Saturday, May 01, 2010

Adam Wilt - shooting ENG with 5DMkII @ NAB

Adam Wilt writes up his experience of using the 5D Mark II for ENG (Electronic New Gathering) at NAB. In general he was happy:
Overall? I’d say that shooting stable handheld ENG-style video with the 5D MkII was no more difficult (and possibly even easier) than shooting with any decent handheld HD camcorder. A shoulder-mount camcorder would have given me more stable results, but at a loss of some mobility—and at a cost in weight and bulk.
Though he did note some issues: the lack of auto-focus, difficulty using the LCD to monitor for anything other than eye-level viewing, and exposure issues:
Changing the aperture, whether automatically in Program or Tv modes or manually in Manual or Av modes, causes the video to stutter, repeating three frames or so at the time the change occur
Still, he'd do it again.
Would I do it again?
Well, yes, actually, I would. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the 5D MkII worked as a run’n’gun / docco / ENG camera.

Adam Wilt: …Winding down from NAB

In their own words: Chico Colvard

Filmmaker Chico Colvard recently completed his first film, Family Affair. Colvard was a corporate litigator who almost stumbled into filmmaking – and this project – when he started video taping interviews with his family nine years earlier. He discussed his movie, and the production process, at the Discussing the Documentary panel at the recent Independent Film Festival of Boston. The following is an edited transcript of his comments:

My story begins with an accidental shooting when I was ten years old. I had discovered one of my father’s rifles and I was very in to Rifleman at the time. The gun went off and I accidently shot my sister in the leg and she thought she was going to die. Believing she was going to die she revealed to our mother, and then later to the police at the hospital, that our father had been sexually abusing her and our sisters for years. The family came apart.

But for me that’s not really the story. For me the story became trying to make sense of why my sisters, as adult women, consensually still have a relationship with him, and what was that about? What was this need, this strong desire, this longing for family that allowed them to have this relationship with him? I was really trying to unpack that, and there are pieces in the film that I don’t think usually get told around issues of family betrayal, family crises, and issues of incest.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Avatar Blu-ray discs not working on older players

Some purchasers are discovering that the Avatar Blu-ray disc won't run on players with older firmware. The solution should be simply; update the firmware; assuming the user a) knows to do it and b) knows how!

- I guess I should be glad I got a Blu-ray Player that has a wi-fi connection....except I haven't had it check for updates in a while...

Canon 60D updates...

The rumor about the Canon 60D having a 13mp sensor has already been put to rest: now it's gone up to a more believable 18mp sensor (just like the 7D and T2i.) Which all makes sense, though I have to say I was intrigued by the idea of a camera with a smaller resolution chip (not that I think I'll be getting a 60D unless it does something absolutely amazing like....uhhh..well, auto focus while shooting, now that would be amazing. But I'm not expecting it.

But the latest rumor at suggests it will have some new feature not available elsewhere...

Couldn't Canon please leave one of these at a bar so we can all find out what the story is?

PluralEyes to support Adobe Premiere

PluralEyes is a tool that automatically synchronizes multiple audio (and their attached video) clips. The cool thing about it is that you don't need to use clappers or time code; it "looks" at the audio tracks and figures out how to match them up. If you're doing multi-camera (or dual-sound) recording, then this could really be a god-send.

It's already available for Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas, and now they have announced support for Adobe Premiere CS4 & 5.

PluralEyes for Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 and CS5 will be available in beta in April with final release in Q2.

Apple Final Cut Pro and Sony Vegas Pro is available now for $149 USD and users can also download a fully functional 30-day free trial version.

Vincent Laforet - 3 day HDDSLR workshop - starts today

This starts today!

Vincent Laforet is giving a 3 day HDDSLR cinema workshop starting April 30th, and creativeLIVE is streaming it on the web. You can watch the stream live for free, or you can "purchase" a copy afterwards for $79 if you miss some or all of it.

He's posted a fairly indepth schedule for the program: SCHEDULE FOR UPCOMING CREATIVELIVE HDDSLR WORKSHOP

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Trials available

You can download trial versions of Adobe Creative Suite 5 from Adobe's site.

