Atomos has been busy. Who can blame them? With NAB just under a week away, it’s no surprise to see the release of a few new products in their, already brilliant, line of monitoring/recording devices. Just a year ago Atomos announced their new ProRES RAW codec. An announcement that essentially stole the show at last year’s NAB Show in Las Vegas. If I remember correctly, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K was the only other product that really had people talking. Now it looks like both companies are at it again. Blackmagic Design releasing their Ursa Mini 4.6K Pro G2 just a few weeks ago. In recent weeks Atomos has also been announcing several new products to their lineup that already have people excited.

Let’s begin with the Atomos Shinobi monitor. A 5.2” monitor-only device that packs a punch. At only $399, this monitor is already making big waves. With a touchscreen display that is 1000nits bright and has a resolution of 1920×1080. AtomHDR mode that has up to 10 stops of Dynamic Range. Supports a variety of LOG formats. The Shinobi is also powered via a single L-Series battery, in addition to AC power of course. This HDMI monitor is actually Atomos’ first monitor-only device in their lineup. As a lover of external monitors for my cameras, I had the same question as other filmmakers; Will they be releasing an SDI version of this monitor? I’ll settle for some sort of SDI adaptor. Thankfully, Atomos heard our questions and gave us answers. That’s right, plural.

Enter the Shinobi SDI. Take everything we already know about the lovely and affordable Shinobi HDMI monitor and add some SDI jacks. Okay so it’s not exactly the same. The price tag on this one is $499. But seriously, for just $100 extra, you can have the security of SDI inputs that most professionals know and love. By the way, you will still have the option of having the 4K HDMI inputs on this monitor as well.

“But Ariel, what if I want to record on my small 5” monitor via SDI jacks. The Ninja-V that was released last year does not have the capabilities of doing this.” You would be right. However, Atomos has just announced their new AtomX SDI Module for the Ninja-V. Capable of receiving a professional 4K SDI signal. Atomos has answered both previous questions with a big fat “YES”. I would say the ONLY complaint I have about this new AtomX SDI Module is that the Ninja-V does not record RAW. I know, I feel like a brat with that complaint seeing how Atomos has continued to give us the tools to continue making our art at amazingly affordable prices.

With all these new products, you would think that Atomos will now sit back and watch as many NAB Show goers gather around their booth. But that’s not the case. Atomos had just one more major announcement and release for this year’s NAB Show.

Today, Atomos has announced their new Atomos Shogun 7. An upgrade to the, already popular, Shogun Inferno. I myself am an owner of the Shogun Inferno. I absolutely love my Inferno as it gives me amazing monitoring and recoding capabilities. Although the recording capabilities are about the same on both monitors, the real upgrade is in the display. The Shogun 7 has improved HDR capabilities. Going by the name of “HDR Pro”. HDR has been increasingly popular for the past several years. Atomos was among the first to begin introducing this technology in their monitors/recorders. HDR Pro is now a major improvement to the already-popular HDR tech. Atomos is claiming to have a 1,000,000,000:1 Contrast ration with Zone Backlight. That is a lot of zeros! The new Shogun 7 also has the capabilities of LIVE switching. You can record and switch between four 1080p signals at up to 60fps. That is quite beautiful! Atomos continuing to push the limits of what a simple external monitor/recorder can do.

I will not be surprised if Atomos steals the show again at this year’s NAB Show. As a filmmaker, I really do appreciate companies that truly listen to their customers and provide easy solutions at affordable prices. That being said, I cannot wait to see what other companies have up their sleeves at this year’s NAB Show.

Here are some exciting news! Panasonic has just announced the development of two full frame mirrorless cameras. The S1 & S1R. Now is it me or does it seem like every line of camera needs to have an “R” version for it. Just thinking out loud. So back to the cameras. The Panasonic S1 will feature a 24MP sensor as the S1R will have a whooping 47MP sensor. Both cameras will have Leica’s L mount. Both Panasonic and Sigma have said said that they will be releasing lenses specific to this mount.

