RØDE Releases the Videomicro II

RØDE  says the VideoMicro II takes everything that made the original such a success and introduces several new features for enhanced performance, redefining the gold standard for ultra-compact on-camera audio.

Key Features:

  • Professional-grade on-camera shotgun microphone
  • Supercardioid polar pattern for highly directional audio capture
  • RØDE’s annular line tube technology for unmatched transparency and natural, full-bodied sound
  • Innovative HELIX™ isolation mount system for superior protection from knocks, bumps and handling noise
  • 3.5mm TRS output with plug-and-play connectivity and no complicated controls – incredibly easy to use
  • Ultra-compact and lightweight – just 39g
  • Rugged, all-metal body and premium components
  • Deluxe foam and furry windshields and cables for connecting to cameras and smartphones included
  • Designed and made in RØDE’s state-of-the-art facilities in Sydney, Australia

The VideoMicro II records professional audio directly to a camera or smartphone. It is a true shotgun condenser microphone, with a supercardioid polar pattern for highly directional audio capture that focuses on what it is pointed at while reducing background noise.

The body has been completely redesigned, utilising RØDE’s revolutionary annular line tube technology for unmatched transparency and natural, full-bodied sound. The circuitry has also been overhauled, offering enhanced sensitivity and lower self-noise. The VideoMicro II delivers incredible sound quality never heard before in such a compact form factor, but it is just as simple to use as the original.

To aid in its simplicity,tith no batteries required to operate and no complicated controls.

One of the most striking new features of the VideoMicro II is the sleek red suspension mount. This is the HELIX™ isolation mount, a highly innovative shock mount system developed in-house at RØDE specifically for the VideoMicro II.

rode-video-micro-II-front-three-quarter-5760x3240-rgb 1Featuring a groundbreaking design expertly crafted to the exact specifications of the microphone, it solves many of the issues that other shock mounts face when used with compact, lightweight microphones. Moulded from a single piece of advanced Hytrel® thermoplastic, it fully isolates the capsule from vibrations that occur from knocks, bumps and general handling, which can result in rumbles and other audio artefacts in a recording. It is designed to the exact size and weight of the microphone, ensuring optimal stabilisation and acoustic performance, while being super low-profile. It also features handy cable management slots and a standard mount for attaching to a camera cold shoe, plus a 3/8-inch thread for mounting onto a boompole and other accessories.

The VideoMicro II also comes with deluxe foam and furry windshields for protection from wind noise, making it suitable for recording in a wide range of environments, indoors or in the elements. Also included is a 3.5mm TRS to TRS cable for connecting to cameras and a 3.5mm TRS to TRRS cable for connecting to smartphones.

At just 39g, the VideoMicro II is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for use with DSLR and mirrorless cameras, compact and action cameras, and smartphones says RØDE. It is super portable, taking up minimal space in a creator kit, camera bag, or simply a backpack or handbag. It is also incredibly tough, designed and made in RØDE’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Sydney, Australia using premium components, including a rugged, all-metal body and broadcast-grade capsule.

The VideoMicro II is shipping worldwide now and is available for US$79. To find out more, head to rode.com/videomicro-ii.

Star Wars fan? Who Isn’t?

Today, Star Wars fans have another way to feel the power of the Force with three new collectible Seagate® Hard Disk Drives (HDD) inspired by heroes and villains of the Star Wars galaxy. Featuring Luke Skywalker™, Darth Vader™, and Han Solo™, the latest additions to the company’s line of licensed special edition storage devices bring speed, capacity, and striking appearance to the battle stations of Star Wars collectors and tech enthusiasts. 

The special edition FireCuda external hard drives represent the famed characters with three unique aesthetics: the courage of Luke Skywalker, the raw power of Darth Vader, and the confidence of the galaxy’s favourite smuggler, Han Solo. The drives offer customisable RGB LED lighting1 and each design features a default custom character light out-of-the-box: a forceful blue for Luke Skywalker, a wrathful red for Darth Vader, and a white glow reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon for Han Solo. With built-in and customisable lighting options, all three of the drives enable Star Wars enthusiasts and gamers to awaken the powers of the Force at home. 

