Saturday, September 10, 2011

Quick Links

AJA Ki Pro Mini To Support Avid DNxHD Video Codec | AJA
The Ki Pro Mini Solid State Recorder [B&H:$1,995] currently supports Apple's ProRes codec, but AJA has now announced they are working on supporting Avid's DNxHD Video Codec. [Should be useful for all those Final Cut users switching to Avid!]
AJA is working jointly with Avid(R) to build support for the Avid DNxHD(R) video codec into Ki Pro Mini, enabling further production efficiencies to Avid Media Composer(R). Support for the Avid DNxHD codec will be available Q4 2011 via a free downloadable firmware upgrade.

Contour’s ‘Waterproof’ Sports Camcorder for Swimmers, Not Divers | Charlie Sorrel | Wired
Contour has introduced a water-proofed version of their little "hands-free" camcorder, it's called the ContourROAM, and it's listing for $199. It'll be good for depths up to one meter. ContourROAM Hands-free HD Camcorder[Anmazon]
CountorROAM Product Page

Lake Worth: After Irene (iphone 4 & EnCinema) | \\Vid-Atlantic Media Prod plus | Vimeo
If they hadn't told you, would you have guessed this was shot on an iPhone?! The video was shot using an iPhone4 and the EnCinema SLR Lens Adapter Kit with Tair 11A 135mm f2.8 and Iscorama 36 1.5x Anamorphic lenses. actually reading the product page, while you can use it with the iPhone, it's seems really intended for slightly larger consumer video cameras:
Q) Is my Camera Compatible?
A) Your Camera will work if it has front filter threads with a 30mm to 49mm diameter. The Canon HF S and HF M series cameras also work.
Other compatible cameras are the Canon HF, HV, HF M, Sony, Panasonic, JVC and many more!

Q) Will the Adapter work with my iPhone?
A) Yes, If you have the Owle Bubo, Our adapter will work. You will need additional macro filters that we provide when ordering the kit for
the Owle. Please go here to order the EnCinema SLR Lens Adapter kit for iPhone
So it appears to be a budget Letus35 adapter?

Quick Take. D|Matte 4×4 Clip On Matte Box. $250 | Misa Garcia
| Wide Open Camera
Very quick overview video of the new D|Matte. It seems you can stand on it.

CINEMA Picture Style | cinePlus
The CINEMA Picture Style for Canon DSLR's is now available for $19. Features:
  • Great perceived latitude, but with a nice contrasty image
  • Keeps details on shadows and highlights while remaining quite contrasted.
  • Vivid colors on low saturated areas, no greysh or monochromatic casts
  • Analog like colors on high saturated areas
  • Film colorimetry

Adobe and Avid are reaping the benefits of Final Cut Pro converts
| Ashley Kennedy |
Both Adobe and Aviod are happy about increased Mac sales after they dropped their prices by half...

RED Drops EPIC-S from Roadmap | Ryan Koo | No Film School
I don't keep up with the RED models closely, but it seems that something went missing from the Roadmap they announced the other day.

THX Introduces Room Certification For Critical Viewing Rooms
Got Ca$h? The THX critical viewing Room Certification will "assure content producers that specific facilities—regardless of size or location—are capable of providing consistent quality for the most accurate performance, equivalent to the best in Hollywood."

Friday, September 09, 2011

Soundboard for iPad

Ambrosia Software has announced the release of Soundboard for iPad, mobile sound cart and mash-up software for the iPad Soundboard for iPad provides a quick way to enhance live events, podcasts, or broadcasts with sound clips, effects, or musical accompaniment.

  • Low Latency, High Performance: Soundboard for iPad has a sophisticated internal sound caching mechanism to ensure very low latency when cuing effects
  • Mash it up: Start or stop as many simultaneous sounds as you can trigger, even load it up with beats and accents to build a fully functional sampler
  • Multi-Touch magic: Trigger multiple sounds, and alter individual level controls by using two hands or multiple fingers
iTunes: Soundboard for iPad - Ambrosia Software, Inc.

An important announcement for owners of 'Get'

Get for Final Cut Pro Update | AV3
As has been previously announced, the 'Get' dialog search application for Final Cut Pro has been discontinued (and is now being sold - or the technologies that make it up - as "Soundbite" by Boris FX.)

AV3 has posted a statement about support, noting that while the software will continue to run, registered owners will be unable to move the software to another machine or reinstall if they have to reformat their hard drive, because the software licensing system is disabled.

However, it's not all bad news, because:
By e-mailing and including proof of your purchase of AV3 Get Boris FX will crossgrade existing AV3 Get license(s) to Soundbite at no cost.
Boris FX: Soundbite

Hardware News

Canon Vixia HF M40 | Jim Feeley | Macworld
A short but fairly thorough review of the Canon VIXIA HF M40 [Amazon $596.87] It features a 1/3-inch, 1920 by 1080 sensor, which should improve video quality, though does mean you can't shoot high resolution stills:
Even in dim light, the HF M40 captures a high-quality video image; it doesn't sacrifice color accuracy or overcrank gain and consequent noise. Under normal lighting conditions, HD video shows excellent color and sharpness, very good exposure control, and smooth motion. The camera's impressive dynamic range preserves detail in both shadows and highlights rather than quickly clipping to black or white.

