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What’s on DIT Chris Cavanaugh’s Cart?

“When shit hits the fan on set, DITs are the one everyone looks at to get it fixed. Whether it’s a monitor going dark, camera setting change, lighting issue, flicker issue, anything. DITs are there to make sure all of the gear works smoothly.” - Chris Cavanaugh, Local 600 DIT.

But as any DIT will tell you, their roles encompass far more than just being the repair guy on production. These days, DITs juggle multiple tasks ranging from routing video, dailies, color grading, image management and much more. And unlike positions such as cam ops or ACs, the roles of DITs are always evolving.


Chris Cavanaugh is all too familiar with this changing dynamic. Based in Hollywood CA, Chris has a DIT history spanning over 10 years, having worked on some impressive titles like Captain America: Winter Soldier, Furious 7, Star Trek: Beyond, and most recently the eponymous remake of the famous 80s show, Magnum P.I. (premiering in September).

He shares with us how the relatively new DIT position has changed since its inception, and what essentials he keeps on his cart for productions.

The OG of DITs 

“The start of my path down this road can be traced to loving film growing up. I’ve had a passion for film and shooting ever since my teenage years, which made me decide to attend film school in Colorado in the early 2000s. I was hired as an intern for this production company that purchased two of the first 25 RED cameras ever made. This was around the time that digital cameras first started making an appearance, and filmmakers were scrambling to figure out how to work around the technology.”

“Back then, my job was to get the data from the cameras and transcode it into a usable format. When I moved over to Los Angeles after film school to work in the industry, I found a lot of productions required someone to also color grade this footage. Remember that this was when digital cinema cameras were still brand new. Converting files took a long time and some people even found it crazy that a digital camera could do the same thing as film. So I went around as a downloader and first pass colorist for this media.”

“As digital technology started replacing all of the old film tools, the roles of our DIT positions evolved too. On top of getting dailies and transcoding, technology allowed for live color grading on-set. Production wanted us to handle lighting, image routing, live color grading. Now, we DITs have become the base of operations when it comes to every piece of technology on set. Our expertise working with digital tools that most filmmakers don’t have time to learn makes us invaluable to a production.”


“Filmmaking has changed a lot in recent years. Today, everyone wants to have cameras that are mobile. Mounting them to Steadicams, cranes, dollies, drones. These can get some amazing shots, but feeding them to our production can be a real challenge.”

“When people mention monitoring, they probably think it’s as simple as putting a Bolt on a camera and having the receiver in video village pulling the feed. But it’s not always so simple. More and more productions want to do shots that require movement, so you have to think about where to position yourself so that the video feeds always reach you. If it goes dark on your end, that means the entire team isn’t seeing the image, and that can really disrupt the work of the crew.”

“As a DIT, my job is to anticipate when these difficulties will occur. On Furious 7, there’s a scene where Deckard Shaw (played by Jason Statham) starts in a hospital room and progresses out of the hospital, all in one take. We would only get one shot at this because they’re blowing up parts of the building as he moves.”

“The crew was all watching from inside the building, and I knew that once the Steadicam op went outside, we would lose image. So instead of relying on one receiver, I had our Bolt multicasting to 3 receivers hidden in this scene: 2 inside and 1 outside. As they walked out, I was patching in different receivers so our entire team can continue getting image. The end result was the opening scene of the movie.”

What's On His Cart?

Here’s what Chris likes to keep on set:

  • Inovativ Apollo cart
  • Blackmagic 40x40 Videohub
  • 4x FSI BoxIO color boxes
  • Furman Power conditioner
  • Mac Pro w/ Pomfort LiveGrade & Silverstack
  • Tangent grading panel
  • Odyssey 7Q+ monitor
  • 2x Sony A250 OLED monitors
  • 2x Teradek Serv Pros
  • 2x Teradek Bolt 3000s
  • Teradek Link
  • 2x Decimator QUAD 
2x Serv Pros and Link mounted to Sony A250 monitors.

“The Link is one of the main tools in my kit. It allows me to create my own local area network - which isn’t connected to the Internet - that I connect the Serv Pros to. That way, anyone on set with an iPad or iPhone can connect to monitor without having to stand behind our production monitors. I also use the Link for camera control, changing settings on the Alexa and RED with ease”.

“It's also useful for streaming dailies. Using Live Play 3, anyone also connected to my network can stream the dailies from their own iPads. This gives the Director and Producers much higher-quality dailies compared to videos hosted on the Internet. Also, if I ever need to move away from my cart, I can give my iPad remote access to my Mac Pro, allowing me to use my computer directly on my iPad.”

Wireless Video

“For many of the shots filmmakers want to achieve these days, wired systems are a thing of the past. You can’t tether a camera that’s also moving vigorously through the set. That’s why the Bolts and Serv Pros are huge for me.” - Chris Cavanaugh, DIT.

“We always need a reliable image that works just as well as a cabled system. With Bolts, I’m getting those feeds to my cart instantly and rerouting them to every monitor and iPad/iPhone on set. A lot of crews love having the Serv Pros too. My DP is able to take his iPad onto set and not run back and forth to the video village. Hair & makeup can also take notes from their stations, and the boom op can adjust his positioning without bothering the crew.”

“Over the years, my cart has gone through so many iterations to be where it’s at now. The tech behind filmmaking has evolved so much since the inception of digital cameras, and now we’re starting to see everything go wireless. It’s up to us to stay updated on the latest trends and processes, so when these issues happen on set, we’re always ready to fix them.”

Check out Chris’s work at @cavcam.

Also check out his IMBD here:

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How to Shoot Action Sports Cinematography with Motion State

“With sports, we filmmakers have a great opportunity to create an immersive experience out of what we shoot. If we’re going down a mountain with an athlete, or moving with them side-by-side, those close-up action shots can make anyone feel like they’re right there with the athletes.” - Corey Koniniec, Co-Founder & DP at Motion State.

Sports cinematography can be very challenging, especially when it comes to shooting extreme sports out in the field. While mainstream sports like basketball, football, tennis, etc. have the luxury of being in contained settings like stadiums, outdoor sports like skiing, cycling and auto racing are a whole different beast, requiring different techniques to capture compelling video.

