CineD Thu, 23 Nov 2023 20:22:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Kodak Super 8 Camera Revived – At More than 10 Times Its Original Price, Will It Finally Arrive? Thu, 23 Nov 2023 20:22:23 +0000 Seven years is a long time in the film industry. Most product lines will see more than one generational shift within such a time frame. Evolutions take place and revolutions might occur. This isn’t quite the case for the mysterious Kodak Super 8, a camera announced back In 2016 and yet to be available for purchase.

Kodak has recently launched a preorder (of sorts) for its eternally developed Super 8 camera. The dedicated website lets you sign up to purchase the camera sometime in the future. It also specifies its most notable abilities, accessories included, with some sample footage. At this point, it’s hard to say anything decisive about the chances of the Kodak Super 8 ever seeing the light of retail, but at least there’s still some spark of life to cling to.

A different kind of hybrid – what is the Kodak Super 8 camera exactly?

Some aspects have changed since its 2016 announcement, but most core features remain. The Kodak Super 8 is an analog Super 8 camera with a digital twist. It uses 50ft cartridges of Super 8 film as its only visual recording medium. Omitting the audio channel on the Super 8 film, the camera uses an extended 14:9 gate, allowing for an 11% larger image than traditional S8 cameras. On the initial model, audio was recorded on a separate SD card. The camera supported an included mic that could detach from the top handle, vacating a 3.5mm jack that would then be used by other microphones. It seems as if the new iteration omitted it completely, as Kodak mentioned nothing about it, and it is not shown in the latest images.

Kodak Super 8, 6mm f/1.2 lens and pistol grip. Image credit: Kodak

The video side of things is even more interesting. As one may guess by its name (and related hype), the Kodak Super 8 camera is an analog device. The camera can only record video on a Super 8 roll. Alas – monitoring is done through a 4″ LCD getting its feed from a sensor. Though Kodak doesn’t specify the actual procedure, the light coming through the lens is split in one way or another, enabling excellent monitoring and control. Various shooting angles are now possible once the optical viewfinder no longer poses any constraint.

Kodak Super 8 modern operating system on a “vintage” camera. Image credit: Kodak

What’s in the box

The Kodak Super 8 is bundled with a kit that will let you start shooting on arrival. It includes a pelican case, a C-mount 6mm f/1.2 lens, a pistol grip with Micro USB charging cables, a USB power adapter, a cleaning cloth, and one KODAK TRI-X Black & White Reversal Film 7266 cartridge. Seems pretty generous, but wait until you hear about the price…

Kodak Super 8 kit. Image credit: Kodak

Price and availability

As of writing, we know very little about camera availability. Should you sign up to buy the camera, you’ll be given a choice of delivery time ranging from “ASAP” to “2025”. The camera is also listed at B&H, with no further details. However, no firm deadline is set. As for the price, the initial estimate in 2016 hovered around $400. By 2018, that amount had multiplied by about 5, reaching an estimated range of $2500-$3000, and today it peaked. The KODAK Super 8 Camera MSRP is set to $5,495. At launch (2016), Kodak planned a film development and scanning service. No details about any current option, but one must take the cost of the analog workflow into consideration.

Kodak Super 8 battery and film cartridge. Image credit: Kodak

Who is it for?

Ignoring the rather steep price tag, a Super 8 camera with a modern control scheme may appeal to a relatively wide audience. The C-mount will surely help get the vintage look with a plethora of affordable optics. However, this is hardly the case with a $5,495 camera. As Kodak no longer mentions any develop/scan service and no audio recording, I could hardly recommend this camera over various other vintage options. This price range could also get you a (very) good digital set with RAW capabilities that might allow some nice analog filters in post.

Have you been waiting for the Kodak Super 8 since 2016? Do you think it will actually hit the shelves this time? And what about the price? Let us know in the comments.

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Black Friday: FilmConvert Offers 40% Discount on FilmConvert Nitrate and CineMatch Thu, 23 Nov 2023 12:30:57 +0000 New Zealand-based company, FilmConvert, specializes in creating color grading plugins that simplify the film grading process and enhance camera matching across all major NLEs. They are currently offering attractive deals for Black Friday!

With 40% off the normal prices, we are looking at a great deal for these really useful tools. Both of them can really speed up your workflow when color grading and trying to achieve a “cinematic” look as well as when trying to match footage from different cameras.

40% off FilmConvert Nitrate and CineMatch

This week both tools are available for the following prices: 

  • FilmConvert Nitrate individual license: $89
  • FilmConvert Nitrate individual license with halation: $129
  • FilmConvert Nitrate Bundle license: $139
  • FilmConvert Nitrate Bundle license with halation: $179
  • Halation add-on for pre-existing Nitrate licenses: $49
  • CineMatch individual license: $89
  • CineMatch bundle license: $139

The codes are enabled for this week only and can be stacked for an even bigger discount.

Matching camera footage using False Colors in CineMatch – Image credit: FilmConvert

What does Film Convert Nitrate do?

Both FilmConvert Nitrate and CineMatch are plugins that work with Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and Final Cut Pro. 

FilmConvert Nitrate is a tool for achieving a film emulation for your digitally shot footage. It emulates classic film stock and adds grain. The grain is not simply an overlay over the clip, but the plugin models the amount of grain for each color and exposure in the used footage. 

Here’s a walkthrough of what the plugin does:

Halation expansion for FilmConvert Nitrate

The company now also offers a halation extension which allows you to further control the amount of halation in the footage.

Halation controls in FilmConvert Nitrate – Image credit: FilmConvert

This extension traces the light in the footage to see where halation should occur. Halation is the effect that appears on film footage when bright areas seem to softly bleed across the edges of dark areas with a light orange glow around the edges. While the effect should only be subtle, it adds a “filmic” feel to the footage.

You can see the halation expansion at work here:

Read more about the tool in our article here.

