Saturday, May 07, 2011

Short Supplies

I noticed this morning that a lot of popular cameras were listed as out of stock or unavailable at B & H:

The Canon T2i and Panasonic GH2 as listed as Temporarily unavailable

The Sony NEX-VG10 is Temporarily out of sock

The Canon T3i Body only and 18-55mm kit is Temporarily unavailable, though the Canon T3i W/EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens is listed as available

The Canon 7D body only is Temporarily unavailable, though there are bodies with kit lenses available.

Similarly, the Canon 5D Mark II body only is Temporarily unavailable too, though you can get it with the 24-105mm lens

The Sony NXCAM HXR-NX5U and sister camera the HDR-AX2000 are both Temporarily unavailable.

Finally, the Sony PMW-F3 is listed as Back-ordered.

It's not all bad news though, Amazon does list some of these cameras available as at 11:30am EDT:
Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera and DIGIC 4 Imaging (Body Only)
Sony NEXVG10 Full HD Interchangeable Lens Camcorder (Black)

The Panasonic GH2 is listed as Usually ships within 1 to 2 months.

News From Here & There

CineStyle vs GH2 Cinema Mode
Andrew Reid at EOSHD does some tests comparing the Technicolor CineStyle Picture Style in the Canon 600D with the Panasonic GH2 Cinema Mode. While the CineStyle has some advantages, he thinks the GH2 still comes out on top:
CineStyle essentially reduces the brightness of highlights to preserve detail, and boosts the brightness of darker tones to save more shadow detail. What it cannot do is increase tonality. The GH2 has more - it is the higher contrast camera, with better scaling and yet it still holds onto more dynamic range.

[...] Oddly, RAW stills confirm that the GH2's sensor has less dynamic range to begin with relative to the 600D (and especially the 5D Mark II) - but clearly the Canon is not running away with it. The Canons lose so much in the scaling process, not just detail and a clean image but tonality and dynamic range. The GH2 holds onto a hell of a lot, so even though the Canons have sensors capable of wider dynamic range, the GH2 still beats them, CineStyle or no CineStyle.
EOSHDCanon 600D Technicolor CineStyle versus GH2 Cinema Mode

Comparing the Sony NEX-VG10, Canon T2i and PMW-F3
Alister Chapman at has a short video demonstrating the quality of video produced by these three cameras. It may be a rather odd comparison given that the cameras really only have one common characteristic; they each have a "large" sensor. Another common characteristic; the same lens was used on each: the Nikon 50mm f1.8 lens using different adapters.

Alister notes that the VG10 and T2i have issues with aliasing on the brickwork of the building. This is probably because these two cameras share something else in common too; they have chips which have a much higher resolution than the final HD image.

He goes on to say:
Also note how much wider the FoV is with both the Canon t2i and even more so the F3. Clearly these cameras have larger sensors than the VG10, the largest being the F3′s Super35 sized sensor. This was another surprise, I had assumed the Canon and F3 sensors to be much closer in size than this. Remember that all three used the same lens and the shots were done from exactly the same place.
XDCAM-userComparison clips to download

Canon T3i Review
At Professional Photographer, Ron Dawson reviews the T3i, focusing on the video performance:
Don’t get me wrong, the video quality on this camera is amazing, especially at this price. But the ISO performance is far below that of the 5D Mark II or the 1D Mark IV. Depending on the lighting setup and the color and shade of the objects in the shot, you’ll start to see noise at ISO as low as 400 with the T3i.
ppmagA New Angle on Video in an Economy HD DSLR: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Inside Pixar
Michael Johnson, leader of the Moving Picture Group at Pixar talked about working at the company during an appearance at the University of Illinois:
So many people want to work at Pixar that it received 8,000 applications this past summer for internships. Only 100 were hired.