The upgrade for the Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium Upgrade from CS4 [Mac] is almost $20 cheaper on Amazon, and the Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Upgrade is a little cheaper too, though Amazon lists ship dates of May 25th at the moment.

Start breaking stuff....King Kong short film competition

Universal Studios Hollywood is running a short film competition with an $8,000 prize to promote the launch of the theme park's "King Kong 360 3-D" attraction.

The competition invites filmmakers to make a one-to-three minute film short that depicts the havoc Kong might wreak had he stomped though their hometowns as he makes his way back to Universal Studios Hollywood without revealing the figure's whole face or whole body in any of the scenes.

Entries can be submitted through June 7, 2010 and must include the following three key phrases for consideration: "King Kong 360 3-D," "Universal Studios Hollywood," and "Summer 2010." All entrants must be 18 years of age. Details and submission info can be found at

Eleven winning shorts will be announced on June 14, 2010. The winning film short will be awarded a grand prize of $8,000, with second and third place winning $3,000 and $1000, respectively. An additional $3,000 will be divided up among ten finalists voted by registered Zooppa users and Zooppa's creative staff.

Philip Bloom updates

Check Philip's page for pictures from the New York City Meetup last night, information about a Filmmakers workshop in June in Florida, and a short interview with the creative director of the Hanson video that was shot using the 7D and Nikon AI lenses (the video, an homage to a scene from The Blues Brothers, is actually really good!)

Cameron and NASA to do 3D on Mars

The Oscar-winning director is helping to build a high-resolution 3-D camera on the next-generation Mars rover.

The camera will be mounted atop Curiosity, the next rover mission to Mars, set for launch next year.
CBSnews: James Cameron Helping NASA With 3-D Camera

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Live Twitter chat with "House" 5D mkII team

Philip Bloom reports there will be a live twitter chat with “House” 5DmkII team of Director Greg Yaitanes, DP Gale Tatersall and Post Guru Allen Palmer

It’s on Friday the 30th April at 10am PST production music source is an online marketplace for production, or stock music. There are four purchase options for customers, including single tracks, CDs, subscriptions and an Internet music stream.

“To date, the production music business has largely been conducted offline. With the launch of MusicRevolution, we believe that this is about to change. As an online platform, MusicRevolution enables buyers to find and license the best stock music using affordable and easy to understand royalty-free license terms. And MusicRevolution’s Internet music stream for retail, business and website background music is the first offering of this type to use production music,” says Chris Cardell, Co-Founder of MusicRevolution LLC.

FilmFellas Cast 7: Documentaries “Masters of Non-Fiction”

FilmFellas Cast 7: Documentaries “Masters of Non-Fiction” features documentary filmmakers David Grubin, who has 10 Emmys and numerous awards for groundbreaking series’ for PBS Television (The American Experience, The Jewish Americans, RFK, FDR), Ondi Timoner 2009 Sundance Grand Jury Prize for We Live In Public & DIG and Sean Dunne, the next generation of web based documentarians and Sundance Official Selection for The Archive.

The participants discuss getting to know your subject on a personal level to make a more insightful film.

Light Box 1.0

Luca Visual FX, has released Light Box 1.0 for the FxFactory platform that works with Adobe After Effects CS3 / CS4 / CS5, Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion and Apple Final Cut Express.

Light Box 1.0 includes 9 customizable light and image enhancement GPU-accelerated plug-ins and transitions.

Highlights include:
  • Light Flicker: Simulates TV ambient, vintage projector flickering and disco strobe lights.
  • Light Pulse: pulsing lights of any speed, color and style.
  • Multicolor Gradient: overlay a variety of color gradients of modifiable tonality, size, and intensity over images.
  • Multicolor Vignette: apply a smooth, multicolored vignette onto images.
  • Regional Light: localized light effects, with or without flicker.
  • Stylizer: a video stylization plug-in.
  • Vivid Touch: combine contrasting effects, like glow and sharpness, to achieve either more vivid images or dream-like atmospherics.
  • Burn Wipe: dynamic light and burnout wipe transitions of any intensity, thickness and color. The movement and rotation of the effect can also be randomized to achieve dramatic results.
  • Flash: A transition of intermittent flash/lightning effects in-between clips.
Light Box 1.0 is available for $49 USD via the Noise Industries website (Noise Industries is developer of the FxFactory plug-in architecture). A trial version is also included with the FxFactory installer.

