Showing posts from March 14, 2010

From Still to Motion - webcast, April 20

On Tuesday, April 20 at 8 p.m. EST , join the author team behind From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR : Richard Harrington, Robbie Carman, Matt Gottshalk, and James Ball for an hour log webcast covering the nuts and bolts of creating professional-looking video using DSLR camera. You must register here (and it says Space is limited ) Announcing Peachpit Photo Club You can Pre-order from for $31.49 (the book should be out any day now...): From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR (Voices That Matter)

Canon Final Cut Pro plug-in available!!

The EOS Movie Plug-in for Final Cut Pro is now available. I haven't tried it - yet ... UPDATE: If true, this is annoying: Supported OSes: MacOS 10.6.2  or later I'm still running 10.5.8... UPDATE II: It seems to work fine with 10.5.8. I imported a 16sec file and it took 58 seconds through Log & Transfer, and 52 seconds with MPEG Steamclip  (both exporting to ProRes 444).  Final Cut  defaulted to ProRes 444 for the EOS Plug-in when it was installed. To use the Archive function, you must be viewing in Hierarchical format, and then Control-Click the volume name and a pop-up appears with the Archive to Disk Image option. Canon documentation can be found here: Introducing EOS Movie Plugin-E1 for Final Cut Pro

Creating stop-motion animation

Interested in creating stop-motion on your Mac? Chris Breen at MacWorld runs through the software application options (freeware FrameByFrame , and commercial apps iStopMotion and Dragon Stop Motion ) as well as the techniques and tools of the trade. MacWorld: Create stop-motion animation

10 Mac Apps for $49.99

If you're a Mac user, then you may be interested in the latest bundle of 10 Mac Apps for $49.99 at MacUpdate . I primarily got it for Parallels , though I was intrigued by Hyrda (an HDR utility), MacDVDRipper , and WebSnapper . I may even use the Timeline 3D app. I'm not sure if I'll use any of the rest, but even if I only use two of the programs, it's a good deal. And if you're not a Mac user; sorry about all the Final Cut Pro coverage!

The case for and against the HXR-FMU128

If you have recently bought a Sony HXR-NX5U video camera – or are thinking of buying one in the next couple of months – then you have an important decision to make before March 31st: should you buy the 128GB Flash memory unit? The HXR-FMU128 normally retails for $749.95, but Sony is currently offering a $500 rebate, which brings it down to a much more palatable $249.95. Since 32GB SDHC cards are selling for about $100 right now, with the rebate the HXR-FMU128 comes in at almost have the price of four 32GB cards. Even more importantly, the HXR-FMU128 makes it possible to perform dual recording with the HXR-NX5U; recording to both the memory card and the FMU128 at the same time. It’s not possible to do this with the HDR-.AX2000 because that camera doesn’t support the FMU128. It should be noted that at least two people have reported buffer problems when dual recording, and no one really knows why that is happening (the reports so far seem to be limited to people who are dual rec

Canon 5D Mark II firmware 2.0.4 out in Japan already?

Engadget: Canon EOS 5D Mark II 2.0.4 firmware said to fix audio, reputation UPDATE: has links ....though maybe you want to wait a few days to make sure this update doesn't have other problems...

3d is loose in the world! Part 2

After the SMPTE presentation the night before , I was looking forward to the Sony presentation. I was thinking that they’d have some equipment - at least a 3D television and glasses - and a great demo. Nope. The only equipment they had at the presentation was a stereo video camera setup constructed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution using two new HD cameras that cost about $30,000 each. It was actually a pretty cool looking rig, but it was just sitting on a table and not connected or even on; we didn’t get to see it do anything. The talk was primarily a history and theory of 3D technologies, and it started with a quote from someone in 1939 saying that the time was right for 3D to finally catch on! There followed an explanation of what was driving the 3D movement: revenue from 3D theatrical releases, and the desire to sell new hardware(!) Not that 3D in theaters is new (and it didn’t just die out in the 50’s.) Evidently there was a movie in the 70’s called: Stewarde

Philip Bloom: 2:35 video on Vimeo

Philip Bloom has posted a short video on his website showing his workflow for creating 2:35 video on Vimeo. Definitely worth checking out. I learned a number of things: Framing in the camera He says he guesstimates the framing (though he says you can also put tape on the monitor.) - He doesn't do too badly with the framing! Framing matte in Final Cut Pro While working with the 1920x1080 footage, he applies Final Cut Pro 's Widescreen filter to get a matte showing the actual framing. The Widescreen filter is a simple effect that has a number of choices for different aspect ratios. My problem with this filter (from playing with it a little) is that it builds it's matte based on the dimensions of the material, not the Canvas window. So if you have video with a different aspect ratio, or you make it bigger or smaller than 1920x1080 on the Canvas, then the matte will be wrong. If you do have that problem, another solution would be to create a .png graphic in Photoshop

