Saturday, April 23, 2011

Independent Film Festival, Boston April 27 - May 4

IFFBoston is coming! They have a schedule, and an iPhone app! There will be three panels this year:

Following the Band: Docs that Rock
Friday, 4/29 at 3pm - Mass Art Tower Building, Trustees Room, 11th Floor, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Panelists include: Gorman Berchad (COLOR ME OBSESSED), Jeff Broadway (CURE FOR PAIN: THE MARK SANDMAN STORY), Demian Fenton (LAST DAYS HERE)
Moderated by Brad Searles, author of Bradley’s Almanac, Boston’s premier music blog.

Navigating the Film Festival Circuit
Saturday, 4/30 at 3pm - Somerville Theatre Microcinema
Featuring Holly Herrick (Sarasota Film Festival), Andrew Rodgers (Riverrun International Film Festival), Dan Nuxoll (Rooftop Films)
Moderated by Mike Bowes, independent film producer and Director of Central Productions.

LEF Foundation & DocYard Present: When Does a Story Become a Film?: From Idea to Documentary
Sunday, 5/1 at 3pm - Somerville Theatre Microcinema
Featuring Steven Ascher & Jeanne Jordan (RAISING RENEE), Ian Cheney (A CITY DARK), and Annie Sundberg (BURMA SOLDIER)
Moderated by Chico Colvard, director of IFFBoston 2010 Audience Award winner FAMILY AFFAIR.

A John Waters Film is...

A political action against the tyranny of good taste.
- John Waters (appearing on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me)

News From Here & There

Sony PMW-F3 Firmware Update Coming
New PMW-F3 firmware, free update to be released very soon will include HD-SDI & HDMI same time outputs & utilize S/Q knob for menu nav

ARRI Alexa Q &A
Jon Faur at Film & Digital Times interviewed Martin Prillmann, Managing Director of ARRI about the ALEXA. They talked about it's development, acceptance, and the transition from film to digital, which is "taking place right now." He also asked if the ARRI was going to be upgradeable to 4K:
No, the camera is not designed to be a 4K camera. Our goal, and I think we are pretty well on track on that, is to get most out of 2K, and not to have 4K simply to have 4K. We don’t believe in the pixel race. We believe that a digital camera is a system which is the sum of more elements than only the pixels.
Film&DigitalTimesInterview with Martin Prillmann of ARRI

Zacuto Zgrop Gloves Official
Though they were shown at NAB, Zacuto has now officially announced the Zgrip Gloves:
Zgrip Gloves are soft, cushy and comfortable grip covers made from non-slip textured FDA grade high-temperature silicone. Simply stretch and slide the Zgrip Gloves over any already existing Zacuto handgrip. Zgrip Gloves are textured and designed not to slip out of your hands. They can easily slide on and off your grips so they can be used at the shooter's discretion. Zgrip Gloves are priced at $49 and come in pairs.
Zacuto: Introducing Zacuto's New Zgrip Gloves

Zacuto NAB Wrap-up & Single Chip Camera Evaluation Response
Zacuto has a short blog post on the results of their NAB experience, and also mentions the response to their screening of the camera evaluation tests they ran:
The Single Chip Camera Evaluations (SCCE) screenings were way more popular than we expected.  We went from 14 to 24 screenings and still had a huge waiting list.  We apologize to anyone that couldn’t get a seat but don’t worry, we are planning screenings in New York and Los Angeles so keep your eyes on the Zacuto website for details.  You can also see the final version of the tests in the Great Camera Shootout 2011 scheduled to hit the web in June. 
Zacuto: NAB 2011 Wrap Up
NotesOnVideo: The Great Camera Shoot Out 2011

Adobe Price Increase Coming?
The reports that the price of Adobe Creative Suite could be rising; though there's only one source for this report. Adobe Price Increase Coming

Adobe Free Upgrades?
The report also talks about buying the current version of the Adobe Creative Suite by April 27th and getting a free upgrade to CS5.5. According to the ProDesignTools website, Adobe in the past has offered free or reduced price upgrades, and Adobe's site itself says so, though there's no hard or fast declaration, only a "you may qualify." So you will probably have to contact Adobe first to determine what the details are.

Otherwise, you have to pay $399 to upgrade to CS 5.5 from CS 5:
AdobeUpgrade eligibility after new product announcement
ProDesignToolsGrace Period for Free Upgrades to Adobe Creative Suite 5.5
Amazon: Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium [Mac][OLD VERSION]$1,387.00
Amazon: Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium[OLD VERSION]$1,449.00
[CS5.5 is listed at 1,699.00 for both versions]

Give Canon Your Opinion
James Drake at the Denver Video Production blog notes that Chuck Westfall, Canon’s media spokesman in a recent interview invited customers to tell Canon what they want, and James encourages us all to let Canon know what we want in the Canon 5D Mark III.

It's always a good idea to let manufacturers know what you think of their products, but I suspect it might be a bit late in the cycle to really have any influence on the design of the 5D Mark III (assuming the current rumors of release sometime around August are correct.)
Denver Video ProductionHow YOU can change the Canon 5D Mark III right now!

