Saturday, August 21, 2010

As Seen.....on YouTube

I was amused to see this poster today at the mall for the AR Drone with the pitch "As Seen On YouTube."

The "As Seen On TV" logo's used to mean something - someone had to spend at least a little money to get a product commercial on TV - but getting something on YouTube hardly seems like a great distinction!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Inaugural BOSFCPUG Canon Video/DSLR Filmmaker Meetup Report

The inaugural BOSFCPUG Canon Video/DSLR Filmmaker Meetup happened at E.P.Levine in Waltham last night. A crowd of about forty people turned up for a fun and rather raucous event. There were several Canon DSLR’s and a selection of lenses on hand to play with, as well as an XF305 video camera.

Pizza arrived before the meeting started, and I chatted briefly with a T1i owner who’s just getting his feet wet in video, and a DV camera owner who is playing with video while trying to learn Final Cut Pro.

Playing with gear before the meeting started

Barbara Ellison from Canon brought the XF305 along, and was there to answer questions about Canon’s equipment, as well as ask what people were looking for in future gear.

Dan Berube of the BOSFCPUG mostly managed to control the proceedings, though the meeting space was rather loud and echoey, and I think the tide might have turned in favor of the audience when they vetoed the idea of going through a PowerPoint presentation on the XF305!

Barbara’s been with Canon for over twenty years, and until recently has primarily been involved in still photography and printing. Canon used to have dedicated technology area reps, and now they have switched things and reps have to cover everything.

Barbara did make an interesting comment about still photos and printing, making me wish she had perhaps had a chance just to talk just about still photography:

If you’re a still shooter and you're not printing, we should talk. Because you should print and put it on the wall. And if after a year or two you still like it, find it interesting, then it's probably a good picture. If not, you're either growing as a photographer, or it's not as good a picture as you thought

There was some talk of the upcoming Canon Expo 2010 in New York (Sept 2-3rd) If you're interested in what Canon is doing in video - either with the XF300/305 or DSLR's - you should seriously consider going to this event. Sounds like there will be lots of stuff to learn, not just from Canon, but from companies that work with Canon. You can register using a Passcode and Invitation Code that’s on the BOSFCPUG website.

Before things threatened to turn to complete anarchy, the XF305 was hooked up to the projector, and some video that was shot just moments before in the EP Levine store was displayed. I also got to hold and play with the camera. It’s very similar in size, weight and form factor to the Sony FX1, so I think I could adapt to it pretty easily. The LCD display is nice and large, though oddly the mic capsule looked rather…ahh…cheap.

Dan Berube demonstrates the XF 305 while Barbara Ellison looks on

Finally Dan asked for suggestions for future DSLR meetups. From the comments he made at the beginning of the meeting, it seems clear he’s hoping this might grow into a group that meets regularly separate to the BOSFCPUG. If you're interested in shooting video using DSLRs I'd encourage you to drop Dan a note and let him know what you might like to see at future meeting.

I'm looking forward to see what happens next.

[UPDATE 9/23 - Dan Berube passed along the following addition to the report: -
I'd like to acknowledge Jay Ignaszewski of AJA Video, who co-sponsored the pizza refreshments and was present to answer questions about ProRes workflow using the AJA KiPro Portable ProRes File Recorder. Jay not only had a couple of KiPros on hand but he took the time to show how to connect a KiPro to the HD-SDI out of the Canon XF305 camcorder for those that desire ProRes acquisition on location, and helped set up the footage demo with the XF305 at the end of the Meetup. Jay is a good friend of the BOSFCPUG and you will see Jay and AJA workflow solutions at many upcoming BOSFCPUG Meetups!
- Dan]

BOSFCPUG: Canon Expo 2010 New York

Thursday, August 19, 2010

New Redrock Nano DSLR rigs

Redrock has a page up with their new nano DSLR rigs, which range in price from the $107.50 Grippit to the $467.00 RunningMan. The Stealth, Stealth Grip and RunningMan all include a body pad support, with the latter two including a handle grip.

nano Stealth

It's almost impossible without trying them to figure out which of these might be the easiest/most comfortable to use, though I'm now more intrigued by the nano- Stealth. I suspect that in most situation's I'll have my left hand on the lens for focusing, and putting the right hand on the camera seems natural both for steadying the camera as well as having it ready to adjust aperture and shutter on the maybe a handle-grip isn't necessary.

Your mileage my vary...

nano RunningMan (notice the handle!)

Redrock: nano DSLR rugs

Panasonic "Shoot It. Share It" Video Contest

From Aug. 18th through October 15th, 2010, users of Panasonic P2 HD, AVCCAM and
DVCPRO HD camcorders can submit up to five videos for a chance to win wide-ranging honors, including the grand prize of an AG-HPX370 P2 HD Camcorder package.

Step 1: Shoot a video that showcases the innovative way that you are using your Panasonic professional camcorder.

Step 2: Upload the video (no more than 5 minutes in length) on the [] web site

Step 3: A panel of judges will choose a semi-finalist winner in each category. On Oct. 19th, 1st and 2nd place category winners will be posted online. From Oct. 19th through Oct. 22nd, the public will have the opportunity to vote for the Grand Prize winner. The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Nov. 3rd.

