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Samsung s22 ultra video

One of the things that I found very interesting during the Samsung presentation about video at low light. And indeed their video looked awesome but lets be honest that was professionally lit 😉

For me it’s important that in real life situations i end up with usable video for behind the scenes videos. Those videos don’t have to be the best quality ever but it must be possible to see what’s going on.

Now one could say “why not use a Sony a7riv or a7s and a fast lens?” And you are absolutely right. Those cameras will blow the Samsung away in every situation but when we film material for the vlog we love to work with something really small and lightweight and preferably with a good microphone so I can quickly turn it on, press record and done…

For me the vlog should be a bit more raw and “real life” than tutorials (for which we do use the Sony cameras)

At the moment we’ve been using an osmo pocket which is…ok. Image quality is acceptable during the studio (low light) scenes and great outside, also the audio is ok. But I dont like the fact it’s fragile so we always have to carry it around in a case and take it out when using. Or leave it around your neck. And also the monitor on the back is ok for aiming but it’s not really accurate.

If it would be possible to replace the osmo pocket with a phone that would be great. So I decided to test the Samsung ultra out during the workshop smoke and gels with our model Felisa.

I have to be honest this was a worst case scenario. Using smoke mostly messes up the focus and using saturated gels are always killing video quality. Plus we didn’t use any extra lighting so all the lights you see are the modelling lights and because we mixed strobes with leds they were on the lower settings. This is also why the red leds are totally blowing out the video 😉

If you look at the video inside the studio it isn’t pretty but I have to say that on the HDR setting there was a lot more detail in both shadows and highlights outside and a slight advantage inside. For YT I changed the output to REC709 4k which did limit the dynamic range slightly (only visible outside)

What surprised me about the Samsung was the image stabilisation. On the screen it already looked good but in the video it really became clear that we are getting to a point that this becomes a real alternative to a gimble.

The slight vertical movement can easily be removed in your video editing software. But what you see in the video is all without any adjustments. What I did correct was the awful red color which looked more magenta than red. Luckily this only happened in the darker scenes and outside the reds were a lot better as you can see in the video. Although the overall look is not 100% accurate and oversaturated but it’s all correctable.

Also the audio is interesting. In pro mode you can select omni, front, back for the phone itself. But also external mics and even a mix option. Now that’s impressive.

The audio quality itself is ok. Good enough for a quick vlog type video but I think it’s too thin for anything longer or music. I’ll be testing using the Galaxy buds pro with the next vlog to see how that works but in essence audio should be absolutely no problem with all these options. (and you can always use an external recorder)

Conclusion

I see video in two categories for us. The tutorials we film in the studio under proper lighting and with different angles etc.

But also the vlog style videos where it would be best to work with as little gear as possible. You have to drag it around all day. Take chargers with you etc. This quickly takes away the fun and spontaneous effect.

With the ultra 22 samsung delivers a phone with a great camera system for social media but also with the video I think they hit a home run. Yes the video is far from perfect in low light BUT you can see what’s going on and the image stabilisation is awesome making videos easier to watch 😉

I think we are going to sell the osmo pocket soon 😉

You can watch the vlog here : https://youtu.be/ONVRELH3qbU

A device that does it all….

Did you ever wonder…. “I wish….” followed by a slur of demands and closing with “and it shouldn’t break the bank”?
I know I do, and in all honesty it never really happens.

I love teaching and interacting with people, but ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 this all changed a lot, and unless you already live in isolation I think for 99% of the world population things have changed and will be different for the coming years.

So what do you do?
Well we go online of course… the amount of live streams have increased immensely, but also video calling to your friends and family, clients, meetings etc. a lot is now online, and in all honesty let’s hope it stays that way for the coming years, now do place that in the right perspective, of course I mean, why travel an hour for a small meeting and travel back when it can also be done online, right?

So online will be more important than ever, and this is EXACTLY where this review is all about.
Even when you don’t do any streaming, keep reading to the end


Digital Classroom
I’ve always had this “dream” of being able to teach from our studio to everyone that wants to see it but is not able to visit one of my workshops or seminars. Now streaming something like a Digital Classroom is very expensive. Let’s go through what we use.

