Videomaker reviews and evaluates more than 100 products every year. These are our picks for Best Video Production Products for 2013.
Wow, what a year! 2013 saw a paradigm shift for video producers, and, ready or not, changes are in the wind. The manufacture and use of video production gear is in constant flux, but this past year we saw some changes not just to the technology, but how we use it. Rather than having step up changes we saw products go from evolutionary to revolutionary that will help producers from beginners to pros make better video. In the past, we’ve looked at upgrades to many existing systems and devices, this year, we’ve seen a lot of new types of products that change the way we look at video production today, and will in the future.
This year has seen a lot of new types of products that change the way we look at video production today, and will in the future.
This was one of the hardest selections of products for the editors to determine at Videomaker, as we define the gear of the past year that we think is innovative and evolutionary enough to say it will last through the technological changes of the next year and more to come. And, so, without further ado, here are the Videomaker Editors’ Picks for Best Products of the year for 2013...
BEST Consumer Camera
GoPro HERO3+ Black EditionHERO3+ Black Edition improves on an already great design, adding a new low-light mode and reducing image distortion. For these reasons and more, the GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition is the best consumer camcorder of the year. Read our post about the GoPro Hero 3+.
BEST Professional Camera
Blackmagic Design Cinema CameraBlackmagic Cinema Camera made one of the biggest splashes in the industry in years. With 2.5k RAW, 12-bit uncompressed CinemaDNG footage that boasts 13 stops of dynamic range, a simple design, and a $2,000 price tag, video producers worldwide are clamoring to get their hands on it. To seal the deal, Blackmagic Design throws in the full version of DaVinci Resolve which costs nearly half the price of the camera when purchased on its own. Options for an EF or Micro Four Thirds lens mount lets shooters utilize their existing collections to create film-like footage that seemed out of reach before the camera’s arrival. Read our review of the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera.
Canon EOS 70DRead our review of the Canon EOS 70D.
BEST Introductory Editing Software
WeVideo Cloud Editing ServiceRead our review on WeVideo Cloud Editing Service.
BEST Intermediate Editing Software
Adobe Premiere Elements 12Adobe Premiere Pro, but most “cool” functions weren’t available. Twelve versions later, and Adobe Elements can rival it’s own Premiere Pro in functionality and design. Bigger files and a tapeless workflow means media management is crucial, and Adobe Premiere Elements has a great organization system for even the most chaotic editor. The best thing about Adobe Premiere Elements 12 is that you can work in a storyboard based workflow, then migrate painlessly into Expert mode with a choice of tools to work from. Adobe’s well-known cloud system works with Premiere Elements, too, allowing you to organize and browse files while bringing your editing workflow down to earth in a no-contract world. Easy workflow, migrating from beginner to advanced is simple and the ability to move into Adobe Creative Cloud are just a few reasons why Adobe Premiere Elements 12 is Videomaker's Best Intermediate Editing Software of the year.
Read the full Adobe Elements 12 review.
BEST Advanced Editing Software
Avid Media Composer 7Avid Media Composer 7 had a major drop in price this year, which brings it into the realm of affordability for independent video editors. The Avid Media Access workflow has also bridged the ability for editors to reference and transcode clips in non-broadcast formats, for a more seamless edit. When you need to collaborate with associates, you can sync and share work online through Avid Interplay. Avid's technical tasks like transcoding and copying are done in the background, allowing editors to simply do what they do best: edit. With unrivaled proxy editing using lightning speed, easy external compositing, and a workflow that doesn't hiccup at 4k footage, Avid Media Composer is the industry standard of professional non-linear editing. If a video editor aspires to head to Hollywood, knowledge of this program is a must, and for that, Avid walks away with the prize for truly advanced editing. Read our review of Avid Media Composer 7.
BEST Visual Effects Software
Adobe After Effects CCAfter Effects (no more postcards in space,) plus greatly improved rotoscoping by implementing the refine edge tool. After Effects remains an irreplaceable tool for anyone doing motion graphics and visual effects. Read our review of Adobe Creative Cloud.
GenArts Sapphire 7Read our review of GenArts Sapphire 7.
RØDE smartLavpocket portable audio recorder. The sound quality is good, and the uses are plentiful. It's easy to see why the RØDE smartLav is Videomaker's Best Microphone of the year. Read the full RØDE smartLav review.
