Friday, January 17, 2014

Sony HXR-NX3 webchat with Den Lennie

Sony Europe held a Facebook chat with Den Lennie about the new HXR-NX3 (currently $3,795) on Thursday. You can read it here. I've put together the highlights below:

Q: Will the NX3 replace HXR-NX5 (currently $3,395)?
Alvaro Ortiz: No, NX3 won't replace NX5. They will live together. However, both products, even having almost the same body (as that of Z100), have different specs: WiFi, 50p, SDI, HXR-FMU128 compatibility... but, to be honest, I love NX3 even more!

Kanta: The NX3 isn't a direct successor of the NX5. NX5 has SDI and it is good for those who really need it for broadcast system etc. NX3 is more general purpose camera at lower price.

Alvaro Ortiz: BTW, for those interested, as you can see we are basically sharing the same body between HXR-NX5, NX3 and Z100. The main reason is that most of NX5 users were really glad about the weight, the balance, and the lens touch of such chassis. Also, that lens allows us a little margin with different sensor sizes - so far, from 3x1/3" to 3x1/2.3"

Two of the main differences related to chassis between NX3 and NX5 are the built-in light (really powerful!) on NX3, and the slot for HXR-FMU128 (128 GB flash memory) on NX5

Kanta: The NX3 has 3.5 inch bigger size of LCD than NX5 with 3.2 inch.

Q: What Smartphones can you use to control the camera?
Alvaro Ortiz: You can use any Smartphone in which you can install PlayMemories (it depends on your Android implementation, Smarphone specs, etc). Also, you can directly download the recorded video (mp4, 3 Mbps) into the phone, for further applications (e.g. uploading it into YouTube). But you can download it after shooting; what you see on your smartphone screen is live signal, which is not stored live on your phone.

Jin: In addition to Alvaro's comment. If you don't have a smartphone with NFC, you still can use the wifi remote function by downloading the free app "PlayMemories Mobile". You just need to set up the NX3 to Wifi-Mode. It will then show you the SSID and password. On the smart phone you choose the SSID of the cam and put in the password manually. Then they are connected to each other.

Kanta: For the WiFi remote, the RM-LVR1 wrist watch style controller is also available.

Q: I'd like to know if there's a way to shoot in sort of "cinestyle" mode on this camera to allow more grading options after the shoot?
Den Lennie: The footage in the demo film is ungraded. what you see is straight out of the camcorder. I have not graded it extensively in Resolve however the codec is the same as in the FS100 - AVCHD . My experience with AVC HD grading in Resolve has been very positive. There are a number of camera profiles that you can choose from. Very similar to the FS100 from memory. I'd be comfortable grading this footage in Resolve but it is not designed to shoot flat and grade up. It is designed to be shot with a picture profile so that the images are created in camera looking close to how they will in edit

Q: What's the stabilization?
Den Lennie: The stabilizer has 2 modes, normal and active - both great. As you see on the boat to boat shots in the film. Also the camcorder will shoot from 1fps to 60 fps and so very useable off speed functionality. It's a great camcorder

Q: Favorite Feature?
Jin (Sony in Germany): My highlight feature of the HXR-NX3 is, that you can do recordings independently on both of the slots. For example, if you are shooting a press conference, and on one side you want to record the whole session, but due to time pressure, you need to send out some comments of speakers right during the conference, you can do, as you are able to split the assignment of the record buttons independently. So for example, with the record button at the grip aside, you could turn on and off the recording of slot A, while with the rec. button on the top grip, you can control Slot B.

Den Lennie: For me it's stunning image quality and great looking IAuto features combined with terrific ergonomics. This camcorder packs a big punch for the money

Alvaro Ortiz (Sony): Two of the things that I especially love from the camera? The well-known AVCHD up to 28 Mbps (more quality than that of a Blu-Ray disc!) with 1080/50p format, and the really, really powerful 40x zoom: 20x optical, and 20x through "patterns" (Super Resolution technology), which makes it very superior to the traditional digital zoom; right now, no visible signal drop is seen. Those two features makes this camera a really powerful tool, allowing to shoot at any environment (even with affordable external recorder, if needed), and with the big flexibility of that powerful zoom.

