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Tips For Buying Your Next Memory Card

So, you didn't ask for this, but I'm going to tell you everything I know about choosing your next memory card. When we're done, I'll offer some recommendations on cards I use everyday.

If you're a regular reader of photography blogs most of them will have some kind of list of essential items you need to keep in your camera bag. One of the items on that list will always be something like "extra memory cards."

As an aside, but also related to this subject, you will also come across articles which direct you to "grow up" and shoot RAW format. Many, actually most professional photographers will claim that you can't be a real photographer if you shoot JPEG. 

I shoot JPEG. 

It's one of the great myths of digital photography that JPEG images are so inferior to RAW as to make them unsuitable for professional work.  So much so that it has been adopted as gospel by both photographers and editors alike. 

JPEG is different from RAW, that's for sure. Each format has advantages and disadvantages. But to automatically consider JPEG files unsuitable for professional work across the board is simply wrong. Anyone who claims this as their truth is not knowledgeable about how the compression in RAW and JPEG’s work and has not considered all the situations where JPEG file format is simply a better choice than RAW. But that’s for another time.

So far so good. 

Maybe you have a trip coming up and will remember the this list of photography essentials from a blog you've read. Or if you have "grown up" and have begun to shoot in RAW format you've noticed that the RAW files occupy three times as much space as the JPEG's did. One of the down sides of shooting RAW is that you must use either more or larger capacity memory cards than you do with JPEG. 

Armed with this new knowledge, you head down to the local big box store in search of a new memory card or two.

Let's not kid ourselves. You never thought that there might be too many options for you to easily decide upon, you just thought maybe there were different storage capacities. 8, 16, 32, maybe 64 GB. You assumed you'd stand at the counter (or in front of your computer) ready to make an easy and quick purchase.

But then, you’re about to choose your new memory card and you realize, too late, that there are many different kinds and types of memory cards. So many! More than you had imagined there would be! Am I wrong? Well luckily you're watching this video where I will help you be an expert or expert on the subject for the next time you go to a new card. 

A large volume or multiple smaller capacity?

This is the first question to ask yourself. Do you get a few smaller capacity cards or one large capacity card? Most articles I have read recommend that you get several smaller capacity cards. Losing a card or having a card get corrupted can hurt. If you have several smaller cards, you might avoid losing all the shots you've taken since your photos will be spread across several cards. 

However, if you're disorganized and have a tendency to lose things, it may be difficult for you to handle yourself with more than one card. Perhaps you should cross your fingers and work with a couple of cards with greater capacity.

Before leaving home ...

Look at the specifications of your camera to see what type of cards your camera supports. Your manual will tell you what maximum capacity and what the maximum speed your camera will accept. Not all cards are compatible with all cameras. Sometimes your new card will not be recognized by your camera. These cards can be expensive, so you need to make sure you are getting the right one. So don't waste your time or money. Before you buy, know what kind of cards are supported by your camera.

Now, let's talk about some basic information which will help you with selecting your next memory card. I'll try not to get into too many technicalities. 

What are the main features you should know when buying a memory card?

Let’s talk about the different types cards.

For prosumer digital cameras, most likely you need SD (Secure Digital) or SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) cards. Many professional cameras use CF cards - but we're going to skip right over those. Perhaps we'll talk about those in another video .

SDHC cards are the "improved" versions of the SD cards. In general, SDHC cards are newer and more capable of providing faster write and read speed and higher capacity than the earlier, SD Cards. That does not mean that there are no fast or good SD cards. A card's suitability for your situation will depend on the model of card and your camera's needs but, in general, you just need to know that an SDHC card is an improved version of an SD card.

Let’s talk about card capacity.

This is probably the feature that most folks have in mind when they go shopping for a new memory card. Once you have identified what the maximum capacity or size card is that your camera brand and model accepts, you know what the maximum capacity is that you need to be looking for. And like I said before, many photographers will recommended you have more than one card of a lower capacity rather than just one card with a large capacity. However, if you have decided to shoot in RAW or you have used smaller cards and have already decided you need to increase capacity, then you already have an approximate idea what the minimum and maximum size cards are that you need.

Now let’s talk about card speed.

The speed of a memory card refers to the speed of writing and reading information (i.e. your pictures and videos) to the card. It's very important that you seriously consider this if you often shoot stills in burst mode or if you shoot video because these are the situations where you'll need faster cards.

If your camera supports SDHC format it's also likely to work properly with SD, but remember that a card with slower performance can make your camera stall. That is, your camera may technically be able to shoot a high frame rate per second, but if your card is slow the performance of the camera will suffer and you will not be able to shoot at the camera's maximum frame rate.

On the other hand, if your camera supports SDHC but you're not going to shoot RAW in bursts or if HD video isn't a priority, you're better off keeping your money in order to invest in something else; a good SD card might be just fine for your needs.

Cards are marked on their packages as being of a certain class. Looking at a card's class helps you determine what you can expect performance-wise from a memory card. Here are the classes of different SDHC memory cards and their corresponding minimum transfer speeds at which they can read and write information.

A Class 2 SDHC card will write 2 MB per second minimum. A Class 4 card will write a minimum of 4 MB per second to the card. A Class 6 - 6 MB per second minimum and a Class 10 will write 10MB per second at its slowest speed.

If you are considering an SD card, note that the class numbers correspond to the maximum speed at which a card can read or write information. No reference is made to the minimum read/write speed as it is in the case of the SDHC cards. That's just something to be aware of. 

Let’s talk about card brands.

There are many brands on the market with very different prices. Unfortunately, it is almost always the case that the very cheap cards are rarely good. So try to focus on well-known brands and read the reviews for the cards on amazon to make sure what you're buying is really what you think. At the end of this video, I will suggest some options.

Caring for your memory cards.

You will have to replace your memory cards if you do not take care of them properly, so I leave a few quick tips that you get the best life possible with your cards :-)

Keep them protected in some kind of case. Not only will this help you avoid them getting scratched or dirty, it will help you keep them organized and prevent them from getting lost. 

I keep two Promaster Weatherproof memory card cases with me in my bags. The blue case is where I keep cards that are freshly formatted and ready to be used. The red case holds cards that have already been used and which need to be ingested to a computer or external hard drive. I picked these up at the local Academy Sporting Goods store, but you can find them on Amazon for about $20 each.

Be sure to eject the card properly once you've downloaded to the computer.

Do not delete photos directly from the camera as you reduce the lifetime of the card. It is preferable to delete all the photos at once after you successfully download the files to your computer.

Format the card in the camera - not in the computer.

And of course ... treat the card with care. Do not force it when inserting or removing it from the camera or in other devices.

An extra tip…

Do not get obsessed about cards. Capacities and speeds are constantly increasing every few months. If the price of the card you want seems like it’s too expensive, wait for a couple months to see if you can find it on sale or if the price comes down. If you can’t wait, or just don’t want to wait, then just buy the card but do not worry about being the last one to buy the card before a price drop or a feature improvement. I can assure you, no matter what you buy in tech, a newer, better, cheaper version is just around the corner. 


So what do I recommend?

If you want a good memory card, you can try these. Any of them will work fine as long as you need a SD.

Eye-Fi MobiPro SDHC 32GB (Class 10)

I love  Eye-Fi cards. The Eye-Fi MobiPro lets you connect your camera to your computer via Wi-Fi, even if your camera does not have the Wi-Fi function. If your camera does have WiFi, you will find the Eye-Fi works much better than the camera's built in wireless functionality and it brings more features to the camera to boot! Eye-Fi cards simply work and they eliminate the pain of manually importing photos to your computer. 

Delkin Devices & Sandisk 32GB (Class 10)

Across all my cameras, I use 32 GB SD cards except in my Vixia Mini X video cameras - I use SanDisk 64 GB SD cards in those. I could run the risk of losing everything in a shoot since I shoot JPEG and can pretty easily get several hours of constant shooting onto a single card. Part of me is just simply taking the chance since I've never had a card in a camera fail on me (knock on wood). However, the cautious part of me makes sure I am always shooting with two cameras. So if a card in one camera gets corrupted somehow, I at least have the shots on the other camera. 

To be a little more cautious, when I think of it, I will take a card out of my camera during a break in the shoot and back it up on a self-powered Western Digital My Passport Wireless hard drive, which has a memory card slot built in to the disk enclosure. This allows you to back up a memory card without needing a computer to act as a traffic cop for the image files. I used to use a HyperDrive iPad Hard Drive for the same purpose, but the Western Digital My Passport Wireless is multifunctional - it acts as a regular external hard drive and connects to my iPhone or iPad via WiFi as well - and it copies the files off the SD card faster than the HyperDrive does. When I travel, I take two of the Western Digital My Passport Wireless hard drives and I copy all the photos from the day's shoot onto both drives for redundancy.   

So, when it comes to brands, while I have tried several, I have consistently used Delkin Devices and SanDisk memory cards for well over a decade now with literally not a single data failure. Because of their physically fragile nature, an SD or SDHC card is likely to wear down eventually. By this I mean it is likely to physically break after a certain amount of time depending on how you treat them. As is the case with all my gear, I don't purposely treat my gear badly, but I certainly don't go out of my way to treat it like it's irreplaceable either. And the SD cards are usually a victim of normal wear and tear on shoots.  

Many photographers will gasp, but I have some cards that are over 7 years old that are still in my regular rotation. The CF Cards are practically indestructible. The SD & SDHC cards, not so much. But if you treat them well, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to get several years of use out of a brand-name card. 

I hope these basic tips help you when going to buy your next memory card. I wish I knew all this when I was starting out. If for no other reason, I could have saved some money and used it to build in some redundancy into my storage or to get a few more burritos. 

Vloggiovanni gallucciComment
Unboxing The Fujifilm XF-50mm-140mm Lens

Are you ready Grammy? Okay. Hey look guys, what I got in the mail today, a Fujinon X50-140 millimeter lens. This actually makes me a real photographer.

I just literally yesterday posted a video of me shooting FC Dallas. And I'm gonna be honest, that's kind of a challenge 'cause the furthest reach I had at that shoot was 36 millimeters. Look at this beautiful, gorgeous thing that Fuji has come up with. John you're making me nervous. You're so tall today.

What the hell is this? Oh, this is a bag case I guess to wrap it in, which will never get used. That will end up in my daughter's room. And who knows, she'll stick make up in it or something. Manuals never get used. I'm terrible about that.

What do we have in here? Here's the [01:04] ____. We have the lens right there. And we have a lens here, and it's very exciting. Oh, that feels good. It smells good. Oh that smells delicious. Look at that. I don't think there's anything else in here. There's not. A couple of things. Number one, if you are north Texas-ish, I didn't think that Fuji had any dealers here in North Texas. Well, they do. Competitive cameras down in downtown Dallas, carries everything Fuji, all the lenses, all the cameras, which is all news to me 'cause I've been getting my stuff online. I'm super, super stoked about this 'cause I'm shooting a fashion show tomorrow night. And I'll be using this for the first time at a fashion show. God knows what... I mean, I scream fashion, don't I? So we'll do that tomorrow, I'll put some images either in the bottom of the description after tomorrow night for this unboxing, or I will post a different post with the images. Look at that, it's beautiful.

