Kai W at DigitalRevTV compares the video performance of the Panasonic GH2 to the Canon D60 and finds what several other people have already noted on the forums: the GH2 does a better job in several areas:
In 24fps, the GH2 image is sharper with more detail
GH2 doesn't suffer from moire nearly as much as the 60D
Rolling Shutter problem is slightly improved
60D white balance is better
ISO 3200, noise is lower on the GH2, BUT 60D goes to 6400
Both shoot at 24p,25p and 30p, but the GH2 also shoots in 1080i at 50 and 60fps
60D's Screen is much better
Stereo mic input on GH2 is not standard; requires an adapter
Which to buy? If you're just starting out - and don't already have a collection of lenses - or if you can afford to buy the latest and greatest, then the slightly improved detail, and the reduced moire are two very compelling reasons for getting the GH2.
I already own a 7D (which suffers from the same moire and rolling shutter issues as the 60D) and unfortunately, I can't justify switching platforms at this point. Also, while the GH2 does a better job than the Canon's, that doesn't mean the Canon's are suddenly unusable. Still, if I was looking to buy a new camera right now, I'd be giving the GH2 a long hard look (provided you can find one in stock; the GH2 is currently hard to get, so it might be a month or two before you can lay your hands on one!)
This video review has prompted a bit of response on Twitter:
In many ways GH2 is a better video cam. Canon DSLR more filmic though.
I'm going to keep testing the GH2, but I don't think it beats the 5DmkII image unless it's a moire situation. -@DSLRinformer
Canons have better colour. GH2 is better in every single other way.
The image is a little bit too cold and green from the GH2 sensor. Canon more life like and cinematic
I wish the 5D would resolve the amount of detail the GH2 does, and with proper live view, HDMI -@EOSHD
Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 3x Brian Troy gets a Zacuto Z-Finer DSLR viewfinder, and writes a review:
Overall, the Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 3x is comfortable, reliable, magnifies your LCD screen, is easy enough to put on and take off, and it’s lightweight. It gives me confidence that my subject is in focus and the pros outweigh the cons by far. Will I be purchasing one? Absolutely! It is everything that I can imagine wanting or needing in a viewfinder? Yes.
USB Follow Focus
Earlier in the week, the 5D Mark II Team blog team posted about a USB Follow Focus that works with Canon DSLR's, and would be "available soon." Soon is now, as Okii Systems LLC. has released today the Okii USB Follow Focus Controller. 5DMarkII: USB Follow Focus Controller Released
Blu Brothers at L.A. SMUG Meeting, Feb. 10
Vu and Lan Bui adopted DSLR video shooting as soon as it came out (with the Nikon D90) and, with Smashface Productions, shot the first US television commercial on the Canon 5D mark II. They'll be talking about "Embracing Fusion," when a photographer or videographer uses both photographs and video to make a video
Meetup: L.A. SMUG FEB 2011 Meeting - Embracing Fusion - with the Bui Bros
Black Swan used Canon DSLR's for some scenes American Cinematographer interviewed Matthew Libatique, ASC about his work on Black Swan:
We used a Canon 7D or 1D Mark IV for all the subway scenes; I could just carry a 7D and shoot on the subway all day with a very small crew. I did some tests with my wife beforehand to figure out my ASA, my stop, and how I was going to deal with the focus. I didn’t use any rigs with it because I wasn’t trying to shoot in the traditional way. I tested a bunch of different exposures and then brought the footage to Charlie Hertzfeld at Technicolor, who put it in the system so I could look at the highlights, the moiré and the resolution. Then I went back to the drawing board to do more tests. The 7D has more depth of field than the 5D, but I needed that because I didn’t have a follow-focus unit and needed to work really fast. I shot everything documentary-style. I did all the focus pulls by hand, and we’d just look at it on the camera’s monitor. I ended up shooting on a Canon 24mm lens at 1,600 ASA to get as much depth of field as possible at a stop of T81⁄2.
A 5D and a Fast 50
Mick Jones writes about the advantages of using a minimal camera crew and kit.