What is CineMatch?

CineMatch is a tool that allows you to easily match footage from different cameras. The company has developed its own sensor-matching technique with dedicated camera packs for all major camera companies. This makes matching the footage a lot easier than doing it by hand or via the built-in controls of some NLEs.

You can see a walkthrough of the camera sensor matching here:

The company is very good at keeping the program up-to-date and continues to add camera profiles regularly. The latest version, released in October, for example, added support for the new Apple LOG format found on the iPhone 15 Pro. 

Are you using these plugins already? Are you happy with the results and would you recommend them? Let us know in the comments below!

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SmallRig Black Friday Deals – Up to 50% Off Camera Cages, Batteries, Lights, and Accessories Thu, 23 Nov 2023 10:18:48 +0000 For this year’s Black Friday at SmallRig, the company is currently running a plethora of deals on a vast selection of products, including camera cages, batteries, LED lights and lighting accessories, and camera rigging accessories. Until November 30th, you can get up to 50% off some products, so let’s take a closer at these!

Following Accsoon, Core SWX, and Atomos, camera accessories manufacturer SmallRig is joining the Black Friday sale. Also, if you missed it, don’t forget to enter our own CineD x Mzed Black Friday free giveaway, where you can win up to $20,000 worth of camera gear!

SmallRig Black Friday deals
Image credit: SmallRig

SmallRig Black Friday deals

Until November 30th, SmallRig is running Black Friday deals on nearly their entire website, with discounts ranging from -20 % all the way up to 50%. The deals are divided into five categories:

  • Camera cages: from Sony to Canon, Nikon, FUJIFILM, Panasonic, Blackmagic Design, and so on, there is very little doubt you’ll find a discount on the suitable camera cage for your specific camera.
  • Stabilizer and shoulder rig: gimbal handgrips and accessories, quick-release plates, shoulder pads, handles…etc. You can get your hands on a wide range of useful accessories at up to 50% off.
SmallRig Black Friday Deals
Image credit: SmallRig

Furthermore, if that’s not enough, SmallRig is giving you an extra $10 discount for orders over $149, $20 for orders over $199, and $30 on all orders over $249!

Most of these Black Friday deals are available through our partners B&H and CVP, and you can find all of them directly on SmallRig’s website here.

What do you think about these Black Friday deals? Have you already gotten gear from manufacturers? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Zacuto Z-Finder for the Sony BURANO Released – Smarter and Quicker Loupe System Thu, 23 Nov 2023 08:28:08 +0000 American manufacturer Zacuto recently released a Z-Finder frame for the Sony BURANO. This frame attaches directly to the camera’s LCD screen; it doesn’t block the control buttons and gives you quick access to the touchscreen with one flip of a lever. A kit is also available with the Z-Finder Pro 2.5x loupe if you don’t already have one. So, let’s take a closer look at it!

The Sony BURANO was announced in September 2023, and while it is already available for pre-order, the camera will only start shipping in spring 2024. In a nutshell, this impressive compact camera can shoot in 8K at up to 30fps and 4K at 120fps, has a dual native ISO of 800 and 3200, features the same autofocus capabilities as the Sony FX6/FX9, and most importantly, it is the first cinema camera to have built-in ND filters and In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS). You can watch our exclusive interview with Nobutatsu Takahashi-san, General Manager of Sony Cinema Line, to learn more about the Sony BURANO.

The Sony BURANO monitor. Image credit: CineD

Sony BURANO LCD loupe

The Sony BURANO comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD monitor. This monitor has multiple physical buttons around the display and a control joystick, making navigating the menus a breeze. This LCD can also control the camera’s autofocus functions and touch focus.

The Sony BURANO LCD loupe. Image credit: CineD

My colleague Nino had the chance to play with the Sony BURANO during the launch event at Pinewood Studios in London. As he noticed, the loupe that comes with the LCD screen has a mirror design; it is attached to the monitor sideways and can’t be flipped up. This means you have to take the loupe off to use the touch focus capabilities, which is not the fastest on set, especially for a camera designed for a one-man-band operation.

Zacuto Z-Finder for the Sony BURANO. Image credit: Zacuto

Zacuto Z-Finder for the Sony BURANO

To make things faster and easier, and to avoid having to flip your monitor back and forth, Zacuto released a Z-Finder frame specifically designed for the Sony BURANO. According to Zacuto, “This frame slides into the mechanism on the Sony monitor and locks into place using their hinge.”

The Z-Finder frame for the Sony BURANO is compatible with the Z-Finder 2.5x loupe. Image credit: Zacuto

Once the Z-Finder frame is attached to the LCD screen, you only have to clip the Zacuto Z-Finder 2.5x loupe. The frame has a red lever at the bottom, allowing you to flip the loupe to access the touchscreen quickly. If you don’t need the loupe, you can snap it off without having to remove the entire frame.

Zacuto Z-Finder for the Sony BURANO
Zacuto Z-Finder for the Sony BURANO. Image credit: Zacuto

Zacuto mentions that the Z-Finder doesn’t interfere with the Sony mounting arm for the LCD. If you have never used a Zacuto Z-Finder before, it features a 40mm opening, the diopter range can be adjusted from -4 to 0 via the included lens/extender frames, and it has one of the best anti-fog coatings on the market.

Pricing and availability

The Zacuto Z-Finder frame for the Sony BURANO is available to pre-order now for €250/$237,50. A kit with the Z-Finder 2.5x loupe is also available for €594/$565.25. Both products should start shipping in early 2024. As always with Zacuto, non-electronic products have a lifetime warranty.

For more information, please visit Zacuto’s website here.

