Friday, October 12, 2012

Quick Links

CinemaDNG Technology Center | Adobe
From Todd Kopriva at Adobe: "The CinemaDNG Technology Center page has been updated with the CinemaDNG specification, example files, and other materials for those interested in working with this format.
More than a decade ago, photography experienced a technological shift with the proliferation of digital cameras. As photographers embraced digital cameras, their desire to access low-level image data increased, resulting in the increase of RAW file formats and workflows. Unfortunately, the digital still image raw workflow brought with it a slew of file formats (over 200 for still cameras!) that are proprietary, closed, and sometimes even encrypted.

Documentary Summit: Boston
When: October 13-14, 2012. 9am-5pm both days
Where: Boston University, Center for Digital Imaging Arts, 274 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453
The Documentary Summit is a two day professional filmmaker conference. With seminars from expert speakers and structured networking, it offers a unique opportunity to connect, share, learn and collaborate. Join the movement now.

The Audio Expert by Ethan Winer – A great read for musicians and music producers | Yuval Gerstein
The book is intended for intermediate to advanced level recording engineers, studio owners and audiophiles. It is by no means an “Audio for dummies” type of book, though the explanations in each chapter are incredibly straight forward and the feeling is that Winer is not trying to prove his knowledge by making things complicated like many other authors unfortunately do.

We Got Your Dynamic Range Right Here: Blackmagic Cinema Camera Put to the Test | Joe Marine | No Film School
Joe's thoughts on Frank Glencairn's dynamic range test on the BMCC:
One of my personal pet peeves is seeing a nicely composed image, but completely blown out highlights in the background. Up until now the only option under $10,000 was to heavily underexpose (which can lead to ugly skin tones). Now we’ve got a camera that is capable of retaining detail in both the extreme highlights and extreme shadows, and for less money than any of the competitors.

Litepanels LED Fresnels | Vincent Laforet
These lights are ideal for documentarians looking for nice interview lighting on the fly or for DPs who need to add some kick and accent light.  They also provide a great solution for shooting indoors and for those of us who need to fly with our lighting kits. For one, there is no concern with blowing fuses or destroying power outlets when shooting in an apartment, home, or business that was not designed to power high-wattage lighting, and second these lights are very light relative to many other systems out there. 

Litepanel Croma Light | Carl Mrozek | TV Technology
Review of a small on-camera light, the Croma currently has a $100 rebate:
The instrument is aesthetically designed and rugged enough to withstand the modest abuse associated with professional use. It’s also well-suited to meet the challenge involved in making the best use of existing lighting conditions and it allows the shooter to achieve the desired “look” in a media landscape where this is important.

The Business of Screenwriting: Script readers, Hollywood’s threshold guardians
| Scott Myers | Go Into The Story
Almost no material gets submitted in Hollywood without coverage and that coverage is written by a script reader who is paid — or sometimes not — to read your script. What they say about your script, indeed how they distill in their coverage the key narrative elements of your story can have an enormous influence on how the material is perceived by people further up the food chain.

Drop the Puck! SF BULLS! | Oct28 Productions | Vimeo
Shooting high-speed with the Sony NEX-FS700:
We put this video together with the help of Marlon Torres and our newest film collaborator, Afonso Salcedo, who were both filming on the amazing Sony FS700. Check out the slow mo shots!

Late Night Hotdogs | CERVIDEO, LLC | Vimeo
Low light shots with the Sony NEX-FS100 and NEX-FS700:
I used the Sony FS100 (using the Sony 50mm e-mount lens in S&Q mode, set to1fps, with a shutter speed of 1 second) and the FS700 capturing the other shots, using the Sony FS700 Kit Lens.This is just one of those fun moments of shooting and having a good time and enjoying amazing food.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Quick Links

Keanu Reeves talks about shooting with the ARRI Alexa Studio Camera:
"The camera was just out of beta and I wanted to test its limits," says Reeves, qualifying his comment about "breaking" the Studio. "We've been shooting in water, high temperatures, dust, using strobe effects, really pushing the camera - it's been getting a good workout! ALEXA is easy to work with and very well-made."