Are you a Mac or a PC? The Hunch Blog finds that there might be more to the Mac vs. PC ads than anyone thought: Mac vs. PC: A Hunch Rematch

Friday, April 22, 2011

More News

The Small HD DP4 small camera monitor will ship in May, and the DP4-EVF will ship in June. They are not taking pre-orders, but you can sign up to be notified. Signup To Receive New Product Availability Notices

16x9 showed a PL-mount adapter for the Sony NEX-FS100 that will be available mid May and cost $870. That includes the mount and lens support ($595 mount and $275 for the lens support). The adapter has an interchangeable back mount, so will also work with the Panasonic AG-AF100, and perhaps other cameras in the future. You can see a short video about it at Cinema5DNAB 2011 – Very high quality PL-mount for FS100 by 16×9 Inc.

The Economist looks at the ailing home-entertainment business and how a move from purchasing to renting is having a profound effect on merchants, studios and even the movies being made. Unkind unwind

Quantel has a interview with Ian Vertovec, the colorist for The Social Network. He talks about new technology and how he goes about working on a project:
“I like to spend a lot of time making sure that practical lights are always at a good level. I try to key them and bring them down a lot – as much as I can, really. Sometimes practical lights in a scene can go very hot and so if you have a relatively low key scene (and you have a practical in there), the practical can sometimes appear very bright relative to the level of the faces. If you just leave it as it was photographed, that ratio can be very high.”
Quantel: Ian Vertovec from Light Iron Digital

RED Shipping info:
  • Production of EPIC-X to begin in earnest in June
  • EPIC-M. We are making machined body parts and purchasing individual parts and pieces at extraordinary prices now to continue production of EPIC-M.
  • Scarlet continues to be an issue due to the fact that lens components from Japan are causing an issue and we aren't quite sure how long it will take to resolve. We will update as we have more info. Clarification...

Events Update:
  • The New Hampshire 48 Hour Film Project is taking registrations. Register on or before May 16 to get the special $140 rate: 48 Hour Film New Hampshire

  • The 2011 Boston Cyberarts Festival: April 22-May 8: the first and largest collaboration of artists working in new technologies in all media in North America, encompassing visual arts, dance, music, electronic literature, web art, and public art. Boston Cyberarts Festival

  • May 10 - 11: The 8th Annual Coolidge Award, honoring Film Preservation, will take place at the Coolidge Theatre, Boston. Premiere screening of These Amazing Shadows May 10. Panel Discussion: Film Restoration and Access in the Digital Age May 11. Coolidge Award

Quick Links

Quick Links - Gear

Quick Links - Software
  • Documentary Photo Effects In Premiere Pro: Richard Harrington takes a look at how to integrate still photos into your Premiere Pro timeline to acquire the very popular documentary photo effects style with pans and scans. Creative COW: Documentary Photo Effects

  • Working with Color in After Effects. Digital Juice has released Color Rules, a plug-in for After Effects which allows you to create editable, saveable color schemes or color swatch sets inside of After Effects projects and apply them to multiple layers instantly. The plug-in uses an interactive Color Wheel for color selection and guides you in choosing your color scheme based on a series of established principles of color theory and color relationships. Digital Juice: Color Rules

News From Here & There

Cinervate Grip Sticks
Cinervate has announced mounting accessories called Grip Sticks which can be used for any camera or kit that supports a ¼-20 thread. Based on components of the new Simplis system, Grip Sticks allow users to mount standard accessories with ¼-20 threads such as on-camera monitors and external audio recorders in virtually any orientation imaginable. Grip Sticks are available in 11”, 13” and 15” lengths.
Grip Sticks start at $174.98. The Simplis rigs starts at $399.
CinervateProteus Grip Sticks
CinervateSimplis Solo - DSLR Rig

Stop Motion by Carlos Lascano
A post on the Zacuto website profiles Carlos Lascano, and the stop motion effects he uses to make videos.
I used a Nikon D70s to capture the textures.  For the Stop Motion, I used a Sony V1 and iStopMotion Pro software. I also did a lot of hand-drawing for the 2D and 2D1/2 animation parts.  I love the combination of drawings and real objects.  Then I placed all the elements that I shot on a 3D space in After Effects.  This allowed me to create camera movements and achieve more depth.
I first became aware of Carlos' work last year when it was high-lighted as part of the Great Camera Shootout.
Zacuto: The Making of a Short Love Story in Stop Motion ~Carlos Lascano
See also NotesOnVideoThe Making of J'ai pas le temps

Story Structure
PhotoCineNews collects together four videos (total time 20 minutes) from Ira Glass, of This American Life talking about the elements of good story structure that won’t make your eyes crossed, or keep you away from shooting for too long. PhotoCineNewsCould be the Most Important Video You Watch This Week