During the editorial phase, the film is edited and organized like a live-action film; Johnson called this phase the "spine of the filmmaking pipeline." Voices are recorded during this stage, before any actual animation takes place, in working prototypes, which are low-resolution, black-and-white sketches of the movie. "If you can't get the movie working here, it will never work out," said Johnson

The pain that comes with making movies is temporary, but a movie that "sucks lasts forever," Johnson said, quoting Jason Dreamer, Pixar's art director.
News-GazetteFor UI alumus working at Pixar, filmmaking 'hard fun'

Database of Motion Picture Lenses
Richard Bradbury has put together a spreadsheet containing most motion picture lenses divided into spherical and anamorphic, by maker.
spreadsheets.googleMotion Picture Lens Database

3D YES! - Fundamentals of 3D Production, May 10, 11 & 12
Sony is offering a crash course in 3D with 3D producer Buzz Hays, chief instructor at Sony's 3D Tech Center. The program will cover the fundamentals of 3D production and the numerous challenges of the format. Several examples will be screened and discussed.

The Sony 3D Technology Centre seminars are offered to directors, cinematographers, operators, producers, executives and educators for both motion pictures and television. Participants will learn the fundamentals of making good 3D and what to avoid.The presentation will last approximately 90 minutes with an additional hour devoted to Q&A and overview of a stereo 3D rig.

Tuesday, May 10 - Thursday, May 12, 10am-12:30am & 2pm-4:30pm
Sony Building, 550 Madison Ave. (56th and Madison) 7th Floor Screening Room
Sony: 3D Crash Course

3D NO!
Scott Weinberg would like 3D to go away please, as it makes the image "dulled, muddied and blurry," and adds 30% to the ticket price. He goes on to note that:
So to James Cameron, a great storyteller who seems way too obsessed with one small facet of the filmmaking process, I say this: The Terminator is immersive. It has great action and a really clever sci-fi hook. Aliens is immersive. It elevates what we loved about the original film and does so with energy, originality, and strength of character.' Dear 3D, Please Die Already (Again)

GET dialog search for Final Cut Pro
FCProducer posts a video review/demo of GET, a phonetic search engine that works within Final Cut Pro and they describe as a "must for any editor, especially Documentaries, Feature, and News [who] does not have assistant editors or associate producers logging footage."
YouTubeFCProducer Reviews "Get" Dialog Search for Final Cut Pro

Friday, May 06, 2011

25th Anniversary of "So"

Wow...doesn't time fly? It seems like only yesterday that Peter Gabriel's album "So" was the soundtrack of the summer....and a few movies too. But evidently, today is the 25th anniversary of the release of the album "So."

Oh, I am getting old!

Have a great Friday everyone!

Amazon: Peter Gabriel

News From Here & There

Copyright Explained
FilmmakerIQ, with the help of Wikipedia and Nina Paley’s “Mimi and Eunice”, has put together a guide to 10 common copyright terms, including: Fair Use, Right to Quote, Public Domain, Sweat of the brow, and Threshold of originality:
The threshold of originality is a concept in copyright law that is used to assess whether or not a particular work can be copyrighted. It is used to distinguish works that are sufficiently original to warrant copyright protection from those that are not.
FilmmakerIQ: 10 Copyright Terms Explained: Limitations and Exceptions

Is Evernote for you?
Ron Dawson looks at the cloud-based document storage system Evernote and offers suggestions on how filmmakers may use the service for research, call logs with clients, checklists, photos for inspiration, insipring quotes, blog ideas and film and story ideas:
Whenever I have an idea for a film, or an idea to implement in a film project I’m already working on, I create a note and put it in the appropriate Notebook (Notebooks are the places where you store Evernote notes).
Bladerunner: Seven Ways Creative Professionals Can Use Evernote

Digital Video Expo East - June 22
Digital Video Expo East will be held on June 22 at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. It's a FREE, full-day event featuring technology exhibits from the industry’s leading suppliers, keynote speakers, educational sessions and networking events.

Digital Video Expo East will occur concurrently with the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ 2nd Annual International Conference on Stereoscopic 3D for Media and Entertainment.

