FS7 Portabrace EXTOR Case

New case just arrived today from Portabrace. The EXTOR roller bag was announced at NAB. Very nice bag indeed but I hoped I could carry-on flights but not possible.

I have a Pelican BA22” Elite Luggage at MyCustomCase now for custom molded for Sony FS7 + Kit Lens w/Vocas base plate, Vocas EVF arm, SHAPE grip arm, headphones, single charger, Sanken short shotgun mic a few other items. I am hoping this will be my carry-on and gate check bag. (I have already had United gate check complete total a 3 month old Sony documentary lens. Hooray insurance!) So I am hell bent on a better solution.

I can pack this Portabrace with other items, check at airport then bag swap when I arrive at my destination so I can be ready to shoot with assembled camera. I am sure there are better ways but this looks very promising to me.

Enjoy the soft focus iPhone video :)

I hope you find informative

Disk Speed Test

In the forever pursuit for more speed and editing productivity, here is a comparison of hard disks in my Mac Pro Late 2010 model. I have 7200 rpm platter drives, SSD and a PCIe SSD Accelsior board.

I hope you find informative

Canon C300 Service


I preordered my Canon C300 from Mike Sutton of Rule Boston on January 3rd 2012. I received on February 14th while I was in Belgium on business. What a nice Valentines day present. (not least, but also received news my wife was pregnant with our third daughter, Evee Louise, who I'm feeding as I write this blog :)

I have been very pleased with the C300. The camera has never failed me and I've been in some pretty rugged, dirty environments (coal mines, landfills and construction sites). I fly to 95% of my shoots so the form factor, weight, size and native EF L lens support (without an adapter) is key. 

Previously, I owned a Panasonic AF100, a nice camera but the added monitor, SSD recording device for higher bits and elusive EF adaptors (I still shiver when I hear the word "Birger" ) were key reasons I upgraded to the C300.

Belgium Shoot

There were early reports of purple and green fringing that started to appear in March  2012. See a detailed report from my buddy Paul Antico of NeedCreative by clicking here.  While I have experienced some fringing I have avoided the bright, high/over exposed shots. My applications afford me this luxury. If there is a bit of fringing, most of my audience won't notice or care. I may aspire to enter Sundance someday but for now its application videos that help educate and advance our industries positioning technology.

I read on twitter that Canon has addressed the issue via a firmware update. Read more at nofilmschool here

Since I am approaching the end of my one year warranty and in my seasonal downtime for my travel, I called Canon EOS Support at (855) 246-3367. Polar to some comments in the twitter-sphere, I found Canon EOS Support to be very courteous and informed of the issues. They provided me with the shipping information and I shipped my C300 via UPS 2nd Day/Signature Required on Dec 26th 2013. I received a call from the Canon technician in NJ at 11:15am on Friday, December 28th. (10 minutes after UPS reported delivery/signature of my package). She said she would upgrade, adjust and clean my C300 at no charge. To my surprise, she said my C300 should ship same day on the 28th via UPS 2nd Day, also at no charge and that I should receive next week.

I haven't received a shipping notice yet but I am impressed with Canon's response; great communication and professionalism so far. I will tweet an update when I receive my camera and note its condition.

I hope this helps anyone looking to resolve any fringing issues or help with anyone simply cautious about letting go of their baby for a few days. I think your C300 will be in good hands.

Smokey Mountains Shoot

Note: I do have an ALL RISK insurance policy on all my gear. I called my insurance company, Farmers, to confirm the policy covered the camera during shipping and while the camera was out of my possession; I did not elect to use any UPS insurance which only covers the shipping portion anyway. I would suggest checking with your insurance company to confirm coverage. If the camera is not covered, ask about purchasing an insurance rider if even temporary.

January 2, 2013


True to their word I received my C300 back from Canon service today, exactly one week afterI shipped… and that is with a New Year's holiday.

My Canon C300 arrived FedEx no signatures required. (I make this point because you may need to ask for this if you dont want the package left at your door). My camera was returned in exactly the same, original box I shipped in with all components included.

This "Update and Clean to Factory Specifications" was performed at no charge. There were 4 parts listed.

  1. Tape, Dust Proof Plate
  2. Plate, Dust Proof
  3. Cushion, LPF
  4. Cover Ass'y, Mount

I would suppose a seal was broken to make the adjustment and simply resealed with these parts. Or perhaps an upgrade to the dust protection.

I am pleased to have the camera back and again, kudos to Canon Factory Service for the impressive turn around.

Now, to finish my paperwork on another project so I can get out and test the fringing issue.