PortaSlider from DitoGear
Nino Leitner spoke to Patryk Kizny from DitoGear about the PortaSlider. a new slider that uses a track that it’s possible to join multiple segments together to create a long track:
Technically there are no limitations for building a 200m slider as well as shorter units like 2, 3, 4 meters.We wanted to push the concept to the limits and see how it all performs in really demanding conditions – you wouldn’t be able to notice some potential issues at 2-3m unit, but you do with 14m.
NinoFilmNew PortaSlider from DitoGear: Some questions answered

Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington
Photojournalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington lost their lives in Misurita, Libya on Wednesday. Vincent Laforet has a remembrance: 2 Great photographers lost today in Libya – doing what they loved to do.
As much as I want to tell all of my friends and colleagues to leave that place in the world – I respect and admire what they do.  I understand their need to be there to document history.
Just a few months back Tim Hetherington posted Diary (2010)
'Diary' is a highly personal and experimental film that expresses the subjective experience of my work, and was made as an attempt to locate myself after ten years of reporting. It's a kaleidoscope of images that link our western reality to the seemingly distant worlds we see in the media.
VimeoDiary (2010)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

News From Here & There

Lenses for your Panasonic AG-AF100
One of the questions for any AG-AF100 owner; what lenses to use? Peter Lundstrom was thinking about getting a Canon EF adaptor, but ended up buying some Micro-Four Thirds and Leica VM Mount lenses, specifically: the Olympus 14-35/2, and the Voigtländer 25/0.95, 35/1.2, 50/1.1 and 75/1.8. He really likes the Voigtländers, especially the 25/0.95:
It’s built to a very high standard and the density and weight you feel when holding is a relief compared to many other lenses. Nothing beats genuine quality. As it happens it’s also a very good lens on the AF101. Full manual control and a direct micro 4/3 mount makes this one the best prime lenses for any micro 4/3 camera.
ConvergeGreat lenses for micro 4/3 cameras

Philip Bloom bought a Sony PMW-F3...
And Philip Johnston at HD Warrior couldn't be happier, because he predicted that Philip would abandon DSLRs last year:
I think he will plum for the Pro Sony FilmLike camera. Philip Bloom is a film maker at heart and is looking for a camera that suits his style of filming, the DSLR in my opinion is not an ENG cameraman’s natural choice ergonomically, Philip has adapted to suit his needs.
Other people, not so much.
HELP!! CRISIS!! Today @PhilipBloom bought an F3. This means the DSLR revolution is officially over. THE END!! OVER!! DSLRS DEAD!!
HDWarriorMy Prediction comes true !

Atomos Ninja Review
Speaking of Philip Johnston, he also just wrote a report on using the Atomos Ninja Video Hard Disk Recorder. Despite some initial problems due to the wrong firmware, and a lack of HDMI passthrough, he likes it:
This is PreRes HQ 422 out of the Panasonic AF101 and I can assure you it delivers a far cleaner, less banding higher quality image than the SDHC card running at 24MBs. The final proof is a capture from the camera and the Ninja spliced together.
HDWarriorNINJA Review

Here Comes 4K
Jon Fauer at Film and Digital Times saw the future at NAB, and it's 4K. The companies are showing the cameras, the theaters have the projectors, and storing and managing 4K files is getting easier (and less costly.) Even the DSLR makers might get in on the act:
I wouldn’t be surprised to see 4K in upcoming DSLR cameras. And why not? Current Canon DSLRs have sensors up to 22 Megapixels. When they do 4K video, will they be called 4KSLR cameras?
FilmAndDigitalTimesBelieve Beyond 4K

Did you miss NAB? Or are you just missing NAB?
Paul Antico at Need Creative has written his thought's on this year's NAB: the technology might have been okay, but it was the people that made the difference:
One thing I remember was late in the evening, standing around a dimly-lit nook of large, comfy chairs, listening to Philip Bloom, Mick Jones, Joseph Stunzi, Steve Weiss (of Zacuto) and others just chatting about life. I kind of sat back, taking it all in and was struck again on how so many wildly different people, many of whom met online, could casually chat like they knew each other for 20 years. Ok, maybe not that long, but you get the idea: social networking really brought people together.  
NeedCreativeThe Clique That Reaches Millions: The NAB 2011 Report

Redrock Micro Canon EF to Micro Four-Thirds Lens Adapter
At NAB Redrock previewed a Canon EF to Micro Four-Thirds Lens Adapter, the Live Lens MFT, which lets you set the aperture using an external controller. They expect it to be available within 30 days, and the pricing will be "well under $500." You can see a video here: YouTubeRedrock Micro - Live Lens MFT - NAB 2011

Looking for a Title for you Action movie? provides the Action Title Starter Kit

New CineForm Products for 2D and 3D

CineForm, now a division of GoPro, has announced a new, lower cost software product line for both consumers and professional production and post production customers.

  • CineForm Studio
    CineForm Studio is a free 3D editing application specifically designed for use with GoPro’s 3D HERO System, that allows GoPro HD HERO Camera owners to combine two HD HEROs together to capture synchronized 1080p 3D videos and photos. Available for both Mac and Windows platforms, CineForm Studio converges videos and photos captured with the 3D HERO System and provides image adjustment tools including 3D convergence control with unlimited keyframing, framerate, exposure, contrast, saturation, color temperature, image rotation, frame resizing, as well as cropping and zooming.

