Holiday Gift Guide 2019 – Part 2 – Can You Hear Me Now?

I’ve said it before: Audio is 50% of your video. Unless it’s bad, then it’s 80%!

It’s true that people can consume marginal video if the  sound is good. If sound is bad they are gone. Solid gone.

This part of the gift guide has some options you should consider to increase the peace on your video’s sound.

Rode has become quite the player in the easy to manage mic choices.

This year they introduced the Rode Wireless GO mic system which makes a wireless recording so easy, you can’t ever leave home without it.

With a 2 small footprint modular system, you only need to simply pair once to get a wireless lav system in production.

Designed like 2 squares about an 1 inch each, they easily attach to the subject, which could be you narrating, and the mic input on your camera. Or with some adaptors, your smartphone.

No question, this has become the go-to solid consideration for your vlogging needs.

If you don’t want the wireless option, yet still require the lavalier, the RODE SmartLav (with adaptors not included-keep all of it in a small bag), works great on smartphones, and hard wired into you camera.

Below is an older vid, check the connectivity, but still gives you a good idea on the how to use the mic. A great option, even with a DJI Osmo 3 Gimbal as you cover events.

And this mic, the Rode VideoMicro is always in my bag, as it plugs fast into my camera and give a higher quality directional mic-ing, and gets that nasty on camera noise out of the picture. A great compact solution.

You can use it with the above system, and honesty get a more discreet mic-ing option.

For monitoring all of your video need there is no need to break the bank as the Sony professional over ear headset is only about $100. The choice of pros, these deliver a flat sound, not colored by bass or high end to give you the best, honest, depiction of the sound you are gathering.

When you do start to go higher end on your audio capture, one of the best new mixers out there is from CEntrance. Whether you are podcasting, want cleaner audio on your DSL or Mirrorless, this unit is super clean and the design is minimal, so the rig you build is manageable.  The Mixerface R4 has a microSD slot so you can get the insurance of another copy of the record. I always want the insurance. You get 2 XLR inputs, and super easy connection to a smartphone

For microphones, I prefer the Sanken COS 11D for a lavalier, and an Audio Technica for the shotgun. You should listen for yourselves at a brick and mortar to ensure you are getting the sound you like. And if you order the Sanken, make sure the plug is right for your wireless system, and you can handle phantom power with your rig.

Then you have another higher end wireless options for more professional work. After years of rocking the Sennheiser G2 system, I moved to the Sennheiser AVX system and it integrates perfectly with the CEntrance mixer. I have purchased addition batteries, as depending on the event length, you may burn through them, Always have extras! Yes, it comes with a lav in the kit, so maybe you now have a spare. I’m still in the Sanken camp.

The next step is the mounting to a camera.
I would suggest researching which fits your camera system, and you mic system of choice. I found a half circle solution, but your choice may vary.

Once you have recorded the flat “raw” sound, perhaps a gift of tutorials on basic sound mixing will make your productions gain that extra quality to send it over the top.

 Heck, we go to Dolby movies for a reason, right?

OK, maybe went off on an expensive tangent here, but sound is very important to all of us.

The next Gift Guide will go a little simpler.

And the deals are still coming into my email, so there is still time.

Holiday Gift Guide 2019 #1 !

Black Friday has come and gone, Cyber Monday is in the rearview, Green Monday is a recent memory.

 The deals will continue, however, as there is a shortened shopping season.

So, let’s start with some ideas for your photo video gift giving, or your end of year purchases for you self. Self Santa, as it were.

First up is a product from Peak Design that should be in every photographers check list:

The Tech Pouch has been been one of the best designed travel accessory bags I’ve used in the past year. OK, ever!

With multiple pockets, pouches, and great overall design, this bit of kit will keep all of your cables, cards, readers, adaptors, etc, all in one place, and organized. I even add a little Lexon Bluetooth speaker to get my Spotify playlist going as I prep. and affordable at about $60. USD

Next up is another product from Peak Design, and that is the Everyday Sling 10L.

With a bit of structure, this bag holds just the right amount of gear fro a great walkaround for the street photographer. A couple of design notes that I think are particularly useful, are the zipper opening TO the body, instead of AWAY from the body (more secure), and the battery pouches in the lid. Those even have a discreet color code so you can divide full and used batteries at a glance. I have even put an iPad with keyboard in this. Pencil goes in zipped pouch. Plus straps on the bottom let you carry a travel tripod, or, as i mainly use it for, a compact umbrella! Only $120 at Amazon!

Here is a full link of camera bags that honestly haven’t changed much from last year. You can never have too many camera bags! But you knew that.

For some fun right out of the box:

DJI Osmo Mobile 3, for some smooth smartphone footage. Now that it folds, there is no reason not to have it with you at all times. Others have a bit of an issue with the length. Nice solve, DJI!