Specifics are scarce but Panasonic says both cameras will be weather-sealed and will feature ‘high resolution’ electronic viewfinders. Both feature top-plate settings LCDs and feature both an XQD and SD card slot. They include the dual-axis tilting rear LCD panels that Fujifilm has used on its recent high-end models.

Panasonic has also announced that they will be introducing three new. These lenses are a 50mm F1.4, a 24-105mm zoom and a 70-200mm 2.8. Panasonic did mention that they will have more than ten lenses before the end of 2020.

Both the S1 and S1R will be including Dual IS, which basically means that both, the camera and and lens, will work together to provide even greater image stabilization than either way can do one it’s own.

Both cameras will use Panasonic’s Depth-from-Defocus system for autofocus. What this basically means is that the camera communicates well with the lens to determine better focusing attributes.

At face value, the S1 and S1R seem like fantastic competitors for the newly released Canon EOS R, Nikon Z7 & Z6 and others. I am very excited to see these two cameras in action. Looking at these specs,

and the statement’s made by Panasonic, really excites me to see the overall market and how they’re constantly pushing to innovative technology to put int he hands of lower budget filmmakers. I say this not even knowing the price of these releases. However, take my own opinion with a grain of salt. All and all, these will make a great addition to the market of videographers, and filmmakers.

Known Specs:
  • LUMIX S1R will have full frame 47MP sensor.
  • LUMIX S1 will have full frame 24MP sensor.
  • Both cameras will have identical bodies.
  • Both cameras will be capable or recording 4K in 50p/60p.
  • Both cameras will use the newly announced L-Mount which will use current Leica lenses and upcoming Panasonic and Sigma lenses.
  • New Dual I.S image stabilization works with both sensor and lens stabilization – first full frame mirrorless cameras tooffer dual I.S.
  • Dual memory card slots for XQD cards and SD cards.
  • 3-axis tiltable LCD screen.

Traveling for my job is, by far, one of my favorite things to do as it allows me to experience several different locations. Many that I would never have been able to experience in another industry. It kind of reminds me of my years playing college football for Florida International University. During season, I was literally in a hotel each and every week. Really nice ones, if I might add. Even for home games, we were required to remain in hotels the night before to make sure we were all getting a good night sleep and eating proper foods 24 hours before game time. So I am pretty experienced when it comes to traveling and more or less, anything that is related to travels. I’ve become at pro at packing the night before. By the way, I don’t recommend that method if you’re just starting. Lol.

So where am I going with this? Recently, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) has announced that they’re going to begin conducting heavier screening through airports. They were specific in their statement that this new thorough screening process will entail removal of all electronics including cameras from your bag and taking a good look at them. Now I know that this is obviously not the end of the world. However, this does mean that things are going to get a whole lot inconvenient for filmmakers who constantly find themselves in and out of airports. Like other traveling filmmakers, I tend to keep my camera and my most valuable video equipment, with me at all times. Of course this is done to make sure that all my gear remains safe. I simply don’t feel like having thousands of dollars’ worth of gear tossed around all over the place. It just would not be a wise move on my part. That being said, there is a strategic decision-making process in how I choose what stays with me and what I have checked. It’s very simple really; in the unfortunate event that my checked bags get lost in transit, the equipment that I have with me would suffice to continue on with my job should I have to.

So how can we get around this new inconvenient TSA screening process? I’m constantly trying the find convenience in my work. This entails all aspects of my job, from recording audio as a one-man-band to traveling efficiently with my equipment. This, by no means, makes me a lazy person, I just like to get things done effectively. If going handheld most of the time to maximize my chances of retrieving every single shot I need in the amount of time that I have, then I’ll do that rather than adjusting my tripod or shoulder rig level for different shots. Removing my laptop from my bag, taking off my shoes, belt, hat, watch, is just a hassle. Rushing to put everything back on was even worse as people are waiting for me to continue moving in the line. That is why I’ve gone and obtained my TSA PreCheck membership. TSA PreCheck is an invaluable service that gives you the ability to basically walk right through airport security with minimal screening. How this works is for just $85, you receive a background check via finger print. In just a couple of weeks, you’ll receive a notice that you have qualified for the TSA PreCheck membership (assuming that your background check turns out clean). It’s that simple. I am still astonished at how this works and how great it is to not have to remove individual items from my bag. Now, I simply let my bags go through the x-ray and I simply walk through the scanner. No need to take out my laptop, shoes, etc anymore. Also, members get their own exclusive line which is empty most of the time. Honestly, only receiving an ice cream cone as you walk through security would make this better.

Perhaps I should’ve started this blog by mentioning that, in no way, am I receiving anything for mentioning this on my page. This is 100%, my honest opinion about this. I literally loved this so much that it has convicted me to write an entire blog about it even after I have already mentioned this several times on the podcast. I cannot recommend this enough. Thankfully, I have not had the misfortune of being screened with this new policy and with my TSA PreCheck membership, that should never be the case. Now I must ad that in rare occasions, there have been airports that, for one reason or another, does not have a PreCheck line. Rendering my membership useless at that time. That is quite irritating, I’ll admit. Those occasions only account for perhaps 5% of my trips. Anyways, I’m done with my rant now. Just wanted to share this with you all. Have a good one!

For the last several months I’ve been battling the temptations of upgrading some of my equipment. I know for a fact that I want to make a change, more specifically in the lens department. God knows I am all over cinema glass. They’re simply much better in quality sharpness, contrast and color. However, they’re much more expense then your typical DSLR-type lenses from Sony and Canon. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with shooting with regular electronic lenses. But the idea of shooting with beautiful, crispier cinema glass is what has me going nuts. There’s just something about cinema hardware that just get’s me satisfied while shooting. Every time I see the price tag it automatically has me thinking about how I can make that happen. Even though I understand that I DON’T need it, I can’t help but dream of having it. This is a stigma that plagues us gear-heads. So how do we overcome this?

Truth be told, I really don’t need to buy anymore equipment for a very long time. I’m talking about expensive equipment like cameras, lenses and basically anything $1000 and higher. I have pretty much everything that I need to get my work done and then some. Cameras, lenses, lights stands, audio, accessories, software, etc. Anything I buy at this point would be for one of two reasons, higher quality or efficiency. For a while I’ve been all about the efficiency. I’ve made purchases for equipment that’ll allow me to get my work done the way I need to get it done. My gear allows me to work smoother on set. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable working this way and for the past 6 months have been pretty good working in this manner. It’s because of this that I’ve now been considering new equipment to up the quality of my work.

This brings me to the back and forth with the lenses and an example to all that guides these kinds of choices. For the most part, I work as a documentary filmmaker. At least it’s how I maneuver. 85% of the time I am working by myself. Although cinema glass is obviously ridiculously gorgeous. However, it’ll not only make a big dent in my wallet, it’ll slow me down significantly. I love my Tilta follow focus. It’s so buttery smooth. But it is really big and heavy and requires my rig to have a baseplate and 15mm rods attached. This weight will continue to accumulate and eventually my back will start feeling the effects when shooting handheld as I most often am. All this for a better lens. I’ve always preferred to be able to capture what’s needed, even if it is slightly lower glass quality, then to have small amounts of amazingly good footage. Make sense?

I hope I was able to shed some light into this battle of quality over efficiency. To know when it’s appropriate to acquire yourself certain camera gear for your work. And of course I have to mention this at some point because I know someone will mention it for me; this is all subject to my work. It is my personal way of going about my productions. Everyone is subject to their own opinions on this matter. That being said, I hope this information helped some of you. See you on the next one!

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When it comes to gear-heads, I don’t know that there is a bigger one then myself. I’m constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest piece of tech out there for filmmakers. Whether it’s the new lenses from Sigma, or the new OSMOS camera gimbal from DJI. I’d say it’s pretty easy to get caught up in the fancy new gear and how companies put them on display for us to drool over. I have been known to make spontaneous purchases from time to time. More often then not, those spontaneous purchases end up being equipment that I end up using maybe once in a professional production. This is what I call “dead investments”, and they can really bring your business to the ground. As professional filmmakers, it’s important that you make purchases that will contribute to your business and not waste your money. I’m talking about tangible acquirements that will allow you to push your work to the next level, either visually and/or by convenience. If you sit and monitor any big reputable business, they’re being governed by the same concept. Buying equipment just because it seems amazing in it’s abilities to capture great video is not always the best reason to have it. So here are a few tips to consider when making future “business investment”.