Grand Prize Winner: AG-HPX370 P2 HD Camcorder package (a value of over $12,000.00)

1st place: Choice of an AG-HMC40 AVCCAM HD Camcorder or an AG-MSU10 Portable P2 Media Storage Device (value of $2,300 or greater)

2nd place: AJ-PCD2 P2 Card Reader (a value of $350).

New Cameras

Nikon has announced the D3100, which adds 1080/24 and continuous contrast-detect autofocus to Nikons entry-level DSLR. Of course, how noisy it is while focusing, and what the rolling shutter is like remains to be seen. Of course, I'm heavily invested in Canon gear at this point, so I guess I should hope it's not very good, but the better Nikon and others do, the more it will drive Canon to improve their next camera.

Speaking on Canon's next camera, no D60 announcement ( now says next week, but I don't believe them) though they did announce some new Powershots.

Sony also has new Alpha cameras coming, including the  Alpha A33, which is quite small compared to the NEX cameras, as DigitalRev points out.

[UPDATE: yesterday Canonrumors said August 26 is when the embargo on the 60D will, "the EOS 60D will be available on September 22, 2010" Of course, both statements may be correct; it may be announced on the 26th and available September 22nd...]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PluralEyes for Premiere Pro (Windows) now released

Singular Software has now officially released PluralEyes for Premiere Pro for Windows. A beta version had previously been available. PluralEyes performs an automated synchronization of video and audio tracks based on matches in the audio track. It can be useful for dual sound recording if you don't want to use a clapper board or other method to sync the sound.

An introductory discount of 20% will be applied to the original price ($149 USD) if purchased before September 17, 2010. Students and instructors can take advantage of Singular Software's academic discount of 50%, which can be applied to individual purchases of PluralEyes.

PluralEyes for Premiere Pro is compatible with Windows® XP®, Vista® and Windows 7®. A version for Mac OS X users will be released at a later date.

A version for Final Cut Pro is already available.


BOSFCPUG Canon Video/DSLR Filmmaker Meetup, Aug 19th

Location information (and a registration page) is now up for this Thursday's BOSFCPUG meeting.

TIME: 7:00PM - 8:30PM (Doors open at 6:30PM)
VENUE: E.P. Levine, LLC, 219 Bear Hill Rd. Waltham, MA 02451

The August BOSFCPUG mixer is scheduled to happen next week on Thursday, August 19th. This is being billed as the first BOSFCPUG Canon Filmmaker Meetup, featuring special guest Barbara Ellison of Canon,and is aimed at digital filmmakers who want to learn more about HD workflow using Canon's latest video and DSLR cameras.

This meeting will also highlight the Canon XF305 Professional Camcorder. They'll have the XF305 to play with, as well as Canon's latest DSLR cameras with some of the most popular lenses for DSLR filmmaking.

[I still wonder if the 60D will have been announced by then...]

BOSFCPUG: Web page

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just use some cheeseplate that I had laying around...

I hate do-it-yourself projects. Partly because I'm hopeless at electrical and mechanical engineering; if I can't do it with a screwdriver, hammer, glue and duct tape, then it's pretty much not going to happen.

But the other thing that frustrates me is how often I'll come across projects that "only cost $20," but are dependent upon the fact that you have some piece of unusual hardware or equipment lying around.

Case in point
I came across this video for a DIY Spider Trax Dolly based on the wheels from a skateboard and put together for $20.

DIY on how to build a Spider Trax Dolly from Just Basl Productions on Vimeo.

Looked pretty neat. So I went down to Target to look at skateboards; the cheapest was $29.99. A second trip to Toys-R-Us turned up a $15 skateboard.

With that out of the way I went looking for "cheeseplate" like that shown in the video. A search on Google and Amazon turned up nothing even resembling it. Trips to two hardware stores and Home Depot turned up nothing except a plain sheet of metal which might have worked, though it was border-line too flimsy and would require some drilling (yes, I do have en electric drill).

A little perplexed, I went back to the video, and this time went to the actual Vimeo page it's hosted on (I'd originally seen the video posted on another blog.) There in the discussions were people asking the same thing. Turns out that the plate he "had lying around" was actually a Glidecam Camera Weight Plate. $14.95 from B & H with a 7 to 14 day I ordered one ($18.30 including S&H)

Quick Release Plate? $37.50

So the $20 dolly is probably going to cost about $70.

Vimeo: DIY on how to build a Spider Trax Dolly
B & H: Glidecam Camera Weight Plate
B & H: Manfrotto 323 RC2 System Quick Release Adapter with 200PL-14 Plate

B & H has Zacuto Z-finder's in stock

The supply of Zacuto Z-Finders has been somewhat erratic the last couple of months, and they are often on back-order, but I just noticed that the Z-Finder's are in stock at B & H (so I ordered the Pro Finder 2.5.)

B & H: Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 3x $375.25
B & H: Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x $375.25

Rule Workshop: Digital Asset Management, Aug 18

Digital Asset Management
Wed Aug 18, 10am - 12noon
Ryan Servant, NE Sales manager for JB&A Distribution provides a detailed demo of CatDV - a media cataloging tool.

Rule: Events@Rule