Ad

Friday, July 18, 2014

New Toys, and Cheaper Toys

Some exciting stuff has been announced/released the last couple of months.

Of course, there’s the Sony a7S, which just started shipping and is just an unbelievable low-light, full frame monster of a small camera. It also does 4K, though not too many people are doing 4K with it just yet, what with no inexpensive 4K recording options available. It wouldn’t be my primary camera choice, but if you have the bucks, it’s an intriguing little piece of hardware.
Or you could get the Panasonic GH4, and record 4K internally. You don’t get the low-light capabilities – at all – but you do get quite good 4K internal in a small package.


A lot of people are waiting for the Atomos Shogun ($1,995) to start shipping so they can record 4K from the Sony a7S. But if you don’t have that camera, are on a budget, and would like to record HD in 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes, you might want to look at the Atomos Ninja Star. This tiny box is only $295. There’s no monitor, but as some have pointed out, it might be worth attaching to your GoPro when you send it up on your DJI Phantom.



Talking of DJI, they announced a brushless gimbal back at NAB, the DJI Ronin, 3-Axis Brushless gimbal stabilizer, and the price has just been announced and it’s pretty amazing; $2,999. If I had the money, I’d probably get one, even though there’s not a lot known about how well it’s software works, and it’s quite a bit heavier than the MoVI. And if it’s too heavy with that RED on it, just put a Blackmagic Pocket Camera on it.


Lower Prices

Meanwhile, there’s been some amazing deals announced the last few days (not forgetting the price for the DJI gimbal.)


Blackmagic Pocket Camera: Blackmagic has slashed the price of the Pocket Camera in half to $495:
With a normal recommended retail price of US$995, this Summer Special represents incredible value and is available for a limited time and will end on the 31st of August 2014. This Summer Special price is subject to limited availability, after which the price will return to the usual recommended retail price of US$995.
Evidently it’s a temporary cut, but I can’t really imagine they’ll put it back up to $1000 once the sale period ends. I’ve heard lots of good things from owners of the Pocket Camera; the image quality and the small size is a plus, and some people actually see advantages in the smaller sensor size of the Pocket for some situations. It’s not for everyone, but at the half the price, it’s even more intriguing…


Sony NEX-FS100: If you really like the shallow depth-of-field look of large sensor cameras, but find DSLRs a bit limiting, the NEX-FS100 might be the camera for you; and they just dropped the price by $1,500. It’s $2,499, and that includes a Metabones EF Lens to Sony NEX adapter. That’s pretty amazing; raising the question; how much longer will the NEX-FS100 be available, and B) is there a 4K replacement coming soon?

The NEX-FS100, when it came out, got a tremendous amount of press for it’s Super 35mm sensor, and a pretty good feature set given it’s price. It lacks built-in ND filters, and the picture isn’t as good as the (much more expensive) Canon C300 and C100; I know several people who bought the FS100 but then ‘graduated’ on to other cameras like the C300. The C300 has come down in price, but it’s still $11,999, and even the C100 is $5,499. They are really nice cameras, but too expensive for my budget.


Both of these price drops are quite significant. Is this just normal business, an indication of new models to come, or a sign that 4K is hitting the sales of HD cameras heavier than expected?

Monday, June 02, 2014

Traveling

There will be intermittent reports for the next couple of weeks as I am currently in New Zealand on vacation. Or something like that.

If you didn't know they shot "The Lord of the Rings" or "The Hobbit" in New Zealand before you got here, it's hard to miss the fact once you arrive - particularly in Wellington. The airport has a sign on the front of it: Middle of Middle Earth. At one point they were planning to put up a sign Wollywood, in the style of the Hollywood sign, but they ended up not doing it. I'm not sure if I'm happy about that or not.


We went up in the bush and saw signs for Rivendell, and yes, it's the location of the shooting for Rivendell in the film, not a real place called Rivendell.

One other interesting thing about Wellington; they have these Wine Trail signs. The only problem; they don't actually seem to have any wineries in Wellington. Not that I've found, anyway.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Vimeo does Copyright and Other News

Vimeo Adds Copyright Protection | Anticipate Media
I was not surprised that Vimeo has announced a new copyright protection system. It's a necessary thing, really. I was however surprised that it will flag even private videos. These videos often contain temp music that will never be made public until purchased.