  1. ESTABLISH YOUR IDENTITY – It took me quite a few years to realize that my niche or preferred work involves a lot of documentary-style filmmaking. This includes many interviews and b-roll. From corporate to narrative documentaries. I have my personal “style” of capturing my shots and, as such, need the equipment to help me do so. For example, I am 6’3 in height, therefore I know I’m taller then the average person. A shoulder rig in my hands will make my shot look awkward as it’ll always be angled down to frame up someone if that is what I am trying to catch. So I invest in a monopod to help me capture those “handheld” shots that I love so much. With my rig getting slightly heavier as I continue to add elements for my work, going 100% handheld can get extremely tiresome fairly quick. Heavier tripods help with heavier camera rigs and lighter ones allow for easier transport and travel. Low light cameras help with dim-lit scenes in which you have no control over. Establishing my niche or preferred filmmaking route was essential to my knowing the kind of gear I needed to use.
  2. STAY IN YOUR LANE – Now that you’ve established your identity as a filmmaker, you need to purchase the equipment that will allow you to get that specific job done the way you like. But do you go for a $30 tripod or $2,500 tripod? Let’s make this simple, don’t go and buy the tripod that’s most expensive. You need to find a balance in all your equipment. When I first began I had nothing but a Canon t3i that was on loan to me from a friend that barely used it. Simply put, I did not have a single shred of production equipment. I made it work with loaned items. As I continued to grow and gain a little more money, I was able to make small purchases here and there. $100 slider, $50 monopod, etc. Things that were essential to my work. You shouldn’t have a $300 camera and a $ $1,200 tripod. It just doesn’t make sense. As you continue to grow in your business, so does your rate. Only you can make that informed decision as to what you’ll be purchasing.
  3. BE PATIENT – It can get pretty exciting when a new piece of gear comes out. I cannot wait to get my hands on it as soon as it does. But there’s a certain discipline that I need to practice in order to make smart purchases. Do I absolutely need it? Do I see myself using it a lot in my current PAID work? Is it worth the price tag? How much value can this piece of equipment add to my work? What are other filmmakers saying about this? These, along with many more, are questions that you should consider. You’ll find that more often then not, you won’t need that particular piece of gear. It’s frustrating at times because I cannot justify buying something that I’d really love to have. For example, I still do not own my own drone. I’ve been wanting to get one for a couple years now, however, I’m constantly on the move. A DJI Phantom 4, or anything else out would’ve been a great inconvenience for the way that I need to move. Now, with the release of the Mavic Pro and it’s price tag and small form factor, I can greatly justify that purchase. With that being said I have yet to pull the trigger because it’s currently 3rd on my list for “Big Purchases” that I need to make.
  4. CONSIDER YOUR CREW – Up until recently, I’ve been a 1-man crew for just about all of my shoots. I required the ability to set up all my cameras and camera settings, lights, and audio by myself. It’s actually not that easy considering the meticulosity of each task. I simply don’t like to do a bad job. In order to make this easier, I make sure that I purchase equipment that is easy to operate as such. For lighting, I use battery-powered lights. Looking for an outlet and pulling out extension cables takes time. Also, they’re always easily repositioned when needed. For audio, I prefer to simply place a lav on my subject. Placing boom poles and running XLR cables also take time. My audio is also recorded directly into the camera. I cannot afford to have a separate field mixer on its own with no one to monitor it. The new Sennhieser wireless lav system are small and extremely convenient. No cables traveling through my rig anymore. The receiver itself is the XLR. Now lately I’ve been hiring production assistants to help make my job easier. It takes a little time to train them on how I prefer to shoot, but the longer my guy works with me the easier it gets. I can now get stronger, AC-powered lights. I can setup stationary boom poles for a secondary audio source from my shotgun mic, and so on.