Vixia HF R21 Camcorder Review | Jeremy Stamas | Camcorderinfo
Camcorderinfo does a full on review of the Canon VIXIA HF R21 [Amazon $449.00], an entry-level HD camcorder  Though larger than your Flip's and Bloggies, it offers better image quality, but fewer manual controls than you'll find on the HF M40:
The audio controls are fantastic for an entry-level camcorder as well, with the R21 offering full-fledged audio level adjustment in addition to including an external mic and headphone jack
If you’re looking for extensive manual controls, like the ability to adjust shutter speed or aperture, the Canon HF R21 is not the camcorder for you.
Another important detail is that the battery compartment is fully enclosed, so you can't use a longer-life battery with the camera.

Shooting with the New Panasonic HPX250 AVC-Intra 100 Camcorder
| Mike Sutton | Rule Boston Camera
A short post on shooting with the new Panasonic AG-HPX250:
Panasonic has nicely laid out the key features with quick and easy access to buttons on the operator side of the camera. Everything you need — like focus assist, ND, audio controls, scene file, waveform, etc., is nicely placed in plain view.
More specs on the camera: Early Sneak Peak at the Panasonic AG-HPX250

UnderWaterRealm Blog Week 29 | The Under Water Realm
A video showing the construction of a BIY kino flo-style light that is battery operated and fully submersible.

Review: Fancier FTV-50 DSLR Video Shoulder Rig | Abel | Pixtus
Lots of pictures and a review of a $140 DSLR rig. From the look of the pictures, and the written review, this looks like a pretty good bargain. You can even buy it at Amazon: Fancier FTV-50 DSLR Rig Movie Kit Shoulder Rig Mount
This rig offers the utmost adjustability in regards to left and right placement and even the up and down placement of the camera mounting plate itself. The vertical adjustment can be done by simply loosening the blue thumb screw and then locating the camera and camera plate height to how you see fit and then tighten the thumb screw back down.

Episode 28: CineMover Camera Slider | DSLR Video Shooter
Video review of a budget table dolly, the $80 CineMover.

Movie Mount improves iPad2 video camera | Cameratown
This doesn't seem to be available yet, but it's a mount for putting an iPad2 on a tripod. Of course, why you'd want to do that considering the low quality video that the iPad2 captures, who knows? Hopefully the iPad3 will have a better video camera...

Intel's upgraded Sandy Bridge-E may ship November 15 | electronista
Could this mean that Apple will update their MacPro's?
Apple doesn't usually opt to use mid-life Core processor updates but might go for their Xeon E5 equivalents expected at the same time. The Mac Pro​ hasn't been updated for over a year and has seen Apple wait on Intel for the workstation-oriented processors it needs. Apple has inadvertently hinted at a 16-core Mac Pro that would need the E5's expected eight-core processors to make real. [via VR-Zone]

G-TECHNOLOGY By Hitachi Showcases Its First 4TB Hard Drives | VideoGuys
Thunderbolt devices continue to appear.
Not only does the G-RAID Thunderbolt demo showcase the fastest interface you can find with data transfer rates up to 10 Gbps, it shows amazing sustained throughput for handling multi-stream compressed HD workflows including REDCODE, DVCPro HD, XDCAM HD and ProRes 422
It's expected in October.

Sachtler Ace: Broadcast feel for smaller cameras

Sachtler has unveiled the Ace, a lightweight tripod for cameras up to 8.8 lbs, that offers Sachtler quality at a lower price point.

Philip Bloom got to play with one before it was released. He says that it will be available for about £480 (~$765)
The head is lovely and smooth, although doesn’t quite have as many friction points as I would like on the pan and tilt. From 0 to 3. But it’s fine in practice. Sachtler friction is in whole stops unlike others where you just turn the dial until you are happy. It also means at 0 the head has zero friction on it so it’s free floating. Good for controlled pseudo handheld work.
He's also posted a video that was shot using the Sony NEX-5N!
IBC 2011: Review of the new Sachtler ACE tripod for DSLRs | Philip Bloom

Daniel Freytag also got to play with one, and has posted a short review:
If you're in film business, work with a DSLR and have a rig with a camera and a few accessories, then this is YOUR tripod. The Payload is 0-4kg, so with a 800g DSLR (e.g. 7D) you have 3.2kg for monitor, accessories, cages and more. This is truly enough and the features of this new tripod are making it easy balance it and use it.
Sachtler Ace - The new tripod series for DSLR users | Daniel Freytag

The Ace tripod will be available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa: October 24th, 2011; in the US: November 14th, 2011; in Japan: November 21st, 2011; in Asia and Australia: December 5th, 2011. Actual prices haven't been announced.

Sachtler: Ace Produce Page
Sachtler: Ace Technical Specifications

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Tom Guilmette @ Rule Boston Camera

You might know Tom Guilmette as the guy that made that slow-motion-video-in-a-hotel room with the Phantom camera. Or you might know him as a spokesman for Vinten Tripods & Heads. You might even know him as the operator of Camera 7 on the left field wall of Fenway Park. Tom is a skilled DP based in Boston and last month he spoke at Rule Boston Camera's Pub Night about shooting sports, Vinten, Social Media, and the Phantom camera. The following are some notes from his talk.

For the past ten years Tom's been a cameraman for NESN, and for most Red Sox home games he works Camera 7 up on the left field wall at Fenway Park. He began his talk with an overview of the production of a broadcast of the Red Sox home game, covering set up, camera operation, how the show is produced, and even how he knows what’s going on and sees the program. He showed some uncut clips, as well as some behind-the-scenes footage he shot of the production of a basketball away game.

