Wednesday, September 13, 2017

SONY A9 amazing for photographers but currently no picture style for the 4K video. Firmware may be coming!

Well SONY is to be congratulated on an amazing action camera with features that will keep the competition on their toes to keep up. At 24megapixel along with a staggering 20 shots per second you will not be missing the action! So photographers this is a must have camera!

For videographers well it's quite a different story for now.
If you're thinking B camera well think again because without picture styles it's going to be a tough day in the field to get the look feel and style you're after and more importantly in post trying to match up the video beyond REC 709 specs with other cameras.

Bottomline there are simply are no cine-like, log type, gamma flexible type settings on this model. One has to wonder why not, especially at a 4500.00 price tag, by far the most expensive Alpha series camera from Sony. It's cousins like the A7R II heck even the A6500 ($1200.00) have "Picture Style" feature.

Will Sony have a firmware upgrade? Thats the $65 million dollar question as no one at Sony has  responded to the many forums and articles posing the same question. Are the A9's electronics even capable of supporting "Picture Style.".

Don't get me wrong here as Sony is an amazing company with state of the art, bleeding edge technology! The question: Is that enough to keep a truly PROFESSIONAL camera like the A9 flying off the shelves of their dealers minus this IMPORTANT FEATURE? Time will tell but for now we'll have to sit and wait and hope that Sony steps forward to it's dedicated professional customer base to shed some light on the subject!

UPDATE PICTURE STYLE:S-LOG may be on the near horizon !
According to B&H QA forum Anthony from Sony responded that while it will not have Pro Res 422 support they will be adding LOG in a future firmware upgrade. So the good news is that YES it does have the electronics to support this feature!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

GREAT WHITES incursions on Santa Barbara County beaches increases.

For the last 2 weeks we have been monitoring juvenile White Shark activity along the Santa Barbara County coastline and specifically from Carpinteria beaches on up to Goleta beaches. You can view a brief video sequence by clicking here.

In one day alone we spotted 6-8 Great Whites sharks heading towards Loons. On two of the monitoring days we spotted juvenile whites less than 20ft. from the shoreline and in the lineup. At the same time three separate surf camps participants were in the water. We quickly evacuated all kids in the water at Santa Claus/ Padaro Lane twice during the week 7/9-7/15. The sharks made no aggressive moves as they ventured closer and closer to shore and were observe consistently in the 11am to 1pm timeframe over the course of 5 days. They always seem to come from the east along and headed up the coast. At one time 6-8 were observed near Loons. They appear to be looking for Rays and Grunion, both abundant right now. All were in the 5-7ft range and a couple around 10-12ft +. So mostly juvenile. The 2 recent attacks within 24 hours may be their testing their hunting skills for bigger game as they could be changing from juvenile into the young adult phase and luckily failing in their attacks.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


What is focus breathing?
Change in focal length (magnification etc.) as your focal distance changes... that change is called focus breathing

Simply stated it is a phenomenon seen in video and most common on a rack focus where the image appears to breath as focus is being applied and is exaggerated through the use of Zoom lenses.. In other words the size of the image varies during the focusing from one object to another. This makes for undesireable imaging in your video. Is their a workaround with zoom lenses? Not really and this brings us to the issue of using adapters and 3rd party lenses deployed on another manufacturers camera body.

The new SONY A9 is a fantastic camera but throw a metabones adapter and Canon EF L Glass ZOOM lenses on it and be prepared to deal with the breathing issue. Place the equivalent SONY zoom on the A9, A7 etc. and the problem is pretty much non-existent. So if you are considering switching from one camera manufacturer to another and are counting on utilizing your expensive existing lens collection through adapters, be prepared as you will need to think twice when it comes to shooting video.

The best solution here of course is to use primes but if your existing lens collection for example consists of Telephotos, zooms like 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, etc. lenses then you really need to re-evaluate your decision to switch cameras and again this strictly applies to video on a DSLR, mirrored or mirrorless.


The focal length is the distance between a hypothetical single-element lens and a sensor required to reproduce a given magnification of image. This is unrelated to the distance from the sensor to the flange. 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

SONY A9 vs Canon Mark 5D MarkIV, + link to Sony A9 manual

OK well we got our hands on a NEW Sony A9 and after being an avid Canon Photographer and user well it looks like the SONY A9 is the clear winner here.
First off here's the LINK to the Sony A9 Manual.