What do you think about this loupe for the Sony BURANO? Did you already use a Zacuto Z-Finder or EVF? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Snapbridge Introduced – Lightbridge and DoPchoice Team Up for New Method of Painting with Controlled Light Wed, 22 Nov 2023 14:57:05 +0000 Lightbridge, makers of the Cine Reflect Lighting Systems (CRLS), and DoPchoice have partnered up to create a new type of reflective lighting gear: The Snapbridge. It’s designed to create a soft light source with full creative control. The goal was to create a reflective system that works with all light sources and is very close to natural light while at the same time reducing the spill off the reflector.

Both companies are already well known: Lightbridge for their Precision Reflectors, which offer a natural and intuitive style of illumination, and DoPchoice for their instant-up Snapbags and Snapgrids for softening and direction of most types of LED lights. Let’s take a closer look at what their new innovation has to offer!

Check out our video interview, in which we talk to Jakob Ballinger (CEO of Lightbridge) and Stefan Karle (CEO of DoPchoice) about their innovation, and see the Snapbridge in action.

The Snapbridge used in “Dark Mode” – Image credit: Lightbridge

What is “layered lighting”?

Lightbridge calls this new approach “layered lighting”. This is achieved by adding a soft DoPchoice bounce around the Lightbridge Precision Reflector. The lightweight device is stored in a compact pouch and snaps into its octagonal shape once it’s removed from it. It is 5 feet or 1.5 meters in diameter and nearly flat, therefore allowing it to be used even in tight spaces such as staircases or elevators.

Slim form factor for use in tight spaces – Image credit: LightBridge

The device has a dark side and a white side for two different modes. The white side, or Soft Mode, is used to create a gentle bounced fill light around the precision reflector. The Dark Mode provides negative fill with a glow of light reminiscent of a charcoal grid or black silks. It also reduces spill around the precision reflector. Both sides quickly attach to Lightbridge Precision Reflectors with a rail at the back and a C-Wheel mount that fits the standard 16mm Baby pin mounts.

The Snapbridge in “Soft Mode” with Lightbridge Precision Reflector – Image credit: Lightbridge

The Snapbridge also includes the anti-rotation Lightbridge Extender to make mounting even easier and safer.

The C-Wheel extender – Image credit: Lightbridge

Quick setup

The setup and breakdown work fast due to the proprietary engineering. The Snapbridge folds out easily and can then be snapped in place using either the Soft or Dark mode. The small footprint makes it especially useful for small teams or creators working on their own.

What’s included in the Snapbridge Glide Ready-To-Go Kit

The kit includes a Snapbridge 5-foot Shallow, one each 50×50 Lightbridge DIFF2 (which provides a soft reflection) and DIFF3 (which is useful when you need more punch) Precision Reflector, one Speedbag 50, one C-Wheel Receiver, one Grip Bag, one Lightbridge 16mm Extension, and Cleaning Cloth. The Snapbridge 5-foot Shallow and DIFF Precision Reflectors can also be purchased as single items.

The Snapbridge Ready-To-Go Kit – Image credit: Lightbridge

Black Friday Gear Giveaway

Lightbridge and DoPchoice were kind enough to sponsor our Black Friday Gear Giveaway! We are giving away gear worth more than $20k to 20 lucky winners with 20 ways to enter. Check out our article to enter the giveaway – It’s WORLDWIDE and for FREE!

Pricing and availability

The product is available for pre-order in the US for $1,875 (€1.695) for the kit and will be delivered starting at the end of November. Once the product is available worldwide, we will let you know. Also, of course, we will put it through its paces and review it as soon as we get our hands on it. 

Are you using Lightbridge or DoPchoice products already? Does this new system look interesting to you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Black Friday Giveaway: $20K+ in Prizes, 20 Winners & 20 Ways to Enter! Wed, 22 Nov 2023 12:49:18 +0000 Another year has passed, and it’s Black Friday again! We all know how this goes – everyone wants your money. These times are not easy in our industry, but there are always opportunities out there. We know, you love what you do and it is the time of giving back, isn’t it? Look no further because CineD and MZed are here to support you with our Black Friday Gear Giveaway!

We’ve teamed up with some of the biggest names in our industry to give away more than $20,000 USD in camera gear and accessories to 20 lucky winners. Best of all: anyone can enter, and it’s free!

We thank all of our generous prize sponsors for the CineD & MZed Black Friday 2023 Giveaway!

The prizes are sponsored by FUJIFILM, iFootage, Angelbird, Lightbridge, Libec, SIRUI, Tilta, DoPchoice and MZed, and let me repeat again, they are worth more than USD 20,000 in total. For a more detailed list of all the prizes, scroll down to the bottom of this article.

MZed Black Friday Gear Giveaway – Prize Package 1. Image Credit: CineD

Enter our $20,000+ Gear Giveaway here!

The drawing will take place on December 15, 2023, at midnight Pacific Time. The winners will be announced on CineD and MZed after the drawing. No purchase is necessary – full terms here.

20 winners will be drawn

You might be thinking, “Well, what are the odds of winning anyway?” But don’t worry, there won’t be just ONE winner. We will draw a total of 20 lucky winners and contact each one individually. The prizes are organized in neat packages that include various items from the prize list. For example, the 1st prize winner will receive a FUJIFILM XS20 with a kit lens, a Libec tripod and camera bag, an iFootage light, a brand-new product from Lightbridge, and a memory card bundle from Angelbird. The other 19 packages include full lens kits from SIRUI, $500 vouchers from DoPchoice, a Tilta Nano II follow focus and Gear Lab tools, as well as dozens and dozens of further prizes from iFootage, Angelbird, Lightbridge, Libec, and so much more. 

MZed Black Friday Gear Giveaway – Prize Package 2. Image Credit: CineD

20 ways to enter and increase your odds of winning

20 winners, 20 ways to enter – check out the giveaway widget above to see how to enter. It’s up to you how many tasks you want to do, but there are 20 different tasks in total, and each task will raise your chances of winning! Some are as simple as subscribing to our newsletter or following us on our social channels, and some questions are a bit more tricky, just to keep things interesting, but I am sure that you will manage to complete all of the steps to have the best odds at winning one of the 20 prizes. 

