Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reviews of Panasonic HPX370

Panasonic earlier this week announced the AG-HPX370 (MSRP $11,700) and already there are reviews!

Barry Green at dxruser says Panasonic has taken a brilliant but flawed camera and fixed all the flaws:
...they've created a 1/3” chipset that matches and even outperforms the competition's 1/2” chips. They've fixed the flaws on an otherwise brilliant camera, and they've added the most-requested news-oriented features. The HPX370 is a solid performer that matches its bigger-chipped competition in imaging, and easily outstrips it in performance in most other categories.

Philip Bloom does a video review of the AG-HPX371 (the international version of the 370 which shoots all the different frame rates you could need.). He got to play with it in California and was impressed with the improvement in video noise over the previous model as well as the general usability:
It's probably one of the most ergonomically pleasant cameras I've ever used. It's the right weight, the buttons are in the right place, it's got a very nice viewfinder, the LCD screen's good. So far, [it's] all really positive. Even the stock lens I've got here is actually quite nice.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Countdown to CS5

Sign up for the "exclusive global launch" on Monday, April 12th at 8am PDT.

Adobe Premiere CS5 and Mercury Playback Engine

Apple may be raining all over Adobe's parade right now, but things aren't going to remains all Apple's way, and the arrival of Premiere CS5 might give Apple's Final Cut real heart burn.

When I first saw the Mercury Playback demo (which uses a computers GPU to accelerate various processes) I was intrigued, and it seems others are as well. Philip Johnston writes about his own feelings about the upcoming release:
Apple are a long way off bringing FCP anywhere near 64bit and as it stands Compressor and DVD Studio Pro are a joke. The one sole program that saves FCPs butt is Motion. Motion is streets ahead of After Effects and far easier to use but for this one program I for one would kiss good-by to FCP and who knows if the £3K became accessible that jump may be sooner than later.
And this Monday we get to find out more when Adobe officially rolls out CS5.

I know I will have to spend some time with Premiere to see if I want to switch; or just use it for some tasks. And cost is a serious factor me. But I can't wait until they role it out, and I hope there's a 30-day trial version available!!

NAB starts Monday

...even though there has already been the major announcement expected from Canon, and a bunch of others along the way from Panasonic and JVC, there's still much more to come, and surely Sony must have something more interesting than 3D software up their sleeves.

Maybe something interesting will appear at the keynote:
Hiroshi Yoshioka, Executive Deputy President of the Sony Corporation and President of the Consumer, Professional & Devices Group, will deliver the keynote address at this year’s NAB Show Opening event. His address will focus on the global and US demands for 3D technology. Mr. Yoshioka will further discuss Sony’s "lens to the living room" vision for 3D and present exclusive 3D footage.

Shooting with Canon Rebel T2i, Canon 7D & Canon 1D Mark IV

Jared Abrams over at Cinema5D has a post (and video) of a shot he worked on using these three different cameras, and challenges viewers to pick out which camera was used for which shot...

Canon expands services program to Pro Videographers

A service program Canon offers to Still Photographers has now been expanded to include Videographers. Canon’s Professional Services (CPS) offers three levels of service benefits:

CPS Silver
  • Offered free-of-charge to qualifying videographers, cinematographers and filmmakers.
  • Welcome kit
  • Access to CPS phone hotline
  • 20 percent discount on repairs.

CPS Gold
  • Equipment evaluation loans for a limited trial period
  • Expedited three-day turnaround on service items
  • 30 percent service discount,
  • Two free Check & Clean vouchers and backup loan equipment, when available, if repair or service exceeds the three-day turnaround.
  • Annual fee of $100

CPS Platinum
  • Rriority access to equipment evaluation loans for a two-week trial periods
  • 60 percent discount on repairs
  • Expedited two-day turnaround on service items (available in June)
  • Platinum members can request backup equipment while their equipment is being serviced. Requested backup equipment is sent out upon the service center’s receipt of the member’s equipment.
  • Annual fee of $500

Equipment evaluation loans will include current professional DSLR equipment and accessories including the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera, as well as the new Canon XF305 and XF300 Professional Camcorders. The Canon XF305 and XF300 professional camcorders are expected to be available for loan in June.