Dymo DiscPainter review

The Dymo DiscPainter arrived yesterday and got a quick run through it's paces. The new Windows 7 drivers were installed, and the first disc was printed. The printer has three Quality settings: Draft, Normal and Best, as well as a Density setting (the initial tests were all done with a Density of 5.) The first test was run using the Normal setting, and the results, while not terrible, were troubling. As others had reported in the reviews on Amazon, there was a noticeable skewing in the test. Look at the four lines of text in the middle of the disc: these should be straight; and the title at the top looks like it's been stretched on the right-hand side, creating an unintentional 3D effect. Normal Setting: Density = 5 Not particularly happy with that, the next test was done with the Best setting and the same density, in the hopes that Best would produce at least acceptable results. Printing in Best took longer than printing with Normal, but it actually produced even worse re

Problems with 5D Mark II firmware

Canon has posted a warning about problems with the firmware update ( at bottom of this page ): We have learned that some users of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera are experiencing issues with Firmware Update Version 2.0.3. We are working on a new firmware update to address these phenomena, which will be available soon. If you have not registered your EOS 5D Mark II, please register so we will be able to notify you via e-mail when future firmware updates become available for download. has some details: 5D Mark II Firmware 2.0.3 Broken

Panasonic 3D tour and sales

Panasonic has a 15 city tour promoting and demoing 3D gear. The Touch the Future Tour allows consumers to see how 3D performs with both movies, games, and other content. Dates can be found here: Panasonic 3D Demos Note that Boston is this weekend 3/20 - 3/22 Copley Place - 2 Copley Place Read more (and dates): Panasonic 3D Demos or a short write-up about it on Engadget. Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, Panasonic sold out the first shipment of 3D televisions in a week . So someone wants it! Tech.Blorge

HDSLR aliasing and EX1 comparisons

Marco Colorio has written an introduction to HD SLR video recording for Creative Cow . It's a good introduction for those who haven't gotten their feet wet yet, and it covers most of the basics. What really got my attention though, was the discussion of the issues of aliasing, and Marco's mention of his preference for the Canon 5D Mark II over his Sony EX1; even though he acknowledges that he probably won't get rid of the EX1. In the article, Marco mentions, but then quickly dismisses, the issues of aliasing: The current workaround for any HDSLR is to try to avoid shooting against things like brick walls, chain link fences, power lines, etc. If you must, try to distance the subject further away from them, so that the backgrounds become defocused. In fact, even just a hair out of focus will completely solve the problem . Several people expound - both pro and con - on the issue in the comments, and some solutions and work-arounds are offered. I can't help wonder

3d is loose in the world! Part 1

At last weekends Camera Company Show there were a couple of presentations on 3D technologies, one presented by SMPTE, and the other by Sony. At the SMPTE meeting, Peter Fasciano (a co-founder of Avid), Rob Jaczko (from the music department at Berklee) and Ron Labbe ( ), talked about the history, issues and lexicon of 3D capture and playback. Much of it, to be honest, I didn’t completely follow, or it went by so fast I couldn’t write it down, but here’s the key things I came away with: Interocular distance This is the distance between your eyes. In theory, the distance between the camera lenses should match this (the distance between the camera lenses is referred to as the interaxular distance.) While adjusting this distance will result in “distorted” 3D images, that distortion can be used for effect: moving the lenses closer together will have the effect of making what you are shooting appear to be larger. Moving them further apart makes the object appear smalle

Happy St Patrick's Day - Irish Film Featival

IRISH FILM FESTIVAL SHOWCASE, Boston MA March 25-28 Among the films selected to be screened are the hit Irish comedy Wide Open Spaces and the award-winning documentary The Yellow Bittern: The Life and Times of Liam Clancy . Gabriel Byrne will be present for a screening of the new documentary on his life and career, Gabriel Byrne: Stories from Home . Films will screen at the Brattle Theatre and at the Somerville Theater. Receptions will be held at Grafton Street Bar and Grill (Harvard Sq.), Orleans (Davis Sq.) and at the Burren (Davis Square). More Info: Irish Film Festival, Boston