MZed Pro annual membership is $199 instead of $349 this week only – and increases your chances

Becoming an MZed Pro is $199 (instead of $349) and significantly increases your chances of winning.

Oh, and here’s a pro tip: being a member of the best online filmmaking education website, MZed pays off as well: MZed Pro annual subscribers get the highest amount of entry points in the gear giveaway draw!

You’re not signed up yet? During Black Friday week only, an annual membership to MZed Pro is only $199 instead of $349 – the biggest discount of the year. Now is really the best time ever to subscribe to MZed Pro, and apart from getting access to over 800 lessons on countless creative and filmmaking subjects from some of the best creators in the world, you will also have the highest chance of winning in our Black Friday Gear Giveaway. Don’t miss this chance. 

MZed Black Friday Gear Giveaway – Prize Package 3. Image Credit: CineD

So don’t waste any more time; our giveaway is open until midnight PT on Nov 27th.

And don’t forget: The more ways you enter our giveaway, the higher your chances are at the prize draw. Don’t forget to read our Terms and Conditions to learn who’s eligible to enter. 

Good luck to all of you, and: happy Thanksgiving!

20 prize packages in our Black Friday Giveaway

A special thanks go out to all our sponsors who have participated in our Black Friday Gear Giveaway! Below, you can find a gallery list of all the products you can win!

1st Prize Package – Value $3,626.00

2nd Prize Package – Value $2,136.97

3rd Prize Package – Value $3,567.97

17 more packages – see what other products you can win

Here’s a quick summary of the MZed Pro subscription:

  • Over 800+ high-quality lessons spanning over 465 hours of learning. 52 courses plus many more courses are on the way.
  • Highly produced courses from educators who have decades of experience and awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award.
  • Exclusive access to videos and master classes from ARRI Academy and The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).
  • Unlimited access to stream all the content during the 12 months.
  • Offline download and viewing with the MZed iOS app.
  • Purchasing the courses outright would cost over $8,000.
  • 7-day money-back guarantee if you decide it’s not for you.

Become a MZed Pro member now!

Guys, GOOD LUCK! Let us know if you are participating and what products you hope you will win in the comment section below.

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Hyperdolly’s Motorized, Remote-Controlled, Track-Free, Robotic Dolly Coming Soon to Kickstarter Wed, 22 Nov 2023 09:05:10 +0000 A new electronic, trackless dolly is coming. The Hyperdolly has a fairly straightforward design, similar to many motorless dollies, but don’t let the simple appearance fool you – the Hyperdolly is packed with useful features as it’s designed by a filmmaker, for filmmakers. The track-free robotic dolly includes a remote controller and various motion presets such as hyper-lapse, loop-mode, and multi-pass that will recreate the exact same camera movement again and again.

Camera movement is a well-established, expressive tool. Done manually or electronically, it’s hard to overstate its importance to the motion-based artistic medium. A dolly is one way to achieve those motion effects. Dolly-based motion, unlike handheld or shoulder-mounted techniques, bears a distinct look. It’s smoother, cleaner, more precise in a sense. Motorized gimbals may provide such a look to some extent, but is limited in terms of gear weight, and can’t be replicated time and time again. Even with its relatively compact design, the new Hyperdolly combines the signature smooth and repeatable movement of a dolly.

Hyperdolly motorized dolly preview clip.

Tracked, track-free, or robotic?

Dollies can be divided into three main types. Track-free dollies are quite straightforward: With three wheels attached to the bottom of almost any tripod, they require a flat surface to operate smoothly in most cases. Once set on this kind of surface, they’ll provide smooth motion, but can’t precisely repeat it. Perfect repetition will require tracked dollies. These are more complex contraptions, consisting of a tracked path on which a whilled surface is set. Since the moving surface is set on tracks, it doesn’t need a flat surface. While very smooth and precise, such a system is far more complex and will take more time to set up and move. Robotic dollies combine (some of) the best of both worlds. Simple and quick to set up or pack, the motorized operation, along with dedicated apps, enables repetition, consistent speed, and other tracked-dolly traits.

Hyperdolly, a motorized, trackless, robotic dolly in action. Image credit: Hyperdolly

Enter the Hyperdolly

The Hyperdolly takes the robotic, track-free route. Not much larger than your average mechanical dolly, this one packs quite a punch. Aimed mostly at hybrid gear, it can load up to 12 kg/ 26.4 lbs (tripod and camera). A silent, high-torque, stepper motor will move the entire unit at speeds ranging from 0.7 cm/minute to 27 cm/minute, as it is geared towards precision rather than speed.

The motorized wheel is connected via a geared axis. Controlled manually, it enables extremely subtle and precise rotation angles to be set. The motor is controlled by a 2.4 GHz remote, and can also trigger the camera’s shutter release button to start or stop video or time-lapse. Alongside the dedicated slots for the tripod legs, a tripod head may be mounted at the center for low angles. No final information about the total weight of the kit has been given yet, but it won’t be extremely heavy since it’s designed for single operators and small crews.

Hyperdolly main specs. image credit: Hyperdolly


There are some alternative systems across the market, ranging from large sliders to after-market add-ons. The closest competitor is probably the Edelkrone DollyPLUS, launched in 2018. The Edelkrone uses a different design, based on two independent motorized wheels, but should serve a similar purpose. The new Hyperdolly boasts a significantly larger wheel diameter, which should make it more tolerant to floor imperfections. It has a simpler design so won’t fold as neatly as the Edelkrone, but may be simpler to repair and maintain. On the other hand, Edelkrone produces various other products that can be synced with the DollyPLUS and significantly expand its capabilities.

