Saturday, April 30, 2011

Amazon Studios Music Library

Amazon Studios is running various competitions through the year for scripts, tests movies and other pre-production work. It might be worth looking into, though note that by submitting a work you are giving them a free 18 month option on that work.

And if you are thinking of submitting something, they've just made available a free music library of 2,000 tracks. Of course, there's a caveat to that too; you can only use them for work uploaded to the Amazon Studios site.

Amazon Studios: Music Library

News From Here & There

Sony NEX-FS100 review
Alister Chapman - with the help of Den Lennie - does a video review of the Sony NEX-FS100, and compares it to the PMW-F3. He doesn't really care for the kit lens, and notes that while the LCD panels of both cameras is similar in resolution, the FS100 has an extra layer over it for the touch sensitivity, which may have been one of the reasons why they tended to over-expose the footage on the FS100.
One thing we discovered, not mentioned in the video is that when you use a full frame lens, like the Nikon 50mm. You must ensure that the E-Mount adapter you use has an internal baffle or choke. If it doesn’t you will suffer from excessive flare.

If you don’t need 10 bit 4:2:2 then it is hard to justify the additional cost of the F3, both cameras really are very good. Despite some other reports else where I felt the build quality to be very good and the buttons, while small, are big enough and well placed. If you do want autofocus then you will be pleased to know that it actually works pretty well on the FS100 with only minimal hunting (of course you must use an AF compatible lens).
XDCAM-User: Updated notes for FS100 – F3 Video Review.
YouTube: Sony FS100 and PMW-F3 side by side tests

Technicolor's CineStyle Hands-on
More people have had a chance to play with the new Picture Style for Canon EOS cameras, and are posting their thoughts and results.

Paul Antico at Need Creative writes:
The bottom line is that based on what i see, this profile offers a notable improvement in picture detail in the shadows. And based on what I have seen on the following links, it does so even better than any "super flat" profile before it.

I recommend you use this profile to gain more latitude from your images out of your Canon HDSLR.
Paul's posted a video sample on his blog too.
NeedCreative: Hands On With Technicolor's New CineStyle Picture Style For Canon HDSLRs

Zach at Zach's Camera blog tried it on his Canon T2i and compared it to a Superflat picture style and found real differences when under and over-exposing images:
For Underexposure: We can see that the Technicolor Cinestyle has more detail in the shadows on the unprocessed image. Also looking at the corrected images, the Cinestyle held its color better and has less noise.
When overexposed, the Superflat lost all sharpness, but the Technicolor Cinestyle not only kept all sharpness, it kept all its color as well and actually produced a usable image.
ZachsCamera: New Picture Style from Technicolor

There's also a review in Korean at NetworkedBlogs: Technicolor CineStyle

And if you haven't already, read Vincent Laforet's post about the it, and download the Picture Style.

Using the Panasonic GH2 with the Atomos Ninja
Using the GH2 with external recorders has proved difficult for a lot of people. Jehu Garcia of Jag35 has posted a video recorded with the Ninja, but notes:
Unfortunately the GH2 does not output 24p but 60i and from what i've been told its not easy to do pulldown out of it. so no luck, I will test shooting 60p tomorrow and see how that goes.
Vimeo: GH2 Vs Ninja ProRes422

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Interview
Reed Hastings offers background on the evolution of the company and his secrets for success:
Target a specific niche: When there's an ache, you want to be like aspirin, not vitamins. Aspirin solves a very particular problem someone has, whereas vitamins are a general "nice to have" market. [The Netflix idea] was certainly aspirin.
CNNMoney: How Netflix got started

Grauman's Chinese Theatre being sold
Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures parent Viacom Inc. have signed an agreement to sell Grauman's Chinese Theatre to movie producers: Don Kushner, executive producer of "Tron: Legacy," and the entrepreneur Elie Samaha.
LATimes: Grauman's Chinese Theatre to be sold to movie producers

Making of "Thor"
There's no explanation or description but this collection of behind-the-scenes clips from the movie "Thor" is kind of interesting. You see quite a bit of Kenneth Branagh directing. Anyone know what this movie is about?
Making of: 'Thor' On-Set Footage

Nikon Do Video Please
Sam Morgan Moore at Dslr 4 Real has written an open letter to Nikon:
If Nikon do not produce decent video I will switch to Canon
From 1985 to 2008 I bought 15 nikon bodies and maybe 25 lenses.
Since 2008 I have bought two canon bodies and two Canon lenses
Nothing from NIkon
Dslr4real: Dear Nikon

Friday, April 29, 2011

Push Pop "Our Choice" app initial impressions

NOTE: This is intended to be a review of the Push Pop technology, not the actual content of the book.