First of course 4 cameras.
Than a hardware mixer where all cameras are fed into + monitor to see the feeds.
A mixer for audio.
A Blackmagic convertor to the PC.
A special Magewell convertor for my desktop because it’s a different resolution from the cameras.
Wirecast as software hub (you can also use the free OBS, but Wirecast is in my opinion a lot easier and more flexible)
In total …. you don’t want to know 🙂

Luckily with Digital Classroom we are supported by our friends from BenQ and Rogue/Expo Imaging, otherwise we really would not be able to afford this.

 

Problems and solutions
The biggest problem we encountered was hooking everything up to make it work.
In our system all cameras have to be set to the exact same resolution otherwise the mixer won’t recognize the stream. The desktop has to be fed via another convertor because I want to be able to use Picture in Picture and this is not possible with the hardware switcher.

Now when we go live, our intern or Annewiek only has to look at the camerascreen and select the view they want to show live and switch between those cameras on the switcher. If they want picture in picture, they have to select this in Wirecast and switch. It’s a system that works VERY well, and is super easy, but it’s FAR from portable and as mentioned it’s expensive.

 

RGBLink
A while ago I saw a video of small video switcher that does it all…. yeah I’ve heard that before.
And that’s actually 100% true, we tried different solutions and most of them did work maybe for a gamer that streams some video to his/her friends or on Twitch, but it was a far cry from what we needed, so in all honesty I didn’t expect much, but we asked for a demo model, which I got a few months ago.

You might wonder why it took so long for me to do a review… we get there, and trust me it’s a good thing.

 

The Mini
We opted for the Mini which retails for app 349.00 euros in the Netherlands, which is an insane low pricepoint, taking into consideration that the Magewell we use for my desktop is already above that price point, and that’s the cheapest part of my setup.

So what do you get for that price.

A lot
Actually way more than you might expect, or even dream off.
Lets star t with the inputs.

You can feed the RGB mini 4 sources.
This can be cameras, desktops, consoles, mediaplayer etc. it really doesn’t matter. The cool thing about the mini is that it scales all the inputs to the output (which you can set in the menu) so that means I can now connect my iPad (totally different resolution), my laptop and of course my cameras all to the same device without thinking about it and the mini will output what the other side wants, for most this will 1920×1080/60.

But there is more…. oh so much more.
If that isn’t enough, you also get a small LCD screen on the mini showing all 4 sources live without any delay, one might say that the display is too small but when you work with a live streams it’s large enough, you don’t have to watch the cameras, just know which one to switch too, and this screen gives more than enough room to judge this easily and fast. And if you really want to hook up an external screen… no problem there is also an HDMI out which can carry the “live” stream signal or the “PGM” in other words you see the 4 inputs, in my opinion, unless you work in a fixed setup hooking up an external screen is pure luxe but absolutely not necessary, compared to my other setup where it’s a must (because otherwise you can’t see the sources).

Let take a look at the side.
Here you can see the USB output, via this connection the Mini is hooked up to your PC/Mac and the OS will recognize the Mini as a “webcam device/External camera”. You also see the network connector which makes it possible to hook the mini up to the network and control the mini via the OS or even via your iOS and soon Android device (I’m running a 100% working beta), the tablet/phone can be on wifi of course.

On the side you also see two small jack inputs.
One is for headphones and one is for line in.

In our situation this means that we input my audio straight into the Mini and use a headphone to check. 
You do have to realize that this is a LINE in, so you need a powered microphone or a mic pre-amp. In my case we use a small mixer in the studio and in our home setup I use the console from the music recording studio setup, but in essence audio in can be a simple as you want as long as it’s a line level.

On the back are the four HDMI inputs, one HDMI out and the powerconnector.

 

Settings and setting things up
This is where a product rises or falls down HARD.
On paper it’s always easy, but now put someone in a live stream situation where you have to focus on the audience, what you’re doing and controlling the live stream plus chats… you don’t want to think about stuff, you want to click and switch and that’s it.