But while filming may be difficult to achieve, when done right, you end up with incredible video that can wow just about anyone. So what’s the secret to shooting extreme sports?

Corey Koniniec, who recently worked on the Tour de France, Burton Open Snowboarding Championship, Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” & “Perfect”, shares with us his secrets for doing what he does best.

Passion Projects

“Motion State was founded in 2014 by the three of us: me, Ryan Haug and Sam Nuttman. This was around the time that Freefly released their first stabilized system, the MoVI. We were some of the first people to test them out. I met Sam working on a 4-episode web series with Burton Snowboards called Burton presents [Snowboarding], which was the first major production completely shot on the MoVI. Soon after, we were called to be operators on the first ever music video shot with the MoVI, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ White Walls, and that’s where we met Ryan Haug.”

“Sam came up with the idea to combine all of our strengths together and start a production house that specialized in stabilized systems. That’s how Motion State was born.”

“I personally came from an action sports background, and while Motion State isn’t limited to this kind of cinematography, it’s definitely what we’re known for now."

Up Close and Personal

Burton US Open 2017 - MoVI Follow Cam from Motion State on Vimeo.

One of the biggest perks of being on gimbals is the ability to be close to the subject. Motion State takes this to a whole other level, following directly behind athletes to capture them at angles that no one else achieves.

“The biggest part of what we do is trail right behind the athletes as they go through their motions. We go down the halfpipe with skiers and make the same jumps that they do, all while keeping the camera completely steady on a MoVI. This allows us to capture angles from right underneath them as they perform their stunts and capture angles that give you the feeling like you’re going down the halfpipe with your friend.”

“Doing this isn’t as simple as it sounds. At the Burton U.S. Open this year, we were doing a live production that was being broadcasted to over a million viewers at home. Our video feed needed to be piped to the TV truck behind us live while cam ops went down the slope with each athlete. We set up video village at the starting point, where we had a Teradek Bolt 10K mounted to the highest point possible taking in feeds from the Bolt 3000 on the camera.”

  • Sony FS5 camera + MoVI Pro gimbal
  • Teradek Bolt 3000 Transmitter
  • Teradek Bolt 10K Receiver
  • SmallHD Monitor
  • MoVI Controller
  • Sigma 18-35 Lens with Full MoVI FIZ Control

“As the camera traveled with each athlete, the 10K sent a feed to my SmallHD monitor which I used to pull focus remotely with the MoVI FIZ Control. From my monitor, a very long SDI cable took the video to the broadcast truck. There are a ton of things going on at the same time, so we’re constantly juggling all of the moving parts. Being right next to the athletes is just one part of the process.”

This isn’t limited to live productions though. For their production with Fox Motorsports, Corey and Ryan rigged a MoVI M15 stabilized head to a Dactylcam cable cam, capturing elevated, high-speed close-ups on the RED Dragon. Wireless monitoring was done with the Teradek Bolt 3000.

No Other Way to Do It

“The biggest challenge of filming action sports is knowing what to capture. You can ski down the slope with athletes, but knowing exactly when they’ll perform the stunts and the best way to capture that is key. These athletes do tricks that are super hard to execute. Unlike actors and actresses on sets, there aren’t any second takes.”

“The answer to this is to always be prepared. Whether that’s memorizing the route beforehand or having the right tools, planning ahead saves you a ton of headache for when things might go wrong on location.”

“99% of our work in action sports revolves around the Bolt 3000s. We’re moving our cameras in insane ways: strapped to drones, cable cams, handheld MoVIs. There’s no way any of this is possible without wireless video gear, because we need a way to monitor so we can pull focus remotely.”

“We always have the Bolts and Teradek RT gear with us on every production. The RTs give us the super long range and versatility we need for our outdoor shoots. At the Tour de France last month, I had a 1st AC pulling focus for me at the preshow. But during the races, I was a one-man operation. So I plugged the RT Thumbwheels to have my own focus and iris controls, and capture the sexy slow motion shots that NBC needed for their bumps.”

“At the end of the day, it’s all about getting the content that your clients want. We took the latest in film tech and applied them to our cinematography skills to make our signature close-ups possible. This results in videos that immerse viewers into the sport and create engagement that no other sport has.”

Check out more of Motion State’s work at

And check out their Instagram: @motionstate

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A Simple Guide to Multi-Cam Live Streaming with Live:Air Action

Live streaming doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, live streaming is being used more and more every year by individuals, businesses, organizations, and even governments for many purposes. Not only is it easier than ever before to go live (smartphones can do this with a click of a button), but there are a ton of tools out there to help you do it. All you need is content!

Teradek’s Live:Air Action is one of those tools. In contrast to traditional hardware switchers, Live:Air Action is a software switcher for iPads that allows you to do things like add custom graphics, transitions, scoreboards, roll pre-recorded video and much more. Most importantly, this can all be done while live streaming directly from the iPad! It gives your live video a professional touch, similar to traditional live TV programs (news, sports, etc.).

Multi-cam switching for the World Surf League.

But the biggest feature is Live:Air Action’s ability to pull multiple video sources together, allowing you to switch between them in your live stream. It’s much easier than it looks and adds tremendous production value to your broadcast!

So how does this work? Let’s break it down into 3 easy methods:

Use iOS/Android Devices as Cameras

Yes, you read that right! Any iOS/Android smartphone or tablet can be used as a camera source in Live:Air Action. This utilizes your smartphone/tablet’s built-in back camera, which sends a video to Live:Air Action’s main interface. You can then switch to that camera at any time for the live stream. Up to 5 devices can be used as cameras.

Any iOS/Android device can be used as a camera source.

How it works:

  1. The iOS/Android devices you want to use as cameras require the Live:Air Remote app (iOS / Android). This app allows them to serve as secondary sources in Live:Air Action.
  1. Once the devices have Live:Air Remote, they need to be connected to the same WiFi network as the iPad with Live:Air Action. With Live:Air Remote open, the feeds will be automatically sent through the network and populate in the Live:Air Action interface. Simply select the feed you want to use as the current video by pressing the window.

