Philip Bloom Filmmaker, DP, Director Thu, 05 Mar 2015 22:19:28 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 The epic “My Rode Reel” film competition returns for 2015 and it’s bigger and better than ever! Thu, 05 Mar 2015 22:19:28 +0000 600x315_second_shooter

My RØDE Reel 2015 with over $200,000 in Prizes from RØDE Microphones on Vimeo.

Last year’s “My Rode Reel” was an exceptional film competition. I was lucky enough to be on the judging panel and the quality was just exceptional.

This was last year’s “Judges Prize” winner and my favourite…

The quality of the entries were so impressive last year and I am expecting even better quality this year with people seeing the high standard of stuff that was in competition last year.

What makes this competition different is the need to have two videos. The actual film and a behind the scenes showing how you made it. This makes it both incredibly creative and also educational for people watching the entries.

I am judging again this year alongside Ryan Connolly, Vincent LaForet and Rodney Charters.

There are more categories/ genres which are also more refined than last year. This is defiantly going to a big help and I am certain a couple of those categories are going to have a lot of entries! :)

Although making a great film is a prize in itself, having the chance of winner amazing prizes helps a lot and this year the prizes are bigger and better! Just LOOK at them!!


Screenshot 2015-03-05 16.55.09


This is how long you have left to enter. Don’t wait until the last-minute! Entries close on the 1st June at Midday Sydney time  

Screenshot 2015-03-05 16.55.37

Screenshot 2015-03-05 16.55.31

From the official press release:

Monday March 2nd 2015, Sydney Australia – Pro-audio brand RØDE Microphones is excited to announce that the ‘My RØDE Reel’ international short film competition – first launched in 2014 to huge international acclaim – will return in 2015, with an increased total prize pool of more than $200,000 in prizes.

My RØDE Reel’s inaugural competition saw RØDE receive a staggering 1,120 entries from 76 countries worldwide, with nine category winners sharing a total prize pool of over $70,000, making it the largest short film competition of its kind.

Entrants to ‘My RØDE Reel’ are required to create a short film of three minutes or less, as well as a behind-the-scenes reel that features a RØDE product being used during the production of the film. RØDE has provided an entry pack that steps through the process, as well as templates for scripting, storyboarding and more, available now by registering at

There are three main awards and prize packs of filmmaking gear available to win — a Judges’ Film award for the best short film in competition, a Judges’ BTS award for the best behind-the-scenes reel, and a publicly voted People’s Choice award for the most popular short film.  Each of these award winners will be presented with an enviable production filmmaking kit valued at more than $40,000.

Additional technical and genre awards and prize packs are available for Best Sound Design, Best Soundtrack and more, and for the first time in 2015 RØDE has announced a Young Filmmaker award, to acknowledge and encourage entrants under the age of 18.

Joining an incredible list of sponsors and bringing the 2015 total prize pool to more than $200,000 are Atomos and Freefly Systems, supplying their Shogun 4K RAW Recorder and MOVI M5 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer respectively to multiple prize packs.  They join an already illustrious list of sponsors including BlackMagic, Carl Zeiss lenses, Miller tripods, RedRock Micro rigs, SmallHD and Teradek monitoring equipment, Kessler sliders and jibs, ThinkTank Photo bags, Event studio monitors, G-Technology storage solutions, software from Adobe and RedGiant, licensing credit from The Music Bed and Film Supply, and of course plenty of RØDE microphones. A full list of the prize packs is available at

Once again, RØDE has brought together a respected judging panel for ‘My RØDE Reel’ that includes inspirational pioneer filmmakers Philip Bloom, Ryan Connolly, Vincent LaForet and Rodney Charters.

“Last year’s My RØDE Reel was really one of the best film competitions I have ever judged.” commented Philip Bloom. “The calibre of entries from all over the world was superb. I can’t wait to see what we get this year, it’s going to be even better I am sure.”

“I’m really excited to engage with the next generation of filmmakers and to see what they come up with in the RODE Reel competition in 2015” added Vincent LaForet. “2014 was an impressive year and I can’t wait to see what they come up with this time!”

Putting its “money where its mouth is”, RØDE has put together its own short film plus a complete series of behind the scenes tutorials to highlight the production process. Hosted by filmmaker Clinton Harn and the RØDE Production team, the course guides viewers through the filmmaking process from pre-production through to shooting and on to post-production.

Entries for ‘My RØDE Reel’ are open from March 2nd and close June 1st. All entrants will receive the exclusive 2015 My RØDE Reel Directors T-shirt, and a free subscription to Hollywood DP Shane Hurlbut’s “Inner Circle” online community.

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For one week only watch the entire first episode of “The Wonder List” for free, no region restrictions! Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:47:13 +0000 600x315_second_shooter

Last night was the premiere episode of the series that has taken up most of my time for the past 7 months, “The Wonder List.”

It’s been an epic endeavor and has taken us to 5 continents and 8 countries.

The series airs a new episode at 10pm (EST) every Sunday on CNN in the USA, but it’s not on CNN International. It’s being distributed globally for broadcast on numerous TV channels worldwide. I don’t have a timetable or know who or where…just that it’s coming!

Fantastically CNN.COM have brilliantly put up a the entire first episode for anyone in the world to watch via streaming from their site! It’s for ONE WEEK ONLY then it gets pulled.

I am really happy this has happened, as so many people have asked when and where they can see it. It’s not ideal, it’s a very compressed HD stream, but it’s better than nothing! This won’t happen for future broadcasts. Just this premiere episode, so watch it while you can. As soon as I know of when and where it’s showing globally, I will share this info!gratical_affiliate_728_3a


Filming on a Volcano in Vanuatu with the Sony FS7

Filming on a Volcano in Vanuatu with the Sony FS7


Filming on Tanna with the Movi M5 and the Sony A7s


Lots of gear being loaded up in the one car on one of the islands in Vanuatu!

Lots of gear being loaded up in the one car on one of the islands in Vanuatu!

So click here or on the image below to be taken to the page where you can stream this!

Below this is a little edit I did for myself of some footage shot for the first episode featuring the Yakel tribe. They feature in the episode but not in the format I have done. There is just so much wonderful footage that it’s great to be able to do little things like this! wonder list behind the shot

Also there is the 8 part “Behind The Shot” series where I take a look at a specific shot from each episode and explain some background about it. The first 3 episodes are up and the rest will follow soon!

my rode reel

Next week’s “The Wonder List” is about the Galapagos so be sure to tune into that if you can!