My first photgraphic camera was the CANON AE1, then the 10D all the way up the Canon chain to
the C300 and as of late the 5D Mark IV. Lets remember Canon pioneered the entire DSLR video market and I was on board from using it to train and to shoot video for documentaries and feature films, it was mindblowing! So Canon did dominate the space for quite sometime but it seems they are not keeping up with the competition. The innovative video side of the house really shifted to the C line of Canon cameras and they took their eye off the ball for the current DSLR and Mirrorless marketspace. The slide seemed to have started with the 5D Mark III which had noticeably softer images and a lower dynamic range than many of its competitors. Along comes the Mark IV with the 4K feature apparently to even the playing field but major issues with that feature. The 4K image is cropped!! So be ready to do the math on your lens focal length and matching up shots. The worse one is the ridiculous size of the media files (500mb/sec) along with the expensive FLASH Cards required to capture 4K. If you want a video camera that competes with what's out there then I personally do not believe the Mark IV is for you. Even the dynamic range was disappointing leaving very little detail in the shadows compared to even a Sony 6300.

So for the first time in over 45 years of shooting with Canon I have switched to the Sony A9. I still use all my Canon glass and it works great with the Metabones EF to E mount adapter. So for those of you on the fence like I was well it may be time to switch. I still have my Mark II as I just found myself unable to part with Canon 100%, yep ok an emotional, nostalgic decision I guess but I do still like the ergonomics of the Canon over the Sony. One note you can spend a rather high price tag of 129.00 for a grip accessory for the A9 for a bigger more natural handheld feeling.


The Multi Battery Adapter Kit is a 4 battery DC supply IS NOT AN AC POWER SUPPLY TO POWER YOUR A9. It is strictly an extended running time for your A9.Bottomline if you need to run your camera all day with no ACA power available then this is the product for you. Bewarethough while it says RAPID CHARGER it actually take 8 hours to charge all 4 batteries when NOT in use as it charges sequentially and NOT all 4 at once.
 Come on SONY 398.00 this should supply power direct from AC to the camera same as you do for all your video camerasWhat is SONY thinking here?? 

XLR adapters-598.00 and 698.00 both come with mics...Why? Would be nice to reduce the price substantially and NOT include the Sony mic. Juice Box and Beachtek will be happy as it really shouldn't compete with their offerings not at that price point.


Thursday, May 11, 2017


The DSLR market changed the way we looked at video cameras in the field forever. The days of "Hey it just takes photographs" are pretty much over for those of you using Gorilla tactics to get your video footage, right...right! Seems that every camera shoots video these days and high quality to boot. 

So whats the next revolution in the DSLR camera space, why SERVO BASED zooms at a cheaper entry price! Take the latest ground breaker, Canons new Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 COMPACT-SERVO Cinema Zoom Lens. with a retail price tag at 5225.00 is it time to re-think your prime lens collection? Well not quite yet after all too many situations still require a FAST lens in the F2.8 or lower range even with the outrageous ISO capabilities of todays cameras. So what gap does this fill? MANY. Cinematic shot techniques have now entered the house! Look Fujinon's Cabrio lenses are insanely great CINE lenses but at a price tag of 30000 plus its clearly out of reach for the bulk of indie filmmakers.

Here's the catch though, this will only auto focus with CANON CineCameras like the C100, 300 etc. Would be interesting to know if this EF lens will work with EF adapters on higher end video cameras like Sony's F55, FS7, FS5...As soon as we get one in we will update with that info. 


Well as filmmakers this is the time of year to check out the latest and greatest innovations in our field. This years NAB in Las Vegas was no let down in that arena as we saw some incredible product announcements from Audio to Cameras to Lenses to Lighting to Wireless Video Transmission and more.

CINEGEAR is definitely one of the best venues to interact with vendors and get your hands on new gear without wrestling your way through the tens of thousands at NAB. Sure its a good sized crowd but we've found over the years of covering the event that it's no problem getting your questions answered quickly.

The event is well staffed by exhibitors and organized by category of gear which makes it very efficient when searching for the gear you had in mind. We'll be there again and hope to cover as much as we can and what a setting, on the lot of Paramount studios! See you there and stay tuned for our daily reports from the show!