He also notes that when shooting models, they looked more natural when not posing for still pictures; which probably isn't that surprising!
The footage that I rolled while the stills were being shot simply looked like moving magazine covers. Working solo with such a small camera gave me a lot of freedom to be creative and also get the shots in a very short amount of time.
Magic Bullet Denoiser 1.0.1
This update fixes the following issues. In Final Cut Pro:
When rendering a clip with Denoiser applied – canceling and then resuming the render causes the canceled frame to be black with blue specs in it. This can also cause blue frames in other areas of the output.
Fix an issue where you often get an “Unable to sample” error while using Denoiser.
When Denoiser is applied, it sometimes scrambles the output video.
In After Effects:
Denoiser can cause After Effects to crash while scrubbing the timeline and using Denoiser’s sliders at the same time.
Rule Boston Camera continues to post video's from their LearningLab Series, and the latest features Richard Schleuning, National Sales Manager for the America's for Zeiss. He talks about the history of the company, their ZF SLR lenses, and their Compact Prime Cine CP.2 lenses.
The CP.2 lenses are expensive, but offer some notable improvements over the standard Zeiss SLR lenses:
14-blade diaphragm (vs 9)
300 degree plus focus rotation
Common outer dimensions (for the majority of the lenses) makes it quick and easy to interchange a lense during shooting
Calibrated Lens Scales
There is no electronic communication between the lens and the body; this was done because they wanted to make the mounts interchangeable.
Switching mounts requires a torque wrench and a test chart or calibration device to set the back-focus for the lens correctly. The first time a new mount is put on a lens, it needs to be adjusted using shims (provided.) As long as you mark the shims and keep them with the mount, the swap after that is just a mechanical change; you don't need to recalibrate each time you switch mounts.
Currently they offer PL, Canon EF, Nikon F and Micro 4/3rds mounts. They had intended to offer Sony A mount (Alpha) but he said that they just don't see that as being a factor for video applications. He did say though, that they will "possibly" offer some more mounts later in 2011.
[Wild Speculation: with Sony's NEX-VG10, and the upcoming NXCAM 35mm camera sharing the Sony E-mount, perhaps Zeiss might be considering supporting that mount in place of the A mount?]
At a town hall meeting held for employees yesterday, the company rolled out a new space-less corporate logo that "is meant to represent the unity of its two main divisions." That's the official "rebranding" as a result of the Comcast merger.
But the NBC peacock will remain part of the NBC brand, and the spinning globe continues to be used by the movie studio, which suggests that this logo will primarily be used for interoffice memos.
Clearly great days are ahead for NBCUniversal, as employees were all given
...a "Big Idea Book" in which they were to record their own.
Development of Lightworks, the - now - open source video editor continues apace. They have just released version 10.0.3 which has over 150 changes.
The focus for this release has been on stability and reliability, but they have also attempted to address codec support issues:
The other major issue was codec support… what works and what doesn’t. We realize that this is an important area for everyone and we are working hard to address it. As we said in our previous announcement, some things are just not straight forward due to legalities. In this version, we are much more explicit about what is and isn’t supported. We have made a major change that allows Quicktime files to be imported via ‘Create Link’. These changes also extend support for import formats to AVCHD (wrapped as .mov). The important point here, though, is that codec support is a major part of the work we are now focusing on and over the coming weeks and months you will see more support being made available. Please bear with us while we implement these changes.
Panasonic AG-AF100 Focus Remote Control
The Manfrotto 521PFI Focus Remote Control [B & H: $269.95] is a focus/iris remote control designed to be used with Panasonic prosumer cameras. Features include focus and iris manual adjustment, focus min and max adjustment, as well as re-write position references for the iris and focus knobs.
Peter Lundström at the editman tried it out with the Panasonic AG-AF100 and found it works; as long as you have appropriate lenses like the Olympus 14-35mm and the Olympus 35-100mm lenses. He's happy with it, though he does note that using the internal lens motor to focus might make noise that's picked up in audio recording:
I have to say that having this little device mounted at an ergonomic spot makes focus pulls much easier. You can also do repeatable focus pulls even with the 35-100. I've tried to use my Shoot35 FF unit but you can't do this because of how this lens works, but the 521PFI can!