Interview with Cira Felina Bolla | BandPro
Shooting with the Sony F65:
I’m most impressed with the F65's color-space, sensor and latitude. I'll explain: its ability to hold information in the highlights up to 2 ½ stops over and up to 3 stops under in the shadows without degradation; no noise in the Blue channel; or any of the other layers. No other HD camera has been capable of this until now. This is how today's properly exposed film behaves.

Sony F65 Gives a New Life to ‘Evil Dead’ | Digital Media World
DP Aaron Morton and DIT Hugh Calveley talk Sony F65 and their remake of ‘Evil Dead’.
"There is something about the fine detail that felt really natural and more like a film's random grain, rather than a grid of horizontal and vertical lines. Because of the massive over-sampling the level of detail is amazing and it looks sharp and rich, without looking over-sharpened."

The DMPC tour brings 4K technologies to you! | Sony
If you are interested in the Sony F65 workflow, the DMPC tour is coming to New York, Atlanta, New Orleans, Boston and Chicago:
The DMPC "On Location" Tour takes our training on Sony's groundbreaking F65 CineAlta™ digital motion picture camera – and the production workflows supporting it – to your location. Get a comprehensive overview of the technology, workflows and screenings that make up the DMPC experience.

Tips for Scheduling Video Interviews | RON DAWSON | Dare Dreamer
Pick up the phone when necessary. I know it’s easier to just send emails to everyone, but some people get hundreds of emails a day. If someone you’ve emailed has replied by the follow-up email, pick up the phone and call him/her.

Sony HDR-AS15 Action Cam Open Box Video. Slow Motion QT Video | Jared Abrams
| YouTube
We all claim to hate them, but people keep watching them:
Here is a painfully slow open box video for the new Sony Action Cam, I had to shoot it in slow motion! :) The Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15 has a ton of great features that simply blow away the Gro Pro 2. Built in WiFi and full HD at 30fps and 1280 X 720 slow motion 2X and 4X or 60 and 120 fps effective, makes this the ultimate sports camera.

Bluestar Eye Cushions – a little bit of luxury for your face | Paul Joy
Until recently none of the Bluestar Eye Cusions would fit the C300 but that’s been resolved now with the introduction of the ‘Extra Large Oval’ size. As you can see from the photo above it’s a perfect fit. I’m over the moon to have a little bit of comfort back with the C300.

VFX goes international | Haz Dulull | RedShark news
While California (which at one time was the Hub of VFX work) continues to struggle with no tax incentives to offer, the artists start to suffer too with a lack of work - and are forced to travel further or relocate.  States like Louisiana attracted a lot of productions since the inception of its tax relief scheme and cost effective location shoots, and smaller studios have even started cropping up around that area to make good use of the favourable conditions.

Do documentaries need to be fair to both sides of an issue? | Noel Murray
| The A.V. Club
Let me clear: I am in no way saying that documentaries about hot-button issues need to remain neutral or objective. One of the biggest problems with the news media today is that in the interest of fairness, reporters give both sides of a debate equal weight, even when one side is either lying or crazy

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quick Links

(SR3) NEX-FS700: 4K upgrade coming next Thursday? | SonyAlphaRumors
We know that the 4K announcement for the Sony NEW-FS700 is supposed to happen sometime in the next month - could it be this Thursday?:
The first news is related to the Sony NEX-FS700 camera. An anonymous source just told me that there will be a new 4K upgrade coming on Thursday! Leòt’s hope this is true!

Premiere Pro CS6 “Media Pending” | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
I had some problems with Premiere and .MT2 files a while back. I wonder if this "fix" might have solved that:
If you are editing in Premiere Pro CS6 and get a “Media Pending” after importing a file, look at the file structure to see if there is more than one MXF file in the folder. I waited over 10 minutes for the “pending” to disappear on a file that was less than 60s long.