    Users can export their content using the GoPro CineForm codec for further editing in other applications or as H.264 compressed .mp4 files for viewing in 3D on any active or passive 3D display, on a computer, or online at YouTube.
    Availability: Immediate
    Free download at

  • CineForm Studio Premium
    CineForm Studio Premium combines popular features of both Neo HD and Neo 4K into a single, new solution ideal for 2D and 3D broadcast and feature film production. A fully-featured First Light application with Alpha Channel support, plus support for unlimited keyframing for color and 3D adjustments.
    CineForm Studio Premium will be a free upgrade to existing NeoHD and Neo4K v5 customers.
    Availability: May 1
    Price: $299.00 US

  • CineForm Studio Professional
    CineForm Studio Professional is optimized for multi-camera stereo rigs, such as SI, PHANTOM, RED, and ARRI ALEXA. A fully featured First Light application, CineForm Studio Professional enables individual eye adjustments required for multi-cam stereo productions, adds keystone adjustments, ghost busting, and many other professional 3D features while enabling real-time 3D editing for both Windows and Mac-based editing applications.
    Availability: May 1
    Price: $999.00 US
For more information, visit
Press ReleaseGoPro® Debuts CineForm® Studio Product Line for 2D and 3D Post ProductionWorkflows [PDF]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sony NEX-FS100 Delayed Until The Fall

Bad news for everyone that saw the image quality of the PMW-F3 and figured "I can't afford that, I'll get an NEX-FS100 instead." Derek Shantz, a self-described Pro Video Sales Guy at Vistek, reports that a Sony rep told him the NEX-FS100 may not be available until the fall.

News From Here & There

Redrock 3D Rig
Redrock was showing this rig last year at the Canon Expo, and they are now listing it on their site:

The Redrock micro3D SxS is a state-of-the-art rig for 3D production using two video cameras in a side by side (SxS) configuration. This rig features locking adjustments, precision machining, all-metal constructions, and the full complement of adjustments demanded by professional 3D setups.

The micro3D SxS is designed with smaller size and weight in mind to minimize demands that large heavy 3D rigs place on productions. The micro3D rig is optimized for small format cameras such as the Canon XF105, but can support larger cameras including the Canon XF305, Sony EX3, and even the Red ONE.
Redrock Micro: micro3D SxS rig - with shroud

A Quick look at the Sony HDR-TD10
Julie Babcock writes a short, but surprisingly upbeat assessment of the Sony 3D HDR-TD10 (I say surprisingly, because Camcorderinfo's review of the difficulties with the JVC 3D camcorder made it sound like shooting good 3D was very difficult - at least with that camera.)
As skeptical as I had been, and as silly as it may sound, I really couldn’t help but say, “wow!” once I actually saw the LCD display in action.
Overall, the TD10 made shooting in 3D fun. In auto mode, it’s as easy as pointing the camera and recording.
VideoMaker: A Quick Look at the Sony TD10 Full HD 3D Camcorder

EOS Canon 7D Firmware Update
The 5D Mark II Team website reports a new firmware release for the Canon 7D:
Canon has released a new firmware update for the EOS 7D . It includes some fixes and improvements, but there is still no option to disable AGC (auto gain control).Weird indeed, this firmware refers to a previous version (1.2.4) that was not widely announced. Moreover, this new version 1.2.5 still doesn’t appear on Canon USA website at the time of writing this article.
5DMarkIITeam: EOS 7D Firmware Update 1.2.5
[Update 7:00PM: Seems it's been removed]

WEVA News: Den Lennie presents the Sony NEX-FS100
Den Lennie from F-Stop Academy presents his work on the Cozi "Vertigo" music video shot with the Sony NEX FS100 at the WEVA Open House 2011 during NAB. Den talks about how he got involved with the camera and shooting a video with it, and answers questions at the end.

WEVA News: Den Lennie presents the Sony FS100 from WEVA on Vimeo.


[UPDATE: Noted that 7D firmware has been removed]

The Great Camera Shoot Out 2011

Last year, Zacuto produced The Great Camera Shootout, a comparison of several HDSLR cameras shooting under challenging conditions. In addition to the digital cameras, film tests were also made under the same conditions. The results were then screened for several cinematographers on a large screen, and the audience weighed in with their opinions. While there were no formal results - or a declared winner - there was a lot to learn both from the participants reactions, as well as from seeing the clips posted online.

I think the reaction can be summed up as:
the digital cameras don't have the latitude of film, but it's closer than most people thought it would be (including me!)
This year the effort was repeated, though with an entirely different selection of digital cameras. Mike Curtis, one of the team working on the test, has written an article for Pro Video Coalition that explains the process:
The group shot 15 live-action and instrumented tests specifically designed to give filmmakers an apples-to-apples comparison of exposure latitude, low-light sensitivity, color space, flesh tones, shutter artifacts and compression.

