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Test Drive

GoPro HERO3 Black Edition

gopro hero3 smI really like my GoPro HERO2 camera, but the new and improved GoPro HERO3 Black Edition is even better. The HERO3 is smaller with housing that’s about 30-percent lighter. It also has a new LCD Touch BacPac, so you can see what you’re shooting and have a viewable playback of the shot. The images are better too. With 12MP images and ProTune firmware, RAW images are possible, and the HERO3’s easier-to-use images are available in higher resolutions and frame rates. The Black Edition also has a more powerful DSP and a larger sensor, giving it better in-camera processing and noise-reduction capabilities.


Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 9

davinci_resolve9_smOver the years, I’ve noticed that one of the main differences between amateur and professional videographers lies in how they handle the color correction process. While the amateur just shoots and cuts, the professional will even out and match shots while also fixing bad lighting and color balance problems. Color correction plug-ins are available for most editing platforms, but they pale in comparison to the power of the DaVinci Resolve 9 — and for a good reason.


Band-in-a-Box 2013 for Windows

bandbox2013Have you ever wanted to create your own soundtrack, but didn’t have any musical instruments or players available? If you have any basic musician skills, PG Music’s Band-in-a-Box software may be just what you need. Musically speaking, Band-in-a-Box can do some amazing things — simply tell it who is in the band and what chords to play and it will figure out the rest.


The Foton Light from PRG

prg-foton-600x509Over the years I’ve seen and used a lot of different lights when filming, but the TruColor Series Foton light from PRG is special — it has no bulb and is tungsten color-accurate as well as lightweight and waterproof. This is truly the next generation of digital lighting. In place of a bulb, the Foton uses a direct-drive array, which means that you’ll get no flicker at any frame rate. It’s been optimized for film, video and still photography and, with its high-quality color rendering and a cri>95, you won’t find any weird color shifts when you post your footage. Basically, what you see is what you get.

A lot has been written lately about how LED lights all have a discontinuous spectrum, which leaves out some wavelengths of light. A shoot with LEDs will look good on your monitor but turn out to be problematic with color-shifts that can’t be fixed in post — and this issue can lead to missed deadlines and re-shoots. The Foton light is a great replacement for LED lights, as it virtually eliminates the challenges faced when lighting with LEDs. The Foton’s completely natural-looking light is generated using remote phosphor technology, requiring no color correction while correlating perfectly with professional light and color meters. In my lighting tests, the both the color and light control were great. The Foton uses Variable beam angle, quick-connect reflectors for creating light-beam angles from 10 to 120 degrees. To change a reflector, you just pop off the front part of the fixture by giving it a twist, pop off the retaining clip, and then switch out the reflector. And since the fixture runs really cool, heat isn’t a problem.

The Foton light’s built-in dimmer works very well, dimming smoothly from 0 to 100 percent with no color shift. The dimmer, along with the reflectors, barn doors and gel frame, allow you to tightly control this light. The Foton is environmentally green, producing a 1,000 lumen output that uses less than 30 watts of power. It’s also very quiet with passive cooling instead of fans so there’s no noise, which is really great when shooting scenes with quiet dialogue. The Foton is available in AC and DC versions, which means that you can use it anywhere, and it’s waterproof, so it can get wet without shorting out.

Discovering new technology is always cool, especially when it solves problems. The Foton light is a great problem-solver that costs under $1,000, and, with an estimated life of 50,000 hours, no bulbs to replace, and the cost savings achieved by avoiding re-shoots, it’s well worth it.

David Hurd operates David Hurd Productions in Tampa, Fla. More of his reviews are available at www.dhpvideo.com.



The CrumplePop Fisheye Fixer for GoPro Plug-in


2612642_300Ever since I got a GoPro HERO2 camera, I’ve been finding all sorts of great uses for it, such as underwater shoots, music videos, POV shots, and attaching it to a bike or car for traveling shots.

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