Anna Doublet (Sony): I like Independent recording trigger (rec on card A by button on handle, and rec on card B on hand grip) - it's just a perfect feature for simple editing.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Quick Links

Should Professional Editors care about FCPX (again)? | Pro Video Coalition
Last October Kevin McAuliffe told us in two articles that Final Cut Pro X wasn't worth caring about: "FCPX is still not ready for professional use". He caught a lot of crap for saying so, but he was right... in a very constrained context (which, if you read his rants, he carefully delineates). If you were a full-time editor working for or day-playing at an established production house, FCPX wasn't even on the radar.

Tokina AT-X 12-28mm f/4 Pro lens review | Digital Camera World
This lens is "just" $499, for APS-C sized sensors:
Image quality is impressive across the frame. Typical of ultra-wide lenses, sharpness drops at the extreme corners, especially if combining the shortest focal length with the widest aperture.

Sony UWP-D Wireless Microphone Series | Cinescopophilia
The UWP-D series uses new hybrid digital processing technology to achieve high quality sound. This technology performs signal processing by digital commanding, with transmission handled by conventional analog FM modulation. The result is improved transient response performance between the transmitter and receiver, and clear sound reproduction.

2.4GHz Dual Channel Wireless Stereo Microphone D5100 D7000 D800 5DII 7D 60D 600D | eBay
Interesting inexpensive wireless mic that's only $265...AND it's a dual system; you get two transmitters and one receiver that works with both at the same time.
I'm sure it works with other cameras too.
If you get one, let me know what it's like!

Common Beginner Problems: Directing | Pencils, Pixels and the pursuit of Awesomeness
Movies are consciously designed to appear seamless. This makes it harder to analyze how they’re put together. We have also learned that you have to watch a movie at least twice before you can really analyze it, because on first viewing, people are “ lost ” in the story. It’s often easier to learn what not to do by watching bad movies because the flaws are visible. Where can you learn how to put together visual stories?

An oral history of Hoop Dreams, 20 years after its première | The Dissolve
In January 1994, a group of filmmakers from Chicago went to the Sundance Film Festival to accomplish the impossible, by selling a three-hour documentary about two inner-city teens hoping to get to the NBA. By the time they left, their lives had changed, and so had the way non-fiction filmmaking is perceived.

What It’s Like To Have Your Favorite Comedic Actors Film An Indie Comedy In Your House | Uproxx
Overall the whole production in its totality was a fun experience, but I’m not sure I’d recommend to anyone to live in a house that’s being filmed in. On some days, there must have been 50-75 strangers passing through my house, sometimes as early as 4 or 5 in the morning. I did lose a bit of sleep, that’s for sure.

How QuarkXPress became a mere afterthought in publishing | Ars Technica
Not video related, but years ago I used Quark a little, and was always interested in what happened to it...
As the big dog of desktop publishing in the '80s and '90s, QuarkXPress was synonymous with professional publishing. In fact, it was publishing. But its hurried and steady decline is one of the greatest business failures in modern tech.

A look at some of the more challenging shots we put together from Martin Scorsese's new film The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey. | Brainstorm Digital

Nice looking visuals

Behind the scenes of our music video shoot using the Movi FreeFly System Rig.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quick Links

GoPro Wins Emmy Award | Creative Planet Network
GoPro today announced that the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has recognized the company with a 2013 Technology and Engineering Emmy® Award in the category of Inexpensive Small Rugged HD Camcorders. GoPro was selected for its groundbreaking HERO3 camera technology, which has enabled television production professionals to capture engaging perspectives that were never before possible.

Another Update on Adobe Creative CloudAharon Rabinowitz
When Adobe moved to subscriptions a lot of people predicted bad things (including me!) Aharon takes a look at how things are a year later.
While he has a point, I'm not sure that a year is anywhere near long enough to determine the effect of monopolies. Of course that raises the question; when is long enough? Can I just go on and on saying 'well, there's been no effects, but just wait!'?
I guess not. So I'll be reckless and say that if in five years there are no measurable negative effects, then I'll admit I'm wrong.
I'll try to remember to check back in 2019.
I’m going to address one question that came up, to see how Adobe is handling it: With customers locked into a subscription, what’s to make them keep their promise of feature rich updates?
To me, the answer to that question is pretty self-evident: if time went on and Adobe didn’t keep to its word, people would very quickly see that, talk about it and Adobe would look really bad – along with that, new and long-time users would not sign up for the cloud.

Attention, Filmmakers: Here's the Distribution Strategy You Need Before Sundance (Or Any Film Festival) | IndieWire
A Customized StrategyEvery film can benefit from having a distribution strategy before its festival premiere and before any rights are sold. A customized strategy can help you maximize audience, revenues, impact, and career. This strategy should be designed based on your goals, your film's content, its core audiences, and the opportunities in key avenues of distribution (from theatrical and television to direct sales).

