We are a young film production company based in Frankfurt (Germany). We are passionate about filmmaking and share short films, behind the scenes videos and tutorials for beginners as well as for advanced filmmakers. A blog by Fenchel & Janisch.
Gimbals. They seem to be everywhere, even if they aren’t. Just look at GoPro’s latest action camera the Hero7. The company claims that this tiny 4K beast can shoot steady footage internally without the use of a gimbal. This is a pretty big claim so I decided to test the Hero7 Black edition.
You can watch the 8-minute video review or read the text below:
Worst or best action cam yet? GoPro Hero7 review - YouTube
The Black edition has different stabilization modes depending on the video resolution and frame rate. When shooting 4K 25p and 30p the new HyperSmooth stabilization is available but when switching to 50 or 60 frames per second in 4K it switches to the regular stabilization which isn’t bad either. The video quality in daylight is great and there’s really nothing to complain about the image.
HyperSmooth is only supported in 4K 25p & 30p but not 50p or 60p.
Impressive is not just the 4K resolution but also the high frame rates for example 240p in Full HD which later in post can be slowed down to create a proper slow motion effect. Although there is some aliasing visible it’s definitely useable and let’s not forget that this is a tiny camera with a tiny sensor.
One of the things I liked the most about the previous GoPro was the linear wide-angle mode which got rid of the typical fisheye look in-camera. This was only available in 2.7K resolution and that is still the case with the Hero7 which in 4K would have been a really great update. That means if you don’t like the round wide-angle look you still need to correct it in the edit when filming 4K.
Even though the Hero7 Black is supposed to be a gimbal killer it’s not really there yet which is especially noticeable when using the hyperlapse mode which is called TimeWarp Video. Even though it’s easy to setup and the results are good it’s definitely not HyperSmooth. Little bumps are still visible and except if you don’t have time to edit it’s not worth using the TimeWarp mode because it’s fully automatic and even the picture profile can’t be adjusted which results in an oversharped, high contrast video file. The better way to shoot a hyperlapse would be to just record real time video in 4K with HyperSmooth stabilization on and manual control over the settings. In post the footage can simply be sped up with the same stabilization results but better image quality. Putting the Hero7 on a gimbal should help to get those HyperSmooth shots.
Tiny but powerful: The Hero7 Black
Besides the video mode the photo and timelapse modes are still very similar to the Hero6 but that doesn’t mean the results are not great.
Even though the camera has a lot of manual settings it’s not always an easy choice whether to go full auto or full manual depending on the shooting scenario. One thing to keep in mind is also that it can take a while to manually set up the camera especially compared to a mirrorless camera or DSLR because the GoPro has no settings buttons but only the digital interface on the screen to change ISO, white balance etc..
The screen brightness is perfect for sunny outdoor shoots.
The touch screen works well as long as you know in which direction you have to swipe to open or close a setting or menu. Luckily the on/off button can also be used to switch between photo, video and timelapse mode by pressing it quickly. The brightness is very high which means for indoor shoots a brightness of 30% is enough and for outdoor shoots 70% unless it’s very sunny than it makes sense to go up to 100%. The battery life hugely depends on how bright the screen is so it’s hard to judge how long one battery charge actually lasts. For shooting timelapses with the screen off the camera can run for a couple of hours but when shooting 4K video with the screen on the whole time the battery can well be dead in less than an hour.
You can purchase the GoPro Hero7 Black from B&H Photo HERE!
We recently got our hands on a new Pixel 3 smartphone from Google for a few hours and decided to take some video samples with it. You can watch the Ultra HD (3840×2160) footage below.
Google Pixel 3: Cinematic 4K Video - YouTube
We used the Zhiyun Smooth 4 phone gimbal for most of the shots. The timelapse sequences were captured using a small Joby tripod. The footage was edited in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 and graded using Lumetri. Like our other phone tests we cropped the image to fit a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
You can watch our video test of the previous version, the Pixel 2 below:
We finally made a new timelapse film for a local hotel. You can watch the Flow Motion video below in 4K:
Frankfurt Flow Motion: Hotel Timelapse Film - YouTube
Earlier this year, in late March we decided to produce a new timelapse film. We wanted to try some new filmmaking techniques and teamed up with the famous Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof hotel in Downtown Frankfurt. Due to the cold weather in Spring we postponed the shoot until summer and finally started shooting in July and finished production in August. Instead of a static timelapse film we wanted to keep everything in motion without any interruptions. This kind of technique is called Flow Motion because all scenes are connected without any clear cuts visible. We will share a Making Of video in the next few days to show you how we actually shot but more importantly how we edited the video.
Below are some photos from the production:
Capturing a restaurant scene from above.
Inside one of the biggest suites at Frankfurter Hof.
Most scenes were taken with multiple cameras capturing raw photo sequences at the same time.
View from the center of the hotel.
The first time I went to Photokina was in 2012 when the DSLR revolution was at its peak. Two years later the Samsung NX1, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and the Panasonic LX100 were the big stars. In 2016 there wasn’t really much going on. Sony had a few new Alpha models but except that it was a pretty boring show. This year was probably the best one so far when it comes to new camera and lens releases as you can see in our video below:
Too many cameras! Photokina 2018 - YouTube
The main highlights were the just announced Panasonic mirrorless full-frame cameras, Fujifilm’s medium format cameras and of course Nikon’s Z6 and Z7.
Fujifilm’s new medium format cameras
The stars of the Show: The Lumix S1 and S1R mirrorless full-frame cameras which full specs are still unkown.
Moritz hanging out with Mas Gun a.k.a. GoenRock from Jakarta, Indonesia at the Lumix booth.
When we were at NAB in April 2018 we already had a glimpse at the new 120D Mark II light from Aputure. While the original 120D had a few quirks the guys at Aputure decided to re-design the light to make it a better film companion.
The new version of Aputure’s popular light is around 25% brighter than the first generation. When using the Fresnel you can get luminance of 135,000 lux at half a meter which is pretty impressive considering the size and compability of the light. Make sure to check out Curtis Judd‘s video review below to get a idea of how much this film tool can do.
Color accuracy is of course important when filming for example with different kinds of lights at the same time to avoid weird color shifts. The COB 120D II has a CRI rating of 96+ and a TLCI rating of 97+ which is the TV industry standard.
You don’t have to like Canon DSLRs for shooting video but one thing is for sure, the company makes some of the best cinema cameras out there. A few years ago I tested the EOS C100 which I immediately liked because of the ergonomics and of course the Super 35 look.
Filming at a park with the EOS C200 and the Canon 24-105mm F/4 zoom lens.
Now I am testing the C200 which has a lot of great features such as the ability to record raw internally and up to 4K 60p in MP4. I went out to do some testing and recorded with 50 frames per second in Ultra HD (3840×2160) internally as MP4 on to an SD card. You can watch a little edit of the footage graded in Premiere Pro CC 2018 below.
Canon EOS C200: Graded 4K 50p Footage - Summer in Frankfurt - YouTube
The good thing about filming with a camera that has EF-mount is that I can use all of our old Canon glass. For the shots above I mostly used the 24-105mm F/4 and the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 as well as the nifty fifty (50mm F/1.8) and the Sigma 30mm F/1.4.
The EOS C200’s monitor with controls on the left side and touch function.
I really love the look of the image and again the ergonomics but the EOS C200 also doesn’t come in cheap at around $7,499.00 so it’s definitely a tool made for pros.