…..stay tuned.

January 3, 2013

I have been slammed with meetings this week but grabbed the C300 and shot the very, very extreme test below just to see if I could force some fringing. Primarily, the fringing occured when overexposed with horizontal lines in focus.

From what I see below in this short test, I feel the issue is completely resolved. I hope you have the same experience with Canon and would be eager to hear if others have any issues upgrading.

EOS 5D Mark III Training Tutorials

Learn to shoot incredible videos with the new 
Canon EOS 5D Mark III 
Review of Fstop Academy's new Canon EOS 5D Mark III training tutorials - by Randy Noland

The DSLR revolution for shooting videos is going on 4 years now. What a ride! But it hasn't been without challenges. While Canon has successfully addressed many of these (well documented) issues with the release of the new EOS 5D Mark III, challenges still remain. The EOS 5D Mark III  is all new, built from the ground up with new menus, new buttons and new technologies that deliver amazing new features.  You will want to  invest in some training time to quickly get familiar with your new production tool.

Training Is Critical Gear

In the pursuit of the perfect image, we spend thousands of dollars on gear. Often training is overlooked or considered too expensive. This is a mistake. I have always budgeted for training and often at less than the price of a memory card, I’ve never regretted it. 

Den Review Image 2

After upgrading my Canon 5D Mark II to the new EOS 5D Mark III (thank you Mike Sutton @MNS1974 of Rule Boston for getting it to me overnight), I scoured the web looking for training videos. Since the camera is new, there are few options. In the past, I have purchased tutorials from the F-Stop Academy but there were no EOS 5D Mark III training products listed in their store. I emailed Den Lennie, Cinematographer and cofounder of F-Stop Academy and asked if he was aware of any training references. Den replied that he was about to wrap production on a new EOS 5D Mark III tutorial. I was in luck. So I put away that god-awful manual and loaded the the tutorial.

Simple and Easy to Understand

The tutorial is arranged into 14 chapter lessons and is about 75 minutes long. (This may change in final production as my copy was still in beta.) The lessons progress in a logical manner and the overviews are easy to understand.  They are deliberately simple with the beginner in mind but there is enough “meat” content to satisfy and inform any professional.

Den draws on his 20+ years of experience and credentials in order to simplify the video shooting process. He discusses the challenges of DSLR filmmaking and how to overcome or harmonize with those challenges. This tutorial allowed me to leave my manual on the shelf (did I mention I hate manuals?) focusing on the features I need to quickly get out and start shooting.

If there is anything I would consider missing from the tutorial, it would be time lapse using the new internal HDR and Multiple Exposure features. While this is not officially “video,” time lapsing has become part of many video productions. I am sure Den could lend us a better understanding of this new feature as well as his thoughts on using for practical applications. Perhaps an addendum or blog is in our future?

Who will benefit from this training?

  • Photographers wanting to migrate to shooting HD videos
  • Cinematographers looking to use this premiere video DSLR
  • Anyone looking to purchase the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Den's training offers a great "test drive"
  • New EOS 5D Mark III new owner? This tutorial will save you loads of time getting up to speed
  • Any beginner interested in becoming a part of the DSLR video revolution

Highlights from the tutorial

  • Tour the Canon EOS 5D Mark III
    • Button layout
    • Overview of the camera controls
    • Menus in video mode
    • Nice overview explaining the information displays
  • Learn to control depth of field achieving lovely shallow DOF
  • Learn how to properly expose when shooting video
    • Setting ISO - one of the key benefits of the EOS 5D Mark III
    • Setting Shutter Speed for shooting video - special considerations that differ from photography
    • Using ND filters
  • Setting up and saving video settings
  • Understanding Picture Styles and what to expect in post production
  • New audio features in the EOS 5D Mark III
    • Learn how to monitor audio
    • Lean how to adjust the audio levels in camera
    • Setting up the new “Touch Pad” for silent audio adjustments

Sample video production shot with the Canon 5D Mark III

The tutorial also includes sample footage used throughout the lesson to assist in clarifying Den’s principles. There is also a short production at the end illustrating the video quality that can be achieved by applying Den’s techniques.

For good measure, I shot a few stills with the EOS 5D Mark III out of the box. (pictured below). I am eager to apply the techniques I’ve learned from the tutorial to shooting HD videos.