Tom operates a Sony "hard" camera with a Canon or Fujinon lens that is 700mm at f 1.7, with a doubler that goes to 1400mm. Of his operation of the camera, he said "All I do is pan, tilt, zoom and focus. All the colors are handled in the truck." He also stressed that the tripod head is the most important part of the machinery.
[It's] a lot of whip pans, a lot of snappy zooms, so you need a pan head that is going to be able to handle all that, and I tell people that the pan head is number 1, because that’s your pivot point. [...] If there’s any surprises like sticking or slipping, that ball is going to fly out of your frame.

You’ve got to know where your focus is. If you’re shooting something in the crowd that’s five feet away from you and then you go back and you’re full wide, it might look like you’re in focus, [but] soon as you zoom that camera in, it goes way out [of focus] and you just can’t recover in time.

When I shoot, whether it’s ENG, off the shoulder, or it’s with the Phantom, I take all color out of the viewfinder. I don’t want color. If you have your camera set up properly there’s no reason to even see color, and for me it’s easier to focus.

A CRT is the only way to go because when you're chasing after a baseball and it’s in the air and you’re pulling focus on that, if you have an LCD, trace-lag in the LCD is just inherent, If the LCD is cold and you’re shooting football outside, and you go to follow that spiral and zoom into it tight, the crystals aren’t moving around like they are supposed to and it’s so hard to track, [because] everything’s blurred.
He was asked if he were shooting a High School football game, what would be the minimum number of cameras he would use, and where would he put them?
I'd like five, but I could do four cameras. I’d have a game and a tight at the 50. One would be wide on the entire field, the other would be picking off head shots. I would definitely have a hand held. You have to have a hand held running up and down the field, and to put your talent on camera. I would put the other one at what we call slash, up on the corner, or one in the End Zone looking right down the field so you can see everything.
He was also asked his thoughts about 3D for sports, and while he thought it was likely that NESN would try it at some point, he wasn't enthusiastic about the idea:
If it’s done correctly with two lenses, it looks awesome in the theater. At home, you’re watching the game, you’re talking to your wife, you’re answering the phone, you’re pulling your eyeballs off that screen, I don’t think it works.

Tom loves the Vinten Vector 70 tripod head that he uses for the Sox games, and stresses it's importance for the kinds of shots he has to get when following a flying baseball. He noted that Vinten actually contacted him after a post he wrote on his blog, and they have had him work their booth at past NAB shows.
Anybody here follow’s my website you probably know that I’m basically in love with Vinten. Nobody in the sports market makes a better panning and tilting head than Vinten, and the cool design with this pantograph design, the panhead basically breathes. You can see how the center of gravity changes. [...] This pan head is paramount for doing these types of crazy moves.
Demonstrating the Vinten Vector 700 series tripod head
The key with having a fluid tilt head is you need resistance. I run heavy resistance. When this gets really cold I notice that I don’t need to put as much fluid into the head.
Vinten discontinued the 70 series in favor of the 900, but then brought the head back - as the Vector 75 - though it is now a black color rather than the beige color they used to be: "If I had a choice, I’d tell them to go back to their traditional color, which was lighter and doesn’t seem to get as warm." Vinten sent him the Vector 75 serial #1 to try, and he brought that along to the meeting to demonstrate.

Social Media
Tom started his blog with Apple's iWeb, but then moved to Wordpress because iWeb wasn't powerful enough.
Three years ago I started a website, Tom, and I recommend everybody here do the same. I don’t have demo reels, what I do is, I experiment with TV cameras, and [use that as] a place to put all the stuff that I learn and the content that I produce.

I hated YouTube with a passion [...] it’s just a wasteland of garbage really. And then Vimeo came around, and I remember seeing my first Vimeo and all of a sudden I see this 16x9 window pop up and it says it’s 720p. I didn’t think the internet could do this. Now I had a way to put the stuff that I produce in HD, the way I want people to view it.

I export everything at 4500 kbits, double pass, auto key framing, H.264, MP4. Right now I’m using Final Cut and I export right off the timeline and use QuickTime Conversion.

Twitter is a very valuable source of information, and to talk to people and put together ideas for projects. I also find it really useful to broadcast with. If I have an update on my website, [I can] throw it out to the 5,000 followers.

Earlier this year, Tom filmed and posted "Locked in a Vegas Hotel Room with a Phantom Flex," a video shot using the Phantom Flex high-speed camera. This video went viral in a big way, and has over 2.7M views to date, somewhat to his surprise. He said that at first he was surprised there was so much interest "it’s like people had never seen this kind of thing before." He went on to add that interest in the camera continues unabated; "if I mention it on Twitter, people just go nuts about it."

The Phantom is an amazing - and expensive - camera that features a Super 35 sensor and can record a 1080p stream at 2564 pictures a second. At 720p it can do around 5600 pictures a second
The camera you see before you is my favorite camera on the planet. [It's] amazingly engineered in my mind, because this camera can pretty much mess with the fabric of time.

Traditionally, when you shoot high speed, you need a ton of light. What I’ve found with this sensor - I think the native ISO is 1250 - it’s ridiculous, it’s better than a RED. It’s crazy sensitive.

