Monday, June 20, 2011

News From Here & There

Shooting with the Sony PMW-F3
A great article at HD Magazine about DP Tim Palmer and using the PMW-F3 to shoot We’ll Take Manhattan a drama about photographer David Bailey. This article is interesting because it covers the cameras that were considered for the project, and also outlines the problems they encountered:
What he wasn’t ready for was the route he would have to take to record any footage, “Natively the camera records at a data rate of 32Mbps which is not enough for the BBC who require a minimum of 50Mbps. This isn’t a problem as the BBC’s advice is to record to an external recorder like the Convergent Design NanoFlash that bolts on to the side of the rig. The unit is the size of a pack of cigarettes and is very discreet. However because there is nowhere to attach it to the actual camera a longer set of bars becomes necessary which juts out the back of the camera. This means that the camera has almost doubled in length just to mount a 4”x3” box.
HDMagazine: Sony's F3 Shoots David Bailey Drama For BBC

Small, light rig
Frank Saur shot a documentary on free runner Jason Paul using a Panasonic GH2 and a Gorillapod as the rig:
I use a lot of other HDSLRs, but for this particular project I chose the GH2. One reason is the amazing auto-focus system that is sadly only compatible with the Panasonic lenses. The film was completely shot without external monitor or viewfinder. During the two days of shooting, there was not a lot of time to set up a shot and pull focus. When I found a moment that I wanted to capture I needed it to be in focus in an instant.
DSLRNewsShooter: Free running with the Panasonic GH2 – Frank Sauer shoots the fast moving sport using autofocus

Launching Your Film Online
An excellent article from Andrew Allen that covers what they did when releasing their movie The Thomas Beale Cipher. Includes the launch plan, traffic details, results, and what they learned:
It’s a lot of work. Next time I might think about engaging someone early in the project as PMD—Producer of Marketing and Distribution. This is a newish position that many in the indie-world are getting behind, folks like Jon Reiss, Sheri Candler and Ted Hope. We did it ourselves, but it was tough.
ShortOfTheWeek: How We Launched Our Film Online: The Thomas Beale Cipher

No transcoding with ClipWrap?
One of the BIG problems with Final Cut Pro is that it won't import some video formats; you have to transcode them first. I find this particularly annoying with AVCHD files. ClipWrap 2 claims to rewrap HDV and AVCHD:
Does ClipWrap transcode the footage?
Not by default. In addition to re-wrapping, ClipWrap 1.1 now also supports transcoding. You can transcode your HDV footage into Apple ProRes, Apple Intermediate Codec, DVCProHD, or Avid's DNxHD. You can also down convert to DV.

What about support for AVCHD?
ClipWrap 2.0 adds support for transcoding and rewrapping AVCHD. Please test your specific camera's files to ensure compatibility.
I haven't tried it yet, but they have a trial version so, I'm going to give it a go...
DivergentMedia: ClipWrap 2

Optical Image Stabilization
Ever wondered how the image stabilization in modern lenses works? Camera Technica explains how, and includes a video showing the internals of a Canon 18-55mm lens:
The secret to an image stabilized lens is an internal lens element that is allowed to float off of the original optical axis. While the front and rear elements remain stationary, the internal floating lens bounces to and fro to compensate for the movements of our shaking hand.
Camera Technica: The Science of Image Stabilization Technology

Are digital effects overwhelming the story?
David Denby at The New Yorker looks at the current crop of effects laden movies - Super 8, The Green Lantern and X-Men - and wonders if the effects are now ruining the movies:
But one reason that C.G.I. has become so widespread is that it makes the fantastic available not just to the artists but to the unimaginative and the graceless as well.
Digital filmmakers need to get a few things straight: If there are no rules, there’s no reason to care how the story turns out. When everything is at stake, nothing is at stake
TheNewYorker: Anything Goes



Arlen said...

Clipwrap works for the most part but it's occasionally buggy. We use NX5Us with it and have decided to transcode for performance reasons. Of course, FCPX is just around the corner so our workflow may change considerably soon...

Michael Murie said...

I think you're right; you would still want to transcode before doing serious editing (just as you should transcode H.264 video from Canon DSLRs, even though Final Cut will let you edit them in the timeline without transoding.)

But I figure it's useful to have something to be able to do quick edits/previous of footage for when you're in a hurry!