Note that the West Coast Digital Video Expo will take place September 20-22 at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Dealing with Exposition
At Tales from the Cutting Room Floor, Guy Ducker offers tips for dealing with all those annoying facts the audience needs to learn to understand what's going on in the movie:
The problem is [...] that many genres – murder mysteries, court room dramas, conspiracy thrillers, historical epics – require the audience to know a lot of information so that they can keep up with the story. How do you give the audiences those facts without coming over all Tolkien?
Dramatise it. If you can work out a way of making the necessary information apparent through the drama, that’s always better than having a character tell us the facts.
CuttingRoomTales: Snubbing Sir Basil

Sony SR-R1 Recorder
Though the SR-R1 Portable Recorder is still not shipping, Sony has posted a picture of one connected to the PMW-F3. The SR-R1 allows RGB 4:4:4, 1080/60p recording and a dual-stream recording capability which is useful for 3D stereoscopic image capturing.
Sony: SR-R1 SRMASTER Portable Recorder

Sony PMW-F3 with SRR1 recorder
source: yrog

Quick Links
  • What's a Shot Log? Julie Babcock at Videomaker gives a short explanation: Video Editing: Using Shot Logs
  • Sensor Sizes: With the help of a simple graphic, Jon Faur at Film and Digital Times explains the difference between Full Frame vs APS-C and H
  • How do you use a Circular Polarizer? Dave Dugdale provides a video tutorial of a polarizer on a Canon T2i/550D with sample video. (Don't confuse a polarizer with a Neutral Density filter, they work differently!) YouTube: Canon T2i/550D Tutorial - How Useful is a Circular Polarizer for DSLR Video
  • Looking to break into the business in LA or New York? Eve Light Honthaner offers some tips: First, how many people do you know there?  Make contact with each of them, and invite them to lunch or out for coffee.  I also joined a bike team, which has nothing to do with the business, but it got me out, and I met some terrific people.  It’s all about creating a community for yourself. MasteringFilm: Practical advice for those moving to LA or NYC
  • Sony NEX-FS100 Gain test. Alex Wu has posted a gain test using 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30 dB, though leaving the iris and shutter on auto, so over-all exposure stays about the same. [Honestly, I'm not too sure how useful a test this is...] Vimeo: NEX-FS100 Gain test

Philip Bloom AF100 vs F3 vs F100 Part II

Philip gives his conclusions on these cameras in the second part of his comparison. It's a 32 minute video!

I'll focus on his thoughts on the Sony NEX-FS100 as it's the new camera in the bunch. Ultimately, his observations aren't completely unexpected. His biggest complaints are about the lack of ND filters and HD-SDI output, two features that the other two cameras, the Sony PMW-F3 and Panasonic AG-AF100, offer.

He likes the picture quality of the EVF, BUT it's limited in how it can be used due to limitations in the movement of the LCD, so he still thinks you need something like the Zacuto EVF for monitoring.

The single SD slot and lack of an internal microphone are minor annoyances, and he's annoyed that there's no international version that does 30p, 24p and 25p recording. BUT "this is a really nice camera...the image out of it was so lovely...and in low light the image out of it is absolutely fantastic."

So, the AG-AF100 or the NEX-FS100? For him it comes back to the lack of ND filters and HD-SDI output, two features the AG-AF100 have, BUT, the NEX-FS100 has a nicer picture...

PhilipBloomLarge chip camcorder comparison: AF100 vs F3 vs FS100

Thursday, May 05, 2011

News From Here & There

Technicolor updates Cinestyle LUT
Though there's no mention of it on the product page, Technicolor has tweeted that:
S-curve LUT is now compatible with the LUT Buddy plug-in and Apple's Color.
Several people were having problems when using Red Giant's free tool LUT Buddy, so perhaps this had been fixed.
Technicolor: CineStyle

Canon Delays?
There's been lots of reports/speculation about the effect of the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami on the availability of upcoming video gear. Now Canonrumors thinks that this means delays to the Canon 5D Mark III, that could extend to 2012. Delays Abound?

When is AVCHD not AVCHD?
One of the interesting things about AVCHD is that AVCHD only defines the decoder; camera companies are free to write their own encoder however they want to, provided it produces files that will play through the decoder.

When Sony brought out the HXR-NX5U, they touted the fact that it used smaller block patterns for motion estimation than competitors, and now The Sony Tech Guy at the ProVideoCoalition writes about the functionality of their compressors:
For the NEX-FS100U and HXR-NX5U NXCAM camcorders, Sony engineers reasoned that if there were some way to “tell” the encoder whether the image was noisy or generally noise-free, the encoder could optimize the picture for each condition.  So the camera’s control bus communicates the gain setting to the encoding chip, which adjusts the compression accordingly.  
ProVideoCoalition: AVCHD with a twist
See also: NotesOnVideo: HXR-NX5 Q & A

