Canon EOS 1D-X Mark II

Canon releases another expensive camera aimed squarely at... no one in particular?

I thought the 1D X was their flagship photography camera and the 1D C was their 4K-capable video-ish thing (for a lot more money). I'm guessing they're one in the same camera now and they'll focus their "C" efforts on the C100, 300, and 500 instead.

4K60 is super nice and the bitrates listed are good but what I always struggle with when it comes to this company is price. Blackmagic's URSA Mini does 4K60 with way higher bitrates, RAW recording, and LOG gamma for half the cost of this camera. For $2000 more (still less than this camera) you can get the 4.6K version.

I want to like Canon, I want them to blow me away with a camera that's wholly unique—they almost had me with the XC-10—but as it stands for videographers they just seem to go down a checklist of features that to put in and then go to market.

Apple's Music Memos App

My first thought when Apple released this today was "Please be compatible with the Rode smartLav(+)" and, to my delight, it is. I'm a big fan of the smartLav for both weddings and quick interviews, but not so much for the accompanying iOS app which is horribly outdated and very buggy for me.

The Music Memos app doesn't seem to offer any kind of volume adjustment, which makes me a little nervous but my initial tests with it, using wildly varying vocal volumes, didn't show any clipping whatsoever. It might just be the perfect companion app for the smartLav. I'm going to continue testing and see if it's a viable option for use in the field.

2015 Goal Recap, 2016 Goals Roadmap

Every year I create a Trello board (all about that agile life) in which I set goals for the upcoming year. I firmly believe that resolutions are garbage because they're vague and unmeasurable. When a task has no identifiable end, we tend to give up on it much more quickly and without looking back. "Lose weight" is a resolution, "reduce my BMI by 3%" is a goal. "Go to the gym more" is a popular resolution, but "Visit the gym three times a week for the next 6 months" is an actionable goal—you either did it, or you didn't. The key is to be able to look back and see when, and why you did or didn't complete a goal on time.

So without further ado, here's my 2015 goal board.

Overall, it wasn't a great year for goal completion. Only two out out of eleven things were truly completed. Honorable mentions go to Read 10 non-tech books (did 8.5), and Travel to two places I've never been before (did 1). Everything else pretty much got neglected from early in the year.

I will say that 2015 was the year I got super serious about running and my health in general. Many of my Facebook friends will gladly inform you about how very annoying they all found this behavior. As a result, I definitely prioritized that and not only ran my first full marathon, but also completed 532 miles total for the year.

No narrative film (short or otherwise), no attending MiM, only two out of twelve Of the Trade mini-docs, very few blog posts, and no passport still. I will say that launching this new website—filed under Noteworthy, but not a goal—led to my single most successful year in video work since I started. I've filmed weddings, commercial projects, product reviews, and even a handful of events that I've been wanting to do since starting. It's also been the reason why my most precious side project, Of the Trade, fell to the wayside pretty early on in the year.

All told, 2015 was a pretty amazing year that brought me a ton of success, though it was at the cost of some of my personal, fulfilling side projects projects taking a backseat to paid work.

Here's my 2016 goal board and a quick bullet list because this is already longer than I wanted it to be.

  • Travel travel travel, make time for travel. I'm not talking about seeing the Pyramids or The Great Wall of China—though I wouldn't object—I'm trying to see more of my state and country. I've never been to Washington DC proper, I'd love to see Fallingwater or The Grand Canyon. I want to be inspired by the world around me.
  • Read more books! I enjoyed the hell out of the 8.5 I did this year, but I knew that almost no reading would occur after November 10th.
  • Endeavor to release 12 Of the Trade profiles this year. I love this series and everyone involved. It's a pretty significant time investment, but so worth it. If you or someone you know is interested, please get in touch!
  • Two blog posts a month. This is a market-y thing that makes me feel icky to say out loud, but it's important to staying relevant in a growing and competitive field.
  • Five large runs to support great charities. I'm going to try to get on a team and fundraise, too! At least two marathons, a half, and definitely Broad Street again.
  • PASSPORT. Goes hand-in-hand with the first one
  • I have a great new idea that I think will be an amazing website. I need to focus my efforts and make it happen.
  • The handful of free or low-cost events I've been to have really inspired me. I need to attend ones specifically for video professionals to meet new people, learn new things, and do my best to continue making kick-ass stuff
  • Create a narrative short. This is the one field I've never really explored when it comes to video. If all goes well, the one I'm planning will be wrapped and ready by April this year!
  • The Primary Storyline. I currently have 1100 subscribers and haven't done anything with it since September, which makes me sad. It's a few hour investment a week, but the people I've met thus far doing it are wonderful. I want to share what I know with people and create a great community of fellow editors.

Bring it on, 2016. I'm ready to kick some ass.

Leica SL

At $7450, who is this camera for? Here's a quick list of cameras with comparable or better video features with the same or, more often, a much lower price:

  • Panasonic GH4
  • Sony a7S
  • Sony a7S II
  • Sony a7R
  • Sony FS5 (bests it on EVERY SINGLE FEATURE for $2K less)
  • Sony FS7 (gently used)
  • Canon C100 Mk II (no 4K, but other comparable features)
  • Blackmagic URSA Mini

There's no way the Leica's image processing alone is enough to justify the insane markup. If photography is more your thing, I'd still handily recommend the Sony a7R II and probably, for the first time in my life, I'd recommend you check out the Canon 5DS.