Price and availability

Do you see yourself using such a dolly in your future productions? Are there any key features missing in your opinion? Let us know in the comments.

The Hyperdolly launch is due in late November on Kickstarter. The Earlybird price will be $1190, 30% off the full retail price of $1700. The package will include the dolly, remote control, hard case, and tripod mounting straps. As with all crowdfunding campaigns, one should take adequate precaution regarding their pledge. Supporting a crowdfunding campaign is very different from purchasing a product, and we strongly recommend that all our readers read the linked text before pledging to any campaign.

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Insta360 Ace Series Action Cameras Released – Leica Lens, Flip Screen, AI Features, and More Tue, 21 Nov 2023 13:48:27 +0000 One week ago, we wrote about the teaser Insta360 launched introducing their new camera. The teaser showed a DJI Osmo Action and a GoPro colliding, and a new camera rising from their ashes in a provocative advertising move. Well, they have released not one but two new cameras, the Insta360 Ace and the Insta360 Ace Pro. Let’s see what we get with this new series.

Insta360 entered the market in 2015 with interesting 360 cameras and gimbals, among other products. Now, they are returning with two new wide-angle action cameras co-engineered with Leica: the Insta360 Ace and the Insta360 Ace Pro. The Ace Pro is the flagship version of this new line, and the main difference between the two is the sensor size.

The new Insta360 Ace series – perfect for vlogging thanks to the flip screen. – Source: Insta360

Well-balanced features in all areas

The first thing that calls our attention to the Insta360 Ace Pro is its lens (Leica Summarit) and sensor size: a 1/1.3” sensor capable of shooting 8K 24fps and 4K 120fps video, and taking 48MP photos (1/2” 48MP sensor in the Insta360 Ace). Action cameras have been used in all kinds of situations, but you could usually tell which camera was used by the image quality. This combo establishes a direct competition with modern action cameras and delivers an image quality that should narrow the gap between A-cams and action cams.

The second element that stands out is the camera’s physical design, with a 2.4” flip touchscreen perfect for vlogging, selfies, challenging action shots, etc., featuring live preview and camera control.

The body, as expected, is waterproof – up to 10 meters and 60 meters with the Dive Case – and uses a magnetic mounting system for faster workflow. Winter sports shooters will be pleased with these cameras since they can operate in extreme temperatures as low as -20ºC. Another selling point of the Insta360 Ace series is the FlowState Stabilisation technology. Features like the 360° Horizon Lock have been designed to ensure every shot is steady and leveled even in the most demanding action shots. 

When looking for an action camera, one of the characteristics to look for is its charging speed and the Ace Pro’s battery charges to 80% in 22 minutes and to 100% in 46 minutes. 

Both cameras are waterproof up to 10m underwater – Source: Insta360

Two cameras packed with modern technology

Another remarkable feature is the technology the brand has put into the cameras to make the filming experience smoother. Aside from its physical design, which fits almost every situation, the Insta360 Ace Pro includes intuitive shooting modes and functions, a streamlined editing experience, and new AI functions. 

The series offers the typical shooting modes, including timelapses and hyperlapses; the AI Warp template allows users to use keywords to customize our creations and add effects to our videos, making the camera the first to generate AICG content from the mobile app; the AI Selfie Stick Eraser… well, I’m sure you already know what that does. 

The camera also features a Stats Dashboard, and it integrates with Garmin devices and Apple Watch, allowing remote monitoring. This characteristic lets us overlay GPS, speed, and more information in our videos.

The cameras can be paired with Garmin and Apple Watch devices – Source: Insta360

When editing, we can go completely manual if we want to, but the camera comes packed with editing AI tools. For example, the AI Highlights Assistant helps with the edit by selecting the best moments in a video and merging them into a recap, speeding up the selection process and letting us delete the bad takes to save storage. The assistant can even edit the best moments for you into one video.

Practical solutions for action shooters

Insta360 has emphasized internal features to overcome the typical problems action shooters face. The Clarity Zoom function can zoom x2 without any quality loss. We can use hand signals to start and stop recording and to take photos with the Gesture Control. We can also cancel recording to save space and pause/resume recording inside the same clip for better file management. Finally, the Photo Grab function allows us to take a photo while recording video, in a higher resolution than we’d have with a video screen grab. 

When the first action cameras came out, it was more about getting the shot than anything else. However, image quality is now a common concern for action filmmakers, and the Insta360 team is well aware of this. The company has worked on offering an accurate color rendition, even underwater, and both cameras feature a low-light shooting mode called Pure Video. Their 5nm AI chip denoises the footage with a custom-trained AI neural network. The Insta360 Ace Pro’s bigger sensor offers a better dynamic range and brightness. The flagship model also features an Active HDR mode, which is helpful in high-contrast situations where we need detail in shadows and highlights. 

The HDR mode captures better shadows and highlights – Source: Insta360

Insta360 Ace Pro’s main features

  • 1/1.3’’ Sensor
  • Co-engineered with Leica
  • 8K 24fps + 4K 120fps Video (8K available at launch)
  • PureVideo for Premium Low Light Performance
  • Clarity Zoom
  • 2.4” Flip Screen
  • AI Highlights Assistant
  • Gesture Control & Voice Control 2.0
  • Waterproof to 10m (33ft)
  • FlowState Stabilization & Horizon Lock
  • AI Warp (New Shotlab template)
The Ace and the Ace Pro, side by side – Source: Insta360

Price and availability 

The new Insta360 Ace series is available now worldwide. The Insta360 Ace retails for $379.99, and the Insta360 Ace Pro for $449.99. For more information please visit

What do you think about the Insta360 Ace series? Will they break the market with these new cameras? Let us know in your comments!