TILTA CAMERA RIG REVIEW | Rick Macomber | Vimeo
Rick showed me this rig the other day, and it certainly looked impressive:
A Chinese company named Team Tilta has designed a new camera rig system that looks like something out of a Terminator film. On par with other top manufacturers in its build quality, its price point kills the competition! And it’s not just a flesh wound. Its HALF the cost! The Quick Release Baseplate is made of aircraft grade aluminum. This thing is solid. It comes with a shoulder pad and a heavy duty V-mount quick release shoe that works on standard broadcast ENG tripod plates. Open base quick locks mount the baseplate to the included 15mm rails. Price? $280 US

Picking the Right Camera for the Job | Ron Dawson | Dare Dreamer
Post production: what kind of post production processes do you have in the works? Do you have the computer power and data storage necessary to edit raw video like what the RED spits out? Are you shooting a film that has a lot of visual effects or green screen, requiring a higher color space or bit-depth video quality?

Testing times for the D800 | David Shapton | Red Shark News
More about the Nikon D800 and whether it's suitable for the BBC:
Why does an "expensive" camera like the D800 have these issues? Firstly, because the sensor has a different resolution to the video it is outputting. One to one pixel ratios between sensors and the output image will usually give the best results. Secondly, the electronics needed to downscale well are expensive and power-consuming. Neither of which are good characteristics for a camera that is not exactly cheap but which would probably not sell if it were two or three times the price - and nor would it be viable if the battery only lasted a few minutes.

“If not now when” Music Documentary shot on C300 now online | Philip Bloom
So why the C300?
It’s my favourite camera…easily. Why? First off, I adore the image. Detailed, great dynamic range and quite resistant to banding. It has a strong internal codec. It works handheld without a rig (no hanheld in this version, but in the long version which has a lot more footage actually). The ergonomics are amazing compared to the competition. Excellent audio handling too! 

The Videographers Guide Ep. 1 - The Music Video | TheVGuide
The Videographers Guide is a documentary web series where we document young filmmakers as they produce short videos for the web in a variety of genres. We want to pull back the veil that shrouds the new media landscape by providing valuable information from other filmmakers who are on the front lines.

Deadline Approaching For Biennale College - Cinema Microbudget Production Program | Scott Macaulay | Filmmaker Magazine
The deadline of October 22 is fast approaching for the Biennale College – Cinema, a new initiative open to first and second-time directors that will lead to the production of three micro-budget films. In a program led by the Venice Biennale in partnership with Gucci, 15 producer-director teams will take part in a ten-day filmmaking workshop, after which three projects will be selected for further development and production funding in the amount of €150,000.

Can California remain the world's movie capital? Filmmakers, execs weigh in on tax incentives | Adam B. Vary |
For years now, many of the year’s biggest and most acclaimed movies have barely been made in Hollywood, greater Los Angeles, or California — if at all. Thanks in part to generous tax breaks in states like Louisiana and New York — not to mention countries like Canada and Australia — feature film production in the Los Angeles area dropped an estimated 41 percent from 1996 to 2007

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Quick Links

Win a $10,000 Film Grant in 'The Cabin in the Woods' Spoof Horror Film Competition | Justin Minich| No Film School
It’s that time of year when people are thinking up costume ideas, picking out pumpkins for carving, making party plans, and if you’re a filmmaker with a penchant for horror, you’re probably also thinking about making a film. And really there’s no better time to do it. Vimeo and Lionsgate are putting on The Cabin in the Woods Spoof Horror Film Competition which is offering a $10,000 Grand Prize to the best satirical or comedic horror short.

Blackmagic Camera Dynamic Range Stress Tests | Frank Glencairn | YouTube
Shot some DR tests today. Nothing fancy or artsy, emphasis was on contrast handling (not on smooth camera moves - had that lightweight travel tripod with the crappy head again - but walking several miles with a 40lbs Vinten?) So I went out to the Park at mean noon sun. That, combined with a lot of trees is usual a receipt for DR disaster. Deep shadows with puddles of super bright sunlight.
Point is, the material It looks not really spectacular, but just natural - more what your eyes see (not exactly but you get the idea). So yeah, mission accomplished BMC.

Some shots taken with Sony's upcoming full-frame camcorder, the $3,298 NEX-VG900:
VG900 that was used to shoot machine is β.With the WEB-up, I is not the same as the original image quality because it is re-compressed.

GoPro App (Free) | GoPro
The WiFi app for the GoPro Hero2 is now available:
Use your smartphone or tablet as a live video remote–includes video and photo preview. Requires HD HERO2 camera and Wi-Fi BacPac™ (not included).