They evaluated footage captured using: 12-bit Sony F35, ArriRaw Alexa, 35mm Vision 3 film, RED One M-X, Weisscam HS-2 and Phantom Flex high speed cameras, Panasonic AF-100, Sony F3 and various Canon and Nikon DSLRs.
On the Tuesday of NAB, Bob Primes, who organized this year's event as part of an ad-hoc group the "Image Quality Geeks," presented the results of the tests in a presentation that was described as the "Single Chip Camera Evaluation" (SCCE.)

Zacuto also showed the clips at NAB, and their website suggests that the results will be posted on their website in June.

Already there have been reports from those that saw the tests, with the Sony PMW-F3 a clear hit, not necessarily because it was the best, but because of how good it was for the price. Philip Bloom tweeted shortly after seeing it:
Wow Sony F3 did so well in new Zacuto shootout. Sold me on it!

Sony had some awesome toys today. Want F3 more and more with every day.
- @PhilipBloom
And he just took delivery of one!

Others said:
The Zacuto Shootout was extremely revealing & surprising, F3 came out REALLY well for price, Alexa was way up there too.
- @NinoLeitner

Went to the Zacuto screening and thought the "winner" from a quality & cost standpoint was the F3. DSLRs not so great.
- @veloeditor

Vincent Laforet has posted his thoughts from the event. He rates the RED Epic as the winner for Ergonomics and Resolution, and the ARRI Alexa as the winner for Image Quality. But he also rates the PMW-F3 highly, noting it's image quality vs. price.
...everyone was surprised to see this camera perform right up there with the big boys on most tests. This is probably going to be the surprise camera of 2011. Given its price tag, weight and form factor – it might just become the darling of 2011 for many.
And, he adds that they didn't have the benefit of S-Log for those tests, suggesting it may have done even better.

Vincent also high-lights a separate video test he was involved with during NAB that was shot by Khalid Mohtaseb and Jonathan Bregel from Next Level Pictures, using an F3 with the S-Log update: will clearly see how incredibly well this cameras deals with highlights in S-log.   I’m not going to go as far as to say this is an Alexa contender YET – but I’d definitely like to see side by side tests w/ the F3 w/ S-Log and the Alexa and Epic…

ZacutoThe Great Camera Shootout 2011
ZacutoThe Great Camera Shootout 2010
ProVideoCoalition: Coming to NAB? Come see results of our 12 camera test Tuesday night
VincentLaforetNAB Redux Pt.1: Cameras
NextLevelPicturesNLP shoots the worlds first footage with the Sony F3 S-Log
NotesOnVideoMore Thoughts on the Great Camera Shootout - part I
BelowTheLine: Bob Primes, ASC to Present SCCE Digital Camera Evaluation Results at NAB
NABShow: Session: SCCE – An impartial, comprehensive evaluation of the image quality of 11 top digital motion picture cameras

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sony PMW-F3 S-Log firmware

While it's not available yet, the S-Log firmware update for the PMW-F3 was seen in the wild at NAB.

AbelCine had a PMW-F3 with the firmware installed, and they loaned that camera to Next Level Pictures, who used it to shoot a test. You can see the video, as well as a behind the scenes video blog at their site:

NextLevelPicturesNLP shoots the worlds first footage with the Sony F3 S-Log
CineTechnica: Shooting S-Log with the Sony F3

[UPDATETimur Civan has also posted a blog about the shoot: Sony F3: First S-Log Test!

The same camera got rolled by Jay Friesen and he took some footage on the show floor. He's posted it on Dropbox, and also posted some stills:

JayFriesenSony F3 S-Log Footage!

World's First Sony F3 S-Log Test - Behind the Scenes from Next Level Pictures on Vimeo.

[UPDATE 12:00AM Added Timur Civan link]

News From Here & There

The death of the Flip I
Julia Roy reminisces about her first handheld video camera, but realizes that it has been replaced:
...its been years since I've taken it with me anywhere to capture video. This is for a few reasons. I now have a video camera on my phone (iPhone 4), which is always with me for capturing spontaneous moments, making it not necessary to carry another device. And, more importantly, over the years I've opted for much sleeker models, starting with the Sony Webbie and most recently the Sony Bloggie.
JuliaRoy: The Demise of the Flip Camera

The Final NAB Wrapup?
Splice Vine offers the 6 most disruptive things at NAB; I was a bit surprised that the death of DSLRs wasn't one of them! [removes tongue from cheek]
A certain video editing package was number 1....The Top 6 Disruptive Announcements for Post at NAB

The death of the Flip II
It seems Cisco axed the Flip the day before they were to announce a Web-Connected camcorder.
Called the FlipLive, the camera would have been able to stream video to Twitter and Facebook, or e-mail a link to a real-time video feed, using Wi-Fi. Gizmodo got exclusive access to images of the device, which sports the Flip’s signature candy bar design.
Wired: Flip’s Web-Connected Camcorder Nixed Before Release

Zacuto Cross Fire Review
Brian Troy reviews the Zacuto Cross Fire rig, which is the Striker rig with the addition of the Zacuto DSLR baseplate and the Z-Focus (follow-focus). It's $2,137 vs. the Striker's $810.
What I like about the Cross Fire is its versatility. You don’t need all that extra gear to carry around. The Cross Fire breaks down into five small pieces that you can easily fit into a backpack, camera case, pelican case, etc. Throw in a set of sticks, and you can do a lot.
If you haven't used a gun-stock style rig like the Striker, I'd recommend trying before buying. I spent some time with one and found I didn't like how much weight it put on my chest.

