Taking Flight w/ GoPro 4 and testing the Canon 7D Mark II

Just had my first chance to look at the new Canon 7D Mark ii and I have to say is dam good. The video I much better then the 70d. It’s up on the lines with the 5D mark ii with out question. the auto focus is very nice. uch like the Canon c100 but it has a little speed control for smoother focus pulling. Its hold together very nice quality in the high ISO much like the 5D3 and half the cost. Still no focus peaking, can’t seem to zoom in during video recording ether. NOT COOL CANON! Over all its a great camera and for any of you looking to get in to the video biz pick this up. BIG BANG for your dollar.

2015 Movies I can’t wait for!

Jurassic World.

I remember the day I went to see the first Jurassic Park in the theater 21 years ago. WOW has that many years past by? Well, There I was, a 14 year old kid seeing the most one of the most amazing advances in film of its time. It was the first time I had seen a dinosaur movie that was believable. If you are like me, in your mid 30’s and went to see this film when it came out in 1993 do you remember that feeling when you first saw that Brontosaurus walk in to the shot? the first time you saw the T-rex on the big screen? IT WAS UNREAL! I’m hoping this new movie for the new generation of teens will have that impact that I got 21 years ago. I’m not sure it will only because we are so used to the outrageous CG we see in every movie


Unlike the last 3 poor looking movies and the re-release of the first 3 with all that extra really bad CG tossed in to it that only made some of my favorite movies the worst movies I think they finally got it right. J.J. Abrams has taken Star Wars in to the most realistic looking world from what we get to preview in this trailer. Abrams did such a great job with Star Trek and I think he may have done a better job with Star Wars. I just can’t wait to see this movie!

Batman Vs Superman 2016

I’m just pissed off that I have to wait till 2016 for this movie but I came across this trailer from ComicCon so I wanted to share it anyway.

Xhail – A way to create you Music Bed

Ok so this looks like it can be a power full tool for people to have and if you watch the video its not running on a algorithm. Its real music tracks that you can add instruments and alter a full peace of music just like you would in something like protools. As a Cinematographer / Musician / former recording studio owner myself, I can see this being huge for many film makers and even game developers that can not produce there own original sound tracks. This Also gives studios and musician a new modern way of creating and being part of the entertain business. Its not in anyway a AUTO EDIT MY FILM WITH MUSIC its a generator just like The Music Bed or Song freedom. You search the style / feel your looking for (cinematic, drama, pop, rock) and it will gerenorate real music to fit that feel that you can fully control. Its rather genius. Imagine having Hanz Zimmer giving you his full track session recording from his recording studio that you can now just use the piano or the strings or the drums, and change the timing on something? its an unlimited way to create with ultimate control. Pretty awesome if you ask me! – Jon Santos

Wedding Films

Here is some new work from recent weddings.  It has been fun to add in some footage from the sky! As a huge superman fan its really amazing having control over something in the air.  It lets you see your every day world from different eyes. To be able to fly around my environment and not only say WOW, look at that, my clients are blown away at the view point that not even there photograph will give them.  I gives me new inspiration to film, to get to a place I never was able to get to and adds an amazing production value that your clients are used to seeing on the big screen.


Video Led Light

Today we are all pretty much using LED lights for most things in video. I have a number of them my self. I never liked the LEDs that you clip on the amber gel to change the color tempatur then I found this affordable light from  Aputure Ameran.

Its easy, and the color is the best of the one I have used. 198 LED that switch half and half from 5200 to 3200 with out clipping on any gels. the color seems very accurate, it don’t fall to far in green or magenta. If your looking around for a cost effective LED only $65 for you event videos, hit up amazon.com I think you will love this one.

Jon Santos



Canon c100 Mark ii

Canon posted the new Canon c100 Mark ii on their website this week. If you have a c100 is it worth the upgrade?


The biggest add ons for me would be the 1080/60p. I still think they can just push an update with that in to the c100. it kind of sucks that a camera priced at almost $6k don’t have 60p when a camera now priced at $1,799 (canon 7D mark ii) has it. Stupid? UMMM YES I would say so.   A useful upgrade looks like the view finder. As most say the one on the c100 was not useable, I find my self using it often and this would be a great one to have from what it looks like. The Face detection also sounds good and I also feel that can be a firmware update.  A new 8.3 megapixel sensor and Digic DV 4 will add to the already amazing video footage. Can it be much better? 24 Mbps now up to 28 Mbps. I don’t think you will see much difference. The footage out of the c100 is already amazing and I can’t think your eye would see a world of difference unless you have a 80inch Ultra HD TV and this camera pushing out 4k video but that it does not. I mean what do you want for $6,000? your money worth? What? you say well cameras at less than half that price push out 4k and a better bit depth? oh well. The c100 is amazing and these few upgrades I think they should have done with firmware. My hopes right now is that the c100 drops in price and I can’t get another one.