Depth of field is very shallow, especially when you have it wide open, which you need to when you’re shooting this fast

Depending on which model you have, you either have 16 GB or 32 GB of ridiculously fast, solid state memory. This camera writes at 8 GB a second, to flash memory. The 16GB gives you 2 seconds of recording time at 2564 1080. The way it works is, you park the camera on the hummingbird, you wait for him to arrive and grab the nectar. As soon as he arrives, you have two seconds to hit a post trigger and stop the recording process. That’s how I set it up

Think about it. Two seconds at that frame rate ends up being four or five minutes of the bird just doing his thing.

You can set a pre-trigger, but you’d only do that if you knew what was going on. You can set a mid-trigger point so when the building explodes you hit it right in the middle of the explosion, but I would rather [wait, and] as the building explodes, count two seconds and then hit stop. But if you’re not careful and you hit stop too late, it’ll already be in the explosion part of the shot.

It’s a PL mount so you can use PL lenses. It’s $2,500 a day to rent, but [you also need] the Cinemag, and batteries, and this thing goes through batteries like they’re going out of style. When I shot the Claymore Challenge, I had a portable Honda generator with me.

The key to the Phantom, is to black balance all the time. [You should] let it warm for about half an hour prior. But as the sensor warms, weird things happen. Blacks start turning greenish and you get what I call a screen-door effect where you get weird lines over the shot. You’ll see it occasionally on videos shoot with the Phantom; they didn’t black balance. Black balance wipes the sensor clean and gets it where it needs to be, so you always black balance the Phantom before every take. Every five minutes if you have to. At least, that’s what I do.

You can find out more about Tom, and see videos he's shot with the Phantom and other cameras at:

Rule Boston Camera

UPDATE: Corrected and clarified the Tripod head model number(s)


Other Interesting - mostly Sony - News

Sony NEX 5N *vs* FS100 and NEX VG20 – hands on comparison | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew got to spend some time at the IBC show with these three cameras, and offers his impressions.
Well first of all let me tell you that the VG20 is an absolute piece of crap. This is a camera that is meant to sit below the FS100 and is a good $1700 more expensive than the NEX 5N and yet it has a plethora of disadvantages compared to the diminutive mirrorless camera. It brings so little to the party for that extra $1700 namely a top handle and better audio. But in adding those, it also brings massive operational and build quality frustrations to the hapless operator.
Ouch! Now Andrew is somewhat of a bomb thrower, but his points are well taken about the lack of physical buttons and the "PlayStation" interface. Build quality? I guess I'll have to wait and see how it compares to Sony's other consumer camcorders.

I also think he starts out with an incorrect premise:
"For the customer Sony is targeting this camera at – the event shooter and professional videographer..."
He also overlooks the $1,599.99 lens-less version, but that's quibbling.

While a camera in this price range probably would appeal to those users, I am pretty certain that they are not the target market for this camera. The NEX-VG20 is part of Sony's consumer line of camcorders (at least here in the USA) where the professional division starts with the NXCAM (i.e. the NEX-FS100.) Of course, he's not impressed by that camera either, even though it does offer all the buttons and a more business-like interface than the VG20; at twice the price.

The NEX-5N looks better every minute...

Canon Hanging on to Mirrors Means Opportunity for Sony, Panasonic Cameras | Mariko Yasu and Takashi Amano | Bloomberg
Bloomberg sees Canon and Nikon sales falling and thinks it's due to a lack of mirrorless offerings:
The two Tokyo-based companies use mirrors in all cameras with interchangeable lenses, a technique Sony Corp. (6758) is shifting away from. As a result, Canon and Nikon’s combined share of the Japanese market has fallen by 35 percent, while Sony’s share has doubled, according to estimates at research firm BCN Inc.

Rigging Sony's FS100 for an Indie Feature Shoot |Bryant Frazer | StudioDaily
How DP Justin Talley chose the NEX-FS100 for shooting Somewhere Slow:
Talley was impressed by the FS100's sleek form factor because he saw the potential for building a rig that he describes as "Voltron-esque," allowing him to quickly transition in the space of a minute or two from a full-on digital-cinematography rig to a minimal, Hasselblad-sized handheld set-up that can be squeezed into a small room.

Sony gives more detail of its OLED viewfinder
| DPReview
Information from a Sony press release about the OLED viewfinder used in the NEX-7, SLT-A77, SLT-A65 and the optional EVF for the NEX-5N. Unfortunately, it's a Google translation:
High contrast is a characteristic inherent organic EL displays, wide color gamut, fast response by the performance, video and attentive, more natural color reproduction, tone characteristics, and provides excellent video characteristics.

Shooting Andrea Corr Live | Den Lennie | F-Stop Academy
A counter-point to the above article, Den looks at shooting a live concert performance using multiple cameras; three Sony PMW-F3's and four Canon DSLRs. One problem they had was that the budget only allowed for four camera operators, so three of the cameras would be locked down, requiring they spend time beforehand figuring out where to put these cameras:
You do this by walking around the venue with camera in hand (in this case I had my 7d with 70-200 and James his 60D with 70-300mm lens). It’s pretty straight forward and involves walking around the entire venue looking for viable camera positions so that you can safely leave a camera running unattended for a 90 minute gig.

Sony F65 Page | Sony
Sony's new F65 now has it's own page. Check the graphic about the color gamut and how it compares to film: Extended color gamut

Stunt Poetry | Rishi Kaneria | Vimeo
Only just saw this, and quite frankly, who needs a Phantom when you can use Twixtor?!

Adobe Edge Preview 2 | Adobe Labs
A new preview of their tool for creating animated web content using HTML 5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Adobe continues to explore new authoring environments...