Super easy to use, and now you will have those tracking shots you always hoped for.  Perfect for vlogging, This unit will also quickly go from horizontal to vertical for fast social posting. And classic DJI simplicity of operation. Only $120! Check it out-

For the more serious filmmaker, I’d suggest Filmic Pro app as a great addition. DJI has excellent software, but this app is a step above for mobile filmmakers.

Back to DJI, the Action Cam, which is now getting heavily discounted to compete with GoPro is a solid action cam, with a built in FRONT Monitor!!  So, that’s what I look like!

Add on a cage from PGYTECH, an audio adaptor for an external mic, the Rode video micro mic (and you will use this mic on your other cameras, trust me), and you have a portable communication unit in you hand. Uses all GoPro standard mount connectors, so easy to find a variety of mounting options.

Just used this for some 4K slo-mo (8x) on holiday, in the ocean, and the footage was pretty sweet. About $300

This is not a commercial for DJI, but they just make solid products. The Pocket Osmo is an interesting entry, as it’s a one piece, # Axis gimbal camera system, that is tiny. It’s fun, easy to use, and can be operated remotely with an added Bluetooth base. I know , once i had this, I added filters, holders, extension poles, etc,. See how it feels for you and how you use it to know what accessories you may want. Also, about $300 for the basic unit.

For all of the gatherings you will be attending, nothing beats instant photos that can be handed out. Best cameras out there come from Fuji, and the are the Instax series. Covered here before, here is that link again.

One of the biggest surprises for me this year was the HoldFast Moneymaker strap system.

An issue I always had with BlackRapid camera straps was the movement and hang of the cameras when going for a 2 camera shoot, (which is most events). Even when I had a single, I found there to be too much slide on my body.

At PhotoPlus Expo this year, I tried on the HoldFast MoneyMaker strap, and fell in love. The best fit, great design, quality leather build, and it looked good. Highly recommend, just make sure you look at the site and check for the correct size. One size does NOT fit all. And that’s a good thing.

And when you are on the road, in the mountains, are going light, you now have 2 choices to back up your media cards on the trails, without needing a computer.

A name you know and love, LaCie, introduced the Boss recently, and I’ve taken it for a test run. A full review is coming, but this SSD portable back-up system saved me a few times on my past trip. The ability to not need a computer to copy and back-up my media cards, view and edit them with my smartphone if need be. Even copy off to another drive, or flash drive. Sounds simple, but it needs to work and be foolproof.

This comes with all cables needed, even if you use a iPhone, or Android device.

1 TB unit is about $450. on Amazon

Another player in the field is Gnarbox. Now on V2, this does the same actions, and has a more futuristic body covering. At almost twice the price, this is another option for your on the road backup. About $900 at Amazon

For you, or your giftee, this is another tool in the bag that may not bring experience right out of the box, but in use will prove it’s value.

Stay tuned, more holiday gift guide coming!

Yes, a lot of links to Amazon. I do get a tiny bit of you shop through these links. Same price to you. And usually the best price.

Fotografiska Opens In NYC!!!

Very excited for the finally announced opening of this unique venue for exhibiting photography and celebrating the world of photography as whole!

Fotografiska New York Opens Doors to the Public on Saturday, December 14th

Solo exhibitions by Ellen von Unwerth, Tawny Chatmon, Adi Nes, Helene Schmitz and a partnership with TIME featuring Anastasia Taylor-Lind presented across three floors of the historic landmark building

Visit Fotografiska.com/NYC or Click HERE for Tickets & Memberships

and pay attention to the hours: Holy Moly!

Sunday – Wednesday: 9:00am – 11:00pm, Thursday – Saturday: 9:00am – 12:00am

and since you asked, Fotografiska is indeed a made up name. Confirmed!

NEW YORK (December 6, 2019) – Fotografiska New York, the new destination for photography and culture in the Flatiron District of New York City, will open to the public on Saturday, December 14th, 2019 with five distinct solo exhibitions of photography by Ellen von Unwerth, Tawny Chatmon, Adi Nes, Helene Schmitz, and a partnership with TIME featuring the work of Anastasia Taylor-Lind. 

Located at 281 Park Avenue South, the six-floor, 45,000 sq ft. historic landmark building will be home to Fotografiska New York’s multi-concept venue, featuring three floors of exhibition space as well as a soon to be opened dining room and bar operated by the award-winning STARR Restaurants and designed by Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors. Esteemed architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy led the design and renovation of the historic property. Higgins Quasebarth & Partners consulted on the preservation and restoration elements of the edifice, such as the stained glass windows on the second floor and the intricate limestone and granite façade.