Okay, I've gotta go to work now, I've gotta pay for this.

Thinking About The Words We Use Online



A conversation with social media expert, Giovanni Gallucci. Your co-hosts are Brad Davies, Director of Web Services, and Greg Gorman, Senior Communications Strategist for Dunham and Company. Now let's join the conversation.


So we're with this client, and they just... Re-doing their website, working on copy, looking for input, haven't really considered SEO. They're in a space that's pretty occupied by the same search term a lot of people have already captured on. And they kind of are behind the ball as far as where do we start, how do we get going. We've already walked through and looked at some of the words that are... It's in their copy, that they wanna rank for, looked at the competition there. Talking about including that into the copy so that it fills up the sites, and becomes subject matter expert. But what are those other kind of next steps they need to be considering that they should be talking about? 


Can I interrupt before you start? 


You may.


So the thing that caught my ear was the words they want rank for. And my first thought on that would be, it doesn't matter what they wanna rank for, it's what they need to rank for, what people are searching on. So if a client comes to you and gives you a list of the words they wanna rank for, you look at that list, and that's a starting point. But if a word they choose that they wanna rank on is not getting any traffic, there's no harm in ranking for that, but there's certainly no benefits, so what's the point? And so when you've got someone coming at you, and whether they've created the copy themselves or you're doing the copy and they've given you a list, the thing you step back from is not, "What's the next step?" It is, "We need to take this list of key words, see where they rank in Google, see how many searches are done each month, see what kind of competition we're up against, and then look for synonyms that mean the same thing."


Look for what is your client's top three competitors in the space? And look at what they're ranking well for. Look at the keywords that they're getting traffic on, and do some research. And it doesn't matter, it really doesn't matter if you do that research before they wrote the copy or not. 'Cause I would typically go to a client and tell them, "Just do that search. Just do that research, whether you've started on the copy or not, because I want the copywriters to be free of any burden of being worried about a list they have to write to." So you get them to write the copy for the website. Then you do the research on your keywords. And then you take the keyword list that you've decided upon, and you usually confer about two keywords per page or two keywords for every, say, 300 to 500 words. And then you find places that those words would naturally fit into the copy, and you take that approach.


But as we've identified these, how much do we literally change the scope of the website? 'Cause we know that there's certain terms that they wanna rank for and they need to rank for, as far as searching.


That's something I think is...


And so how much do we change the page titles, the...


Well, even the featured content. That's something I think ministries generally, non-profits really generally broadly defined, have not engaged in. They want to have a, just like we were talking before, a ministry wants to, "Here's the terms we want to rank for, because this is what we believe, this is who we are. This is who we believe that we are." Whether the market place agrees with that, who knows? We'll find that out over time, and we'll find that out by looking at your analytics, and looking at search terms, how do people find you? We deal with that all the time, with organizations that have... Some have lots and lots and lots of content. Some have great multimedia content, sermon videos, sermon audio, devotional videos, audio. Some have sermon notes and documents that are really, literally giant databases.


And the way that they present those, and what I call, I use the term merchandising, where they merchandise that content on their sites, is the way that they use terms that they use. They use, it's all inside baseball.


If you ask them in a conversation if they use inside baseball or jargon, absolutely not. "No, we love our customers. We love our constituents, and we wanna speak their language. When we proclaim the gospel, we proclaim it in the language of the people we're talking to. We wanna be Pauline in that. We wanna be all things to all people." Well, then why do you... Why does your media merchandising on your site break things down by DVDs, MP3s and PDFs? Who in the world goes to a website saying, "I loved the message that that ministry provided to me last week. I hope they have a DVD."


Or a PDF...


Or a PDF. "I sure hope they have a PDF. I don't care if they have a devotional email I can sign up for. But by gum, if they've got a PDF, I'm golden." But we see that time and time and time again. And even in sites that are probably a little more mature in that, and a little bit farther down the road, that they'll decide, "We're going to merchandise our sermon content, our message content using keywords." Okay, great. And even on the homepage. And even with little thumbnail images, to make it really visually appealing. And we're gonna use terms like, this is a media ministry that I'm talking, television radio ministry, we're gonna use terms like, "The Trinity." What were some others that we saw? Things like that that the average viewer, if they're gonna come to your website...


I'm always searching for the Trinity online.


Yeah, I can't wait to get more Trinity in my life.


I'm not discounting the value of solid Christian doctrine...


Because that's factually accurate.


It is. Exactly. We are...


And so it's not that it's wrong. It's that there's a more right [chuckle] way to do it, and it gets back to... And the thing is it's not hard work, and I think that's part of the thing that working with organizations that do this stuff, they think that it's so daunting, and for us, it's easy 'cause we do it everyday. But it's really... When I show clients what we do two or three times, they can do it by themselves.




But you've got to go and do it. And Google will tell you, [chuckle] it's not a secret.


Listen to Google.


It's free, and Google tells you...


Use the Google.


This is how people will look for your content. And it doesn't mean that they can't use the phrase, "The Trinity." But it means they have to use other phrases also, so that when people search for the content, it shows up in the engine.


Let's be honest. People who are searching their site aren't looking... They can rank for "The Trinity," but people that are gonna find them...


Yeah, let's look at your analytics. How many hits have you had to your website based on things like that? And "The Trinity" was probably one of the least arcane terms that I saw on that particular site, but again, we see this all the time, and it's not just limited to terms of Christian doctrine. It's all kinds of terminology that the organization uses, and they all use their internal jargon. And we often engage them in a website redesign project, where we get dropped in as communication strategists, sort of mid-stream. They've already selected a development design and a development shop to do the site, and they're going to, essentially... That design and development shop does not have a copywriting arm. They either can't afford it, or don't offer it, or it's not even on the table, and so the organization says, "Well, gosh, we'll just use the copy we have on our current site. We'll just dump that in."


That's easy.


That's perfect. Well, it's perfectly... You can have a very sharp tool aimed the wrong direction, and you're not gonna get anywhere with it. So, I don't even...


Or you can have a very dull tool in the right direction.


Either way. Yes. And so we have turned a corner in our conversations with our clients now, where we engage them on these broadly-defined copywriting strategies, really at the outset. And where we want the outbound digital marketing to match the inbound digital marketing to the extent that it can, but we want everything to match well in terms of using the terms that the customer uses as opposed to terms the organization uses.


So roll back five minutes when you mentioned the DVD, MP3, PDF. So, most of the people watching the video are gonna go, "Huh!"


That's us.


So what would be the alternative? What would be the more effective path to solving that specific issue? 


Well, the first...


How would you promote that content? 


That's a great question and...


Thank you.


And the first...


Thanks for the soft ball.


And the first part of the next conversation that we have in those settings is often, well, we can just use the titles of the messages, which is a really earnest and noble thought. Most of the sermon message titles that we encounter are titled for piquing interest, not describing deliverable. Look at any so-called "mega church" today. Look at their website, look at their television program, look at their billboard, their sign out in front of their church. "Next Sunday, Pastor Smith is going to talk about Sex and the City." Well, that was a popular HBO TV show.


My church would never talk about that. [chuckle]


And gosh, people will be curious, so they'll come in. Well, just use that title in your sermon search keywords in your site, and see how many hits you get on that. Probably not very many. So it ends up having to be more of a deeper look, a deeper analysis of the content of the message of the commonly-used terms in all the messages, not just we want people to get this message, because if you've got a search engine on your site, which I hope you do, you can usually manually rank high importance messages more highly in the search results. So we think that it takes a little more work long term. It takes a little more heavy lifting at the outset to get there, but it's worth going back and looking at those things. And you can do that in an automated fashion. You don't have to... Certainly, if you've got transcripts of the sermons, if you've got PDFs, if you've got sermon notes, that type of thing, you can use that as a basis, and you can do some... Cobble together search algorithms of your own within those to generate that content. And then you back into your merchandising of the products. You back into what do people talk about? What do we talk about the most? 


What are the things that we get the most interest in? You can start with broad topics and go down to actual specific sections of messages. You can start with broad sections of the Bible and go down to specific passages that speak to specific issues in people's lives. And I'll bet that you could narrow the top 10 issues, the top 10 even search strings for your average website visitor for any ministry, I'll bet you could narrow that down fairly quickly into terms that they would use, not terms that you say, "Well, that's our sermon on tithing." Well, most people who are new to the church or who are casual in the church, the concept of tithing is not one that they're going to respond to quickly. The concept of stewardship, however, and not even the word stewardship, but money, budgeting, spending too much, saving, credit cards. I wonder how many ministries actually use those kinds of terms in their onboard search strings, let alone their SEO makeup.


Yeah. It's a shame because there's so much low-hanging fruit there. And they're leaving so many potential visitors to the site, which then a portion of those would be converts somehow for them, that they're leaving it on the table because there's no thought towards it, or there's a fear of it. I'm just... We were talking about an organization here in Plano earlier, and I personally have the mindset that you run to where people need to hear the word. And if you're always preaching to the choir, you're using the terminology where you're preaching more to the people that are already in the flocks.


They're already for you.


Yeah. Then your website's serving those folks, but it's not doing anything good for the faith. And so the point here is that you're doing things that bring new people into the fold, so you've got to be using terminology that they're going to be using to help them find out ways that the word and the message would help solve problems in their lives, and help them live a better life.

UPDATED: The Social Media Photographer's Shot Kit

Note: I continually update this article as I change my workflow and gear. The "publish" date on the post will tell you when this article was updated last. With that said - The video above no longer represents my current set up. I will have to create a new video with gear and workflow as soon as time allows. For now, I have updated the gear list below. The most dramatic changes include the removal of all DSLR's and mirrorless cameras from most of my shoots and removal of the macbook pro as well. 


If you're an online marketing maven, or if you just got stuck managing the social media for your organization because no-one else will - you no doubt have long since realized that photography and video are the leaders in content online. It can be a bit intimidating when you see all the amazing photos online shot by people with the budgets to afford the latest DSLRs with huge, expensive lenses. 


I'm here to tell you - that all that heavy, expensive gear is not necessary. To be honest it never really was. To be fair, I was just as bad as anyone about lugging around loads of expensive gear in multiple backpacks - all essentially to shoot images destined to the web. Well, I've had a change of heart and I'm here to give you some new recommendations on gear if you are shooting for the web. 


After years, and I mean YEARS of loyally using Canon DSLRs, I recently switched over to Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. Why?


Trey Ratcliff of Stuck In Customs was a trailblazer in the mirror-less switching movement. When he announced he was dropping Nikon for the Sony mirror-less cameras, I realized that considering a switch was a reality. However, Trey shoots primarily landscapes and architecture. Putting any camera on a tripod and shooting a non-moving subject allows for more leeway in selecting gear than when one is shooting fast-moving subjects, handheld, in various light. I knew intuitively that just because he was producing stunning results with his Sonys, it didn’t mean that I could because our styles are so different. In any event, his switch made me start looking for a camera line to move to.