Using an Audio Splitter
The markertekblog has posted a short article about using an XLR splitter and a JuicedLink CX231 preamp to get better audio when recording using a DSLR. markertekblog: Improving DSLR Audio with an XLR SPlitter Cable
Color Correction Tutorial - With Food! Stu Maschwitz has posted a screen recording (with audio) of the color correction process for a food preparation video. Ostensibly, he's answering the question “Why doesn’t the video I shoot with my DSLR look as good as the stills?" and he is using After Effects CS5 and Colorista II, but he's also going through the color correction process step-by-step, and it's good to see/hear how a pro approaches and "thinks" about color correction.
Switching From Apple Color to DaVinci Resolve Meanwhile, Patrick Inhofer over at The Tao of Color is documenting his journey from Apple Color to DaVinci Resolve.
Having never seen the Resolve in action and mostly skimming reviews of the app I think I’m in a pretty good position to help Apple Color users figure out if Resolve is for them (or how hard the transition might be).
Eyedirect Review Philip Bloom likes the Eyedirect device; which he says makes it much easier for non-professional's to "talk to the camera" during an interview. It's an interesting idea that works sort of like an autocue, except that the interviewer's face appears in the mirror in front of the camera's lens.
Sony isn't talking about the sensor design of the PMW-F3; other than to say it has a "very interesting" color array design. But at the recent PMW-F3 preview they did talk about the sensor in their F35 Cinema camera, and that certainly got my attention as I wasn't aware of it's "unusual" design.
The F35 is an unusual HD video camera with an unusual price; somewhere around $200,000. This camera has been used to shoot feature films, including Tron and Transformers 3. To understand how unusual the sensor is, it's important to understand how most digital cameras - both still and video - currently work.
CCDs and CMOS chips detect brightness, not color. To detect color, color filtering must be added. But this means that any one pixel in a sensor can only detect one color (Red, Green or Blue).
Most cameras use one of two ways to calculate the RGB value for a pixel in the final image.
Most single-chip cameras use a Bayer color pattern filter over the sensor. An individual pixel on the sensor has either a Red, Green, or Blue filter over it. The actual color of an individual pixel in the final image is calculated by combining the color values from adjacent pixels, so while the brightness accuracy of any given pixel in the image is correct, the actual calculated color value is a "guess."
Note: The Bayer pattern have more green pixels than red or blue because the human eye is more sensitive to green light.
These cameras use a beam splitter that separates the light coming through the lens, and then three separate chips to detect the Red, Green and Blue values of each pixel in the final image separately. These three separate values are then combined to get the actual color value.
Three-chip cameras are more expensive - and larger - than single-chip cameras, but are preferred for their color accuracy.
The F35 camera has a single 12MP sensor, so you might think it works something like the Bayer pattern. But it has a very different pattern of filters, with vertical strips of RGB filters. The dimensions of the sensor are 1920 x 3 horizontally, and 1080 x 2 vertically. The net effect is that the color value of a single pixel in the final 1920x1080 HD image is calculated by taking the color vales for two blue, two green and two red pixels and adding them together and averaging them; using two pixels for each color improves the accuracy of the measurement.
With this technique, they've produced a color camera that has the color accuracy of a three-chip camera, but uses just one chip. Also, it doesn't have some of the anomalies that three-chip cameras suffer from (See: The Not-So-Technical Guide to the Sony F35).
You might think that this method was used to save money, but Sony says that this CCD is very expensive to produce. The interesting thing to see is wether they will adapt this to lower cost CMOS sensors and lower priced cameras in the future.
