averse consumer culture. Your prospects want a guarantee that their hard-earned money won't go to waste. And what better way to do that than showcasing what your business can offer to them?
This trend has only become more ironclad with the recent COVID-19 pandemic, solidifying video's place in the marketing industry. Businesses and customers alike are utilizing video now more than ever before.
So what are you waiting for? Let's talk about your video!
- Jack Moffet
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