After looking for over a year at other mirror-less cameras and assuming that I was going to make the move to Sony, I did a quick survey of some of my favorite photographers on flickr and 500px. Without realizing it, I had self-selected many mirror-less photographers that use Fujifilm cameras over Sony. So, without so much as seeing a Fujifilm mirror-less camera in real life, much less testing one, I began selling off all my Canon gear (years worth of it) and replaced it all with Fujifilm gear.

Side note here - Let's talk briefly about cost since I mentioned it above. I've realized while I was editing this piece that cost and "expensive" are relative. As I look over the gear I use in my bag now, I have to admit that we're not talking about the blue-light specials at Kmart. However, the kit I have is about 1/2 to 1/3 the cost, piece per piece as the kit I carried before. In addition, as part of this process I've eliminated many items in my kit that are simply unnecessary or that didn't bring enough value when I came to the physical and monetary cost involved. 


I said physical - there is also a physical cost when it comes to deciding on what to carry all day in the Texas heat in a backpack. The physical cost of shooting how I used to shoot was a driving factor in me making this switch. I just had to wait for the mirrorless technology to catch up for me to make that move. Aside from the cost of the gear at retail,


If you travel for your work like I do, you also have to consider the extra $50 - $125 you spend per bag on airlines today once you go past your allotted limit. I've been on flights where we had over $1000 in extra bag charges alone, even with the breaks some airlines give to media crews. 


One last note on this cost - if you are considering making a switch like this, know that I was able to pay for the ENTIRE new kit through the sales of my old used equipment. That's a very important thing to be mindful of here. If you are considering this, you need to act fast while your current gear has value in the used marketplace. 

Iggy Azalea @ SXSW

Admittedly, this was potentially a bone-headed move. It could have been one of the stupidest things I’d ever done. Now that I've been using the cameras for a few months I admit there are a few shortcomings with the mirrorless cameras, especially when shooting sports indoors. But luckily, I absolutely love the Fujifilm line and the photos I’m producing now are closer to what my vision is for my photography than my photos from the Canon gear ever were. This is going to sound counter-intuitive - but the photos I produced with my Canon 7D’s and 5D’s were sharper overall and more crisp than what I produce with the Fujifilm cameras. And that is exactly why I love the Fujifilms. The overly sharp, sterile images produced by the Canon DLSRs, while technically excellent, tend to lack soul to me.


Canon/Nikon fans relax. This is a personal opinion, not a technical review. I’d liken this phenomena to an audiophile’s preference to vinyl recordings over digital recordings. I love the soul and the timber of the colors that the Fujifilm’s produce. It's something like I've never seen produced from a Canon or Nikon.

I have also converted from shooting in RAW and then doing post processing on all my images to shooting in JPG. This allows me to stop carrying around a Macbook Pro - I now only take an iPad with me for all my post processing and publishing on multi-day trips. This, in turn allows me to stop carrying my Lowepro 300AW backpack. In fact, I have already completed a week at CES and a week at NABShow this year without taking a laptop with me at all! I did all my post-processing and distribution on my iPad and iPhone. I even edited and uploaded a couple of videos from the conferences entirely on the iPad.


You should be getting the picture here. If not, let me make it clear for you. Moving from DSLR cameras to mirrors-less has a snowball effect on everything you do and all the gear you carry. Everything becomes smaller and lighter.

photo by giovanni gallucci

With that, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the gear in the bag. Here is a complete inventory of all the still photography gear I take with me today, no matter what size the job is or how long the schedule is. I’ve done ALL my work with this kit (with a few small variations) since the beginning of this year. All this gear also fits into a small shoulder bag - where I used to carry the LowePro 300AW and a Timbuk2 Messenger bag, I now only carry a single Domke bag for everything, which also makes flying much easier.



2 Fujufilm X-T1 with the Fujifilm Hand Grip X-T1 Camera Grip cameras. I have now converted to iPhones (6S, 6SPlus and 7) for video almost exclusively and I use the iPhone 7 for half my photo shoots. I carry the Ricoh Theta S for 360 photos and video. 







P.S. - I do pack battery chargers for the cameras, a Fotodiox Flapjack-C200R LED Edge Light LED Round Light Kit, a Fotodiox Flapjack-C200L LED Edge Light Daylight LED Light Kit, and a Manfrotto 680B 4-SCTN monopod in my main luggage on multi-day trips just in case I need them.


P.P.S. - I also have an additional Domke bag/kit with video and audio equipment in it for video shoots. We'll chat about that in another post. 


So what's in your social media shot kit?

Workflow For The X100T To iPhone

Hey guys, this is Giovanni. This week, we are gonna talk a little bit about workflow again, but this time around, we're gonna use a much smaller setup. And it's funny that I say because in the last video, all we had was a Fuji XT1 and an iPad and a Dongle to move photo files from the camera over to the iPad. This week, we are going even smaller, we're using a Apple iPhone 6. We've got no Dongle and we're gonna shoot with the Fuji X100T. In our scenario today, for the workflow, we're going to assume that, I've shown up to a music festival. I have the X100T, probably have the XT1. And what I typically do is this is medium kind of focal length camera. It's 23 millimeters, but that kind of translated to a 35 millimeter focal length which is essentially what the human eye sees.

This is a nice medium focal length camera, the XT1, whatever I show up to an event, I'm gonna have a super wide, so like a 10 or 14 millimeter lens. And then I'm gonna have a medium telephoto like a 56 millimeter on the XT1, and that's what I shoot with. And part of the reason why I do that is because whenever you really limit yourself on gear, that helps you define your style. I found that in the past, wherever I go and I look at my photography from the past years, it's really hard to see any consistency because I'm going from Fish Eye to a Lens Baby to 2470 to a 7200, and all my photography is all over the map. And one of the nice things about moving that I found with the Fuji XT1, this is not just because it's a Fuji XT1 but part of this process has forced me to really, really think about minimizing my footprint when it comes to gear. This work fully kind of buys into that.

The nice thing about this is beforehand, I would go out and shoot a three day music festival, and when I would come home at the end of the night, I would then have to sit down and start editing. And what I've done now, in the workflow, is I do a lot of that editing and posting during the day as I'm shooting, so when I go home at night, I still do a little bit of editing, but I don't have three hours worth of ingesting and tagging and all that kind of stuff like I would in the past. Let's walk through the workflow again. Our tools that we're using today are gonna be the range finder camera here from Fuji and an iPhone 6. And scenario is I'm either walking around shooting artists where I'm shooting festival goers, or I'll find product activations, where there's product at a bar or something like that. In this scenario, I work with the beverage company that sponsors a lot of music festivals.

Let's say that am at the festival, I find you, you're a fan, you're drinking Topo Chico. I walk up nicely and introduce myself as someone who works for Topo Chico. And if that doesn't ring a bell, I point at the bottle that they've got in their hand, then I say hey, I'm here doing social media stuff for Topo Chico. Would you mind if I took your photo and posted it up on the internet? Fairly critical of this situation that not only are you asking for permission to take the photo, but you're giving them the information that it's going to be used on the internet because in this scenario, it's for commercial purposes, you need to make sure you get people's buy-in and their approval. You say, yes, you're happy to support Topo Chico 'cause it's a delicious frosty beverage that you love. And so I'm gonna take your photo so camera goes up, I take your photo, looks really nice. Now it's time for me to thank you and run away and post this to the internet. Next step. Let's come over here to the table and obviously, my photos now are inside the camera. First thing I'm gonna do is I'm going to hit the WiFi button in the bottom left hand corner of the camera, and you see that the WiFi Network has been created.

I go to my WiFi network on my phone and it should pop up here and there it is right there, Fuji film so I connect to it there. Wait for it to make a successful connection. I've got a blue check, so it's there. Next thing I wanna do is I wanna go to the camera mode app, and this is for the XT1. It's kind of confusing the Fuji has several different apps in the App store. I click Connect and you'll see immediately that now I've got an image popping up on the camera, which tells me that if I wanna send that image over to the iPhone, I can. Get the camera closer here to the GoPro. And what I wanna do is, hey, I do like that if I click okay. It says transmit, and I want you to see what happens on the phone is like transmit. Can we do this? We've got skills, click okay, and there it is. Go to the next image, oops, go to the next image. There's a Topo Chico bottle I took earlier. Click okay, boom! There it is on the phone.

So you see that that is having the effect we want it to have. Once I've done collecting all the images I want to off the phone, I'll come over here to this camera now. I'm gonna to click end. And now, do I wanna connect from the WiFi network? I sure do. Two images have been saved. And now am gonna exit out of that and my next steps to get this up on the internet, I'm not gonna crop because, again, I've got the camera saving images to the 16x9 ratio I already want. And I do wanna look at the image through to see whether or not I wanna do something in VSCO which is my favorite app for image editing. So I'll go to VSCO cam. I click on the library.

How dirty is that? Is that dirty? It looks dirty to me. I'm gonna click the plus sign here. And this is the image that we just took this minute. There are some other ones in there I took earlier to test, before I did this app video. And now I'm kind of embarrassed because I've got a picture of Homer Simpson with a caption above his head that says, "Bacon." And I've got a big fat cat with... Anyway, import that into VSCO app. I click on it. If I wanna do any editing at all on this, the only thing that I ever do to images, is I mute the colors back. I've preset two of the filters here that I would use on VSCO. And I look at this one. That's a little bit too much. I like that. It's got a little bit nicer tint to it. I click save, and then I click the F button to save this back to my camera roll. Now this image now has been pulled in from the camera, via WiFi. No dongles. I've pulled it into VSCO and I've done a little bit of color correction on it. The next thing I want to do is, I wanna square it up and get it ready for Instagram. Now, there's two ways that we post this stuff. Obviously, we're posting this stuff to Instagram, so your images need to be square. In my scenario, I like the 16x9 aspect ratio.

So I'm gonna square this up, and put letter boxes above and below the image. The rest of the social network sites, which are just pretty much Facebook and Twitter, that I use for clients are gonna get that original 16x9 image. Let me go into Squaready and I'm gonna open up Squaready and go to, pull an image in from the library. And right here, you see that it's got my image that I just saved from VSCO. That comes in there. Right now, it's fully square. I've lost my 16x9 aspect ratio. When I click to even it up, from a width perspective, I get two letter bars on it. I get a letter bar on the top and the bottom, that allows me to see that 16x9 aspect ratio. I don't do anything else with the photo inside this app. I just wanna save it back to my library. I save it as a 20x48, because that's pretty much all you need for the internet. And last thing, is we're ready to go up on... We're ready to go up to the web. I'm gonna take this image, and open up Instagram, open up my library. Here's the one we just saved. So we will click on it and go, next. Since I already did my filtering and color correction within VSCO, I'm not gonna add any filters on this in Instagram, personal choice. And then I'm gonna type a little message to y'all. Space. Get rid of that message and then I'm not gonna tag anybody because I don't know who you all are.