Jon Santos



Phantom 2 Vision Plus

Update on DJI Phantom 2 Vision plus.

Its been almost a month now and I have been flying the Phantom 2 vision plus  for just under 30 days. I have used it is 3 weddings now and I can only say it truly adds a new demotion to our productions here. We are all use to seeing great cinematic video clips from above in every tv show and movie and now we can truly offer that look and feel to our clients. Whats the problem then? its the camera. If you looking in to getting in to filming from the sky in any kind of professional way then this camera will not cut it. its has to be some of the worst HD quality bit rate and compression I have seen. The iPhone looks 150 times better then this camera and thats kind of sad. I will be returning this in 2 days to upgrade in to the new Gopro Hero 4 version of the Phantom. The new go pro hero 4 is looking like it packs a big punch in HD and 4k (UHD)

If you really want to get in to this professionally then simply go right in to the go pro version just under $3,000. Im sure it will be worth the investment. Soon as I get some new footage from that in a few weeks I’ll post up some clips for you to compare with these other clips below.

A big thank you to my past few clients for letting me play with this new gear and test everything out on the job. My clients are truly the best!

Jon Santos http://www.rocklifestudios.com



This is my first impression of the Phantom 2 vision plus. I spent a few days now flying it around town testing out the camera. Because lets face it, we need great video for our productions and that starts at the camera. Now giving the fact that something like this would only be used for a few shots on a few select weddings or projects it may just be the perfect camera at the right price point with  ok video quality.

First I’m going to start with the point that this is not a toy. This is a real film making machine and if you’re not careful you can hurt your self, others and or break it.

For the price, the phantom 2 vision+ is amazing. It’s build is great, crashed once so far, about a 10 foot fall, and it was just fine. The GPS on it is amazing to help with your flight and keeping it steady in the air and even returning home when needed. Now, this is the version that comes with a camera and gimbal, not the GoPro version.  The gimbal is so amazingly steady that I almost don’t want to use a glide cam any more. The wifi connects right to your iPhone to use as a monitor and controller for settings. I’m still messing around with the settings like ISO, filed of view and exposure stuff but so far, the camera quality is the only thing I would compare to a toy. NO real manual control, ISO 100, 200 & 400. F stop is fixed and you can set a shutter speed or really lock in a exposer. I have set the ISO to 100 and exposer to zero and the camera still adjusts the exposer and I’m thinking its maybe doing so by shutter speed. It would be much better if we could just truly lock in a setting.

I’m editing on a 30inch  monitor and there is such a lack of clarity, massive amounts of aliasing & moire. On the internet its not really to bad but when you view it on a 60inch screen you can really see the problems with the camera. I have seen some side by side footage of the DJI camera and GoPro Hero 3 and the GoPro has some more detail in it image.  I can only compare the quality to something like a GoPro but less detail quality in the footage.   I feel the iPhone and Note phones have better quality footage then this camera. VERY VERY grainy footage in low light so make sure to get your best footage before the sun sets.

Over all if you only need a camera for 3-4 shots during your day for an event then this may be the camera for you at just under $1,200. Its ready to fly, no set up time out side of turning it on and opening the app. I need things to be as fast and easy to get a shot and get to my next location.  You get about 25 mins of flight time so you may also want to pick up a couple extra batteries for $129 each.

After I see how this works in to my production I may upgrade to a copter that can at least hold a smaller camcorder like a Canon XA 10. I wish DJI would come out with a Phantom with a gimbal and iPhone monitor connection Just like the vision 2 Plus but that will hold a camcorder and a $2,000 price point.

-Jon Santos www.rocklifestudios.com

Wedding Cinema Post Production

I’m asked all the time by clients “what is the difference between documentary wedding and cinema wedding” Well that sometime is hard to tell but easy to show. 90% want to hire you for your work that they have seen on your website. 10% will question everything because they don’t understand what the different style of filming and the post production work that goes in to the final product. I start by telling them they are different cameras I use for them. Documentary I use a small HD camcorder and I do not work with the clients one on one. I stay in the back round and follow in the foot steps of the photographer. I don’t bring a glide cam, slider or jib for the wedding. When I say Well the few big differences is color correcting and color grading and all the gear I would bring or not bring, that’s the point you have already lost them simply because they do not work in film of photography and have zero idea what you are talking about. So how do you explain the cost jump from one style to the next? give them a kind of behind the scenes look at before and after so they can see what goes in to making the cinema video look and sound like it does and what separates it from the traditional documentary video. giving your client all the info they need to understand why your product is different, why the cost is justified and what may set you apart from the others, your competition. The key is letting them know that their wedding is going to be different and what they may see may not apply exactly but its the basic idea of how my post production works. Before I meet with clients I send them to my FAQ page on my business website so they can learn more about the process before we meet up. Below is the videos I put together to try to visually explain the basic workings of my post productions.