Passive 3D TV Review Vizio's 65-inch XVT3D650SV ($3,700), the first mainstream TV equipped with so-called "passive" 3D technology gets reviewed at Crave, and while the glasses are lighter and the screen slightly brighter, resolution is severely impacted:
We expected this difference because, as Vizio, LG, and other purveyors of 2011 passive 3D TVs admit, the system they use halves the effective 1080p resolution, delivering only 540 lines to each eye. We just didn't expect it to be so obvious. As Matt said, it makes you appreciate how good "1080p to each eye" looks
Sundance and Kickstarter Sundance Institute announced a new program to connect its artists with audiences by offering access to creative funding and marketing backed by the Institute’s promotional support. These services will act as building blocks for future program components which aim to provide filmmakers access to a broad and open array of third-party digital distribution platforms. The creative funding component was announced with Kickstarter, the crowd-sourcing site for creative projects. TurlyFreeFilm: Sundance Teams With KickStarter & Facebook For New Initiative To Connect Artists With Audiences
Switronix Team with Redrock Micro to Deliver Advanced HDSLR Rigs Switronix, maker of camera battery systems, are working with Redrock Micro to offer camera rigs with longer-lasting power (up to 6x the runtime of OEM batteries) that can also extend power to additional on-board monitors and accessories. Both Switronix battery systems (PRO-X and Powerbase70) integrate with Redrock Micro’s shouldermount and handheld HDSLR rigs making for an ergonomic system designed for comfort and efficiency. Switronix: Redrock Micro and Switronix Team to Deliver Advanced HDSLR Rigs
Movie Title Design Kyle Cooper is a title sequences and credits designer, his credits include: Se7en, the Spider-Man series, Ironman and Ironman 2, Superman Returns, The Incredible Hulk, and Dawn of the Dead.
Zacuto EVF - battery info
Zacuto has issued another video in their series on the upcoming Zacuto EVF. This one's on batteries; they said they were looking for a battery that performed as close as possible to the Canon LP-E6 battery. They also revealed that they have removed the 12 volt input they had originally planned to include, and decided to use a dummy battery as a plug-in or external battery option.
More on post on "the final word on 3D"
One more follow on from Roger Ebert's recent column, Daniel Engber at Slate has jumped in to defend 3D. The first part of the article doesn't really bring any new facts to the discussion (arguing that we didn't evolve to watch 24 frames per second either, seems a little beside the point.) And, frankly, I don't care whether people like or don't like watching 3D - for whatever reason.
I'm much more interested in the health effects argument, and I'm not sure Engber really addresses it, even though he does establish his bona fides by pointing out he raised the issue of visual discomfort two years earlier. But immediately after that, Engber writes:
After watching 10 or 20 of these films since then, I've grown accustomed to the ocular aerobics, and the same format that gave me splitting headaches back in 2009 hardly bothers me now.
Looking for a "reasonably" priced slider? Daniel Freytag reviewed the Glidetrack slider, and likes it for the price:
Of course there are some more companies, which offer sliders in their product range. Because I only worked with the Glidetrack yet I can’t tell you the difference, but in my opinion the Glidetrack is a solid and very mobile slider for the beginning.
Jag35, makers and sellers of low-cost camera rigs and gear, is offering a prize of a $500 and $100 gift certificate to their online store. You have to Tweet twice by Jan 31st to be entered Jag35: Tweet to Win
At last Wednesday's SMPTE New England event held at Boston Rule Camera, Dr. Hugo Gaggioni CTO, VP Technology and Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager, Production, of Sony’s Broadcast & Professional Solutions Division gave a presentation on Sony's Super35mm cameras. While much of the event focused on the upcoming PMW-F3, it began with discussion of CMOS vs CCD, their high-end Super 35mm camera the F35, digital memory recording and S-Log.
But everyone was really there to see the PMW-F3, and participants did get to handle a pre-production model, and see footage that had been shot with a PMW-F3.
The Sony PMW-F3 is supposed to be shipping in February, and Sony seem confident they have a winner on their hands. It may not take on the Panasonic AG-AF100 (that’s the job of the upcoming NXCAM 35mm) but it looks more like they are going after RED, and maybe the studios and independents that are using the 5D MkII.