And I'm gonna share it to Instagram and now it's gonna be on Instagram in a second. That's a previous one. There it is. We're on Instagram. So if I'm at an event, and I'm walking through this scenario, and I don't have to walk through and talk about what I'm doing, this can be done and posted all through social networks in under 60 seconds. It gives you a little bit of insight of how people are able to get content up on the web as quickly as they are, especially at live events. Next week, we'll talk a little bit more about the accessories that I use. The Western Digital WiFi, hard drive, the Mophie battery, the Domke bag, and at a lot of the other accessories that I need on the road. But there's not a lot to talk about, at this point, because we've gone through the workflow and you've seen this gear and the stuff that I've pared myself down to, to be able to go on the road with, is pretty minimal. And I think that's the key here, is being able to go out and shoot multi-day events with the minimal amount of equipment, but still producing professional results in the process. Thanks a lot for watching you guys. Do what you need to do, as far as liking and sharing and posting and all that stuff you do here on the videos, and we will see you next week. We'll talk a little bit more about some of the gear inside the bag. We'll talk to you next week.

Workflow With The X-T1 & iPad Pro



Today we're gonna take a walk through a simple version of my workflow. As we get through more videos, we'll get into a little bit more depth with some of the other things that I do when I'm on the road, but today we're gonna primarily talk about what happens whenever I am out on a shoot scenario, here would be Salmon and Music Festival and say a client is a beverage company. I don't wanna say what beverage company is 'cause I don't wanna get any undue promotion that they haven't earned. But let's say I'm in a music festival and the goal for the day while I'm out there is to get shots of people consuming content, or consuming the beverages, feeling good about life, I'm looking for young healthy looking people dancing, having a good time, and kind of portraying the lifestyle that we wanna portray with the brand that I'm promoting.


So basically what I'm doing and you saw this in the previous video, I'm walking out there with a Fuji X100T, and I've got the Fuji X-T1 and the workflow for both of these is a little bit different depending upon the situation that I'm in. I'm gonna show you one workflow today using the X-T1 and an iPad and then I'm going to shoot another video using the X100T and an iPhone. The differences between the two of those mainly is because the iPhone itself will not accept the Lightning to SD Card Reader that the iPad will. So I prefer to use the reader because it's faster for me to get photos on to the iPad, but when that's not possible, either I'm in a situation where I don't have the iPad with me, maybe I've got one camera in my phone that's it, then I use the Fuji app to transfer wirelessly photos from the cameras to the phone. In both cameras except the Fuji app. So the things we're working with today are going to be the Fuji X-T1 and then I'm gonna grab my iPad and have this opened up and ready to go.


Clear screen, nothing behind the curtains there, and then my other piece is the other critical element is the SD Card Reader. Again, this is convenient for me because it's faster. If I didn't have the SD Card Reader then in both scenarios with the phone in, with the iPad app, I would just use the Fuji Photo Receiver app on both of them because they work through Wi-Fi. I like using the phone better because I've got obviously direct access to the cell network to post stuff immediately. On the iPad, I have to have the iPhone with me because I've got a tether to the iPhone to get stuff up to the web.


So my typical scenario would be, if I'm out in the field and I'm shooting, what I would be doing is using the iPhone and doing it wirelessly and not having to tether to an iPad. When I get back to the hotel room at the end of the night, I pull everything off of my cards onto the iPad or I push them over to my Western Digital Wi-Fi hard drive which we'll talk about in another video how I use that. And then I'll go through those as though they were just a hard drive on a computer and pick the ones I want and take my time to edit them.


So let's talk about what we're gonna do. So I'm in the field, I'm shooting, I come across you, you are young and fresh and you're drinking Topo Chico and I wanna get a picture of you. So I stop and I ask you, "Hey, is it okay if I take your picture?" And they say, "Why? You're kind of a creep or?" And I say, "Well, because I work for Topo Chico and I can put you up on my social media accounts." And they say, "Yeah, that's a great idea." So I take a few shots of you drinking the Topo Chico and now my photos are on the card.


So what I'll do is I will quickly, not necessarily every time I take a picture, but when it's time to put stuff up on the Internet, I pull the SD card out of the camera. I pop it into the Apple SD card Lightning Connector reader, and we'll go to this other camera here and show you what I'm gonna do here and what happens. Plug that into the bottom of the iPad and you're gonna see the iPad is gonna recognize that card. Open up the app and say, "Hey, do you wanna import these? Look at you, you look good. Can you see yourself? Look at you."


In this situation, I'm gonna say import all. Okay, import complete. Do you wanna delete or keep? I always wanna keep the photos on the card. Now my photos are imported into the iPad, they're all sitting there and now it's time for me to do whatever editing that I want to on them and then they get them ready to go to the Internet. So first thing I will do, if I decide that the color chrome filter on the image, and let me go back a little bit. On the camera, my settings on the camera whenever I shoot, and this is where both of these cameras are, I'm shooting JPEGs. I shoot JPEGs 'cause everything I shoot is going straight to the web and it's just easier to work with JPEG than RAR files whenever you're dealing with mobile devices like this.


I shoot in a 16:9 aspect ratio 'cause I just like that, and then I use within the camera itself on Fuji cameras you have different film emulations that you can mimic different types of classic Fujifilms. And whenever I used to shoot on 35 millimeter film with that Canon AE-1 back there, I use the Classic Chrome film for color and I use Neopan for black and white. So luckily for me, Fuji has been nice enough to replicate the look and the feel of those different types of film within the camera. So whenever I'm shooting color on my digital cameras, I'm emulating the Classic Chrome on these.


So these come out of the camera, they're inside the iPad. And the first thing I wanna do if I'm in a situation where I want to apply an additional bit of coloration, usually what I do is I wanna mute colors on the photos. First thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna look at the images. So I'll go and I'll say, "Hey, there you are. You were drinking a Topo Chico, you're looking good at the music festival. Actually, your GoPro camera." Let's say that I decided that image needs to be muted, that the colors need to be muted a little bit, because that's just the way that I like to have my images appear on the web.


First thing I'm gonna do is gonna go into VSCO, I click on the library app, I add this image by clicking the plus button. And look at you there with the little red dot on you smiling at me. Open it up here in VSCO, don't let that fall down. Come on buddy. We'll go and edit this way, and the filter that I like to use in VSCO, and actually the only filter that I ever use in VSCO is F2. Typically what I'll do is I will adjust how much of that filter is applied to the image, that's nothing, that's everything. And what that does is that mutes the colors generally, and it reduces some of the contrast. It's a look that I like. We will go back to where that image is and I will save it.


Now the next thing I wanna do is I wanna take that image and I wanna export that out to the photos app again, so I can work with it in a couple of different apps. So I'm gonna save it to camera roll and at this point I'm done with VSCO. So the next thing I wanna do is I wanna square this up. Now there's already the 16:9 crop of this image sitting on the iPad at this point in time, and I will use that for Twitter and for Facebook and GPlus, but for Instagram, I want this thing squared up 'cause my sensibilities say that I want the whole image there on my post.


So I open it up in InstaSquare. There's a bunch of different apps so I'll do this for you. I won't do anything in this. All I do is open it up, it's already squared up and I hit save. So I wanna check inside the photo app to make sure it's squared up and it's hard to tell here because it's squared up, and it's gonna fit inside the screen, but I'm gonna trust that the app did what it's supposed to do. We'll find out here in a second.


Now that photo has already been saved, it's already squared up, it's already been completely edited to the extent that I need it to be. I might sometimes take it into something like an app like Over or something else and add some text to the images, but typically I don't. I'm just putting the text down inside of the caption of the photo itself. So next up would be to go to Instagram. Now, it's super critical for me to work fast whenever I'm doing this is for me to already have Instagram signed into the client's account that I'm working with. So in this situation, I'm gonna go ahead and just post this on to my Instagram account. I'm gonna go ahead and click on the camera icon here in the bottom to grab my photo. You have the option to shoot a video, take a photo, or I want to grab a photo from my library.

And we can see here that sure enough that Square Up app squared the images for me, and you can see here in Instagram that the app has got the white bars on top and bottom so that the 16:9 still comes through on the app for us. Again, I'm not doing anything in Instagram. It's very rare that a photo of mine on Instagram will have an Instagram filter on it, I'll do that beforehand if I'm going to do it. And then I wanna write a caption so "This is a pretty... " And we'll hit okay. And I could tag you but I don't know what your name is. So I'll go ahead and post that. And you'll see that it posts up now to Instagram under my Live Loud Texas account. So all is fair and good, if you're watching the video and you've got Instagram, it'd be great if you'd go and leave a comment on that.


So this is my entire workflow for whenever I'm working for a client in the field. And again, this can be a sporting event, it can be a street festival, music festival, I work in food and wine festivals, things like that whenever we're trying to post stuff at the event, when the event is happening because that is the best time from a social media standpoint, for you to gin up as much attention that you can related to the event. In later videos, I will talk more in depth about what you do from a social media standpoint to take advantage of current events in order to get more people to see your content.


So that's a quick demo of the entire workflow that I have whenever I'm in the field working for a client using the iPad 4, using the SD Card Reader, and the Fuji X-T1. I will tell you that I skipped a step in this because since I'm shooting this at the studio, I have Wi-Fi connectivity on my iPad. The last thing that I would've done or probably would've done before I even arrived at the event, I would've tethered my iPad 4 to the iPhone and have that going the entire day. So that when I pulled the iPad out and I started working on stuff, it would already be connected and I wouldn't have to take that step, but I just wanna mention that either your iPad needs to have AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, one of those connectors T-Mobile, cellular networks connected to it, or if it's a Wi-Fi only, you're gonna have to tether the device or find an open Wi-Fi to be able to connect to.


So that's the workflow, I appreciate you guys watching, make sure you give me a thumbs up if you like the video, leave a comment, questions are great. Next week, I'm gonna shoot you guys a video showing you the workflow with the Fuji X100T, in an iPhone, wirelessly connected, and it's gonna essentially be a similar, almost identical process, but there's a couple of different steps in that and it goes a lot faster because in that scenario I'm not pulling out devices, and I'm not having to tether it and all that kind of stuff. So, thanks for watching, and we'll see you next week.

Ricoh Theta S DIY Monopod Extension

Hey guys, it's Giovanni. I am a huge fan of the Ricoh Theta S 360 camera. But it's got a huge design flaw, not a big deal though. I'm gonna show you how to fix this flaw with parts that you can get at your local hardware store for about two bucks and with no tools.

Alright, so since the 360 VR video craze has hit us in the last year or so, as far as the standard consumers go, a lot of cameras have come and gone. I've tested a lot of them. And at the end of the day, everything from the Kodak SP, the original SP360 to the 360fly, I've tried the V360 camera, a few of those and all the way up to the 360heros, either the camera quality was terrible or the setup and the maintenance of an ingestion of files and kind of the process of editing those files was more than what I wanted to mess with. With everything that's on the market now, I've become a big fan of the Ricoh Theta S.