Capturing Time-lapses on the Mac
Christopher Breen at provides a low-cost (free) way to capture time-lapses using the Automator OS X utility while your camera is tethered to your Mac. Note: this only works with some cameras.
MacWorld: Use Automator to shoot a time-lapse movie

Why a 12mm lens is always a 12mm lens...
...and why the field of view changes as the sensor changes. An updated article at Film and Digital Times looks at lenses and focal lengths and what it all means.
Angle of view related to different formats is where it gets tricky and we need simple math. The angle of view of the 16mm format lens is about half the angle of view of 35mm format lens. If you want to shoot the same angle, 62 degrees, you’d select a 12mm lens for the 16mm camera and a 24mm lens for your 35mm camera.
FDTimes: Focal Lengths, Format Sizes

Citizen Kane at 70
D.B. Grady looks at The Atlantic covers the creation of the movie and it's place in history. Also includes an interesting note about one film technique used in the movie:
Citizen Kane is perhaps most studied for its use of deep-focus photography, wherein the entire frame remains in focus at all time. This technique challenges audiences to search the screen for crucial pieces of the puzzle, and allows for cinematic sleight of hand. An otherwise ordinary fireplace, for example, is a background piece in Kane's mansion. It's not until Kane steps next to it that its massive size is revealed, and Kane's captivity to his outsized riches fully expressed.
TheAtlantic: 'Citizen Kane' at 70: The Legacy of the Film and Its Director

Quick Links
  • Choosing a Microphone: In this video from EOS Television James Monohan covers audio for video recording, covering: Windscreens, camera inputs, Audio channels, VHF, UHF wireless, and wired systems are all covered. YouTube: Microphone Types Sound for Video and Film
  • DirecTV Launches ShortsHD, a Full Time Short Film Channel. ShortsHD is already on Dish Network and AT&T U-Verse but DirecTV is there biggest addition yet. It’s put together by Shorts International, described as “the world’s leading short movie entertainment company with the world’s largest movie catalogue dedicated to short movies.”
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences is developing an architecture and supporting tools for digital motion picture mastering applications. In development for 5 years by the motion picture industry’s leading technologists and practitioners, the Image Interchange Framework (IIF) is now ready for evaluation by the larger community of those concerned with digital motion picture workflow and color management.
  • FilmTools Camera Mount Rig. Wide Open Camera has a clip made with the Filmtools Gripper Camera Mount, which sells for about $380. Filmtools Car Mount & Technicolor Cinestyle BTS On Set
  • Compact Flash Reader for iPad. While it's billed as a review, Terry White really just confirms that this Hong Kong made gadget does work with the iPad. Review: M.I.C Compact Flash Reader for iPad

ARRI covers both ends of the video business

With the ARRI Alexa doing well in the high end of the digital video business, ARRI is moving to fill the demands of the rest of the marketplace with this:

This ARRI webcam turns your computer into a movie set. Attachments allow the camera to be mounted to your laptop screen or, for tabletop operation, the supplied tripod. With an integrated microphone, it works with most messenger and VoIP services (for example Skype, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger). Featuring an LED display, USB 2.0 connectivity and a printed ARRI logo, the camera comes packed in a special presentation box.

Operation system:
Windows XP-SP2/Vista (32-bit), or Mac OS 10.4.8 (or higher), no driver required.

EUR 23.50 (US ~$35) plus shipping

This may be the only ARRI I can afford...

ARRI Webcam


The next joint meeting of the Boston Final Cut Pro Users Group and the Boston DSLR Meetup group is schedule for May 25th:
While the release of Final Cut Pro X is still some weeks away and Apple has only released a limited amount of detail, Philip Hodgetts has been diligently examining the data points since early last year. Philip will not only interpret what Apple have announced, but will also share what he's learnt that hasn't yet been announced.
DATE: Wednesday, May 25th
TIMES: 6:30PM - 9:00PM (Doors open at 6PM)
VENUE: AC LOUNGE, Rule Broadcast Systems, Inc., 395 Western Ave, Boston, MA
COST: $6.00 ($10.00 at the door)

Event Directions:


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Philip Bloom AF100 vs F3 vs F100

Philip has posted the first part of his comparison between the Sony PMW-F3, NEX-FS100 and Panasonic AG-AF100 (AG-AF101). He also throws in some Canon 5D Mark II footage as well.