Staff Blog / Copyright Match on Vimeo | Vimeo
Keep in mind that Vimeo can’t tell you for sure whether your work would qualify as fair use. You must make that determination for yourself and at your own risk. However, we will do our best to help you understand the four factors, and if you can present a strong case for fair use protection, you’ll be better protected from claims of copyright infringement and have a stronger case for appeal.

Review and Approval options for Video Pros | Pro Video Coalition
If you search for the word “private” in the comments of that Vimeo blog post you’ll see many, many complaints from creators and editors that clients won’t be able to give feedback on cuts and music choices. And they are not happy. This is because many creators use Vimeo private links as a review and approval service for clients to look, give feedback on and approve cuts. It is drop dead easy to upload to private Vimeo links and it’s included in the price of a pro Vimeo account.


Other News


Canon USA Announces EOS C300 Autofocus Upgrade Availability | Canon Rumors
The upgrade provides a new Continuous AF (Autofocus) Function for all Canon EF autofocus Lenses, using Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. A new AF Lock setting also lets you change the image framing while holding the desired focus. These critical focusing capabilities are designed to help reduce out of focus video while providing for smooth focus transitions and assist users when operating with small crews.




Are Filmmakers Using Drones Illegally? Looks Like It | All Tech Considered
This drone-for-hire operation is illegal according to federal regulators, who say that with very few exceptions, drones cannot be used for business until guidelines are in place for air safety and privacy. The FAA even issues a myth-buster fact sheet to debunk any misconceptions.


Check Out the New Zoom H5 Handy Audio Recorder | FStoppers
With many features you will find on the flagship H6 microphone but for more than $100 less, the H5 employs a system of interchangeable input capsules, allowing the best microphone to be used for every recording situation


The Ultimate POV Shootout | Creative Cow
In this review, I'm going to tackle all of the "name-brand" cameras available out there. This article will not provide the answer to "which camera should I buy?" The range of criteria is so broad that the question is beyond the scope of a single review. This review will provide information about which action-camera is best suited for specific criteria and provide information that may help you make informed purchasing decisions.


Creating and Importing LUTs for the Sony F5/F55 | AbelCine
In the video above, I show how to create both 1D and 3D LUTs in Sony’s Raw Viewer software and then import them into the camera. It’s a tricky process, so make sure to follow all the steps. In addition, many people like to work in DaVinci Resolve, so in the video below I show how you can create LUTs in Resolve and edit them to work properly in the F5/F55.


Quickly Swap Lens Mounts on Your Canon Cinema Zooms | AbelCine
Once the UMS Conversion Kit is installed by one of our factory certified lens technicians, the user can easily switch between various lens mounts in the field. Our lens technicians replace the factory EF or PL mount with our UMS Conversion Kit, which allows users to quickly swap between PL (included with the UMS Conversion Kit) and the IB/E Universal Mount System Mounts (available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Sony FZ, and MFT mounts).


Sony UWP-D Wireless | B & H Photo
Rives highlights the key features of the systems, including the multiple battery and charging options, digital companding circuitry for improved transient response, pilot tone squelch suppression, channel synchronization, camera mounting options, interchangeable microphone capsule options, and backwards compatibility with UWP-V wireless systems.




First test in Central Park w/BMPC4k from somnang vann on Vimeo.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

The News

Cannes Panel: Studios Fight Piracy While Indies Embrace Digital Future | IndieWire
Ruth Vitale, executive director of the film industry's non-profit CreativeFuture initiative, sounded the anti-piracy gong, continuing to sing the plaint of content creators that piracy costs money for filmmakers. Elevated Sales' Cassian Elwes ("Margin Call," "Dallas Buyers Club") agreed with her, as did Fox's own anti-piracy czar, Elizabeth Valentina (VP of content protection litigation).


GoPro files for an IPO to grow its media empire | Engadget
Things are finally getting officially official, though: the company just filed its S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so you can expect to see the ticker symbol GPRO on NASDAQ in due course. There's no shortage of financial types digging through the document as we type (bits to note: the company managed to turn a pretty profit last year, and it shipped a net total of nearly 4 million cameras in 2013), but the story is clear -- GoPro is a big deal, and it's going to get even bigger.