However, there's a huge problem with the Ricoh Theta S in that the battery itself is not changeable, the rechargeable battery on the inside. And also, there's only eight gigs of memory in this and you can't do anything about that. So a solution would be to put the Ricoh onto a tripod. And the nice thing about the Ricoh is that it's got USB out that you can charge the camera with, you actually power the camera with it if you want to. It's also got an HDMI out that you can live stream out with as well.

Here's the catch though. The USB and the HDMI are on the bottom of the camera. So if you're thinking that you're gonna go in and put this on a tripod and run some power to it, then live stream out or maybe expand that memory by pushing it into, like an Atomos Ninja or something like that... Well, you're out of luck if you're putting it on a tripod. And frankly, walking around like this with wires coming out isn't a very good experience for the viewer or for the content creator.

How do we solve this? Lots of folks have been complaining about this setup for a while and it only took Ricoh about a year to hear you out, and they're going to be coming out soon... And as of the recording of this video, they have announced the... I'm going to look at my computer here. It's the TE1, it's the Ricoh extension adapter. Absolutely gorgeous looking piece of hardware. Beautifully machined. I'm assuming that this piece of hardware is probably gonna hit the retail stores for maybe 20 bucks, if we're lucky. What I decided to do, a, I didn't wanna wait for them any longer 'cause I'm out trying to get stuff done with the camera. B, I know that when this thing hits the store shelves or the Amazon shelves, it's gonna be ridiculously expensive. So I thought that I'd go out and find a solution to this problem myself, and I indeed have. It's a solution that I'm actually using actively now.

What I did is I ran out and I went up on Amazon and I found some quarter-inch 20 rods. And basically, a rod is a screw without a head on it. Your base is screw but there's no head on it, you can get these anywhere from 2 inches up to 4 to 6. This is a 6 inch rod. I also went out and got a coupling mount... A coupler here. Same size obviously. So you wanna get yourself a quarter-inch 20 coupler. And when you get this into your house, you wanna run it up the rod here like this to make sure that the threads are clean and that the machining on the rod and on the coupler are good. And so it goes, so that's great. The other piece that I'm gonna need now is gonna be either a wing nut or a standard nut or something like that. What I've done is I went out and got some rivets. I wanted something that was gonna stay far and away, out of the way of the two inputs there, the USB and the HDMI. But also something that I could easily turn because what this is gonna do when I put the camera up on the top of this rod here, I wanna be able to turn this up and tighten it up and keep it snug so the camera doesn't wobble around and change on [04:51] ____.

Here are your pieces for this, let me show you how we're gonna put this together. Now, you've already seen, the first thing that I do whenever I get this is I go and put the coupling on there to make sure that the threading is good. Then I go and I'll get my... These are the typically the kind of light stands I'll use with one of these Ricohs. I'll use one of these stands or I'll use a monopod, a Manfrotto monopod like that. Basically, the nut on top of these and the thread on top of those is about the same. What I wanna do first is I wanna find out how far down this coupling's gonna go on there. And I wanna bring that rod down on top of that and mark that. Okay, so the rod's gonna go down. Let's stop at snug there. What it is, I'll pull it up a little bit here. And I'll grab a Sharpie. And I'm just gonna mark that right here. Don't have to be too clean about it. And then this guy, I will run him, to where he's flush with the top. And I'll mark that first. And then I go ahead and I spin that all the way down to where I'm on the top of that mark and I mark it again. That's the bottom of that.

The reason why I'm marking this like this; two-fold. I'm not gonna do the whole process here, but this is two-fold. Number one, I will go and I will take gaff tape, black gaff tape, and I'll run gaff tape on this piece and this piece. Just 'cause I wanna hide the fact that these are silver, sitting on top of my tripod. If you want to, you can put this together first and then spray paint it black or something like that. That's fine, either way. I prefer the gaff tape. On the bottom piece, the reason why I marked it there, is 'cause I'm gonna go and apply some heavy duty glue. This isn't the answer to everything, but it will help this stay in place. So I bring that pretty much halfway a little bit more than halfway down.

A little bit of glue on there. If I'm lucky, I drip some on my desk. Good for me. Bring the thread back into the coupler. And we're gonna let that just sit there and we're gonna let that dry. Okay. Essentially, what you've got here now though, is you've got your finished piece. Before I would have glued this together. Normally, I would have run my tape on this stud, the rod first, and I would have taped this up over so it would have already been black. And then by the time I glued this together, there's obviously gonna be no tape there. So I put one more piece of tape around there. And I just let it sit overnight. Now if, you're using super glue, it should be dry in a minute or so, no big deal. This obviously, we don't want to put any glue on that because that's gonna stay moving the entire time. So...

Just like on the cooking show, we're gonna set this aside and we're gonna pull out the finished product out of the oven. Well, that's a mess. Basically, this is what the finished product looks like. You've got a rod here that is the right size, it's like I said, a 1420. And it'll go on any tripod. I'll show you why this is critical to have this like this, 'cause now, when I put this on to my white standard tripod or whatever, this is black against black, that does you no good at all. Pull this up so we can see it. So now, what happens is now these two, the USB and the HDMI input, on the back, is completely available; completely wide open, free. And I'll take this guy once he's on the thread, and I'll screw him up a little bit, so he's snug. And so this is a micro USD cable. Find the right one. And on this guy, typically, what we can do is either run power from this or I can go and I can attach a battery to the pole like an Anker battery, and give myself more life out of the battery.

On the HDMI, I can pull this out on the HDMI and pull a cable on there and either run that into a, like I said, Atomos recorder, something like that, or a monitor or something else that I want to monitor with this or this actually will live stream to YouTube or Facebook. So simple solution, parts here $2.01, not including the tape. Let's add two more cents for the tape. So let's say $2.03. You can decide how long you want this stud to be. Again, this is a six inch stud. A four inch stud will come down to about right there. But, that's what I found on Amazon. Then we'll see what Ricoh wants to charge for the TE1 when it comes out. And I guarantee you the TE1's gonna look much better than my solution. But, at what cost? Simple solution. Have at it.

Did Fujifilm Fail Photographers With The Firmware 4.0 Update?

Did Fujifilm fail photographers with the Firmware 4.0 update? I'm Giovanni, this is Geek Beat.

Hey guys, this is Giovanni. I went out and shot a major league soccer game a few days ago using the Fuji XT1 and the new, newish 50-140 millimeter OIS lens that Fuji's put out here recently, and I wanted to give you guys some feedback on what I found, what's some pros, some cons are, things that I'm working through right now with the setup, 'cause I've really committed to the system. In fact, I'm getting a second XT1 that I'm gonna borrow from somebody to be able to use at Lollapalooza next weekend. I want to make sure that I give you guys some insight that doesn't come from the Canon world, doesn't come from the Nikon world. There's a lot of coverage out there for Sony, there's not a lot of coverage on the Fuji set up. So first and foremost, let's look at the 4.0 upgrade to the Fuji. Now, this has been a long time coming. There's been a lot of hype around this on the internet, and some folks aren't getting the full benefit out of this, or at least from what I'm reading, there are some folks that are frustrated with what was expected out of the upgrade and what they're actually getting.

Let's talk about a few things you can do to make sure you're getting the most out of this Firmware 4.0 update. The first thing you wanna do is you wanna look through your menu and look at the mechanical versus the electronic shutter on the camera. Now, these are two different ways that you can shoot. Electronic shutter's really nice whenever you wanna shoot in an area that requires silence, that you don't wanna have that shutter sound distracting from the goings on in the room. However, on the continuous focus and especially on the Firmware 4.0 upgrade, whenever you're shooting in CL or CH mode, which is continuous low or continuous high mode, if you're using either the mechanical plus electronic shutter mode or just the electronic shutter mode, the camera cannot focus in between and cannot track your subject and keep a good focus going as a subject moves throughout your frame. So absolutely critical that the first thing you do once you upgrade, if you're gonna be shooting this for sports, if you're gonna be shooting moving subjects, go into your settings, change the setting from electronic or from mechanical and electronic to just mechanical shutter. It's gonna give you the ability for the camera to actually track your subject in between your different shots so that you can make sure you can keep a steady focus throughout several different frames.

Number two, make sure you've got face detection off. When you've got face detection on, the camera uses the slower CDAF to focus and track objects within in your frames. You want phase detection auto-focus which is faster, and you only get that if you've got face detection turned off. So that's gonna help with the performance on the new Firmware 4.0 upgrade. The next item you need to do is make sure that you've got higher performance mode turned on. Now a lot of folks don't even know that this exists. Some people will turn it off in order to save battery life. I just make sure that I carry extra batteries with me 'cause I wanna get the most out of my camera whenever I'm shooting. So by default, my cameras always have high performance mode turned on. But if you have it turned off then it's gonna cause the camera not to respond as quickly whenever it's trying to focus, especially when you've got fast moving objects, so let's make sure that that's turned on.

Number four, now, your phase detection pixels that are tracking the objects within the frame are centered inside the middle of the frame, so this area right here. So make sure that whenever you're shooting that you're keeping your subject within the center box of the frame. And now that might kinda bum you out because you might wanna set something up on your thirds over here or on the thirds over here. But whenever you're using the Firmware 4.0 upgrade and you specifically are tracking something that's moving quickly, especially if it's moving forward or back in the frame, you wanna keep that object right sitting in the middle of the frame like this to make sure that the phase detection system can work. Now, maybe in the future, we will see a Fuji camera that has phase detection throughout the entire frame. Right now it's not there so that's a big thing that you can do to make sure that we're tracking properly, especially on fast moving objects.

So a couple of more things, make sure that you've got your pixels set. Whenever you go into the settings of the camera, you can change how big or how small the pixels are that are using this phase detection system. The largest that you can set that is a 5x3. Make sure that you've got that set at 5x3. I find that it helps especially if I'm shooting things like soccer, if I'm shooting hockey, sports that require... Football, sports that have the subjects moving around the frame quite a bit. The more space I have inside this phase detection area on the frame that I'm shooting, the more likely I am to be able to grab that subject and keep a tight focus on it. The last thing that can I suggest to you is to make sure that whatever lens you're using like this is the brand new, the 50-140, make sure that the lens has got the latest firmware upgrade to it. We'll send you a link inside the show notes to show how to go and upgrade the firmware on the lenses. But you've gotta make sure that that is latest and greatest as well.

So those are a few tips about how you're gonna get the most of the firmware upgrade. I will show you here, before we leave in this segment of the show, some of the images that I took with this brand new lens. Now, a couple of things that I found with the lens. Number one, it does come with an attachment on the bottom that allows you to attach this to a mono-pod or a tripod. Highly suggest that because without that, this camera is pretty unbalanced because you've got all the weight of the lens up front. If you have the battery grip, which I don't use on this camera, if you had that battery grip on here that would help with the balance. But because the camera's so small and I've even got pretty small hands by standard kind of measurement, it's still kind of difficult to hold on to the camera, especially if you're running around with this big heavy lens on it. So what I did is I had the monopod or tripod attachment on the bottom of the lens and I was running around the field using a monopod to steady the camera.

