Saturday, October 23, 2010

News from Here & There

More on the Panasonic AG-AF100
Peter Parnham at has been spending some time with the Panasonic AG-AF100, and one thing he's found is that - in the limited tests they've performed - using the AG-AF100's HD-SDI out to capture video doesn't give much image improvement compared to using the camera's AVCHD compression. It's unclear whether that's due to the test (which didn't include much motion) or because the AG-AF100 only puts out 8-bit video out the HD-SDI port. AVC Codec Curveball

Meanwhile, El Skid writes that he wants to hate the AG-AF100 because it threatens to kill the DSLR revolution.
I want to hate it, because it is the moment the DJ announces the last song, it’s three minutes of extra time, it’s the recess bell. The video community will go back to being the video community and the stills community will return to being the stills community, just now with moving image attached. Why I want to hate the Panasonic AGAF101

And over at EOS HD they offer an interview with Shane Hurbut and 5 reasons why DSLRs are here to stay; form factor, cost, fast-moving product cycle, ubiquity and photographer buy them anyway. Cynics might point out that Sony and Canon are perfectly able to refresh they consumer camcorders every year or so, and how long was it between the 5D and the 5D Mark II? Still, DSLRs aren't going away anytime soon...
EOS HD: Video interview with Shane Hurlbut and 5 reasons why DSLRs are here to stay

Sony NEX-VG10
Kai W at DigitalRevTV takes a look at the Sony NEX-VG10 and describes it as "A nice step-up from their Handicams....", though "it hasn't got that many functions" he does note the many limitations of the camera. Note too that the other footage was taken using a Canon 5D Mark II.

Friday, October 22, 2010

101 Things I Learned in Film School

101 Things I Learned (TM) in Film School is a collection of ideas, thoughts and observations about film making, bound together in a handy little book. The author, Neil Landau gave a book reading recently at the Harvard Book Store, along with editor and illustrator Matthew Frederick.

Frederick, who wrote 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School and is the creator, editor and illustrator of the series, started the event with a short introduction and some prizes for those who knew their Boston movie and TV trivia (I think I knew the answers to two of the questions; but I didn't, for example, know that Shutter Island was Martin Scorsese's highest grossing film worldwide.)

In the 101 Things series, each topic gets two pages; one side is an illustration and the other side is a short description/explanation. Think of them as more like ideas than essays. But that's the point of the series; a quick transfer of information. Topics include: A movie is a novel turned inside out, Montage, Different lenses tell different stories, and Acting speaks louder than words.

Neil noted that one thing he learned writing the book is that that writing shorter and less is much harder than writing volumes and volumes. Rather than reading straight from the book, Neil gave a short talk about writing stories for movies, and the three important elements a good movie has; iconic characters, strong central conflict and central mystery.

Neil Landau at The Harvard Booksotre

The following are some quotes form the lecture:
I want to talk about are three main things, and whether you are a screenwriter, or a novelist or a playwright, I think all these things still apply. Even if you’re not a writer or have any interest in writing for film, it will increase your appreciation when you see movies.

Iconic Character
An iconic character is someone who, though you may not remember the plot of the movie very well, you never forget the character. An iconic character is a character who has a built in contradiction. When you think of Rick in Casablanca, when you think of Scarlet O’Hara or Hannibal Lecter, these are iconic characters because they possess both positive and very negative qualities.

Once you establish them, you want to put them in a situation that they are completely ill-prepared for and that’s going to challenge every fiber of their being.

The other thing about an iconic character; there’s something mysterious about that character. Something that we don’t quite understand why the character is this way when we meet them. It’s an embedded mystery within the character; how did this person become this way? And it will always come from their past. Some kind of wound from the past, something that is incomplete in them in the present. In the course of the movie, they are going to have to confront the fears and inner demons that have been holding them back.

Iconic characters have a lot of baggage, and the process of the evolution of the characters is that the baggage has become just so heavy that they can’t keep carrying it around any more, and during the course of the movie they have to take some of the darkness and the skeletons out of the bag.