The in-depth blog posts are still coming, just a little bit behind. Always playing catch-up! :)

Screenshot 2015-03-02 08.04.21



The Wonder List: Yakel Village, Vanuatu from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


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The Wonder List: Behind The Shot Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:34:32 +0000

The Wonder List is a new original documentary series for CNN that airs from March the 1st at 10pm EST in the US. It’s also available on CNN on demand. Other platforms and especially international I don’t know yet, but as soon as I do…

It’s a series about going to special places around the world that are on the brink of change, for whatever reason. We travelled to 5 continents and 8 countries for the 8 episodes over a period of around 6 months. It was truly epic.

I also chose (rather insanely!) to really put a huge amount of production value into shooting the series, despite shooting this more or less as a one-man-band (apart from the B camera and occasional C camera operated by the two producers.) We are talking Sony F55/ FS7 including lots of super slow motion, Sony A7s with Movi was also used a huge amount and, when permitted, I used a “drone” as they are now pretty much officially called, for better or worse. I used a Phantom 2 with GoPro first then switched to the DJI Inspire 1.


Lots of gear being loaded up in the one car on one of the islands in Vanuatu!

Lots of gear being loaded up in the one car on one of the islands in Vanuatu!


The incredible Yakel tribe in Vanuatu

The incredible Yakel tribe in Vanuatu







As part of the additional online content for the show, I have made a series of videos with CNN called “Behind The Shot”. The premise is simple: I take a key shot from each episode and explain the background and thinking behind it. The first episode is about a specific shot I did with the Inspire One that is the debut episode filmed in Vanuatu, which is in the South Pacific.

The Wonder List: Vanuatu "Band Photo"

The Wonder List: Vanuatu “Band Photo”

The Inspire 1 at the time hadn’t been announced. I was use an early pre-production one. It worked pretty well, but the gimbal tilt wasn’t working so I could only point straight, and there was no ability to tweak the picture profiles. Other than that it was an absolute joy. So stable in the air and could take wind that would have blown my Phantom 2 away! I loved the way it sat in the very windy sky angled at 45 degrees (the gimbal of course keeping the camera level) as it was effectively accelerating hard into the wind to keep it in the GPS position!

Screenshot 2015-02-20 17.29.44

Here are some frame grabs taken with the Inspire 1 in Vanuatu









It’s the below frame in particular that is the subject of the first episode of “Behind The Shot.”



Click the image below to be taken to see the the first episode of “Behind The Shot”

Screenshot 2015-02-20 19.44.17





Episode 2 is about the time we were out on safari in India looking for the very rare tigers to film and how I divided, foolishly, to film monkeys flying through the trees at 180fps! They made me wait! Click below to see that one! This is very different from the first episode of Behind The Shot! That was about an epic shot…this is about when things don’t go to plan! :)


The Wonder List: India "Band Photo"

The Wonder List: India
“Band Photo”



Producer Julian Quinones who put together these videos. Famed for being asked in India “HOW are you so good looking?” :)





Super slow motion is of course wonderful, but my god, it eats up data. With no cache recording in either the F55 or FS7 (unlike the internal slow motion of the FS700) it’s all continuous. This is good and bad. Good because you are unlikely to miss a moment, bad because you eat up SO MUCH DATA!! Let this be a cautionary tale for you! ;)

Screenshot 2015-02-20 19.28.19




In the third (and final for now, we are hoping to shoot 5 more next week) episode the focus shifts onto using the Movi M5 stabiliser with the A7s and how, after one particular experience in the Dead Sea episode, I know this combo was going to be essential for the look and feel for our show. It was damn hard work and bloody exhausting after a while but totally worth it.


The exceptional Sony F55 with VOCAS gear on it. Superb add ons to make the camera more user friendly handheld

Filming with the F55 at the Dead Sea


Using the Sony A7s with the Philip Bloom Kessler Pocket Dolly


Setting up the Movi M5 with the A7s at the Dead Sea

In later episodes I took this up a level. A three hour walk/ climb through a sea water mangrove swamp in the Galapagos and in Florida, again surrounded by salt water, I went Kayaking with it on my lap for a few hours. Dicing with gear death maybe…but the results speak for themselves when you see the episodes!

Screenshot 2015-02-20 19.50.16

I hope you enjoyed those! If you want more, then don’t miss the series premiere on Sunday the 1st March at 10pm only on CNN and CNN on demand.

Oh…in the meantime here are the trailers! :)

CNN’s “The Wonder List” Trailer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo

“The Wonder List” New Year Teaser from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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3 day documentary filmmaking workshop in NY with B&H and Canon! Free BVE Talks and win a MoVI M5 whilst at the show! Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:10:30 +0000 1_192610_BVE-2015

Two, no, three big things here about stuff coming up. The first, in chronological order are the two free talks I am giving for BVE next week.

They are on the first two days at 1345 and 1330 respectively. The first is on 4K of course. I have done talks on 4K before, but time progresses. Where are we now? Has much changed? Should you be shooting 4K?

The second is about shooting the new CNN series “The Wonder List” and how I chose to make my life hell by using said 4K, super super motion, drones and a MoVI M5!

Don’t forget to register for the show! Click here to do that!

Screenshot 2015-02-20 18.20.58



Shooting in Mumbai with the Sony F55

Shooting in Mumbai with the Sony F55



On the subject of the MoVI M5, I have teamed up with makers Freefly to give away the same system I used throughout shooting The Wonder List,

Freefly MōVI M5 Essentials Bundle (M5, Pelican Case, Spektrum Controller)



Toad In The Hole Quick Release



MōVI Ring


Total Value: $5395 USD 


How can you win this? 


All you need to do is swing by the Freefly booth and get your badge scanned to be entered to win. Once all entries have been collected, a name will be randomly selected and the winner announced. Must be present to win! This will happen just after my second talk, so around 2:30pm or as close to that as I can get, depending on how much I get stopped trying to rush over there! :)


It will be great to see everyone at the BVE show. I am only there until this giveaway, then I have to race to Heathrow (yes…right the other side of London!) to catch a plane to New York to be there for shooting more “Behind the shot” episodes and for publicity, as the show premieres on Sunday the 1st March! Very exciting!

CNN’s “The Wonder List” Trailer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo


3 day New York documentary filmmaking workshop!


“We’ll Whack Manhattan” from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

After the great success of my 2-day filmmaking workshop at B&H last October, (above is what I shot of the attendees in action!) we are doing another one and making it better by making it longer! This time the focus is specifically on documentary filmmaking, and Canon are sponsoring this one. Each attendee will shoot and edit their own mini doc in New York. The subject? That will be up to you.

This is a FREE workshop and is limited to strictly 25 places. It’s also NOT on a first come first served basis. Much like the last one, you will need to apply for a place. Myself and B&H’s director of marketing Jesicca Bruzzi will assess on the applications.