The other thing that I noticed in shooting with this is back in the days when I was using the Canon cameras, I typically shot Aperture Priority Mode with everything that I did. So I was allowing the camera to make the determination on shutter speed and make a lot of decisions for me. I was controlling aperture whenever I would shoot and aperture, for the most part, was the only thing that I would change during a shoot. Because of the way that the Fuji is set up with all your manual knobs up on top, even when you're shooting in auto mode, you have access to all this stuff a lot easier. And I think a lot of the reason why I fell into shooting in aperture priority on the Canon cameras was because flicking back to a touch screen or flipping back to a menu system on any system is inherently more difficult to do, especially when you're in the heat of the moment and you're shooting something like sports or documentary type stuff, when you've just gotta get the shot. The Fuji cameras tend to allow you to, since they allow you access to all your controls up here, and they're always available and they're always gonna function for you and they're much easier to get to, I tended to, when I started with this system, always shoot in manual mode.

I was having some challenges at the soccer game the other night, because I wasn't getting the shots that I was wanting, and they weren't turning out the way I wanted to, and I was missing some shots. Then I kinda stepped back and I thought, "Well, what was it about that Canon system that allowed me to get these shots and not miss the shots? I kind of remembered that I was always shooting in aperture priority. I took that philosophy of the way I used to shoot and I started doing that with the Fuji in the second half of the game, and I didn't miss any shots. So if you're gonna make a move and whether you're making a move to Olympus, to Sony, to Fuji from a Nikon or a Canon or another DSLR system, one thing I might suggest to you is think about how you used to shoot with that other setup as a baby step and replicate that on the new system before you start going in and trying to exploit some of the new benefits you get from the new system.

That's just something that I've found and it worked like a charm for me, because at some point in time, as photographers, we wanna be creative, we wanna try new stuff, but we also have to get the shot for the client. So whether you're shooting for editorial, for someone else who's paying you, a sponsor, whoever you're shooting for, you've gotta make sure you take care of them and we can't spend all our time of goofing around with the equipment. So I fell back on some tried and true methods, and that helped me out quite a bit and the pictures look fantastic. If you like the tech news and the tech reviews and the cutting stuff in half, and the general goofiness that we got going on at Geek Beat TV, we like you supporting us. If you could, if you're so inclined, go to, have a look at what we've got to offer. We'd love it if you could help us offset the costs of production. We'd like it a lot. It'd be great. It'd be fantastic. We'd like it. Go and do that, now. Help.

Autel Robotics X-Star Quadcopters

Here we are, debuting our X-Star series of Quadcopters. And we're also showing off our Kestrel, which is our fixed-wing, vertical takeoff and landing drone, which we're really excited about. Of course, we're excited about both of them. Our X-Star series has three different models in the line. It goes from the X-Star Go, which start is at 599. We have the X-Star, which is 799. And then our X-Star Premium, which is 999. The X-Star Premium has your 4k Ultra HD camera, has the HD Live View with 720p resolution up to a 1.25 mile range, which is pretty cool. You get to see everything that's going on, everything that your drone sees for that far. And our Kestrel is more designed for agricultural and humanitarian applications, it's more of a commercial fixed-wing drone. It's very efficient. Has a flight time of up to 1.2 to two hours. So a few of our differentiators are price point as well as... Our Premium, for 999, you get 64 gigabyte card, you get a hard case to carry it in. Which is very nice, 'cause a lot of times you find you buy your drone and you don't have anything to carry it in. I think there's a lot of room for growth.

A lot of people are saying 2016 is the year for drones and I'm excited to hear that. And I think we're all pretty excited to see what the possibilities are. So we, primarily, are looking at it from an agricultural and a humanitarian perspective. Of course, with any really innovative technology like this, there's gonna be other possibilities, probably. But with some of the testing we've done, we're working on payload, its efficiency, the electric efficiency of it is what we're really excited about. Between the benefits of having the aerodynamic fixed-wing, plus having the vertical takeoff and landing benefits of a drone. Over an hour to two hours of battery life that's something that's pretty unparalleled at this point, I would say.

The Social Media Photographer's Shot Kit

So why are you here in my car with me? You're wondering. I'll tell you why. Because we are going tonight, to go and shoot a major league soccer game. Thought it might be fun for you to tag along.


The game is going to be the FC Dallas Club, which is the major league soccer team for, you guessed it, Dallas, and the New York Red Bulls. Should be a terrific game. And what we're gonna do here, what the agenda is, is we will get up to the stadium, I'm going to do a quick, what's in my bag type of a scenario. I'm really looking forward to this time we're gonna spend together, so you stay put, we'll be right back, and we'll dig through my bag a little bit.


Hey guys, I am outside of the FC Dallas stadium, the Toyota Stadium here. And to be quite honest, this is the day after the game. My plan originally, as you just saw on the intro video here, was for me to show up and then go on the field and walk y'all through some of the process of me getting ready to shoot and also to sit down and do what's in my bag. Well, I obviously did the shoot at the game but I did not plan for the fact that number one, frankly, I've got the attention span of a squirrel. So whenever I was sitting down and trying to get through my intro and get to the what's in my bag scenario, I kept on getting distracted by stuff.


Hey guys, so we are at the stadium now as you can see, I am... And actually the team is coming out on the field now. Also got with me a 33 millimeter lens. I'm sorry, not a 33, it's a 35 millimeter. I don't know what my situation was yesterday but I just couldn't get in the zone. So that's number one, number two, I realized quickly that obviously at a game like this in a stadium they're gonna be playing all kinds of music on the loud speakers to get the crowd going, to get people into the game. Well, I think there might be some copyright issues there. Well, a lot of the content, the majority of the content that we produce here is news and information commentary type stuff.


I'm not sure that me sitting down and showing you what's in my bag would qualify for that, and I'd rather err on the side of not getting myself in trouble, not getting the show in trouble. Just saying, you know what, we'll do the What's In My Bag later, come in do my job, get my shoot done and just take care of that. So, with that being the case, you've seen a little bit of video of what the atmosphere is or you're gonna see a little bit video of that, I'm not sure where I'm gonna put that in the edit yet. But yesterday's shoot was the shoot for FC Dallas, a major league soccer game. And this was an interesting one for me because in the past whenever I shoot pro sports, I've always had my Canon 7Ds and obviously a long lens like Maya 70-200 which I've been using for about five years now. And then I have a few other lenses that I take with me. Well, we're shooting on the Fuji X-T1, they just came out pretty recently with their 50-140 lens, it's a 2.8 lens throughout the entire focal range. I don't have that yet. So I was left with shooting this game on the Fuji X-T1. And my long reach lens is the 56 millimeter lens.


So this created a really interesting situation for me. But I will show you some of the images that I shot with this camera. And I was able to successfully crop some to give me a little bit more apparent focal range in the final images that I used on the site for the TV station.


So for the shoot here, the X-T1 was the main camera I used. And I had with me the Fuji X100T, clearly not a sports camera, but I got some interesting shots and I included those in the portfolio for the TV station. So that gave me a little bit different look even though all the settings for the film emulation are the same. And it allowed me to have the 23 millimeter available at all times around my shoulder. When I have the 56 on that camera, I could pick this up and I have a wider angle. To be honest, moving into the future, I've got the rest of the season to shoot with these guys plus I've got a couple of local colleges that I'm gonna be shooting sports with. And this camera is just not gonna cut it for that kind of stuff. I will use it for fashion, for music, but this will probably stay home.


I'm pretty sure I may end up getting myself a second X-T1 body along with a longer lens and that's what's gonna get me do the season here. But you will also see some of the images from this camera as well in the blog post. Other lenses that I brought with me, I did shoot a couple of shots here with the 14 millimeter and with the 35 millimeter lenses. I pretty much saved myself from using the 35 too much because I had the 23 millimeter on the X-T1. The challenge here with those though, is that the X-T1 in this situation, low light, lots of fast movement, just really couldn't keep up with the action. The 35 millimeter and the 14 millimeter, ironically, were much faster for me than the 56 millimeter on the X-T1. So when I was shooting I found that I was a lot more satisfied with the shots I was getting, even though they were wide angle, they weren't tight shots, with these lenses 'cause they would lock on the focus and stay on focus a lot faster for me. I've done some fiddling around with the camera to switch up on some of the way the camera focuses.


And so the next sports thing that I do, we're gonna see if that's gonna help me out. And I would assume that the next time I shoot sports I should have the 50-140 lens. And there's rumors... More than rumors, pretty much confirmed rumors, that there's gonna be a 90 millimeter prime which is which I'd really rather have. I'd rather find myself in a situation where I'm shooting with two X-T1s with, say, a 90 that I know is on the Fuji roadmap, has... Maybe have that 90 on there maybe a 35 on the other camera and use that to shoot the whole game. And speaking about those focal lengths, the 200s are nice to have, especially when you're working on something like a soccer field because the action gets so far away from you. But when I'm shooting indoor sports, like volleyball or basketball, you don't need that reach typically unless you're gonna get a shot right up in somebody's face.


So a 90 millimeter at a basketball game or a volleyball game is gonna be plenty for what I need. And even in those situations I've found that even with a 56 millimeter lens, that sometimes I'm too tight on my subjects and I need to physically back up a little bit to get the shot that I want. Other things in the bag that we're carrying with this... And I wanna clarify also with the what's in my bag situation here. This is what I shoot everything with. This setup... I don't particularly have a sports setup versus fashion versus music. This is what goes with me everywhere. So I've really narrowed down. And I wanna show you something that's interesting. I used to walk around with a Lowepro AW 300, this huge bag with two camera bodies in it, seven lenses, plus I had a camera with a lens on it on the outside, plus all kinds of garbage that I took with me that I just knew that I couldn't possibly survive without. Well, let me show you what I carry around today. This right here is what I carry around with me. This is a Domke Journalist bag, I might have that name wrong, it may not be the Journalist. But anyway, I'll correct it in the lower thirds or in the blog post if I'm incorrect on that. This not only has my two cameras and two additional lenses in it, plus my accessories, it's also carrying a keyboard and my iPad with me.


So that's quite a big change from what I used to shoot with. And what I got these video cameras set on is a Manfrotto monopod that has feet on the bottom of it that allows it to stand up and you'll see some movement probably in the camera here as I'm talking to you. Well, it's because it's a monopod, it's not a tripod. Next items in the bag, the Mophie Powerstation XL. This is a battery, if you can pair this to the battery in an iPhone or an iPad, this will give you eight times the charge out of a standard iPhone or iPad battery. I've got a second one of these that I take with me in case I'm gonna go on a multi-day shoot and I don't know what the situation is gonna be with electricity over two or three days, I'll have a couple of these with me.