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OBSBOT Tail Air Review – PTZ 4K Streaming Camera with AI Auto Tracking and NDI Tue, 21 Nov 2023 12:26:47 +0000 The OBSBOT Tail Air is a small PTZ camera that is designed mainly for live-streaming applications. For just $499, you get 4K video up to 30fps, manual exposure controls, some pretty advanced AI-driven features with subject tracking and gesture control, plus support for NDI-based workflows. But is it any good? Let’s try to find out.

Even in post-pandemic times, live streaming is here to stay and only destined to grow. Whether you’re holding a corporate meeting, covering a sports event, or teaching an online class, you might be looking for a simple solution that transcends the capabilities of your smartphone or laptop’s webcam.

OBSBOT is a Chinese company that focuses on developing camera tools aimed at facilitating your life when streaming content. Their new Tail Air PTZ 4K streaming camera recently landed on my desk and I was able to test it for a few days. Let’s take a look!

OBSBOT Tail Air – camera and image settings

The OBSBOT Tail Air essentially combines a tiny 4K UHD camera with a 2-axis non-removable gimbal that can be controlled remotely in many different ways. The device comes in a nice carrying case and, while it’s not the tiniest gimbal-mounted camera on the market, it’s still relatively light and portable. Indeed, the whole camera system weighs 350g and measures approximately 7×7.3×13.3cm.

The OBSBOT Tail Air comes in a nice, soft-shell carrying case
The camera comes in a nice, soft-shell carrying case. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

The camera module packs a 1/1.8” 8.4MP CMOS sensor that is paired with a 23mm (equivalent) f/1.8 lens. A fixed lens with a fixed aperture equals two things: a) the “up to 4x” zooming function is performed digitally, and this has a strong impact on image quality; b) if you want to use the camera outdoors without compromising on your shutter speed, then you have to purchase OBSBOT’s optional ND filters, which I didn’t have for this review.

The OBSBOT Tail Air features a 23mm f/1.8 lens
The OBSBOT Tail Air features a 23mm f/1.8 lens. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

The camera offers both automatic and manual exposure modes, and you can manually adjust your settings using the OBSBOT Start mobile app (available for both iOS and Android), even while recording/streaming – which is nice. Tunable parameters include essential settings such as shutter speed, ISO (100-6400), EV, and white balance. You can also customize your picture style, although I think it’s just better to leave it on Standard.

You can manually adjust ISO, shutter speed, EV, and WB inside the OBSBOT Start App
You can manually adjust ISO, shutter speed, EV, and WB inside the OBSBOT Start App. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Additionally, you can toggle between manual (MF) or autofocus (AF-S or AF-C) modes. Focus distance can be adjusted manually using a virtual control wheel inside the app if needed, but I have to say that continuous AF works reasonably well in most situations, although it sometimes struggles a bit in dimly lit environments. The camera can also focus on pretty close objects, as you can tell from the picture below.

The OBSBOT Tail Air can focus on pretty close objects
The camera can focus on pretty close objects. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Gimbal, power options, and build quality

The camera gimbal can pan ±150° and tilt ±90°. Unfortunately, 360° horizontal range of motion is not natively supported, although it can be achieved using an optional 360° Rotation Charging Base.

The OBSBOT Tail Air module can tilt up/down by 90°
The camera module can tilt up/down by 90°. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Talking about power, the back of the unit has a USB-C power port that can be used to connect the camera to mains power or a portable battery. On top of that, the Tail Air has a built-in 1500mAh Li-Po battery. According to OBSBOT, the battery takes about 90 minutes to fully charge and can keep the camera running for about 2.5 hours when shooting in 1080p30. I found these figures to be pretty accurate in my own tests.

This means that you can stream from pretty much any location on Earth, as long as you have access to the internet and… well, your event is shorter than 2.5 hours. As a workaround, you could use the optional 360° Rotation Charging Base, which is claimed to extend battery life to around 7 hours.

The camera can be powered/charged via USB-C
The camera can be powered/charged via USB-C. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

The camera is decently built and has a 1/4”-20 threaded hole at the bottom that makes the Tail Air easy to mount on a small tripod or a light stand. Moreover, its front-facing LED status indicator proved to be extremely useful, especially when I was trying to film myself using AI-based tracking and gesture control (continue reading for more details).

OBSBOT Tail Air mounted on a light stand. The front green LED indicates that the camera is recording
OBSBOT Tail Air mounted on a light stand. The front green LED indicates that the camera is recording. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Recording and streaming content

Although the Tail Air is mainly designed to be a live-streaming device, it can actually behave as a traditional, standalone camera, if needed. Indeed, it can shoot 4K UHD videos at up to 30fps or 1080p up to 60fps using the H.264/H.265 codecs (up to 80Mbps) and store them internally on a Micro SD card (up to 512GB in size). One note: these recording settings are slightly hidden inside the menu system of the app, and I wish they were more immediately accessible from the main UI.

The OBSBOT Tail Air records on Micro SD cards (up to 512GB in size)
The camera records on Micro SD cards (up to 512GB in size). Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

On top of that, the camera also has a robust set of connectivity features that allow you to include it in many different types of live-streaming workflows. For example, you can:

  • use the Micro HDMI port on the back of the camera to connect it to an encoder or live production switcher;
The camera has a Micro HDMI output on the side
The camera has a Micro HDMI output on the side. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
  • connect the camera to a laptop using the USB-C port on the back of the body – which supports the UVC (USB Video Class) protocol – to connect the Tail Air to a switcher, or use it as an external, remotely controllable webcam;
OBSBOT Tail Air connected to MacBook Pro via USB-C (UVC)
OBSBOT Tail Air connected to MacBook Pro via USB-C (UVC). Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
  • stream content directly to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and other popular platforms via the OBSBOT Start App;
You can stream directly to YouTube, Facebook, and more via the OBSBOT Start App
You can stream directly to YouTube, Facebook, and more via the OBSBOT Start App. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
  • use the optional USB-C to Ethernet Adapter to incorporate the camera in an NDI-based environment.
The optional USB-C to Ethernet Adapter for OBSBOT Tail Air
The optional USB-C to Ethernet Adapter for OBSBOT Tail Air. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

While this is quite a lot for a consumer camera, I soon found out that you can only use one of these modes at a time. So, for example, enabling UVC over USB-C will disable NDI and the HDMI output, and vice versa.