As always, my methods are not universal. This is simply what works for me. Just remember to take everything I say with a grain of salt. With that being said, I hope this helps you as you continue to move forward in your respective industry and making good, wise purchases in your career. Thank you for stopping by!

One thing that I absolutely must do before every trip is ask myself, “What do I absolutely need to get this project done?” Now I know it’s pretty cliche, but seriously, we always try to take more then what is needed. It’s not a bad thing to be over-prepared, however when it comes down to the bare minimum, it’s essential to know exactly what you have, and what you need with you. Batteries, and memory cards are just a few small examples of things that are regularly overlooked. So this is how I travel. Enjoy!

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Live chat sessions with you all would be a great tool to get us all connected again. I know that I’ve been relatively quiet around these neck of the woods but that’s only because work has been hectic. I seriously do not know how the greats like Philip Bloom do it all. They’re quite the inspiration. Hopefully we can at least keep these up. Currently I’m in the process of finding a new place to call home. My current living situation is getting a little cramped with all my equipment. So I’ll need find a place with more space and my own office space as well. Once that’s done we’ll definitely getting linked up again with these live chat sessions. Cheers!

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“Do I Need Film School?” This is by far one of the most-asked questions I receive. It is hardly an easy one to answer. So I want to take a few moments to explain why it’s never a simple yes or no. First thing that you would need to do is decide what area of this industry would you like to really be a part of. There’s directing, producing, assisting, and other very general areas. The more specific jobs would be operating a particular piece of equipment like jibs, cameras, steadicams, which are more freelance-based jobs. Then there’s also animation, motion graphics, and visual effects, but for those specific fields of work you might want to look for an agency that specializes in offering that sort of work to their clients, or you can freelance with that trade also. However, I have found that it’s much harder to freelance when your area of expertise is specialized as those kinds of clients are harder to come by. For the kind of work that I do, which is still pretty general at this point, I’ve decided to take the freelance route. Many of these agencies require some sort of film school background to even consider you. Others want to see if your work is good enough. I have yet to be asked for some sort of background in film school. This is because my clients are never production agencies. If they are, you’re contacting me to be involved in one particular project, not for full-time employment. So therefore in my case, my resume would simply be my demo reel. So do YOU need film school?

Film School

On one hand, attending a Film School can be of great benefit because you’re already learning all the basics that is need to become a filmmaker. Not to say that you can learn absolutely everything in film school, but you’ll definitely have a big head start. No need to search around for video tutorials trying to find the information and hoping that the information being provided is accurate. A professor would go in-depth and teach you, not only the shots needed for a certain scene, but the history behind those shots, who discovered them, and how it has evolved throughout the years. That is something that would be difficult to find otherwise. And yes, I believe that history of this industry is important to know to better understand where this industry is heading. Networking is also a great benefit of attending film school. By the time you graduate, you will already know and be in communication with other filmmakers. I wish I had that starting off. Then there are program-specific classes such as animation, producing, etc., for those of you looking for that specific field in your career.

No Film School

I’ve said it before, I never attended a film school. I never sat in a classroom where a professor taught me all the basics of filmmaking. Everything that I know about this industry is more or less 30% internet and 70% hands-on experience. Whether it’s with my own personal practices, or on set working with experienced professionals. I tend to ask a lot of questions when I work with veterans in my field. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I didn’t attend film school. Too many people get too caught up in the “rules” of filmmaking that they lose sight of what it’s all about. For example, the 180 degree rule is a very good and appropriate rule that makes a lot of sense just about all the time. However, I have found myself with a couple of instances where I purposely broke the rule because my shot called for it. My friends and/or clients loved how that particular scene or shot unfolded despite the broken rule. There are many other instances just like that in which this can apply. Here’s a side-note, I learned the 180 degree rule right out of YouTube. This, just like 80% of everything else that I know, I’ve learned the same way. I’ll never use “no film school”  as an excuse for not finding answers to my own questions. I’ve made many friends in filmmaking throughout the years, most of which did attend film school. They all say the same thing, they learned more on YouTube then they ever did in film school. This is not to say you should not attend film school, it’s just not absolutely needed to pursue a career in this field. Again, going back to what I said earlier, depends on the career path you choose in this industry.

