Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Sony ZV-1 Field Tested

Photo by Ravi Palwe on Unsplash

I got to field test the Sony ZV-1 camera outside of just using it for streaming and let me tell you, this is a great camera for folks that want to get into video content.

A few weeks ago I was back at my first event covering MMA since COVID-19 hit when I went to cover Bellator 282 for MyMMANews.com. After over 2 years of covering events remotely through ZOOM it was time to get back on the road. Not traveling left me with time to invest in equipment for covering events on the road.  Previously I used a Go PRO Hero 5 with a mic attachment, which worked well a while but had its limitations. Check out this interview with Valerie Loureda from 2019:


During the two years of being stuck at home, I focused on what I could from there and decided since I was saving so much money from not going anywhere, I'd invest in better equipment. So, I got a stronger laptop to handle video content, and I picked up the Sony ZV-1. It was initially just to get a better look for the podcast I produce and co-host (check it out here) but I didn't really see how good it was until I took on the road for Bellator 282.

The Sound

The technology in the camera allows it to track faces so that it autofocuses on the subject. Generally, when I cover fight week it's myself and a subject so I need something that shows them clearly and records what they're saying well.  There is a mic in the camera that does well if you're vlogging but I used Rode VideoMicro camera mic that was used with my Go Pro to get better sound and reduce any background sound which worked fantastically. The best example of that is when I spoke with the then No.1 ranked Bellator women's featherweight, Arlene Blencowe. Check it out, this is in the arena with a lot of noise going on and I still got her pretty clear:


The Quality

I've streamed more with the camera than I have recorded with it so, I was not sure how much of a difference it would make to someone like me that does the quick and dirty version of what I grab to get the content up in time. But as I reviewed the video in editing I was reminded that the camera does 4K HDR Video and was really impressed. This is where the camera shines and what prompted me to write this review. 

I really love how it's a point-and-shoot camera out of the box, but with a few adjustments, the quality is probably the best you can get for something like this. The fast auto-focus with face recognition works really well, even when other faces are in the shot. If you look at this interview with Raufeon Stots, you can see the image stabilization at its best as well as the auto-focus adjusting for his face:


The Bottom Line

Overall, if you're trying to get into making video content as a streamer or recording and editing I cannot recommend this camera enough. It's under $1000 dollars and it travels really well which is something else I needed since when I cover an event, it's usually solo. I like to keep it light and this one does so much more than the Go Pro I'm glad I picked up the Sony ZV-1. 

Nothing is perfect, so I'll say that the battery life can be a problem so you'll need to carry backup batteries like I did for Bellator 282. It's dust and moisture-resistant but not waterproof like a Go Pro so you'll want to be careful with how you store or travel with it. Other than that, this is a great camera.

This post has affiliate links for the items I wrote about so if you want to pick up any of them, using those links helps support my freelancing endeavors to create content like this.


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Better Late Than Never Review: All The Phantasm Movies

The Phantasm Series Shows Players Riding Out Their Passions


I just recently watched all the Phantasm movies. 

I watched the entire franchise in two days after not seeing any of the films since I was a kid. I know things are opening up and the weather is nice, but we're not quite out of the COVID-19 woods yet. Since that is the case I am still re-watching old horror flicks and catching ones I might have missed. The Phantasm series stretches to almost 40 years of horror, beginning in what I feel was the best time for horror films, the 80s.

The first one, Phantasm (1979) came out when I was still wet behind the ears, barely a kid. I didn't even set eyes on it until the early 80s. All I could remember about the movie was "The Tall Man,' played by Angus Scrimm in all the films, those flying chrome-plated death spheres, and little dudes in cans. 

Along with Scrimm, the film stars Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornberry, and Reggie Bannister. Baldwin plays Mike Pearson, who is the main protagonist in most of the films. he's only a kid when this all begins but the battle against The Tall Man will become what seems like a life-long battle for the rest of the film series.