From Still to Motion - sample chapter

Peachpit press has posted a sample chapter from the book: From Still to Motion : A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR in PDF format. The chapter is "Cinematic Lighting", and if it's any indication, the book will be worth getting! Part II: Cinematic Lighting [PDF] You can Pre-order from for $31.49: From Still to Motion: A photographer's guide to creating video with your DSLR (Voices That Matter)

Sony XDCAM & NXCAM - Mar 17 @ Rule

UPDATED & NEW: SONY XDCAM & NXCAM Tomorrow, Sony's Sales Support Engineer Tom Cubby provides an in-depth look at the PMW-350, the first Sony 2/3" XDCAM EX shoulder-mount camcorder, the HXR-NX5U, their first AVCHD camcorder, and the latest update to the EX1 - the PMW-EX1R. At Rule Broadcast Systems, Boston. 10am-12noon

Thoughts on the Canon 5D firmware update

Back when people were first complaining about the limitations of the Canon 5D Mark II, there were a lot of people who wanted to write and complain to Canon, and get them to fix it with a software upgrade. I remember distinctly posting on a couple of forums that I was quite certain it would never happen. I was certain of this because for as long as I could remember - as long as Canon has been making cameras that can be updated with firmware - they had never issued new functionality updates. Yes, they'd issued fixes for things, but the frame rate limitation wasn't a fix, it was a major addition (and that's regardless whether you think it should have had that feature to begin with.) So big egg on my face. Stephen Shankland at CNET writes about this new departure , and wonders if this heralds a new era in camera evolution. Will we see more new features added in software, or was this an aberration? I'm not certain, but then I've been proved wrong before. I&#

Printing DVDs - Dymo DiscPainter

Even though I put most of the stuff I shoot on the Web, now and again I have to burn a DVD. And if you want to make a good impression – and who doesn’t? – a disc that’s got a printed label looks a lot better than something you’ve written on with a Sharpie. I have an Epson printer, and it does a pretty good job of printing on DVDs/CDs, but the printer itself frustrates me a lot. Having six ink cartridges, it always seems like one of the cartridges is low. And when you replace a cartridge, it goes through a charging cycle (which sucks ink out of the other cartridges) and you often end up having to then replace another cartridge...and then repeat the process. Sometimes it feels like the thing is just sucking ink, and not printing anything. That’s not a DVD printing issue, but it is an issue I have with this printer. The other problem I have is that the printer can be a little finicky when you insert the plastic carrier with the disc. Every fifth or sixth disc the thing doesn’t feed

BPSFCLUG Workflow mixer: March 24

The Boston Final Cut Pro User Group 's next meeting will be Wednesday, March 24th, 7:00PM - 10PM (Doors open at 6:30PM) The New England Institute of Art Room 120-121 303 Boylston Street Brookline, MA 02445-7638

Canon 5D Mark II firmware is up!

Firmware Version 2.0.3 incorporates five enhancements to the movie function and a fix to the manual sensor cleaning function of the EOS 5D Mark II camera. Adds or changes the following movie frame rates. NTSC: 1920×1080 : 30 fps (changed - actual 29.97 fps) 1920×1080 : 24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps) 640×480 : 30 fps (changed - actual 29.97 fps) PAL: 1920×1080 : 25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps) 1920×1080 : 24 fps (added - actual 23.976 fps) 640×480 : 25 fps (added - actual 25.0 fps) Adds a function for manually adjusting the sound recording level (64 levels). Adds a histogram display (brightness or RGB) for shooting movies in manual exposure. Adds shutter-priority AE mode (Tv) and aperture-priority AE (Av) mode to the exposure modes for shooting movies. Changes the audio sampling frequency from 44.1 KHz to 48 KHz. Fixes a phenomenon where communication between the camera and the attached lens is sometimes interrupted after manual sensor cleaning. (This phenomenon only

Here & There

30fps to 24fps Given that the Canon 5D Mark II firmware update is expected tomorrow, it seems appropriate to draw your attention to this post at the ProLost blog about the problems of using software to convert from 30 fps and 24 fps. Appropriate because the article itself was prompted by the upcoming release of the firmware update. I’m not saying that you won’t occasionally see results from 30-to-24p conversions that look good. The technology is amazing. But while it can work often, it will fail often. And that’s not a workflow. It’s finger-crossing. Check it out because it also includes framegrabs showing how things can get distorted. ProLost : Converting 30p to 24p Comcast goes 3D I'm still trying to figure this 3D thing out (and going over my notes from the seminars I went to on the weekend) but here's some news: Comcast will broadcast the Masters Tournament in 3D April 7-11. Don't drop your beer when the ball sales through the screen... Engadget Canon 5D Ma