Current CPS program members are qualified for the video equipment service and likewise, CPS members under the video qualifications will also qualify for still camera service and benefits.

Canon Professional Services

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Scripting with the iPad

Stu Maschwitz at ProLost has written a post about his experience with the iPad for the past week. In particular he looks at viewing PDFs (of scripts) as well as writing scripts on the iPad.

He seems to like the document reader ReaddleDocs for viewing PDFs.

He also talks about script writing tools; there's a couple of iPhone script tools, but there's no iPad specific application, yet. But there is always Pages, and Joke and Biagio have created a template that works in Pages.

Note that if you have the Mac version of Pages, it comes with a script format template and I have transferred that across to the iPad and it seems to work okay.

Interesting Stories

Here's a trivia question for you:

Q: Who are the oldest living Best Actress and Best Actor Oscar winners?
A: Luise Rainer and Ernest Borgnine.

If you like old movies [ouch! what a segue!-Ed] and live in LA, you might want to check out the TCM Classic Film Festival, April 22-25. There will be several screenings with various stars, including this one, which I really wish I could go to:

Eva Marie Saint and Martin Landau will share their memories of working with Alfred Hitchcock at a screening of North By Northwest (1959).

On a related note, last weekend I saw Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer. If you're a fan of Hitchcock's movies I recommend you check it out. There's lots of echos of Hitchcock in this movie!

Hopefully they'll never try and rework North By Northwest into 3D, but if they do [and Turner would be the one to do it-Ed] then In-Three might be the company that does it. They are responsible for several of the 2D to 3D conversions that are out there. An interview with VFX Producer Matthew DeJohn and VP of Business Development Damian Wade can be found at Studio Daily which explains the process, difficulties, and the cost.
Generally, for a 100-minute or 120-minute 2D-to-3D conversion, you would need about 300 to 400 artists phasing in and out of production over about four to six months.
Typically, it’s about $80,000 to $100,000 a minute.

News from Here & There

From Still to Motion promo movie
The authors of the book From Still to Motion have put together a short movie where they talk about the book, the goals behind it, and why it can be difficult to shoot with a DSLR. It's on Facebook: Video posted by From Still to Motion

SmallHD 5.6" DP-SLR monitor
Looks like this NAB show will be the show of high-quality small LCD monitors. First Marshall was tweeting about a 5" monitor they will be showing, and now there's information leaking out about SmallHD's upcoming 5.6" 1280 x 800 monitor. Both are expected to cost about $800. There doesn't seem any info on SmallHD's website yet, but the HDWarrior blog has a detailed post.

Kata bags
I like Kata bags, and they have some interesting new bags they will be rolling out at NAB:

The D-Light Capsules are billed as being intended for HDV camcorders (surely they mean flash memory camcorders?!). The D-Light Capsule-183 is a lightweight, case designed to carry camcorders such as the Panasonic HVX200, HPX170 & HMC150, Canon XH A1s & G1s, Sony EX1R, V1, Z1, Z7, Z5 and similar.

Kata Pro-Light Resource-61

The Pro-Light Resource-61 is a shoulder bag designed specifically for a VDSLR kitted out with Video production gear and accessories. The double-decker design allows you to arrange your gear hierarchically, while a modular Cocoon Pouch will fit anywhere in the remaining space and hold accessories you need or even an additional DSLR body. This is the first in a range of dedicated Video DSLR products Kata plans to launch in the near future.

Sony 3D authoring tools are coming

Sony wants to sell 3D TV sets, but to do that, they need a lot of 3D content to get those suckers customers to upgrade. Sony Creative Software has just announced two authoring application that will be available in June:

Blu-print 6
The Blu-print 6 upgrade will author 3D titles in accordance with the 3D Blu-ray format standard Profile 5, import new MVC encoded streams, and work with Z Depth for 3D subtitle authoring.

Z Depth 3D for Vegas
Z Depth allows you to edit and record the offset metadata file for placement of subtitles and interactive graphic menus in the 3D space of a Blu-ray movie. The BD spec offset metadata files created by the application can be used in any 3D Blu-ray Disc authoring application that follows BDA specifications Profile 5.

Blu-print 6 and Z Depth will be available in June 2010 through Sony Creative Software Professional Services.


