And now we start talking about audio for video. Yikes, there's a lot to learn.

The very first thing I taught Ben about audio for video was about PROXIMITY. The need to get the microphone into the physical sweet spot for which it was designed. Everything else about using microphones flows from there.

My first real experiences with professional audio happened when I was a creative director at Avanti Advertising and Design. We had a number of clients for whom radio was an important part of their marketing mix. We wrote a fair number of commercials; some very straightforward and some with valiant attempts at humor. The common denominator was either a person narrating or persons playing roles. Since radio commercials are staged and highly directed all the production work was done in a studio. We used a studio called, Tim Stanton Audio, and we relied on Tim Stanton's deep experience to pull off productions that ranged from simple to highly complex, multi-character, mini-shows.

Tim had a collection of microphones and he would select them the way a sommelier would select various wines to match with the different courses of a fine meal. Tim sat behind a giant sound board controlling levels, etc. while I directed the talent, which meant, asking them to read with a different inflection, more or less energy, and always with an eye on the stop watch so we could fit the read into the time constraints of the commercial. Fifteen, thirty, sixty and one hundred and twenty seconds.

I learned a fair amount. I learned from Tim that every room has its own acoustic character which can be controlled with sound absorbing materials and even thick blankets. I learned to watch the meters and not overload the inputs for the recording devices. I learned that multiple "takes" helped us narrow in on our creative "target" and I learned that (optimal) proximity of the person speaking to the microphone is everything.

We're currently living in a time when we have tons and tons of information at our fingertips and most of it is either too condensed to be worthwhile, factually wrong, or just too shallow in scope to be useful. A lot of the information is driven by marketing. I see a lot of ads for "shotgun" microphones where the videographer has the microphone mounted on his camera but the actors are across the room. Clearly, the marketing people never got the text about proximity.

The reason why many, many people are so happy with the sound they get from lavaliere microphones comes from how they are employed. No one sticks their lavaliere mic on the top of their camera, shoots from across a room and expects to get anything worthwhile. Everyone knows that the "lav" gets positioned on a talent's tie, shirt placket or collar at about 12 inches from the talent's mouth. There are other, more creative locations for lavs but they are all on the body and in close proximity to the talent's mouth. So, even with the least expensive of lavalieres we get decent sound. It's because we are using them correctly (usually).

The truth is that in many cases the sound from a decent shotgun style (hyper-cardioid) can be better than the sound from most lavalieres if it is positioned correctly. The bigger microphones seem to reproduce lower frequencies more accurately and many of the relatively inexpensive ($150-$300) shotgun mics have very decent responses through the frequencies.

The best place for shotgun microphones is just above or below the talent's mouth and about 18 inches away from them. The dance that sound people on movie and TV sets do is to aim the microphone at the actor from the correct distance while staying just out of the video frame. If you have a dedicated sound person they can put the shotgun microphone at the end of a boom pole and continually fine-tune the placement by compensating for the actor's movement. This maintains the level and sound quality. If you are working alone you'll need the client to restrict their movements but it's still important to get the microphone off the camera and close to the actor. If I'm shooting solo I take along a stout light stand and a special bracket that holds my boom pole. I get the actor on their mark and carefully position the microphone before we get started. If the shot calls for walking and talking I give up and put a wireless microphone on them. With a sound person along short walk-and-talks can still be handled with a shotgun microphone on a boom pole.

The bottom line, always, is proximity. Unless you need to be ultimately mobile....

If I am out snapshotting video (solo, all gear attached to camera, nothing scripted, no actors) and I think I'll want to catch audio or even grab an impromptu street interview for my own personal work I'll default to a microphone on camera. Generally the one I reach for is not a shotgun mic but a stereo cardioid (heart shaped front sound pick up pattern) model that I can put in the hotshoe of my camera.
I'll leave it on to record ambient sounds and general audio tone, for the most part. But every once in a while I'll find someone who I'd like to interview spontaneously.

The need to get decent sound always triggers an "alert" in my brain. The alert is... Proximity. I need to get that microphone, which is on top of the camera, as close to the interviewee as possible to get decent audio and to diminish the effect of background noise at any given location. The trick is to use the wide angle setting of your camera's lens and get in close to the person. If I can get into a zone about three feet away I have some assurance that the resulting audio with at least be usable.