Well it’s that easy.
As long as you switch between cameras there is no problem at all.
In the menu you can select which effect you want and after that you click the number to make it “hot” and move the slider from one side to the other to make it “live” do it slow and the images really blend nicely together, do it fast and it’s almost like a cut, this is a really nice trick you can use for live concerts etc. to follow the mood while switching cameras, just one piece of advise, don’t go crazy with the effects, a zoom effect is cool once or twice but every few seconds….. I always go for the nice cross dissolve or fades, which makes it a lot easier for the viewer.

When you want picture in picture the story changes
In all honesty this is why the review took so long.
When I got the device in, everything was absolutely great, as long as you kept it simple. When you wanted to go to the picture in picture it was a disaster, over complicated, no visual reference and a lot of clicks and wipes to find out you did something wrong, or forgot to select something before. It wasn’t good.

Now in most cases this would mean, end of story. Send the device back.
We also experienced a problem with controlling the Mini via Wifi and/or desktop and you might think “Ok, why didn’t send it back?”

The first thing we always do is contact the one that send us the device, maybe I missed something.
They got us into contact directly with RGBLink, now I have to be honest in most cases this doesn’t mean a lot, mostly they listen and say “yeah… yeah….” and that’s about it, years later it will still not change, but this went a slightly different direction.

After telling them the problems I experienced with Picture in Picture and also explaining to them that it works when I’m sitting down relaxed but it was too complicated when I was under stress I also gave some options about reprogramming some keys that would make the process a lot faster and easier, just venting ideas not ever thinking they would actually do it. However much to my surprise a few hours later I already got confirmation they were working on it. 

Now you also have to be realistic, this is not a 999.00 device.
For what it does and how it’s build it’s an absolute miracle how they did it so you expect to make some sacrifices right?
One of them being that I select picture in picture I just wish my image would be a bit smaller and the main screen also a bit smaller so they don’t overlap too much, but that’s probably too much to ask.. right?…… well, according to the last information it will be added in the future (I asked this 3 days ago).

Oh and also our network issue, solved within one firmware upgrade.

DISCLAIMER… this thing was brand new on the market when we got it, with a firmware below 1.
So small bugs are pretty usual with this, the way they are solved is something else.

For me this all adds up to my joy I experience from a device, but most off all also about the way I can use it instead of fight it.

 

The way it operates
what I love about a device like this is that it does everything.
I advised one to a friend of mine that now does live concert streaming with just one device instead of renting a whole setup every time costing him a small fortune, and the quality is great, but most of all I could help them over the phone hooking everything up, something I would normally never be able to. 

The way the Mini behaves is like this.
You hook everything up.
Set the output format (1920×1080/60 for example)
Connect the audio to the Mini (or use audio on the desktop)
Connect the USB to the computer
Open up ANY software that supports a webcam (zoom, twitch, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook etc) and instead of your webcam select the mini…. and voila that’s it you’re all setup.

You might wonder “really”…
Yep really.
That’s the cool thing about the mini, it handles all the difficult stuff like converting HDMI to USB, Converting 720P to 1080P or RGB to YUV or 25fps to 30fps you don’t have to set it up, you don’t even have to think about it. Just connect it, and start switching.

Some things that could be better
I won’t talk about software, because at the moment when they add the picture in picture resizing I don’t have anything I could think off to add. (yes it’s really that good).

The thing that I find a bit weird is the layout.
In the center you have the T-bar and on both sides you find the buttons for the sources.
Seeing you move the T-bar for the switching of sources it feels a bit weird to select a source on the left and slide the T-bar to the right. I would prefer to see 4 mini displays with buttons under the screens, or a square screen with buttons next to it (screen in the center) and one bar on the bottom of the device that moves from left to right. This way you don’t feel like you move the T-bar towards a source. In all honesty I’m now 100% used to it, but it still feels a bit awkward.

And finally I would have loved for them to add a simple On/Off switch. I don’t really get it why more and more devices lack this. Now you have to pull the powersupply out and when you use several devices a mistake is made easily when someone cleans your desk 🙂 and seeing you can really damage a device with the wrong power I would love to see a switch.