This will be an intense 3 days and is certainly not for everyone, and is from APRIL 19th till the 21st.

Day one: You will be in the classroom working in teams with me, practicing various exercises and techniques covering moment, visual storytelling, advanced composition, audio and interview technique…all designed to enhance your documentary filmmaking skills in preparation for…

Day two: You will be challenged to find your own story and create a 2-3 minute mini documentary.  I will of course give you lots of guidance on day one, but here you will be left to your own devices! You will not see me on Day two unless you need to. This is valuable time to find and shoot your mini documentary. You will also be expected to start editing at some point that day. There will be edit time on day three, but I thoroughly recommend at least clipping everything up to make your life easier the next day.

Day three:  We will return to the class room to finish your edits and then in the afternoon, whether they are fully finished or not, we screen your work!

This is not a beginner’s class. Attendees will need to be familiar with shooting video on your chosen camera and be a proficient editor. While I will be there on day there to help you out, if you don’t know how to edit, please do not apply. This is a very important skill that you will need to attend this workshop.

You need to bring your own equipment: as in Camera, lenses, filters, audio recorder (or if you have a proper video camera record in camera), lav mic for interviews and of course a good tripod and maybe even lights!

B&H will have a series of Canon DSLRs and lenses on hand for loaners if you would like to try something new.

Does this sound like the workshop for you? If so myself, B&H, and Canon would like to invite you to apply for this workshop. Please sign up using this page, but also send the following information to

Tell us about you and your work?

What equipment do you currently use?

What do you hope to get from this workshop?

How would you rate your shooting and editing skills?

Send us a short video of something you have shot and edited.

You will not be considered for this workshop unless you complete the entire application process and give us answer to these questions. We expect the demand to be very high for this workshop, the one in October had quite a lot of applicants! You have until March 15th to apply! So get cracking!!

Who sort of person do I want to be at the workshop? I am not looking for the best filmmakers. I am looking for people who I feel could benefit from this workshop. How I will decide this will be very much based upon the video you send us and what you say. So please, be 100% honest about everything. Don’t brag, don’t be too humble. Just straight down the line please! :)

You will also need to register on the Eventbrite website when applying

To give you an idea on what is possible in one day, I shot and cut this mini doc below using the Canon 1DX. Nothing was set up. I didn’t even start looking for a subject until 2pm that day, then came across this old movie theatre, spent a couple of hours there, and this is the end result. This is longer than I want from you so don’t worry!



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Shadows & Light: A unique 2-day filmmaking event in the UK in March. Great seminars and workshops! Tickets on sale now! Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:14:38 +0000 gratical_affiliate_728_3a

EDIT: Don’t miss out on the film competition to win a place at the first ever “Shadows & Light”!

I am really excited to announce that booking is open for the first ever “Shadows & Light”. An 2 day even for filmmakers in Brighton on the 23rd and 24th March.

We created this event based on your feedback after I posted a few months back asking what it was you wanted to see from an event like this. Well this is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and it’s going to be totally worth it. 2 days of fantastic, inspiring talented speakers like Vincent LaForet, Nino Leitner, Haz Dullul with more to be added. Plus mini workshops covering a multitude of filmmaking topics, terrific networking, socialising from the Sunday night through to the end with my favourite test spot for new cameras, Brighton Beach, right on the corner.

Below is from when I was last there in December with James Miller testing out the Shogun and the A7s. The first shots are from my home town of Richmond. Below that is my A7s low light test film “Now I See” also shot in Brighton! Thankfully it will be much warmer at the end of March!

James Miller shooting in Brighton

James Miller shooting in Brighton


Now I See from Philip Bloom on Vimeo. Tickets are on sale now at an early bird discount of £495 for the two days. This is until February the 21st. After that the price goes up to the full £595. There are limited spaces of course, so don’t wait too long, as we expect this to fill up quickly! We also have a fantastic location. A terrific classic cinema in the lanes of Brighton. Full details about topics, speakers and everything on the website here!


Screenshot 2015-01-31 16.00.10 Why do we need something like this? Here are my thoughts…

Education in filmmaking is more important than ever. Back in my day, there really were just two choices: film school, or some sort of apprenticeship in a company. Self-taught filmmakers were few and far between, due to the prohibitive cost of equipment, both cameras and editing software. Things have changed drastically, of course. With the onset of affordable but high quality cameras and editing tools, it’s a great time to be a filmmaker.

Now it’s down to the individual, their skill, their ideas, their talent. There was a time not so long ago when the people getting lots of work making corporates and working for some broadcast shows got these jobs because they had the gear. Not because of their talent.

Thankfully that has now changed! My path that started on October 9th 1989 when I was 18, was taking a job at Sky TV working in a portacabin with a degaussing machine recycling tapes. I peeled off labels, ran them through the machines and put new labels on…for six months for £145 a week.

I got my foot in the door and from there moved up a step to a newsroom runner, where I bugged everyone because I wanted to learn. Once in that position, I learnt from some incredibly talented cameramen. It was one of the best forms of education I could do to become a cameraman. It was a journey and took time, but it was totally worth it. It was the best training I could have had.

Seventeen years after starting at Sky, I left to become freelance, and in those eight years since, the learning has gone overdrive! That is key. You never stop learning. You never know it all. You make mistakes – and you learn how to improve from those. This process takes time. Your lifetime! When you realise you never stop learning is when you begin to take your work up a notch.

wonderlist blog posts

First post now up! Second coming soon!

To be a good filmmaker, you need to know how things are done. Personally, I believe you should know how everything is done. Not so you do it all, which sometimes you will of course, but to give you a better understanding of the process. A better respect for specialists and what is achievable. A full understanding of the filmmaking craft.

Through my website I have given back, and it’s become much more than a place to help me get jobs. It’s become an educational resource, and in the seven years it’s been running, I also started doing workshops and seminars. It has been my way of giving back. My way of helping people learn, like I was helped by cameramen when working for Sky. Screenshot-2014-09-18-00.19.58-670x355 That’s what brings us on to Shadows & Light.

There aren’t enough events like this outside of the U.S. and we’ve decided it’s time to correct that! Having spoken at numerous multi-speaker events over the years, I know what works and what doesn’t. The closest thing to this I have done is the excellent “Masters In Motion” in the US that I have been involved with for years…but that’s always in Austin, Texas!

We had the Converge event a few years back which was also similar, but there were only two of those. It really is the time to have a new event for filmmakers with accomplished filmmakers speaking and covering different filmmaking topics…not just fantastic seminars but 4 excellent mini workshops that all attendees get to do. I will be taking one of them.