While it seems like a shotgun mic would be just right for this they can be too focused and require too much effort to aim them. Again, if you have a helper you could take the microphone off camera and allow the sound person to aim it correctly... but we don't always have that luxury. In fact, if you are shooting for yourself you probably won't.

The microphone I've been using on the camera for the last few years is a Rode SVM, which stands for "Stereo Video Mic." It's not very long but it has two microphone capsules behind its wire screen. Used close in it has very good sound quality, and the stereo nature of it means that I can often stick two people in a tight frame and get good sound from both. It's probably not the best microphone for this kind of work but it's the one I thought I could afford at the time. It cost me about $200 and it's come in handy a number of times. (I'm linking to the current model as the one I have has been discontinued).

The quieter the environment the easier it is to use an "all purpose" microphone like this to get good results....as long as you get it close enough.

Along these lines; meaning run-and-gun video versus controlled video, I've come to also appreciate the standard "reporter's microphone." You've seen them forever on the news shows. It's the classic microphone that reporters stick in front of their faces to do their remote, location "stand ups" in front of the news cameras. When they interview the crooked politician or the man on the street they alternate pointing the microphone at their own mouth when asking questions and then aim it at the person they are interviewing when they answer (usually from about 12-18 inches away....). These microphones (reporter mics) are counter-intuitive for many people. It would seem that a shotgun microphone would be more useable because we have the idea that the shotguns zero in on what we point them towards. It would seem that a reporter microphone, with its omni-directional pick-up pattern would pick up EVERYTHING!

But being wise photographers we understand that sound and microphones are subject to the inverse square law and, that the closer we have the microphone to the source of the sound the quicker audio "falls off" as we increase the distance from the other sources of sound. If we get the microphone close to the subject then everything else is relatively further away and much quieter. This is how someone with a reporter's mic can get decent audio even when surrounded by screaming fans at the end of a sports competition or political rally. It's also why people have more luck a lot of the time with lavaliere microphones (which are generally omni-directional). The sources of the main audio is much, much closer than the distracting background sounds which quickly "fall off."

I like the way shotguns microphones sound. The can be very, very good. I have a case full. But we have come to love them because most commercial production is done in rooms insulated from air conditioning noise, with appliances turned off, with reflective surfaces covered and microphone to subject distances (and angles) optimized. This is where they shine. But they are not "Swiss Army Knives" of the sound world. I reach for my reporter's mic when I know we'll be moving fast and working in uncontrollable environments. If I'm not working on a tripod and don't have a hand free I default to something like the Rode SVM, on camera.

It's good to understand the how the environment and the use dictates the right microphone. As long as you remember the primary rule = proximity = you'll come away with cleaner and less distracting sound. Get close. Even in the studio getting close means less necessary gain and less noise.

So, next up let's talk about lavaliere microphones and I'll show you the two options I use.


A modest and short list of the three most useful interchangeable lenses I used in 2016.

Sony 18-105mm f4.0 G lens.

 Hot cameras and fast, fast glass seem to get all the attention but I wanted to talk about the two top lenses that I used this year and what makes them special. They aren't sexy or fast and in both cases the web-based reviews are quite mixed. Don't just read mine, if you are in the market for one of these either shoot it and test it yourself or, at least, read a bunch of different reviewers and decide which ones you trust most. 

My top award for usefulness and profit-enabling is the middle of the road, Sony 18-105mm f4.0 G lens (which is also the "kit" lens for the Sony FS-5 video camera...).  It's not a small lens but it is much lighter than its bulk might suggest. It's part of a new generation of lenses that are pretty sharp but designed with (seemingly) no regard for actual, optical distortions. But, it's also of the generation of lenses that is designed from the ground up to be corrected by in camera and in software lens correction magic. My copy is nicely sharp in the middle and more than adequate on the edges. The optimal stop for balancing most of the parameters and giving good performance, is f5.6. I routinely shoot it wide open for both stills and videos with no ill effects. Most of what I shoot has a subject in the center part of the frame and background stuff on the edges. Unless I'm willing to shoot everything at f16 the background of nearly all my images is going to be somewhat out of focus anyway, making discussions about edge sharpness a bit silly. 