One of the things that also defines an iconic character is that they have both positive goals and negative goals. Where is the heat in the story? Our job is to sustain dramatic tension from start to finish, and if people get bored it’s not their problem, it’s our problem. The heat is generated by having both positive and negative goals. They’re trying to win something, they’re trying to achieve something positive, but at the same time, if they don’t, they have something to lose. And something to lose that has emotional stakes and has real consequences.

If you’re writing a screenplay, or a novel or a play, and you’re asking yourself ‘is my character complex enough,’ I would ask yourself; ‘does a paradox exist within this character.” And I would also ask “what don’t we know about the character?” because I think audiences are much more intrigued [by] characters that contain contradiction.

The other part of an iconic character, […] when we first meet the character we have kind of a misconception about who he or she is. Usually I like to say they are wearing some kind of metaphorical mask, sometimes it’s a literal mask. They’re never quite what we think they are, and the course of the story is almost like unpeeling the layers of an onion, where we keep stripping away more and more about who the character is until we get to the core.

I believe that the common link between all human beings is yearning. That we all yearn for something. Something that’s just out of reach, or some dream that we have or somebody that we think we’re supposed to be but there’s just certain elements of our lives keeping us being from that. […] My belief is that at the core all protagonists yearn for the same thing, which is to be free of fear. To be free of something that limits them, that holds them back. And usually those fears manifest very early so they’re afraid of abandonment, they’re afraid of success, they’re afraid of failure. Really basic, universal things. Because movies need to speak to very universal things. Things that we can all relate to. Because if movies were just for a fringe of this many people they wouldn’t make money, and Hollywood and even an Indie movie, needs to make money.

Strong Central Conflict
Plot: It’s really essential that a good idea for a movie contains a strong central conflict, and this will always manifest itself when you tell somebody what the movie is about. It will contain the world BUT in the middle of the idea. And one of the lessons in the book is to have a strong But.

Here’s [an example]; "a man is on the run, he’s being chased by innumerable villans, enemies, and they all want to kill him. BUT, he can’t remember anything about his past or who he is." What’s the movie?  Bourne Identity.

One way to look at a strong central conflict is; can the character overcome those weaknesses and limitations in order to triumph in their quest?

A lot of people pitch half an idea where the central conflict isn’t developed. Like here’s half an idea, [based on] Tootise: "An out of work actor who can’t get hired on either coast, puts on a dress and becomes succeful as an actress." Now it has a conflict, but it’s half an idea because I feel like that’s just one joke. How many times can he stumble in high-heels? The part that gives it the strong central conflict is that he falls in love with his co-star on the soap, but he can’t have her because she doesn’t know he’s really a man.

Movies now tend to be about 110 pages, which is about ten minutes shy of two hours. The BUT, the central conflict, will give you the whole second act. The second act of the movie is where that central conflict presents itself and [...] the quest against the consequences occurs, that’s about 55 pages that you have to sustain in the middle.

One of the lessons in the book is; Act II is where a poorly structured screen play goes to die. If the central conflict is not complex enough, the quest and the challenge of the protagonist is too easy to accomplish.

Central Mystery
The other thing that I think that is really overlooked when people are coming up with movie ideas and developing their screenplays is they overlook the value of a strong central mystery. Mysteries in movies don’t have to be something that’s completely hidden, but something that’s obscured. A truth that is obscured.

One of the Lessons in the book is that in Film Noir, everyone is corrupt.

Suspence is generated because we care what happens. We care if they get hurt, if they’re rejected.

Another quote that I think related to all of these three things was a quote I heard from Walter Mosley; “plot is revelation.” The idea is that as the plot progresses you’re revealing more and more about who the characters are so that the hidden aspects of the character, the central mystery of just who the character is, the paradox and what we don’t know about the character, will be finally revealed.