And they are still being coy about some details:
The PMW-F3 features Sony's first CMOS EXMOR Super 35mm, and it has a resolution of 3.43 Megapixels, though they aren’t disclosing the number of pixels across the vertical; yet.* But according to Sony, it has a “very interesting” color filter array.
(* For the math inclined: 1920x1080 = 2.07MP. (1920x2)=3840x1080 = 4.15MP, so perhaps the vertical resolution is something more than 1920 and less than 3840?)
There are two USB ports; one device, and the other host. In device mode, you can connect the camera to your computer to download files from memory. Host mode can be used to communicate with the camera; probably. They aren’t talking about what it will be used for yet.
The HDMI Port
In addition to HD-SDI output, there is also an HDMI port. This will send out full 1920 x 1080, but they’re not sure if it’s 8 or 10 bit. Also, they weren't sure if it was available when HD-SDI was being used.
The PL lenses
Sony is selling PMW-F3 body only, or as a package with three PL mount lenses (a 35, 50 and 80.) Sony isn’t saying who actually makes the lenses - though it’s not Sony. All they’ll say is that they are made in Japan. The lenses will not be sold separately.
They did have one of the lenses on the prototype. It was impossible to judge it’s image quality, though it does have T-stops and a long focus rotation, but it did seem rather plasticy compared to Zeiss Cine 2.0 lenses. (On the other hand, you are getting three lenses for less than the price of two Zeiss Cine lenses, and this was a prototype.)
In addition to the three PL fixed lenses, Sony is developing some zoom lenses, including two that are F3 mount lenses, and a wide angle zoom that (possibly?) uses the PL mount. Details are still a little scarce on when these lenses will be available (one will probably appear in April, with the other two much later,) and their exact specifications are fluid too.
Color LUT Management
The PMW-F3 will be able to store four LUTs, and you will be able to transfer them to and from the camera, but they haven’t determined how; whether it will be via SxS, USB, Firewire or MemoryStick.
Lens Communication Protocols
Two communication protocols are built into the PL lens mount that will support the Cooke/I protocol, and ARRI LDS. These protocols can send metadata (T-stop, focal length, aperture, serial number) in real time. The camera will be capturing the metadata, though they can’t yet say how they are doing it; whether in a separate file or embedded in the video file.
Sony has already announced that some features won’t be available at release, and will be enabled with future firmware updates (which will cost extra.) The first firmware update is scheduled for April and will include: Partial 3D Link support, dual link RGB, and S-Log. In September, the complete feature set for 3D Link will be released.
The camera records to SxS cards, but it is possible to use SD cards with an adapter; provided they are Class 10 cards.
While there are some things that remain unknown about the camera, Sony has released a few details about the camera’s performance. They claim the camera has extremely high sensitivity, incredible signal to noise, and dynamic range approaching 13 stops. In video mode it has a 63dB signal to noise ratio with no noise reduction applied and a sensitivity rating of approximately ISO 800. In S-Log mode, it can achieve the equivalent of ISO 1600.
Out of the box, the camera will record 35 Mbps 4:2:0 MPEG, while it will be possible to output 1920 x 1080 60P 4:2:2 10-bit over dual-link from the camera (with the firmware update allowing RGB recording directly from the optical block.)
The camera comes with HyperGamma (2 & 4) built-in, which extends the dynamic range of an image. The firmware update will then add support for Sony’s S-Log, which almost doubles the effective sensitivity of the camera (S-Log is a gamma curve that better captures what’s coming from the sensor.) Using S-Log requires using an editor that supports color lookup tables (LUTs) or the video will looked very washed-out (at the moment, After Effects and Apple Color support LUTs.)
One of the interesting things about the camera is how it seems to span two separate camera systems. At the beginning of the presentation, the focus was on Super 35mm sized sensors, and how the F3 is similar to the F35. Towards the end of the presentation, the F3 was described in tandem with the EX platform, on which it is built. Hopefully it won’t suffer an identity crises.
All in all, it's an intriguing camera, and while the upcoming NXCAM 35mm is more in my price range, I'm intrigued to see the reaction to the PMW-F3 when it is finally released.