Use Professional Cameras with Teradek Encoders

Professional cameras with Teradek encoders can also be used as camera sources.

If you want to achieve a higher-quality video than just using smartphone back cameras, Live:Air Action also allows you to use any professional camera as video sources. To do this, you’ll need a Teradek encoder in your kit like the VidiU Pro. The encoder connects to your camera via HDMI output and sends the high-definition video to Live:Air Action.

How it works:

  1. The VidiU Pros (or any Teradek encoder) need to be connected to the same WiFi network as Live:Air Action.
  1. Once in the same network, set the streaming destination on each encoder to Live:Air Action. After, start the stream on the encoders. The videos from each camera will appear in the app’s interface.

Use a Combination of Both

Multi-iOS camera setup for a live stream production at Mojocon.

The beauty of Live:Air Action is that you can do any combination of iOS, Android or professional cameras as video sources. All you need to do is connect them to the same WiFi network and you’re good to go.

Check out how Live X, a live production company based in New York, implemented this successfully at Mojocon here.

General Tips

  • Mount iOS devices to tripods. You can use any smartphone/tablet tripod from Amazon, or this entry-level Manfrotto tripod.
  • Use tools like the Helium Core iPhone Rig to easily connect lenses, lights and microphones to your phone, or the Padcaster Kit for iPads.
  • We recommend creating your own WiFi network for your Live:Air Action ecosystem. This means using your own WiFi router wherever you’re streaming from.
    • Depending on public networks risks interference from other users who might also connect to the network and take away precious bandwidth.

Extra Links:

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The Best Way to Monitor On-The-Road

As a filmmaker, chances are you’ve worked on projects that require tons of movement, jumping from set to set or location to location. Whether you’re in a studio lot or on-the-go, these shoots require you to pack lightly so you can move at a moment’s notice. Any heavy equipment will just slow down the process.

But no matter the production, you’ll always need a monitor, and traditional monitors don’t make the best lightweight gear to lug around. Not only do you have to lay out cables and stands at every stop, but the more you move around, the more you have to keep track of. Basically, this is a pretty time consuming process. What’s the best alternative?

One Vote at a Time encountered this issue for their summer productions campaign, and found the perfect solution for lightweight monitoring on the road: smart monitoring.

Traveling Filmmakers

“One Vote at a Time is grassroots PAC run by a team of female filmmakers. Instead of being fueled by corporate giants, we’re supported by the contributions of ordinary citizens. We create digital campaign ads free of charge to candidates running for office around the country. This summer, we are headed into 10 states and aiming to create powerful content for 250 candidates. Our mission is to orient the filmmaking skills that we have cultivated in our careers towards the causes we care about. Starting with our elected officials.” - Mara Tasker, Producer for One Vote.

iOS/Android monitoring allows you to see the shot(s) from smartphones and tablets.

“We’re traveling to multiple states doing documentary-style run-and-gun shoots, so we need to keep our rigs as small as possible. Monitors cost a lot and take up space, so instead of using traditional heavy monitors, it made much more sense to use iPads instead.” - Lauren Guiteras, DP.

Beginning just this summer, Mara, Lauren and their teams have already traveled to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Colorado, and New Hampshire, filming TV campaign ads for candidates running for a wide range of positions (State House, State Senate, State Supreme Court, Governor). Check out one of the videos here:

Directed by Sarah Ullman, Co-Founder & Executive Director at One Vote.

“The campaign videos we film are simple and straightforward, but because we want to be conscious of our time, the politician’s time, and our budget, it can get pretty hectic on our shoots. Not to mention that we’re traveling to these politicians’ hometowns and capturing them in multiple locations. It’s a challenge to make the most efficient use of our time,” said Lauren.

Monitoring On-the-Go

With the need for mobility, small crew and a low budget, One Vote can’t bring large monitors to their shoots. Instead, they choose a much more affordable and efficient solution: Serv Pros.

Serv Pros connect to any HDMI video source and broadcasts it out to up to 10 iOS/Android devices with the VUER app installed. By connecting to the same WiFi network as the Serv Pro, each mobile device automatically picks up the feed (less than 1s delay) and displays it on the screen, giving anyone a handheld monitor nearby.

Monitoring on iPad Pro. 

“There’s not enough room in our vehicle to carry a 17” monitor around, nor would it be practical to set that up everywhere we go. With the Serv Pros, we’re able to monitor with our iPads, which we are way easier to carry around than traditional monitors,” said Lauren.


  • 2x Sony FS7
  • Angenieux EZ-1 & EZ-2
  • 2x Teradek Serv Pro
  • 1x Teradek Link
  • 3x iPad Pro

Lauren’s team used 2x Sony FS7s in the Texas shoot. Connected to each camera was a Serv Pro, which were themselves connected to the Teradek Link, a high-powered WiFi router designed for production sets. Link (or any WiFi router) is necessary to to monitor multiple cameras at the same time.

Also connected to the Link was the 3 iPad Pros the crew had. Using VUER, the Director, Producer and Lauren were able to monitor from their own devices.

Serv Pro sends video to up to 10 iOS/Androids.

“When our directors are working, we all need to be able to see what our DP is getting, with ease, from anywhere. That means the middle of a field, a farm, a fair. We can't constantly set up. We need to be able to move like a doc crew without sacrificing quality and this system really facilitates that. Even just for simple hero shots for B-roll, it allows us the freedom to move around,” said Mara.

“With VUER, I can tell my DP to follow a candidate as they go knock on doors and I can stay out of the way so they can feel more comfortable on camera since they're less used to it compared to normal actors. It let's my DP follow their movements in a natural and beautiful way while I can continue to look in on what they're capturing and toss out some ideas of how to reframe. More than anything, it gives us ease of access to that person's story and personality in the tight windows we have to try and capture them.”

By monitoring on tablets and being more efficient with time, the crew of One Vote is able to capture high-quality video and focus on telling a compelling story for their candidates.