Founded in 2010 in Stockholm, Fotografiska is guided by the principle of inspiring a more conscious world through photography. Fotografiska has built a safe haven of innovation, inclusivity and self expression by combining art, culturally eclectic event programming, exceptional dining experiences, and curated retail into one destination. 

Their unique exhibition model features a broad
 range of rotating photography shows, from easily accessible to hardcore conceptual, shot by grand masters and emerging talent alike. Fotografiska shows several rotating exhibitions at once, which 
are developed directly with photographers, galleries, estates and private collectors. Rising stars are displayed next to icons, and styles range across abstract, landscape, portrait, documentary and more. All that matters is the communicative power of the image. The presentation of photography is powerful and unparalleled, 
and includes over 200 exhibitions to date, such as David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson, Sally Mann, Cooper & Gorfer, Ren Hang, and Christian Tagliavini.

In addition to the exhibition floors, Fotografiska New York will be home to the restaurant Verōnika, brought to life by STARR Restaurants. With the highly anticipated opening date soon to be announced, Verōnika is a nod to Veronica, the patron saint of photography. The interior is inspired by the moody qualities of the medium in its earliest forms as well as the tone, texture and timbre of the “grand cafés” that populated Europe before the turn of the 20th century. Helmed by executive chef Robert Aikens, the menu draws inspiration from northern France, Austria and Eastern Europe, in an eco-conscious manner that prioritizes seasonality and sustainability. Verōnika’s interior seamlessly incorporates the building’s original ceilings, cornices and archways with new stone and plaster work, opulent fixtures, dramatic murals and colored glass that imbues natural light with a gauzy, impressionistic glow. 


After exploring world-class photography exhibitions, attending culturally eclectic events, or having a coffee or glass of wine in the lobby café, guests can browse the highly-curated retail offering, which includes a portfolio of images from the exhibition archives, including master edition print sets, an iconic poster series, limited edition literature showcasing the work of photographers who have exhibited at the original Stockholm location, and an inspired selection of merchandise from previous and current shows. 

To celebrate the grand opening, Fotografiska New York will host a dynamic series of artist conversations, dinners, members-only gatherings and more, ringing in the inaugural season of exhibitions with programming for everyone to enjoy. The full schedule of programming will be announced in December and take place through March 2020.    

As part of the first year, Fotografiska New York is pleased to announce Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants as the Official Hotel Partner. Fotografiska New York and Kimpton will also be partnering on a traveling exhibition in 2020 that will leverage the power of photography to explore in new ways the diverse stories that make us uniquely human.
281 Park Ave South at 22nd StreetNew York, NY 10010

Once again, for tickets, memberships, and more information about Fotografiska New York, please visit ww.fotografiska.com/nyc, or follow Fotografiska New York on Facebook and Instagram.

About Fotografiska New York:

Fotografiska New York is the newest global outpost from the internationally renowned, Stockholm-based destination for photography. Located at 281 Park Avenue South, the six-floor, 45,000 sq ft. historic landmark will be home to a multi-concept venue, featuring three floors of exhibition space, and a dining room, bar and cafe concept operated by the award-winning Starr Restaurants group and designed by Roman and Williams. A versatile event venue with vaulted ceilings and skylights will host programming for the Fotografiska member community as well as private hire.

Since opening in Sweden in 2010, Fotografiska has become a haven of innovation, inclusivity and free expression. Guided by the brand pillars of inclusion, inspiration, innovation, sustainability and relevance, Fotografiska has become a global name synonymous with contemporary photography. Fotografiska’s exhibition history and presentation of photography is powerful and unparalleled, and includes over 200 exhibitions to date, such as David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Albert Watson, Sally Mann, Cooper & Gorfer, Ren Hang, and Christian Tagliavini.

Pre Gift Guide: Black Friday/Cyber Monday Photo-Video Deals

We all have year end buy targets for what we love, and tools we need. I know some things I usually look for are deals on media cards, SSD drives, bags, maybe some glass, and usually something that may just be for fun, but may spark some new ideas.

As i said, will be adding new Black Friday ads when they come in.

Some pretty sweet camera bags from Peak Design, one of my daily go to bags. From the Messenger to the Sling, these are part of my life. And brand new ones, that are unfortunately not on sale.

Before going through the multiple days of the annual Holiday Gift Guide, you have a little more time to shop before year end, and just want to share some Black Friday/ Black Week/Cyber Monday links that may be of interest to you.

BTW, this years gift guide will have some real world reviews after using products for a year, and what may be worth your investment.

So……..

First up is a software package you probably use everyday, Adobe Creative Cloud. At a 40% discount til 11/29, you may want jump on this. Honestly ,don’t use it all of the apps, but use enough to make it the best investment for your workflow

Then here are some great brands with deals this week:

Lume Cube– small powerful LED lighting system, also has deals today. Good news is that it’s also new product, not just clearing old stock.