 

Conclusion
“Frank, I don’t live stream, thanks for the review but….”
Remember what I said at the beginning?
“Even when you don’t do any streaming, keep reading to the end”
 

Over the past year we have had a lot of virtual meetings and calls, and plenty of times I got the remark “man you look great, what kind of webcam and audio is that?”, people just don’t expect a clear hi-def image and audio from zoom or facetime I guess. The other huge benefit is that when you want to hang out with friends or family you can use the family handycam, set it up all zoomed out and enjoy the whole room, and …. how about playing a game, feed the console or another camera aimed at the playing board (when you love boardgames) and use Picture in Picture for some old fashioned together time (but online now).

The possibilities for live streamers are known.
But the possibilities that these VERY affordable devices can give to normal consumers is often not realized yet, but I strongly believe it can really bring us much closer to each other by using different cameras (which we often already have) and more sources and PIP options to get away from that terrible webcam image you get when you facetime with someone, this way it’s much more like being there and you don’t have to constantly say “I’m seeing the ceiling…. please lower the camera”

But also think about businesses.
Drop the Mini in your bag, set it up at the office and place one camera on yourself and connect the powerpoint to another source input (or share screen) and stream live, drop in the bag and take it back home to use there.

But also when there is no power.
The mini can easily be connected to a good powerbank (for example an Omnicharge) and will run for as long as your laptop probably. We will without a doubt be using this solution when traveling having a device like the Mini with everything on board is just a breakthrough. And as mentioned before there are alternatives, but nothing with a display that I know off below 700.00 euro and with 349.00 the mini… well there is no competition.

 

If you read all the way to the end I’m 100% sure you are interested by now.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.
For me the Mini is a HIGHLY recommended device and especially the communication with RGBLink is more than great.

 

If you want to use PZT cameras there is also Mini+

If you also want one of the these Mini switchers, follow this link and you also support our work.
https://amzn.to/2LG24PF


If you wish to buy in Europe find here your local RGBLink Mini reseller and click on their online webshop.

iPhone x

Ok so the iPhone x has been released what are your thoughts? Let me share mine.

I’ve been critical to Apple ever since the mbp. Since than my Apple Watch has been switched and even my Macpro and iPad are replaced. The reasons….. very simple.

Where Apple always was first and best it’s now the best in build quality and probably experience but it’s running behind on things that are already available with the competition.

So what are my thoughts.

Don’t worry this will be short.

Love love the iPhone x

Let’s be honest it’s gorgeous it’s amazing and incredible, almost magical (like Apple said) the design is really nice and I like the new camera options although in all honesty you can do the same very quickly in Lightroom mobile or other apps.

Love the depth effect on the front camera

Love wireless charging, although I don’t see me doing this at home. But at Starbucks, airports etc it’s very handy

Face recognition is WOW and I mean WOW. Awesome and magical.

And that’s about it.

I don’t care about animojis. Yeah it’s fun and I would love to use it for fun.

Now in all honesty I was almost planning on not switching to the Samsung note 8. I’m still a bit terrified to do it because I only had ios smart phones. But my experiences with the Samsung tab s2 has been nothing less than good and very positive.

So what did me change my mind…..

Something I never expected to say, the design of Apple iPhone x has a MAJOR flaw and I can’t believe that they did this.

We have all seen the mock ups with the top part where all the cameras are housed. My expectations were that when you watch a video or look at a photo that this part would be totally black. To my horror it isn’t. At first annewiek told me that that would be something I could get used to…… heck no. Never. It’s like a dust particle under my protector. My eyes just drift towards that gaping gap where video or photos are supposed to be…… it’s not the way I would expect a end design team to work. I’m actually quite shocked.

So what next

I’ve been waiting for a new phone because I wanted to do more with video on the phone and IS on the tele is very welcome plus external audio. The note 8 caught my attention to the very bright screen (1200 nits vs 750) which is awesome when flying my drone in the sun. Als the Samsung supports external mics

I love the depth effect but also want raw support and of course being able to alter the effect after taking the shot. Samsung offers this including the option to take both wide and tele shots and altering the effects afterwards.

AR looked awesome but in reality I will never use it. I’m just not a gamer. I shoot and edit photos and video, I consume media, do mail and social media and I love the idea of the spen for video editing. (Love iMovie but with your fingers on the iPhone 7plus was not really handy. With the iPad Pro it’s awesome).