He stresses that he's not a professional test person, and that it's just a few tests and personal observations.

All the tests were done using the internal recording of the cameras, though on the three video cameras, he also used the Atomos Ninja. He notes that with HDMI - i.e. the NEX-FS100 - you have to send out 24p embedded in a 60i stream and use pull-down to remove the 24p.

He doesn't feel that any of these cameras work well hand-held, and - unusually for England[!] - it was a bright sunny day, which caused problems with the FS100 because it doesn't have built-in ND filters (though neither does the Canon 5D.) It didn't appear that he used add-on ND filters on either camera.

He found operation of the cameras to be very different; even the two Sony’s are very different to operate. He feels the PMW-F3 is much more intuitive to operate, but that could be because it's based on the PMW-EX3, which Philip has spent a lot of time with.
The FS100 is a different beast. […] It’s a fiddly camera to operate. There’s lots and lots of buttons and all of them are sort of recessed and relatively small, so it is quite hard to operate the camera by touch. You have to actually look at the buttons. Of course, this camera is very new to me, and therefore I don’t know it well. And that is a big part of it. But when you have a side of the camera just covered in buttons it’s going to be very difficult to do anything by touch. Even with experience. But it does mean it gives you lots of options which are actually not just you have to get from the menu, they’re available on the side of the camera.
Another operational note; the NEX-FS100 LCD screen doesn’t tilt when turned to the left or right, it can only go back and forth when facing forward or backward. He also found the positioning of the EVF to be slightly awkward.

In addition to the shots made outside, Philip includes some slow motion and low light tests.

I'm starting to think the Sony PMW-F3 is the camera to get; which means I'll probably get none of them!

PhilipBloom: Large chip camcorder comparison: AF100 vs F3 vs FS100

B & H Pre-order: Sony NEX-FS100U (Body Only) $4,999.00
B & H Pre-order: Sony NEX-FS100UK (with Lens) $5,599.00

The Cameraman in Chief

President Barack Obama operates a Sony PMW-EX3
- Mr. President! You need to get a PMW-F3!
source: yfrog

Digital Film Tools - PhotoCopy Filter

Color Grading can be a time consuming and difficult process. Photocopy, a filter from Digital Film Tools for Final Cut Pro, After Effects, and Avid, goes some way towards simplifying the task by providing a large collection of film and photography "looks" that you can apply to your clips.

Photocopy comes with an installer that detects your installed software and will let you choose where to install it. I used it in Final Cut Pro, though it will also work with other applications, including image editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Apple Aperture. Some of the effects - for example the Painting presets - work better for still images, though they can all be applied within Final Cut.

Once installed, you enter the serial number and it connects through your internet connection to authorize your computer. If you want to install on another computer, you can de-authorize the first machine, and then authorize the second.

The PhotoCopy filter is applied to a clip in the same way that any video filter is applied, but once attached to a clip, there are two ways to set it up: You can load a Preset, or you can use the Match function to have the filter match the color and texture of a frame from a source clip you provide.

Click "Load" (top) to choose a Preset, or use the Match
section to have PhotoCopy match the appearance
of a Source Clip

To choose a Preset, click the Load button and a browser window appears. You can then choose presets from one of four categories; Movies, Paintings, Photographs and Processes. The Movies category has just over 90 different example movies, both old and new, color and black and white. The filter attempts to match the brightness, color, tone, detail, and grain of these movies. For some movies, multiple looks have been saved.

When a preset is chosen, the preview image is updated in the browser. You can quickly navigate through the presets and see what will happen with the preview, though you'll probably want to apply the filter and see the effect for the whole clip as you narrow in on your choice.

The movies that have been sampled include: Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, Frankenstein, Gone with the Wind, King Kong and The Lord of the Ring.

The other three categories; Paintings, Photographs and Processes may be less useful for video clips. The Painting set is as diverse and extensive as the Movies section, but while the Paintings set have some of the richest textures, I found them mostly unsatisfactory when applied to video. Unlike the grain effects in the Movies, which change over time, the Painting texture is stationary, so when the video plays it's almost like the video is playing behind a veil. You can see an example in the sample clip below.

I did like some of the Photographs and Processes, and they worked much better with video.