BEST Audio Recorder
Zoom H6Zoom H6 audio recorder Videomaker's Best Audio Recorder of the year. Read the full Zoom H6 Audio Recorder review.
BEST Field Monitor
SmallHD DP7-PRO HB-SXRead more on the SmallHD DP7-PRO HB-SX field monitor.
KinoFlo Celeb 200 DMX LED [W/C 142]Read our review of the Kino Flo Celeb 200 DMX LED light.
BEST Light Kit
Lowel Blender 3-Light KitRead our review of the Lowel Blender 3-Light Kit.
BEST Advanced Support
Redrock Micro One Man CrewRead our review of the Redrock Micro One Man Crew slider and watch our Product Spotlight bonus video test.
Davis & Sanford ProElite SeriesRead our review on the Davis & Sanford ProElite Series tripod.
HP ZbookRead our post about the HP Zbooks.
BEST Storage Device
LaCie 5big Thunderbolt RAIDRead our review of the LaCie 5big Thunderbolt RAID.
BEST Mobile App
VineSix Tips for Making a Vine Video and Top Ten Best Vine Videos.
Videomaker Editor's Choice Awards
The Editor’s Choice winners are products that our editors would want to add to their arsenal, if they had any product that has passed through our doors to choose from. Congratulations to the winners.
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema CameraBlackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera strikes an impressive balance of high-end features we all want, at a price we can all dream to afford. Coming in just under the $1,000 mark, this camera gives you the ability to shoot stunning footage that rivals cameras that cost three times as much in a form factor that literally fits in your pocket (okay, maybe not with a nice lens on it). With an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount, Super 16 size sensor, and full 1080p video utilizing the ProRes 422 codec, this camera can sit comfortably out of the shadow of cameras four times its size. Read our review of the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera.
edelkrone SliderPLUS v2Read our edelkrone SliderPLUS v2 review.
Sony HDR-PJ790VHDR-PJ790V is among the top of their consumer line, but putting it to professional use is hardly a stretch. Most projects won't require a projector or 96GB of memory, so for those options, there are more cost efficient models, but when it comes to getting a lot of capability, the PJ790 has it where it counts. The solid image quality is backed up by the Balanced Optical SteadyShot and decent audio options. Your friends and onlookers will appreciate the projector the most, as the immediacy of being able to review footage with the PJ790 is unlike any other camera, making it deserving of one of our Editors' Choice awards. Read our review of the Sony HDR-PJ790V.
Sony DSC-QX100 Lens Camera for Your SmartphoneSony DSC-QX100 Lens Camera is pretty revolutionary; there’s nothing like it on the market, and so is a great candidate for the Videomaker Editor's Choice Award. Read our post about the Sony QX100.
After covering the video production industry for nearly 30 years, Videomaker has seen it all, and has always stayed on top of the industry changes. Our core mission has always been to democratize the process of making video, so that anyone who wants to, layman and video producer alike, can use video to tell his or her story well. We believe the information, technology and means have finally caught up with our lofty goal, and we’re excited to see what the future will bring.
- The Editors
Best Products Award Criterion
For a product to qualify for our Best Products of the year, it must have passed through the Videomaker headquarters in 2013 for examination by our editors. From there, we judged products based on the following seven criteria:
1. Empowerment: How effective the product is at helping videographers be more effective at video production.
2. Ease of Operation: How user-friendly it is.
3. Affordability: The product must provide a good value for the price.
4. Quality: It must be put together well, durable and show excellence in its category.
5. Innovation: It should have some inventive or original features.
6. Dependability: It needs to be able to endure the rigors of active video production.
7. Performance: It must work consistently and effectively.
Disclaimer: This Year Defined
Due to advanced publishing deadlines, we are unable to consider products that were received in the Videomaker headquarters after October 31, 2013. So the "2013 Best Products of the Year" implies products received from October 31, 2012 to October 31, 2013, thus a full year, but not a typical calendar year. Many fine products came in after that time, and will be candidates for the "2014 Best Products of the Year". Similarly, you'll see products that appeared in some late 2012 editions that qualify for consideration this year, due to the date they were received by Videomaker. This is also not a completely comprehensive list, as it includes only products that passed through the doors at Videomaker. There are many fine products on the market that we didn't review, so our ethical standards won't allow us to award them honors if we haven't had any chance to look the product over, test it and give it some use time.