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How to Shoot for Major Clients & Talents w/ Emmy-Award Winning DP Jonathan Belinski

“When you’re making video that’s going to reach millions of people, you have to put your best foot forward. This video will represent your client’s entire brand, franchise or network, so you really need to be on your game. Any mistakes will set you back in a cascading effect.” - Jonathan Belinski, DP and Founder of Belinski Media based in Los Angeles & New York.

A goal for many filmmakers is to work with bigger and bigger clients as you climb the arduous path to becoming well-established in the industry.

But working with clients like major TV networks and studios can be massively different from working with smaller, local clients. Sure, having your productions recognized by the best can be very rewarding, but these high-profile clients come with high expectations, with much less leeway for errors.

So we sat down with Jonathan Belinski, multi-Emmy Award-winning cinematographer who founded Belinski Media in 2005. Jonathan’s production house has worked closely with major clients for years, including Fox Sports, Sony Studios, HBO, MLB, NFL, and with celebrities including Charlize Theron, Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood and many more. He shares his biggest tips on working with clients.

Time is Money

“Many people have this misconception that being on set is the biggest part of filmmaking, but the reality is filmmaking is all about preparation. It’s a lot of conference calls, paperwork, planning, collaborating with your team. The success of a shoot can be 95% determined before you get behind the camera. Because when your talent shows up, you need to be ready.”

“The main obstacle when you’re working with big clients is time. This is true for all projects, and us filmmakers always want more time to shoot, but when celebrities come to your set, they only have hours - sometimes minutes - before they have to move on. For example when we work with athletes, they are not always required to be there, and frankly they have other things to do. You want to make this as quick and painless for them as possible.”

“So what we do is we rehearse how we’re going to be filming in advance. We run through the motions with extras and stand-ins, learn the lighting, framing, follow focus movements, and everything involved. The goal is to be so well-rehearsed that when the talents come in, everything moves like clockwork and we get it right in one shot.”

Game Day with the MLB All-Stars

For the last several years, Jonathan has worked with Fox Sports to create promo videos for the MLB All-Star Game, where a player’s are voted in from the fans and  league to play in an exhibition match. Jonathan’s promo set was Executive Produced by PT Navarro, Produced by Etienne Materre, and Directed by Erin Hoskins along with Editor Craig Russo.

“We create what the TV world calls “teases”, which are like cold opens that get viewers pumped up. These are played on TV right before the start of the game and in commercial breaks. Often they also establish a theme depending on the city that they’re in. This year the All-Star Game was in Washington DC, so it was chosen to play with a voting theme (this fits perfectly with the voting system the MLB has for choosing All-Stars).”

“Our production designer Spike located an original voting booth preserved since the 1960s. For 2 days before the shoot, we spent all day rigging the place up with lights, making sure everything looked exactly the way we planned.”

“The Home Run Derby is the day before the All-Star Game, and that’s when every single player participating in the All-Star Game is in the city. But the thing is, these guys are here to play baseball. Every minute they spend on set is a minute they could be practicing or working on other things. You only get one shot, because once they leave, there are no retakes.”

Here’s the setup his team used:

  • 2x RED Helium 8K
  • Leica Summicron C Prime Lenses
  • A Cam - handheld, slider, tripod
  • B Cam - Movi Pro
  • 2x Teradek Bolt 3000
  • Flanders Scientific and Sony OLED Monitors
  • Bartech and Heden follow focus systems

“We wanted to capture both wides and close-ups, but only shooting 1 camera at a time. So we had strict routine going on. We had our A Cam rigged with Leica 75mm for getting a close-up. As soon as we got that shot, we changed the lighting, got onto B Cam and immediately went to wides. In the interim the 2nd AC would change the A camera lens to something else."

“Having this process pre-planned is super important for shooting with major athletes. We had a few hours to shoot all 30 + of  of the All-Star players that came our way, and at any time there were 2-3 guys backed up waiting for us. We’re constantly under pressure to be fast, but at the same time we also need to capture amazing video for our client (Fox Sports).”

A Wireless Solution

“Every media outlet in Washington DC is at this event, sharing this tiny window of opportunity to meet and work with the players. As a result, we’re working in tight, confined spaces with tons of people moving through. So we want to keep our sets cable-free.”

“On top of that, our ACs need to be able to pull focus from the video village. The players don’t get any rehearsals, so they’re pretty much improvising when they get on set. Combine that with the constant movement on our Movi or handheld cams, and you can see why it’s so important to have zero-delay video. For this I trust wholeheartedly the Teradek Bolts.”


“No matter what shoot I’m on we always have the Bolts with us. We don’t have time to be setting up cables on set, especially for shots that need a lot of movement. Clients also want to be able to see the shot so one of the monitors goes to them.”

“Being cable free makes life so much easier. My Bolt 3000s work just as well as any cabled monitoring system, so I don’t ever have to worry when I’m on set. Not to mention when your production is clean, it also looks way more professional to your clients.”

Be Ready to Take Risks

“When I first started my career in the film industry in the 90s, I used to feel intimidated. There’s so much competition out there that if you don’t meet expectations on a job, it’s going to take you a long time to recover from it.”

“But feeling intimidated doesn’t need to be a bad thing. If anything, it made me paranoid in a good way, and that translated into me testing my setups 10 or 20 times over. I wanted to make sure everything worked flawlessly when our clients showed up to not only create an amazing product for them, but do it meticulously and leave a lasting impression.”

“My two biggest pieces of advice for rising cinematographers is: get on sets as an AC or any position to see how the pros do it, and when projects come along, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Get out there and shoot using some of the techniques you learned as well as develop your own style. Most of the difficulties on set can be avoided in the preparation leading up to the shoot. If you’re well-prepared, know the shot list  and are on top of your job, you will be successful.”

“Get into the habit of over-preparing. As you start working with bigger and bigger clients, there are more time restrictions on your shoots and less room for error.”

Jon Belinski is the founder of Belinski Media. Check out his work at and follow him on Instagram @Jdbelinski.

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Guide: How to Monitor Multiple Camera Feeds On Your Phone/Tablet

Every year, cinema technology grows more and more advanced, inventing new ways to make life easier on set. And much like other industries, film gear is starting to integrate with our smartphones & tablets for just about everything. From remote lens control and adjusting camera settings, to live monitoring directly on our phones, these tools are unlocking new ways to do film.