Brian notes in his review:
Bare in mind, this rig is heavier than the Striker, so don’t expect a long period of shoot time as the weight will put a lot of pressure on your arm. It’s great for the run and gun atmosphere that a lot of independent filmmakers are accustomed to, but it won’t replace a shoulder rig.
BrianTroyFilms: Zactuo Cross Fire Review

Shooting 3D with the Sony PMW-F3

Alister Chapman reported on a recent 3D shoot with the Sony PMW-F3. Everything went well except that:
Our only small issue was that the follow focus motors were shifting the camera very slightly due to flex in the tripod base plate on the F3. You probably wouldn’t notice this at most normal focal lengths in 2D but in 3D small shifts are very obvious. So a stiffener plate for the base will be needed to prevent this (as well as general flex) or a pair of 15mm rails mounted to the top holes on the F3 body.
XDCAM-USER: Two PMW-F3′s used on 3D Cinema Commercial

Quick Links
  • Canon EF 8-15 f/4L Fisheye coming in 20-40 days? The lens, announced last fall, was supposed to be here by nowm, but now Canonrumors thinks it's not far off: EF 8-15 Fisheye Coming Soon?

  • Free Stuff: Filmmaker.IQ has a list of 111 Filmmaking Tools; software, plug-ins etc.: 111 Free Filmmaking Tools

  • Panic! The iPhone 4 will soon be the most popular camera on Flickr: New York Times: Bits

  • Don't Panic! "As a marketing guy at a camera retailer, here are a couple of reasons why I honest to god believe that the point and shoot market has nothing to worry about": The Phoblographer: Why You All Need To Calm Down About Phones Killing Cameras

  • Dead Pixels: ChessyCam explains how to remap dead pixels in your DSLR camera sensor:  Fixing Random Hot or Dead Pixels

Final Cut Pro X Is A Huge Failure

In an article for Gizmodo, Matt Toder lists all kinds of things he thinks Final Cut Pro X should have added to be useful to the pro-editor: ability to save your export settings; shared bins; a reliable shared media solution; or a find bin command. But then he concludes that none of those features exist because they weren't shown:
If this were truly a device for professional editors, those improvements would have been in FCPX, and Steinauer would have made a point of mentioning them considering the room he was playing to. But he didn't
With that piece of sleuthing done, he goes on to complain about the removal of the Source Monitor:
This represents a gigantic change in the way non-linear editing occurs, a nearly unfathomable one. Since non-linear editing was invented, the mainstays have been the source monitor, the record monitor, the browser and the timeline. To take one of these away means that non-linear editing has to be rethought entirely
and proves that Final Cut Pro X isn't catering to the professional, because it doesn't work the way that professionals are used to working:
... that means giving them the flexibility to work however they please, using the techniques they've developed over years of working in tough conditions.
Now this missive against change wouldn't be so curious if it had appeared on a site other than Gizmodo. Because just a few months ago, Gizmodo completely re-engineered itself, changing the design to an emphasis on feature stories and images, and away from the reverse-chronological blog format.

There was quite a backlash from some readers, but Gawker - the publisher - have stuck with the new design. Here was a company saying to it's users "times are changing, and we're changing with it."

Seriously, what was Gizmodo thinking? I used to be able to go in and scan through the headlines of their news stories quickly, but now they have this ONE big story that gets in the way of things. And we're supposed to scan down a small list of other stories that are terse and don't really tell you what they are about. How's a power reader supposed to work with that?

But I digress.

Through the years, how many people in creative fields have been steamrollered by technology changes they first dismissed?
  • How many type-setters and graphic designers looked at PageMaker and said "that's all very good, but it's not as efficient and high-quality as what we can do with..."
  • How many cinematographers said they'd never shoot digitally?
  • How many...
You get the idea.

And who are these unhappy pro-editors? How do they relate to the majority of users? If Apple were to let Avid have the entire feature film market, they could still laugh all the way to the bank.

Before we write off this entire market segment, let's not forget, we still don't really know how the damn program works! We're guessing how efficient and easy it will be to use based on a 20 minute demo!

This is getting a little silly.

But before anyone decides to switch editing environments, or write nasty letters to The New York Times, we should at least wait until people have actually spent time using the thing!

And in the mean time, I'm really hoping that an inflammatory title on this article will drive up readership; it seems to work for others.

