Updated: Final week! There are still deals to be found, and it’s not too late!
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
There are plenty of deals to be had this Holiday Season, and we’ve decided to put out just one gift guide for this holiday season, consisting of our favorite products that we’ve covered over 2016. So let’s get to it!
Cameras. Pretty much the cameras that we talked about last year, are still an attractive bargain this year. Even more so since prices have dropped. But there are some new ones out there and we’ve gotta say, we’re excited.
- RED Helium. The Super 35 version of the Weaponized RED platform, the Helium generated so much excitement that RED was able to sell their first batch within 20 minutes. And seeing the test footage, it’s easy to see why. With 8K resolution inside a Super 35 sensor, and wrapped in a super cool ‘Stormtrooper White’ module, the RED WEAPON performs with a crazy dynamic range of 16.5 stops. Price for the RED Helium Weapon starts at $29,500. Find it at RED’s site.
- GoPro HERO5. What are the Holidays without a new GoPro? But there’s two! The HERO5 Black and the cubed HERO5 Session. Now, do you need the GoPro Hero 5 if you already have the Hero 4? Well, probably not. It still shoots in 4K, but at up to 60 fps. Which is a good upgrade. But I would say without a shadow of a doubt the that HERO5 Session is a marked improvement over its first generation older brother. The key features of the Hero5 line is that they are voice activated, leaving you to not have to fumbling around with its tiny LCD screen and buttons, or having to use the GoPro app on your mobile device. You can speek in one of 7 difference languages and control your Hero with a true hands off experience. GoPro has also improved the audio quality, and has build the waterproof capability inside of the camera itself to allow it to be water proof up to 30 feet without a case. Cost of the HERO5 Black is $399 [link to buy], while the smaller HERO5 Session is $299 [link to buy].
- Sony α6500 Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera. Shooting in 4k the α6500 has a 24.2 MP Super35 CMOS sensor, actually images the entire 6K resolution of the sensor’s real estate and then downsamples it down to 4K for a sharp and smooth image. It also comes with a slow motion mode from 1-120fps in full HD. Cost is $1400 [link to buy].
Lights. Creating a good lighting kit to shoot on the fly can be a challenge when you’re on a budget. Most indies just starting out can afford the steep price tag of an ARRI Skypanel. But that doesn’t mean you can get a lot of bang for your buck and here’s some options to create your own lighting kit.
- Polaroid has recently released a set of new LED lights that are extremely affordable and work well together, and I had a chance to review them (read it here). The workhorse of their new line is the Polaroid Photostudio Colorbox, which is driven by 600 superbright LEDs for a professional grade light that can be adjusted between 3200K and 5600K either from the LCD touch buttons in the back, or via the included infrared remote control. Price of the Polaroid Photostudio Colorbox is $119 [link to buy], so you can get a pair for under $250. That’s insane! Along with it, grab the Polaroid Brightsaber Pro [link to buy]. Part of the emerging saber category of portable lights, the Brightsaber pro has an array of 298 power 5600K LED light bulbs and can be controlled through various light levels via infrared remote control. The Brightsaber also has a rotating amber gell that can provides a tungsten hue when needed, and a 1/4-20 mount in its ergonomic handle. Price is $169.99. So for under $500, you can craft together a battery powered three point lighting kit with these Polaroid products, and the cool part is, they use the same batteries, so you can swap them out when needed.
- Lume Cube. Shooting on the go or in tight spots, the Lume Cube is a remarkably powerful LED light source that can be put just about anywhere. Not only that, but it’s controllable via Wifi through it’s smart phone app, which cycles between ten different levels of up to 1500 lumens of light at a color temperature of 5600k. So this sucker throws a lot of light. It’s so powerful that indie filmmaker Griffin Hammond used it as his sole lighting source for a recent documentary for Bloomberg (see video below). Check it out below. Cost of the Lume Cube is an incredible $80 [link to buy], making it probably the best stocking stuffer ever.
- RØDE is one of our favorites, and their VideoMic Pro with windscreen is a great and affordable choice for video and filmmakers [link to buy].
- Another great option is their smartLav+ Lavalier mic [link to buy].
Mobile Phones. And by mobile phones, I’m really only talking about the iPhone 7 Plus, since we’re really talking about mobile filmmaking here.
- iPhone 7 Plus. The hallmark feature of the iPhone 7 is its dual camera array, which enables a shooter to swap between a pair of f1.8 wide angle and 56mm zoom lens. And shifting between the two is a smooth transition, plus the dual camera array provides bokeh in it’s still image mode. The iPhone 7S camera is also more powerful thanks to a quad core 64 bit CPU and the new A10 Fusion GPU which makes the iPhone 7 Plus 40% faster than the previous generation. But here’s a hint. The 256 GB model has been tested to be dramatically faster than the 32GB model. So if you’re planning on doing some mobile filmmaking in 4K, you’re going to want to pay extra for the larger model. Visit Apple’s iPhone page to buy.
- For accessories, if your loved one is getting into mobile filmmaking, the iOGrapher is really a great handheld stabilizer which has microphone and video light mounting points and a comfortable ergonomic handle. The case itself runs around $60, but they also have a great videographer kit that comes with a Lume Cube, Rode VideoMic Me, a pair of 37mm wide angle and telephoto lenses, and a tripod and case for under $500. Click here to buy the videographer kit.
- FiLMiC Pro, which is the premiere filmmaking app for the iPhone [link to buy].
- Then there’s a cool color correction app called VideoGrade [link to buy], which enables a mobile filmmaker to color grade on the fly.
- Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription is the best, because they are constantly updating it with new features and they are offering a 20% discount for Black Friday [click here to subscribe]. For less than $50 a month, you can have access to their entire pantheon of apps for a full on production suite, but they also have individual subscriptions for around $20 a month. Too pricey? Well, Adobe Premiere Elements 15 was just released and it’s about the best entry-level editing software out there, and it does about 80% of what Premiere Pro CC does, and is very affordable [link to buy]. You can get it bundled with Photoshop Elements 14 for under $90, which is 40% off [link to buy].
- Final Cut Pro X just had a major upgrade, and you can learn more about it here, plus buy it here for $299 (30-day free trial), plus you can buy Motion 5.3 and Compressor 4.3, both $49. Get up to speed with Larry Jordan’s training here [note: LarryJordan.com and doddleNEWS are part of the Thalo family of sites.]. Pair it up with the 2016 MacBook Pro.
- And if you haven’t heard, Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve Studio 12.5.1 is now much more than just a color grading utility. It’s a full blown NLE, and thanks to it’s recent firmware update, it has added a ton of new 3d and node based editing features as well as support for Dolby Vision. Is it any wonder why the lion’s share of features at Sundance this year was cut and color graded on it? [Link to buy]
This is just the tip of the iceberg, mind you. There are a ton of great deals to be had right now. Check the social media accounts of your favorite devices and software, and you’ll be able to score huge deals. But this gift guide will get you started in the right direction.