[For those unfamiliar with FxFactory, it is a visual effects architecture that can be used by developers to create plug-ins for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Final Cut Express and After Effects. FxFactory comes with a variety of effects, but can also be used by third parties to create - and distribute - their own custom effects.]

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Philip Bloom to speak at After Effects NY meeting Thurs 29th April

After Effects NY meeting 6:45PM-9:00PM on Thursday 29th
Philip Bloom will be speaking about DSLR filmmaking and also showing footage from the Great Zacuto Shootout.

Flash Player "Gala" Preview Release

Noted last week, Apple did some fiddling with OS X 10.6.3 which would make it possible for Adobe to address the GPU, and now Adobe has released the Flash Player "Gala" Preview release:
Introduces support for H.264 video hardware decoding on Mac OS X 10.6.3, the most recent release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Gala allows developers to preview Flash Player with hardware acceleration of H.264 video on supported Mac computers equipped with the following GPUs: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M. The hardware acceleration functionality in the Gala preview release of Flash Player is expected to be included in an update following the release of Flash Player 10.1.

UPDATE: Vincent Laforet - 3 day HDDSLR workshop - schedule

Vincent Laforet is giving a 3 day HDDSLR cinema workshop starting April 30th, and creativeLIVE is streaming it on the web. You can watch the stream live for free, or you can "purchase" a copy afterwards for $79 if you miss some or all of it.

[UPDATE] He's now posted a fairly indepth schedule for the program: SCHEDULE FOR UPCOMING CREATIVELIVE HDDSLR WORKSHOP

Gorillapod - Magnetic

The Gorillapod Magnetic ($24.95 @ Amazon) is just like a regular Gorillapod, but with magnets on it's feet. They say it can hold up to 11.5 oz (325g) which I'm assuming is the weight the magnets can hold, not just the weight the legs can carry...

If that's correct, while it's billed for use with compact cameras and mini camcorders (like the Flip) it could also carry something like the Sony HDR-CX110 - which is 9 ounces (255g) including battery - making it a useful alternative (or addition) to a Window Suction Cup Mount.

Sonic does 3D

Sonic Solutions is big on the "next big thing" in home video — 3D. Most interesting is their announcement of Roxio Video Labs 3D, a consumer product for 3D authoring - unfortunately, other than the press release, there are no details yet about what exactly this product does, or how it works.

Professional 3D Authoring Technologies
3DAccess is a program that provides professional authoring facilities to prepare 3D premium video entertainment for distribution on Blu-ray 3D and electronically over the web to 3D-enabled consumer electronic devices.

Digital 3D Entertainment Delivery
The RoxioNow entertainment platform serves a broad range of premium content, including new movies and next-day TV programs, to home and mobile electronics including PCs, connected TVs, set-top DVRs, Blu-ray Disc players, smartphones, and mobile media devices.

3D Consumer Playback
Roxio CinePlayer BD allows users to play 3D Blu-ray titles as well as content downloaded from on-line video providers. CinePlayer BD also supports real-time conversion of 2D video to 3D.

3D Personal Videos
Roxio Video Lab 3D, a new consumer product from Sonic, allows consumers to edit and burn personal 3D content on standard DVDs; these discs can then be played back on any standard DVD or Blu-ray player connected to 3D-enabled HDTVs or PCs.

Roxio Video Lab will available to PC OEMs in May. Sonic plans to release additional 3D products and services later this year.