GizmodoWhy Final Cut Pro X Is Sending Me Back to Avid
The AtlanticLong Live Blogs: As Readers Flee, Gawker Backtracks on Big Redesign

To balance things up a bit, Mark Reschke at Three Guys and a Podcast takes a decidedly more optimistic view:
If the pro user's ego can get past the fact they've actually gained tools from iMovie, while embracing some out-of-the-box thinking, Final Cut Pro X is going to be a boon for Apple's base while expanding into the new realm of pro-sumer photography, at a price point that makes it work for everyone.
t-gaap.comApple News, Analysis and Podcasts

At this point, I think all the views have been exhausted. Until Apple announces something new, I'm going to try really hard not to keep rehashing things!

Monday, April 18, 2011

News From Here & There

NAB Video Roundup has collected together a pretty exhaustive collection of video clips taken by different people at NAB: NAB 2011 Video Round-up

RED vs Alexa
Jim Jannard offers his comparison of the ARRI Alexa and RED Epic:
  • EPIC has 6 times the resolution of Alexa.
  • Alexa has a stop more native dynamic range than EPIC. Good on them.
  • EPIC has 3 stops more DR than Alexa using HDRx. Good on us.
  • EPIC is ownable.
  • Alexa is rentable.
REDUser: Alexa vs. EPIC... 

Cheap Motor for a Kessler Dolly
Chris Duke shows how to use a variable speed drill as a motor control for your dolly:
The "elektraDRIVE BUNDLE PACKAGE with ORACLE Controller" is a $1,314.95 add-on to their $649 slider making it a $2k package, and a whole lot of extra parts.

What if you could pull off the same motor slide effect with something you already have in your garage, using a variable speed drill--and saving $1,300!!
Vimeo: Kessler Pocket Dolly v2.0 Cheap Motor Trick

Slide Kamera Dolly
Cinescopophilia has a link to a video of the Slide Kamera from Poland. They think it will cost less than $200.
OR, you could build your own skateboard dolly...
Cinescopophilia: Slide Kamera HSO-2 Skater Dolly
NotesOnVideo: DIY Slider Dolly

Sony NEX-FS100 Test Video
Doug Jensen got to spend some time with the NEX-FS100 the week before NAB and has posted a very nice demo video. He notes the importance of setting the picture profile for the camera:
I set it up on my DSC test chart and created a custom Picture Profile that looked good to me. Please keep in mind that you should never judge a Sony camera right out of the box. You MUST create (or get) a Picture Profile or Scene File with a Sony camera if you expect the camera to perform at its best. That's the way Sony designs them, and it is the right way to do it.
He also thinks that the lack of an internal ND filter isn't such a bad thing.

Personally, I think that for creative work, he's probably right, but for the run and gun - ENG shooter, an internal ND filter would have been really useful:
I used a $150 Genus Variable ND Polarizer filter to control the amount of light entering the lens. ALL shots, except for the indoor fruit basket were shot with the ND filter on the lens. I found that this filter actually allowed me much finer control over my exposure than if the camera had only a couple of built-in filters. What at first seemed like a big shortcoming of the camera, was quickly forgotten. I can use cheap step-down rings to use the same ND Polarizer on all of my lenses regardless of their native filter size.
Vimeo: Vortex Media's Sony NEX-FS100 Demo Footage

What does the NEX-FS100 HDMI output?
There's been several questions about the NEX-FS100 HDMI; is it 8 or 10-bit? Does it output 4:2:2 or 4:4:4.

In a video from NAB, Doug Jensen of Sony said that the NEX-FS100 HDMI was 4:4:4.This raised questions as people had heard it was 4:2:2 8bit. Cinema5D went back to Doug for clarification, and he confirmed it was 4:4:4 - if the recorder supports it.
Cinema5DDoug Jensen says FS100 hdmi is 4:4:4

In this video from the ProVideoCoalition, Juan Martinez from Sony says:
The Sony NEX-FS100 video is analog component 4:2:2 or RGB 4:4:4, 8-bit
Great!  But what does that mean?
Vimeo: Sony FS100 with Juan Martinez from Sony

A Little More Final Cut Pro X
"Those that know, can't say. Those that don't know, are just guessing and enjoy making you nervous."

Chris Kenny at the Nice Dissolve Blog asks what the relationship is between iMovie and Final Cut Pro X, and wonders if iMovie is really the child of Final Cut Pro X, rather than the other way around.
Nice Dissolve Blog: What is FCP X’s relationship to iMovie?

Scott Simmons at ProVideoCoalition has some more thoughts about the reaction to Final Cut Pro X, wonders about 3rd Party support, and compares iMovie and Final Cut Pro user interface elements.
ProVideoCoalition: Here we are nearly a week after the Final Cut Pro X sneak preview

Over at the DVInfo forum, Bill Davis offers his own perspective on the release:
Apple, does seem to generate an almost cult-like following. Why? Is it truly because Mac-heads are merely the "some of the time" people that PT Barnum argued can be fooled over and over and over again? Or is there something else in play here.
My answer is that with Apple, it's NEVER as simple as just the product.
DVInfo: Thoughts on new FCP X Sneak Peek #72

Be careful, be safe

When you turn that camera on, and look through the viewfinder, what you see on that screen becomes your world. You can't see - and often forget about - what's around you and behind you. You focus on that small moving world...