The Serv Pro is one of those tools. It connects to any camera source and broadcasts the video to up to 10 iOS/Android devices nearby, allowing you to monitor the shot right from your own device. The beauty of this is, because every connected device can pick up the feed, there’s no need to for crews to shove into Video Village and share monitors. Everyone on set can have their own.

VUER is the free app that makes this all possible. When the smartphone/tablet is connected to the same WiFi network as Serv Pro, VUER will automatically show the feed on the app’s control surface, all with just 2 frames (less than a second) of delay. It also provides an entire collection of monitoring tools like Focus Assist, Waveform and Frame Grab that each crewmember can personalize for his/her own needs on set.

But one of the best features available on VUER is the ability to monitor 4 different camera feeds.. all at the same time! Traditionally, monitoring on 4-camera setups meant laying miles of video and power cables all around set, not to mention that it's extremely costly for any production. Serv Pro solves this problem.

Using VUER, each smart device can receive 4 videos, which are then displayed on a 2x2 grid and are active simultaneously. Tapping on one of the windows allows you to see an enlarged view of it, giving you complete control over which camera you want to focus on.

So how does this setup work? Serv Pro operates in two different ways:

Single Camera

As an access point, the Serv Pro uses its built-in WiFi signal, allowing smartphones & tablets within 300 ft. to connect to the Serv Pro’s network. This is perfect if you’re only monitoring a single video source, since your device(s) would be pulling video directly from the Serv Pro itself.

MAKE films, a production house based in Pennsylvania, has been using Serv Pro as their primary monitoring source. Since most of their projects are run-and-gun, keeping their setups small, lightweight and wireless is key. They use a single Serv Pro connected to the RED, which the entire team uses to monitor on several iPads/iPhones on hand, including the Director, sound, hair & makeup and clients.

Check out their setup here.


The key to monitoring multiple cameras is a WiFi router. As a wireless device, Serv Pro can be connected to other networks, allowing it to send its video to that WiFi router. When your smartphone/tablet is connected to that network, it will automatically pick up the feed as if it was connected to the Serv Pro directly.

There’s multiple benefits to adding a router to the workflow. One, the wireless range becomes whatever strength the router has. For example, Serv Pro has a built-in range of 300 ft. But connected to the Teradek Link, any device within 1000 ft. can receive the video feed. (Link is a router designed for on-set use, and features set-ready qualities like Gold/V-Mount battery options, mounting versatility, robust signal and a rugged chassis).

The second benefit is the ability to monitor multiple feeds at the same time. If you have A, B, C, and D Cams and a Serv Pro on each camera, they can all be connected to the same WiFi network. When you connect any smartphone/tablet to that same network, all cameras will appear on the control surface.

Zumalt’s Setup

DP Terry Zumalt makes this work flawlessly on the production of the Netflix Original, Last Chance U. Working on football fields, the production used 10 cameras to cover every possible angle. Each camera was mounted with a Serv Pro, sending the video to specific Link routers positioned between the cameras and Video Village.

From Video Village, Zumalt and his crew were able to monitor every camera from hundreds of feet away, all while just needing 3 iPads to do it. Check out how they do it here.


Whether your shoot has a single camera or multiple, Serv Pro gives you the ability to monitor with convenience. Simply connect every unit to the same WiFi network, connect your phones & tablets to the same network, and you’re good to go.

Learn more about VUER’s different features here.

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How to Design the Optimal Camera Setup w/ 1st AC Joshua Cote


“I think it’s important to take pride in your work and to be conscious of how things like a sloppily built camera represent you as a technician. If your camera build isn’t balanced properly or has cables dangling in every direction, how is your operator supposed to do their best work?” - Joshua Cote, 1st AC based in Los Angeles.

As all camera operators and 1st ACs know, finding the elusive “perfect” camera setup is a never-ending pursuit, and every setup is going to be different in some way. A studio shoot demands something completely different from a run-and-gun outdoor shoot, so 1st ACs will typically design a setup catering to the needs of the day’s production.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tips & tricks when it comes to building a camera rig for specific setups. Joshua Cote, who has worked with major brands like Samsung, Spotify, and most recently Logic’s “Contra” music video, shares his best practices for ACs and his pursuit of rigging perfection.

Humble Beginnings

“My career in the film industry, and as a 1st AC, can be boiled down to a handful of amazing mentors and friends giving me opportunities and teaching me the ropes. When I wanted to drop out of the mediocre university film program I was attending to begin pursuing a real career in movies and television, my parents and girlfriend (Jenn) were very supportive and gave me the courage (and the occasional tank of gas) to get through that first year of unpaid short films and reality TV day-playing PA gigs.”

“When I began working in the Camera Department in Michigan, I was taken under the wing of a couple of really generous and knowledgeable guys in the industry there. Early on, I was hired onto a Christian feature film as the B Camera 2nd AC, and was forced upon the 1st AC & Operator. I was a slow and clumsy 2nd, and the show we were on was challenging to say the least. The B Camera Operator realized I was green quickly, and giddily spent the next 6 weeks using me as a stress-relieving punching bag. The B Camera 1st AC (Lance Mokma) could see that, despite my inexperience, I was driven and eager to learn. Instead of taking the same approach as the Operator, Lance worked hard to catch me up and mold me into an efficient 2nd. And when the film was finished, he decided to continue hiring and training me in the years that followed. Cheers to him for instilling my love of clean builds and pushing me to always be better on the next job. When I started pursuing work as a 1st AC, a Detroit-based DP (Adam Rock) gave me a lot of great opportunities to hone my focus pulling skills. He’s a big fan of Diopters.”