I was intrigued, so I downloaded the interactive book "Our Choice" app from Apple's iTunes store. It's $4.99, and if you have an iPad, I'd recommend checking it out. It works pretty much exactly as demoed in the TED talk previously metioned. If nothing else, it will make a great demo to any non-iPad owning friend!

Unlike iBooks books, which are purchased separately, but are read in the iBooks app, the Our Choice app is a single application that only displays the Our Choice book.

On iTunes, it's listed as being 52.8MB, but once I opened the book and started paging about, it seemed to be downloading the later chapters in the book, it displayed a progress bar as I skipped to those chapters and I hate to wait until it had finished to view them. This took a few minutes to complete, but once done that first time, jumping to those pages is instantaneous.

I do wonder how big the actual book is, and whether that content stays permanently on the iPad. Can the publisher change content after the fact? Does it ever get purged?

The pages scroll quickly, and zooming in and out of images and graphics is fast. The interactive graphics worked pretty well; though there was a bit of hesitation when first opening some of the video and interactive graphics (I'm using the original iPad.)

The book is only viewable in horizontal orientation; it doesn't flip if you turn the iPad to vertical orientation. I'm not sure that's a bad thing; but it might annoy some users.

Videos and still pictures that appear as an insert on the page can be expanded to full page by using two fingers to expand, then pinching to shrink back. But some of the images are full screen to begin with, and I often found I'd pinch those out of habit; which returned me to the chapter navigation page!

All in all it's an interesting way to present material...I don't think I want everything to come this way, but for some material it can be quite effective. I'm curious to find out what their publishing model is.

iTunes: "Our Choice" app [$4.99]

Oh, they say the $4.99 price is "for a limited time."

This video is played when you first open the app:

Al Gore's Our Choice Guided Tour from Push Pop Press on Vimeo.

Technicolor CineStyle Profile Available for Canon DSLRS

Technicolor has released the CineStyle Picture Style for Canon EOS DSLR's that had been previewed at NAB. It's free!

The Technicolor CineStyle™ is a Picture Style (profile) for Canon EOS DSLR cameras that optimizes the dynamic range in the image by leveraging the capabilities of the Canon imaging chipset. Cinematographers and their post-production partners will have greater flexibility in color grading and finishing their projects.

Technicolor: CineStyle

From the FAQ:
Q: Can it be used for all Canon EOS cameras?
A: Although the Technicolor CineStyle was designed and optimized for the Canon EOS-5D Mark II camera, the Technicolor CineStyle can be installed and used on any current Canon EOS DSLR camera.

Q: What does it do to the image?
A: When the Technicolor CineStyle is selected in the camera it puts the standard H.264 REC709 color space into a log color space. Video images are recorded in log space. Still images are also converted into the same log color space. This is the first implementation of its kind for the Canon EOS line of cameras.

Vincent Laforet offers instructions on use and how to use the footage:
You’ll see that this gives you a flat, de-saturated image – that’s GOOD. It’s ideal to start from there and add contracts and saturation from there. Technicolor also provides you with an S-curve look-up table (LUT) to work with in your grading (color correction) software. You’ll probably want to look into RedGiant software’s Magic Bullet LUT Buddy at some point
VincetLaforet: Technicolor CineStyle Profile Available for Canon 5DMKII & other HDSLRs

Push Pop Press Digital Publishing on the iPad

When Apple released the iPad, I kept expecting them to come out with some way of authoring digital books (other than the ePub format supported by iBooks.) I thought they might create something like iWeb, but for creating interactive content.

Well, nothing so far, but a small company created by some ex-Apple employees has come up with something.

Push Pop Press describes themselves as a publishing platform. Little information is available about the authoring tools, or what they'll charge for them, but they do have an actual title out; Al Gore's Our Choice.

The choice of book is interesting not because of the subject matter, but because Al Gore is on Apple's board.

You can see a demo of the book in this TED talk:

Push Pop Press TED Talk from Push Pop Press on Vimeo.


UPDATE: I played with the app and have written about it here.