With 2TB of capacity, the FireCuda External Hard Drives (HDD) work with PC, Mac, PlayStation, and Xbox so tech enthusiasts can gather and store a galaxy of media, files, and games, regardless of operating system2.  Designed with USB 3.2 Gen 1 connection for universal compatibility and quick transfer speeds, and USB bus-powered, the lightweight drives are the perfect match for Star Wars fans looking for spectacular storage while on the go. The special edition drives include Seagate’s three-year limited warranty and three-years of Rescue Data Recovery Services™ so users have peace of mind as they embark on adventure.

The new collectible drives are available today from all leading retailers for AU$145 and NZ$175 (2TB).

Please visit the press kit to view and download images.

 PC required to set RGB color and light pattern using free Seagate Toolkit software.

2 Visit Seagate website for operating system requirements.

New Zhiyun Fiveray F100 and M40 Pro Lights

ZHIYUNhas launched the FIVERAY M40 pocket fill light and the FIVERAY F100 stick light. With their launch, ZHIYUN pushes the boundaries of lighting technology and performance to put studio-quality, ultra-portable lighting products in the hands of content creators. Used with ZHIYUN handheld gimbals, content creators can create silky-smooth footage with stable and soft lighting, even in dark outdoor settings, thanks to its stay-cool technology.

By raising the cooling efficiency through intelligent control, its two-way cooling system prevents overheating.

The palm-sized ZHIYUN M40 360° fill light epitomizes simplicity and utility. Based on the attitude-control algorithm applied on gimbals, DynaVort technology enables better heat dispersion, allows for smaller fans, and therefore, a compact device without compromising on its 40W power; whereas products of a comparable size currently only offer 5-13W. Weighing only 320g, it fits neatly in pockets, looks stylish and is the ultra-portable illumination companion for videographers, whether amateur or professional.

Yilun Liao, CEO, ZHIYUN, said: “we are passionate about using breakthrough innovations – whether it’s with our iconic gimbals or our new FIVERAY lighting devices – to simplify and reshape content creation. With several industry firsts under our belts including the M40’s DynaVort Cooling System™, our products offer full creative control and convenience for anyone wanting to experience and express their inner filmmaker.”

m40The ZHIYUN M40, embedded with 176 LED chips rivals the key lights provided by bulkier products on the market with:

  • Incredible illuminance of 14,000 lux at its peak
  • Adjustable dual color temperature ranging from 2,700-6,200K and consistent power output peaks at 40W with no strobing, ensuring a stable light source
  • A standard fidelity offering for both photography and videography with CRI reaching 96+ and TLCI reaching 97+*

ZHIYUN’s FIVERAY F100 is the second professional lighting stick in its FIVERAY product range, bringing power, portability and accurate color rendition in one versatile tool. Weighing just 950g, F100 is designed for one-handed control and comfort, offering a pro lighting solution without the need for complicated set-up or setting adjustment. Embedded with 5 times more LED chips, F100 gives you ultra-bright output compared to similar-sized lights, reaching 20,708 lux at its 100W maximum power. F100 offers six creative lighting effects that help build up the atmosphere easily when inspiration strikes. For maximum versatility, F100 can be mounted on ZHIYUN’s holder, H stand, tripod and light stand, fitting in various filming settings for lighting solutions and additional accessories, including a diffuser and grid, offer multiple lighting options.

The ZHIYUN F100 is packed with features:

  • One click operation of Hue Saturation Intensity mode via the control dial: HSI Mode. Adjust H-Hue (0-360°), S-Saturation (0-100%), I- Intensity (0-100%) via the dial and experience rich, vibrant colors.
  • Frosted casing creates a diffused, warm ambience while its groundbreaking structure integrates portability and performance.
  • Professional color rendition with the RGB increased by 47% from 2700K to 6200K in CCT Mode

Pricing and availability

Available from 23rd November 2022,

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY M40 is available for USD$99.

The ZHIYUN FIVERAY F100 is available for USD$249.

From December 7th to December 8th, the F100 and M40 will be available on a buy-one-get-one-free basis from Amazon ZHIYUN store, AliExpress, B&H, and ZHIYUN official store.

Expensive! And you thought losing your drone was bad… have a thought for this!

Last night Perth (in Western Australia, not Scotland) held its annual City of Light Christmas Show that featured 500 drones. But something went wrong and about 50 of them simply dropped from the sky into the Swan River. The total cost of the loss is estimated to be around $100,000 according to Drone Sky Show managing director Joshua Van Ross.