And if that's not your cup of tea, you might be interested in Adobe Carousel:
This new app–announced today for iOS and Mac OS X (with Android & Windows versions in development)–brings a highly tuned version of the Lightroom/Camera Raw engine to mobile devices, combining it with excellent multi-device syncing.
The apps are free, but you pay a subscription for storing pictures. They aren't on the App Store yet.

Red EPIC Canon mount test drive review | Mike Seymour } FXGuide
For those that can afford an Epic, here's a lengthy look at this mount, which is described as being very well made, and easy to install and field swap. The only real negatives seemed to be the weight it adds to the camera, and issues related to the Canon lenses themselves (most DSLR lenses aren't designed for cine use.)
The Canon mount would seem vital to anyone who has their own camera and likes the freedom to be experimental, independent and give up no image quality. RED may have taken a few months to release the mount but the build quality shows that this is something the RED boys themselves like to use. This is not an accessory it is a vital component but it is $2000 which is not inexpensive.

Quick Links

RED Roadmap... | Jannard | REDUser
Announcing things only when they are done is so last week. So this week, RED announced a road map, of things that are coming, including "Surprise #1" and "Surprise #2."

Change of name for Epic Picture Style | Cinescopophilia
Speaking of RED, a few days ago, Cinescopophilia reported on the Epic Picture Style for Canon DSLRs. It seems RED has sent the developers a cease and desist letter, claiming all rights to the term "Epic," so the new picture style is now going to be called CINEMA.
Oddly enough, at the time, I first thought it was a Picture Style designed to match images from the RED camera, though reading of the article revealed that it's designed to emulate Kodak Ektachrome.

End of STORM | The Foundry
The Foundry has announced that they have discontinued development of STORM due to RED's own REDCINE-X PRO. STORM was a tool designed for on-set evaluation, prepping and auditioning of clips and offered scopes and other tools for checking exposure, focus, color, audio, sync and editorial content. It compared well with REDCINE-X, but the Pro version evidently makes it mostly irrelevant.

Adobe Acquires IRIDAS Technology | Adobe
Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with IRIDAS or their products, which include SpeedGrade, "an award-winning toolset for Stereo 3D, RAW processing, color grading and finishing of digital content," but the addition of grading technology to Adobe's suite of video editing tools seems to make sense.

Adobe’s video tools boast 45% growth on the Mac, thanks to Final Cut X | Jim Dalrymple | The Loop
And speaking of Adobe, it seems that they've been doing very well this year.

Apple preparing Logic Pro X, working to avoid Final Cut X backlash
| Daniel Eran Dilger | AppleInsider
Speaking of Final Cut Pro X, Apple is reportedly working on an update to Logic Pro X, and supposedly they are going to avoid the problems of FCPX by not making it look like GarageBand.

Though I'm not a Logic user, I was interested in this note:
SoundTrack Pro 3, formerly included in both Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio as a tool for synching background audio to video, is reported to have a replacement but the report has not filled in any details regarding that program. The new app will likely be added to the Mac App Store alongside Final Cut Pro X, Logic Pro X, MainStage and the existing Aperture.
Prior to the release of Final Cut Pro X, one source said that they had seen the next release of SoundTrack Pro, so it was a bit of a shock when it wasn't rolled out with the other Final Cut Pro X applications. Maybe it had just been held back...

Sony announces a 4K projector for the home, prices HMZ-T1 3D head mounted display in the US | Richard Lawler | Engadget
With 2,000 ANSI-lumens of brightness, the VPL-VW1000ES projector delivers nearly twice the output of previous Sony home theater projectors, making it suitable for screen sizes up to 200 inches diagonally. The VW1000ES model also employs an entirely new SXRD 4K panel, which produces outstanding deep black levels, and the projector can achieve a 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast.

It will be priced at $3,699.99
And I just bought a new HD TV a couple of months ago :(

Phase Two of the Lightworks Open Source Project

EditShare, developers of the Lightworks Open Source video editor, have announced the "next phase" of the project. While users will continue to be able to download the free version, phase two will add new features that will only be available for an annual "membership fee." This fee is $30 (£20, €25) for "educational" members, and $60 (£40, €50) for "professional" members. This fee is not unexpected since one of the new features is additional codec support, and licensing of these codecs from other organizations costs money.

The new features and capabilities will be available to Education and Professional Lightworks Members on 29th November 2011 and include:

Native support for professional codecs and other formats
  • ProRes
  • Red R3D
  • DPX
  • AVC-Intra
  • AVCHD / H.264
  • IMX
  • AVID DNxHD *
* Due to licensing restrictions, Avid DNxHD will be sold separately and available from the web store for $55 (£36, €45,). This is a one-off cost and not an annual subscription.

  • AAF (with presets for Avid and Pro Tools)
  • OMF
  • EDL
Lightworks Shared Projects
Multiple users can work simultaneously on the same Lightworks Project, collaborating on edits with fast, intuitive user permission controls.

Lightworks Titling
A new native Lightworks Titling tool with powerful, GPU-based rendering acceleration and real-time preview offers keyframing with animation and effects capabilities including; gradients, shadows, fade in and out, typewriter effect, rolls and crawls.

Stereoscopic Support
Lightworks has an unmatched stereoscopic workflow, with powerful, yet easy to use real-time adjustment tools and codec independent Import / Export options. You can also output Stereoscopic edits through your secondary display or HDMI port. Features include:
  • Import
  • Editing
  • Adjustment/correction
  • Export
Export to a wider range of formats including DVD and BluRay.