IN CONVERSATION WITH JEAN-LUC GODARD. FILMMAKER EXTRAORDINAIRE | Canon Europe
A loner of French cinema; he is an onlooker, at one with his thoughts and with an inner commentary that spills onto the movie screen with vigour and passion. At 83 he is still very much into his craft, and his skill as an editor, though very much of the old school, still has the capacity to impress with jump cuts and graphics that leave you scratching your head and working hard to understand the reasons. But that’s the point: Godard likes his audience to work hard...


How to make good TV for the web, according to Amazon | Fortune
So it's a good time to be a creative in television?Absolutely. There's great demand for high-quality work. And for original, distinctive ideas. The kind of idea that would have been super-challenging 10 years ago is now perhaps merely challenging to get going. Anything is challenging, but there's an appetite.


Mixing Mediums: On the Differences in Directing Shorts, Features and TV | MovieMaker
What’s the difference between making a short film versus a feature film versus an episode of television? For David Greenspan – director of the Palme d’Or-winning short “Beancake,” the upcoming feature 51-50 Mall Cop, and 53 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy – the two biggest differences are time and creative control.


In Their Own Words | HD Video Pro
Ask cinematographers about their favorite "go-to" lighting tools and, as might be expected, you get a pretty diverse range of opinions and answers. What's more surprising is that while technical advances and the digital revolution have had a huge impact on the lighting world, spawning the increasingly popular ultra-versatile and ultra-portable LEDS, many DPs will still often rely on basics when it comes down to the aesthetics of capturing an image.


Xavier Dolan’s Mommy Was Shot In a New Aspect Ratio | Filmmaker Magazine
As far as I know, this is a first: Québecois auteur Xavier Dolan’s fifth feature Mommy premiered at Cannes today, and word has trickled out from first viewers that it’s shot in a ratio that’s new to the movies. 1.1 is a perfect square: think a CD cover photo.


Panasonic and Local Resellers to Showcase Pro Video Solutions in ‘See What You Missed at NAB’ Tour | Pro Video Coalition
Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, along with its Authorized Reseller Partners, will host a cross-country “See What You Missed at NAB” Tour in May and June. 


Phedon Papamichael ASC, GSC: A Life Behind The Lens | Vimeo
In this Cinematography Profile, Oscar-nominated Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC, talks about the early years, his first films, his shooting style, his collaboration with Alexander Payne, George Clooney & James Mangold, his music videos with U2, his colleagues, and more


Phedon Papamichael ASC, GSC: A Life Behind The Lens from Alexandros Maragos on Vimeo.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The News

Craig Newman is trying to decide between the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and the Pansonic GH4:
The battle of the compact cameras: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 | Entendre
In this year’s equipment budget, after all the other necessary upgrades / purchases, there is enough to get one of these two cameras. I have been switching between the two on a daily basis and… I really don’t know.
If I needed a production camera, the Panasonic would win hands down, but that’s not my need.


Are Passion Projects a Waste?: 6 Filmmakers’ Perspectives | The Music Bed
A recurring topic in our conversations with independent filmmakers is how personal/passion projects have either launched, sustained, or saved their careers. For some people, like Hunter Hampton, personal projects have kept them from jumping off a creative cliff. For others, like Khalid Mohtaseb, passion projects have become a surprisingly effective marketing strategy.


Free Forms and Legal Resources for Filmmakers & Video Pros | PremiumBeats
Chase Jarvis has a detailed post on why you need location permits for photo and video shoots. He shares his personal experience in location scouting for a Lululemon shoot. He also explains that most businesses and towns actually want productions to come to their locations because it is free marketing. So be patient!


Top Ten Screenplay Essentials | The Script Lab
2. Outline Before WritingKnow at least how the story ends, begins, as well as the screenplay’s five major plot points before writing the script.


Dissecting the recent Adobe Creative Cloud outage | Pro Video Coalition
If you were signed in and working then the outage Adobe suffered most likely didn’t cause any issues. It was those who had to log into the Creative Cloud for any reason, be it accessing files, downloading any apps or reauthorizing a computer that saw problems. You can run the Creative Cloud apps on as many machines as you want but you have to log out of one and log in on another when moving from say one desktop machine to another desktop machine.