No cause is yet apparent as to what befell the casualties, but today divers are attempting to salvage as many as they can to try and ascertain what went wrong.

Nobody in the huge crowd was in danger by the way as there was a 120 metre exsclusion zone around the area the drones were flying – or not as the case may be.

Perth is known as the “City of Light” because in 1962, Perth residents and businesses left on their lights, shone torches to the sky and lit lanterns to generate as much light as possible – Astronaut John Glenn commented on the brightness from space and Perth became known as The City of Light.  Glenn was the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth.

Image and footage from Nine News Perth


New Elgato Stream Deck +

We don’t know too much about it as yet, having only received a flyer with lots of pictures, and the information that you can “download over 200 ready made plugins or map keyboard shortcuts to keys and dials“. See more here.

2022-11-16_09-50-41I also know that our friends at SideshowFX must have been aware this was coming as they have simultaneously announced profiles for DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Photoshop and Cubase are already available.

See more here.

RØDE Releases the NT-USB+ Professional Mic

RØDE has today announced a new addition to its industry-leading range of USB microphones, the NT-USB+. Based on the legendary NT-USB, the NT-USB+ is a professional-grade USB microphone loaded with next-generation features. It is also compact, portable and versatile, making it say RØDE,the ideal microphone for musicians, podcasters, streamers and professionals who want to capture studio-quality sound with ease.

Key Features

  • Studio-grade condenser capsule and tight cardioid polar pattern, delivering pristine audio ideal for recording vocals, speech and instruments
  • Ultra-low-noise, high-gain Revolution Preamp™ and high-resolution 24-bit/48kHz analog-to-digital conversion for professional sound quality with stunning clarity
  • Internal DSP for advanced audio processing powered by APHEX® – including a compressor, noise gate and legendary Aural Exciter™ and Big Bottom™ effects
  • High-power headphone output for zero-latency monitoring, complete with level and mix controls
  • USB-C output for plug-and-play connectivity with computers, smartphones and tablets
  • Includes high-quality pop filter and desktop mount – an all-in-one solution for recording professional sound at home or on the go

Designed and made in RØDE’s state-of-the-art facilities in Sydney, Australia

The NT-USB+ is based on the original NT-USB, which was released in 2014. Featuring the same iconic form factor and studio-quality sound as the original, the NT-USB+ builds on this legacy with a number of next-generation enhancements and is set to become a modern classic.

The NT-USB+ retails for USD$169 (AUD$250 approx).
For more details, click here.

Video – DJI MAVIC 3 Flies Over Everest

The environment of Mt Everest is complex and changes fast. DJI engineers made the theoretical calculations about what it would take to fly from the summit and adapted a Mavic 3 to be able to handle the harsh conditions.

But would actually work?

The 8KRaw team reached the summit and became the first climbers to launch a drone from the top of Everest.

The DJI Mavic 3 captured the beauty of this awe-inspiring peak and its surroundings from 9232 m (30289 feet). DJI engineers are already putting the collected data to use on development of future drone technology.

YuanZong Wang
Founder of 8KRaw

“With Mavic 3 which is light small and reliable we saw Everest with a new perspective. I am beyond grateful to the mountain for accepting us.”

With its stabilisation can a GoPro benefit from a gimbal? Absolutely. Here’s why.

There was a question in one of the Facebook GoPro forums today. Someone asked which gimbal they should / could get that would suit a GoPro 10.

Various options were mentioned (my recommendation having tried it is the Zhiyun Crane M2S), but a couple of members scoffed at the thought.

Their reasoning was that the in-camera electronic stabilisation of the current GoPro is more than enough, and a gimbal would offer no advantages.

This is plainly not true if you think further than simple stabilisation.

A gimbal is also incredibly useful to get into tight places and still retain that stability. Think low down or high above your head shots, especially in a fast-moving environment. You get a much firmer “hold” of the camera than handheld will offer.

Another example is the “around the corner” type of shot where the camera is poked around a corner to reveal something. This is very hard to do handheld or even with a selfie stick and retain stability.

(I am guessing this is why Zhiyun use the “crane” moniker by the way as the gimbal is acting as a pseudo crane in many cases).

In low light, you retain stability even if the shutter speed has been slowed and the aperture opened, again giving better stability than in-camera will usually give.

Depending on the model, you can easily add other devices such as mics or lights, thus giving more flexibility (the M2S has a built-in video light complete with magnetic add on colour filters and other Zhiyun models even have a decent built-in mic).