News From Here & There

Panasonic AG-AF100 Review
Jay Holben reviews the Panasonic AG-AF100 for He praises the image quality and sharpness, as well as the HDMI and SDI ports, though he finds a few drawbacks:
Micro 4/3” is the smallest entry in the “large-sensor” category. At 17.8 mm x 10.0 mm, it is 53% smaller than the Canon EOS 5DmkII sensor, 28% smaller than a 1.78:1 extraction from Super35mm film, 27% smaller than the RED One’s sensor and 24% smaller than Canon’s APS-C HDSLR sensor (EOS 7D, Rebel T2i, Rebel T3i).
and he's disturbed by the use of AVCHD as a compression format. He also doesn't like the ergonomics of the body; falls in a frustratingly odd middle ground where it’s not a palm-style camcorder and it’s not a shoulder-style design
He concludes by saying that at $5,000 it's not an HDSLR killer, but that it really strikes at the higher-end large sensor cameras. In Review: Panasonic AG-AF100

A Time And A Place
Evan Luzi at The Black and Blue blog recounts the one time a practical joke went wrong on-set:
A lot of filmmaking is common sense and you’d be surprised at the amount of people who fail at the most basic sensibilities, including myself.

Most people call this making mistakes and say they’re happy to learn from them.

But let’s not sugar coat it — sometimes it’s just being damn stupid.
The Black and Blue: The Stupidest Thing I've Ever Done On Set

Production Internships
Michael Essany, author of Reality Check: The Business and Art of Producing Reality TVsuggests that getting a job as a production intern can be a great way to gain experience:
The downside, of course, is that production internships are typically unpaid positions. Yet the experience gleaned and the opportunity to meet the movers and shakers who could end up hiring you one day are well worth the gratis servitude.
He also offers suggestions about how to find internships.
MasteringFilm: Become a Production Intern

The end of the F/X business?
David Cohen at Variety notes problems in the F/X business, with tightening budgets and schedules, and work moving overseas:
Hollywood isn't a single buyer with monopsoly power, like Walmart, but the studios are constantly pressing vfx companies to cut prices and schedules while demanding ever more complex effects, in larger quantities. And we're seeing the same result: California's vfx industry is contracting, and work is shifting abroad to regions with major tax incentives or to lower-cost regions such as India and Southeast Asia.
Variety: F/x biz in throes of the Walmart effect

The future of TV
Ron Frankel is the CEO of Synacor, and he's written an article about the future of TV. Are things as bad as everyone thinks for network TV?
The way we interact with content continues to evolve, and technological innovation is at the center of the transformation. The next few years will probably see consumers adapt to a hybrid of these viewing options. While some consumers may “cut the cord” and continue to gravitate towards Netflix and Hulu, there are compelling reasons any mass movement is unlikely. A broad TV Everywhere initiative will give consumers a complement to their viewing experience that brings all of their favorite content to multiple devices without increasing their existing cable bill or require them to pay incremental fees to Netflix or iTunes.
He goes on to say that:
Industry [have] have been working together on a simple way to authenticate consumers so they can view the TV content they are entitled to at any time and on almost any device. Promising authentication tech is already in use, and improving all the time.
Of course, Synacor happens to be "a leading provider of authentication technology to cable, telecommunication and satellite providers," but the article is worth a read.
Mashable: The Future of TV: Why Broadcast Needs to Adapt


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Adobe Audition Mac Beta Ends May 14th

The Adobe Audition for Mac beta will no longer be available as of May 2, 2011 and will no longer work as of May 14, 2011

Soundbooth & Adobe Audition upgrade options:
If you own Adobe Soundbooth CS5, CS4, or CS3, or Adobe Audition CS3, CS2, or 1.5 you are eligible to upgrade to Adobe Audition CS5.5 for $99USD*. In both cases, cross-grading is available.

If you do not own one of the Adobe Audition or Soundbooth versions listed above, Adobe Audition CS5.5 costs $349USD*.

Adobe: Adobe Audition CS5.5

* Prices listed are the Adobe direct store prices

Switronix PT-XF3 cable makes EX-L96 compatible with Sony F3

Switroniz has announced the PT-XF3, an 8-inch powertap from male to female that adds a 4-pin XLR female connector, allowing the Series-7 EX-L96 battery to plug into the Sony PMW-F3.

The EX-L96 is a 96-watt battery that features a 4-LED gauge and an on-board powertap to power any 12-volt accessories. It offers 50% more power than the Sony OEM BP-U60 battery (or up to four hours recording).
Switronix: EX-L96
B & H: EX-L96 14.4v 96W Lithium-Ion Battery Pack [$249.00]
B & H: PowerTap Male to Female and 4-Pin XLR Female [$34.95]

Correction to Philip Bloom Low-Light test

Yesterday Philip Bloom posted a low-light test with the Sony PMW-F3, NEW-FS100, Panasonic AG-AF100 (AG-AF101) and the Canon 5D Mark II. The AG-AF100 did not fare to well.