3D Movies continue to be a BIG THING

The International 3D Society (I3DS) says that just four 3D films captured 33% of the total domestic box office since the December 18 release of "Avatar". The films -- "Clash of the Titans," "How to Train Your Dragon," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Avatar" generated $1.2 billion in domestic ticket sales out of a total $3.587 billion. During that period, 127 general market movies were released.

Interestingly, I haven't seen any of those movies.

CamcorderInfo First Impressions of Canon XF300 has a "first impressions" review of the new Canon XF300 flash memory camcorder. This is much more a summary of feature highlights than a review, and there's no real discussion of image quality or actual operations. However, they like the manual controls and big LCD:
The camcorder has a wonderful LCD and viewfinder setup, excellent manual control features, and many quick-access dials and switches to make settings as easy to adjust as possible.

CamcorderInfo: Canon XF300 First Impressions Camcorder Review

Free online workshop - HDSLR Cinema

Vincent Laforet is taking part in CreativeLIVE's creation education internat channel offering a class on HDDSLR Cinema, which runs from Friday April 30 through Sunday May 2nd.
In this course, first time filmmakers and photographers making the transition into video will be introduced to many of the core building blocks necessary to make their first short films.

We will discuss a small amount of cinema theory and we will also look into different types of gear that will allow you to pull off more consistent results with HDDSLR Cameras.

We will discuss the use of a variety of lenses, fluid heads, external monitors, follow focus units, JIBs and Sliders . Students will come away from this online workshop with a good understanding of what tools they need for their productions, and when and how to best use them.
It will be free to watch live - but cost money later if you want to buy it.

CreativeLIVE: An introduction to HDDSLR Cinema with Vincent Laforet

Note to that they are offering some What's New in CS5 classes.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Canon 7D Firmware Update Version 1.2.0

Canonrumors says that 1.2.0 is legitimate, and fixes issues with third party batteries and adds support for upcoming remotes, accessories and lenses.

The Great Camera Shootout 2010 - Part 2

The second part of the three-part "Great Camera Shootout 2010" is up at Zacuto's website. They switched things around though; this episode is all about low-light (not the color, resolution and green-screen tests they'd promised in Part 1; those are now said to be coming in Episode 3.)

In this episode they stretch the low-light and ISO capabilities to the limit. All of the cameras do better than film, but it's shocking to see how well the Nikon D3s does in very low light!

Worth watching if you're thinking of buying a camera, jump to the middle for the key stuff! The Great Camera Shootout 2010

Sony and 3D World Magazine competition

Sony and 3D World magazine have teamed up for a 3D competition. Create a stereo 3D short film and you might win a 3D Home Entertainment system, (as well as fame and glory.) Okay, you probably won't get any of that, but you might learn a thing or two, and you have until July 9th to enter!

Most interesting is that the site has a bunch of resources that might help those looking to dabble in 3D. PDF tutorials include:
  • Ben Kitching explains how to create a stereoscopic camera rig in your 3D modelling app of choice, so that you can create a stereoscopic 3D film
  • Red Star 3D's Ben Smith explains how Dracula 4D, a spooky action comedy, was given the stereoscopic treatment
  • Mark Ramshaw looks at the fresh challenges, the new grammar and the wider implications for the CG industry.
Video Tutorials:
  • Eric Bacus builds a LightWave S-3D camera rig
  • Creating stereo 3D with Gary Noden
  • Cinema 4D stereoscopic workflow
  • Modo401: stereoscopic workflow
  • Maya: go stereoscopic

[UPDATE 1:05PM] clarrified that Eric Bacus video concerns LightWave

Toshiba Camileo cameras

Toshiba has entered the US digital camcorder market with the budget CAMILEO line:
  • CAMILEO S20: At two-thirds of an inch thin and 3.5 ounces it has a 4x digital zoom and takes 5 megapixel digital still photos. ($179.99 MSRP)
  • CAMILEO H30: The H30 is 8 ounces, has a 3-inch LCD touch-screen, 5x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom, and takes 10 megapixel digital still photos. ($249.99 MSRP)
  • CAMILEO X100: The X100 is 9.5 ounces, has a 3-inch LCD touch-screen, 10x optical and digital zoom, as well as takes 10 megapixel digital still photos. ($399.99 MSRP)
The cameras are available for pre-order on Toshiba's website. Product shots can be found here: Flickr:

NOTE: I seem to remember these cameras being covered briefly some months ago when Toshiba first introduced them outside the US. At the time the only information I could find about them suggested that these were based on (or rebadged) cameras made by another company, and the reviews of those cameras were less than flattering. So definitely wait for reviews!