Enabling UVC mode on the OBSBOT Tail Air disables NDI, recording, Live Streaming, HDMI and RTSP
Enabling UVC mode disables NDI, recording, Live Streaming, HDMI, and RTSP. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Controlling the PTZ camera

When it comes to remotely controlling the Tail Air PTZ camera, you have two main options. The first method is pairing the camera to the OBSBOT Start smartphone app via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. I found the app to be well-made, stable, and pretty straightforward to connect and use.

From within the app, you can monitor the live image feed, manually adjust camera settings, playback clips and save them to your phone’s gallery, manually control the gimbal using a virtual joystick, or enable/disable the AI tracking and framing features (more on this later).

OBSBOT Start App user interface and virtual joystick
OBSBOT Start App user interface and virtual joystick. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

The second method for controlling the camera is by using a dedicated remote controller. However, connecting the two devices requires you to follow a very specific pairing process outlined exclusively in the user manual. Once that’s out of the way, you can remotely control the gimbal via the controller’s physical joystick, use its side zoom rocker to digitally zoom in/out, trigger record, activate auto tracking on humans and pets, or turn the camera on/off. The remote charges via USB-C, works in the Bluetooth range, integrates a laser pointer for presentations, and can be used to control up to 3 Tail Air units.

The optional Smart Remote Controller for OBSBOT Tail Air
The optional Smart Remote Controller for OBSBOT Tail Air. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

AI-powered tools – Auto Tracking, Director Grids, and Gesture Control 2.0

Ok, it’s finally time to talk about the most interesting features of the OBSBOT Tail Air, which are also the ones that impressed me the most: its AI-driven tools. At first, I was afraid that the brand relied on Artificial Intelligence as a buzzword to steal their audience’s attention. But after playing around with the camera for a while, I was really surprised by the performance and utility, especially for a solo shooter.

  • Auto Tracking: The camera can automatically detect and track humans and pets, but you can also manually select an object by drawing a box on the screen. Unfortunately, my dogs weren’t very collaborative, so I ended up being the only test subject. At first, I wasn’t really happy with the results I was getting – especially in terms of image composition – but then I found out I could adjust tracking speed (slow/standard/fast) and even tell the camera where I wanted to be positioned inside the frame.

    After making these changes, things got much better. Especially, since the maximum controllable speed of the gimbal is 120°/s, I was impressed by how quickly I could move in space. However, this also revealed the other side of the coin, which is a pretty bad rolling shutter.

    There are still situations in which the tracking system can get a bit confused. That happens, for example, when a large obstacle gets in the way, or your shot includes multiple human subjects. Still, the performance of a product in this price range is quite remarkable and should provide satisfying results for most users, even in dimly lit rooms.
By moving the yellow line, you can tell the OBSBOT Start app where to position the subject in the frame during Auto Tracking
By moving the yellow line, you can tell the app where to position the subject in the frame during Auto Tracking. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
As I moved into the dark area of the scene, the Auto Tracking system of OBSBOT Tail Air failed and started tracking a chair
As I moved into the dark area of the scene, the Auto Tracking system failed and started tracking a chair. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
  • Directors Grid: Using AI, the camera automatically creates multiple angles of your subject. These can be monitored from a dedicated tab within the app, and you can quickly select which angle goes “on air”. Essentially, it’s like having a virtual live switcher at your fingertips.

    The biggest limitation of this tool is that some of the angles are so cropped that they become pretty much useless unless you’re OK with low image quality. Sometimes “content is king”, as they say.
The Director Grids function suggests camera angles using AI
The Director Grid’s function suggests camera angles using AI. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
When you zoom in, the image quality of OBSBOT Tail Air rapidly degrades
When you zoom in, image quality rapidly degrades. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
  • Gesture Control 2.0: Now, this is where things get interesting. Do you remember I said there are two ways of controlling the gimbal – app or remote? Well, “good things come in threes” and, in truth, you can also control the gimbal remotely using only… your hands.

    Hence, by performing specific gestures in front of the camera, you can start/stop recording, engage Auto Tracking (this can also be done by double-tapping on your subject in the app), or zoom in/out on yourself. Depending on the command, the front LED indicator changes color and the camera emits a specific sound.

    This worked very well in my experience, and it can be very useful for streamers and presenters who need to shoot content on their own, but don’t want to have a smartphone or remote controller on them.
It's enough to raise your hand in front of the camera to enable AI Auto Tracking on the OBSBOT Tail Air
It’s enough to raise your hand in front of the camera to enable AI Auto Tracking. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

USB-C to Ethernet Adapter for NDI workflows

The NDI protocol allows you to share video sources over a local area network (LAN) via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and the OBSBOT Tail Air is fully ready to support it. However, this comes at a price. Indeed, you will need a paid activation key to enable NDI on your device. Additionally, if you want to rely on a more secure wired Ethernet connection, you also need to purchase the optional USB-C to Ethernet Adapter.

Enabling NDI Mode inside the OBSBOT Start App
Enabling NDI Mode inside the OBSBOT Start App. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Once you’re all set, you can share a clean, low-latency 4K video feed over your network – the 4K image looks pretty crisp. As usual, activating NDI mode will disable the HDMI output. The NDI video source can then be detected by live streaming software like OBS Studio, for example. This type of workflow is particularly useful if you’re planning on including the Tail Air in a multi-camera live streaming production with other NDI sources.