RØDE’s PinMic takes lavalier microphones to a new esthetic level | Pro Video Coalition
PinMic, the least obtrusive body mic I’ve ever seen, short of hiding a conventional lav inside clothing. With the PinMic, absolutely all components and cabling stay inside the clothes, except the microphone element itself, which connects to the rest via three tiny pins, which perforate the shirt or dress non-destructively.


10 Unconventional Steps to Get Your Indie Film Out in the World | IndieWire
When producer falls in love with that script and hires a casting director, thank your lucky stars that you're going to shoot a real feature! Meet a lot of talented up-and-coming actors for coffee. Hire a few and reject others. Even the ones you reject will go onto great success (e.g. Jason Siegel, Johnny Galecki). 


Avid ships their new Media Composer with new licensing options | Pro Video Coalition
Obviously the biggest news is the different pricing options that includes both subscription (“rent it”), perpetual (“own it”) and floating (“lease it”) options in the mix. I didn’t come up with those terms, that’s in the What’s New blog post. Flexibility is good but what has to be noted is that with the perpetual “own it” license you have to buy an Avid Support plan at $299 per year in order to get any updates.


Aerial drone photography near the arctic circle | SkyPixel
I returned a few days ago from 10 incredible days of flying a DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter in Iceland. Iceland’s natural beauty is nearly unparalleled, and I felt fortunate to be able to wander around the country with a camera that could be moved both horizontally and vertically in space. Iceland’s latitude is 66ºN, which means that it just brushes up against the boundary of the arctic circle. It is a challenging place to fly because of a few key issues. 


Coloring expert Patrick Inhofer offers a color grading course:
NEW! The Color Correction Home Study : Is it for you? | Tao Of Color
If you’re serious about learning color grading – would you turn down an opportunity to sit next to a professional colorist for a few days? Especially if he was offering you to take home the same film he was working on for you to explore on your own?That’s what this Home Study offers you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The News

B & H PhotoVideo is offering a free webcast on the Panasonic GH4 next week:
Panasonic GH4 Live Webcast Discussion: Professional 4K in the Palm of Your Hand | B & H
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Live from the B&H Studio in New York, B&H hosts a panel discussion with special guests Eduardo Angel, David Flores, and Mathew Frazer who will explore and discuss the new 4K Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4.

Dan Chung of News Shooter offers thoughts on the Panasonic GH4 vs the Sony NEX-FS100 (the latter is,as he notes, an HD camcorder.)



EDITING A DOCUMENTARY IN FCP X PART 01 | FCP X Berlin User Group
The job at hand is to edit a 60 minute documentary, colour correct the footage, perform a sound mix, add music and insert some motion graphics. At first glance things look relatively straight forward. In essence we are looking at a Road Movie, the car (first generation VW Beetle) has to get from Quitto in Ecuador too Ushuaia in Argentina. Every thing more or less happens in a linear fashion, Kilometre for Kilometre and country for country. The disclaimer here is that because the project is going on 5 years old, many of the tried and tested work flows will break!


FCP X: Move Projects To Audition | Larry Jordan
I’m of two minds about audio editing inside Final Cut Pro X. I like its ability to place and edit audio. But it comes up short when I need to clean-up poor audio or do some complex mixing. For this reason, I use Final Cut to mix audio for simple projects, but Adobe Audition when I need to get serious about my audio. (I don’t use ProTools because I’ve had such poor luck using iLoks.)


Final Cut Pro X Slowdown | LACPUG
Here is a list of some causes I have found and that have been reported by others. In some cases, a problem in the Mac OS or Final Cut Pro X itself could be the issue. If that's the case, we'll have to wait for a fix from Apple.


WHAT ACTUALLY IS ISO & WHY IT’S SO CRITICAL THAT YOU KNOW THE BASE ISO OF YOUR HDSLR | Noam Kroll
To this day, one of the most common questions that I get asked by beginner videographers & DPs that are new to the DSLR world is - ‘What is ISO’? I get that question so much that I wanted to answer it in this article once and for all, helping to explain the basic fundamentals of ISO to those that are just starting out.