Integration with EditShare Flow (Asset Management) and Ark (Archiving):
Users can drag and drop clips, subclips and sequences directly from Flow into Lightworks. Through Flow Projects, assistants or archivists can also create Lightworks Projects directly in Flow and prepare media and bins for Lightworks Editors.

Hardware I/O Support
  • Matrox XMIO2, DSXLE2 and MXO2
  • Blackmagic Design
  • AJA *
  • DVS *
* Available early 2012

Tangent TUBE Support
Support for the new TUBE protocol gives editors full access to Tangent’s new line of Element control panels.

Lightworks - New Hardware
Also announced is a Lightworks Keyboard, available in English UK, English US, French, Spanish, German, Japanese and more, offers dedicated keys for just about every Lightworks function, as well as other useful shortcuts. The new Lightworks Keyboard, along with the existing Lightworks Console, will be available to purchase from the Lightworks web store on 29th November 2011. The new Lightworks Keyboard will retail for $140 (£95, €115), and the Lightworks Console for $2,800 (£1,850, €2,330).

Phase Three
The company plans to launch Phase Three at the end of 2011, offering the Lightworks editor for all three platforms; Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. They say that the first beta release is planned for 19th December 2011.

Phase Four, the rollout of the open source code to the entire community, is scheduled for completion in Q3 2012.

“Our original goal was to complete the roll out of Lightworks Open Source this year, but we had an overwhelming number of requests to support Mac OSX and Linux… so much so, that we re-organized our development efforts to ensure we deliver Lightworks Open Source for all three platforms,” says James Richings, Managing Director, EditShare EMEA. “While we are expanding the road map, we are already working with 3rd party manufacturers so we can support a wide-range of hardware devices and software plug-ins when Phase Four is complete.”

LightworksBeta: Lightworks Announcement
EditShare Posterous: EditShare reveals phase two of the #Lightworks Open Source initiative at #IBC 2011

NotesOnVideo On Scoop.It!

I've been looking for a way to provide an index of feature articles that have appeared in the blog. I did try a "Features" list, but keeping that up to date proved time consuming, and I didn't really like the results.

Then I saw Scoop.It!, which is a news aggregation site, and I thought it would be a great way to aggregate those items from the blog that aren't actually news aggregation pieces! So the Quick Links and collections of items on Final Cut Pro X, the Sony NEX-FS100, etc., aren't listed, but most of the other articles are. You can find it here at:

Note: the URL remains the place to check for the latest news and items.

The Big Ole Lens Test Party BTS Video & Results

A couple of weekends ago I attended "The Big Ole Lens Test Party" and wrote about it here: The Big Ole' Lens Test Party, 2011.

I also made a Behind-The-Scenes video, which you can now watch below.

Ben Eckstein has written up a full post with his conclusions about the test, as well as actual video taken with each of the lenses. You can find the article at Ben's site, and also see a really great alternative BTS video made by Rick Macomber in the article as well. Ben Eckstein: The Big Ole Lens Test Party

Note that the lenses used were:
As you can see in the BTS video, the differences seemed small at the time, though Ben writes in his post:
As we were shooting I kept looking at the monitor and thinking that I was hardly seeing any difference at all. In editing, the differences became more clear, but I found it hard to even be able to SAY what made one lens better than the others.

Go see the actual video and conclusions here: Ben Eckstein: The Big Ole Lens Test Party

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

More details about the Sony F65

UPDATE 8:00 AM 9/7
I overlooked an important detail. The rotary shutter is a separate model:
  • Sony F65, with viewfinder for $65,000
  • F65RS (Built in Rotary Shutter Model) with viewfinder for $77,000
And, you can control it through wi-fi using Android and iOS devices, making this camera possibly the most expensive iPhone accessory.

There's some additional coverage:
Film&Digital Times: Sony F65 at ASC & DGA

Okay, so I'm not going to act surprised that Sony wants $65,000 for this beast. I'm sure they'll get it, but still....$65,000. That's only about 16 times my total gear budget! Maybe it's time to start a Kickstarter campaign?

Actually, I expected it to be expensive, though maybe closer to $60,000... I jest.

The F65 was pre-announced at NAB, and now Sony has come out with pricing and shipping information.

This camera uses an 8K CMOS sensor to produce a 4K resolution image (4096x2160) and is expected to start delivery in January, 2012. It has a rotary shutter to eliminate rolling shutter, and the CMOS chip has, according to Sony, a green photosite for each pixel (there's half your 8K pixels right there,) and then the other half are red and blue. That suggests that every pixel in the final image is built from two photosites on the sensor; one green and the other either blue or red. I wonder what the color aliasing for this sensor will look like...

Sony seems to like mixing things up on the sensors of their high-end cameras; the F35 used a somewhat unusual color array as well: Sony F35 : Another unusual sensor

Oddly enough, the F35 has a 12K CCD sensor, being used to produce a 1920x1080 image, while the F65 has an 8K CMOS sensor to produce a 4K image. The other odd thing; the F35 was selling for about $200,000 when it was introduced. See? CMOS based cameras are cheaper than CCD based cameras!