The last thing I want to mention is something from Aristotle, which is; characters are defined by their actions. They’re defined by what they do. They’re not necessarily defined by what they say. The best dialog is filled with subtext

Illustrator Matthew Frederick

News from Here & There

Jeff Regan on the Panasonic AG-AF100
In the latest 16x9 Cinema podcast they interview Jeff Regan, founder and owner of Shooting Star Video. He talks about the evolution of video technology, bringing the cinema aesthetic to video, traditional video camcorders vs HDSLR gear, and the vital role collaboration plays in producing creative works. He also talks about the new Panasonic AG-AF100 4/3 micro camcorder and answers a number of our questions about the camera, bit rate obession, AVCHD codec vs other codecs, etc.
16x9Cinema: Digital Convergence Episode 39 - Jeff Regan of Shooting Star Video

iMovie Check For Studio Names
The new movie trailer templates in iMovie checks to make sure you aren't using a trademarked studio name like Universal Studios or Paramount. Of course, you could always slightly miss-spell them!
Engadget: iMovie blocks studio names in new trailers

Shooting Rescue Me
Tom Houghton, ASC and American Cinematographer writer Iain Stasukevich discuss Tom's experience shooting the FX series Rescue Me. Iain and Tom break down Tom's methods and stories for the seven season that the show has been on the air.
This is a 40 minute presentation from the NY Entertainment Technology Expo.
createsphere: Tom Houghton, ASC discusses shooting Rescue Me

NetFlix is a streaming company...
Netflix now considers itself a “streaming company which also offers DVDs by mail.”
NewTeeVee: Netflix CEO: "We Are Now A Streaming Company" 

Vicky and Sam
This movie by Nuno Rocha was featured on the latest edition of Zacuto's Critics series. It's pretty amazing.
It was shot in Austin Texas using the Canon 7D and Canon prime lenses, 24, 35, 50, 85, almost all, f1.4. The cinematographer was Drew Daniels, and it was graded in Apple's Color.

Vicky and Sam from Nuno Rocha on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Boston DSLR Meetup: Nov 20

Daniel Berube of BOSFCPUG has started the Boston DSLR Meetup on; and there's going to be a Meetup on Sat Nov 20 @ 2:30pm at the Somewhat North of Boston Film Festival - SNOB! Boston DSLR Meetup

News from Here & There

Features for Final Cut
Philip Hodgetts looks at the the new iMovie and thinks about what of these features he'd like to see added to future releases of Final Cut. [Philip also doesn't think there will be an update to Final Cut until 2012]
Philip Hodgetts: Apple Keynote - Back to the Mac: Implications for Final Cut Pro

One manufacturers 3D hardware doesn't work with anothers...
Philip Johnston reports that the Samsung 3D LET-TV doesn't work with the Panasonic SDT750 3D Camcorder. I'm assuming he means he can't just plug one into the other, and I imagine that if he burned a 3D Blu-ray spec disc (assuming he has the software to) he could play it. Of course this is an extra step, and does suggest that it you want to buy one of these camcorders, you want to think about getting a Panasonic 3D TV as well.
HDWarrior: WARNING Samsung 55″ 3D LED TV not compatible with Panasonic’s SDT750 3D camcorder

Marshall 5" V-LCD50 HDMI review
Snehal Patel takes a look at the new Marshall monitor, he likes pretty much everything about it except for the battery life.
Fearless Productions BlogMarshall's new 5" HDMI monitor for DSLRs

What's up with the Hobbit?
The forthcoming prequel to Lord of the Rings has already gone through delays and problems with the studio, and now I guess there are union issues.
Freshly Ground: Breaking the Silence - Save the Hobbit

The end of TV News as we knew it
With people getting their news from so many different sources, the relevance of the nightly news is coming into question. Is the format even needed anymore?
TVNewsCheck: Are Evening Newscasts Headed For Shift?

10th Annual San Francisco SuperMeet

Celebrating Ten Years of SuperMeets - Join the FCPUG Network for the largest gathering of FCP, Avid and Adobe editors, HDSLR filmmakers and digital content creators and Gurus on the Planet on Friday, January 28th. Tenth Annual San Francisco FCPUG SuperMeet

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

iLife 11

The local Apple store had iLife 11, though none of the new MacBook Air's. They warned me that it required Snow Leopard. The Read Me notes that 10.6.3 or later is required, and that only iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand have been updated.