Final Thoughts

I think film school would’ve been a great tool for me to have back when I was in college. If I could do it over again, I would definitely have that as my major. So therefore if you have the means to attend a film school and you already know that this is the industry you see yourself in for your career, I would absolutely recommend anyone to go for it. But if you don’t have the means and you’re in some sort of mindset that is telling you that you cannot move forward without film school, I suggest you get rid of that mindset RIGHT NOW and do your homework! It is not impossible and you can definitely make it happen. If you love it, you will find a way. Our generation has basically had everything handed to us. Ridiculously cheap video equipment, and an endless supply of knowledge all online for free. The rest is up to you.


I hope this article helped you. God bless!

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If you follow me on social media (@arielmartinezjr), you probably have already noticed that I love posting my camera gear. Im definitely a gear fanatic. From cameras and lighting down to memory cards and batteries. Im constantly on the lookout for the latest film tech. Quite often you’ll find me working with the RED Epic Dragon on certain projects and other times I’ll use the Sony a7s2. So I could not help but notice some of the comments that I receive on my posts when people see the combinations that I choose to use with the RED camera. For some reason it rubs them the wrong way when I combine Canon or Rokinon lenses ($400-$1,200) with the RED Epic Dragon camera ($35,000). I won’t be sharing those comments with you here because that is not what I am here to do. I would never trash anyone for stating their opinions. If you want to go about your work with a certain mindset that is absolutely your right to do so. If you work by “laws” and “guidelines” that you would never dare to break, I guess one could do nothing but respect your decision. With that being said, I simply want to share my opinion on this matter.


Creativity has no price. If you think that having the most expensive equipment is really what takes your work to the next level, you’re already putting limits on yourself. “If I had that camera I would be a better filmmaker”. Granted, better lenses do give you a cleaner and shaper image, but when have you ever heard a critic say “no that image is not sharp enough, this film is no good”. In my opinion, $10,000 cinema glass is beautiful, however way too overpriced for what I need. I cannot justify that price tag for a slightly sharper image. Same concept goes for audio and lighting. I’ve seen professional hollywood DP’s working on professional movie sets using $10 clamp lights. Your work should not be determined by your gear. Some people can put out better work shot on a canon rebel camera then what others can do with a RED or Alexa.


I definitely cannot tell you how to buy your gear. Only you would know that. However, there are several ways that I go about purchasing my equipment. Sometimes they’re impulse buys where I simply buy a piece of gear that I am just drooling over but don’t really need it at the time. I don’t do too many of these. An example of this would be the DJI Osmos. I’ve been loving all over it since it was released. The only reason I haven’t gone ahead and purchased it yet is because lately being been buying other equipment that I have actually been needing for coming projects. But if it had not been for those purchases, you would have been seeing me all over your feeds playing with that delicious piece of goodness. On the other hand, when I absolutely need something for my projects, I then do my research thoroughly before buying. For example, I needed a good lens to use with my Sony a6300. After careful research, I concluded that instead of buying a sony lens, I just went ahead and got the Metabones Speed Booster Ultra. What this did was allow me to use many of my currently EF mount lenses on the a6300. Not only that, I was able to increase the functionally of those lenses and the camera along with it. The adaptor alone cost about $700, but for what I was able to get from it, it was well worth the price. Remember, these are just my methods on how I decide what to buy next.


What I am basically trying to say is to stop concerning yourselves so much about the gear you have or don’t have. At the end of the day, your clients will not be judging your working by the gear that you use, but by the final product. This is not to say to only maintain yourselves by using DIY and low-cost equipment. That is not what I am saying at all. It’s quite the opposite, If you have the budget for it, you should definitely upgrade to the next piece of gear that your work requires. I am just saying get your mindset fixed on how you can make great work with what you have in front of you. On that note, I hope this was able to help you all on this matter. Remember, your work is your work no matter what it was shot with. I love to hear about those passionate filmmakers that continue to hustle not matter what they’re using to make their dreams come true. Keep pushing forward guys!