Backyard Memorial Day Frost 5DMIII
Betsy 5DMIII Day One  12140
5DMIII Test Day 2  11659
HDR Kentucky backyard 4.jpg.jpg


The Canon EOS 5D Mark III is an amazing camera. Pros are well aware of its predecessor’s (the 5D Mark II) value for photography and surely will rapidly adopt this camera as well. The 5D Mark III's ability to shoot video is incredible but requires a different thought process to achieve best results. This tutorial has great benefit before and after you buy. 

I’ve trusted Fstop Academy since 2009 to provide simple yet comprehensive lessons for my filmmaking needs and once again (they) Den delivers. I highly recommend Canon 5D Mark III Video Training. But don't just take my word for it. Fstop offers a 60 day money back guarantee on all of their titles.

Click here to read more

Randys website  9352

Randy is a passionate photographer and filmmaker that enjoys computer technology and creative arts. “When the two come together it’s nirvana for me. Music, photography, videography and documentaries are prime ingredients.”

Randy works for Carlson Software, Inc. as Vice President of Business Development and Director of Machine Control. Carlson develops highly technical software and integrated solutions for the following industries: civil/survey, mining, solid waste landfills, construction and accident reconstruction. 

Randy is also managing editor & cofounder of Machine Control Online and Machine Control Magazine.  Together working with industry veterans and close friends, we are creating content about the emerging technology we love.

Originally from Waynesville, NC, Randy currently lives in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio, USA area with his wife and daughters.

For contact and other information, visit

Packing Gear for Flying

I have been flying with an array of stills and video gear since 2007. Ever changing baggage rules between airlines and countries present an ongoing challenge for me. I want to be sure I take what I need without over or under packing. Its tough finding that sweet spot so I find myself way over preparing to avoid forgeting something. Reminds me of one of my late fathers favorite sayings, "You're trying to stuff 5 pounds of sh*&t in a 2 pound sack."

I've tried all kinds of bags and packing configurations. What bags do I check? What bags can I carry on? Is it better for me to ship via UPS, FedEx or DHL and how reliably and affordably? Then there are customs rules that not only vary between countries but also between agents. Which agent do you select and are they having a good or bad day. Its a roll of the dice. 

I have found myself successfully packed leaving the US only to find that when I leave another country, I have to reconfigure, on the fly, at the departing airport. Ive missed flights and even bought new luggage at the airport (you'll never find a deal there) to meet per unit weight requirements only to pay for an additional bag. How about some standardization?

My solutions are constantly evolving. I must say that the new breed of cameras can help as they get more capable in smaller packages. The smaller form factor also play a role in balancing performance with travel friendliness impacting which camera I might consider buying.

I will share my latest "packing & space engineering" strategy with the hope of saving someone else from the same grief.

If you've flown more than a few times, you've realized the potential for delayed baggage or worse, lost baggage. I'm afraid checked bags are similar to a hard disk failing. it's not if, it's when. So you have to plan accordingly. The balance is carrying on what you minimally need to accomplish a shoot in a worse case scenario . 

I've just upgraded my Panasonic AF100 in lieu of the Canon C300. My stills camera is a 5DMII. Both cameras share my Canon L lenses without the need for adapters as well as use the same memory cards. Ive also found that I can shoot without an external field recorder since the C300 records 4:2:2 internally at 50 MB/s. I used an Atomos Samurai (lovely field recorder!) for my AF100 and initially, with my C300. The XF codec in a MXF wrapper was not initially supported by FCP X but that was remedied by Canon's XF plugin release now compatible with FCP X. My point is that with this new equipment, I can travel lighter.

As far as carry-on bags go, I have been using the Think Tank Airport International v2 for about a year now. The US model is bigger but does me no good for International travel which has smaller bag carryon rules. I figured it best to get used to a travel system that hedges my bet for all my travel. If I were to overhead two travel systems, one for the US and one for International, I am just begging to forget something moving the gear across.

Below is my International Airport v2 bag. I am still impressed with this bag & gear combination.

Airport Internatinal v2

Contents shown above in Think Tank Airport International v2:

  • Canon C300 w/handgrip attached (no lens)
  • Canon C300 Monitor Unit
  • C300 is mounted on Zacuto C300 Baseplate
  • Canon 5DMII w/Canon 24-70mm f2.8 L attached
  • Canon 70-200mm f2.8 L II IS
  • Sennheiser HD380 Head Phones
  • Canon 50mm f1.2 L
  • Charger & three batteries for C300
  • Charger & two batteries for 5DMII
  • Rode NTG-3 Shotgun mic w/XLR cable & foam cover
  • 4x32GB CF Cards in Pelican CF Card Holder

That gives me two cameras, pro audio, nice range of lens, batteries, etc.; a minimal kit yet powerful kit. It is amazing that this amount critical gear is now small enough and capable enough to fit in a carry-on. This was not the case a few short years ago. On small planes, there are times I cannot carry his bag on but at the very least, I can gate check an know the bag is traveling with me.