More from "The World At War"

From the "Making of" documentary for "The World at War," a 26 part TV series on World War II produced by Thames Television in the early 1970's.
We were trying very hard to get something that was really authentic. We didn’t want to have a lot of fake material, etc., and we’d have endless discussions about ‘is this genuine, is it training, was it shot after the action, is it actually a news reel cameraman out there at the front shooting?'

A lot of the British material was all re-inacted afterwards, they’d get soldiers trotting through the sand, firing off Bren guns, artillery pieces, etc. A lot of the Russian stuff was again set up, but very much more elaborately set up. Some of it was very hard to spot that it was set up. A lot of the German stuff was much more genuine, and the American stuff was much more genuine.

You’re then cutting all this material together, you might have a lot of film that you know came from that particular battle at that particular time. You don’t know whether it’s day one of the battle, and it was ten miles down the front this way. You don’t know whether it was day three of the battle, and it was fifteen miles away in the other direction. So you’re cutting material, and you’re trying to make a sequence which is reasonably fast moving because you want the program to move and you’re trying to be honest, but a lot of the material, all though it’s absolutely genuine, it might be less honest than if you faked the whole thing.

So you’re always weighing up these problems of how to use the material in an honest way without making a really boring story.

- Alan Afriat - Supervising Editor, World At War

Manfrotto Day @ The Camera Company

The Camera Company, Dedham MA is having a "Manfrotto Day" this Saturday, October 23rd. Manfrotto Specialist Stan Kaplan will be demoing tripods, still and video heads. Also on display; Gitzo tripods, Lastolite and Elinchrom lighting products and Genus DSL camera rigs/accessories.

The Camera Company

Apple Announcements - iMovie & iDVD

At today's Apple event, it was announced that:

iDVD Lives! There had been rumors that iDVD would be removed from the suite, but like the creature that couldn't be killed, it is still in the suite. No demo, and I wouldn't be surprised if it hasn't actually changed, but lets be grateful for small mercies.

iMovie '11 -Steve Jobs introduced iMovie 11, saying that their goal is "to do extremely sophisticated editing, really easy." The new features are:

  • All new audio editing,
  • One step effects
  • People Finder
  • New themes
  • Movie trailers

Randy Ubillos came up to demo the new release. It features the same project and event views.

Audio Editing: They've added audio wave forms displayed below the clips. It has a nice simple interface for adjusting audio level and for creating an audio fade in and out for a clip by simply clicking and dragging. In addition, you can select part of a clip, and then adjust the level (and fade in and out points) for that selection.

Audio effects: added several audio filters (the ones he demoed were more like "fun" filters that distort voices to raise or lower the pitch/speed.)

One step effects: more like auto-editing, you select a clip and then apply and you're done; the two effects he demoed were one that repeated a clip at a slow speed with a "Replay" label over it. A second effect was more complex; a white flash is added followed by a still frame from the paused clip (but Ken Burn's effected) and then transitioning back to the clip. Neat if the effect matches what you want.

Movie Trailers: They've added fifteen movie trailer themes. These include music, titles and graphics; you just insert your video clips. They looked quite cool; though I'm sure we'll all get quickly bored with them!

Perhaps the most interesting part of this feature is the Storypanel they've added to help you assemble these. It will be interesting to see if this feature can be used for other things.

iMovie 11 Storyboard View

He also noted that iMovie 11 supports 24 frames per second.

And iLife 11 is available today.

Has "Top Gear" jumped the shark?