There are still some speakers to be announced, and that will be very soon, but I promise they will be of a very high quality indeed!

EDIT: Great news Vincent LaForet will be joining us!

Nino Leitner

James Tonkin

James Tonkin

I have never been involved in organising an event before. I am always hired in. I have been co-organising this with Fraser McGruer who has a lot of experience in organising things like this. I am on board to offer my advice, leaving him to do all the work! It’s a bit like when I make films, I really hate producing but love the creative side of things! :)

Tickets are on sale now at an early bird discount of £495 for the two days. This is until February the 21st. After that the price goes up to the full £595. There are limited spaces of course, so don’t wait too long as we expect this to fill up quickly!


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“THE WONDER LIST” POST 1: Choosing the right cameras Thu, 22 Jan 2015 10:13:17 +0000 wonderlist blog posts PART 1

ETHICS STATEMENT: There are lots of banners and web links to products in these posts. More than usual because I am talking about these specific products. These are products I use regularly and are linked to affiliates. Any purchases of these products through these help support this website, its reviews and posts, without costing you a penny more. For more on my ethics please read my ethics statement here. Thank you! :)

CNN’s “The Wonder List” Trailer from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


Shooting in Mumbai with the Sony F55

Shooting in Mumbai with the Sony F55

This is the first in a series of posts about the filming of CNN’s first in-house-produced documentary series, which I was hired to be the director of photography for. Other CNN shows like “Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown” are produced externally. I will be covering many aspects of production from the selection of gear, to travelling, shooting, audio and much more!

Principle photography for the 1st series of CNN’s “The Wonder List” has just wrapped. Filming in 5 continents broken up across 5 months and condensed into 8 episodes! The series is about places, people, creatures that have to be seen before they might disappear. We get to meet incredible people, see amazing landscapes and astonishing creatures, but also look at what is causing this potential threat and where anything being done to stop it.

For example, one episode is about sinking Venice, another about the threat to the wildlife of the Galapagos, another is an episode about the Greek Island of Ikaria, where there is one of the 5 biggest concentrations of people who live past 100…but that’s changing. It was a fascinating series to shoot and I hope will be the same to watch!

We used a LOT of gear, and for a crew as small as we had, it was a massive undertaking, especially given my decision to bring some high-end production devices normally used by me in high-end corporates and commercials. Very much not the norm for a documentary series like this!

This first post covers that eternally tricky question “Which camera to use” very much like a common email question I get “Which camera should I buy?”

It’s incredibly important, as a the wrong camera can handicap you and can make shooting way more challenging than it needs to be.

Filming on a Volcano in Vanuatu with the Sony FS7

Filming on a Volcano in Vanuatu with the Sony FS7

Assessing the Options

There are of course many cameras to choose from. When you’re assessing them, their pros and cons need to be taken into account. I needed super 35mm sensor, excellent image quality, internal full approved for HD broadcast recording format, great ergonomics, and excellent light sensitivity. These are amongst the key factors I considered when assessing the options. I absolutely had no need, like almost every shoot I do, for raw! Just getting that out there. There is a time and a place for it. Documentary and especially broadcast documentary is not it. High end commercials? Feature films? Sure. The massive increase in media, hard drives and post time make in totally unworkable for this kind of shoot. After all, it took until Games Of Thrones’ fourth season I believe to move from ProRes to ARRI RAW!

I learnt my craft in news using on-the-shoulder Betacam cameras. 17 years of back screwing pain in fact! It was only when I went freelance that I started experimenting with different types of video cameras, especially larger sensor ones…and thankfully lighter ones!


There is nothing easier than shooting a documentary with one of these cameras though. The ergonomics are perfect…it goes on your shoulder! Key too is a nice B4 lens with a big range, meaning you can react fast to things happening, and you rarely need to change lenses unless you want a big wide-angle. None of this prime lens malarkey! ;)

The Key Factors

The look CNN wanted was understandably the large sensor look. This is not a problem and is of course what I shoot with 99.9% of the time. I simply don’t use 2/3″ cameras anymore. Although they’re way less convenient, I shoot my documentaries on DSLR style cameras or mostly on S35 camcorders. These days I consider Micro Four Thirds small!

What’s so good about a large sensor? Well it’s a pain when it comes to glass of course. There is no glass out there that matches the range of a good B4 lens. I need to have 3 zooms to give me a decent constant aperture range. A 16-35, 24-70 and 70-200. That still doesn’t come anywhere near close to my 22x B4 lens with 2x extender. That’s one of the sacrifices with super 35mm or full frame.  The benefits are clear though. It looks BLOODY GORGEOUS! The ability to control my depth of field is wonderful. Shallow when I want. Deep when I want a bigger depth of field. It looks cinematic, and as we shot 24p (23.98p) that is the look I wanted for the show. I wanted the series to look cinematic!

So given that a large sensor is essential, what does that leave us to choose from? Well as of July 2014, when I was choosing, there were a few options.  There are of course more now, and by the time you read this post Sony will most likely have brought out half a dozen more! Back then, it was essentially between two cameras. I don’t consider any of the Blackmagic cameras to be documentary cameras. Terrible ergonomics, awful battery life and poor light sensitivity rule them out. They have many great features, they just aren’t doco cameras for me.


Using the F55 in Mumbai, India


Choosing the “A” Camera 

Canon C300 w/ C100 backup (owned by me)

Sony F55 (owned by me)

That’s it!

Sure there are many other options. I am sure people will ask why not the ARRI Amira. Well I haven’t actually used one yet but, it’s a heavy camera and this being a small crew production and a very physical one too, the weight of the camera can make a big difference.

There was also the FS700 from Sony. I owned it at the time, gone now. Replaced by the FS7 which is leaps and bounds better in every way. I never liked it as a documentary camera. Great for other work, just not for documentary. Just my opinion. Poor internal codec, awful screen and ergonomics handicapped a really well-featured camera. You can work around these with a rig and a recorder, but it becomes too big for me to work in this situation. It’s a great camera once you get past these issues, but it wouldn’t work for me here.

CNN told me they use Canon C300 and C100s in-house for their non-news work. I think the C300 is one of the very best Super 35mm camcorders out there for documentary style filming. The image is superb with a lovely 12 stop dynamic range and excellent flat picture profile. The codec is only 50mb/s and 8-bit, but it’s 4:2:2 and surprisingly robust in the grade. Form factor wise, out of the box, it’s actually pretty useable. The rear EVF isn’t horrible and the main screen is excellent. Stick a Zacuto Z-Finder over that screen and it becomes way better.