The New York Times - A Rebuilding Phase for Independent Film

What's happening with Indie films? An article that appeared Sunday in the Media & Advertising section of The New York Times paints a picture of an industry that had been flourishing, but after the financial collapse, downsizing of distributors and the end of the DVD boom, is now struggling to come back as a leaner version of itself:
Producers who routinely spent $12 million on a film five years ago are now being advised by Mr. Sloss and others to keep their budgets to a third of that.
“The independent film landscape is so different than it was, this is not the heyday of the ’90s,” said Mr. Rao. His Sri & Company has made a pair of Bollywood-style films, the second of which, “Badmaash Company,” is scheduled for release by Yash Raj Films of India next month. Mr. Rao’s company is lean enough that it has no office at all unless a film is in production.
“It’s an overhead-free world,” he said.

A Rebuilding Phase for Independent Film
Published: April 25, 2010
The indie scene is getting a boost from fleet-footed, penny-pinching guerrilla operations that are trying to resuscitate the business.

Final Cut Pro resoruces

Ken Stone's Final Cut Pro website contains a number of articles about video editing with Final Cut Pro. Some particularly interesting pieces:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Webcast report: createasphere HDSLR Video Production - Highlights from NAB

I just finished listening to the hour long HDSLR Video Production - Highlights from NAB webcast that was hosted by createsphere and sponsored by Canon.

This is probably the fourth or fifth webicastinar thingy that I have watched/listened to in the past month - what with the announcement of Adobe CS5 and all - and I'm thinking that I need to take a break from them for a while. They really can be exhausting to keep up with, what with having to deal with registration and log-in issues, connectivity and sound problems. Unfortunately, the sound on this one was particularly poor; and this was an audio cast  - with some still slides here and there. Philip Bloom's audio was unintelligible in some parts - and I don't think it was because he lost his voice the other day.

They are evidently going to place a recording of the program up on the site later, and maybe that will be better than the live performance. I hope so.

Anyway, there was some interesting stuff offered up by Jared Abrams of Cinema 5D, Tim Smith of Canon and Philip Bloom of Philip Bloom.

When asked for their impressions of NAB, Tim Smith said that "NAB was all about 3-D and 5D; everywhere I walked I saw Canon cameras wrapped in some accessory or being used for some demo."

Philip Bloom talked about his short movie A Day at the Races, and how it started out as an experiment to do a film of horse racing using a 7D with a PL mount and some high-end lenses. They quickly found that shooting horse racing with a single camera and a lens of only 100mm wasn't going to work very well, and the subject of the movie turned from being the horse racing to the people and things going on around the horse racing.

When asked to compare the 7D and T2i, Jared and Philip both agreed that video quality was almost identical, and that the differences between the two were mainly in shooting stills rather than video, though Philip did observe that the 7D is a much tougher and well built camera.

Best all purpose lens? For the 5D they recommended a 50mm f/1.2, but for the 7D either the Canon 35mm f/1.4 or the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. Philip also likes the Cnaon 70-200mm and Jared likes the Canon 16-35mm.

Tim was asked if Canon had any plans to issue a firmware update to add manual gain control to the 7D, and he said there's "no plans that I know of at the moment." He did add that Canon is always listening to customers...

When asked about audio, Philip said he was still a believer in dual system sound. He doesn't like the XLR boxes that are available because when you connect them to the camera you can't monitor what the camera is laying down and that worries him. He likes the Zoom H4n, though has also started using the Tascam DR100 because it has independent level controls.

There was quite a bit of discussion about the issues of aliasing and rolling shutter. Philip said that every camera he's used has issues, and you just have to learn how to work around them - no whip pans for example. He also added that he's seen the stuff projected on a large screen and "it looks amazing." Tim pointed out that professionals are happily using the 5D in television and film right now. He talked about the episode of House that was almost entirely shot on the 5D, and said that this should lay to rest the question whether these cameras can be used professionally. He added that the producers came to Canon with the idea to do it, and their DP then shot some tests, ran them through grading, and was happy with the results. He said it performed better than what they were expecting. Tim went on a bit of a tear about people questioning the quality and usefulness of these cameras on forums, while others are out there right now using the cameras to do things.

There was a question about the 4GB limit, and that was blamed on FAT 32 and there was no mention of changing that in the near future. When asked about the relationship between the video and SLR departments at Canon, Tim said that the relationship has changed significantly in the last year and that there has been a shift at Canon in recognizing the needs of filmmakers. He said that there are politics and technical issues - sometimes people think it's much easier to do things than it really is - but he added that Canon is listening to customers...