NAB Bits and Pieces

Vincent Laforet
Vincent Laforet says he will be speaking for Canon "and others" at the NAB show, and to come say "hi" at the Canon booth.

Ninth Annual Las Vegas SuperMeet
The SuperMeet takes place on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 in the Amazon Ballroom at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Doors open at 4:00PM and presentations begin at 7PM. Tickets are on sale online for $15.00 each, (plus $1.36 ticket fee) or $20.00 at the door.Presentations will include:
  • Canon: Alex Buono, 10-year veteran Director of Photography for NBC's Saturday Night Live Film Unit talks about shooting for broadcast with Canon EOS DSLR cameras.
  • Adobe product evangelist Jason Levine will highlight new features useful for the Final Cut Pro editor (including Round tripping to/from FCP and native DSLR HD video support) in the just announced Production Premium CS5.
  • There will also be presentations from: Avid (AMA plugin architecture with Sony XDCam HD and Canon EOS 7D), Apple (Apple Partner Support for ProRes and Stereo 3D), ARRI (the new ARRI ALEXA Digital Cinema Camera), Stereo Cinematographer Tim Dashwood will show how content creators can affordably capture and edit footage and timelapse in 3D using Canon EOS 7D DSLRs
There will be live video stream of the event courtesy of Boinx Software and Registration will be required to view the free live stream at:

Keeping your old Canon's going

In light of the announcement of the new Canon tapeless camcorders, don't think that Canon is abandoning all those folks with tape-based HDV and DV cameras.

Canon and Focus Enhancements have announced the Focus Enhancements FS-CF and FS-CF Pro portable Compact Flash DTE recorders for Canon’s HDV and Mini-DV camcorders. The FS-CF units support 1080 24F, 25F and 30F, 50i and 60i frame rates in both QuickTime and M2T file formats. Additionally, 1080 60i and 50i are supported in the MXF OP Atom format.

Focus Enhancements already offers other tapeless recording units that they claim work with Canon's cameras. [It's unclear what specific features these units add when compared to those units and their site does not yet include these new models.]

The FS-CF and FS-CF Pro are expected to be available through Canon authorized dealers in late April for an estimated retail price of $995 and $1,295.

Sorenson offers iPad video support

Sorenson Media's blog has an entry that covers video on the iPad from Sorenson Squeeze, Squish and the 360 online video platform.

For Sorenson Squeeze there are special iPad presets available at their Preset Exchange.

Canon's new 4:2:2 Pro camcorders announced

Canon has announced the new tapeless pro camcorders that they had hinted at several months ago. The XF305 and XF300 support dual Compact Flash memory cards and record HD at 50Mbps with MPEG-2 4:2:2 compression. Notably, neither of the cameras offers a removable lens.

Canon XF305

Both use Canon CMOS chips with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. Canon previously announced they would be 1/3" chips.

The camera features are similar, but the XF305 model adds HD-SDI output, genlock, and SMPTE time code (in/out) terminals for multi-camera or 3-D productions.

The cameras are scheduled to be available in late June for an estimated retail price of $7,999 for the XF305 and $6,799 for the XF300.

My Take
Ouch! I'd really been hoping [you mean dreaming-Ed] that the list price would be in the $4-$5K range to compete with the Sony NXCAM HXR-NX5U. But at this price point these will be compared with Sony's EX1 and EX3. The XF300 camera competes with the EX1 in price, but the EX1 has 1/2" imagers, while the Canon's have 1/3". The EX3 is a little more expensive than the XF305, but has an interchangeable lens mount.

The cheaper Compact Flash cards is a big plus over the EX series. One distinction with the previous Canon models was that they used CCD chips; and that's no longer the case.