For information on attending CINEGEAR 2017 click HERE
or paste this into your browser:

Thursday, April 27, 2017


   Not to long ago we were fortunate enough to be loaned CP.2 Primes from ZEISS for an important documentary shoot about the Deepwater Horizon disaster. DSLR's were new on the scene and ZEISS was right there from the beginning to provide the best glass in that arena. Now enter the new CP.3 with a versatile field changeable mount, be it ARRI PL, SONY E-Mount, CANON EF and more!

The new eXtended Data Technology (XD),  offers information about the lens’s distortion and shading characteristics and are monitored and shared in real-time!

XD enables crew members on set, with the ability to monitor lens settings in real-time, complete with pre-vis modified images and included search functions and data wrangling. In post, the XD data helps with everything, including fine-tuning, editing, color grading, visual effects, virtual and augmented reality, multi-cam live productions, and projection or 3-D imaging. So in our opinion if you want to bypass obsolescence then the XD enable CP.3 primes are the way to go. 
  • Covers Full-Frame Format
  • ARRI PL Mount
  • T2.1 to T22 Aperture Range
  • Geared Focus and Iris Control Rings
  • Clickless Iris Ring
  • 14-Blade Iris
  • Classic Zeiss Image Rendering
  • Improved Ergonomics Over Last-Gen CP.2
  • New Lens Coatings for Reduced Flaring
  • Lens Scale Marked in Feet or Meters 

STANDBY as we are hoping to get a set of these primes and shoot test footage on a Canon 5D Mark IV, SONY Fs5 and F55 cameras! So be sure to check back with us shortly.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Servo Control for DSLR Lenses ZOOM IRIS FOCUS like an ENG camera!

OK so here at OTW we shoot a lot of LIVE Performances and the big dilemma is always pinning down the LONG LENS rig for Close ups from the last row near the back of the venue. We usually get stuck with an expensive and lower resolution camera mainly a 1080i or 1080P capable camera using a B4 type lens. An even more expensive solution involves aSony B4 adapter for one of our F55 cameras. 

So in looking for a more economical method we began our search for a DSLR based solution. We have a CANON 5D Mark III and Mark IV (4K) cameras with several varieties of Canon EF L glass telephoto lenses like 70-200, 100-400 with 1.4 and 2x extenders. so with focal lengths in the 100-800mm range we had what we needed on the camera/lens side. So now we had to nail down the ENG/Servo type solution...what is available to solve this problem? Well we did some deep digging around and found these products:

From Alister Chapman - FOCUS, IRIS and ZOOM CONTROL !
"So here’s a little something I have been working on. This was born out of necessity and the reality of shooting 4K ENG style with a large sensor camera. Like many I needed a zoom lens with a good zoom range. 10x zoom was my minimum. While you can get some very nice PL zoom lenses, for example the Fujinon Cabrio 19-90mm this is only a 4.7x zoom. There are higher ratio zooms like the beautiful Angenieux 24 to 290, but this is a massive lens requiring a massive tripod and not at all suitable for ENG or handheld shooting. Sony F3 and F5/F55 users do have the option of the Sony SCL-Z18X140 which is an 18mm to 240mm servo zoom. It’s a good lens, not fast (f3.5 – f6.3) but useful, but quite a lot of money for such slow lens that is clearly based on DSLR optics. So, what about a DSLR lens? Well that’s what I started to look at, there’s plenty of choice, including the Tamron 18-270 a nice and useful 15x zoom range (just be aware that the Tamron’s focus back to front compared to most broadcast and film lenses). There are also the Canon and Sigma 18-250mm lenses."  
So as of this date the product is still unavailable! To read more click here .


The Control Grip was inspired by Zacuto’s Next Generation Recoil shoulder mounted rigs that place your camera over or behind your shoulder for perfect balance and comfort. This more traditional style of rig pushes focus, monitoring, and camera control further forward, creating a lighter and shorter rig. The Control Grip is a comfortable handgrip that offers the operator the ability to start and stop the camera, has three programmable camera function buttons, and a joystick for full menu operation on most cameras. Add the optional Z-Motor for a rocker servo zoom and iris control that uses only two cables, no control boxes, and has a self powered battery that lasts all day. The Control Grip is the most user friendly camera/lens control system on the market.