Creative COW: The Sony F65 CineAlta Digital Cinema Camera
Hollywood Reporter: Sony 4K Camera To Ship in January, Starting at $65,000
Street Insider: Sony Launches F65 CineAlta Camera and Unveils End-to-End 4K Workflow for Digital Cinematography

Quick Links

Sony F3 - sLog Testing | Timur Civan
A blog post covering experiments with the Sony PMW-F3 and the S-Log firmware update. The test was conducted to see how S-Log should be used, treated in post, and differences to 709 standard Gammas:
OK, So here's the skinny. You have to expose just as carefully as you would with any other medium. The sLog w/ Offboard capture gives you incredible room to adjust and manipulate later, however like every camera, the closer you get to perfect in camera, exposure wise, the more Oomph your image will have after delogging. That said, 10bit 422 ( and especially 444 capture) gives you and INSANE amount of room to fudge.

More EF & PL Video Rumors Surface | CanonRumors
CanonRumors reprise's their rumor from last week of an EF or PL mount large-sensor videocamera. The previous rumors suggested that a camera was coming with one or the other mount, but now the rumor has evolved into two cameras; a low-end EF mount version and a high-end PL mount version. The EF version "looks to be 'affordable'" but as they say:
Take any rumor of an EF mount video camera with a large grain of salt. This is a product that does not exist yet and has a potential to be a wishlist product.

Echo ExpressCard/34 Thunderbolt Adapter | Connect Online Store
It looks like the Thunderbolt peripherals are finally appearing. Sonnet's ExpressCard/34 2.0 adapter is expected to ship in October, and they are taking pre-orders for $149.95.

ARCHRIG Slashes the Price of their Follow Focus Rig for DSLR’s | Planet5D
Planet5D has a post, and video, about an interesting follow-focus called the ArchRig, which is currently on sale for $249, down from $470. Perhaps the most interesting feature is that it includes a rig for mounting the camera. I'm not so sure about the follow-focus action itself; if you have a follow-foucs operator, a more traditional unit is probably better (and the D|Focus is cheaper, though doesn't include the camera grip/mount)
Amazon: Arch Rig Follow Focus System for Dslr

J20ax8B4 compared to J13x9B4 on the AF101 | Peter Lundström | the editman
Peter has been experimenting with ENG 2/3" lenses - bought cheaply - on the Panasonic AG-AF100, with some interesting results.

RED HISTORY | Jannard | REDUser
An abbreviated history of RED:
January-December- Jim, Ted & Frederic research the possibility of building a camera.
September- 1st communication between Jim and Jarred about the project.
October- Jim & Matt work on preliminary designs.
December- Decision was made to build a camera.

EPIC Picture Style for Canon Cameras Coming Soon | Vision Wrangler | Cinescopophilia
A report on a Picture Style for Canon cameras that claims to make the best use of the 8 bit codec, and was developed to replicate the Kodak Ektachrome colorimetry. One interesting claim: Doesn’t need color grading

The Art Of Good Lighting | Nic Lawson | movieScope
An interesting article that isn't about how to get good lighting, but whether we can really determine what good lighting is:
That question is, Is there a set of criteria by which the work of a cinematographer can be judged to be good? In other words, is there such a thing as ‘good lighting’? It’s part of a bigger question and it comes, not surprisingly, at a time when grades industry-wide are being carefully scrutinised and defined in tightly-formulated documents.

Pico Dolly: A Diminutive Dolly System For Smaller Cameras | Devin Coldewey
| TechCrunch
The Pico Dolly is a cute little skateboard-like dolly which will reportedly be available next week, and you can pre-order for $65.
Or you could make something almost as good yourself for about $30: NotesOnVideo: DIY Slider Dolly
Photograph&Cinema: Pico Flex Dolly

How 'Glee: The 3D Concert Movie' sold me on 3D | Patrick Miller | Macworld
Say it ain't so! Patrick thinks there's still a hope for 3D yet, based on seeing "Glee: The 3D Concert Movie" - now there's a mind warp for you! Of course, damning with faint praise "Don’t get me wrong. Glee: The 3D Concert Movie isn’t a cinematic masterpiece by any stretch" makes you think that maybe 3D has sunk so low, it's only up from here. I'm am also a little disturbed by his comments that "the theater screen on which I watched Glee: The 3D Concert Movie looked about as deep as a walk-in closet."

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sony News

There's been a lot of Sony news over the last few days, a lot of it to do with the new NEX-5N. The Sony NEX5NK/S is shipping and lots of interesting users reports are appearing, but there's also some new information about the NEX-FS100.

FS100 and AF100 compared | Barry Green | DVXUser
Barry Green has posted a fairly extensive comparison of the Sony NEX-FS100 and Panasonic AG-AF100, and finds them to be virtually identical in performance:
4. Performance: I'm sure this will surprise some folks, but I've been exhaustively testing these units, and the result is: these cameras are so close in performance that it's really not even worth doing a whole raft of charts and graphs. I mean, I've done those tests, and really it's nitpicking to choose between them; especially after grading the footage, you can make them look virtually identical. And besides, people usually complain about charts and want to see “real world” footage.
If you're trying to decide between the two, the article is well worth reading.

Quick review: Sony NEX-FS100 | M U R P H Y 24p
Short impressions on the NEX-FS100. This user loves the viewfinder and kit lens (which many others don't!)
  • I love the view-finder screen; so much flexibility and beautifully clear.
  • The ‘kit’ lens that comes with it is a little slow, but still does really well. I’m curious to see it’s capabilities once we add some good Canon glass (coming soon!).

