Glidecam vs Crane 2 vs Ronin M – UG!!!

As I work on ramping up a video production company, we have looking at all kinds of gear to get our production ready. One of the things that we really are looking for is quality steady footage. There are lots of ways to achieve this but we have to consider our unique needs (on a boat, in the woods and all around mobile shooting.)

So I have spent the last few days reviewing every video on youtube I could find regarding these kinds of devices.

The first I looked at was the GlideCam XR-Pro

This is a great option but in every review, the setup time and the learning curve was just too steep. Most mentioned that you are looking at least a month to get proficient with the GlideCam. My concern is that we would grow too frustrated with it and then never use it.

So then I started looking at the other end of the spectrum, the Ronin M.

This thing is amazing! The shots I saw and footage were just flat out fantastic. However after watching 2 hours worth of reviews and footage, it is too cumbersome for our usage scenario. The options are crazy with the Ronin M. It comes with a remote for a 2-person crew which is great but our entire crew is two and one of us has to be in the shot!

This is still a piece of equipment we will add to our setup but not right now.

Then it came to the Zhiyun Crane 2.  This is the device we have settled on. It interfaces with our camera, provides great footage and appears to be really what we are looking for in a run-gun kind of setup we need. Easy to pack, easy to setup and has a lot of controls right at our fingertips. Has follow focus and we can even setup our iPhone to act as a tracking device for following the subject when one of us needs to film solo.

Now to get filming . . .

New PC Build – Pure Geek

As I begin a new year I have wanted to go back to some old roots and build a PC from scratch. I have been out of that world for quite sometime as my needs have been fairly standard as it related to compute needs. However with my latest entry into video (new youtube channel coming . . . ),  I wanted to standardize on Windows vs running the Mac Mini still at home. So that led me to this post.

My main criteria is a fast machine with great graphics to run either Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve. Typically PC performance is limited by RAM and Disk speed as most processors these days are way more that what we typically use. However in a video editing machine, the compute needs are really diverse in that CPU, Disk, RAM, and GPU are all used. So in doing my research this is what I ended up with building along with my decision process for each:

NOTE: One concrete requirement was that all items be available from Amazon via Prime. When ordering electronics, I want to know that I have the option to resolve issues quickly (wrong part, etc) with minimum hassle. Amazon has always had great customer service for me. Sometimes that means I might pay a little more but it is worth it for me.

NOTE 2: Well I broke the first requirement because I could not find a video card via Amazon Prime. So I went with NewEgg for some of the parts.

CPU: Intel I7 8th Gen i7-8700 K
Why: This is the fastest chip that is reasonable (the I9’s our out but they are like $1K and higher). I looked at a i5 to save a few bucks but really I would only save $120 and in the scope of the system, this was just not worth it consider the performance gain for thread count is double and overall performance is about 42% as it relates to multi-core processing.

Motherboard: MSI Z370 Gaming Plus
Why: I like MSI. Really it is that simple. I wanted a good motherboard that would perform well. This supports the M.2 SSD I wanted as well as provides for plenty of USB3.1 ports and heck it even has Red LED’s!

Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060
Why: I wanted a NVidia GTX-based video card for performance reasons specific to Premiere. NVidia uses CUDA cores and Premiere is supposed to use those. This has 1152 CUDA cores and 3GB memory. And other honest take is that this is the only one I could find! And I had to get it from NewEgg. At first I was also super excited that I was going to get a free motherboard out of it also. But read the reviews on the mb and decided yeah nope!

RAM: Ballistix Sport LT 16GB DDR4 2666 MTs
Why: I like Crucial as I have always had great luck with their RAM. And the motherboard supported it. I went with 16GB because I can always add more and felt this was a good place to safe a few dollars.

Storage: Samsung 960 EVO – 250GB NVMe – M.2 SSD
Why: I want fast storage! With video editing it is critical to get fast storage. NVMe is fast! The EVO Pro is faster but not enough to warrant the price difference. While this will run the OS and applications, I still need to decide on media storage. But at this point my brain was starting to hurt along with my wallet so I moved on and will address mass storage later.

Case: Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 5
Why: I wanted a mid-tower ATX case that had good options for fans and discreet appearance. This case seemed to fit that bill. I also like that the power supply area is hidden so as to hide cables. I initially did not want to bling out the case but as can be seen by my fan choices, that got thrown to the wind! And the price was great! For under $50, I get a great case. Because the cases job is really just to hold stuff!

Fans: Cooler Master MasterPro 120 Air Balance
Why: I wanted good fans that were quiet. With a db profile of 6-20 db, I felt these would cool the unit down, not be loud AND look extremely cool with the RGB stuff it can do (not even sure what it is).

CPU Fan: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120
Why: I looked at lots of options for CPU cooling and I really wanted liquid cooled but was really intimated by the units I saw where I had to buy special coolant etc. This unit is all self-contained and I felt it would keep the CPU nice and cool. Did I mention that it has RGB lights also?

Power Supply: Cooler Master MasterWatt 750 Semifanless Modular
Why: As you can probably tell by now, I like sticking with a singular brand as much as possible. And since three of the previous parts were Cooler Master, I decided to stick with the PSU from them as well. I decided on 750W not because my build will require it but rather the 650W unit with rebate was only $5 less than the 750W. So I spent the extra!

As soon as everything comes in, I will put together a video post of how everything went together and if it even works! Stay tuned!