I have used the camera a lot but I actually sold it last year after buying the F55. I couldn’t justify owning both even though the F55 isn’t as doco friendly as the Canon but it certainly can work in that environment. It’s heavier, uses V-Locks which means more weight (for luggage too), the way it deals with audio isn’t as simple, and it requires a rig.

Shooting with a C300

Shooting with a C300

The exceptional Sony F55 with VOCAS gear on it. Superb add ons to make the camera more user friendly handheld

The exceptional Sony F55 with VOCAS gear on it. Superb add ons to make the camera more user friendly handheld

I do personally think the Sony F55 is (still) the best camera on the market though. It has a superb image, global shutter, good low light sensitivity, works well on the shoulder, good audio handling, 14 stop dynamic range,  in camera 4K and HD as well as 2K crop mode, up to 180fps slow motion internally, slick integration with raw recorder if needed and much more.

It’s at home shooting feature films as it is shooting one-man-band. It’s not cheap though. I bought it 18 months ago under 2-year zero percent finance. So it’s still not paid off yet! When you add it all up, especially the expensive media and EVF (which I wouldn’t buy now having used the Zacuto Gratical) then this is a hell of an investment. Almost as much as I spent when I bought a RED Epic.

Screenshot 2015-01-22 21.50.30

My Sony F55 with the $5k OLED EVF

My Sony F55 with Vocas support gear. Not the hand grip that Sony have essentially adopted as part of the FS7. Very natural way of holding the camera.


My gorgeous F55 with Small HD DP7 Pro High Bright Monitor, GL Optics 18-35, Vocas gear and RSS FSH-350 tripod

Shooting with the FS7 in Florida

Shooting with the FS7 in Florida

Screenshot 2015-02-10 10.39.30

Bang-for-buck-wise then, that crown belongs to the exceptional Sony FS7 above. I will be doing a review of this soon. This camera wasn’t an option when we started shooting, as it didn’t come out until November last year. Now I think it’s the best documentary camera on the market, but more of that in a later post (and review!)

Making that decision

Truth be told, I prefer the out-of-the camera image of the C300 to that of the Sony cameras. In Cinema Lock mode it’s just lovely. 12 stops of dynamic range, a lovely log profile and wonderful detail…it’s an exceptional HD real-time camera. Now that is where the problem lies. I wanted slow motion. Proper slow motion. More than 60fps and most definitely at more than 720p. That’s the problem with the C300: that’s all it does.

Mount Yasur volcano eruption at 180fps on Sony FS7 for CNN’s “The Wonder List” from Philip Bloom extras on Vimeo.

Super slow motion is one of the things that I wanted to be a signature look of the show when I spoke to CNN.

The job came about after I got an email from the presenter of the show, Bill Weir, asking if I would be interesting in shooting the series. He pitched it to me, it sounded very interesting, and coincidentally I was going to be where the show was being produced, NY, in about a week or so.

I met with him and Amy Entails, Senior Vice President, Talent and Content Development for CNN Worldwide. We chatted about what I had done and most importantly how I envisaged the series looking. I had a few ideas that excited them. I agreed to come on board, and not long after I put together this little video below based upon previously shot work to help us decide on the look of the show.


Potential techniques/ gear to use for “The Wonder List” from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

That brings us back to the C300 and the desire to use super slow motion. They wanted it, I wanted it, and the C100 doesn’t do it. That meant it had to be the F55. Why the F55 and not the F5? It’s the camera I own that’s why. Simple reason.

We did have the 4K discussion. I wanted to shoot the series in 4K as the place and stories we were going to were so special that I wanted to shoot in the best possible format. Of course CNN isn’t a 4K channel…what is? This would be shot 4K for “future proofing” reasons for the most part.

There was a problem or two though. The increase in cost was obviously a factor, with more money needed for post and storage. A big issue for me would be time needed to offload the material. Knowing how long offload takes as it is, shooting in 4K would add a lot more time to the day (I will be covering this aspect of production in a future post.)


B Cameras

The other big issue was with the b-cameras. Most likely the Sony A7s was going to be used by myself for certain stuff and also one of CNN’s Canon C300 or C100s. We actually ended up with the C100, which is actually a bloody good camera. I reviewed it a while back, and with its price tag of $4000 now, it’s a bit of a bargain. It has the same gorgeous image as the C300, just with a lesser codec, screen and EVF. Add a Ninja Blade onto it, and you have a killer combo. I haven’t used the C100 II yet, its improvements are there for sure, but it’s not a world away from the Sony FS7 price, whose features eclipse the C100 II by a huge margin…still if all you want is HD then it’s a great camera.

The plan was that there would be a main second shooter in the team. That person would also be the producer for the episode. Two producers alternating episodes. Because of these cameras being used, making a 4K episode would be practically impossible. The Atomos Shogun has only been out about a month…I, like most, expected it to come out much sooner. Without it, or the recently released Convergent Design Odyssey 7q+, then 4K out of the A7s would be impossible.

So with these problems it was decided that we would shoot in HD. I actually shot quite a few times in 4K on the F55 and FS7 on the series for certain magical times that I simply couldn’t bring myself to shoot in “just” HD…it just meant they had to be transcoded for editing.

One of my big pros for shooting 4K for an HD program is the ability to crop. I knew the footage would be ingested as HD by the post production house, so that benefit would be lost. The biggest loss in doing so would be if I had shot the interviews in 4K.  I didn’t, knowing this would be a waste of data and time.

We actually had 3 cameras on most of the interviews. A wide and two dirty singles. This meant three cameras, three DIFFERENT cameras on each interview. My A7s, the C100 and the F55. Matching this is fine if you are a good colourist. If you aren’t a good colourist then best to keep all the cameras the same. What would most definitely help would be using an X-Rite passport below. Shoot this for a second or two on each camera in each lighting environment saves a huge amount of work when colour correcting. I cannot recommend them enough!


Screenshot 2015-01-22 21.59.43


Codecs and bit rates

Normally for HD productions you are told you cameras need to be a certain bit-rate and colour space. The minimum is generally 50mbps and 4:2:2. The Canon C300 fits this….just. The C100 does not, with its 24Mbps and 4:2:0. The A7s is in XAVC-S mode 50Mbps and 4:2:0. The F55 and FS7 in XAVC-I is 100Mbps 4:2:2 and something I feel is more important that colour space is bit depth…it’s 10 bit rather than 8 bit, which all the others are. Even when connected to an external recorder, none of the cameras other than the F55 and FS7 output 10 bit, they are uncompressed and 4:2:2 but still only 8 bit. Whilst this is not the end of the world, it’s often a big consideration when choosing which camera.