If you need a lens with which to shoot perfect brick walls or test charts with straight lines to the absolute edges of the frames this is NOT the lens for you. If you need a very versatile lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths well this might make you happy. I like it because it has a nice, variable response power zoom for video, it focuses silently, and the image stabilizations works as well as anybody else's stabilized lenses. Another nice feature (mostly for video but still shooters who use manual exposure will like it as well) is the fact that it's a constant aperture zoom lens. The f-stop doesn't change as you zoom. A downside for some videographers is the focus-by-wire nature of this lens. You won't be using this with a follow focus rig. That's okay, we have other lenses for those uses.

For about $550 it's, I think, one of the bargain lenses in the Sony APS-C lineup. I'd buy it again and, for paying work, it seems to stay glued to the a6300. It's a great combination for shoulder mounted and handheld video. It's probably my most used Sony lens in 2016. The one issue I have? It's not full frame....

Sony/Zeiss 24-70mm f4.0 lens.

My second choice, based on the amount of use it gets and the amount of billing it helped to engender, is the 24-70mm f4.0. When I first bought it I'll admit to rushing into the system and not reading enough about the Sony lenses. In retrospect, I am happy it turned out that way because if I had read the reviews of this lens I probably would never have bought it. The biggest strike against it was, again, the edge sharpness. Probably not the optimum choice for shooting flat documentation of circuit boards....

A common, negative refrain was that it just didn't have the overall performance to demand the high price... What I found in day-to-day use was a good, medium range, standard zoom lens that created very nice images. It is, again, a lens from the new generation of firmware tweaking and software corrected systems. But it's nicely sharp (instead of clinically sharp) and seems to be a well behaved lens for photographing people and events. I've used it as the primary lens (along with the A7Rii) on eight multi-day advertising shoots and have never found it wanting. But again, I'm not shooting flat, perfectly rectilinear test charts, I'm photographing lifestyle images that have depth to them. 

The one stop difference in aperture between this and the new G Master lens means that this lens weighs less than half as much, is much smaller overall, and, according to DXO is about one point off the performance of the faster, fatter and heavier G Master f2.8 version. You get to spend about $1,000 more to get a very, very small amount of improved performance. The f2.8 might have been vital in the days of 400 ISO being the top sensitivity you'd be willing to use in digital imaging but now? With the amazing cameras we routinely shoot with the difference is a rounding error. 

The benefits of our lens is that it can be handheld for a lot longer because it doesn't make your (smallish) Sony camera too front heavy, the OSS (image stabilization) is very good and, you'll probably need to start at f4.0 and go to smaller apertures if you want to get enough in focus to satisfy most clients. It's as sharp as I've ever needed, even when photographing product in the studio, by the time I get to f8.0. The final point is that it's a congenial lens to carry along with you as a daily walk around lens. Not something I would ever say about its faster sibling...

Again, on the "con" side, the focus is focus-by-wire and that's always dispiriting and I'd love the lens even more if it was $895 (there I go, slagging it on price with the other reviewers....) but the reality is that you only pay for it once and you'll soon forget the premium you paid if it gets you the kind of images you need to make your clients happy. It's primary advantage over the 18-105mm is that the 24-70mm covers the full frame of full frame...

And, YES, I would buy it again (but I'd try to find a mint copy, used...). 

And that brings me to my "runner up." This is a lens I've been using more and more for portrait work. I use it instead of all the nice manual focus Rokinons and Contax Zeiss lenses for one simple reason: It works well with eye autofocus on the A7Rii and the a6300. Every frame with a person is tack sharp exactly where I want it; right on the eyes. 

But there are many more reasons to like this lens. It has very good image stabilization. The f4.0 max aperture keeps it from being too heavy and too big. Sorry, I just won't carry a 70-200mm f2.8 around anymore. There's no optical advantage and nothing but a cluster of handling issues. According to DXO, this is the sharpest zoom lens in Sony's entire lineup. Amazingly sharp for me, even at f4.0. And it's off white like the groovy lenses that Canon makes and I'm certain this gives comfort to my clients as they think they are getting something on par with the Canon lenses (dripping sarcasm...). 

The only reason this is not my first or second choice is that I've only started using it a lot recently. Given the results I've gotten I know I'll press it into service a lot more frequently in the year to come. As far as I can discern it has NO flaws at all. Not even the price. The only reason I can think of not to buy one is if you don't shoot with Sony cameras....