My other carry-on bag is a Porta-Brace Director's Cut Laptop & Sun Visor bag I cannot say enough about Porta-Brace. I own 7 of their bags. 

DC-3V Director's Cut
Sun Visor for Mobile Computing

Ive never used the sun shade in the field but pretty cool if I ever needed and also offers extra padding.

Laptop Cable & Charger Pass-through
DC-3V Director's Cut Inclusion

Super comfortable padded shoulder strap

Contents in Directors Cut Laptop Bag Above:

  • 15" MacBook Pro
  • Bose QuietComfort Headphones
  • HyperMac Battery backup
  • iPad
  • Misc items such as ibuprofen and any prescriptions (again, you want these with you)
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Chargers, cables, projector & power  adapters, business cards, etc

Porta-Brace bags and cases are a bit on the expensive side but worth every penny; true pro gear. They just never fail. The only issue I had was with a zipper on the Director's Cut Wheeled Production Case. I arranged to ship back to Porta-Brace. They replaced ALL the zippers to the heavier gauge for the entire bag at no cost. You will never go wrong with their bags. The Wheeled Production Case is soft sided and too large to carry-on. Ive checked it for flight a few times but mostly use this when driving to a location. I prefer this next Porta-Brace hard shell case for my other lenses, matte box etc.

Hard Case BaggageI purchased a Panasonic AF100 in May 2011. Panasonic and Porta-Brace teamed up and released the PKB-275PV Portabrace Hard Case and removable soft interior case with divider kit which was specifically designed for the AF100 and accessories. It has a software interior case as mentioned with a pull up handle and wheels easily rolled from the car to the airport check in counter. I really liked the case so adapted as a hard case check in bag for accessories after selling the AF100.

photo 2-2

Contents shown in PB Wheeled Hard Case w/Soft Interior:

  • Canon 15mm f2.8 fisheye
  • Canon 24mm f1.4 L
  • Canon 85mm f1.2 L
  • Canon 100mm f2.8 L IS macro
  • Canon 2.x Series II Extender
  • Canon 1.4x Series III Extender
  • Genus Matte Box w/French Flag
  • Schneider Filter Kit (5 glass filters)
  • GoPro with bracket, extra battery and back display
  • Sennheiser Evolution G3 100 Series Wireless Mic Combo
  • Sennheiser  SEMD42 ENG Handheld wireless mic
  • Mic Flags for promotion
  • Rode Windshield for the Rode NTG-3
  • Leatherman Tool
  • C300 Top Handle
  • Several VariND Filters
  • Additional 5DMII chargers & batteries
  • Misc tools, AA batteries, air bulb, sensor cleaner
  • Zacuto 15mm rails + extensions for C300 low profile baseplate I keep on the C300

I check this baggage through with my personal luggage which is usually one bag leaving me the two carry-on bags described above.

Tripods and Sliders

coming soon

Lights, Stands, Reflectors

coming soon

ATA Carnet - Merchandise Passports

When traveling internationally, if you are carrying more gear than your normal tourist., you may be stopped by customs to inspect your bags. This happened to me on a recent trip thru Amsterdam. I was held up for about an hour and the very nice girl allowed me to pass through. I posted on twitter asking for advice on how to avoid such hassles. I received good insight to things like, press passes not issued by a reputable bona-fide media company may not be recognized everywhere. Good advice as these can cost up to $300 USD and the web is filled with ads for generic press cards. 

Den Lennie of Fstop Academy suggested that I many want to look into getting a Carnet. This was the first time I had heard of this so did a bit more research.

An ATA Carnet is a merchandise passport that helps with hassle free exports. I am in process now learning more but this seems to be the best bet for international travel. 

For more information on an ATA Carnet in your country, please click here for an ad describing the service and who to contact .

(adding more soon…please email me via contact form with any questions)

Additional References

For more information on this topic and more,  please check out my much more traveled  friend Philip Bloom, a 20+ year veteran. His recent post describes similar challenges but with more detail and more gear. See his latest post here. Philip also has an older post from 2009 with very helpful information. 

Preston Kanak is an accomplished filmmaker and time-lapse photographer. Please see his post on similar topic: 

How to Protect Your Camera When Traveling
4 Highly Effective Ways to Protect Your Camera When Traveling

© Randy Noland 2015