Interestingly, there were no guidelines set by CNN for the show, but that didn’t stop me wanting to shoot in a decent format. The A-camera was sorted out, as I mentioned the F55 is of a very high quality internally. To improve the B-Cameras, external recorders would need to be used. For the C100 and A7s that generally meant the Atomos Ninja Blade. An affordable monitor/ recorder combo. It can record in various forms of ProRes or avid DNxHD. I do very much recommend it. Although the A7s XAVC-s codec is actually pretty damn good. If you shoot in S-log 2 though, I would really recommend using an external recorder as it needs more treatment in post, so the better more robust codec is preferred.

For more on codecs check out David Kong’s post on my site hereScreenshot 2015-01-22 23.59.28

Screenshot 2015-01-22 21.36.15

My collection of GoPro 4 and 3+ on a boat out in the Galapagos

My collection of GoPro 4 and 3+ on a boat out in the Galapagos

GoPros would also be used heavily on every episode. They are great to put anywhere and of course essential for underwater filming unless you go down the whole underwater housing route for the main cameras. Also for use with the DJI Phantom, where using one was permitted. I will talk more about these and using the Inspire One later on in the series in a future blog post about the actual day-to-day shooting.

Screenshot 2015-01-22 22.04.00


Screenshot 2015-01-22 21.51.48

Why the A7s?

The Sony A7s is an incredible little camera. If you follow me on my various social media platforms, you will have seen me sharing quite a lot from this camera from the shoots.

My original idea was to use this as B camera to replace the F55 when the F55 was too conspicuous or too awkward, and of course for any real low light situations. What actually transpired was that I brought the amazing Movi M5 with me to a get together for the team before we started filming,

I wasn’t planning on using it for the series, but after using it for a few pre-shoot shots, it had to come with. Throughout the shooting of the series it became absolutely essential and it features heavily. I will be covering how I used it in a separate future Wonder List blog post soon.

SUPERMOON: Low light test for CNN’s “The Wonder List” from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Using the A7s in Mumbai after getting grief for using the F55!

Using the A7s in Mumbai after getting grief for using the F55!


Movi M5, A7s in Venice


Movi M5, A7s, Small HD DP7 Pro, Rode Video Mic Pro in India


Screenshot 2015-01-22 21.56.04Screenshot 2015-01-22 21.56.14

That’s it for post one! The second post is about which accessories I used. Which monitors, mics, after shave. All the essentials. Then the next post is about how to travel with it all. The need or not need for carnets, packing, excess baggage etc. Then we get onto the actual shooting part both the creative decisions and practical realities. Lots of posts to come! Brace yourselves!!

Until then, here is the teaser that went live on New Year’s Eve on CNN, shot with a pre-production Inspire One back in November!

“The Wonder List” premieres on Sunday March 1st at 10pm EST. I don’t know how it is being broadcast internationally yet.

“The Wonder List” New Year Teaser from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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Review of the Zacuto Gratical EVF Thu, 15 Jan 2015 02:04:40 +0000 Screenshot 2015-01-21 18.45.30

ETHICS STATEMENT: Zacuto are long-term site affiliates and the co-owner, Steve Weiss, has been a dear friend for years. We have also co-hosted the show “Critics” together for about 4 years or so too.

Whilst I still would like to call this a “review” of their new EVF, for 100% disclosure reasons please do take into account our relationship. Although, I do hope I have managed to put aside any personal bias I may have. I don’t use Zacuto support gear exclusively at all. I use Vocas, Movcam and many others as well as my Zacuto stuff. I always use what works for me, regardless of the brand.

If after watching the review you want to buy a Gratical, then doing so through my affiliate link helps enormously with the running of this site and I am very grateful.

For more on my ethics please click here. 


Shooting with the Sony FS7 and Zacuto Gratical in Florida for "The Wonder List"

Shooting with the Sony FS7 and Zacuto Gratical in Florida for “The Wonder List”

I wish all cameras came with exceptional electronic view finders. Sadly, few do. Back in the old days I used B&W view finders for my Betacams. You can feel a bit nostalgic about them in a way. They were in the right place and they worked. Although they were B&W and actually very low resolution, which wasn’t a massive deal as this was in the old standard definition days.

With the advent of HD and especially large sensor camcorders, we need our viewfinders to be good, really good. After all, how are you supposed to get focus if your viewfinder sucks?? LCD screens are great to have, but have issues. You aren’t “part” of the image (unless you’re using a loop on them like a z-finder).

The C300 EVF is OK…the original C100 is very poor, the Mk 2 better. The FS100/ 700 screen/ loops not great at all. Ironically, the best EVFs that come with cameras are on the cheaper cameras….the stills ones like the A7s etc.


Monitors are great for tripod work but not for handheld, for me. I don’t want a big screen in front of my face in this situation, nor can I actually focus on anything that close. Viewfinders are essential for me when shooting handheld.

When using my “proper” video cameras like my F55 or FS7, I almost always use my Small HD DP-7 Pro High-Bright on the tripod. This monitor is exceptional as it can be used in bright sunlight outside. Most monitors cannot, and that’s also where a good viewfinder become invaluable. The ability to see what you are shooting in strong lighting conditions. For me I love to use both. The only time I take my monitor off is when I am exclusively shooting handheld, as it gets in the way.




Zacuto brought out their EVF about 3 and a half years ago which worked with their Z-Finder. This is whole new beast. A dedicated OLED panel with very high-end features. When Steve told me they were developing a high-end EVF I wasn’t sure this was a great idea. I have bought two very expensive EVFs in the past few years. The Bomb EVF for my RED Epic and the Sony OLED for the F5/ F55. The Bomb costs $3,200 and the Sony one almost $5,000! OUCH! This is an expensive and quite a niche market really.

The most frustrating thing about those two EVFs is that they only work on those cameras. They aren’t portable. The Sony one doesn’t even work on the new FS7.

So with that knowledge, the idea of having a high-end EVF that is not camera-specific is a pretty good one, especially if it’s a really good EVF, as both the Bomb EVF and Sony OLED are not exactly great. If I am going to spend this sort of cash on an EVF, I want it to be portable. The whole “not being able to use my F55 EVF on my FS7″ really rammed this home for me.


My Sony F55 with the $5k OLED EVF

My Sony F55 with the $5k OLED EVF

The RED Epic with Bomb EVF

The RED Epic with Bomb EVF

I have done a video review covering my thoughts. I absolutely believe I am objective here, despite my relationship with Steve and Zacuto (please read my opening ethics paragraph for more on this.) I only did this video review because the EVF was so good. Otherwise I wouldn’t have put the time and effort into something I didn’t rate.

I used it solidly for 10 days with my FS7 in the Florida Everglades filming the last episode of CNN’s “The Wonder List”…easily the best way to test it, in a real world use situation, and it I was very impressed indeed.