During the making of "The World at War,"- a TV documentary series about World War II - one of the issues the producers had to deal with was the authenticity of the film they used. Whenever possible, they wanted to use actual footage of events, not staged footage taken later. As one example, they showed film of a battle that the Soviets recreated; with the camera carefully located in the center of the action.
Our rule was; don’t invent, don’t reconstruct, don’t use material that you know to have been reconstructed, unless you absolutely have to, and don’t do so even then without saying that you’re going to. We used to look very suspiciously at, but we sometimes did use, battle scenes where the camera is suspiciously steady, or is apparently quite safe in a supposedly dangerously exposed position.

Jeremy Isaacs, Producer ‘The World At War

I was reminded of this while watching the latest episode of Top Gear on Monday night [BBCAmerica]. Top Gear is one of my favorite shows, both because of the subject matter, as well as the production values. For example, in the latest episode they compare a couple of sports cars, and have two or three panning shots that include the same vehicle driving by multiple times; a neat trick that would have required some kind of motorized/controlled rig to capture. There's no slacking in the production area, but some of the other elements of the show are feeling formulaic, and have moved away from a documentary feel mixed with a little whacky humor, into total fantasy.

Jeremy eats an ice cream as his car goes over the cliff behind him

A central element of the program are the "Challenges." In a Challenge, the three hosts have to buy or build a vehicle of a specified type/price, and are then given challenges to see who has the best one. Many of these segments have little educational value, and are purely entertainment derived from the adventures the hosts get in to.

While there's always been an element of fakery to these segments, I can't help thinking that the level of fakery has either gone over the top, or the acting is getting worse, or they are just over playing it.

As just one example, in the latest episode, one host goes down to eat an ice cream while the other two decide to move his car. They end up losing control of it and it goes over a cliff; perfectly in shot behind the guy eating his ice cream.

And yes, I know the show is entertainment, not a documentary! But the conceit of the segments was always that  the basic competition was real; we weren't watching a sitcom on wheels. Sure there's been elements of the surreal in these segments (pianos dropping from the sky, vehicles blowing up) but these - at least in my mind - were separated from the primary "reality."

Now it feels like everything is being faked, and it just doesn't seem as satisfying.

News from Here & There

Getting Busy
Today, some articles about creativity and how to get your project off the ground:

Chase Jarvis: 7 Habits for Creativity + The Missing Link
1. Get into adventures. Instead of saying no, say yes. Whether it’s agreeing going to the South China Sea or to Sundance festival or the grocery store. 

2. Devour popular culture. Examine the work of other artists, movies, books, magazines, the interwebs.
And once you have the inspiration, you want to think about how you go about it. Sheri offers an interesting set of suggestions that applies to anyone embarking on a project, whether they are using crowdfunding or not.

Sheri Candler: Top 5 Ways to Fail at Crowdfunding
I do get frustrated by the ones who contact me because they have embarked without thinking through the strategy or they are very close to the time limit and very far from their goal. I thought it might be helpful to list out some ways to fail in this endeavor so you can be sure to avoid these mistakes.
This post prompted a followup at DocumentaryTech which adds another four things NOT to do:
Don’t find a subject that hasn’t already been done to death. Documentary filmmaking seems deeply trend-driven, always with a topic of the moment that seems to be wallpapering film festivals and other outlets. A filmmaker can certainly bring a unique and superior look to an all-too-familiar topic, but at the beginning, it’s just the topic.
DocumentaryTech: Failing at crowdfunding, documentary edition

atFirstSight takes a look at the Philip Bloom PocketDolly, and finds it to be a well made, though expensive option: Philip Bloom PocketDolly | In-depth Review
Thomas Baurain takes a look at the Magic Bullet Denoiser, a digital filter that reduces video noise. He likes it.

What to do with your old AppleTV
Following on from the success of the new AppleTV, what are owners of the original AppleTV to do? MacWorld comes up with some suggestions. [Since I have one, I'm particularly interested in this, and I'm debating the idea of upgrading the hard drive. The original AppleTV's internal drive can be a useful feature.]
MacWorld: Five things to do with your old Apple TV

What's Apple going to announce today?