So……

After many many years of Apple iPhones which I absolutely loved it’s now time to say farewell to my beloved iPhone series. And even when you take out the idea of the gap the pricing Is just insane. 999.00 will be 1159 euros in the Netherlands which means the 256gb will probably be 1350. The note 8 retails for 999 plus a free dex station valued at 159.00. Saves me a lot of money.

What will I spend that money on…..

On the Apple TV 😉

Finally 4k and hdr and with Apple TV you know for sure that Netflix and youtube will be supported plus I found a good working remote on android 😉

So what are your ideas?

Don’t get me wrong. I still love the whole Apple feel and mood. And will probably always be an Apple fanboy. Only now without Apple products.

Man it feels weird.

One more thing….

4k 60fps is superb but my other video material is all 4k 25fps so I have to integrate it into that timeline. Also 1080p 240fps is great but I hardly use it for “real” material. But hey that’s me. Your opinion might be totally different.

First impressions of the DJI mavic

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (if you are interested in drones that is) you must have heard about the new DJI mavic pro. A very small drone that you can fold up and that is supposed to be rock solid with video/photography and flight. It’s jampacked with special features including anti collision sensors in the front and bottom, several follow/cine etc. modes, a sport modes and…… much much more, it doesn’t make sense to repeat the flyer in my blog 😀

 

I’ve been flying a Yuneec 4K for a while and it’s a great drone but the major problem I have with it is that the video signal is not incredibly stable, up till 200-300 mtrs no problems but after that it can show some hiccups, although I once (under good conditions and safely) flew it 800 mtrs with video link, although it did loose video sometimes but it always came back, also the display on the remote is not very good. Let me put it this way… it works great and it does the job. But time progresses. The main reason I bought the Yuneec and not a Phantom (DJI) was the noise level, the Yuneec is a wonderful drone and when it’s 50-100 mtrs away you already hardly hear it, something a lot of people appreciate A LOT when you fly somewhere, also the image quality was very good.
Now that I’m doing more and more with the vlog I love to include a bit more drone footage (it’s great “filler” material) and travelling with the Yuneec, let me put it this way, NO WAY, it’s too big, I never understood people dragging around Phantoms and Yuneecs on trips, we are already on the limit of what we can carry in both weight and volume and filling a suitcase just with a drone didn’t make any sense, however often I’ve been on location where I wished I brought it. So everything about the Mavic just screamed…. BUY ME BUY ME. And eventually today it was “that” time and picked the mavic up at Cameranu.nl. This is my very first impression after running 1 battery, so expect more but this is a VERY quick impression. I compare it to the Yuneec.

 

Flight is VERY stable and its fast enough for whatever you want to do, unless if you want to chase a car I guess (didn’t try sports mode yet, but it should be able to achieve app 65km/h)
The video link is rock solid and very detailed/sharp
Pans are a bit “nervous” but that’s me, just adjusting to a faster drone and even after 10 minutes of flying the pans were already smoother, but the Yuneec was incredibly good with this, I did see you can fine tune the gimbal and controls so I think you can pretty much ignore this remark.
Image quality for photos is better than the Yuneec
Video quality I’m not yet sure, but if it’s worse or better it’s not much than the Yuneec, and that sounds like a negative but it’s actually a very big plus, let me explain.

 

When creating content for a vlog or BTS video there is one thing incredibly important and that’s speed and easy of use, of course an Inspire will give me MUCH better video and image quality but in all honesty I would hardly ever use it, probably never, when creating the vlog I need something that fits a small bag (preferably my pocket) and give me great quality, if the quality is on par for example with my iPhone for video I would already be happy. So I expected actually that the Yuneec would win hands down, the difference however is MUCH smaller than I expected so that’s a huge plus, in fact I was planning on keeping my Yuneec for shots where I could carry the bigger drone, but I’ve probably decided that I’m gonna sell the Yuneec. The difference is just too small, if there is any.