Noise Industries has announced its latest FxFactory freebie plug-in pack, Manifesto. The brand new Manifesto titling plug-ins provide new and current FxFactory users with a quick and easy way to generate eye-popping titles in Apple Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion and After Effects. Manifesto comes in two variants: a static title generator and a title roll/crawl generator.
Optional Keyframing: No keyframes are required for animation. The text of choice is scrolled in and out of frame automatically based on the length of the generator track. This feature also lets users match a title roll (or crawl) to the duration of a different clip.
Use Existing RTF Files: Manifesto can reference an existing RTF file on disk, allowing users to rely entirely on an external program for text input and layout.
Built-in Motion Blurring and De-Flickering: Create high-quality animations at any frame rate with built-in motion blur and the ability to reduce interlacing artifacts.
Easy Masking Abilities: Use external media to determine which portions of the title are visible, or vice versa.
The DSLR Stealth Factor Andrew Reid argues that the important thing about DSLR video cameras is their small size and stealth abilities.
DSLRs like the GH2 are pretty far from industry standards and professional A/V equipment as we know it. They are a complete break from what has become the norm at broadcasters, rental companies or film studios both large and small. As video cameras they throw the baby out with the bathwater as far as operation goes (they’re photographic cameras, after all).
Contest Shane Hurlbut used DSLRs extensively in shooting a commercial for the Marine Corp. Now he's running a competition to pick which shot was made with which of three DSLRs or was shot with film. Winner gets a copy of Adobe CS5 Production Premium. You have until tomorrow to enter.
We thought it would be fun to do another contest. See if you can figure out which is the 5D, 7D and 1D footage and which is the film footage above. Give us a break down shot by shot using the form below (there are 28 frames total). The most accurate entries will be named winners. First place wins Adobe CS5 Production Premium. Contest entries will be accepted up until Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 11:59pm.
Canon 5D Mark II Replacement
I always love a good rumor, and there's been surprisingly few about the Canon 5D Mk II replacement, but now comes word form Canonrumors.com that - maybe - the 5D replacement will be called the 6D, have a 24 MP sensor, and appear in the first half of 2011...
The only problem is that Canon's naming scheme seems to suggest to me that the better (more expensive) cameras have the lower number i.e. the 1D>5D>7D>60D. At least, that's my understanding of how the naming scheme works.
There's no way a full-frame sensor camera with the same build quality as the 5D/7D could cost less than the 7D. So if there is a 6D with a full frame sensor, it would seemingly have to have lower build quality (and cost) than the 7D. If it was going to be a 5D replacement (with similar build quality), and they didn't want to call it the 5D Mk III, surely they'd call it the 4D?
But even the idea of renaming it doesn't make sense; unless they are completely rebranding/reshaping the camera. I'd be surprised if they abandoned the 5D label for the next rev. It's a well known name at the moment; it's almost synonymous with HDSLR video camera. Canon would be mad to abandon it.
3D Not So Bad, Maybe Walter Murch's comments about 3D reprinted in Roger Ebert's column have, of course, provoked a reaction. Several people have questioned whether Murch has the science right, including David Newman, CTP of CineForm. He posted a response on Ebert's original article, as well as reprinting it in CineForm's blog:
While there are issues with 3D presentation, the claim that the "convergence/focus" issue makes 3D unsolvable is false. There is an error made in the assumption that "the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen", while that is generally true for objects close to a viewer in space, it is not true for a movie screen "80 feet away."
With various ways of computing the hyper-focal range of the eye suggests that objects from around 15 feet to infinity will appear in focus. That means a 3D presentation that has objects appearing no close than 15 feet and beyond will appear in focus whether the audience is focusing at the screen plane of not -- the eye is free to convergence and focus anywhere within the volume of space projected, just as it naturally would.
I don't know enough about the subject to know who is right or wrong, though I have been to enough 3D presentations to know that there are extremes that you have to avoid because you will cause discomfort for the viewer. Having things coming too close to the viewer is one of them. CineForm Insider: Another overstatement that 3D won't work.