I'm betting there won't be anything about Final Cut, but here's what I'd like to see at today's announcements:
  • A much better iMovie. They are going to update iLife, and I really hope they fix iMovie. The current version was an interesting try, but I don't think it made anybody happy.
  • iMovie for the iPad; and I mean iMovie, not the bastardized thing they released for the iPhone.
  • Some sort of announcement about the future of Final Cut
More out there things I'd like to see:
  • HyperCard for the iPad. Maybe not HyperCard itself, but an end-user authoring/publishing tool for the iPad/iPhone would be really cool!
  • Bu-ray support. [Yeah, it's not going to happen]
  • Announcement Apple is going to purchase Adobe [and free ponies for everyone!]

Those big chip cameras

For want of a better term, the big-chip video cameras (the Sony NEX-VG10 and the Panasonic AG-AF100) are getting a lot of attention at the moment. Will they kill the HDSLR?

The Sony NEX-VG10 is a decidedly flawed camera; stiff lens, moire effects, lack of ND filters and manual audio controls, to name just some of the limitations, yet the price is attractive, and it can produce some nice results if you know how to use it. Philip Johnston has blogged a couple of times about his experience with the camera over the last couple of weeks, and has now posted a "conclusion." His is a decidedly professional perspective:
This is a hard one…on one hand we have a superb shallow depth of field camcorder and on the other hand limitations. 

[...]…well surprisingly the “look” grows on you, as long as you take on board it’s limitations and use manual focus, turn it down to 0dB, turn it onto 24Mbs, take off auto white balance the camcorder performs very well in daylight.
I think he really hits the nail on the head when noting that the camera may confuse "consumer" customers. It is an odd combination of features/price/performance. It's a consumer camera that may appeal more to those who have professional aspirations; yet lacks enough pro-features to make it troublesome.

You do get autofocus and unlimited clip length though.

Meanwhile, Philip Bloom gets to spend three days playing with the Panasonic AG-AF100, and though he's only had a limited amount of time with it, he really likes the "video camera" features (ND filter, XLR audio, audio monitoring) and he's also impressed by it's low light performance:
I have to say 3200 ISO really impressed me. I own a GH1 and have just tested an early GH2. I thought the AF100 was based on the GH1 chip but obviously it is not. I struggle to get anything usable from 800 ISO on that camera. 3200 ISO on the AF100 was so good. Pretty damn clean. It seems to have less digital noise than my 5dmk2, but this is early days of my tests… As sensitive as my 5Dmk2? No, just less noise.
But then the AG-AF100 is more than twice the price of the NEX-VG10 (and you still have to buy a lens or two for the AG-AF100!)

If the NEX-VG10 had the features of the AG-AF100, or the AG-AF100 cost the same as the NEX-VG10, then the HDSLR would die tomorrow. But they don't; and it's not really surprising that they don't. Over the next couple of years, the prices will come down, so I'm sure we're in for an interesting time...

HDWarriorSONY NEX-VG10 Conclusions
Philip Bloom: 3 days with the Panasonic AG-AF100

B & H: Sony NEX-VG10 [$1,999.99 - available now]
B & H: Panasonic AG-AF100 [$4,795.00 - pre-order. Expected end of December]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

BOSFCPUG & BAVUG Joint Mixer: Avid & FCP Tapeless Workflow

DATE: Wednesday, November 4th
TIMES: 6:00PM - 9:00PM
VENUE: YAWKEY THEATER WGBH 1 Guest Street Boston, MA 02135

6pm Doors open
7pm: The Avid File-Based Workflow Presented by Bob Russo - Avid
8pm: The FCP File-Based Workflow Presented by: Doug Hynes - AV3 Software, Kai Pradel - MediaSilo, Gary Adcock - Production and Post Workflow Consultant

Register: BOSFCPUG & BAVUG Joint Mixer

News from Here & There

Steve Jobs famously described the first AppleTV as a hobby, but they just announced that they sold 250,000 of the 2nd gen AppleTV in the last quarter. Oddly enough, I have no idea if that's impressive or not.
If you have an AppleTV, MacWorld has an article about using a secondary Mac Mini to stream to the device.
MacWorld: A better Apple TV workflow
[UPDATE: Jonathan Seff at MacWorld speculates about what it means: Jobs touts Apple TV sales figures]