Philip has since tweeted:
Confirmed. My bloody shutter was on too high on af101. Retesting now low light

af101 still not as good. but its better!
He's redone the test, and will probably post the corrected results shortly.
Vimeo: Low light test: FS100 F3 5DmkII

UPDATE 9:00PM EDT: The corrected video is up. according to Philip the incorrect shutter "cost a stop." Vimeo: Low light test: FS100 F3 5DmkII

News From Here & There

Philip Bloom teases with PMW-F3, NEX-FS100 and AG-AF100 tests
Philip has a Sony NEX-FS100 to play with "for a couple of days," and he's already posted a very initial impression and a slow-motion video:
After just 30 minutes of shooting with the FS100 it’s nothing like Nigel Cooper paints it as. It feels well made and the buttons are just fine!

Yes, the form factor is different and it is missing some key features. The Hassleblad style is interesting.
Today he went out shooting with three cameras; the Sony PMW-F3, Sony NEX-FS100 and Panasonic AG-AF100, and he's teased us with a 30 second clip, inviting people to guess which camera was used for which shot.

Most interesting to me is the variety of guesses; I'm not sure what that says either about the cameras, or the people viewing the content! Take a look, and take a guess. [Wow! My guess was way off; admittedly I didn't download the uploaded file, I only looked at the web video.]

He's also posted a low light test with all three cameras and the 5D Mark II. If you want low light performance, it looks like you want to get one of the Sony's!
PhilipBloom: Sony FS100…just my first impressions
Vimeo: Which camera is which? F3, FS100, AF101
Vimeo: Brief Sony FS100 daytime snippet
VimeoLow light test: FS100 F3 AF101 5DmkII

Looking for a Shotgun Mic?
Chad Johnson has posted a comparison of the RODE VideoMic [$149.00], Sennheiser MKE400 [$199.95], RODE VideoMic Pro [$229.00] and QueAudio Micro Shotgun [QueAudio]. You can hear the sound quality of each and make your own decision. In addition to comparing the sound quality, he also tests side rejection.
VimeoShootout of the Mini Shotguns!

Does It Make Sense to Buy Gear?
The excitement at NAB for the new "DSLR" killer cameras - the Sony NEX-FS100, Panasonic AG-AF100, etc., prompted Ron Dawson to write an interesting article on whether it makes sense to buy gear versus renting it.
But, there’s one thing about these cameras that I feel will still make the DSLRs a leader in the market: price. Most of them start at around $5,000 and go up from there. Now, don’t get me wrong. Relatively speaking, that’s still an amazing price given the quality and feature set. And I think for those studios doing high paying gigs on a REGULAR BASIS, they could be great investments.
Don't be put off by the "Gear Lust" title, or even the introductory paragraphs, it's really a discussion of when it makes sense to spend money on gear, both from the perspective of what the usefulness of the gear is, as well as your financial situation and other options.
BladeRonnerGear Lust – Does it Ever Make Sense to Buy?

The 20 Most Useless Degrees
The Daily Beast has put together a list of the 20 most useless degrees:
  • 1: Journalism
  • 4: Advertising
  • 14: Photography
  • 16: Art
It's looking bad for creatives; but then you see that Agriculture is #3 and Mechanical Engineering Technology is #8. Also, I couldn't figure out what the real criteria was...and what are the top 20 most useful degrees? A Bachelor in Fries from the Hamburger University?
TheDailyBeast: 20 Most Useless Degrees


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

News From Here & There

Slow motion at 150 fps with the Sony NEX-FS100
Philip Bloom got his hands on a Sony NEX-FS100 and has been playing with it. His first test was done using the Super Slow Motion feature, and though it doesn't rival the high frame rates of the Phantom Flex, it's still pretty impressive:
Test film using the super slow motion feature of the Sony FS100. It takes 3 second clips and turn them into 12 seconds at 60i at just over SD and up rezzes them. I then brought them in as 30p and conformed to 24p giving me effectively 150 FPS.
Vimeo: The Bloom Danube: Sony FS100 Smooth slow motion test

At the moment Philip owns a Panasonic AG-AF101 and Sony PMW-F3, and is promising a comparison of the three cameras.