OBSBOT Tail Air connected to a switch using the USB-C to Ethernet Adapter
OBSBOT Tail Air connected to a switch using the USB-C to Ethernet Adapter. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Although I don’t often rely on NDI technology for my productions, connecting the camera to my LAN using the adapter was fairly easy.

OBSBOT Tail Air detected by the NDI Video Monitor tool. The 4K image looks nice
OBSBOT Tail Air detected by the NDI Video Monitor tool. The 4K image looks nice. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD
OBSBOT Tail Air detected by the NDI Video Monitor tool
OBSBOT Tail Air detected by the NDI Video Monitor tool. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Audio recording

The OBSBOT Tail Air can record audio out of the box thanks to its dual built-in microphone. Nonetheless, I found this solution to be barely usable, since the internal mic also picks up a lot of undesired sounds generated by the camera and gimbal. This is particularly true when tracking subjects.

Luckily, you can easily work around this by connecting an external microphone to the camera via its 3.5mm jack input. For my tests, I used a SYNCO G2 (A2) wireless microphone system and I achieved much cleaner results. I think this is the way to go if you want your live streams to sound professional.

Wireless audio receiver attached to OBSBOT Tail Air via the 3.5mm jack input
Wireless audio receiver attached to OBSBOT Tail Air via the 3.5mm jack input. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

Audio levels can be easily adjusted via the app, and there’s also an option to apply noise reduction to the signal. This can come in handy to improve the sound coming from your internal mics, but in any case, I wouldn’t set it beyond 1 on the 3-step noise reduction range.


So, should you buy the OBSBOT Tail Air? As usual, the answer depends on your specific needs. If you often need to shoot yourself walking around your space during live presentations, and you don’t have high expectations of image quality, then I think the AI Auto Tracking and Gesture Control features can help you tremendously in your job.

Overall, the system can be a valid option if you’re just starting out with live streaming and you’re looking for an end-to-end solution that doesn’t require too much effort to set up and use. The camera produces a nice 4K image (you can see a comparison with the built-in FaceTime HD camera of my MacBook Pro M1 Max – 2021 version – below), although image quality rapidly degrades when you zoom in. Also, by using an external microphone, you can still deliver professional audio.

MacBook Pro M1 Max 2021 (top) vs OBSBOT Tail Air (bottom). The bottom image is actually crispier.
MacBook Pro M1 Max 2021 (top) vs OBSBOT Tail Air (bottom). The bottom image is actually crispier. Image credit: Francesco Andreola / CineD

However, if top-tier image quality is a concern and you often need to zoom in/out on your subjects or stream from a low-light environment, then I’d probably look somewhere else.

Price and availability

The OBSBOT Tail Air is now officially available to order for $499. Pricing for the accessories and NDI activation key is as follows:

  • Smart Remote Controller –
  • 360° Rotation Charging Base –
  • ND Filters –
  • NDI Activation Key –

For more information, please visit OBSBOT’s website here.

Do you often produce live-streaming content? Do you think the AI tools of the OBSBOT Tail Air can facilitate your work? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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ZHIYUN FIVERAY M20 and M20C Launched – Compact 20W LED Lights Tue, 21 Nov 2023 11:04:09 +0000 ZHIYUN recently released two new compact LED lights: the FIVERAY M20 and M20C. Both 20W fixtures are the same size and have a 4500mAh built-in battery with a maximum runtime of around 40 minutes at full power. They are available in two versions: bi-color from 2700 to 6500K for the M20 and RGB for the M20C. So, let’s take a closer look at these!

After the introduction of the reasonably popular MOLUS G60 and MOLUS X100 in April, as well as the MOLUS G200 and FIVERAY V60 this summer, ZHIYUN is already back to expand its lineup of FIVERAY fixtures with the compact M20 and M20C.

ZHIYUN FIVERAY M20 and M20C – features

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY M20 and M20C are square LED lights measuring 7.8 x 7.8 x 3.6cm/3.07 x 3.07 x 1.41in for a 200g/0.44lb weight. As their name suggests, both lights have a maximum power output of 20W.

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY M20. Image credit: ZHIYUN

The FIVERAY M20 is a bi-color fixture that can go from 2700K to 6500K with a maximum output of 529lx at 1m/3ft. According to ZHIYUN, the M20 has a CRI of 95 and a TLCI of 97. Furthermore, it has ten built-in effects, including CCT loop, Strobe, Candle, Bad Bulb, etc.


On the other hand, the M20C is an RGB light that can go from 2500K to 10.000K with a similar light output. As an RGB light, it also has HSI and RGB color modes. However, it has a lower CRI of 94 and a TLCI of 96, which is surprising since it has Green-Magenta adjustment capabilities, which the M20 doesn’t. The FIVERAY M20C has 16 built-in lighting effects.

Back of the ZHIYUN FIVERAY M20C. Image credit: ZHIYUN

You’ll find a built-in fan, two control knobs, a small status screen, and a built-in battery at the back of the lights. The battery gives you a maximum runtime of 40 minutes at full power and 80 minutes at half power. The light can be charged via the USB-C port located on top of it.

Regarding controls, the FIVERAY M20C can be controlled via the free ZY Vega APP and also benefits from Bluetooth Mesh control, which means you can group multiple fixtures.


Both the FIVERAY M20 and M20C come with an extension bracket that has three cold shoe mounts and one hot shoe with a 1/4″-20 thread.

At the front of the lights, there are magnets that allow you to attach an optional diffuser, honeycomb grid, and four-leaf barndoors – or all three together – so you have better control over your light beam.

Pricing and availability

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY M20 retails for €76/$79, and the Combo kit with all accessories costs €104/$109. The RGB FIVERAY M20C retails for €123/$129, and the Combo kit is €152/$159.

For more information, please visit ZHIYUN’s website here.

What do you think about these compact 20W LED lights? Would they be a great addition to your lighting kit? Have you already used ZHIYUN LED lights? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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