Asked about monitoring, Jared said that he uses an inexpensive two-port powered HDMI splitter to run a camera monitor and a monitor for the director. Philip says he likes to have three monitors (one for the focus puller) so he uses something from Blackmagic that converts to HD/SDI. He added that HD/SDI is a much stronger and professional connector compared to the consumer HDMI plugs.

Finally, when asked about the settings used for shooting with the intention to color grade, Philip said that there are downloadable presets available, and some people like to use the Superflat preset. But he said he likes to use a simpler version of that which has the contrast set all the way down and saturation down a couple of notches.

Mantis - web based DAW

While it's pitched at musicians, Indaba Music just released Mantis, a web-based Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), could be useful for filmmakers too. Mantis grew out of their predecessor product Session Console and supports CD-quality audio (16-bit/44.1K) recording to the web with non-destructive real-time effects including EQ, compression, flanger and reverb.

Most interestingly for filmmakers, mixes can be shared with collaborators through the web.

“For the first time, cloud-based audio production software is available for real musicians. Mantis is not a Flash widget for consumers to play with; it is a true digital audio workstation that musicians of all levels can use as everything from a mobile scratchpad to a complete recording and mixing solution,” says Indaba Music Co-Founder Chris Danzig.

While membership to Indaba Music and use of Mantis is free, Indaba Music also offers premium memberships that include access to an expanded clips library, advanced audio effects, cloud-based storage and private recording sessions. Pricing for “Pro” and “Platinum” packages is $5/mo & $50/yr and $25/mo & $250/yr, respectively.

They have a Learn Mantis page with lessons for learning/using Mantis.

Mantis: Overview from Indaba Music on Vimeo.

News from Here & There

The last NAB picture show
theC47 is an online and offline resource for production based training, information and services created by Jem Schofield. He has several videos from NAB highlighting Redrock, lighting gear, the Alexa camera and a mostly non-verbal chat with Philip Bloom.

Documentary filmmaker fights Chevron
Filmmaker Joe Berlinger is fighting Chevron's request for raw footage created during the filming of the documentary film Crude. Chevron hopes to use the footage in their defense of a decades-long environmental lawsuit brought in Ecuadorean courts.
"Documentary filmmakers play an essential role in exposing social injustice," said Berlinger. "As with traditional journalists, their sources must be protected or we risk the demise of this kind of comprehensive investigative reporting."

Ooyala offers analytics for YouTube video
Ooyala offers the ability to manage, syndicate and analyze YouTube videos from within the Ooyala platform. This allows publishers to add YouTube videos to their Ooyala account, display those videos through their own player, and then use Ooyala's analytics for video on-demand. YouTube hosts and delivers the videos and their API’s are used to play the videos.

Boston Independent Film Festival
The trophies for the Boston Independent Film Festival were created by Skunk and are really awesome...I particularly like the spaceship!

A look at Adobe Premier CS5

Ron Seifried has been beta testing Adobe Premiere CS5 for the past few weeks, and has written something for the B&H Newsletter.
Premiere Pro CS5 requires specific nVidia Quadro FX display cards to utilize the Mercury Engine. Imagine playing back several streams of multiple color corrected formats with filters, effects and titles from the timeline in realtime in native HD without rendering. Adobe has fired a shot across the bow of the Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRes ships. By being the first to use native Canon H.264 codec to support Canon 7D footage, Adobe has catered to shooters who are seriously considering using a DSLR with HD playback as their mainstream camera.
Adobe has definitely upped the ante when it comes to performance and compatibility. So much so that Red users will have to seriously take a look at what is the best solution for editing large 2K and 4K files. With the right display card, the Mercury Engine will easily speed up the finishing process.
B & H: First Look at Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

And if that's not interesting enough there's a couple of other articles: a NAB 2010 Roundup and The Hottest Camcorders of Summer.

SuperMag #4 is finally here!