Sony NEX FS100 - Thoughts and ideas | Jared Adamo | Flapon
Jared posts his initial thoughts on the NEX-FS100. He likes the kit lens too!
Positives: The Kit lens, despite the rumors, is actually quite good for a general all-rounder. I was expecting the HATE it, and have to suffer through till the Berge adapter was released so I could use my Canon glass... but the Sony lens is alright. I'll probably always have it around in those situations were I just want something generic.

I'm also quite impressed how close you can get to subject matter and keep focus as well. It says .5 of a metre, but that's to the sensor, not the end of the lens. So you can get right up on something for detail if you want.
NOTE: His post is on a site called Flapon, which I've never encountered before, and so far, I'm not liking it. After displaying a post for about ten seconds, it comes up with a registration form that it appears you can close to continue reading, but immediately take you to a sign-up page.
- I didn't.

Sony NEX-FS100 and HDMI Clarified | Jeff Lee | CineTechnica
This information about the HDMI signal out of the NEX-FS100 appears to be the same information as the posting made to the CineAlta Blog last week (see: Sony NEX-FS100 News).

FS100 5DMkII AF100 - Cinematic Comparison | Magnanimous Media | Vimeo
"This comparison is a simple practical application of the three different cameras. Crop factor is not addressed, but is sometimes a benefit to the AF or FS in detail shots."

Andrew Reid at EOSHD has an NEX-5N, and been doing a lot of experimenting with it:

NEX 5N ‘easter egg’ found to increase video quality | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew thinks that the Sunset picture profile might be useful for more than tourist videos:
The 5N’s Sunset picture profile is designed to give smooth gradated tones to mimic the look of 10bit on an 8bit codec.

This is the first time such a DSLR picture profile has been made this way and the results are stunning. Yes it is a consumer feature, for tourists to shoot nicer skies. And yes as you’d expect it does give a image and accentuate scarlets but you can compensate this with a cooler white balance or in your grading. I actually prefer a warmer image for 80% of what I do anyway.

Sony NEX 5N review and video footage | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
First impressions, sample video and a comparsion with the Panasonic GH2
There is absolutely no doubt that Sony have produced a dark horse here, at this price and position in the range. It offers the biggest amount of bang per square inch and per dollar that I have ever seen. Due to it’s size and compatibility out of the box with PL mount lenses, it could also replace a director’s viewfinder with a digital equivalent.

Sony Nex5N First Thoughts. It’s A Toy | Jared Abrams | WideOpenCamera
The image quality might be okay, but Jared didn't have a great first impression of the camera:
There is no real Hot Shoe mount and it has the most annoying interface with “Happy Time” icons. The flip out screen looks like it will break very easily and the flash mount cover will also be gone in sixty seconds.

Sony Nex 5N Camera Test Video | Jared Abrams | WideOpenCamera
A follow-up to his first post:
The new Sony Nex-5N camera is a killer little interchangeable lens camera.
This article goes into some depth about the problems of dealing with 60p footage in Final Cut, and also lists the cons for the NEX-5N.

Sony Nex 5N ECM-SST1 Stereo Mic Test | Jared Abrams | WideOpenCamera
I'm not sure I'd expect a $90 microphone from Sony - especially one that looks like that, and is intended for consumer cameras - to be that good. But Jared tried the ECM-SST1 out on the NEX-5N, and confirms that; it's not that good.

Note that this camera does not have a regular audio-in jack, and this mic uses an unusual attachment exclusive to Sony's cameras (of course) so as Jared notes, it's about your only other option:
It’s better than nothing. However this camera will work best with a separate sound system like the Zoom H4n.
B & H : Sony ECM-SST1

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Quick Links

24p or 25p video myth buster | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
Here in the 'Staes, where TV is 60i (or 30p) there's a big visual difference between 30p and 24p, so whether you shoot in one or the other is a conscious choice worth considering. In the UK it's a bit different, since TV is 50i, so video cameras often support 25p and 24p (instead of 30p and 24p).

Philip argues that the visual difference between 25p and 24p are negligible, and you should never shoot in 24p instead of 25p (unless you are going to film.)

Moviestick Review | Northern Banana Republic
A review, with sample videos, of a small monopod called Moviestick made by a Munich company. It uses a belt for extra support:
For my work as a multimedia-journalist the Moviestick is a great camera support. It is versatile and lightweight but you will need some practice to get the best results with it.

Sound Perspectives 101 | Clinton Harn | Zacuto
A post about sound design that's worth reading:
1) What is sound and how does it travel and behave?
2) What are acoustics and how do they affect recording in pre and post?
3) What is signal flow, headroom, and dynamic range?
4) Audio structure in both the digital and analog domain
5) 3 Basic building blocks of sound manipulation and processing
6) Proximity effect (i.e., microphones, speakers)
7) Sample rates and bit depths

DSLR Creative Suite Workflow Part 1 | Richard Harrington
Richard Harrington is an author, trainer and video producer, and he's just posted several tutorials and videos to his website and Vimeo, including the above, as well as:

How I Used My IPhone & IPad On A Disney Short (A.k.a. Blatant Self Promotion) | Taz Goldstein | Hand Held Hollywood
Taz explains how he used several iPhone/iPad apps on a recent shoot:
I used my iPhone to keep my shot list handly in Bento, to pre-visualize camera moves with Storyboard Composer, and as a virtual viewfinder with Artemis. I also used it when running lines with the actors. My iPad, however, was the real lifesaver on this production. I used OmniGraffle for iPad to construct all my overhead blocking diagrams (TouchDraw is a nice alternative).