More on the Panasonic AG-AF100
Zacuto got to spend a bit of time with the Panasonic AG-AF100, and tried it out with some different rigs and their upcoming EVF viewfinder.
Zacuto: The Panasonic AG-AF100 Video: Camera Cinemized by Zacuto

HDSLR Video Shooting Tips
National Geographic has a series of short videos with shooting tips from John Burcham that covers; basics, stabilizing the camera, capturing the moment and accessories.
National Geographic: DSLR HD Video Tips: Shooting Basics
Dave Dugdale got his first DSLR in March, and has been blogging about his experiences. His latest blogs about getting a perfect white background in a shoot is worth checking out.
Learning DSLR Video

Philip Bloom compares the SmallHD DP6 and Marshall 5" monitors
I have to say I am really impressed with both of them. In a way I don’t see them competing against each other. For me the Marshall is the first truly useful budget monitor out there. Every one I have used prior to this have been not good! This is sub $600 (probably a lot more in the UK as usual) and excellent and totally usable for focusing and framing etc…The DP6 is more expensive but has more flexibility. So you have to decide what is important to you and what your budget is…
Philip Bloom: Marshall 5″ LCD monitor versus the Small HD 5.6″ DP6

More on Picture Styles
Another Canon Picture Styles tutorial video, this one from createsphere. It's interesting, though I wish they'd used different styles on single scenes so you could really see how much the different style changed the visual appearance.
Vimeo: Crash Course in Picture Styles for Canon 5D Mark II

Larry Jordan's Final Cut Newsletter
Larry Jordan's website contains a wealth of Final Cut information and tips. He also puts out a monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to. This months issue includes:
  • Musing: Is Final Cut Relevant in the Age of the iPad?
  • Technique: Finding Clips in Final Cut Pro
  • Thoughts on Buying the Best Camera and Hardware
  • Chroma-keying Hair with Primatte Keyer Pro 4
  • Software Review: ShotPut Pro
Larry Jordan: Monthly Newsletter #72

Zacuto iPhone Point'n'Shoot
A short video showing the Zacuto Point'n'Shoot for the iPhone. I don't know that I'm that enthused about using the iPhone for video shooting that I'd buy accessories like this, and at $120, I'm going to wait and see what the Tiffen Smoothee is like.

Zacuto's iPhone Point'n'Shoot from steve weiss on Vimeo.

EOS 5D Mark II Firmware Update Version 2.0.8

Wow! Canon releases another firmware update for the Canon 5D Mark II:

This firmware update (Version 2.0.8) incorporates the following changes and fixes.
  1. Fixes a phenomenon in which movies are not taken at the shooting mode registered in the user's settings if a shooting mode Aperture priority (or Shutter priority) is registered in any of the camera's user settings (C1, C2, C3) and the user attempts to shoot a movie.
  2. Fixes a phenomenon in which the shutter will not release when pressing the shutter button when the auto power off function is set to "on".
  3. Fixes a phenomenon in which overexposure occurs when shooting a Live View shooting simulation with the ISO speed set to L.
  4. Fixes a phenomenon in which the settings of the Speedlite transmitter ST-E2 revert to the default settings when both the camera and the ST-E2 are set to auto power off.
  5. Fixes a phenomenon in which the Macro Ring Lite (MR-14EX, MT-24EX) and slave flash do not sync while shooting wirelessly.
The Version 2.0.8 firmware being released this time is for cameras with firmware up to Version 2.0.7. If the camera's firmware is already Version 2.0.8, it is not necessary to update the firmware. EOS 5D Mark II Firmware Update Version 2.0.8

Monday, October 18, 2010

2010 New England Broadcast & Cable Expo

The second annual New England Broadcast and Cable Expo will be held Thursday, November 10 at the DCU Center, Worcester, MA.