After a bit of a delay (it was supposed to be released at NAB) the 4th issue of SuperMag, the publication of the Final Cut Pro User Group Network, is available. There's a huge number of articles in this issue, including:
  • Apple's FCP and the Art of Storytelling
    by Rodney Mitchell
  • 20 Filmmaking Lessons/10 Director Tips
    by Anthony Artis • Pete Chatmon
  • Becoming an Avid Final Cut Pro User: Survival Tips for Avid Editors in FCP
    by Stephen Kanter
  • Automagic Transcription for Everybody
    by Loren Miller
  • Canon EOS DSLR Workflow: Workflow Solutions When Shooting Video With Canon DSLRs
    by Philip Bloom
  • # DSLR Audio Sync Issue Solved! And The Man Behind PluralEyes
  • Shooting Stereoscopic 3D – A Beginners Guide
    by Tim Dashwood
You can download it in PDF format, along with the previous three issues at SuperMeet:SuperMag Note: You register and they send you an email link for the 72 MB file (check your Junk folder as my mail program thought it was junk.)

The write up says that it's optimized for the iPad, but for comfortable viewing on the iPad I wish the text was just slightly larger...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Canon 60D, other DSLR coming soon? has news of a 60D, as well as a vague report from Popular Photography Magazine about a "great new DSLR."

Focusing on the 60D, they suggest it will have a 13.8MP sensor, which is interesting because both the T2i and the 7D have 18MP sensors. If - and it's a big if - the 60D has a lower pixel count, will that mean more, less or the same aliasing problems as seen in the 7D/T2i? What about noise? It's usually assumed that having fewer pixels means larger pixels and less noise, all other things being equal. And what about pricing? How would the 60D fit in next to the 7D, and how would Canon differentiate between the two?

VideoQ&A: HXR-NX5U vs HDR-AX2000

What are the main differences between these two cameras? Is the $500-1000 price difference worth the upgrade to the NX5U, if a person is shooting documentary style or events (weddings, etc)
This question has been covered in other places, but I thought I'd take a shot at it once more. I'm currently planning to replace my Sony HDR-FX1 later this year with one of these cameras. I had been waiting to see what Canon came out with as a competitor to this camera, but unfortunately the Canon FX300 is beyond my reach, so it's back to the HXR-NX5U vs HDR-AX2000 question for me too.

Here in the States, I think the choice is very simple: the HXR-NX5U is only $500 more than the HDR-AX2000, and comes with a number of extra features and capabilities that make it easily worth spending the extra $500. If the difference is larger (as it is in some countries) then the equation becomes more complicated.

Here's the major differences between the two:
  • Linear PCM audio (LPCM)
  • 720p/60
  • FMU compatability (and simultaneous recording*)
  • SDI / HD-SDI
  • High-speed zoom (1.5 faster than the HDR-AX2000)
  • Viewfinder markers and safety zones
  • Image control: black level, gamma, knee and color depth adjustments, manual white balance setting
  • Individually switchable front & rear tally lamps
  • Rear mounted cold shoe
  • Can be upgraded to 60i/50i switchability
These aren't even all of the differences! In addition, included with the NX5U is an external shotgun microphone and an NP-F770 battery (instead of the NP-F570 in the HDR-AX2000) which together probably equals about $200 (so now the difference is $300!)

I look at that list, and even though some of the features are things that are in the category of "could be useful in the future" - like the SDI/HD-SDI out - the Linear PCM and 720p are two features I'm sure I will use. Add in the image controls that I should probably think seriously about using, and this seems the obvious camera to get.

BUT, if you don't see yourself using any of these features; if you're only doing comparatively simple and straight-forward shooting (and an event videographer falls into that category) then I might agree that none of these features will appeal to you, and if you already have a shotgun mic too, then why not save $500?

So take a look at the list. If none of the features get you excited, then save the money and get the HDR-AX2000.

WARNING *FMU and simultaneous recording
One concern I have about the HXR-NX5U are the reports of problems when dual recording. Several users have reported problems with the camera reporting memory buffer errors while doing dual recording. It happens when recording HD to the FMU and flash card, as well as HD and SD, and recording to Memory Sticks as well.
At the moment I'm hesitant to recommend getting the camera IF you intend to use this feature. For what it's worth, Sony is aware of this problem, and are reportedly working on a solution.
The HDR-AX2000 does not support dual recording, and does not have this problem.