Rachel at Zacuto and we will get a close look at their control grip and see  the full set of features of this new product scheduled to ship this Summer!  Most of you are familiar with the high quality of Zacuto products and how they stand behind them. We have tested many of their products in the field including when they sent us DSLR support gear during our filming of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and I have to say I was very impressed with their products back then as well as today. So more to come after NAB..


So we did find one company shipping a product and remarkably for under $400.00. The MOVO MFF400 Premium motorized follow focus and zoom control video shoulder rig! You can check them out HERE. They even have a lower cost product and both are available on A Movo unit is on the way for testing and we'll let you know how it goes.

There actually were several solutions out there but most of them no longer ship similar product? One has to ask why and we can only assume that either:
A. These products were too early for market
B. Product demand is minimal ?? Seems hard to believe especially now with so many DSLR cameras being put to work!

Here's a few of them and a youtube link to product info on most of them:

TURRET "Zoom" for DSLR

Viztool HandiZoom
Eurocrane DSLR Zoom/Focus Remote System.
Several are of the DIY category using parts from Arduino, Celestron and other sources so if you're handy it's probably worth checking out and building your own solution.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


"My intention in this particular story is to invite you into the world of documentary filmmaking! The Gulf of Mexico set the stage and off we went to work with some of the greatest on screen talent, researchers and scientists to capture the story of the worse environmental disaster ever to occur in the United States.So with limited crew,  myself and Mike deGruy, we set off on what was to be the first of many stops along 1500 miles of coast along the Gulf states.  So sit back and enjoy this first part of our epic journey!! 

Back in 2012 I had the privilege to work as a DP and AD in the Gulf of Mexico aboard the US NAVY and WHOI Research Vessel ATLANTIS! It was a journey beyond comprehension. Along with Mike deGruy we were heading out to capture the worse environmental disaster in the history of the U.S., the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. What we saw, captured and accomplished went far beyond what my imagination could ever conjure.

Using my Canon 5D MII and a Zacuto rig to capture Alvin in the hangar.
From our home base in Santa Barbara the prep work went on for almost 8 weeks. Funding, organizing, storyboarding the impossible. Sorting though our existing gear some of which was generously and thoughtfully donated by several sponsors. Some of the prep work included testing our underwater cams and housings by jumping into our freezing cold swimming pool  to to trips up and down the coast meeting with the experts on and expressing our concerns with their gear. This was to be a journey unlike any other film based project I had ever taken on and a complete and thorough understanding of what our gear was capable of was mandatory. Looking back I can say we pushed all of it and ourselves to the extreme limits of culpable, capable and how far before breakable. In the ALVIN all gear had to be smoke tested before it was allowed to take the voyage along with us to ver 5000 ft deep into the oceans abyss! Our knowledge and our equipment would play a vital role in our well being as well as the community we worked with aboard Atlantis.

Arriving late afternoon at the dock with our 22 Pelican cases which included the proverbial kitchen sink, we began our voyage into documenting the worse environmental disaster ever to occur in our beloved oceans. Up we went in a cargo net ready to start the daunting task of unpacking and organizing all the gear.

Off to our quarters and into our bunk beds, thinking about my wife and our 11 year old son Drake! This was to be the only night I can remember getting a miraculous 4 hours of undisturbed sleep for the next two months as our journey in the Gulf began. Hmm Mike's coughing... but finally slumbered off.  The lulling from the ships engines humming through the steel hull we headed out to sea in the wee hours just past midnite.

Woke up just shy of 4am to a brisk, chilly negative ion charged atmosphere with a positive effect. Day one had begun... I'm hungry and ready to go, off to the mess hall! After a 4am bowl of cheerios it was off to deck 3. All our gear unpacked and sitting on top of skid proof pads the assembly began. This was the age of the mighty tiny camera, the DSLR, support gear from innovative companies like Canon and new companies like Kessler and Zacuto. Jibs, Sliders, stabilizers, shoulder rigs, loupes, lenses, filters, laptops, RAID drives, batteries, LED panels, POV's, Diving masks with built-in lights and waterproof HD cams, bulletproof POVs from CONTOUR and GoPro, HiHats, Mounts, mics, field recorders. You name it we had it. By weI mean just Mike and I! Hey Mike was the vibrant on-camera talent and at times, hmmm several times, we'd have  three, yes three cameras trained on the scene at hand. Remember this is a DOCUMENTARY, things are set in motion over which most of the time you have ZERO control so you better be rolling on all to capture it from all angles and all at a microscopic moments notice! What I wouldn't have given for a remote control for the remote cameras. POV's MacGyvered all over the place including the A Frame crane that lifted the ALVIN Deep Submersible Vehicle from the deck of the boat and at times into the sea! From climbing ropes and ladders with the Boson watching my back those little POV camera mounts had to be rock steady and securely mounted in place.