One more note about this lens; I don't have anything longer than 200mm for my full frame camera precisely because I have this lens and the amazing sensor in the a6300. The combination gives me great 300mm equivalent files with good, dense details as a result of the resolution of the sensor. It's the perfect combination of the strengths of full frame and APS-C, used across the system. Much like the combination of something like the Nikon D500 and the D5. Nearly equal image quality but with more reach on the smaller format. 

Sony 70-200mm f4.0 G lens.

These are the lenses that have been getting my attention this year. Not nearly in consensus with the majority of other users and reviewers but that's part of the rich stew of subjectivity. A lens is more than just sharp it is. Usability, color, contrast and, of course, NANO-Acuity are also vital features.
We could all be shooting with an 85mm Otus lens but the overall handling would cause us to end up hating photography and taking up some other passion. Not everything Zeiss makes is designed to really be used in the field. At least from my point of view....

Curious to know what your favorites are. If you have a moment, let us know.


The Sony a6300 as a premier low light video camera. Amazing.

I like to go over to Zilker Park, in the very center of Austin, Texas, at least once during the holiday season to look at the giant "tree" (a moon light tower festooned with lights) and to savor the carnival atmosphere that has evolved over the years. Under the tree are tacky vendors galore, hawking funnel cakes, turkey legs, kettle corn, corn dogs and other weird, Texas festival foods.

Across the street but still in the park is the TRAIL OF LIGHTS!!!! It's a series of Christmas tableaux with lights and Potemkin scenery. The whole affair used to be put on by the city of Austin, and local business footed the bill for creating the myriad "Santa's Villages" and "A Power Ranger Christmas" scenes in exchange for tasteful little signs; along the lines of "brought to you by the folks at H.E.B."

In the days before our massive population explosion the two week long event was free to anyone who wanted to attend. There were "special" days when car traffic was prohibited and everyone would actually walk through the quarter mile long set up. Most recent years, and on most days, the reality was an endless line of cars whose inhabitants might wait several hours in a line, perfumed with auto exhaust, in order to drive through, bumper to bumper, and stare out the window at........Christmas lights.

The resulting traffic jams in all the surrounding neighborhoods led local wags to re-name the "Trail of Lights" to "The Trail of Headlights."

The city ran out of money to underwrite the event back in the bleak days of 2008 and 2009 but then the event rose from the dead and fell into the hands of the private sector. Now the park land adjacent to the "tree" and the "Trail of Lights" becomes home to a giant, compacted parking lot for thousands of cars, each of which pays through the nose for the chance to park close. Thousands of newly arrived Austinites ride over on privately chartered school bus services from points downtown and south of town. And everyone gets to pay $3 a piece to stroll through......Christmas lights.....and the much bigger and better lit signs "thanking" the sponsors.

It's now more like "Monster Truck show" meets "Rodeo" meets the Holiday Season.... They have even introduced a Ferris Wheel, and rides.

But, is there a better time to break out a video camera and walk down from my house to see the cultural show unfold before my eyes? I think not. With a happy, new awareness of the secrets of operating Sony still cameras as video cameras I was anxious to go somewhere visual and put what I've learned into practice.

I grabbed a Sony a6300, along with its 18-105mm zoom lens and a Rode StereoMic, and headed on over. The microphone was there to record natural sound and any chance interviews I might create. I put the camera into the manual mode on the mode selector dial and applied the correct shutter speed and aperture along with Auto ISO (ranging from 100-6400) and headed over. I decided to shoot in 4K just to see how the image stabilization worked with my handheld shooting.

Here's my takeaway: The a6300, when shooting in 4K and downsampling in FCPX to 1080p, makes files that handle noise extremely well, show a high degree of sharpness and saturation and look very detailed on my 27 inch screen. Even with assistance from the lens's I.S. I am hardly a paragon of fine handholding technique and wish I had taken a monopod (at least) to provide a more stable shooting platform. If I eschew the movie mode on the selector dial and just initiate my video clips by leaving the camera in the "M" mode I gain the ability to zoom way, way in for fine focusing before I start shooting, which is a major advantage. I lose the ability to see the exact framing before I start rolling the video. The video frame is always smaller... If I switch to the "M" mode, or one of the other PSAM modes instead of the movie icon I also enable automatic level control for my external microphone. Which can be quite useful. If I need to have exact audio level control then I have to venture back into "movie" mode territory.  C'est la vie.