And then you trip over something.  Or walk into something or someone. I've done it lots of times, fortunately, never with any serious consequences.

But the tragic death this weekend of an Emerson College Film Student who, it's believed, fell while walking backwards on a roof shooting a film project, is a warning to us all:

  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • If you're moving backwards rapidly, or working in situations that are high-risk, have an assistant (or if you can't afford that, get a friend!) to act as a guide/warning for you
  • Similarly, have an assistant to act as your eyes in situations where other people or things are moving around you at high-speed
  • In dangerous situations, consider leaving the camera locked-down on a tripod

And before you press record, re-evaluate the safety conditions; what was safe ten minutes ago can change.

TheBostonChannelEmerson College Student Falls To His Death

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New 5D Mark III by mid-year

Canonrumors picks up another Canon 5D Mark III rumor with a mid-year release date and 26.4MP pixels. But no information on video specs. 26.4mp 5D Mark III Mid-year? [CR1]

News From Here & There

More NAB Stuff
  • Dan Chung at DSLR News Shooter has a video about the Small HD DP4 4.3inch monitor. It features HDMI input and pass-through, 1/8" component input, a USB port for firmware updates, and a scroll wheel and two buttons to control the interface. It has a double LP-E6 battery bracket, though they plan to offer other battery support. An optical attachment turns it into an EVF. Shipping date is May, with the attachment in June. Price $749.NAB 2011 – SMALL HD DP4 COMBINED MONITOR AND EVF

  • Dan also has a summary of other "interesting accessories," including: Redrock Micro's V.3 follow focus, Birns and Sawyer 4×4 ND fader, the D|Focus Matte box, and some lens mounts: NAB 2011 – INTERESTING GEAR WE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO CHECK OUT PART 1: LENSES, FILTERS, FOLLOW FOCUS AND MATTEBOXES.

  • VideoMaker's NAB Awards: This is an odd list for a couple of reasons; the best camcorder is the Canon XF305 (with the 3D firmware upgrade) but best in show is the Sony NEX-FS100u, which really means that the Canon XF305 is the second best And can you really give the Best Editing Software Award to something that wasn't even on the show floor? Videomaker NAB 2011 Awards Announced

Final Cut Pro X
Having had lots of reservations both before and after the announcement of Final Cut Pro X, Walter Biscardi has had a few days to digest it all and decided that Apple really messed it up:
Apple had two freakin’ hours of stage time available and they wasted it on just one hour of a super slick presentation. Of course we’re going to knock the presentation because all it did was leave us with many more questions than answers.
Actually, I'm with Walter on that. Apple should never have had the SuperMeet crew cancel the first part of the event; it should have stayed a secret and had they just come on and given the sneak peak there would have been a lot more surprise and excitement. And maybe less "how come we didn't see...?"

But that being said, we got what we got, and unless Apple had shipped the product on day one of NAB, there's no way everyone would be happy; and there's a 100% chance that when they do ship the product, less than 100% of the audience will be happy. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Biscardi Creative Blog: Apple dropped the ball...

Scott Simmons tweeted:
FCPX might actually not be iMovie Pro but after playing w/ iMovie today the FCPX interface & the way demo worked is a lot, A LOT like it
- @editblog
Which I had to puzzle about. I've used iMovie, and it doesn't work anything like that Final Cut Pro X demo does! There are superficial similarities, but that's as far as it goes. But then again, some people think a VW Beatle is the same as a Porsche 911!

Cam Cornelius has posted a video of the demo part of the Final Cut Pro X demo. This one is slightly closer that the earlier one, and includes the start of the demo. Vimeo: Full Demonstration FCPX Supermeet NAB 2011

Editing Tips

Julie Babcock reminds us of the importance of B-Roll, and provides tips on what to shoot:
Close-up shots of fidgety or expressive hands. These kinds of shots are visual clues as to how the person is feeling.
VideomakerDocumentary Production: B-roll

John Rosenberg explains the difference between Continuity and Dynamic editing, while noting how the two are merging:
Continuity editing is generally used in feature films and dramatic television. In general, this approach belongs to productions where scenes can be covered from multiple angles that repeat the same action and dialogue, creating a consistency of time and space.
MasteringFilmDynamic and Continuity Editing
John is the author of: The Healthy Edit: Creative Editing Techniques for Perfecting Your Movie

And did you know....

...that China has banned Time Travel movies? Vulture NYMagChina Bans Time-Travel Movies

....that Pond 5 offers a free stock clip every week: Pond5: Free Stock Footage

...that someone's planning a remake of Hitchcocks To Catch A Thief.  And we must stop them!

...and Austin Kleon wants to remind you that Nothing is Original:  HOW TO STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST (AND 9 OTHER THINGS NOBODY TOLD ME)