Finally, the Film Courage website did a webchat with Philip this past weekend, where he told them;
how often he is satisfied with his work, why he left a safe and secure job for the unknown, how he has gone about building his website and his audience, and his thoughts on DSLR images in theatrical environments.
You can replay the audio at their site:
FilmCourage: Cinematographer Philip Bloom on Film Courage (Ep. 109)

Top to bottom: Sony PMW-F3, Sony NEW-FS100 and Panasonic AG-AF101

Updated Canon EOS Plug-in for Final Cut Pro
Canon released an updated plug-in for Final Cut Pro which imports (and converts to ProRes) files from Canon EOS cameras. Scott Simmons at The Editblog has a review, noting improvements, including the ability to import files that are not just "properly saved in the DCIM folder structure."

That's the plus, the minus is that he had some problems with older backups of folders; though he fixed the problem by removing the .THM files (i.e. removing some of the structure of the folder!)
Editblog: New version of the Canon FCP Log & Transfer plug-in

Zacuto EVF Beta Testing
JJ at Orange Wedding Films has been beta testing the Zacuto EVF over the weekend and is impressed with it's quality and functionality.
With the purchase of the Canon 60D last year, I thought I would not need any monitors or EVF because of the swivel LCD, but the EVF takes [things] beyond what the swivel LCD on the camera can do.
Noting the high resolution screen, the display options, quick start-up and the usefulness of the included swivel HDMI cable, he also highlights the battery life:
One of the things that impressed me the most was battery life. To be fair, I only used the battery that came with the EVF, [but] it lasted all day long. On the 1st night [it lasted] the whole 4 hours, and the battery still had a full bar.
OrangeWeddingFilmsZacuto EVF Beta Testing

Camera Comparison Chart
Fletcher Camera & Lenses have put together a chart comparing a variety of cameras available for rental, including: ARRI Alexa, Sony F35, RED Epic, RED One MX, Sony PMW-F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, and the Sony EX1.

The chart lists: imager, lens mount, base ISO, latitude, frame rates, frames size, bit rates, body weight, "Highlighted Positives," "Notable Credits," and AVERAGE NATIONAL Daily Rates. (The Sony F35 costs $3250 a day, while the PMW-F3 is $450.)
FletchetCamera: 2011 Digital Camera Comparison Chart

Cine Gear Expo: June 3 & 4
Cine Gear Expo, in its 16th year, is probably the biggest Film, Video, and Digital Media Expo for the entertainment industry held in LA. You can register now:
Exhibition and Premiere Seminars
Friday, June 3, 2011 - Hours: 4:00pm -10:00pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011 - Hours: 10:00am – 5:00pm

Film Series at Cine Gear Expo
Thursday, June 2, 2011 - Hours: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Friday, June 3, 2011 - Hours: 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm (Reception)
Location: The Studios at Paramount
CineGearExpo: General Information

Quick Links

Den Lennie does a quick look at NAB
Den covers a number of things in this short video, including: the Sony F65, NEX-FS100 and PMW-F3, the Birger Engineering EOS to E mount and EOS to Micro Four-Thirds adaptor, Blackmagic Hyper Shuttle and the Cinevate Atlas 10 flt slider with Benro panning ball head

NAB 2011 35mm video quick look from Den Lennie from Den Lennie on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

24 Hour Film Race: April 29-30

Entry Deadline: April 27th!!

The 24 Hour Film Race 2011 challenges filmmakers everywhere to create short films in just 24 hours from April 29-30, 2011.

Boston will have its own premiere screening and competition to decide who will represent Boston against the other top films in the 24 Hour Film Race 2011.

In order to be eligible for the competition, everyone must pay the Entry Fee which is US$99. The Final Entry Deadline is April 27, 2011.

24 Hour Film Race: How It Works
24 Hour Film Race: Boston

Canon EOS 7D DSLR firmware update – Version 1.2.5 – now available for download

Canon has announced that the latest firmware update – Version 1.2.5 – for the EOS 7D DSLR is now available for download.

Firmware Version 1.2.5 for the EOS 7D incorporates the following improvements and fixes:
  1. Fixes a rare phenomenon in which there were rare cases where movie files taken could not be opened when repeatedly shooting movies with specific CF cards.
  2. Fixes a rare phenomenon in which there were cases where "Err 02" appeared when repeatedly shooting still images with specific CF cards.
  3. Fixes a phenomenon that occurred when using high-capacity (32 GB or greater) CF cards: If either a CF card with only a little available space remaining or the battery was removed and then re-inserted into the camera, and then the user attempted to start shooting movies immediately, shooting would stop.
  4. Improves the writing/reading speeds when using UDMA 7-compatible CF cards.
  5. Fixes a phenomenon that occurred when Custom Function C.Fn 4 -1 was set to assign IS start to the AF stop button on the lens: When used with lenses that do not have an AF stop button, the IS function would not work.
  6. Corrects some mistakes in the menu screens displayed in Arabic and Portuguese (this applies to models in overseas markets. The models for the Japanese market do not display those languages).
The Version 1.2.5 firmware is for cameras with firmware up to Version 1.2.4. If the camera's firmware is already Version 1.2.5, it is not necessary to update the firmware. Note that cameras with the Version 1.2.5 firmware (and also Versions 1.2.0 through 1.2.4) cannot be downgraded to a previous firmware version (such as Version 1.1.0 or earlier).