But, what about that 4:2:2? That's what will get most people's attention. I'm really interested to see how the picture quality pans out. I'll be waiting to see the reviews. Unfortunately, at that price, I don't see myself getting one of these cameras, no matter how good the image quality.

 Canon XF300

Canon 7D Firmware 1.2.0

Gary Coleman posted on photography-on-the-net that a replacement Canon 7D he received from Canon headquarters in NY has firmware 1.2.0, rather than 1.1.0. he says he's checked menus and options and doesn't notice anything different; no audio level for example.

it's in the bag - Kata CC-195

Cases are one of those things that you resist buying because they don't add functionality: they cost money which you could use on other goodies. But not having a good bag can be a big mistake. A good bag protects your camera and makes it easier to schlep your stuff around. Think of it as insurance rather than an accessory.

In this series, I'm going to go through some cases I have and what I like/dislike about them.

Kata CC-195

Kata CC-195
When I ordered the Panasonic AG-HMC70U I knew it wasn't going to fit in the large camera bag I already owned so I started looking around in different stores to see what choices there were. When buying a bag for a camera this size, you quickly realize that a) it's probably going to be expensive, and b) even in Boston it's difficult to find a store with a good selection. Best Buy doesn't carry bags this size!

I also found that I had to get the camera measurements right, and do a lot of research on sites (and with tape measures in stores) to be sure the camera was going to fit.

After a bit of searching (and bag measuring!) I finally ended up with the Kata CC-195. The size of this bag was just right for the camera (not too big and not too small) and while expensive, it was no more expensive than similarly sized bags by other makers that were of a similar quality. The AG-HMC70U is about as tall and wide as will fit in this particularly model comfortably. You could get a longer camera inside, but not a taller or wider one.

Note too that though large, because of the size of the AG-HMC70U there isn't too much space left for other accessories. This is fine by me, but is something you might need to consider. And even so, it is still quite a large - and with the camera inside - heavy bag. It's not something you want to carry really long distances.

The bag is very nicely made and has thick side walls that seem to offer good protection. There's a real feeling of solidity to the bag. It comes with a length wise divider and two small cross-dividers - I only use one of the smaller ones - that fit well and make it easy to separate the camera from other stuff.

Kata bag interior,
Note the small divider between the camera and other "junk" at the end of the bag

The bag has a double zip that runs lengthwise across the top. The two zips are joined by a cord running through a small plastic handle. While it looks a little flimsy, it's proved to be very smooth and reliable. When unzipped, the top folds up like a tongue. While it's quick and easy to open and close, the problem is that the sides bend in at the top and the opening isn't nearly as wide as the interior. While it doesn't really make it harder to get the camera in or out, it does make putting things in the side section much more difficult. On the other hand, it does make the bag feel much stiffer and sturdier.

The case is so large that using it with the shoulder strap proved to be both awkward and maybe a little insecure. I was worried about dropping it or it sliding around, so I just carry it by the handle. The handle is an odd shape made of material (see picture above.) I find it acceptable for carrying, though I wish it was slightly more like a traditional handle.

Kata does make some larger bags that have a more "traditional" design like the Kata CB-400. But it's quite a bit bigger and costs over $50 more. It would probably be the ideal choice if you want to put all your gear in one bag, but since I don't always use this camera, I tend to keep all my non-camera related equipment in separate bags.

This bag is nicely made, sturdy and reasonably easy to carry. Because of the top design access is a little cramped compared to other cases. The shape makes stacking more awkward, though the inability to place things on top of the case may actually be a plus!

I have two Kata bags and would recommend them as good solid bags.

B & H Photo: Kata CC-195 $175

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Free Subscriptions to DV Magazine

It appears that if you're in the USA, and meet certain undefined qualifying criteria, you can get a free subscription to DV (Digital Video) Magazine by signing up at this page. I haven't signed up, but I see they ask a lot of questions and have various offers you have to check/uncheck on the subscription page. DV (Digital Video) Magazine Expires April 20, or sooner! USA Only

Woods Hole 3D

Woods Hole Imaging Systems, the 3D HD production unit of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), will have 3D footage at several NAB booths this year, including Sony and JVC. The unit has built over 30 3D rigs for and postproduction service in the past five years, and is now making these available to outside groups. They specialize in the construction of ultra-small, low power, high resolution, mini 3D camera systems that perform in hostile and non-studio environments.