The Rules of 3D Cinema
Meanwhile, Stuart Heritage at The Guardian lists the ten "3D Movie Conventions" that seem to be cropping up again and again, and creating a sameness to the 3D movie landscape.
Another Sony Video - Maybe - Answers Some Questions
Sony has put together some self-generated video reports from CES. The latest one answers some viewer questions, including a couple to do with the upcoming Sony 3D Handycam HDR-TD10. Specifically they explain why, though Sony Vegas will edit 3D, it can't edit the video files created by the HDR-TD10 - yet. See also: More On Consumer 3D Cameras
One of the things that Sony talked about at last weeks demo of the PMW-F3, was the upcoming SR-R1 Memory Recorder.
Sony SR-R1 Memory Recorder
The SR-R1 will record at 220Mbps and 440Mbps to solid state memory cards. The unit will support Single Link 4:2:2, two HD-SDI outputs for 4:2:2 1080/60p, 3G and Dual Link RGB at 440Mbps.
Simultaneous recording makes it possible to record two cameras at once for 3D productions
Interestingly, when Sony reps were asked why the PMW-F3 did not record at 50Mbps (at the highest quality to internal cards it records 35 Mbps in 4:2:0 8-bit XDCAM EX format) Sony's response was that it would have added too much to the cost, but that with the SR-R1 (or other similar output options) those who need that sort of quality can get what they need.
While Sony hasn't officially released information about the SR-R1, it is covered in a 12-page special report from Film And Digital Times on the PMW-F3, and the Sony reps clearly thought that the pricing of the SR-R1 would be competitive.
Note: several broadcasting organizations such as the BBC and PBS have official minimum standards for video quality, and for digital recording cameras have so far been inclined to only approve cameras that record at 50Mbps or above. BBC: Commissioning:Producing in High-Definition
Film And Digital Times have released a 12 page special report on the PMW-F3, (Sony reps distributed copies of this report at last week's presentation of the camera.) It's available for download in PDF format.
Musician and Filmmaker Sami Sänpäkkilä reviews the D|Focus, an affordable follow-focus unit.
I feel that for me the D|Focus does the job amazingly well, it should work with most cameras and lenses out there. Also you get fast responses and good info from David who makes them, which to me is the most important thing when buying equipment.
Daniel Freytag posts a review, with video, of the budget LCDVF viewfinder. It likes the magnification, magnetic frame and the budget price, and the only problem he has with it is that the viefinder sometimes gets fogged.
Freytag-film:LCDVF – a cheap and solid Viewfinder
For a bit more money, you could look at the Letus Hawk viewfinder, reviewed on planet5D:
But after getting the updated Hawk with their new quick release, I can say that this is now my preferred quick release over the sticky frames. The design of the Hawk quick release is simple and very effective. This is a great system!
Behind "Beyond The Still" Neil Matsumoto at HD Video Pro takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Story Beyond The Still competition, focusing mainly on the gear used by it's winners. Some interesting details emerge:
Canon was also surprised by the level of quality. “We started to see more working professionals start to enter, which was great,” says Canon’s Rob Altman. “It took the contest in a bit of a different direction but at the end of the day, it really showed us how pros are using the gear. ..."
Perhaps the most common tool for all of the filmmakers was the Zacuto Z-Finder. “I could have definitely not shot my project without the Z-Finder,” explains Leech.
The fact that an online video contest has a presence at the biggest independent film festival in the world is sort of ironic since this might be the model that can potentially do away with film festivals altogether.
DualEyes for Mac
The Macintosh version of DualEyes (the standalone version of the audio/video sync plugin PluralEyes) has now officially been released. DualEyes for Mac is available for US$119 until February 22, 2011, when the price will go up to US$149. A 30-day trial version is available Singular Software: DualEyes for Mac
Editing in Not Invisible
In a short video clip, Dr Karen Pearlman, Head of Screen Studies at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School talks about editing, and takes issue with the statement that "Good editing is invisible," arguing that if we keep advocating this, we're diminishing the role of the editor. Screenculture.net: Editing is Not invisible (but it is magic)
The End of 3D? Roger Ebert hasn't been a fan of 3D films, so it's perhaps not a surprise that he devotes much of his latest column to a letter he received from film editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now)
The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the "convergence/focus" issue. A couple of the other issues -- darkness and "smallness" -- are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen -- say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what.