Freelancers: How Not To Get Screwed By Clients | FastCoDesign
2. No spec work.If you ever see something like “We’re asking for examples from different firms/people” or “We’d like to see what ideas you have first,” politely explain to the client that you don’t work for free. 

The Key to Movi Magic (for us) | StillMotionBlog
Collection of behind-the-scenes stuff for a shoot.
It can be quite overwhelming with how many ways you can use and operate the MoVI. You can easily have a 3 person setup involving an operator, remote controller, wireless focus puller, and multiple monitors to rig. This setup can be very complex with a lot of moving parts; not an issue if you’re shooting on-set with lots of time to setup and coordinate moves.

LA TV, Film Production Hit Hard By Rival Incentives Over Two-Decade Span: FilmLA | Deadline
The latest FilmLA survey puts some numbers on the losses Hollywood’s suffered from the proliferation of tax incentives in other states and countries in the past two decades.

DPs and Gaffers – Hard Light, Fresnels vs PARs | ASC
The cinematographers and gaffers discuss the use of hard directional light, and the choice between fixtures with Fresnel lenses versus PARs (Parabolic Anodized Reflectors). There is some playful teasing between long-time friends Vilmos Zsigmond and James Plannette.

The Spinning Top and the Parvo: MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA | John Bailey, ASC
Biography of a very early filmmaker:
Denis quickly rose to prominence after the war as a theorist for the burgeoning Soviet film industry, and in the early 20s brought his theories of “Kino Pravda” (Movie Truth) into screen reality with a series of agitprop documentaries.

Vimeo on Demand Announces 13 TIFF Acquisitions | Filmmaker Magazine
Shortly before the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, Vimeo issued an offer to attending filmmakers. Let us have exclusive digital rights to your film for 30 days via our distribution platform, Vimeo on Demand, and we’ll give you a $10,000 advance. 

The making of the interactive music video | Powster
Powster worked closely with X-Film who handled producing the shoot on the day. The entire production was shot in one day at Camden Studios. Shot with two Canon C300's and a Canon 7D for taking Stop-Motion stills for reference. Behind the scenes was shot with a Canon 5DMKIII and 4 GoPro Hero3 White cameras.

How Pixar Uses Apple's $3,000 Mac To Make Beautiful Movies | Business Insider
Of course, it's hard to express to average users why a computer that starts at $2,999, even with all of the fastest internals and a revolutionary form-factor, is worth it for anyone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Quick Links

Amazon Launches Free Storyboarder Tool | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
Amazon continues its adventures in moviemaking. Amazon Studios, which began as an effort in crowdsourced content is moving towards content produced by professionals, but they still seem to be interested in moviemaking by the masses. They’ve already released a free storyboarding tool, and now they have Amazon Storyboarder, a tool for outlining stories using a corkboard metaphor.Corkboard interface

Why I am going with 4K and why you should too | EOSHD
Finally line skipping, moire and aliasing is going to die out. No more horrible electronic jaggedness and weirdness. 4K will not eliminate it altogether (the Blackmagic Production Camera does have some aliasing) but it will vastly reduce it and it will make 1080p look much cleaner. Rough edges and flaws at the 1:1 pixel level have a tendency to soften out when you’re producing 1080p oversampled from 4K.

CES 2014: 4K round up | Cinema 5D
The GH 4k camera has been revealed, with little more than what seems a re-labelled GH3 to look at in a glass box. Confirmed specs are 200mbps intraframe codec recording, recording to SDXC memory cards and a mini HDMI for live view output. A list of rumored specs include:

Welcome to the 24mm focal range of the SLR Lounge Canon Lens Wars series, where we will be comparing 4 lenses  at the 24mm focal length.:
Canon 24-70mm f/4L
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II
Canon 24-105mm f/4L
Canon 24mm f/1.4L II prime lens

“Minute Review” – Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler | Cinema 5D
The good stuff: you can put it onto your normal tripod. In my test, I simply used my Sachtler FSB8 (a 75mm bowl head) with the Pocket Jib Traveler, so it wasn’t a heavy duty tripod – and it worked just fine. Also, the jib is extremely easy to set up – as you can see in the review video, it’s very simple to pull out the joint to twist it into its “jib state”.

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K Guide (Part Two): Lenses, Filters, Matteboxes and Follow Focus Systems | wolfcrow
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K has a Super 35mm-sized sensor. What does that mean?
The traditional 3-perf Super 35mm size is 24.89 mm x 14 mm with an aspect ratio of 16:9. It has a crop factor of 1.45. How does the Blackmagic 4K Camera compare?

Film shot entirely on innovative handheld camera stabliser | Televisual
Short film From 1994 has been entirely filmed using Freefly’s new handheld MōVI M10 camera stabiliser system, which created quite a buzz at IBC 2013. The film, which was shot on an Arri Alexa M, by Emmy Award winning directors Casey Warren and Danielle Krieger, used the MōVI M10 gyro-stabilised three-axis gimbal system throughout.

Traits of a Good Film Crew | PremiumBeat
A good crew member…
Helps solve problems on set.
Improves morale on set by complementing instead of complaining.
Is concerned with making the film as great as possible even if it means shooting late.

Getty & AFP Appeal $1.2 Million Copyright Infringement Verdict | PetaPixel
This is a stills image case, but still interesting:
In its new motion, Getty and AFP argue that their conduct was “careless” but not willfully malicious, thus shielding them from the maximum penalty. They argue the most Morel is entitled to is a single DMCA penalty of $2,500 and actual damages of $200,000 — legal fees in the case are estimated to have reached northwards of $8 million.

No one reads a comic strip because it's drawn well | Seth's Blog
As creators, our pursuit of perfection might be misguided, particularly if it comes at the expense of the things that matter.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The News

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K Guide (Part One): Ergonomics and Specifications | wolfcrow
In short, Blackmagic Design has created a product so revolutionary, that they themselves don’t really know which market it will ultimately end up serving the most. To be fair though, judging by initial videos from the Blackmagic 4K Camera, it looks like a winner, and somebody will buy it!

A fun comparison between the late Blackmagic Production Camera 4K and the rumored Panasonic GH4 4K Camera | wolfcrow
The ISO range of the GH4 should be at least usable till 6400 ISO, and this would give it a leg up over the Production Camera. On the other hand, due to the larger pixel pitch, in theory, the Production Camera should have lower noise levels.

Thom Powers Curates Distribution Advice for Filmmakers | Filmmaker Magazine
In a detailed intro, Powers discusses various distribution options, ranging from traditional to hybrid to DIY strategies. Then, he gathers specific advice from filmmakers, journalists, producers, publicists and sales agent. 

A Beginner's Guide to Basic Steadicam Positions | The Black and Blue
There are two basic “modes” of Steadicam operating:
High mode: The camera sits on top of the sled, typically at a height between the operator’s torso and face. This is the most common way Steadicam’s are used.
Low mode: The camera sits below the sled at a height between the operator’s knees and the ground. Often used for close-to-the-ground shots (e.g. tracking someone’s shoes as they walk).

First Look Video. Letus Anamorphx Adapter For The GoPro Hero 3+ | WideOpenCamera
This version was a prototype and had a slight edge blur on the camera right side. All good for the current versions soon to hit the street.

Drew Christie returns to Sundance | Adobe
Combining illustration with animation, the short film riffs on the theme of originality and plagiarism with long passages lifted verbatim from Wikipedia. The piece maintains a natural hand-drawn feel along with the uneven, slightly jumpy cinema of the old silent movies.

Canon Shows Off the Inner Workings of Its Lenses in Cool CES Demos | Peta Pixel
In the you get to see how three of the mechanisms found in Canon’s lenses actually work: the quiet STM or stepping motor, the electromagnetic technology they use to control the aperture diaphragm, and the optical stabilization technology built into their lenses.

John Knoll Talks ILM, Disney, ‘Star Wars’ and Tough Times in the VFX Industry | AWN
Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies that engage in really foolish and short sighted business practices.  You can't just blame the studios for wanting to pay less and less for the work.  What's happening is that when a low target number goes out, somebody says, “Yes.” A lot of times companies are saying “Yes” to a number that they know is going to be below their cost.

Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2014, Big Cities: #6. Boston | MovieMaker
Thanks largely to the influence of Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg, and a few other talented filmmakers, the presence of Boston on the big screen has never been more noticeable.

This is a series of four tests I shot to check the quality of the new "2K center scan" crop mode of Sony's PMW-F55 camcorder. In this mode, the camera only records the center portion of the sensor.One purpose of the center crop mode is to allow 16mm lenses to be used, but as you can see in this test, it can also be used to essentially double the focal length of any lens mounted to the camera -- with no loss of light.