There were many little voyeuristic snippets I caught as I roamed through the crowds with my camera but I'm resistant to putting up "test" nonsense. My final video observation is that the a6300 is a wonderful and truly portable ENG video camera capable of great image quality; even at ISO 6400. Down at ISO 100 it's almost unbelievable. The cage helps balance out accessories and gives me more to grab on to. I have new respect for my tripods...

My final cultural observation is: I am much more comfortable with these kinds of holidays being more private, family or close community oriented events and less comfortable with them being grand spectacles of modern entertainment culture. The long lines, noisy diesel generators, and crowds of people in the middle of what is usually a beautiful park is a painful reminder that society is in a mad rush to make every life event into a mass spectacle thus robbing each event of its power and dignity. A visual that summed up the intrusion of modern culture into the "tree" at Zilker was the addition, just this year, of big, American flags at each corner of the "tree."  If there is a holiday that should be free of blatant nationalism one would think this would be it...  Can't imagine that Santa has the stars and stripes hanging from his sleigh or that the baby Jesus was swaddled in "old glory" in the manger...

We have succeeded in turning our wonderful "central" park into a tacky, outdoor mall and our holiday into a spectacle. Oh cheer!


SmallRig in use on the Sony A7ii.

Lately, my "go to" camera for doing portrait work in the studio and on location has been the Sony A7 ii. It's the 24 megapixel model and if you look around you might be able to find a lightly used one for around $1,000. The High ISO Whiners would tell you that it's noisy above 3200 but I'd say that if you are really, really picky, and have no idea of how to use the noise reduction features in any of the major post processing programs, you might not even want to use it over 1600. When I put on strong, strong reading glasses and press my noise against my computer screen while diddling the magnification to 100% I can see the noise as clear as day....

But like the fool I am I bought one anyway. And even more foolishly I used it this year to create hundreds of portraits. Which clients happily paid me for. Go figure. I should probably hang my head in shame since none of my full frame cameras focuses faster than I can pull them out of the camera bag. I feel horrible anxiety when "real" pros saunter by with their Nikon D500s since I know I will be unable to photograph my clients (with studio flash) at 10+ frames per second. I hear how great the 153 AF points are but end up wondering why a camera that advanced doesn't have eye auto focus. My A7ii doesn't have it either but the A7rii and the a6300 both do; along with 400+ focusing points... But, once again, I digress. 

I wanted to write about the SmallRig cage I bought for the A7ii and to show you what I meant about holding big lenses stable on tripods while shooting in the vertical orientation. The lens in question is the Rokinon 135mm t2.2 Cine lens. It's pretty front heavy. Sometimes, when I use it on a camera mounted directly to a tripod it droops. And droops can be embarrassing. Especially in the studio. 

After I bought a cage for the a6300 and saw how well it stabilized the camera and transferred the stress of the tripod connection to its own structure I was anxious to try one with the A7ii. This cage fits very tightly and the feel of the construction is just like the cage for the a6300, very high quality. 

The following are a few images from different angles....

So, if you are one of those guys who always handholds cameras, doesn't own a tripod or only uses puny lenses, just ignore all of this and go on doing your craft in the way which you've become accustomed. We're not even grading on a curve here. But if you have a wimpy, little camera and a plump, oversized and front heavy lens you like to use you might consider some sort of "camera prosthesis" to handle tripod work.

While we are on the subject of cages... I did put a XLR mixer and a monitor on the cage on the A7Rii today to record a quick testimonial video for a financial services client. It was great having everything right at hand instead of clamped and cabled away. Can't wait to get the A7 cage set up optimally to be able to move with the camera and watch the image on a 7 inch monitor mounted just above the camera. Should make moving shots just a bit more fun. 


I had such a good experience using the new "cage" on the Sony a6300 I ordered one for the A7Rii.

I recently wrote about ordering a "cage" for the Sony a6300 camera. It's kind of a video thing. The cheese plate surfaces allow you to add shoes for things like microphones and attachment points for things like digital audio recorders and external monitors. The one I bought for the a6300 was very well made and sturdy. The way the rig is designed it holds the camera in place firmly. I can still access the battery and the memory card. 