The event will be held in conjunction with the 13th annual Video Educators of New England fall conference and the New England region Society of Broadcast Engineers Ennes Workshops. Each of the three events offers the region’s premier opportunity to learn, network and see firsthand emerging trends and technology. Admission to the expo floor is free and open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. The DCU Center provides a state of the art conference center, centrally located with access via public transportation or ample local parking at reduced rates.

New England Broadcast and Cable Expo: Info Page
Society of Broadcast Engineers: New England Ennes Workshop
Video Educators of New England

News from Here & There

What are Picture Styles?
Not sure what Picture Styles do? The 5D Mark II Team has a tutorial.

If you're shooting video, and will be able/plan to color correct in your editing application, you should follow the "final tip" and use a flat picture style.


Cheap lens or cheap Camera?
DigitalRevTV asks the question; Which is best, an Expensive camera with a cheap lens or a Cheap lens and expensive camera? and then takes a Canon 1D Mark IV with a Sigma 28-300mm f/something (3.5-6.3) and puts it up against a Canon 550D (i.e. Canon T2i) with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L.

They were looking at still photos rather than video, but it was still a surprise to me that the 550D was so good that the lens differences were more important that the differences between the cameras.

A video test, would make the differences between the cameras even less noticeable as so much of the image is thrown away.

From personal experience, I really think that when you're starting out you should still buy the best lenses you can; the lenses you can then move on to the next camera. Buy a cheap lens, and when you replace that first camera with a better (or new) one, you'll find you'll be looking to replace the lenses too!


Panasonic AG-AF100
It's coming! And the unboxing videos can't be too far away... (okay, maybe two months away...)

But until then, we have to make do with bits and pieces from trade shows. And here's a video from MacVideo.TV. The really interesting thing about this one for me is that I finally clearly saw the size of the thing relative to "people" and it's tiny! Well, relatively. I thought it would be HXR-NX5u sized, but the AG-AF100 is quite a bit smaller.

As the presenter says, it looks like Panasonic - before Canon or Nikon - has done "what we all wanted" and put a DSLR sensor in a video camera body.

MacVideo.TV: Large Sensor Video Camera: Panasonic show off the AG-AF100/AG-AF101

AVIDpalooza: Boston Wednesday, October 27th

Two events being held at Rule Boston Camera on October 27th:

2-4pm for Educators
Media Composer 5.0, RED, Sibelius and Pro Tools

Join Avid and Rule Boston Camera for an exclusive event featuring complete end-to-end solutions built to enhance your school’s video and audio programs. Snacks + Drinks Provided


AVID Media Showcase
6-8 pm for Everyone

Join us for a unique showcase of the two most significant solution rollouts today—Avid® ISIS® 5000 shared storage and Media Composer® 5 editing systems.

Avid ISIS 5000 is an advanced video storage solution that helps you make the most of your media—at a price you can afford. Featured demos include:
  • Profile of the ISIS file system and hardware
  • Review of models, options, system set-up, network configuration and management console
  • Outline of the integration of ISIS 5000 into NewsVision, the latest advanced, affordable newsroom production solution
Media Composer 5 is the world’s fastest film and video editing system, enabling you to do more than ever. And it’s even easier to use. Featured demos include:
  • Editing of QuickTime, RED, Canon 5D/7D, and other tapeless formats instantly, without the wait
  • Working with newly enhanced interface and Smart Tool
  • Set up of cost-effective Matrox monitoring solution
  • Mix a mishmash of media in the timeline without converting
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions and test-drive Media Composer 5 yourself.
Food + Drinks Provided

Rule Boston Camera: Events Page

Shooting with Panasonic's New 3D Camera and Monitor

Wednesday, October 20 10am - 12noon
Rule's Tom Talbot and Engineering Staff provide an overview of Panasonic's new, all-in-one 3D camera, the AG-3DA1 3D and the accompanying Panasonic BT-3DL2550 25.5" 3D LCD monitor. 3D glasses provided!

Rule | Boston Camera
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