 

Now if you read online there are some complaints about softness and image quality and I think that I know what’s going on, let me explain.
The lens on the Mavic is a more “tele” lens than on most other drones, this means your field of view is narrower, and as you might or might not know this also means that you’re DOF (Depth Of Field) is different. In previous firmwares there was only manual focus and often people didn’t know how to select the hyperfocal point I guess (focussing on infinity is not a good idea unless you’re way up in the air), in the new firmware there is center autofocus and also a button with which you can force autofocus, or check, or double check or whatever you press the button and it focusses. The thing is that if you do this correctly I find the focus fall off of the Mavic MUCH more pleasing than from the Yuneec, it gives everything a bit more 3D look, and when hovering closer to larger objects you can play with a more blurred background, so for me it’s a HUGE plus that the Mavic isn’t a Fixed focus or full auto focus drone, for a beginner I guess this is different but I love the control over what I see sharp and what not.
Also the video and photo quality of the Mavic has in the correct settings a nice clean look, where some other drones (not the Yuneec btw) could feel a tad oversharpened, this often throws people off. Video quality that is sharpened inside a camera or drone looks MUCH better at first glance but quickly you will find some nasty ringing around small details (white borders from over sharpening), I prefer a “softer” image that I can sharpen in post, and I put softer between “” because it’s actually not softer, it’s…… well not sharpened.

 

Also I feel a lot more secure flying the Mavic. The problem I had with the Yuneec was that as soon as it was a bit further away the video sometimes had hickups and that gave me the feeling something would go wrong, which never happened but still…. the Mavic was app 800 mtrs away and 75 mtrs high (open field, and still in sight (a bit)) this is MUCH further than I normally fly, I normally always have the drone not further than eye sight, but the video quality was rock solid at that distance, there are videos of Mavics flying 10-12kms away but I personally will never test this for the simple reason it’s against the law and you don’t need that distance for good shots normally.

 

So first impressions more than positive.
Only problem is that my iPhone needs to be out of the case, so I’m looking for another solution for that, the Ottercase I use is pretty stiff, but I think I’m gonna add it just to the front with some clamp or something else (any ideas are welcome). The usage of the iPhone is great, remember I did not own another DJI drone, but coming from the Yuneec it feels lightyears ahead, the display is clean but still shows a lot of detail, switching between camera and video is very fast, the buttons are in the right places to press, you can see the video and the map and the iPhone is bright enough to see what you’re doing, which with the Yuneec in sunny weather was a REAL problem.

 

I still have to try out the cinematic, follow etc. modes at the moment I just threw it in the air and ran some quick tests to see how it flew in an completely open area so I could also test the range safely.

 

here are some shots I just took.
Nothing spectacular, it’s just close to my home and it’s an open area so I could test the range a bit further, with 800mtrs I’ve hit MORE than what I need so I’m more than satisfied. Low light performance was ok I think, in any way much better than the Yuneec, I never fly at night, but for the testing I did one very quick up for the shot and down as you can see in the images below, it was shot while it was still a bit light outside and I darkened the shot just a tad to make it look later (flying after dark is not allowed over here) so I think if you want to fly the Mavic really after sundown and it’s very dark you’ll end up with unusable footage, but as far as I know it’s prohibited in most countries to fly in the dark anyway and pushing the time limit just before or just after sunset will yield some good results. I won’t be doing any night shots due to the law so don’t ask.

 

More video/photography will follow in the vlogs and other videos, review will be in a few weeks because we have several tradeshows coming up, but as you probably already read, for now I’m totally in love with this little drone, it’s pretty windy at the moment and I only saw the props once very quickly in the frame and the Mavic was rock solid in the sky, earning my nickname for it “the Tripod in the sky”. More will follow.

 

One quick note on drone usage.
I love drones and flying them, they give an unique view on the world and can be incredibly creative for both video and photography. If you fly drones PLEASE obey the laws in your area, in essence the good ones will suffer under the bad ones, yes the Mavic can fly probably 12KM (according to videos online) and yes it will give you great shots when you fly in a city due to the slightly more tele lens, but just don’t risk it. Also keep in mind the speed, the mavic is an incredibly fast drone but don’t use it as a race drone, the reason I love that extra speed is very simple, if you fly in a more windy situation you can at least get it back easier, a slower drone will loose from the wind. A drone is a flying circular saw and with that kind of “killing potential” you don’t want to take any risk, it’s great to have a long range option and speed because that means that under less perfect circumstances there is more than enough “headroom” to get your drone back home.

 

Feel free to add your ideas, suggestions and questions (and tips).