Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hoodman Saves my Butt at the Long Beach Grand Prix - Easy on the Eyes while Shooting with HDSLR

As I mentioned in the prior post, there is a company by the name of Hoodman. And they have a kit. A kit named Cinema Kit Pro.

Hoodman makes all kinds of really neat stuff that allows us cinematographers to see even in the worst of bright sunlight conditions. As you all know, looking at the LCD screen of any camera in bright light is an exercise of futility.

I started using Hoodman products way back in the wee early days of SD. To this day, I still have the little strap-on "hoodie" that slips over the flip out LCD of my old Sony TRV-950.

Well. I ran into their booth at NAB 2011 again. Not literally, as I would have simply bounced right and out again due to the nature of the balloon tent thing they had set up.

But upon entering, I was introduced to an offer I couldn't refuse. A package deal! A deal on something I really needed and was immediately able to put to good use. A tool that literally saved my butt only two days later at the Long Beach Grand Prix:
(You can find these products here: and selecting Cinema Kit Pro - clicking here will open a new window.)
  • The HoodLoupe :

  • The HoodCrane

  • The HoodMAG 3.0

Take these items, assemble them, and this is what you get (I call it the "VaderVideo Butt Saver"):

The Hoodman "VaderVideo Butt Saver" combined.

The eye piece (HoodMAG 3.0) is actually a magnifier made of real glass and is super comfortable (very soft) on the eye! It also rotates easily for the left eye or the right eye.

In this type of light, I would not see the screen without!

Of course this is most helpful while in video mode as well.
In any case - I still can see at this point. I didn't go blind due to the glare which would have been the case, no doubt.

It is important to understand that there is something special about the Hoodman Loupe - it is the real thing! Hoodman owns the patent on this concept and device. They use real glass, not plastic. Hence, any other product just won't cut it and is most likely overpriced anyway. We all know there are similar products on the market, but until I found this, there was just no way I would even have considered such a product.

The really cool thing about how this device attaches is, that it really doesn't. I know that sounds bizarre but, it is true. No sticky stuff, adhesives, velcro, gooey strips or any of that type of stuff needs to be attached to the camera which may actually cause more harm than good.

This device attaches perfectly every time with the HoodCrane, but  functions perfectly when you quickly need to get it out of the way. 

The "crane" has a quick spring release that allows you to retract the eyepiece up and out of the way with a simple motion. It then also lets you swivel it around and off to the side so it really is out of the way. All this without having to detach it!
Mounted and locked
Pull down the "release" and partially retracted up.

 complete retraction up.

Loosen a thumb screw and swivel it off to the side.

Of course, if you do need to detach it, simply loosed the tightening screw as you would on a camera flash or any other shoe mounted device and voila! It's that simple, yet so sturdy and solid in design. Again - I love it because I didn't need to apply any additional glue, Velcro, gunk, sticky stuff yada yada and ruin my camera. In a nut shell - this is the most functional piece of equipment I have found that really does the job, and does it very well.

As a stock shooter I evaluate how equipment performs, how easy and fast it is to use and how well it does the job. This gadget outperformed all of my expectations! Oh, and it fits nicely and compact into my backpack. Now that is sweet!

So here is a ton of stock footage over at Pond5 showing some really kick-butt footage of the trial runs of the 2011 Long Beach Grand Prix.

But that's not all! Hoodman is also producing some rough and tough SD and CF cards for us guys that tend to toss them around, "run and gun" and quite frankly need reliability and sturdiness. Full metal jacket SD cards. Durable and reliable.Sounds like a title for a new movie. Doesn't it?

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