“Then in the Spring of 2017, when my girlfriend and I were beginning to plan our move to Los Angeles, Lance brought me on as a 2nd AC on a branded content car spot in Detroit. The DP from Los Angeles, Paul Theodoroff, was really impressed with Lance and I as a team and the shoot went quite well. Paul hinted that both Lance and I would do well in L.A., and that he would love to work with us again. Three weeks later, I was in L.A. searching for apartments. When Jenn and I did move in August, I was convinced that I would have a very slow first few months. But Paul truly went above and beyond for me. Not only did he start hiring me nearly as soon as I arrived in town, but he also introduced me to other great DPs like Mike Reyes, Oren Soffer and Matt Ballard. And now we’ve assembled a really tight family of film people that talk every day, building each other up and sharing our recent experiences.”

“Without that one small car spot in Detroit, I wouldn’t have met Paul and wouldn’t have been introduced to this talented group of DPs and Directors. And without this group, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much success as I’ve had here in L.A. I owe them a lot!”

Cables & Balancing

“Cable management is a big deal for me, and I know my regular DPs appreciate it. I use things like Nite Ize Gear Ties and Panavision’s new Cable Clips to keep all of my cables cleanly run along the build. When I know that I’ll need to adjust the build on the day, and that some accessories may need to be removed or positioned elsewhere on the build, I group the cables and clip them to the build according to the accessory they are for.”

“I run the cables for accessories I know will remain in place for the entire shoot below those that may need to be repositioned to go elsewhere on the build. I’ve even gone as far as color coordinating the cables so I know which ones are for which accessories and which build they work on. It’s difficult for me to explain exactly how my cable system works, but it all comes down to keeping things clean and making build changes quick and efficient. Find a system that works for you, and don’t get lazy with your builds.”

“For the camera build, I use accessories like the Teradek Bolt 3000, the MDR, and other accessories to shift the center of gravity around on the build until I get it as close as I can to the sensor plane. If you’re mounting the camera to a Steadicam, you want the sensor plane to line up directly with the post, and you want to avoid having any weight shift the build to the left or right. If your Operator will be shoulder mounting the camera, you want the center of gravity and the sensor plane to line up right on their shoulder. Doing so makes for easier operating and more precise control of the frame.”

Wireless Video

Working on Logic’s “Contra” music video production, Cote needed a versatile setup that could capture the fast-paced intensity of most modern hip hop music videos. This included shots from a Russian Arm, handheld, hood-mounted and Steadicam. With just a single day to shoot, preparation was key.

“I spend extra time at camera prep finessing the build for each of my shoots, even if the shoot is one day (which many of mine are). This attention to detail should extend to all of the gear that your department is handling.”

Here’s the camera setup:

  • ARRI Alexa Mini
  • AWZ Zoom & G Series Anamorphics
  • Teradek Bolt 3000
  • Teradek COLR
  • Preston FIZ3
  • Ward Sniper MK3

“We chose the Alexa Mini with a Panavision cage because it allows for quick camera build changes, it balances well with the G Series Anamorphics on Steadicam, and for us it has become the standard. 99% of my shoots are on Alexa Mini. Mike and I love the Panavision G Series Anamorphics, they are some of the greatest lenses in the world. They are a perfect blend of the character of the C Series and the sharpness of the T Series. We chose a Preston so that I could control focus with the HU3 while our DIT adjusted exposure via a Preston Single Channel. We don't really use anything but the Bolt 3000 and COLR right now because it is the most reliable wireless option available to us.”

Every setup involved tons of movement, either on the car or on Steadicam dancing around Logic. But to get the right footage for “Contra”, DP Mike Reyes still needed a way to see the shot. That’s why they relied on the Teradek Bolt 3000.

Cote’s Bolt 3000 had a 1:3 setup, sending video to Cote’s focus station, DIT for live color grading and Video Assist. From the Video Assist, the video was further distributed to the Director, DP and client.

Wireless video was also critical to Cote’s other recent project Land of the Strays - a documentary on the Costa Rica haven with hundreds of stray dogs. Unlike the Logic music video production, this shoot required the camera crew to be 100% mobile, filming through buildings and climbing hills.

For this, Cote used his custom-built handheld monitor/follow focus kit for remote lens control:

  • ARRI WCU-4
  • Teradek Bolt 3000
  • TVLogic 058W 5” Monitor
  • Cleans Camera Support Follow Focus to Monitor Mounting Bracket
  • MediaBlackOut LogicBlock

“I spent nearly every hour of our 10 days in Costa Rica muscling our Alexa Mini with Cooke Anamorphics up and down the mountain, or dumping footage on a laptop in the back seat of our van. If I didn’t have a compact and reliable way to control focus and camera settings hanging around my neck, I would have been in really bad shape.”

The Importance of Wireless for 1st ACs

So on top of keeping rigs organized, clean and balanced, Bolt 3000 is essential to every part of Cote’s workflow. From on-set productions to outdoor shoots, wireless video makes it possible to pull focus remotely and allow camera ops to capture the best shots possible.

“Not only is it crucial for DPs and Directors to see what they are getting out of camera, but I wouldn’t be able to do my job at all without being able to wirelessly monitor the image. I can’t imagine trying to chase around a Steadicam Operator with a BNC cable running to the various monitors on set.”

“When I’m building a camera for a shoot, how it will be operated on the day obviously plays a major role in how I put it all together. The end goal is a compact, clean, and balanced camera that will inspire even the most veteran DPs to snap a build shot for the Gram.”

Check out more of Joshua Cote’s work as a 1st AC at

Check out his Instagram @cote_cam

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How Live Streams Are Moving Away from Traditional TV

When most people think about live streaming, the first picture that comes to mind is either a choppy, unsteady video being recorded from your Facebook friend’s smartphone, or a gamer sitting at his PC playing Fortnite. But once in awhile, you’ll see live streams that are professionally produced, like Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp Q&A live stream on Facebook last month, used to promote the launch of the movie.

The truth is, companies & organizations are starting to see tremendous value in producing live content and broadcasting on social media platforms. 80% of people would rather watch a live stream from a brand than read a sales-pitchy blog post, with even more preferring live to social posts. When you have more people spending more time on social media than watching TV these days, it’s very clear where the trend is going.

Unscripted and Candid

But people don’t want to see traditional TV shows on live streams. The foundation for live content is built upon its unedited and unscripted side, with viewers yearning for a raw, honest experience. It’s the spontaneity of these shows that catch people’s attentions.