So as you see, a gimbal can be a bit more than a glorified Selfie stick!

Released: DJI Osmo Mobile 6

Those DJI engineers  – and their factories for that matter – have been working overtime of late.

In the last few weeks we have seen the release of the new AVATA FPV drone (which just quietly is a fantastic little beast), the Action 3 (which I haven’t seen in the flesh as yet) and today, the Osmo Mobile 6 was announced.

If you have not been following the DJI story, the Osmo is a gimbal, something that the company of course specialises in, that is designed specifically for smartphones.

Unlike earlier previous iterations of the genre on the market, the 3 axis stabilized Osmo Mobile 6 is packed with what DJI are calling “creative tools”.

For example, a built-in extension stick coupled with a zoom / focus wheel lets you get some really dramatic and different angles that a simple gimbal just can’t offer.

And similar to the Action cameras (and GoPros for that matter) Timelapse, MotionLapse and HyperlLapse function are built in, as is the ability to shoot panorama imagery and even Gesture control is available. What I think is the best function is the ActiveTrack 5 utility letting you select a subject and the gimbal will faithfully follow it. DJI says it has improved the distance over which ActiveTrack will work too.

A single button press switches between landscape and portrait.

This is all driven by the DJI Mimo app which also has a built-in editor these days called LightCut, letting you create social media ready footage. A whole bunch of templates are right there along with shooting guides making it easy for beginners and also – the latest buzz word – “AI powered” editing.

For portability, the Osmo Mobile 6 folds up into a small and compact unit that will easily fit in your pocket. The phone is held on to the gimbal by a quick-release magnetic clamp that works with the phone in or out of a case.

A status panel has been added so you can quickly check battery levels (rated at over 6 hours usage) and which of the four gimbal modes is active. Switching between modes is achieved by pressing the ‘M’ button.

They have also made it that as soon as the phone is attached, the Mimo app will start automatically saving time when you need to capture something quickly.

DJI claims to have improved the ergonomics of the Osmo Mobile 6 and added a non-slip surface to it.

Optional extras include a light clamp, tripod and the DJI Mic which I reviewed some weeks back.

Pricing is pretty keen too, starting at AUD$239.

You can get more info, or even buy online at https://www.dji.com/au/osmo-mobile-6


BMD ATEM Mini Pro. 2 years on, still as brilliant – and cheaper. Read why YOU need one!

Two and a half years ago I reviewed the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro. At the time, I waxed lyrical at its features and the amazing price for what you get. I later wrote a few tutorials, and these have consistently been our highest read pieces on the website. Indeed, the one entitled “Tutorial: Setting Preview and switching in Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro” has been our #1 story week after week for over 60 weeks now!

(You can read it here if you like)

I just checked out of curiosity, and the price has dropped of the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro and you can now get it for as low as $698 if you shop around (that price is at Videopro but I am sure others will price match).

For those who are not familiar with the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro here is a quick run down of what it does:

  • Allows input connectivity of up to 4 HDMI input devices
  • Allows you to connect one HDMI output monitoring device
  • Allows input of 2 x 3.5mm based audio devices with volume control
  • Allows you to switch between input devices, complete with built in dips, fades and transitions
  • Allows previews before switching so you cue up correctly
  • Lets you stream directly via Ethernet port straight to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch etc without any software intermediary
  • By attaching a camera to the USB-C port it becomes a web cam with all above controls operational
  • The built in USB-C port can have an SSD hard drive attached and streaming sessions can then be recorded for later use.

With optional (and free) ATEM Software Control,

  • Allows control of Blackmagic Cameras
  • Allows up to 20 graphics to be stored in memory (eg lower thirds, titles etc) and switch these in and out as you require
  • Allows both upstream and downstream keying
  • Has built in multiview so all HDMI input devices can be viewed simultaneously
  • Gives you an audio desk for controlling on-camera audio as well as mic input audio
  • Allows control of colour, LUMA and Chroma, plus patterns in graphic overlays

… and much more besides

If you have the slightest interest in anything the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro (or its siblings the ISO and Extreme) have to offer, I suggest you download the 180 odd page English language manual (other languages are also available in the one PDF document) to get comprehensive information. Get it here.

Be prepared to be amazed. Seriously.

For more info on the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro, see the Blackmagic Design website here.