This is an exceptional EVF, but it’s obviously not for everyone. I am going to sell my Sony OLED one, as this makes it utterly redundant, being so much better. I understand that Zacuto will be bringing out a cheaper, lower resolution version later this year. For me, the exceptional image quality is the key feature of this, and it would be quite a loss feature-wise although I haven’t seen this lower rez cheaper one.

If after watching my review you want to order the Gratical right now for the discounted price of $2900 until the end of January only, any purchase through my link below helps support my site and any future reviews without costing you anymore and is gratefully appreciated!


Gratical HD Micro-OLED EVF Car Test from Zacuto on Vimeo.

Gratical HD Micro-OLED EVF Drop-Test from Zacuto on Vimeo.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 11.00.38 PM


Chat with Zacuto’s Steve Weiss about the Gratical EVF from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.

This chat was recorded when I visiting Zacuto last week. I took advantage of their facilities to record my review of the Gratical there, without any interference I promise!





Screen Dimension- 0.61” diagonal
Resolution – Full Display 1280×1024, 16×9 1280×720 HD
Contrast Ratio – 10,000:1
Refresh Rate – 60Hz
Color Depth – 24 bit RGB
Luminance – 120-250 cd/m^2
Pixel Info – 2687.21 PPI
                5.4 million pixels
                16.7 million colors
Custom Scaling/User Presets
Color Processor – RGB, saturation, brightness, contrast
Zebra Stripes – Customize width, color, thresholds
Waveform (3D)
Histogram (RGB, Luma)
Audio Meters
LUT creation and import
Red Line Peaking
False Color
Frame Store Feature
Test Pattern (color bars & Macbeth)
Eight programmable buttons
Frame Rates – 23.98p, 23.98PsF, 24p, 24PsF, 25p, 25PsF, 29.97PsF, 50i, 50p, 59.94i, 60i, 60p
HDMI – 1.4b compliant, resolutions up to 1080p/60, loop out
HD-SDI – Resolutions up to 1080p/60, loop out
Cross Conversion – HDMI to HD-SDI, independent LUT on output stream
Voltage Input – 6-28V
Compatible with LP-E6 battery (7.8V 1800mAH LiON)
Battery run time ~ 4 hours constant run

Florida-675 Florida-458-2

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Guest Post: The Filmmaker’s Workshop Wed, 14 Jan 2015 18:12:49 +0000 Screenshot 2015-01-21 18.45.30

Guest blog for the filmmakers workshop by Adam Loretz

Adam Loretz

Adam Loretz

Take it from the top
Filmmaking is a constantly evolving process and as such requires us all to pick up new skills. Every year we’re reimagining filmic possibilities and honing our production skills; on DSLR, film-like imagery, making perfect slider shots, flying aerial platforms to mobilising our cameras on stabilisation devices. There’s a learning curve with this new technology that keeps us all on our mettle, and seemingly since the 5dMk2 came out* in 2010 – transfixed on shooting. And yet, there is so much more to the filmmaking process, some old and some new.
The old stuff is still worth knowing too, because unless you’re modus operandi is a box opening video, it’s massively helpful to know a bit about pre production, dare I say it – film theory (even), developing your ideas, storyboarding, budgeting etc. The other ‘new’ things, that I, at least find exciting, are the prospects for improved post production and distribution.

Platforms like Wipster ( Movidiam ( are shaping up nicely to help us filmmakers showcase our films and improve our workflows and as a for a goal – the doors of Amazon Studios are now wide open for your scripts or films. They have a creative community for development and pay well too ; ) All super exciting stuff (
I’ll pause on that note for a sec, to say hello. I’m Adam Loretz a filmmaker with 15 years experience of shooting and editing, mostly corporates (but very much headed towards narrative films). I am always curious about the filmmaking process, there is so much to learn about each production role. Lucky for me, I have a great network of filmmaker friends to ask questions. Whilst I’m at it, I thought – ‘why not shoot this and share it’.
So, What are we waiting for? Well, lots of technological evolution kicks up dirt – and as the dust settles the filmmakers path reappears, parts of it reshaped and the journey not always clear (just tweet @vincentlaforetVincent LaForet about Pre roll and clapperboards or filmmaking craft). Needless to say, I’m as excited as the next filmmaker about joining up the dots between the old and the new elements of the modern filmmaking process.
With a little more orientation and sharing, I’m sure we can all make greater progress on our filmmaking journeys.
I’m shining my light in two ways for the filmmaking cause, through an online and event entity called The Filmmakers Workshop 
Firstly, I’m taking it to the top – interviewing directors, writers, DOPs and other production crew about their experiences in the filmmaking process. I kicked this off a few months ago interviewing a couple of first time feature directors, Drew Casson (Hungerford) and David LG Hughes (Hard Boiled Sweets). For those of you who are thinking – ‘He said he was taking it to the top’ – You got it! So, for my third interview I had the privilege of an in depth, fun Q & A with Hollywood cinematographer Shane Hurlbut ASC – amongst whose 19 movies, includes Terminator Salvation and Need for Speed.Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 11.00.38 PM
Next up, is a seasoned Hollywood animator, turned live action director Richard Bazley whose credits include The Iron Giant, Hercules and Pocahontas. As well as a sweet personal story, Richard is a true filmmaking craftsman and the projects his partnership with Gary ‘Star Wars’ Kurtz and Paul Goodenough at GBK Hybrid should prick up your ears.
Richard Bazley

Richard Bazley


Shane Hurlbut


Drew Casson


David LG Hughes

Subscribe, that is on my timeline now and will be live soon.

Please subscribe, comment, and give us your feedback so my hugely talented partners at
The Filmmakers Workshop; John Rippin (RPAS qualified pilot/drone and stabilisation rig builder) and Simon Difazio (cameraman) and I can deliver the best content about filmmakers and the filmmaking process. Standby for more interviews, tutorials and BTS’s.
The second way The Filmmakers Workshop is here to up your game is in the form of events and hands on workshops, which will all be presented by leading TV and film professionals from spring 2015. We are currently finalising a list of subjects and scheduling presenters which we aim to release in January.
Our first event was held in 2013 and was guest presented by Philip Bloom. It sold out in 36 hours – the BTS gives you a flavour.

If you are a filmmaker and would like to help shape future workshops, get in touch about
your filmmaking goals by emailing me, (all enquiries are strictly private and confidential) at
Finally, I’d like to thank Philip for supporting The Filmmakers Workshop.
To stay up to speed with The Filmmakers Workshop you can find out the latest here: or follow us on Twitter @FilmmakersWS
*The 5Dmk2 firmware to shoot 24 and 25P came out in 2010 unlocking it’s filmmaking
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How to Choose Export Settings Wed, 07 Jan 2015 06:23:22 +0000 600x315_second_shooter



David Kong here with another tutorial for you! This time, on choosing export settings.