NXCAM® HXR-NX30U Compact Camcorder Overview | Sony Professional | YouTube
The cheapest NXCAM, the $1,9999 HXR-NX30:
The HXR-NX30U is the smallest, lightest, most accessible camcorder ever offered in Sony's NXCAM® line -- this video highlights the major features and benefits of the HXR-NX30U camcorder, as presented by Chuck Fishbein, Director/DP, Crazy Duck Productions, Inc.

PMW-200 and PMW-EX1 comparison of noise levels and sensitivity | Doug Jensen
| Vimeo
Comparison of the PMW-200 with it's predecessor:
I shot this test video under very controlled circumstances to compare the noise levels and low-light sensitivity of my PMW-EX1 and my new PMW-200. Because there is no motion in the frame, the videos might look like freeze frames, but they are actual rolling 24P video.Because the PMW-200 offers the same 35Mbps 420 codecs as the PMW-EX1 (FAT mode), plus several higher-quality 50Mpbs 422 (UDF) codecs, I chose to test both modes to see if it made any difference.

Media Management with Adobe Prelude | Richard Harrington
Media Management with Adobe PreludeTuesday, October 02 ,2012 Filed in: Adobe | VideoAdobe Prelude CS6 offers a variety of new media management features. Rich Harrington will show you the best ways to import footage, set it to automatically copy to a new dimension, and powerful new transcoding options.

I first learned about James Wicks while researching colorists for this documentary, "Color & Finish". I started reading and learning from his blog, and I decided to contact him.Wicks was kind enough to let me interview him in his color suite at Olympusat. I drove down to West Palm Beach, and we discussed all sorts of topics, from classic films to the switch to digital, but mainly our focus was on what it means to be a colorist and the art of color correction. 
"Becoming a Colorist" is the first in a series of previews for the documentary film "Color & Finish", scheduled for a full release on Christmas Day 2012.

The Next Big Thing In Video Compression | Leslie Ellis | Multichannel
With each new compression chapter, efficiency roughly doubled: HEVC is 2x better than H.264/MPEG-4; H.264 is 2x better than MPEG-2. It follows that HEVC is 4x better than what’s inside millions of already-fielded digital set-tops.

A fun stop-motion short:
I think the challenge I had the most fun with was the tracking shot at the beginning. The Colonel has assembled his troops and walks back and forth in front of them. I’d thought it would be really interesting to walk the camera with him so I built a rig from a plank of wood that I glued some toy train track to then took a couple carriages and glued them to a smaller bit of board which i attached to the camera. Its the first real tracking shot I’ve made and I’m incredibly happy with the result.

Oscar “Disaster”: Controversy Erupts Over New Documentary Feature Rules As Michael Moore Calls For Changes | PETE HAMMOND | Deadline
The new system hasn’t worked out the way its main architect, Oscar-winning documentarian and Academy Doc branch Governor Michael Moore, envisioned, and he is the first to agree at least part of it has been a disaster. “I told them (the Academy) to use that word”, he said. “It’s a miserable failure.”

Is Apple Abandoning the Pro Video Market? | Chris Potter | Screenlight
I know that it's stating the obvious, but Apple has shifted tremendously since the first iPhone was launched just over six years ago. In fact, much has changed since the 2011 Supermeet when Final Cut Pro X was introduced. iPhone / iPad sales have grown from 53% of revenue at the end of 2010 to a projected 74% in 2012. With numbers like these, it's no surprise that when iCloud was announced in mid 2011, Steve Jobs started talking about the post PC world and stated "we are going to demote the PC to just be a device" rather than the hub of people's digital life.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Quick Links

Post workflow for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera | Frank Glencairn
I was always a sucker and evangelist for an uncompressed workflow till delivery. I did that (whenever possible) since over 12 years now, starting back in the SD days, on the advent of the first Decklink cards. Having said that, uncompressed recording was prohibitive cumbersome for most projects (though I did it on some higher end stuff) and usually I had to start with some compressed camera format, that I converted to uncompressed before I worked with it.