What I noticed about the sequel, outside of it being done almost 10 years after the first one was you can see when Hollywood smells money in something, how they like to step in and start changing things. In Phantasm II (1988) Baldwin is replaced by another actor, James LeGros to play Mike Pearson. Apparently, with Universal Pictures picking up the franchise, they preferred LeGros over Baldwin. 

It picks up right where the first film left off. Including some reshooting of the final sequence of the first film to keep fans up to speed where things left off, then pick up from there. This is something they do for the rest of the film series, and I have to say as cheesy as some of it looks, I like the effort. A lot of times franchises can lose fans when they make changes to things they got used to, and Phantasm stuck to their guns.


Phantasm III: Lord of The Dead (1994) again writes the noticeable time and aging of characters into the story by having Mike be in a coma for a few years as a result of what happens at the end of the previous film. I'm not going to lie, by now it's just the original cast of players wanting to see the franchise through for themselves and for fans and somehow, it works well in this series. Even when the budget is noticeably less than it was for the earlier films, these guys make it work.


Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998) follows the same recipe with events taking place immediately after the previous film. I remember feeling an "Army of Darkness" vibe with this one, then found out Bruce Campbell was rumored to be a part of it the budget couldn't swing it. Not for nothing, Campbell's got his franchise and this is its own so I think it worked out for the best. 

The time travel thing does happen in this, but more to give some background to "The Tall Man" than to start something like fighting in another time before it all began. But the cool thing is, they do get into a more post-apocalyptic thing because of this element in the fifth and final installment of the series, which would be Angus Scrimm's last appearance as "The Tall Man," in Phantasm: Ravager.



Phantasm: Ravager (2016) This final film is a little confusing because of the dream world and real-world sequences along with the dimensional travel and time travel, but they somehow find a way to wrap things up in this film, well enough to close out the franchise. Scrimm passed away at 89-years old before the film was released in September of the same year but there's something really stand up about Scrimm and the rest of the cast riding this thing out from start to finish.

Sometimes franchises can drag out to the point fans wonder what they're doing with it. They can go so far from where they started that it makes no sense and is purely just a money grab but the Phantasm series didn't seem to do that. I'm sure some folks made money but after sitting through all these films, I could see everyone liked their characters and just wanted to put them away properly.

Check out these films if you haven't because they were well worth watching. 

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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

LIVE: Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant: Kick-Off Press Conference | SHOWTIME PPV



The Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant press conference kicks off today and you can check it out here. Caleb Plant is listed on ONE37 PM's "best undefeated boxers" list and will put his "0" on the line against one of the greatest Mexican boxers in the sport. There were some hold-ups on the negotiating side for this match, so it should make for an interesting press conference.





Saturday, September 4, 2021

Better Late Than Never Review: Candyman (2021)

I finally got a chance to watch Candyman (2021) directed by Nia DaCosta and produced and co-written by Jordan Peele. The film focuses on Anthony, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who is playing a character we have met before in the canon of the Candyman franchise. The film does a really good job of adding to an already well-established story that was unique when it came out in the 90s and does nothing to ruin the legacy of one of horror’s favorite hook-handed spirits of vengeance. 

You cannot look at this new film without re-visiting the original 1992 film starring Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen. Back then, while telling a great horror story the film did a good job at looking at social issues back then. So, not only does this new addition do the same, it does a good job at reminding folks none of those issues have gone away. 

The trailer already lets fans of the franchise know that Anthony is the same Anthony the titular character abducts in the original film, so we’re not spoiling anything for you there. However, even if the original film is before your time, this one does a good job of catching the audience up on the history as Anthony learns about it himself. Along the way, there are some pretty gruesome murders that should make fans happy that Candyman is still gory when he kills those dumb enough to summon him.

Not enough horror lately has been made about the threat not seen. It seems some films lately will spend thousands to produce jump scares and visuals of people making creepy faces that a good story in horror has been as absent as the Candyman franchise has been. If you’ve been counting, it’s been almost 22 years since a Candyman film has been made. 

Tony Todd as Candyman 1992

You will get to see Candyman in this film, with glimpses of him as it progresses to the grand finale but without spoiling anything for you, this film will get folks saying Candyman’s name again and hopefully we get more of the same quality.