Like last year, I am writing a favorite discoveries post. 2017 has been an exciting and interesting year in terms of discoveries, and I have found a number of new toys and tools that help me in my pursuits. This year they fall neatly into two categories; those related to my video and photo pursuits, and those that help me in my day to day activities.
In the former category comes three hardware tools, and one software tool. The first of the former category is the Røde SmartLav+, a lavalier mike designed to connect to your smartphone. I use it to get significantly improved audio quality as compared to the on-camera microphones, and the difference is quite staggering. See my review for a comparison between it and the on-board mic of the second entry in this list.
I picked up a GoPro Hero5 Black back in May, and it really is a brilliant bit of kit. Waterproof from the factory, and providing impressive video quality, it quickly became a part of my videography kit. It’s sized like a compact camera, but delivers a very different package. Built robustly, it’s ready to go when you are (though I do recommend picking up an extra battery or two…).
While I have a Manfrotto 190XPROB which has served me very well for a number of years, it tends to be a bit on the large side for day-to-day work. To that end, I picked up the diminutive Manfrotto Pixi Evo, which has helped me get a lot of shots which would otherwise not have been feasible.
Having picked up a second camera, I saw the need to be able to synchronise clips based on audio, something which my former video editing software is simply unable to do. To that end, I picked up Adobe Premiere Pro as part of the full Creative Cloud suite, which lets me do so much more than I could before. I’m nowhere near using any of it to its full potential, but I am starting to see how they all work together, and how I can improve on what I do in years to come.
Moving onto the devices that help me everyday, both of these come from Apple. The first is the Apple Watch (Gen 3), which is the best wearable I have ever used. It ties in seamlessly with my iPhone, unlocks my MacBook, and generally lets me ignore my iPhone more and more often. I am working on a review, which will arrive sometime in 2018.
The other device is a set of Apple AirPods. These, too, have proven to integrate seamlessly with my iPhone, and I rarely leave home without them. They are comfortable, intuitive, and they quite simply just work. I’m sure audio nerds might quibble about the audio quality, but it has proven to be good enough for my use. I am working on a review of these, too, to arrive sometime in 2018.
There you have it, then; six entries to the list this year, all of which have made a difference in my life. I am looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings.