Friday, February 28, 2014

The News

'Midnight Rider' Death: DGA Says Employers 'Ultimately Responsible for Ensuring a Safe Set' | The Hollywood Reporter
The death of the assistant, Sarah Jones, has prompted concerns about the safety of crew members on film sets. While the DGA couldn't comment specifically on the Midnight Rider incident, noting that there's an ongoing investigation into the accident, they did express their sympathy for those who were affected.
A petition has been started to get Sarah's name on the Memoriam tribute at the Oscars. The deadline is today:
Petition To Add Sarah Elizabeth Jones To The Academy Awards Memoriam Tribute | The Petition Site

The Diamond Brothers Dissect the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K | Filmmaker Magazine
“The interesting thing about this camera is what happens when you change from ProRes 4K to just ProRes HD,” Josh said. “Surprisingly, in a good way, there is no field of view change. I don’t know how many people here have ever shot with an Epic, but when you change resolution from 5k down to four, three or two, it gives you what seems to be a zoom feel.

My RØDE Reel an international short film competitionRØDE
With more than $70,000 in prizes up for grabs there’s no excuse not to get out and start shooting! Watch the video above to learn more, and enter your email address below to be sent the competition pack and get started. Good luck!

The lenses every One-Person band wedding videographer needs | Videomaker
Most of us need versatile lenses for both photo and video so here are some options: For APS-C, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5, and Canon 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 are all solid choices. For full-frame, The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 are both really great lenses.

Here’s How The Comcast & Netflix Deal Is Structured, With Data & Numbers | Streaming Media
You will notice that when Netflix was using third party CDN providers Akamai, Level 3 and Limelight for 100% of their video delivery, there were no quality issues. Just look at their speed ratings from 2012. The reason for this is that those CDNs already have their servers connected to ISPs like Comcast and have put in place all the necessary links, both free and paid, to guarantee, via an SLA, that they can deliver Netflix’s video.

Jason Blum's Crowded Movie Morgue: Downside of a Microbudget Empire | The Hollywood Reporter
The Jason Blum business model boasts a very simple and alluring logic: Make movies fast and for a price -- $5 million or less -- and then spend the $20 million or $30 million needed to release them in theaters only if they have a shot at selling at least $25 million worth of tickets.

25 Years with the Sony NAB Student Experience Program | Sony
This year will mark the 25th year in which Sony will bring communication and film school students from across the country to National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference as part of a unique student program entitled, “Sony NAB Student Experience Program”. The program which was started in 1989 as a collaboration between Sony and Baylor University has since grown to include additional schools as a way to thank them for doing business with Sony.

Macro Photography on the D16 | Digital Bolex
The following piece was shot with a series of different macro lenses and regular lenses on extension tubes. All of the lenses were set on F5.6 or F4 / 5.6 split to try and regulate the light / depth of field a little bit. The intention was to find macro lenses that would lend a narrative feel to 3 inch tall characters.

While I love the portability, design and ease of use there where a few things that really frustrated me. The belt mechanism tends to come off quite often especially during transport. It was designed so you can put it back in but that’s not a quick thing to do when your in a hurry – you can miss shots all too easily.

Winning an Oscar in bankruptcy: Rhythm and Hues and the visual effects biz one year later | KPCC
“Finally, I want to thank all the artists who worked on this film for over a year, including Rhythm and Hues,” Westenhofer said as the orchestra loudly played theme music from "Jaws" over him.  “Sadly, Rhythm and Hues is suffering severe financial difficulties right now. I urge you all to remember…”

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Avid Statement

Two days ago there was news at TheStreet about Avid's de-listing from NASDAQ and its subsequent listing on OTC.  Avid has responded that some of the original information in their article was incorrect.

Avid statement:
The financial results being quoted in this article are erroneous. Due to the accounting evaluation and restatement process Avid has been going through, we have not issued any financial statements after Q3 2012. As we have previously reported, as a result of the restatement, previously issued financial statements are not accurate and should not be relied upon. We request that you delete any reference to Avid’s financial results, as your reporting is inaccurate.

Avid’s de-listing from NASDAQ and its subsequent listing on OTC is the result of delays in the reporting of financial information -- it was not related to operating performance in any way.

We are continuing to work very hard to correct the accounting, which is related to nearly 5 million transaction lines spanning eight-and-a half years. We announced that we are targeting completion of the restatement by mid-2014.

We continue to invest in product innovation. Since the beginning of the restatement process, we released Pro Tools 11, Media Composer 7, Sibelius 7.5, two new online shared storage offerings, a brand new mixing console – the S6, as well as a new live sound system – Avid S3L.

With a compelling Avid Everywhere vision established, the launch of the ACA, a significant number of new product innovation announcements planned for 2014, we believe we remain well positioned to support our customers’ ongoing success.

The News

Answers to some questions about the new top-of-the-line Nikon DSLR
How does the video quality compare to the 5300?
The video quality of the Nikon D4S compares favourably to the Nikon D5300.  Combined with the outstanding ISO capability and EXPEED 4 image processor, professional photographers are able to harness these camera features to produce higher quality images and video.

I take a stab at explaining what VP9 is:
The Future of Compression: Google Attempts to Replace H.26X… Again | Filmmaker Magazine
For a second time, Google is attempting to pitch a compression format as the replacement for an H.26X compressor. They tried to do it three years ago for HD video when they pitched VP8 as a replacement for H.264 and had little success. Now they’re back with a new angle: VP9 is the format for 4K, and they are putting it up against H.265, the new 4K compressor that is also referred to as HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding). Should you care?

Mysterious Bolex-style camera appears from Japanese camera manufacturer – Bellami HD-1 | EOSHD
Now it seems other manufacturers have taken note of the ‘Digital Bolex’ craze and we have the first ‘clone’. It has a vintage Bolex / Super 8 style form factor and is from non-other than low end consumer manufacturer Chinon of Japan. Very unexpected… but nothing else is known about it aside from this picture and that it will shoot 1080p.
Chinon Announces The Bellami HD-1 Digital Super 8 Camera | Wide Open Camera
About US$830 (80,000 Yen), which puts it too close to a BMPCC in price I think for this to be a competitive choice (unless Chinon manages something unexpected). Am hoping it at least has a CCD global sensor like the D16 which is its main competition?

Animated Music Videos | Stylus/WBUR
Benjamin Ettinger is on a mission. A fan of animation, he’s trying to collect all of the world’s animated music videos in a single place: a blog called (you guessed it) Animated Music Videos. At the time of this posting, he’s collected over 900 videos on the blog, and he’s certain there are many, many more to discover.

This is the year of 4K - Sony announces a phone that records in 4K
The Sony 4K future just started: Sony Z2 can record 4K video. Sony 4K mirrorless camera coming soon | SonyAlphaRumors
Sony 4K: One of the few certain things we know for 2014 is that Sony will add full 4K video on many of the this year new A and E-mount models. And yesterday Sony announced the new Xperia Z2 (specs here at Amazon) which shoots 4K videos!

The Manfrotto SYMPLA Clamp-On Remote Control for Canon DSLRs ($279.90) can be used to remotely control Canon DSLR cameras:
Manfrotto DSLR Video Remote Review | DSLR Video Shooter
USB controllers aren’t as good as LANC controllers, but it is the next best thing for DSLR shooters. I’ve found the Manfrotto version to be very good for DSLR work.

BC VFX Owner: BC Subsidies Exploited To Send Work To China | VFX Soldier
Last year Greg Vernon closed his VFX facility Tinderbox in British Columbia and left for Seattle. In the interview he talks about the challenges he was facing with work going to China. Mr. Vernon claims that because of a lack of oversight and auditing there are very shady practices exercised such as shell companies being opened in BC specifically for subsidies but sending all the work to China.

Carl Zeiss Lenses - Making-of Escape (BTS)

Escape is a show reel shot with ZEISS cine zooms CZ.2 28-80/T2.9 and CZ.2 70-200/T2.9 in combination with ARRI/ZEISS Ultra Prime and ARRI/ZEISS Master Prime lenses. Den Lennie the UK based Director of Photography used a RED Epic camera. This Making-of video explains the work with the ZEISS lenses during the shooting.

Free Motion Tracking Clips for Training (Non-Commercial)

VFX artist Adam Everett Miller and Imagineer Systems are pleased to offer these free clips to use for motion tracking training with mocha AE and mocha Pro. You can also view and purchase the clips with pre-tracked After Effects projects

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Avid is having problems

Once again, things are looking tough for Avid.
[Updated Feb 27: Avid released a statement]
Why Avid (AVID) Is Falling Today | The Street
The technology company announced that it received a notification letter from NASDAQ in Feb. 21 that said the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Hearings Panel decided to delist the company. NASDAQ will suspend trading of the company's stock at the open of business on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$1.38 million or 1167.44% when compared to the same quarter last year.

Avid, Maker of Pro Tools, Now Losing Money Faster and Delisted from NASDAQ | Create Digital Music
The really significant issues here are cash flow and earnings – and losing NASDAQ trading will only exacerbate the problem. TheStreet Ratings Team cites issues in this quarter versus same quarter last year including
Accelerated losses: -$7.55 million to -$17.39 million (year over year)

And as luck would have it, they just released this statement:
Avid Customers Triumph at the 50th Annual Cinema Audio Society Awards | Wall Street Journal
Avid(R) (OTC:AVID) today congratulated its customers on their numerous awards and nominations for outstanding achievements in sound mixing at the 50(th) Annual CAS Awards. Presented by the Cinema Audio Society on February 22 in Los Angeles, the awards recognized the accomplishments of many of the motion picture and television industries' most talented sound mixers who trust Avid audio solutions.

In Other News

Atomos have updated their popular Ninja HDMI external recorder. Essentially a HDMI version of the SDI Samurai Blade model, it features the same hi-res screen and advanced functions. Recording straight to off-the-shelf SSD media the Ninja Blade can record in Apple ProRes and DNxHD at 1080 HD.

Review of the New Atomos Ninja Blade and Samurai Blade | Philip Bloom
What the Ninja Blade gives you is a super bright new screen that is viewable in more extreme angles. Gone is the 800×400 4×3 screen and in its replacement, a stunning 1280 x 720 16:9 SuperAtom IPS touchscreen (325ppi) 179-degree viewing angle and 400nit brightness. Focus peaking and other colour information such as false colour and zebras are still there but are joined by the indispensable waveforms, guides and colour tools.

Updated Nikon D4S looks set to disappoint pros for hybrid video | EOSHD
Is this ‘good enough’ for pros? Really? The general impression Nikon gives us with the D4S video mode is that pros are content with their low quality video output. Grab a shot quick, get it on the internet as easily as possible, with minimal knowledge or effort.

HEVC: The Future of Video Encoding | Harmonic
In this paper we will examine the HEVC standard and review its status among industry organizations. We will take a look at how past and current compression standards are extended by HEVC, and we will see which applications in particular may benefit from the new standard.

Make initial contrast and color adjustments | SpeedGrade
Step through the primary color correction workflow in SpeedGrade CC. Learn how to make adjustments that affect your entire shot and preserve detail through the tonal range. You'll work with gain, saturation, shadows, highlights, and midtones.

10 Essential After Effects Shortcuts | PremiumBeat
1. Add Footage to After Effects CompMac: Command + /
PC: Control +/
Using this shortcut is much quicker than dragging layers (footage, images, etc) into your AE composition. Simply select the footage in the project, hit the shortcut and it will automatically be added to the AE comp.

In this tutorial, Mary Poplin uses mocha and Adobe After Effects to solve a difficult track and insert a logo onto an obscured skateboard. Export corner pin or transform data to AE.

What I Learned Watching Other Actors Bomb Auditions by Michael O'Neill

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The News

Comcast’s deal with Netflix makes network neutrality obsolete | Washington Post
The deal will also transform the debate over network neutrality regulation. Officially, Comcast's deal with Netflix is about interconnection, not traffic discrimination. But it's hard to see a practical difference between this deal and the kind of tiered access that network neutrality advocates have long feared. Network neutrality advocates are going to have to go back to the drawing board.

Canon Announces New Firmware Updates for Cinema Cameras & Camcorders | CanonRumors
Announced today is a new optional feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera which will support Canon’s innovative Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus (AF) technology and enable continuous autofocusing with the entire line of Canon EF lenses and optimized for Canon’s stepping motor (STM) line of lenses when used with the EOS C300 camera. This optional feature upgrade is expected to be available in May 2014 for a cost of $500.00 and will require the EOS C300 camera body to be shipped to an authorized Canon service center for installation.

Why is a custom eyecup a big deal for C100 shooters? Because out of the box the C100 viewfinder is painfully hard to see. For doc shooters, the beauty of the C100 is its ergonomics and usability – a simple, functional, lightweight camera without a hundred accessories hanging off the sides. For me that usually means shooting on either completely handheld or on a tripod, setting aside my shoulder rig and video monopod.

BMPC-4K: Shooting tips from early users | Here For The Weather
​Based on reports from early BMPC-4K users in the field, here are some shooting tips:1. First thing to do when you get a BMPC-4K is to make sure it’s running the most current firmware, available on BMD’s support website. Some cams have shipped with an older version firmware, resulting in various performance issues. Installing the current FW resolves this. Periodically check the BMD support site for possible future camera FW updates, too.

Film preservation 2.0 | The Dissolve
Conversations about digital archiving can be difficult, because they have a tendency to turn into proxy wars about the death of film. Feelings on the subject run hot: One pro-digital archivist I spoke to mentioned overcoming the “mythopoetics and nostalgia of cinephilia,” and you don’t have to look far to find people conflating analog media with “the human touch.”

House of Cards (With Igor Martinovic) GCS025 | Go Creative Show
Today we speak with cinematographer Igor Martinovic. Igor is the Director of Photography for the netflix original series “House of Cards” as well as countless feature films and documentaries including the Academy Award winning “Man On Wire”. Igor shares behind the scenes stories from House of Cards, working with David Fincher and Kevin Spacy, shooting on the Red Epic and more.

What is the 35mm Equivalent and Why is it Confusing? | wolfcrow
Think of windows. A larger window will show more scenery than a smaller one. Yet, the focal length of your eye remains the same. Sensors behave like windows. A larger sensor will always show you more scenery than a smaller one.

Vid-Atlantic Media Productions | Tumblr
Look at that Anamorphic bokeh! All that dreaminess coming from the $99 CineMorph Filter on the Canon C100. Thanks to Impact Films!

Inside 'Gravity': How Sandra Bullock Went From a 'Torture Chamber' to an Oscar Nom | Yahoo
Sandra Bullock, whom Alfonso Cuarón deems "the real hero" of his picture, was strung up by a 12-wire rig system for her weightless scenes, with her every movement being manipulated by an off-camera puppeteer. It was up to her to hold her body straight and to naturalize those sometimes involuntary body motions to legitimize an eerie effect of existing in zero Gs.

We’re Just Making Movies | We Have Embarked
There are things more important than getting that shot.
This wasn’t what I was planning on writing about this week. Then again, one can’t exactly plan for tragedy.
A young woman, Sarah Jones, 27, was killed on set of “Midnight Rider,” a Greg Allman biopic that’s been shooting in Georgia, after being struck by a freight train.

“Stop Making Indie Films,” Urges Kentucker Audley Petition | Filmmaker Magazine
Responding to recent articles in the New York Times and Salon, filmmaker Kentucker Audley has launched a petition asking “mediocre” independent filmmakers to stop making films. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The News

Netflix is paying off Comcast for direct traffic access, says WSJ | The Verge
According to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix and Comcast have signed a multiyear paid contract allowing the video streaming service a more direct route to Comcast's network. The first indications of the new agreement came when founder Bryan Berg noticed more direct traceroutes from the service, but Journal sources indicate the change is the result of a formal agreement between the two companies, and money has indeed changed hands.

Netflix to spend $3bn on TV and film content in 2014 | The Guardian
Netflix is committed to spending almost $3bn on TV and film content in 2014 and more than $6bn over the next three years, as the cost of securing international rights and commissioning new shows continues to mount on the streaming giant's balance sheet.

FCP X: When to Use Optimized, Proxy, or Native Media | Larry Jordan
While Final Cut does transcode all files in the background, which saves time, if all you are doing is cuts-only edits with a bit of B-roll, there’s no big advantage to optimizing, because FCP will render all camera native files as necessary during editing.

Sony Reinvents Switchers with the Anycast Touch | Government Video
The Sony Anycast Touch AWS-750 is a portable all-in-one production switcher that acts like a studio console but can stream and record live content from any location. Multiple camera sources and other feeds can be switched live, while adding transitions, titles, graphics and pre-recorded clips.

The health of our bodies, and in particular our backs, is vital to being an employable camera operator. We have all at some time felt a twinge as we threw the camera over our head in a scrum, or chased someone with the camera on our shoulder, or having to shoot while wearing all sorts of protective armour.

The challenging handheld ergonomics and lacklustre low light performance of the BMPC4K have already been discussed on Newsshooter but other aspects of the camera make it a great candidate for aerial shooting. Specifically the global shutter should eliminate rolling shutter (jello) effects often seen in DSLR aerial footage.

The takwaway is that the BMC4k is great, very great. They're all great actually except for the 5d2(great for other reasons). but putting that one aside since it's by far the oldest and least refined for video, the rx10 displays the most artifacting, but don't think for a second that it's a failure, because it's far from it. It may not control artifcating as well as the C100 or BMC4k, but it actually is quite good. that little strainer on the owl is a nightmare for any camera.