Canon: EOS 7D firmware update Version 1.2.5 available for download

Links From Here & There

Google Continues Patent Battle For WebM
Google wants WebM to be the Web's open and freely usable video format. The only problem; it may infringe on existing patents. To that end, Google has started the WebM Community Cross License Initiative, whose members license any WebM-related patents to each other. So far, 16 organizations have joined including Mozilla and Samsung. Absent so far; Microsoft, Panasonic, Philips and others who are a part of MPEG LA, the patent holder pool for H.264.
CNET: Google's WebM patent pals agree to share

New England Features Blog
Justin Fielding at the New England Feature Films blog is attempting to compile a list of indie (under $250K) movies being made in New England:

Lloyd Kaufman Interview
Cinespect interviews director, producer and screenwriter Lloyd Kaufman, the co-founder of independent studio Troma, the film festival Tromadance and the director of The Toxic Avenger. He's also the author of “Make Your Own Damn Movie: Secrets of a Renegade Director.”
He talks about film festivals, distribution and the state of independent movies.
The rule that prevented vertical integration of television was done away with, the financial syndication rule, which stated that the networks were required to show a certain amount of independent content. When that rule was done away with that was the death of many independent movie companies and if you go around the battlefield it is littered with the dead bodies of movie companies who haven’t been able to survive; not because of bad movies but because of economic blacklisting. Troma survives because—we’re almost in our 40th year—it survives because of our brand. We have a loyal fan base.
Cinespect: Q&A with Filmmaker and Troma Studios Co-Founder Lloyd Kaufman
Amazon: Direct Your Own Damn Movie! (Your Own Damn Film School {Series})
Amazon: Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director

Digital Imaging Sensors
The May issue of American Cinematographer contains Part 1 of Decoding Digital Imagers, a two-part series by Christopher Probst that looks at the origins, design characteristics and functions of today's digital-imaging sensors: American Cinematographer: May 2011

Kessler Shuttle Pod V2
Tom Guilmette has a video and web page on the Kessler Shuttle, a heavy duty dolly/slider system.
The basic operation of the dolly system is the same [as the original], but the biggest improvement is the addition of Keeper/Grabber wheels. These wheels ride under the track to keep the carriage on the rails, even when shooting at extreme angles, vertical or upside down!
He demo's it running with ElektraDRIVE motors which make it possible to create constant, repeatable motion. This is demonstrated at the end of the video with a sequence created by splicing together several separate trips along the slider.
TomGuilmette: Kessler Shuttle Pod V2 Video Setup Tutorial

Zacuot Double-Barrel Rig
In this video review, Chris at Perfect Day Images reviews the Zacuto Double-Barrel Rig. It's an expensive rig, but a lot of people like them.

Vimeo: Zacuto 5D/DSLR Shoulder Rig Review
B & H: Zacuto Double Barrel

Redrock Micro Gear at NAB has two videos of Redrock's new gear at NAB. Brian Valente talks about the Micro 3D Rig and the Micro Remote and Follow Focus. (Note: it is in English)
YouTube: NAB2011: Redrock Micro zeigt Micro 3D Rig und Live Lens MFT
YouTube: NAB2011: Redrock Micro zeigt Micro Remote und Follow Focus

File Naming Practices
Edward Smith at the Digital Asset Management Learning Center offers some advice on file naming. Putting the year in YEAR-MONTH-DAY format (i.e. 20110426-) and avoiding spaces and special characters is probably the takeaway from this.
DAMLearningCenter: File naming best practices for digital asset management

Heart Bokeh, from "DIY - Create Your Own Bokeh"

Custom Shaped Bokeh
DIY Photography offers two different articles on creating custom shaped Bokeh by cutting a shape out of black paper and attaching it to the front of the lens. A pretty neat effect.
DIY Photography: Removing The Mystery From The Heart Shaped Bokeh Thing
DIY Photography: DIY - Create Your Own Bokeh
DIY Photography: The Best 6 Ways To Create Your Own Bokeh
via: NoFilmSchool

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nikon D5100 - still not getting it right?