“Our smallest 3D camera rigs weigh in at approximately four pounds and can be operated by a single individual,” says research specialist William N. Lange. “A comparable 3D camera is about 50 pounds. We’ve seen considerable interest from sports producers in our ultra-small 3D cameras systems.

See Also: 3d is loose in the world! Part 2

NAB pre-announcements

Both Panasonic and JVC have announced new high end cameras; the Panasonic AG-HPX370 and the JVC GY-HM790. Both cameras will have list prices just shy of $12,000.

The AG-HPX370 represents a minor upgrade over the AG-HPX300, with the biggest improvement being the 1/3-inch CMOS sensors which should produce less noise and better sensitivity.

The GY-HM790 is also very similar to it's predecessor, the GY-HM700. new features include inproved studio capabilities a redesigned studio adapter, built-in time code in/out and genlock. JVC also announced a low light version, the GY-HM790LL, which will be released in the Autumn.

Both are outside of my price range (though interestingly, in broadcast these cameras are considered "low-cost!") I'm still waiting to see what Canon announces, and how it compares price and feature wise with the Sony XHR-NX5U.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Marshall tweets a new 5" HDMi monitor for DSLR users

NAB gets closer, and the announcements start to heat up. Marshall, makers of high-end portable monitors, has just tweeted a new 5" HDMI monitor, the V-LCD50-HDMI which can be powered with 4 AA batteries and includes FALSE COLOR and PEAKING FILTERS. Price under $600 looks appealing too.

They have more announcements coming, so keep your twitter eyes open: MarshallUSA @ Twitter

Soundtracks: creating the soundtrack for Avatar

Digidesign (now part of Avid) has an article and video in their Articles & User Stories section: Avatar - Creating an Otherworldly Soundtrack with Pro Tools|HD, ICON, and Sibelius. The video includes an interview with composer James Horner, talking about his goals and process:
“I didn’t rely on a written score for large parts of the film,” he says. “Instead, I improvised much of the score against the picture. There was no orchestra involved until the end — just me playing the parts into the film, using an electronic instrument or a piano. I find myself trying to move slowly away from writing conventional orchestral music, incorporating other instruments into my scores that don’t necessarily play orchestral music.”

Intelligent Assistance @ BOSFCPUG

At the March Boston Final Cut Pro User Group meeting Intelligent Assistance founder Philip Hodgetts demoed some of their current products, as well as a new product they will be showing at NAB called Matchback Magic.

Philip is the king of meta data, I don’t think he’s meta data he didn’t like [Ouch! –Ed], and Intelligent Assistance’s tools help you work with meta data, and speed up and/or smooth the editing process. This is great if you like to log stuff meticulously, or have to because you’re working with so much footage. It’s also helpful if the camera you use saves meta data (he notes that it varies by manufacturer: Sony is one of the worst companies for using meta data; XDCAM is practically non-existent.)

He started out by asking if anyone uses the Adobe Speech transcription tool. A few hands went up. “Like it?” he asked. When the response was rather muted he nodded in agreement and said he hoped they fixed it in CS5! But they do offer Transriptize, a tool that takes exported transcription XML files and places them in markers in Final Cut Pro clips.

Another intriguing tool is First Cuts for FCP, which - if you log your material well enough - can take the clips and create a first draft automatically, complete with opening, appropriate B-roll and lower thirds.

Sync-n-link is a tool that helps sync media from different sources (say audio and video) but it does require professional time code, so won’t be useful if you’re doing dual-audio with a DSLR and a Zoom H4N.

Finally he demoed their new tool Matchback Magic which manages and fixes media linking and is particularly useful if you have a tendency to rename clip names and move things around.

Looking to the future of meta data, Philip did observe that the GPS data that some cameras now record (like the Sony HXR-NX5U) could be very useful for editing, and not just for keeping track of where things were shot when you’re trying to find clips. He suggested that it would be possible for an editing program to take the GPS information and match it to Google Maps to find location. “If it’s a Saturday afternoon and a church, it might be a wedding” he suggested, though I think that making that assumption will probably lead to some interesting results...

