Happy New Year! HDVP’s 2013 “Pound For Pound Best Of” List

HDVideoPro by Neil Matsumoto

You’ve probably heard of the Project Management Triangle, which is used to measure a project’s efficiency in quality, time and cost. For filmmaking, that triangle is usually measured as “Fast, Cheap and Good.” Many years ago in preparing a film project, I met with a prospective cinematographer who said he could deliver two of the three with our small budget (cheap and good, but not fast). Although it made perfect sense and I appreciated his honesty, I ended up going with another DP.

Cut to 2013 and I think we may have eliminated one of the triangle’s points, which is cost. Today’s cameras, camera support and post production tools are getting smaller, more efficient and most of all – more affordable. If you’re a talented filmmaker or cinematographer with time in your favor, there’s really no excuse to not deliver a great looking movie.

This year instead of doing my “Best Products of the Year” top ten list, I decided to model my list after boxing’s popular “Pound for Pound” list. Welterweight boxer Floyd Mayweather may not knock out heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko, but “pound for pound”, he’s the better fighter. Like Money Mayweather, these products might not deliver the results of a Sony F65 or ARRI ALEXA, but for their low price points, they deliver exceptional results.

Here’s the list. Let’s get ready to ruuumbllle!!!

10. MoVI M10

Like the Bolt, the MoVI M10 rig really feels like a piece of gear for the here and now. Making its debut at NAB 2013, the M10 the buzz camera support accessory on the floor. Steadicam-like devices are nothing new but the M10 strips stabilized handheld shooting to its bare minimum while still delivering smooth, free-floating movement. Because of the rig’s small size (3.4 pounds), the M10 can be used handheld, mounted to a Steadicam, or mounted in a vehicle. While operating in “Majestic Mode”, the M10's gimbal can take the operator’s movements and convert them to pan-and-tilt movements, which provides a great single-shooter setup. Although a tad pricey for most indie filmmakers to own, the M10's $15K price tag is a bargain compared to most professional Steadicam rigs. In January, 2014 Freefly Systems will release the M5, which will have a five-pound weight capacity at a much lower price at $7,500. The M5 will be every DSLR filmmaker’s dream rig.

9. DJI Phantom 2

In 2013, drones have been a hot news item. But whether you’re using them to fight the war on terror – or delivering packages to your doorstep – they’re definitely here to stay. In the filmmaking world, the drone that has been getting the most attention is the DJI Phantom 2 due to its small size and low price, especially when used with a GoPro HERO 3 camera. The Phantom 2 has a multi-functional Quad-rotor system with customized H3-2D gimbal support, can fly overhead for 25-minutes and even has automatic return-to-home and landing capabilities. You can also program a flight path from an iPad with a 16 waypoint Ground Station system. With the Phantom 2's low entry cost of less than $1,000, you can now capture aerial shots that can rival Michael Bay’s next blockbuster. (If that’s what you’re looking for.) read more...

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