And then for backing up I've got the Western Digital My Passport wireless hard drive. This I believe is a two terabyte, we'll say it's a two terabyte drive. I know it's at least two pair, but I don't think it's four. But I've got two of these guys with me, two. Now, the game last night what I would do is I would shoot the first half, now that for those of y'all not familiar with soccer. What you've got is you've got two 45-minute periods.


And the action does not stop, someone will be injured on the field and unless it is a broken bone or something, they keep playing. They don't stop unless someone calls a time out because an official does because someone is injured that badly on the field. You'll see a lot of times in soccer guys, who will injured, they'll fall down on the field and they'll lay there and roll around for a good two or three minutes before they get themselves back up and get themselves off the field or they continue to play. So it's 45 minutes of nonstop action. So you really can't do anything as far as backing stuff up during that time, but at halftime what I'll do is I'll pop the SD cards out of my cameras and pop 'em in here. And this will then automatically, without any intervention on my part at all, will back up those cards onto the hard drive for me so I know that I've got a second copy. I do not delete the stuff off the card, I pop the card off, put it away for safe keeping, pull out a fresh one, and then shoot the second half with both.


Again, in this scenario where I'm on a long, multi-day trip, then I'll have two of these with me. And that process is duplicated no matter what I'm doing. Usually I'll have an alarm set on the phone and, say, every four hours, every six hours, whatever I decide is appropriate for that shoot, alarm will go off and no matter what I'm doing I'll pop the card out, stick it in here to back it up. And then I'll pop that card out, put it in the other hard drive and back it up on the other hard drive as well. Just to make sure that we're safe. In the back of my bag I have got my iPad, this is a fourth generation iPad just before they came out with the Airs.


And its got a CDO case on it, this case flips backwards and folds up in the back and creates a stand for the iPad. The reason why this is fairly important is that if I'm out at a airport, in a hotel, or sitting in the middle of a soccer field, and I wanna write, I can set this on a flat surface and I pull out my Apple keyboard, my Bluetooth keyboard and I can sit here and type on this. It's much more efficient for me to type on a physical keyboard than to use the keyboard on the screen here. 90% of the time I'm not using a keyboard with the iPad, I'm just pulling stuff out, I'm doing graphics editing and stuff like that. So I'll load my pictures up into the iPad itself, the cameras are set to go ahead and automatically name the files in a convention that I want them to be named in, so I don't have to worry about that.


But then I do my editing which is all graphical work, I don't need a keyboard in those situations and then we upload directly from the iPad. Couple of other items that I have in here that are interesting, I'm gonna look at you here, these are interesting items. We'll pull them out a few at a time and just drop them in my car as I get rid of them.


Number one, I carry around with me some Altec Lansing sports headphones. I like these better than the Apple headphones. And typically whenever I'm out shooting, whether it's a game like this or whether it's a fashion show, typically music, I'm gonna pay attention to what's going on on stage and I'm gonna listen to the music as I'm shooting it. Other stuff usually I put music on in my headphones so I can kinda get inside myself and get more creative, music helps me do that. So the Altec Lansings are pretty important. 5-Hour Energy, just in case you need it on a long day's shoot. Aspirin and antacid. A, you never know what you're eating, when you're gonna eat. Antacid goes a long way. And typically with the aspirin, if I'm out on a soccer field like this and I'm running up and down the field, up and down the stairs, I'll take an aspirin right when the game is over, right before I leave, to minimize the amount of pain I feel the next day.


I think that's more of an old man thing than anything else. Blistex is important to keep the lips taken care of, they'll get dry before you know it. Charger for the iPad. A display port for a VGA to lightning bolt display port for when I do presentations. And then my SD card reader, lightning to SD card reader. Pretty cool. Again, very minimal stuff. This is stuff that I only need in very, very, very, you know... This is the stuff that I cannot live without and I've got it all into this small bag, again. This is a USB to thunderbolt reader, allows me to plug my camera into my phone if I want to transfer files directly to my phone and edit that way.


Other side of my bag here. Stuff that matters. SD cards. I've got a stupid amount of SD cards really. I've probably got, holy cow, probably two and half, three terabytes worth of SD cards there in 32 and 64 gig increments. A band-aid. One band-aid can make a day... That could be terrible if you get a blister and make it tolerable. Flashlight, a multi-tool, pencil, stylus. I've had this stylus for three years, I think I've used it twice. And an extra set of keys. I cannot tell you how many times I've locked my keys in the car when I'm on a shoot, so I've learned to carry an extra set of keys with me in my bag so keys are always with me. And there's a passport in there too. That probably needs to be renewed, now that I think about it.


That's it man, that's the bag. I've got a side bag over here, which I will open up here. I've got a couple of pouches on my side bag. This guy right here holds my Sennheiser wireless microphone setup that I"m using here to shoot this with. And then this bag has just a multitude of various USB, micro USB type of cables in it for miscellaneous stuff, chargers, whatnot.


So that's the bag. And again, this is the setup that I've evolved into after shooting now... Holy cow, I am so ridiculously old. For about, amateur for about 25 years, pro for about 10. And I've gone through all the kind of getting more gear than I need, or gear that I think that I can't live without, and it's nice to kind of evolve into a place where you can move from having these gargantuan cameras with gargantuan lenses on them and you can stop and really evaluate what your actual needs are and work in a mode that allows you to minimize your footprint. So A, it becomes more efficient for you... I can be so much more effective on the field running around with a small setup like this than back in the day when I carried that huge backpack, all those lenses, all the tripods. It's almost funny to think about how much time I spent sitting on the ground switching gear out as opposed to just walking in the gate, cameras in my hand with a small bag around my shoulder, and walking into the event and being ready to shoot right off the bat. It's a whole different world.


So I would encourage anyone who's watching to resist the temptation of being addicted to equipment and try to focus on limiting what you use. It'll help you develop a style. If you say, pick one or two cameras, and I would pick the exact same camera bodies, and start of with two lenses at first. I would say if you start with two at first and then move into, maybe if you are out on a shoot and there's something you desperately need that you don't have a lens for, then consider to get the next one. And that's where I'm at right now. I'm a point where I will probably never bring the X100T, certainly to a sporting event anymore, I'll move to just two of the identical bodies and probably three lenses. I'll get either the 50-140 or I'll just get that 90 prime and then I've got my wide angle which is a 14 or 35, I'll decide which one I wanna use that. And then the 56 millimeter you can't live without if you're a Fuji shooter. This is the cream of the crop of the lenses in the Fuji line. Anyhow, that's whats in my bag. Take a look at some of the photos I shot at the game here. And what am I gonna do next time? I have no earthly idea what I'm gonna do for the next video. I'll figure that out later. Thanks for watching and close, close scene.

More Drones from CEDIA 2015

Hey guys, it's Giovanni. We're at CEDIA and we're gonna talk to Eric again over at Stampede. This time, we're gonna talk about some professional-grade drones. Welcome to Geek Beat.

Alright guys, so we're back here with Eric. And now we're gonna talk about some professional quality drones with some different uses. And first of all, we're gonna talk about the xFold. Tell me a little bit about what this drone specifically is for, and what kind of person would wanna purchase this? 

So yeah, absolutely, thanks. This is an xFold Mapper. The xFold Mapper is really the bottom line of the commercial-grade products for xFold. They have a Mapper, a Cinema, and a Dragon. The Dragon is actually twice as big as this one. It can lift up to 150 pounds. It's a big boy. But the Mapper here was meant for doing 3D mapping. A small DSLR, or as you can see, we just have a GoPro on there right now, but it can carry a variety of elements based on the gimbals. And it can do that for 30 minutes. It has a flight time of 30 minutes. It is an X8 configuration, but with the xFold, with a very simple modification of the bolts, we can actually make this an X12, for added stability in winds. You're not gonna get any more flight time out of it, but you're gonna get added stability.

Do you lose flight time, though? 


Oh, wow. Okay.

But it'll give you added stability for winds. So fantastic configuration. These guys were born out of the cinematography world. The Cinema version of this, which is slightly bigger, can actually... Is being used in Game of Thrones. And has been used in a ton of movies, and can carry a RED EPIC camera.

Oh wow! 

These guys came out of that world, trying to use CineStars and stuff. And they didn't like what they were using, so they built and they designed their own system. And we're really happy to be able to distribute these guys. This is a... This is just expanding into commercial-grade, but this is really your first one. This comes with the Pix4D software as a 3D mapping software. That's one of the benefits of this, is everything comes as an OTC. It's a $9,000 software package included in this.

And what does this retail, with the...

This retails with everything, batteries, and the ground station, and everything retails for 19.99.

And that's without camera, I would assume? 

Oh, that's without camera.

What cameras are compatible with it? 

Anything. Any kind of gimbal, it would just be the gimbal that needs to be put on. They can create a custom gimbal. They've got a variety of those already set up for various configurations. It would just be focused on whatever the end user needed to do, and wanted do to.

Okay. Tell me what this X PlusOne is.

Yeah. So this one...

I mean, you have to ask about this.

No. This is... This is... If you haven't seen this, Google 'em.

I have never seen that in my life.

Okay. This is fantastic, so these guys actually... Yeah, this is a great story. These guys are a small startup out of Northern Idaho. And they were... Raised $180,000 on Kickstarter last year to build this. This is the production models. These are out now, they've delivered all of their Kickstarter stuff, and we're now distributing for 'em. And this is just exciting. This will do a horizontal... Oh I'm sorry, a vertical takeoff and landing, and will transition into horizontal flight, and go up to 60 miles an hour.


And the price point on this is at about $2,000.

And is this meant for cinema also, or what's the use on that? 

Some fantastic elements. Obviously, if you need to move, and you need to follow something quickly, you've got the speed capability.

So law enforcement, maybe, or first responders? Military? 

First responders, getting out. Also precision agriculture if you're gonna cover an area, it can cover an area. This can come off and you put a gimbal on here. And you can put a small camera. So a GoPro style, thermal, something like that on the top. But again, maybe bridge inspections because the GoPro's facing up. You've got the ability to do all kinds of different infrastructure inspections. And then again, transition into horizontal flight. Very, very impressive. Just a fantastic capability, we're super excited about this. We'll be flying it later in the cage.

Oh, awesome. Okay.

Not gonna go horizontal with it.

And lastly, let's talk about the... Let's walk around over here, Ken.

This one here is Vision Aerial. They're a company out of Montana. And again, an excellent company. We've really enjoyed working with them. They make the Switchblade here. This one, I guess the claim is, it can carry a six pack of beer. If you're talking about how you measure lift capacity, there's important elements there. But it's just a fantastic little... It's well-made. It's all made in the US. And really, the lift and the movement is quite good on it. It can forward. The tricopter is an interesting concept. And it is, I would say that of all, if you are trying to move from a DJI Phantom into flying this, you would definitely wanna do a lot of simulator time. And you'd wanna make sure that your... This is gonna be, I think, moving up into the commercial-grade. This is a challenging one to fly, not to make it bad, but just... It's gonna be sporty, it's gonna be fun. You can really have some fun with this.