A recent broadcast by White Castle (yes, the fast food franchise) on their Facebook Page showcases this perfectly. Check out this witty live stream where the hosts incorporated humor, presented a product and responded to comments all live:

“Humor plays a big role in keeping people engaged on branded live streams, so our goal was to be as witty as possible while also promoting White Castle’s new chicken rings. We used those crazy-hilarious TV jewelry auction shows as the premise, pretending that the chicken rings were diamonds or some sort of priceless jewelry. We even had someone surprise his girlfriend with a live marriage proposal...and a chicken ring” said Carrie Stett, Director of the live show.

The same can be said about live Q&As, breaking news and even sportscasts like The MMA Hour, where TV-structured shows meet an online audience who want a slice of authenticity.

The New Way to Live

“Viewers don’t want the same kind of content as traditional TV, where shows are over-polished and over-produced. In the live streaming space, viewers tune in for something candid, unscripted and unique. That’s the direction live media is going.” - Carrie Stett.

Live streaming presents an opportunity for content creators to be experimental in ways that would never pass in traditional TV or Video-on-Demand content, yet still reach a wide audience.

White Castle’s Facebook Page already had over 1.2 million followers, which resulted in over 200k views in the 40-minute broadcast. With Facebook Live, it now lives on-demand on their Page and continues to have a life after the event.

“Viewers on live platforms want to interact with content that is personable. They want to be able to engage with brands and relate to them. White Castle were great because they were willing to take some chances and do something innovative and it paid off.”

But just as content is important, so too is maintaining robust video all throughout the show. Carrie and her team relied on the Teradek Bond to broadcast the show and ensure the video stayed exceptional the entire time.

The Bond is a streaming encoder that sends video over IP networks, using up to five 4G LTE USB modems for maximum redundancy. This ensures that if a single connection encountered latency issues, the extra networks would fill in to eliminate this.

“We always carry two Bonds with us, one as the main encoder and one as a backup. When you’re working with clients like Facebook or major companies like White Castle, the quality of the content and video reflects on their brand reputation. Having bonded Internet gives us the ability to broadcast without having to worry about Internet strength, and allows us me to focus on directing a great show for my clients.”

Carrie Stett directs live and traditional content. She is represented by Washington Square Films for commercials. Check out her portfolio and contact her at

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Everything You Need to Know About Streaming HEVC with CORE

While most live platforms and video playback tools have been slow to adopt HEVC, many broadcasters and streamers have already begun to take advantage of the data savings that HEVC compression offers.

In fact, did you know our encoders already do this? That’s right, our Cube, Slice and T-Rax encoders allow for streaming in both AVC (H.264) & HEVC (H.265) to destinations that support it. This includes current-generation Teradek decoders for point-to-point IP video, as well as Core for cloud-based stream management.

Transcoding in Core

Core is where HEVC really shines. One of the main features of Core is HEVC transcoding, which allows you to stream video to Core in HEVC, convert it to AVC, and send to your live platforms.

What are the benefits to doing this? By sending the stream in HEVC to Core, you’re effectively spending only half the bandwidth of an AVC video, but achieving the same video quality. This helps to save a ton of data, with no extra cost to you.

Core is a cloud-based stream management platform that lets you monitor, configure, 

Companies like Drop-In TV has been doing this. As the main broadcaster for the Ironman Triathlon 2018 in Europe, they’ve been streaming HEVC video from several Cubes and Bonds to Core from all across the continent, which is pulled down to their production studio, mixed for the final edits and published to the television program. This has allowed Drop-In TV camera ops to travel thousands of miles in remote areas and keep a solid feed all throughout.

Doing this was a no-brainer for them. HEVC allows them to spend less data to send a stream to their studio, which means keeping costs low. Additionally, because they have to stream from mountains, cities and countrysides, being able to send a high-def stream at lower bitrates ensures they can send the stream reliably.

So let’s take a look at why HEVC could be a great solution for you:

It’s Perfect for Broadcasting in Remote Areas

As a broadcaster, it’s almost inevitable that at some point, you’ll have to stream from somewhere with little to no cellular signal. Sports games, destination weddings, news in outlying locations. In these scenarios, you either hire a broadcast truck with expensive satellite equipment, or you settle for sending lower-quality video to viewers at home.

But HEVC is poised to remedy this. By requiring less bandwidth to stream compared to AVC, you can set a lower bitrate to publish high-quality video.

For example, say you’re broadcasting a fishing tournament at a lake, and your 4G LTE connection is only giving you 3Mbps. If you streamed in AVC, this could achieve a 720p video at most. But by streaming in HEVC, that same bitrate can achieve 1080p resolution, giving your viewers a much better overall experience.

And RF Congested Locations

We might not be able to see it, but our airwaves are jam-packed with RF signals from all of our modern wireless devices. You can see this in locations where there are tons of people, and your phone loses its ability to do anything.

Similarly, even when multiple users share a wired network, the pipeline can become congested to the point of hampering your uplink. Congested areas are unavoidable now, so broadcasting needs to be more efficient.

Streaming with HEVC over AVC will help tremendously. Since you only need half the bitrate to send a stream out, you not only save money on data, but also have a lower chance of being bottlenecked by congestion. In areas like conventions where multiple companies are sharing a single network, this could be the difference between providing solid, high-def video and a spotty one for your viewers.

No Major Platforms Support HEVC/H.265 Yet

This may be true, but that hasn’t stopped many broadcasters from fully utilizing the efficiency HEVC offers. How do they do this? With Teradek Core.

Twitch production streams HEVC to Core using Teradek Cube.

When streaming from the EVO tournament in Las Vegas, the Twitch production crew needed a cost-effective way to provide video for tens of thousands of viewers. While Twitch doesn’t support HEVC natively, the Twitch team used the Teradek Cube to send an HEVC stream to Core. The stream was transcoded in Core to AVC, and then published to Twitch.

So while major platforms don’t support the compression standard currently, Core provides a practical alternative to achieve these streams.