OK we have been summoned to a safety meeting and off we go...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

AUDIO NEWS: Currently ZACH GILL of ALO & Jack Johnson is in the house!

Multi instrumental and triple threat musician ZACH GILL has begun work on a new LP here at On the Wave's recording studio.  The tunes are a retro-eclectic, diversified mix expressing his tasteful style, smooth vocals and uplifting lyrics and melodies!

Our studio is filled with Keyboards, Moog synth, percussive sequencing mini boxes, voice boxes, noise making sound manipulator bullhorns, outboard gear stacked on our racks. It's truly a fun filled atmosphere thanks to Zachs humor and occasional dancing and craziness! Just doesn't get any better than this! So stay tuned for updates as we move on down through all the tracks. This is one LP you will most definitely want to add to your collection! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

AUDIO NEWS-Thundercat , Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins in the house!

Well some music history took place right here in On the Wave Productions recording studio when Michael McDonald met with Kenny Loggins and Steve Bruner aka Thundercat to lay down keys and vocals for new tune "Show Me the Way." Currently the song now has over half a million hits!

This remarkable collaboration has been all over the news & radio including Billboard, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, SPIN, Red Bull, KCRW & so many more. The tune will be the showcase hit on Thundercats new release "Drunk." To quote Thundercat upon his arrival at our studio:

"I literally almost peed on myself, I silently freaked out!. I was like, "OK sure." I was like "Whaaaaa... What the hell man?" Michael McDonald he reaches out. I guess he [Kenny Loggins] does the talking to Michael McDonald and the first person I met in the Studio was Michael McDonald. I get there [drove up from L.A. to Santa Barbara] and Mike's sitting there, he's got the silver hair and the flannel shirt."  Excerpt from Red Bull Music.

 We had an amazing time with these artists as they created this grammy potential tune and put it together here in the studio.

On the techie side we recorded with Pro Tools 10 DAW and utilized INNERTUBE's tube mod for the Neuman U87 on Michaels incredible vocals along with Neve 1272 mic pre, Seventh Circle N72's and a Manley Voxbox. 

QUICK TIPS:How to buy the right camera in an evolving marketplace.

Well if you read the industry news regularly or have been lucky enough to attend a Consumer or Professional based Electronics/Audio/Video related shows like NAB, CES or CineGear then you're aware of the quick paced world of camera technology. You can also pretty much count on seeing the camera you bought less than a year ago being replaced by the next generation. So one needs to be prudent when deciding on your next camera purchase to get the best bang out of your dollar!

Here's 2 quick suggestions for your next camera...

FIRST is to pick a camera body that has a lens mount! Your best investment as they say in the professional trade is your GLASS! So by all means hold on to the lenses you buy and choose wisely. Your lenses can last a lifetime and be useful on all the camera bodies/sensors for years to come.  Choose your glass wisely... it's far better to spend a little more and get the best quality lens within your budget.

SECOND is to checkout the multitude of lens adapters that are available for your cameras native mount, yep NATIVE, thats the one your camera came with. Most popular mounts these days support both Canon EF and Nikon lenses. Choose wisely as more often than not the speed of your cameras auto focus can be severely degraded as well as the actual lens speed by 1 to 2 stops! Thats right if your shooting any action based photos, lets say Rafa Nadal on the Tennis court well you want quick Quick QUICK autofocus and if its low lit well you lose the ability to get proper exposure. The good news as far as exposure goes is that most of the new cameras have an excellent ability to capture low light subjects thanks to sensor technology and expanded ISO capabilities.

Metabones has recently updated its product line with the 5th generation of SMART Adapters® like Canon EF to Sony E Mount and the features look insane! The new “CINE” versions of their popular EF to E Smart Adapter and Speed Booster ULTRA. 

Stand by for our review and for more detailed info on choosing the right gear and delaying obsolescence backlash!