Adorama– you know, you love em.

B&H Photo/Video – they have the goods as well!

MagMod Light Modifiers – Silicon, magnetically connect, nice soft light

Tether Tools – 2 main things here- all of your tethering needs from stands, tables and cables, and a must have is the Case Relay Power System. 1st stop for all tethering good.

And of course Best Buy, Amazon (have found good deals on card readers, sometimes media cards, hard drive, minor accessories for mobile vlogging), MACSales for, well you know, MAC stuff. And RAID drives, refurbished computers. Sometimes NewEgg for your computing needs as well. Manfrotto, who has been scooping up so many companies, will be having deals on a lot of the brands that they own.

DJI is having a great sale on a few items, although some are discontinued items. Most times, the biggest deals aren’t on the latest gear, but this one has ActionCam, which I love, and some Mavic-ness, although the new Mavic-Mini (not on sale) seems to get in under FAA regs, weight wise, so could be useful.

I’ll keep adding as I see them, and the holiday gift guides are forthcoming!

Best Choices For Instant Prints – 2019

OK, I usually post the holiday gift guide closer to Turkey day, and the flurry of Black Friday offers.

I just wanted to share this list now as it’s a product line that you want to take to all of the parties and gatherings leading up to that.

Instant prints. As old as the first Polaroid by Dr. Land. He’s gone, it’s gone, and I have fond memories of those products.

Oh sure, you can share your digital images all of the place, but nothing replaces the feeling of having the photo in your hand. And having it with reliability.

Fuji has now come in and, I feel, own the category. The range of products that they have, with all of the connectivity, gives you a huge range of choices on how to share. .

You can have a range of print sizes, from an Ultra Wide to a square, or the compact mini. And the devices you can get can with be a camera that prints solution, or a printer that connects to your smart phone ( or BT enables camera) to print right from the photos you take on them.

I started with the Mini InStax, and it looked cool, although I sometimes had to adjust the flash with a piece of tissue to blunt the intensity.

Then I moved to the Square unit, that also allowed me to preview the exposure AND save the image onto a removable Micro SD card. Some folks feel that it’s really a digital camera that prints. I disagree, and use it as an instant print camera. The micro sd just gives me a copy of the image. Larger image than the mini.

Up next is the LiPlay. Now this camera is small, has great exposure options, some fun filters, and even allows you to put an audio clip on the photo. How? It lets you record a 10sec message, and then prints a QR code onto the image, which the viewer can scan and hear.

The newest addition is now in my bag at all times. It’s Mini Link printer. Period. Compact, connects easily to your smartphone, prints multiple copies of one image if desired, and also has cool filters. I did want o be able to use it with my other Fuji cameras, and needed to disconnect from the phone to pair it with the X-T3, for instance. Perfect for the parties, walkaround, and any kind of sharing. Have a look at some of the features. Super good.

Yes, there is the ultra wide, and honestly I bought one of the years ago, in it’s 1st iteration. Loved the size of the prints, not as much the lack of control of exposure. New one is much better

So there you have it: Fuji has the best reliable cameras out there for sharing your digital photos, IRL. I use them, and love them. Yes, I’m a huge instant photo nerd. Still have a some of Fuji peel apart instant film, used with my 4 Leaf adapted Polaroid 110B. But that s a story for another day

Buy the instax film in bulk on black Friday and give your friends and family something they will keep and maybe get some fridge love. Or desk love.

I promise to send out the black friday deals on that. Amazon is usually great for that. Only watch out is expiration dates.

One more note: I have seen most of the other options out there. Not impressed. Kodak is introducing a Zink camera/printer that has promise, but 1st gen, exposure was an issue, and form factor is a bit odd. I know that Impossible Project is no longer impossible, but the cost of the film is out of wack. Perhaps when that calms down, it will be a more level playing field.

Instagram

Upcoming Events

  • CES

  • Jan. 7th – Jan 10th, 2020
  • Las Vegas, Nevada

Is there an event we should know about?
Let us know on twitter.

Current Exhibitions

  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • Conspiracy of Ravens
  • October 24 – December 7, 2019
  • New York, NY 10001
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • p. 212-414-0370
  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • W|ALLS: DEFEND, DIVIDE, AND THE DIVINE
  • OCT 05, 2019 – DEC 29, 2019
  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
  • Century City, CA. 90067
  • Tel: 213.403.3000
  • Getty Center
  • True Grit- American Prints and Photographs from 1900-1950
  • October 15th, 2019- January 19th, 2020
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • Selections From Collections
  • November 20, 2019 -January 18th, 2020
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • New York, New York!
  • 26 SEPTEMBER 2019 – 22 FEBRUARY 2020
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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