This video takes a practical approach as I go step by step through the interface of Adobe Media Encoder, which both Premiere Pro and After Effects use. I explain what each of those options and sliders and checkboxes means, and more importantly I give some advice about how and when to use them.

This tutorial follows on from my last tutorial, Understanding Codecs. In that video, I explain the principles that codecs use to compress data efficiently – at least, I gave a good summary, since giving all the details would take weeks! They really are quite complex. You don’t have to have seen my first tutorial first, but it will definitely help!

Here’s an overview of what I cover:

First, I give a brief run-down of the different presets, the interface, and how to use it effectively. Then I hit each of the options in the video encoding options for h.264 video:

The Match Source button

Frame Rates

Field Order and Interlacing vs Progressive video

Pixel Aspect Ratios – and why they exist

Profiles – and how you decide when to use which one

Level – what it is, and when you might need to worry about it

Render at Maximum Depth – I hit this one briefly, but you really need to watch my first video to understand the difference that deeper bit depth makes

CBR vs VBR 1-pass vs VBR 2-pass – I spend a bit of time on this, explaining the purpose of each of these and showing why the slower ones are better (particularly why 2-pass is much better than 1-pass)

How to choose bitrates based on source footage and delivery specifications

Key Frame Distance – I cover what this does, and also address a common mistake when people set this to “1” without properly understanding what that does

Use Maximum Render Quality

Use Previews

Use Frame Blending

I also take a moment to talk about different file delivery scenarios and how your choices will change based on where the final file is going, and who’s watching it.

As always, please comment if you have any questions.


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Vimeo sneaks in 4K streaming. Hooray! Sat, 03 Jan 2015 14:03:54 +0000

4K is here. Something Happened last week that confirmed this to me. I was in my local supermarket in London and a family were buying all their groceries and an LG UHD TV. When it hits the supermarket, it is no longer a high-end niche product… although there still is very little to watch other than Breaking Bad and House Of Cards on Netflix!

Almost all the 4K content I watch is from the Internet…essentially YouTube. I updated my Samsung UHD in the summer giving me Netflix 4K and an improved YouTube app that now supports the playback of 4K.

YouTube on computers has had 4K for quite a while now. I don’t like YouTube really. It’s messy, full of crap, and the community can be pretty rude. I love Vimeo, but Vimeo has had no 4K streaming suppport. I shoot a lot of personal projects in 4k (very few paid gigs though) and I have uploaded 4k versions for well over a year. The Vimeo conversion engine converts them to HD, and there is a download original version in 4K for Pro and Plus members.

On December the 8th, Vimeo announced 4K download support. This means if you upload a 4K video is will also create a compressed UHD download version alongside the original. Actually, I uploaded a test 8K Timelapse shot from the Pentax 645z a week or so ago and was surprised to see that it created a 4K UHD version of that for download. No streaming though.


A few days ago my business partner James Miller uploaded a test edit of some stuff he shot whilst we were trying out the Atomos Shogun 4K recorder and the Sony A7s. He told me it was streaming in 4K. I said it wasn’t, but after doing some test uploads he confirmed it.

Brighton Beach, Shooting the Sony A7s & Atomos Shogun

Brighton Beach, Shooting the Sony A7s & Atomos Shogun

James shooting his Sony A7s & Atomos Shogun

James shooting his Sony A7s & Atomos Shogun

This hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed by Vimeo, but it’s true. Whether this is specifically for pro users or plus members have it too, I can’t confirm right now.



At the moment,there are a number of specific settings you to need to make this work, and it only works on new uploads. Anything that’s already uploaded in 4k will need to be re-uploaded to take advantage of 4k streaming. I am currently away shooting “The Wonder List” for CNN in Florida, and my hotel internet is from 1985 so I will have to wait to do this with my work. EDIT: I have just upload “Postcard from Miami” which you can view below.  I am hoping I have ticked all the boxes to let this stream in 4k! :)

From James: The example films were transcoded/rendered using Adobe Media Encoder in H.264 (.mp4 container) using the 5.2 Profile to allow 3840×2160 resolution to be input. A CBR (constant bitrate) of around 120Mbps was selected. I have found if the film is longer than 3mins, you can select a lower bitrate for encoding, around 60Mbps. But to play safe keep at 120Mbps if you can afford the upload space and transfer time.

UHD Setting in AME within Premiere

UHD Setting in AME within Premiere

When the .MP4 file is produced, upload to your Vimeo Pro account and let Vimeo process all the resolutions. You can check the progress of this by selecting the downloads button. Under here you will see everything from Mobile SD to Original source.

Once Vimeo has processed the ‘Ultra HD 4k’ file (it will appear here, under downloads). Go into films ‘settings’ menu and under ‘Video File’ select the 1080p radio button. That’s it, your video should be in 4k UHD. Test it by making sure the scaling button is not selected on the full screen playback. Ideally if you have a Retina Macbook or a iMac 5k, it should be very clear it’s playing back in 4k.

Note: (Do make sure you wait until Vimeo has finished processing the UHD file before clicking on that 1080p radio button, otherwise you might be left only with 1080 playback)

Also we can also now stream 2.5k (2560×1440). Create your transcode using h.264 (.mp4) at 2560×1440, Profile 5.2 and CBR 60Mbps. Follow same upload procedure as 4k and your film will be displayed at 2.5k. Not that much bigger than HD you might think, but the bitrate will be over twice the size.

Why do this? Well this allows much more detail to be shown when streaming and not the massive download hit as 4k. A really sweet spot I think for speedy playback and very high quality.

Atomos Shogun & Sony A7s (4k Streaming)

British Camping / RED Epic Dragon (4k Streaming)

A re upload of an older 4k film on Vimeo. Nice thing is you can download the source file and just reupload it.

Four Corners: Postcard from Miami Beach from Philip Bloom: Four Corners on Vimeo.


Here are is the Vimeo encoded details of some select examples of UHD, 1440p & HD found here. Look at the Original Source size and the Processed file size once Vimeo has transcoded the file. You can see the differences here of what you will stream. (Listed below for you to view)

• 4k UHD 21MB Streaming file (Original Source 128MB)

• HD 1440p 9MB Streaming file (Original Source 64MB)

• HD 1080p 4MB Streaming (Original Source 32MB)

We will have to wait for the official word from Vimeo and their specification for Transcoding 4k content to be streamed. But for now, this works well.


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