But there was a bonus that works well for me as a still photographer as well. By anchoring the camera firmly in place, and then giving me lost of quarter inch female sockets everywhere, I am now able to use the small camera with heavy lenses in the vertical orientation on my tripod. In the past a heavy lens would pull its nose down and I was loath to over tighten the tripod screw for fear of damaging the camera. Now, with the lens on the camera, I can orient the rig to make the camera vertical and the stops on the rig hold the camera and lens in place. No more droop. Sounds like a small thing but it means a lot to me in terms of working vertically with bigger lenses. 

Once I figured this out it just made sense to do the same thing for my bigger, A7Rii and A7ii cameras. I ordered a rig/cage made specifically for those two cameras and it came (as promised) today. Now I have a place to attach a microphone that doesn't let the microphone poke me in the forehead as I use the EVF. 
It more or less completes the "run and gun" configuration for those A7xx cameras when using them as video snapshot cameras.  There is one built in shoe on the right side of the rig as I hold it but I will be adding another shoe to the left side of the rig to hold a small XLR mixer box. 

I like the way the rig bulks up the camera for better handholding as well. Nice when video gear also enhances still photography handling. We'll see how it goes but I'm already thinking of researching to see if they have one designed for the RX10 ii. ... 


I almost forgot, a lot of video production is effectively moving the camera. Improv here we come.

In order to show the good functioning of a prosthetic knee and lower leg my client needed some interesting footage. They needed our talent/model to walk backward along this smooth, concrete floor so we could show how well the mechanics of the computer controlled joint worked. There might be people who have practiced walking sideways while keeping a video camera completely shake-free but I'll tell you right now that I'm not one of them. When I'm working I'm looking for control and repeatable results. We can't always engineer that but we can channel our best


Strange things to think about when shooting video. Like wheels.

We have a video shoot next week that skews into the unusual category. At least as far as my typical assignments go. I need to shoot footage of a person walking and the shot needs to be composed mostly to frame our person from about mid-thigh down to the ground. The product is an prosthesis; a lower leg for someone who has had an amputation.

We'll be shooting indoors, on a smooth, concrete floor and I'll need to track along side the person as they walk while shooting in 4K video.

In the best of worlds, with the best of budgets, we'd figure out the exact pathway we'd be traversing and would have a crew lay down dolly track, mount the camera on a Levinson dolly, do a few rehearsals and move on to the next shot. But, as is usual, we won't be operating in that production paradise. I have a small budget and we are not just shooting one pathway but multiple locations all over a large building. It's very much "run and gun" video production.

I've been playing around with options today and remembered a project I did with a film maker named, Steve Mims, back in the 1980's on a music video for Billy Joe Shaver. The opening shot for the music video was a tracking shot of a woman (from the waist down) wearing cowboy boots, carrying a guitar case and walking down the sidewalk on Congress Ave., and then heading into the Continental Club. I modified a Multi-Cart gear cart by bolting a piece of one inch plywood to the bed of the cart, drilling a hole for a large bolt and attaching a fluid tripod head onto it. The fluid head held an Arriflex super 16 camera and a Zeiss 10-100mm lens.

I also used a magic arm to attach a homemade soft box with a 500 watt Lowell Tota-light inside.

Our camera operator laid down on the plywood and ran the camera as one of our grips and I pushed and pulled the cart, matching pace with our talent. It worked very well and an equally fun thing was that our soft light followed along perfectly.

With this in mind I went into the studio and grabbed my Multi-Cart R-10. It's a great cart and has probably saved my lower back a thousand times over. It has nice, fat, pneumatic tires in the back but it has hard, noisy, plastic wheels on casters in the front. It's a piece of cake to rig up a camera mount on one of the rails or the vertical handles on the front and back. But those front wheels.....vexing.

I checked online and found that there is an upgrade wheel available. It's a wide, soft, five or six inch wheel with upgraded casters. I've ordered two of the new wheels and I've started experimenting with camera mounting. I'm using several sets of Super Clamps and Magic Arms. I'll need a rail for the camera and space on the rail for an external video monitor so we can see our composition as we move.

The area we'll be shooting in is well lit but I'll also bring along an extra clamp and arm just in case we want to mount a light out in front to provide a bit more directional pop.

It's fun to play MacGyver on these projects but I've found it's pretty important to practice a few times before the day of the shoot. If for no other reason than to make sure you have all the right parts.

Since all the moving shots are M.O.S. I thought I'd use the little a6300 along with the 18-105mm G lens. It's capable of making really nice video files.  Maybe I'll get a little use out of that new cage after all.