PD Movie Remote Air Two | ikan
The PD Movie Remote Air Two wireless follow focus system is a complete solution that brings reliable performance to the most involved shooting situations.Designed for cine style lenses, this dual channel system allows you to precisely control both focus and iris/ zoom with a single unit. The durable aluminum unibody hand unit is lightweight, and features an OLED display with channel and connection strength read outs. With 20 channels to choose from, the unit maintains peak performance without interference up to 300 feet away.
This wireless follow-focus is $2,499 and available for pre-order. There's a video on Facebook.



Why That Video Went Viral | New York Times
In a study led by Rosanna Guadagno, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Dallas, 256 participants much preferred to forward a funny video than one of a man treating his own spider bite. But they were likely to share any video that evoked an intense emotional response, Dr. Guadagno found.


FAA seeks to unleash small 'low-risk' drones for films and farms by November | Engadget
The overlord of all things that fly even wants to dole out permits quickly and aims to greenlight commercial flights (of machines that pose no security risk and weigh less than 55 pounds) as soon as November. According to Bloomberg, the agency has already started taking requests from various companies, though the FAA's unmanned aerial vehicle crew are still discussing how they can expedite approval requests.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

GH4 news and other things


Chicago Art & Architecture | Breaking in the Panasonic GH4 from H. Paul Moon on Vimeo.

Paul Moon has posted the above test of the Panasonic GH4:
Challenges that I posed this time around included rolling shutter, which you'll see in those lateral shots from the L train; pointing at the sun for black holes or blooming sensor; playing with depth of field for focus isolation; and aliased patterns which barely appear because there is no de-bayering from the sensor in UHD mode. Highlight protection and color depth is fair but not great: the GH4 still can't beat the Blackmagic Cinema Cameras that have more dynamic range, and record internally to 10-bit 4:2:2 at a much higher bitrate.


The ultimate explorer's camera? A review of the Panasonic GH4 | Story & Heart Blog
Regarding resolution, the Panasonic GH4 performs exceptionally. The footage, frankly, looks beautiful.Having 4k internally means that when you’re stuck—physically, by a barrier or a body of water, say, as is the case in filming on the Oregon coast—you still have options in post for cropping.


Shooting 4K for 2K on the Panasonic GH4 plus my pre-review short film | EOSHD
The video above was shot with the Nikon 55mm F1.2, Leica R 28mm F2.8 and Panasonic 14-50mm F2.8 OIS from the old days of Big Four Thirds. If you need stabilisation that lens is well worth a look. It does slow down by half a stop at the long end to F3.5 but it’s a great piece of glass which has character.


Tutorial: how to recover GH4 superwhite data in Premiere Pro | Vimeo
This Premiere Pro tutorial shows you how to recover clipped highlights when shot in 16-255 mode on the GH4.This only addresses highlights that were not clipped on the sensor itself but by the YUV to RGB conversion.This methods also works for any other camera that uses superwhites, and there's a lot of them out there...


Other News


Canon Collaborations: The Crew of VICE on HBO and their Go-To Gear | Vimeo
Find out why Jake and Jerry turn to the Canon EOS C300, XF105, XF305, and 5D Mark III to get the job done and learn how they configure their cameras while shooting in hostile environments. Then, check out their work by watching VICE on HBO, Fridays at 11PM.


TELLING A STORY WITH NO WORDS – MATT ALLARD ON FILMING MAESTRO WU | News Shooter
I wanted the viewer to be immersed by what was going on and to be focused on the attention to detail and the beauty of what he was doing. For something like this to work you have to think about the style in which you want to shoot and also the best way to convey what you want the audience to see. I utilized almost entirely high speed frame rates for this piece. I didn’t do this just because I thought it would be cool to shoot high speed, but to help tell the story.


Matt Allard reviews Sony's new UWP series mics. They look pretty good, but I'm still wary of spending money on new mics at the moment:
VIDEO REVIEW: SONY UWP-D DIGITAL HYBRID WIRELESS MICROPHONES | News Shooter
I’ve been using a couple of UWP-D systems for a few weeks now and have been quite impressed. I’m not going to go over the technical stuff again today, but instead am going to look at how these new units handle and their build quality.


'3-D is a marketing gimmick' - Irish Cinematographer for Godzilla | NewsTalk
McGarvey says there have been one or two cases – such as Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and the award-winning Gravity – where it has contributed some visual depth but generally the cinema would be better off without 3-D.