It's always interesting to run the numbers and see which articles resonated the most with StudioDaily's readers over the course of a calendar year — especially when the stories that rise to the top aren't necessarily what you'd expect. This year's top 10 stories reflect a mix of technology news and reviews, tips for low-budget filmmakers, and case studies on high-end camera-wrangling for some big-time action movies. Check out the news you missed below.
Until we kick off our 2016 coverage next week, StudioDaily wishes you and yours a very happy new year!
#10: Sony's FS7 to Get 4K, ProRes and Four-Channel Audio in March. Readers were eager to see which features Sony would be adding to the popular PXW-FS7 camera in a free firmware update, including XAVC-I recording and improved audio capabilities.
#9: Seven Production-Design Tips for Low-Budget Filmmakers. Peter Plantec's continuing blog series on "microbudget" filmmaking appealed to lots of readers looking for ideas and inspiration, and this piece on production design got a lot of traction.
#8: With Internal 4K, the a7R II Is Sony’s New Flagship Mirrorless Camera. 2015 was the year mirrorless cameras started to pull away from the DSLR pack, and the new a7R II is one of the top-shelf options in that category. Our readers wanted tor know more.
#7: Review: Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. Reviewer Marc Franklin took the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K for a drive around the block and reported that it's a basic UHD workhorse at a very nice price.
#6: Review: Sony PXW-FS7 4K Camcorder. Sony definitely had a hit on its hands with the FS7 in 2015. Reviewer Barry Braverman praised its ergonomics and performance — and especially the surprising optical qualities of the kit lens.
#5: Panasonic Announces Sub-$5,000 AG-DVX200 4K Camcorder. Another exploration of the intersection between relatively high-quality imaging and remarkably low pricing, Panasonic's AG-DVX200 drew a lot of attention from NAB attendees planning their 4K camera purchases.
#4: Avid Launches Free Version of Media Composer, DNxIO Hardware. Avid made a smart move at NAB, announcing a free, if feature-limited, version of its famous Media Composer NLE software. At the same time, it catered to the Avid faithful by announcing a partnership with Blackmagic Design on new IO hardware for working at up to 4K. That was big news in the editing world.
#3: Shoot Full Cinematic Style on a Micro-Budget. Our Peter Plantec did it again, with this comprehensive look at getting great shots on a tight budget that uses a conversation with Tangerine director Sean Baker — whose film, shot entirely on the iPhone 5s, was a solid hit this year on the festival and arthouse circuit — as a springboard to talk economy and creativity.
#2: High-Octane Camera Wrangling on Mad Max: Fury Road. Is it surprising that a Mad Max movie has become a dark-horse Oscar contender? Not necessarily — filmmaking professionals came away from the movie knocked out by George Miller's firm directorial control as well as by the massive achievement of the crew on the ground that executed all of his post-apocalyptic desert action beats to perfection. We interviewed coordinating camera assistant Michelle Pizanis about the shoot.
#1: DP Ben Davis on Camera Choices for Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's always fun to see the way basic gear can step up to the task of acquisition for a huge studio tentpole. This Avengers story, which looked at the use of tiny, inexpensive Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema cameras alongside the main unit of three ARRI Alexas shooting ARRIRAW, was the single most-read story at StudioDaily this year.
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