Nikons replacement for the D5000, the D5100 has now been released. This camera is impressive as it has almost 2 whole stops more dynamic range - in DxOMark tests - compared to the Canon 7D and 5D Mark II: 13.6 stops of dynamic range compared to 11.7 for the Canon 7D and 11.9 for the 5D Mark II.

And they've finally got their video act together with 1080P video at 30, 25, 24 fps and using H.264 instead of Motion-JPEG.

But then they go and botch it up with odd functionality and limitations. The manual controls in video mode seem a little off. Andrew Reid of EOSHD tweeted "Confirmed no D5100 manual control in video mode," though DPReview clarrifies:
Shutter speed, aperture and ISO are usually set automatically, and you can press the AEL button during recording to lock the exposure. In the PAS modes you can apply exposure compensation up to +/-3 EV, either before or during filming. In A and M you can also control the aperture the camera uses for filming - although due to the bug described in our Live View section, not in the way you might think (or indeed the manual suggests).

The crucial point to remember is that the camera enters live view at the currently set (or metered) aperture, but then remains there no matter what changes you make, until you either exit live view or take a picture. This means, bizarrely, that movies aren't always recorded at the currently-set aperture.
Nikon has always been a puzzle when it comes to video capabilities in their cameras. For ages, people have argued that Canon crimps the video capabilities of their still cameras because they have a pro-video division. But Nikon - who doesn't have a pro-video division to speak of - still manages to mess up the details!
Clearly Nikon needs help designing their cameras. No exposure meter (D7000). No manual control (D5100). Crazy. Why? Easy things!?

DxOMark: Nikon D5100
DPReview: Nikon D5100 Live View and Movie Mode

Quick Links

  • Death of DVD; No Hope For Blu-ray? BTIG Research concluded from the results of Google searches that consumers are moving away from physical ownership of content [or maybe just paying for it - Ed]. Steve Jobs smiles. MacWorld: More proof DVDs are a dying medium

  • Netflix poised to become largest subscription entertainment business. "Even if Netflix is shy of estimates, it will likely show enough growth to propel it ahead of Comcast at 22.8 million video subscribers and beyond the 20.2 million subs at Sirius XM Radio." HollywoodReporter

  • NAB Field Monitor/Recorder Roundup. NoFilmSchool looks at products from Atomos, Sound Devices, Convergent Design, and Blackmagic. NoFilmSchool

  • James Cameron to buy 50 RED Epics! What's he need all those for?! Engadget

  • Flip Alternatives. With the Flip going, going, gone, The Wall Street Journal looks for alternatives from Kodak and Sony: Finding a New Flip

  • Making Media Now 2011. Theme: Re-defining collaboration in a fractured media world. Friday, May 6, 2011, Bentley University, Waltham, MA, 8:45 am – 6:30 pm $140. FilmMakersCollaborative

  • EditFest NY June 10-11. Members of several groups (including BOSFCPUG) get $100 off. EditFest NY 2011. Registration: TheACEStore

  • iKan Video Contest: Create a short film that abides by the Judging Criteria and you could win a prize package of more than $10,000, in addition to having your work viewed by some of the industry’s hottest rising stars! Deadline Sept 6, 2011. "What's the Missing Piece?" The 2011 Short Film Competition

  • Get to shoot with a TS3 Cine high-speed camera. Shoot something at normal speed, edit it and then email to with a link to a YouTube or Vimeo channel showing the final piece. Maximum length: 3 minutes. One winner will get a chance to shoot with the TS3 – FREE! Submit all entries by June 30, 2011. Winner announced July 15, 2011.TS3Cine

  • Stillmotion Short Film Challenge. The theme is "simple" and entries are to be from thirty to sixty seconds in length. Deadline May 9th. Grand prize: one spot to the ‘deconstructing the story’ workshop in any city on the tour (orlando, cincinnati, new york, austin, seattle). More info. Official Contest Rules

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Quick Links

Migrating from Google Video
Last week Google sent out emails to users of Google Video, notifying them that the site was being shut down and that content should be downloaded before access was terminated on APril 29th. Now Google has changed their minds and announced that they are working towards migrating the content on Google Video to YouTube.
Google Video users can rest assured that they won't be losing any of their content and we are eliminating the April 29 deadline. We will be working to automatically migrate your Google Videos to YouTube. In the meantime, your videos hosted on Google Video will remain accessible on the web and existing links to Google Videos will remain accessible. If you want to migrate to YouTube now, here’s how you do it...
Google: An update on Google Video; Finding an easier way to migrate Google Video content to YouTube