Canon 5D Firmware 2.0.4 iris bug effects EF 100mm lens

The 5D Mark II Team blog reports a problem in firmware 2.0.4 which occurs when the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens is mounted on the camera. It the user manually changes focus (rotates focus ring), the lens changes the iris/aperture “by itself”, even when the camera is in full manual mode. It does not happen in Firmware 1.1.0.

More information can be found here: Malfunction in Firmware 2.0.4

[UPDATES 4/6]: Canonrumors notes that this might be a function of Macro lenses rather than a "bug" though it's odd that in the original report there was a specific claim that the lens did not behave the same way with the previous version of the firmware.
Meanwhile, the 5D Mark II Teams post has been expanded to include notes about some third party lenses making "weird noises."

Nissan ad shot with Canon 5D

It's almost getting to the point where something not being shot with a DSLR is unusual!

This short "making-of" video shows the making of an add for the Nissan Sentra SE-R shot using 1/10 scale RC cars and Canon 5Ds. Interestingly, in addition to the Canon 5D, they also used smaller cameras mounted on RC vehicles. They mention that they used/tried some of the very small cameras (and show the GoPro HD Motorsports HERO Camera) but said that the quality wasn't good enough. They switched to a Panasonic unit - the AG-HCK10 I think - and said that they hoped the rental house wouldn't find out they'd mounted their expensive camera on an RC car [though if you want to keep it a secret, you might not want to put it on a YouTube video!]

Thinking of buying a 3D TV? - not so fast

Marguerite Reardon at CNET looks at the state of 3D and comes to the conclusion that the market is too new to worry about buying your own TV. 3D TV has arrived, but glitches remain

Meanhwile, Philip Bloom doesn't care for 3D much at all, even though he's planning to do some tests with a camera rig:
One thing I noticed in Avatar and also when I saw the ironically very flat Clash of the Titans remake (which was not shot 3D but all done in post) was that the deep depth of field shots worked for me and anything with any type of shallow depth of field felt like cut outs or more accurately 3D pop up books.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

"Painted with Words"

Philip Johnston at HD Warrior worked on the BBC docudrama about Van Gogh, "Painted with Words," and has written a very short piece about his experiences working on that production on a freezing December day. Most interesting is his comments about the lighting for the shot:
...we are always taught when lighting to diffuse, close down the barn doors, bounce the light…only the wizards like Nick treat lighting like a paintbrush and taking it to the 2nd level.

HD Warrior: Van Gogh “Painted with Words” BBC Docu-Drama…Filmed during December 2009

iPad video formats

I said I wouldn't write about the iPad again unless it was video related, so here goes.

I've been experimenting with exporting video for the iPad. The iPad will play video up to 720p, 30fps as long as it's H.264. But the screen is actually 1024 wide, so in theory you could output 16x9 video at 1024 x 576. I actually did some experiments with video at that resolution, but then it occurred to me that authoring specifically for the iPad doesn't really make sense. There's other settings that will look just as good, and save a bit of time/effort. This revelation was also helped along by some lower resolution video that looked pretty incredible when player back on the iPad.

The QuickTime Player (in Leopard) has an Export for Web... option that includes two options: iPhone and "Desktop." The iPhone setting is 480 x 270, and though it doesn't look terrible on the iPad, it doesn't look fantastic either. The Desktop setting is 852 x 480 and looks pretty good.

Export for Web... options

The other option is to use Export... in QuickTime Player and choose the Apple TV option. This is 960 x 540. It's slightly better than the Desktop setting, and I think is the one I'll use; particularly as I also have an Apple TV.
Note: Apple TV supports video at up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)
Finally, there is 720p. The files are larger (unless you aggressively lower the bit rate, which defeats the purpose of raising the resolution.) It also takes longer to export. But if you're uploading to YouTube in 720p, then using that format might make more sense than anything else; saving you time and multiple file copies, at the expense of space on the iPad.

But since I have an AppleTV it just makes sense for me to use that setting.

Settings Name
File Size
480 x 270
6.77 MB
852 x 480
10.32 MB
Apple TV
960 x 540
25.93 MB
1280 x 720
36.45 MB