But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focussed and converged at the same point.
This column has provoked a lot of comments and repostings, and some interesting comments both pro and con:
Walter Murch is a rockstar editor -- not a neurologist. I'm no fan of 3D but let's not overstate his authority here. @DorkmanScott
Isn't Walter Murch explaining why 3D won't work like Rembrandt explaining why Abstract Expressionism won't work? @KristerR
3D Makes People Sick
This article from the AP suggests that Murch is correct:
More specifically, our eyes track an approaching object by turning inward, toward our noses. Bring something close enough, and we look cross-eyed. 3D screens also elicit this response when they show something approaching the viewer.
The problem is that as the eyes turn inward, they also expect to focus closer. But a screen isn't moving closer, so the eyes have to curb their hard-wired inclination and focus back out. This mismatch between where the eyes think the focus should be and where the screen actually is forces them to work extra hard.
And while there have been isolated reports of warnings from manufacturers about the effects of watching 3D video, it seems there have been few long-term studies and little official investigation:
A study of 115 South Koreans watching 3D screens close up found that 3D caused more eyestrain than 2D. The research prompted the Korean government to recommend that viewers take a break of up to 15 minutes after an hour of 3D viewing. But that study was based on glasses with red and green lenses rather than the ones used in theaters and with TVs.
The 3D Stereo Media conference Film & Digital Times has posted a short write-up on the 3D Stereo Media conference that was held in Dec. 8-10, 2010. Film & Digital Times:3D Stereo Media 2010 3D Media [show website]
Panasonic releases firmware update
Panasonic released the first firmware update for the AG-AF100. It fixes the following problem with SD cards:
Software update for improvement of the SYSTEM ERROR
The system error occasionally occurred on the camera side (AG-AF100 series) when SD Card File Recovery Software on the computer which is connected to the camera by USB cable was executed with SDXC card inserted in the camera.
The SD Card File Recovery Software has been updated so that it can operate normally with the SDXC card.
Firmware makes AF100 hack possible? Vitaliy Kiselev has taken a look at the firmware release and says it shares much in common with the GH platform, making it possible he could hack the firmware to increase the recording bitrate as he did for the GH1. EOSHD: Vitaliy Kiselev begins work on Panasonic AF100 hack
With the official completion of the "Beyond The Still" competition, Vincent Laforet has posted three movies: a compilation of all 8 Chapters as one final piece, the final (8th Chapter) alone, and a behind the scenes video of the Chapter 8 shoot with all of the six winners on set. The final chapter was written by all six of the chapter winners - the first chapter was made by Vincent - starred Judd Nelson, and was directed by Vincent with DP Joe Desalvo.
Thoughts on Documentary Editing
Part one of a lecture Steve Audette gives on editing for documentaries. Steve has edited for Frontline and Nova since 1993.
ArtoftheGuillotine: Part One
ArtoftheGuillotine: Part Two
USB Follow Focus for Canon Cameras
The 5D Mark II blog has quite a bit of information about a wired follow-focus that connects to the USB port of Canon cameras and controls the lens focusing. They say they have been using it for a couple of months and are quite excited about it, though there's note:
It’s important to note that a USB Follow Focus doesn’t work exactly as a mechanical Follow Focus, especially due Canon’s USB implementation and since the controller is electronic and not mechanic. Both have their own limitations and advantages.
The user should read the detailed information provided by the manufacturer to understand the way this works, its possibilities, what it can and can’t do. That will be available on the official release.
Singular Software recently introduced PluralEyes (the audio/video sync tool) for Media Composer, and as they have done in the past, there's an introductory discount; it's $119 until Feb 21st, then it goes to $149.