Adventure cinematographer Philip Grossman relies on AJA to bring quality wherever he goes
The use of video conferencing platforms has grown this last two years. This shift has impacted nearly every industry, including media and entertainment. It’s also challenged creatives like Adventure Cinematographer Philip Grossman to rethink their approaches to production planning, collaboration, and content review.
Grossman refused to compromise video quality in this new norm and opted to ditch his traditional webcam. Instead, he harnessed his video expertise to create a setup that supports nearly any video conferencing platform. It comprises a RED digital cinema camera, AJA U-TAP SDI (a USB 3.0 3G-SDI capture device), plus a recorder, lighting, and a practical backdrop.
“Given all the changes in the media and entertainment industry over the last two years, there’s now a bit of an unwritten rule in terms of your video conferencing quality. Just as an attorney wouldn’t walk into a courtroom in sweatpants, you can’t join a video meeting with a low-quality video feed,” shared Grossman. “U-TAP has been great in this respect; it allows me to use the gear I use every day for cinematography jobs to pull off a high-quality HD feed easily and at a low cost. Since the start of the pandemic, it’s become an essential piece of kit.”
For most video conferences, Grossman uses a RED DIGITAL Cinema DSMC2 with HELIUM (8K) to capture himself on-camera. The feed is then output to the U-TAP SDI and into his MacBook Pro, plus pass through into a recorder. For live switching content or working with multiple feeds, he’ll reverse the steps. Camera outputs are run through his recorder, live switched, and the switched feed is then output to U-TAP for webcasting from a laptop or desktop.
Grossman harnesses the workflow to support video conferencing needs wherever he goes, including a recent urban exploration trek overseas, which included stops in Hungary, Albania, Croatia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Northern/Southern Italy. “Travel and exploration are a passion, but I also love how my job allows me to collaborate with a bunch of different hardware and software manufacturers, and in turn help influence technological evolution.”
“I went with U-TAP, in part, because I’ve used AJA products for years and they’re durable,” he added. “They also have a legacy of giving professionals the swiss army knife toolset required to handle any format you encounter on the job. U-TAP allows me to turn a very high-end camera output into a webcam feed, so that my live output looks more professional; from the moment I opened it, I was impressed by how easy it was to get up and running,” he added.