Amazon $40 off
As I was finishing this up, I checked Amazon's price on the HDR-AX2000 - they don't sell the HXR-NX5U - and noticed that right now the price was $40 off, making the price difference $540. For me, I'd still get the NX5U.

Now, if they dropped the price of the HDR-AX2000 down to $3,100 then I would have a much harder time justifying getting the HXR-NX5U...

B & H: HXR-NX5U $3,999 (Sony if offering a $250 rebated until 5/14 if you buy an eligible accessory)
B & HHDR-AX2000 $3,499
AmazonHDR-AX2000 $3,458.98 (@ 4/26)

Upcoming Rule workshops

All workshops are held at Rule Boston, and run from 10am to 12noon (Note that the May workshops aren't listed on their Events page just yet.)
  • April 28 - Power Up with Anton Bauer
  • May 5 - Lighting for Green Screen with John Gates
  • May 12 - Steadicam with Peter Abraham
  • May 19 - Avid with Bob Russo
  • May 26 - Tapeless Workflow and Archiving with Tom Talbot

iPhone/iPad 3D Production Tool

RealD Inc., in association with FrameForge Previz, have released an iPhone/iPad pre-production tool for filmmakers shooting in stereoscopic 3D. The RealD Professional Stereo3D Calculator can be used to calculate parallax and separation to plan stereo 3D depth and help determine optimal rig settings and lens configuration. Sounds interesting, but the downside is that it's not inexpensive: it's $299.99 at the iTunes store.

I didn't buy/download it, so it's difficult to report on functionality or whether it really seems worth that much!

The blurb for the product says that users can select the display size upon which the content will be shown, the camera, its lens or lenses, and customize the rig and camera capabilities and parameters. The Calculator factors together these settings and reports how subjects will look in 3D.

Apple iTunes

News from Here & There

Tribeca Film Festival and Apple
I got a press release about the Tribeca Film Festival (going on this week) and how for the first time ever the Tribeca Film Festival will premiere a feature film, Keep Surfing, on a television - LG Electronics' new "Infinia" LED high-definition televisions (HDTVs) - yawn.
But that lead me to information about a series of events being hosted by Apple and indieWire this week (though there were already several on the weekend, there are still some going on this week!)
Apple: Meet the Filmmakers

wondertouch announces particleIllusion for After Effects Mac
Available as a plug-in for the first time, particleIllusion for After Effects enables artists to create particle effects directly within After Effects, producing a more efficient workflow and significantly enhanced productivity.
wondertouch: particleIllusion for After Effects
YouTube: particleIllusion for After Effects Mac version overview

RE:Vision Effects: FieldsKit and ReelSmart Motion Blur FxPlug versions for Final Cut Pro
FxPlug versions of FieldsKit and ReelSmart Motion Blur are now available, and that new FxPlug versions of Twixtor and DE:Noise have been released. The Effections bundle for Final Cut Pro has also been updated.
  • FieldsKit uses proprietary field reconstruction and adaptive motion techniques to build full frames from fields. $89.95
  • ReelSmart Motion Blur adds more natural-looking motion blur to a sequence. Regular version $89.95. Pro version: $149.95.
  • Twixtor: speed up or slow down your image sequences Regular version $329.95. Pro version: $595.00.
  • DE:Noise handles spurious frame-to-frame defects ranging from fine digital/electronic noise to blotchy spots (e.g. dirt on the film). Regular version $149.95.

Crispy MacBook Pros
I was salivating over some of those benchmarks for the new Core i7 MacBook Pros, but it seems that performance comes at a (hot) cost. You'll be able to fry bacon as well as eggs on your computer according to PC Authority.
PC Authority: Macbook Pro helps Core i7 hit 100 Degrees

Amazon's “3D 101” Customer Education Center
Videos, buying guides and stuff.

NVIDIA and Adobe Premiere CS5
If you're interested in the Mercury Playback Engine and Adobe Premiere CS5, NVIDIA has a webpage for you.