Workshop: How to Grow and Monetize an Audience For Your Independent Production

The Boston Final Cut Pro Users Group and The New England Institute of Art , are sponsoring a workshop by Philip Hodgetts on March 23rd 6:30pm - 9:30pm at The New England Insititute of Art, 303 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA. How to Grow and Monetize an Audience For Your Independent Production Philip Hodgetts Since the advent of low cost production equipment almost any project can find a suitable budget. However distribution has not been democratized to the same degree. Learn how others have built substantial and profitable audiences for their independent film and video projects and successfully monetized the audience. Learn the common themes and how you can apply them to any independent production. Topics to be discussed: We'll examine the ten ways to profit from distributing free content and how others have drawn income from ancilliary products, subscriptions, advertising and direct sales.

Blogging City Island, part IV

The fourth part of Raymond De Felitta's series on the making of the movie " City Island " appears in Salon today. In this latest installment, the money starts coming in, the train is leaving the station, and suddenly the actors are hitting the exits: Why does this happen? Actors, oftentimes, will commit to a role without any real belief that the damn thing will truly happen. Most of the time, after all, movies don't happen. Except then they do. And what seemed like a promising meeting about good material months ago will, upon second look, perhaps appear in a different light and set said actor to posing some introspective questions. Like: Why aren't I getting a better paying gig? Or, where and when does this shoot, and is it going to screw up my vacation plans? Or: I liked this then, but now it stinks. Often it is simply a case of the dance card getting filled up and priorities shifting. One major part, the leading lady, was still unfilled two weeks before shoot

Blog of short film shot with Canon 7D

Jeremy Ian Thomas of HDI RAW Works shot a two-day, low-budget film titled “ The Chrysalis ” using a Canon 7D , Red Rock Micro rig and Zeiss ZE primes lenses . And they video blogged about it; late at night when they were pretty exhausted and/or punchy. You'll learn a few things from this; it's really hot in the desert, they were obviously exhausted, they really liked the Zeiss ZE lenses and the H4N Zoom , and there aren't many people in the desert. The blog starts here: Day one: Interested? Well stay tuned (he's half asleep) Chrysalis Day Two Check Dave's (the DP) Blog Day Three Another update as we get ready to leave... Last Day in Death Valley Check Dave's (the DP) blog. He shows the Red Rock eyeSpy rig that's been converted/enhanced, and a Zeiss ZE 100mm lens . It looks like they had five lenses on hand. Note that the focal length multiplier of the Canon 7D is 1.6, so ( it's my understanding ) that the 100mm performs like a 160mm, not


I checked out a short demonstration of Glidecam’s HD series stabilizers at the camera show on Saturday. The HD series comes in three models; the $399 HD 1000 (sells for around $329) is for cameras up to 3 pounds. The HD 2000 $499 ($450) is for cameras between 2 and 6 pounds, while the HD 4000 $599 (549) is for cameras between 4 and 10 pounds. HD 2000 stabilizer with Canon 7D They even had a Canon 7D on an HD 2000, though I can’t help thinking that keeping an SLR in focus on a stabilizer would be a challenge. Glidecam has been making stabilizers for seventeen years, and I was surprised to learn that they were based here in Massachusetts. I didn’t know that! These models are quite an improvement over the models of ten years ago; the simple washer weights at the bottom have been replaced with custom counter-weights. Even better, the camera mount platform now has a quick-release plate, making it much easier to transport and set up the camera/stabilizer. It also seems a lot ea

What a fool would do...

Galen Gruman at InfoWorld writes that Only a fool would pre-order an iPad . He opens with the obvious: Why blow $500 to $830 on a device that may not be what you expect? Just wait a mere three weeks to see for sure what it actually does and what surprises, good and bad, Apple has packed into the iPad . He then goes on to point out that owners of the original i Pod Touch might have gotten the short end of the stick because the Touch was missing lots of features. Which, when you think about it, is actually an argument for not only waiting for the iPad to be in stores, but to wait for version 2 as well. And you know what? He's absolutely right. You should wait until it's in stores. In fact, you should wait for version 2. It will be better. Waiting is the smart thing to do. And you know what? I don't care. I have no regrets about pre-ordering an iPad . I never said I was smart.