Southwold shot on the Black Magic Cinema Camera | Den Lennie | Vimeo
I shot this in a couple of hours on a day out to Southwold in Suffolk.
This was the first shoot I ever did with the #BMCC. I used a Sigma 8-16mm lens a Canon 16-35mm f2.8 and a Canon L 70-200mm zoom. I shot RAW and converted the files to ProRes Proxy using DaVinci Resolve. I then edited it in Final Cut ProX and round tripped the XML back to Resolve 9 for the grade. I relinked the xml to the original CinemaDNG and graded using the RAW files.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera & CINIPRO – A marriage made in heaven
| Administrator | Blackmagic User
Taking the BMCC up in a remote-controlled flying rig:
The balance and form of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera with its 200mm Canon lens was in perfect harmony with the CINIPRO’s 360 pan and tilt gyro stabilised gimbal. Weighing in at a combined weight of just 2.6kg for the camera and lens configuration, the CINIPRO effortlessly demonstrated the cameras potential. Flying for just over 8-minutes the Blackmagic representative decided his nerves couldn’t take it anymore, and reluctantly we had to land the system.

Reader Question: Are there any rules of thumb to “locking down” your script?
| Scott Myers | Go Into The Story
5. Read your script out loud: This is a great exercise as saying and hearing your words aloud allows you to get a different take on what you’ve written. If something doesn’t flow easily across your lips, rewrite it. If you start to feel yourself losing interest in the read, stop right there and look at the sequence in question. Does it need a punch up?

RED Wins Emmy for Improvements to Large Format CMOS Imagers
| Cinescopophilia
RED Studios along with Arnold & Richter Cine Technik (ARRI), Canon USA, and Sony Electronics will receive the Technology and Engineering Emmy Award for Improvements to Large Format CMOS Imagers for Use in High Definition Broadcast Video Cameras.

Sony F65 Camera Is Behind the Scenes For New CBS Series “Made In Jersey”
| ProVideoCoalition
The new CBS legal drama “Made in Jersey” is the latest high-profile production to showcase the capabilities of Sony’s F65 CineAlta camera. The production team for the new show is using up to six F65s at any one time, taking advantage of every aspect of the camera – from image quality to low-light performance to workflow flexibility.

SciFi Film Tears of Steel releases its Digital Assets | FilmmakerIQ
Tears of Steel is a crowd funded film by users of the open source software Blender. The film itself, and all raw material used for making it, have been released under the Creatieve Commons 3.0 Attribution license. Visit the website to find out more about this, or to purchase the 4-DVD box with a lot of extras.

MyPrice Automatically Calculates Your Rate for Side Jobs and Freelancing
| Alan Henry | Life Hacker
The app lets you calculate rates per project, based on all of the tools, qualified and experienced help, and supplies you'll need, whether it's a place to meet with clients, a phone line, office supplies, software, and so on. You'll have to tell the app about yourself first so it can get a feel for your needs and lifestyle, and then go on to set up your individual projects, along with the things you need.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Lost & Found

Sony ICD-SX712 Digital Flash Voice Recorder

I just found my digital audio recorder again, which is great news because its really useful. While I don't use it for video production recording, I often use it to record interviews for articles I write because the microphones in it are much better than the one in the iPad (the other device I use for such interviews.)

But the problem is that the recorder is so small that I seem to loose it a lot. For long periods of time. This is the second time it has disappeared for more than a month, only to turn up in the pocket of a bag I forgot I put it in.

Unfortunately its both a case of not putting it in the same place every time, and being so small it will fit in anywhere. I have multiple bags and - depending upon the situation - I will take a different combination of bags out to an event, and the recorder just gets thrown in to one of the pockets. When I come home, I don't usually unpack the bags straight away, and if I didn't actually end up using it, the recorder can be left in the pocket it was dropped in...

I really need to get into the habit off unpacking things after a shoot and having standard places for storage, rather than leaving then in the last bag they went out in until the next time.

But it is a great little voice recorder. The microphones can be tilted out to enhance the stereo effect, but I don't bother with that. You can record in LPCM 44.1kHz 16 bit and MP3. The on-off slider on the side is small and would be difficult to operate with gloves on, but once it's on, the other functions are easy enough to operate. It comes with 2GB of memory, which seems small after working so long with video cameras, but then you realize how little space audio files take up!