Monday, August 15, 2011

Steve Weiss podcast on Planet5D

Steve Weiss of Zacuto was back on the Planet5D podcast today, talking about a number of different things:

Revenge of the Great Camera ShootOut
They are looking at shooting an additional episode of the Great Camera Shootout that will accomplish two things; it will add some cameras that weren't available when they started (the Red EPIC, Sony NEX-FS100 and the Panasonic GH2) and they plan to shoot the same scene with all of the cameras as a comparison.

They are planning to shoot this in September, show it at IBC, and hopefully release the new episiode before the end of the year.

Critics Idol
Steve outlined ideas for a competition called - at the moment - Critics Idol. The idea was to have film maker's compete, and have it judged by a panel of film makers. They are looking at trying to make the competition open to people the world over, though that's evidently a problem for the lawyers. Also, he said it's unlikely they can use the name Idol!

New Products
Steve demoed a number of new products, including the EVF Gorilla Plate Bracket [B & H $228 shipping 7-14 days] for mounting the EVF to Zacuto Gorilla Kits, the Zwis Cage, a new cage that will cost around $850 and features a handle on top, and two Zacuto portals for attaching devices.

They also showed rigs for the Sony NEX-FS100 [B & H: $3,330.00], and for the RED EPIC, the latter with an AJA Ki Pro Mini [B & H: $1,995.00] on the back. Interestingly, he advocated using the Ki Pro Mini as the capture device with the RED Epic, and editing with that footage rather than the 5K footage from the Epic

Also shown was the Pincher, an upcoming bracket for holding the HDMI cable in place on your camera.

Zacuto Pincher

HD-SDI for the Zacuto EVF?
Someone asked about an HD-SDI version of the Zacuto EVF [B & H: $764.75] , but he didn't think they would do that as it would be too expensive. He said they were working with AJA on a cable that will go from HDMI to an HD-SDI signal. It's "in the works", but "not solid" yet.

Current EVF update
A quick reminder to everyone to get the current firmware update for the EVF, which takes care of small bugs and added audio meters etc. Zacuto: Z-Finder EVF Support

They are working on the next update that will have some “exciting” new features: the next release will support 1080p (it currently only supports 1080i) so it will support the EPIC which only outputs 30p, as well as allowing loop-though at 1080p. They note that it won’t improve the actual image you’ll see.
The update is expected in about four weeks.

Less expensive Follow-Focus
They are working on a less expensive follow-focus that will work on the Gorilla kits, and will be a friction based (i.e. non-gears) follow-focus. "It will get your hand in a new and interesting position," according to Steve! It’s not totally refined but they think they will have a prototype they can show in about a month.

What percentage of sales are DSLR based as opposed to video camera?
Mitch asked what the approximate breakdown of their audience was. Mandy from Zacuto said that "DSLR's are probably about 75% right now and video cameras are on the rise again. We are seeing more and more Sony F3, FS100, Panasonic AF100 and now the Epic."
Dave from Zacuto added: "I can tell you that from search volume based on keywords, the video cameras are on a huge rise compared to the DSLRs, the last few months"

Other quotes:
Total equipment budget should be no more than 16%! You should be putting money into rehearsals...and food! You need all these other things that are more important than picture!
Steve mentioned that he used to only shoot interviews with one camera until one producer forced him to use a second camera for a profile shot, and now he says "I wish I had two cameras on every interview I’ve done."

As he did in the last podcast at Planet5D, Steve encouraged people to think about internet distribution, and discouraged people from trying to produce movies, due to the limited amount of distribution possibilities.

Planet5D usually posts a recorded version of the podcast a day or so after it's broadcast.
Planet5d: Podcast

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