LTO Tape backup
Shane Ross searched NAB for some form of inexpensive backup, and found the expensive CACHE-A and the slightly cheaper BRU, by the Tolis Group.
I know I’m not going into every detail of both options…for that you need to go to the links provided and dive in. Now, I’m off to try to convince a couple small companies that BRU is the way to go for them. And tell the BIG company that I know was looking, about CACHE-A. And start saving up for a BRU system myself. If I drop a drive, I’m hosed. Drop a tape? No problem.
LittleFrogInHighDef: Inexpensive Archiving For Tapeless Media

Comparing the PMW-F3, NEX-FS100 and AG-AF100
He already owns a Panasonic AG-AF100, just bought a Sony PMW-F3, and will be getting a loan of the Sony NEX-FS100 "this week", and now Philip Bloom is promising to do a comparison; and is inviting readers to submit their questions.
PhilipBloom: Upcoming F3 vs FS100 vs AF100

NAB Wrapups
  • Oli Laperal at Film And Digital Times writes up his reflections of NAB, covering everything from Sony and ARRI's cameras to the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Shuttle. Also includes a photo of the RED Epic interchangeable Optical Low Pass and ND filters. FilmAndDigitalTimes: Oli at NAB 2011

  • Alexis van Hurkman has also written an in-depth report of his experiences, which have a decided color orientation, covering products from DaVince, Quantel, Filmlight, Assimilate and Divergent Media. Looking Back at NAB 2011

  • Anthony Artis at Down & Dirty DV provides his "Best of Show" list, including the Sony HXR-NX70U, Sound Devices PIX 220 & 240 Digital Video Recorder, the Sony HXR-NX3D1U 3-D Camera, the Go Pro Hero Cam LCD BacPac and 3D System and the Cam Caddie Tabie iPad Tripod Mount. Ant's NAB 2011 - Best of the Show Floor

  • Avid Media Composer
    Oliver Peters reviews the latest release of Avid Media Composer, and finds a solid update with some useful new features, especially the PhraseFind feature:
    This is a dialogue search tool based on phonetic analysis of the audio tracks. It’s similar to AV3 Software’s Get application, since both are powered by the Nexedia dialogue search engine. The big difference is that Get works outside of an NLE, whereas PhraseFind is directly integrated into Media Composer’s interface as part of the newly enhanced Find tool.
    DigitalFilms: Avid Media Composer 5.5

  • Zeiss ZF.2 Lenses
    Nathaniel Hansen just finished shooting a documentary - The Elders - and he writes about the experience, and the lenses he used - the Zeiss ZF.2 series lenses. This "review" talks about the methods he uses for shooting, and is worth reading even if you aren't looking for information about Zeiss lenses.
    And if you are thinking of buying Zeiss lenses, an interesting thing to remember is that the Zeiss ZF.2 lenses have the same optics as their CP.2 (Compact Prime) lenses, at about half the price; the CP.2 lenses add a “cine” exterior (markings, follow focus grips, stopless physical aperture rings, etc) Zeiss ZF.2 Lenses Take Low Budget Feature Documentary to the Next Level

  • Atomos Ninja
    Christina Fox at UrbanFox.TV does an in-depth review of the Atomos Ninja digital recorder; in particular she explores how it works with different cameras and warns of the problems for many DSLR users.

    The Ninja is a well built and easy to use device. It has evolved since we first saw it at IBC2010 and Atomos has obviously listened to feedback from potential customers. If you have a Pro camera with HD-SDI you may want to wait for the Samurai. But if your camera has HDMI output this is a cost effective way to back up your video on the fly at a higher quality than your removable flash media.
    UrbanFox.TV: Atomos Ninja Review

  • Halo Rig Camera Stabilizer
    Peter Bohush reviews the Halo Rig camera stabilizer, a circular rig that resembles the Manfrotto Fig Rig, but costs about $170.
    The Halo Rig can probably facilitate any kind of hand-held move that a Steadicam can, with the exception of running full speed, which would be awkward holding the Halo Rig out in front. Not impossible, but it would require some skill.
    NewEnglandFilm: Going Steady with the Halo Rig HD

The best camera is the camera you have with you...

Filmmaker Spike Lee uses his iPad to photograph President Barack Obama as he greets guests at the National Action Network's Keepers of the Dream awards gala in New York, N.Y., April 6, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)