It Saves Data/Money

Cost is the achilles heel of broadcasting, and while 4G LTE doesn’t cost as much as traditional broadcast trucks, it could add up if you’re streaming for long hours. Unlimited plans also suffer from throttling, and that’s the last thing you want during a broadcast.

It’s a no brainer then that HEVC helps to save on data, and thus money. It operates with 40-50% more efficiency than AVC video, meaning you spend less data to get your content to its destination. For on-demand network plans, this can save you a fortune. For unlimited plans, this gives you extra room before you hit the 4G cap.

When streaming from the EVO tournament in Las Vegas, the Twitch crew needed a way to broadcast to thousands of viewers with a low budget. To save on data, they streamed HEVC using the Teradek Cube to Core. Read more about that here.

It Pairs Incredibly Well w/ the Teradek Bond

Teradek Bond Backpack 

The Bond is a 4G LTE bonding encoder that combines up to 5x cellular USB modems into a single Internet network. Used by broadcast professionals, the Bond ensures that the streams get as much network redundancy as possible so the video stays smooth all throughout.

HEVC complements the Bond in three ways. First, the smaller data usage allows Bond users to stream with more confidence. Even if a connection drops, the additional modems could easily fill in the gap. Essentially, it’s much easier for Bond to provide a smooth, reliable HD stream with HEVC compression.

Second, Bond is essential for many production houses to stream reliably, and multiple SIMs on the Bond using data can get expensive, which can be prohibitive for organizations looking to broadcast an event. But using HEVC video, the costs of streaming with the Bond are reduced significantly.

Third, the Bond requires a Core subscription to bond cellular networks anyway. If you’re already enjoying the features in Core, you can easily add HEVC into the mix.


There’s no need to wait for mass adoption to start using HEVC because Teradek already provides a streamlined way to do it. The growing demand for live streaming by organizations large and small means that live video will continue to rise in popularity. The technology and costs must adapt to meet these demands, and HEVC is the best way to do it.

Learn more about Core here.

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How VUER’s “Frame Compare” Tool Saves Time on Set with MAKE films

The Serv Pro was released a little under a year ago, and in that short time it’s already become a staple in many professional setups. Being able to monitor on a smartphone from anywhere on set is a game-changer for production crews, which typically rely on sharing monitors in video village to get the job done.

But while most crews have been using their iOS devices just to monitor, MAKE films has been utilizing the tools that come with Serv Pro’s companion app, VUER, to ensure their clients get the best results possible. We’re sharing how they’ve been using Frame Compare to make sure their shots are precisely lined up between each take.

“The Serv Pro has been incredible for giving everyone a wireless monitor on our sets. Gaffers, makeup, clients. Everyone loves the convenience it offers when you can see the shot from anywhere. But one thing we’ve been adding to our shoots recently that has saved us a ton of time is the frame compare tool,” says Derek Dienner, CEO and Creative Director at MAKE films.

What is Frame Compare?

Frame Compare is a feature on VUER that takes a screen grab of your camera source, exports it to your iOS device’s camera roll, and allows you to compare it with the current camera frame. It does this by overlaying the previous shot with the current shot, showing crew exactly how to position the camera, talent, objects and background to achieve the best precision.

Shopping for the Shot

Director Dienner with Producer Williams monitoring on iPad Pro.

MAKE films works with local and global brands to create visual storytelling videos. Recently, they worked with Pennsylvania-based grocer and home-goods company, Stauffers of Kissel Hill, for a promo video.

“The goal of the video was to re-release Stauffers’ updated Vision, Values, and Mission to their team, partners, and customers. It shows how Stauffers team members interact with their customers across all departments. Their caring customer interactions and expert knowledge are really what differentiates them from other brands.”

Here’s what they used to capture the video:

  • Sony A7S
  • DJI Ronin
  • Paralinx Dart
  • SmallHD monitor
  • Teradek Serv Pro
  • 2x iPad, 3x iPhones
VUER allows for wireless monitoring on up to 10 iOS/Android devices.

“We chose to go with the A7S because we wanted to be as lightweight and mobile as possible. We had one day to capture all the footage, with multiple locations and talent. Because of these factors, getting the best footage in the shortest amount of time at each location was our main priority. Our gear was our best shot at accomplishing this.”

Mounted to the DJI Ronin was the Sony A7S camera, which had a Paralinx Dart sending zero-delay video wirelessly to the SmallHD monitor strapped to a light stand.

VUER is built with professional monitoring tools suited for everyone on set such as Waveform, Vectorscope, Frame Lines and Frame Compare.

Mounted to the side of the SmallHD was the Teradek Serv Pro, which took the video output from the monitor and sent it to every iOS device on set. This included the iPads for the Director (Derek) and Producer (Catlin Williams), and iPhones for the gaffer, coordinating producer, and client. With the Director and Producer switching to iPhones as necessary.

How MAKE films Uses Frame Compare

Because so many crew members had an iOS device on set, they could each monitor the shot conveniently and on the go, reducing the need for additional video village monitors - which creates more set up and break down time - as well as keeping a low profile at the shoot locations.

In addition to monitoring, Derek used Frame Compare to save time and get a more accurate picture on set. Before cutting between each take, he was able to take a screen grab to have an image of the framing. After breaks, they used the overlay to get the exact framing again, ensuring everything was in the right position.

Bottom row images were takes from later in the day. Frame Compare kept the framing precise and consistent. Shot for Frontline Education.

Also, Frame Compare helped Derek achieve a new kind of visual transition, which you can see below:

“The Frame Compare feature has changed the way we look at framing our shots. Before, we would spend lots of time figuring out how to frame after a break, doing comparisons between the main monitor and the camera. Now, we can achieve the exact look every time and speed up the whole shoot, all from my iPad. For projects where you only have a day to capture everything, these things really add up.”

“Our job as filmmakers in this space is to ensure our clients get the best results possible. At MAKE films, we handle all of the creative from start to finish. Oftentimes, we have tight deadlines to work with. Features like Frame Compare and devices like Serv Pro have really made our production more efficient and freed up our time to explore other ways to make our client’s video even better.”

MAKE | On Set with Teradek from MAKE films on Vimeo.