Webcast - HDSLR Video Production - Highlights from NAB

It looks like this is the week for HDSLR webcasts, what with the LensFlare 35 podcast HD DSLR’s, Fusion, Convergence, Video & Film on Tuesday at 7pm EST, and Vincent Laforet's 3 day HDDSLR workshop starting on Friday (hosted by creativeLIVE.)

And now createasphere has one on Tuesday as well (I hope you're calendar is clear this week!) with Tim Smith of Canon, Jared Abrams of Cinema5D, and Philip Bloom. Hopefully Philip has his voice back!

HDSLR Video Production - Highlights from NAB
April 27, 2010 - 11:00 AM PST
Join DP, Director, Filmmaker Philip Bloom, DSLR expert Jared Abrams, and Canon expert Tim Smith as they recount the new and interesting DSLR gear they found at NAB.

Learn about the best tools to outfit your DSLR camera – lenses, audio, monitors, and much, much more. Philip and Jared will also talk about projects they've shot with the DSLR cameras, and take questions about their experiences with the cameras and the gear that can make any DSLR project easier and more productive.

Click to sign-up here.

MacUpdate deal on Montage 1.5.4

Montage is a Mac screenwriting application that makes it easy to create, edit, and manage screenplays. It can import and export Final Draft documents and includes pre-formatted templates for film, TV, and theater. Sale price today: $69.95.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

HD DSLR’s, Fusion, Convergence, Video & Film – 7:00 p.m. EST – April 27

The LensFlare35 podcast this coming Tuesday will be on HD DSLR's. You can listen live and even call in:

HD DSLR’s, Fusion, Convergence, Video & Film – 7:00 p.m. EST – April 27, 2010
Fusion, Convergence, HD DSLR’s – whatever you want to call the video capability in these cameras, we’re going to talk about it. Please join us for this monthly panel discussion, meant for ANY photographer interested in using the video capability of the HD DSLR. Typically, there will be 2-3 experts on the panel who will answer questions that have been emailed in, sent through Twitter (#LF35-film), come in through live Chat, or from people who call into the show.

Guest Hosts for this weeks show are: Josh Gooden, Ron Dawson of F-Stop and Beyond and Mitch Aunger of Planet 5D. Special guest Brian Valente from Redrock Micro is also going to join us live!

iPad Camera Connection Kit

I just ordered the iPad Camera Connection Kit, not because I want to connect my camera to the iPad - though that might be useful now and again - but because people are reporting that you can connect a USB keyboard to the iPad that way, and you can connect USB microphones as well.

That could be very useful since I've started to use the iPad to record meetings while also taking notes; unfortunately the tap-tap-tap on the screen keyboard gets recorded too, so it would be nice to use an external mic! The application I've been using is called SoundPaper. It's very basic, but lets you record wile also making notes.

Unfortunately, delivery quoted from the Apple Store is two to three weeks on the Connection Kit.

Apple iTunes

Solar-powered camcorder - Jetyo HDC-T900

The Jetyo HDC-T900 is - probably - the first camcorder to include a solar cell to recharge it's battery. Only problem; Engadget estimates it might take up to 25 hours to charge the battery!

The latest Alan Smithee movie...

"Neowolf" is the latest release from the director Alan Smithee, and if the reviews are to be believed, he's out-done himself on this one:
In "Neowolf," the creatures look no more lupine than a bunch of dudes from an Alice in Chains tribute band. Strands of hair are spaced randomly over their arms and chest in the special makeup effects equivalent of the comb-over, and the crinkled brows the contact lenses give to our shape-shifters make them all look cockeyed.
Neowolf” is a terrible film from the first frame to the very last. Not even the allure of genre vixen Tiffany Shepis’ well-rounded ass could salvage this unwatchable mess from the depths of despair. It’s poorly-directed, pathetically written, and, worst of all, unshakably boring.
-Bloody Good Horror
I haven't tabulated all the data yet, but this may be the worst movie I have ever had the displeasure of having slither down my eyeballs.
-The Joblo Movie Network
With strong reviews like that, and a straight-to-DVD release, could this mean "Neowolf" is destined to become a cult classic?