Is there anything in particular that the configuration with having the tri-blades as opposed to the four, or the 12, or the eight? Does that give you any particular advantage over the other ones? 

I've seen some advances in lift. With those three blades, granted they can be bigger, and the footprint can be smaller, but you can get some good movement going. It gets up and goes. You get some good forward speed, and then the lift capacity on it is very, very good.

Awesome. My assumption is on all three... I mean, these are three completely different drones. I wanna say quads, only one's a quad. Completely different vehicles here, none of them, I would assume, are meant for the DJI kind of enthusiast. These are all commercial applications...

Absolutely. Yes, yes.


Absolutely. I think the X PlusOne could fit a very interesting category of, "I've got an Inspire. I've got a bunch... " and that's just cool.


They show a great video where they put it on a... Guy has a motorcycle and they basically... He takes off and then, he puts his controller in his backpack and he takes off on his motorcycle.

And it follows him.

And it follows him. So, it transitions and you watch it as it's going and then, it transitions into horizontal flight.

This might be a dumb question. Stabilization, kind of being able to view that video without getting nauseous...

Does that have the capability when it's flying vertically, to hold a gimbal and have the gimbal function, or...


Okay, wow.

Yep, yep.

Okay, fantastic.

Yeah. So no. It's exciting. This one is... We've been running in with them at 80 psi and the first flight for it in a cage was at InterDrone. We flew it at InterDrone with them and we're gonna be flying it here so, they...

Okay, so if anybody is interested in DJI and anything else that's not DJI, where do they find you guys? It sounds like you guys would be great to go to, you're platform agnostic, you'll tell people what they need based upon their use case so, where do they find y'all? 

Sure, yep. Stampede. You can go to Stampede the website and get hooked up there. Drone Video Systems is another, We can get information out there, we've pulled together... And like you said, we're platform agnostic in all of it. So what we wanna do is pull together an entire solution, because it's not just about the drone, it's about everything else. You've got the add-ons, you've got command and control capabilities that you need to manage. If you're gonna get into the commercial world, we wanna be able to have a solution and that's what's been market leading for us. We've gotten tremendous response in the fact that we've pulled all of these things together, we've connected the dots so that somebody can get into commercial enterprise. They can get the pilot training they need through our partnership with Unmanned Vehicle University, and they can get the recommendations and the 333 exemptions through our partnership with UA Solutions group. And again, we look at the best in class companies, and we pull them together to provide that simple and easy solution to get into commercial operations.

Awesome. Thank you, Eric. This has been Giovanni with Geek Beat at CEDIA talking about professional quality drones. And, now, Ken, you need to take the camera and pan it up kinda artsy like to end this episode. Pan it up, there you go. Thank you.

Drone Regulations And The Future of SUAS Flight

Hi, guys, this is Giovanni from Geek Beat. We're at CEDIA right now. We're gonna talk to an expert who used to work for the FAA, who now deals with folks trying to get certifications, exemptions, things like that, to fly drones. And we're gonna ask her what she really thinks about all us yahoos that are flying out there without licenses. Welcome to Geek Beat.


Hi, guys, I'm here with Christina from UASolutions Group, and she's got a great background for folks like me who have no business flying drones, but who do it anyway. We want to talk a little bit about what someone like me can expect. So my background is I've been shooting video for years. Drones came on the market. Super big eye candy for me. Great way to get video. I read the different articles that tell me best practices, what I should do, what I shouldn't do. I've got apps on my phone that tell me where the no-fly zones are. So I make sure that I don't do anything that's inappropriate in that situation. However, I still know that I'm doing it illegally, on some level. I mean, we try to... I'm giving away too much on the episode, but I will never charge a client for the video that I publish, or that I create, but sometimes if they find it on Vimeo and they wanna use it, so be it, let them use it, whatever.


So there's a lot of ways that we're skirting what we think are regulations, but we're not sure. We think they're laws, but they're either not enforced equally, or we get conflicting messages from the FAA. So help me out a little bit. I know that the perfect solution is for me to ground the drone and wait for a couple of years 'til the FAA tells me what I'm able to do. But obviously, that's not happening. So kind of give me some guidance as a yahoo, a consumer that has one of these things in their hands. What would your best advice be to somebody? What can I expect in the next 12, 24 months from the FAA, as far as when they're gonna have something out, and what I'm gonna have to do to actually be certified to be able to fly my drone? 


Holy cow. Those are a lot of questions. First, I'd like to thank...


I will repeat all of them.


Thank you. Giovanni, thank you and Geek Beat for having me on today. I really appreciate it. And first, you're not a yahoo. First I really wanna commend you for reaching out and embracing this technology, taking something that you've had a passion for, which is photography and videography, and you just see this as another tool in your toolbox. And that's what it is. It is this other tool in your toolbox to use, and we wanna use that, and we want people like you to use them. The thing is, you need to use them correctly, and not skirt the rules and regulations. So there are two classes of people. Either you're a hobby and recreation, or you're not. So when you fly, and you give your video to somebody, if that's in furtherance of your business at all, if it helps your business, if it promotes your business, even if you don't get paid, it is not hobby and recreation, and it's considered commercial.


What I meant was that I never did that before.



You meant that you were thinking about it, right? 




And you had a friend...


I had a friend, I had a friend that did that once.



Friend, right? That's where Stampede is seen with UASolutions Group, because we help you bridge that gap. And we let you know, "Hey, we understand that the rules are confusing, and we understand that the FAA hasn't always been exacting in the way that they explain what you can and cannot do." The pan... There's a company called, and I apologize anyway, but they just received a $1.9 million fine. And so when we look at that, the FAA went back two years and gathered all of that data, even though they do have an exemption today. The FAA went prior to that, and they looked at two years back, and they went after them. There was a $1.9 million fine. And I would assume that the majority of us don't have that kind of money laying around for a large fine.


Well, most of y'all don't.



Most of us, right? And I tell people, "You can either get a $2,500 exemption, or a $3,000 exemption through Stampede, and through UASolutions Group, what we offer. Or you can risk that $50,000 fine." And even though you say, "Oh, I'm waiting for the regulations to come out, and in the meantime, I'm gonna skirt the regulations. Or in the meantime I'm gonna stay on the down low." We're finding out today that the FAA is going after, is going after you. And they're backlogged in that office right now, they're being very methodical and careful in how they go after these people. But they are definitely going after them. So we do not recommend that. We have not recommended that practice for a long time.


Yeah, certainly, I think that nobody would recommend that... From the consumer standpoint, I think part of the challenge is, is that, and of course, all this is from third party. You read about things that have happened. And some of the challenge is that you get conflicting messages from different representatives at the FAA. Some will say, "Yes, we're gonna issue you a notice that you should stop flying." There was one in Houston that actually came back and said, "Well, we issued the notice, but there's no force behind it. We can't do anything about it."


And I remember... That was probably about two years ago. That came out, there was some conflict there. And even to the point now to where there's some confusion, and as much as I pay addition to the news, there's still confusion about whether or not there is a law on the books today that allows the FAA even to issue the $1.9 million fine. Now, they can issue the fine, whether or not that gets held up in court, we'll find out. 'Cause certainly we're not just gonna write a check and be done with it. So I think that's part of the confusion, and the fact that the industry is so far ahead of the FAA now.


The next question is, is that, "How difficult will it be?" And let's say you've got someone who is well-meaning, who is fairly intelligent, who wants to be able to fly these safely. Am I gonna have to get a pilot's license and spend tens of thousands of dollars and hours in the air? 'Cause like in Australia, I understand that you have to have a commercial pilot's license to fly drones. So get your feeling from what the FAA is doing, what kind of level of expertise and training do you think is gonna be required for me to go out and fly around a home for a real estate agency and collect 250 bucks for that.


Yes. So that is actually a really good question. The reason that you currently have to have...


I'm glad you have all the answers.



I did not have all the answers. Wait, I wanna start with one thing. Hey, everybody, stop reading the blogs, just stop. Just stop reading all those blogs.


But it's on the internet.


I know it's on the internet. It must be true, right? [chuckle] So stop reading the blogs, talk to the experts, and one of the things we tell everybody is that, what we say today, because it's what the FAA is doing, might not be what the FAA says tomorrow. We have seen the FAA change quickly and they are adapting. Where originally the exemptions came out, you needed a commercial pilot's license and then you needed a private. And we're all going down to sport recreation, those type of licenses. So one day I say, "You need a commercial license," and then the next day the FAA comes out and says pilot license. So that's why these blogs are so confusing. If people aren't embedded with the FAA and they don't have that insider knowledge and those people to contact, you're not gonna know what's happening. And one thing UASolutions prides themselves on is, if we don't know the answer, we're gonna tell you. We don't know the answer, but we know who to call, we know exactly who to call.


And I would assume that a lot of folk at the FAA don't have the answers yet. They're just figuring it out.


You're right. There are so many times that we've called the FAA and they said, "Oh, we've never thought about, or we don't know the answer to that, or oh, my gosh, we don't know the answer." So then we just get back to our clients and we say the FAA is looking into it because this is new technology, this is new ground for them also. And everybody is so upset with the FAA, but you gotta remember, this is new to them also and they're trying to figure this out as best as they can and give best practices for industry, so that we have many. But I know that the pilot's license is a big concern. The rule, the law right now says, "In order for you to fly an aircraft, which drones are aircraft, in order for you to fly aircraft in the national airspace, you have to be a rated aviator, you to have an airman's certificate.


So is national airspace, six inches off the ground? Is it 100 feet? 


From the tip of it... From the tip of a blade of grass, it is from the surface up so long as you're outside. If you're inside it's not the FAA.


So not to to get anyone in trouble, you're not associated with them, but if I go to CES and company X within a confined area inside, has got a salesperson flying a drone for demo purposes, am I to assume that that person has an exemption to fly that thing? Because it's for commercial. They're showing products to sell, so is it my assumption that that person has got a certification or an exemption? 


No, because they're inside.




Yes. So here's what's funny. If you're...


So if I'm flying inside the Cowboy Stadium.


I'm just gonna say, if you're inside of a stadium and the dome is closed, you're okay. As soon as they open up that dome, you're no longer okay. That's when you have to have an exemption.


That is interesting and ridiculous.



It's because of the laws haven't caught up to industry yet. This is so new and it takes a long time to get a law on the books.


What if we build a drone that has a canopy over it? 



You know, I've heard a lot and that's the first one I've heard, right? 


If it's the roof, if I just build a canopy over the drone, we can work on that. It can be a project for John. Thank you very much for chatting with us.


You're welcome. You're welcome. If you have any more questions, let us know.


Absolutely. This has been Giovanni with Geek Beat and this is Christina, I remember without looking at your name tag. Christina, y'all are at UAS Solutions group. Is it UAS Solutions group? 




So visit Stampede first.


Okay, Stampede first and then go straight over to your website. Do they need to look at anything at Stampede? 


Yeah, they need to look at drones.


Okay, purchase a drone, then go to their website. This has been Geek Beat. Thank you, guys.