Don't forget that you can use the Mix slider to adjust the amount of the effect after it's been chosen.

If you don't like any of the Presets, you can use the Match function to have PhotoCopy analyze a frame from a source clip you provide. Simply drag the frame you want to match to the Source field in the filter, and then click the Match button, and PhotoCopy analyzes the source and applies changes to the video clip to match.

While it definitely moves the clip towards the coloring of the Source, it doesn't necessarily create a perfect match. Because of this, I'm not sure you can use it to color match two very different clips, but you can definitely use it to apply a similar effect to a clip.

I tested PhotoCopy on a two-year old MacBook Pro, and clips had to be rendered after applying the filter. Rendering took quite some time; minutes for fifteen seconds of video. While it's generally a rule to apply video grading at the end of the edit rather than at the beginning, with this filter it's virtually a requirement.

I also had a problem with some clips from a Canon 7D causing the filter to crash. Re-exporting them as ProRes, and then applying the filter to the ProRes clips did solve the problem, and if you're doing grading most people recommend switching to ProRes anyway. I contacted Technical Support at Digital Film Tools who promptly got back to me about the problem, and though they hadn't encountered it themselves, offered to try the clip themselves to see if they could reproduce the problem; an offer I didn't take them up on due to other hardware issues I was trying to isolate at the time!

If you're not comfortable with Apple Color, but want to add more atmosphere to your video, PhotoCopy is a pretty compelling way to do it. With the collection of over 90 different picture styles just to start with, you'll probably find something that works for your material; the difficulty may be in picking which one.

As long as you resist the temptation to apply ten different styles to one sequence, and remember that in color grading less-is-more, PhotoCopy makes for a good coloring assistant.

Digital Film Tools: PhotoCopy

Sample clips with different Presets from PhotoCopy applied
FTC Disclosure
Digital Film Tools provided me with a copy of PhotoCopy to review. No other material connection exists between myself and Digital Film Tools.

News From Here & There

Screenwriting Competitions
Benjamin Craig at answers the question; "should you enter screenwriting competitions?" and offers tips on what to look for:
Reputable competitions should be able to attract industry sponsors. Does the competition's web site list any? Have you heard of them? Or if not, is there any information available about them on the web.
Filmmaking.netScreenplay Competitions - Are they worth the entry fee?

How to write movie scripts
Meanwhile, Meredith Farmer offers tips on how to write that screenplay, and why you should only pay a passing lip service to the "principles of screenwriting:"
I honestly believe that screenwriting books and screenwriting gurus can destroy a potentially good writer. This happens when a writer becomes an apostle of one particular way of approaching a screenplay and judges their writing only from that view point. The writer become blinded to anything but the "principles."
FilmutopiaSunday Blog: Screenwriting Principles, The Lies That Bind Us

Getting video into iPad iMovie
One - of a few - problems with iMovie on the iPad is that it won't edit most video from cameras other than the iPad 2, iPhone or iPod TouchCharlie Sorrel at Wired explains how to format video from other cameras to use in iMovie:
Even if video can be played back on the iPad, and shows up fine either in the Camera Roll or the native Videos app, iMove likely can’t see it. To fix this, you need first to convert the footage into the right format, and then introduce it gently to iMovie in just the right way.There are two ways to do this: On a Mac, using a couple of applications and then syncing the converted file back to your iPad; or right on the iPad itself, using certain iOS apps.
WiredHow to Convert Video to Work With iPad iMovie

Canon T3i Review
In this video review, Caleb Pike at DSLR Video Shooter demos the Canon T3i. He runs through all the menus and features, including the digital zoom.
I didn’t think much of the T3i until I held one in my hand. I still think the 60D is the best choice for a serious shooter. Although if the funds aren’t there, or you can put up with limited ISOs and WB this is the camera for you.
DSLR Video ShooterEpisode 016: T3i Review with Zoom Footage

Edward Burns on Indie Filmmaking
Edward Burns talks about how he made his latest movie, Newlyweds in these comments from the Tribeca Film Festival:
“The thing I would want to share — if there’s any young filmmakers out there — I’m telling you: $9000 to get your movie in the can, the field has been completely leveled,” Burns said to applause from the audience. “You can go and make your movies. There’s tons of ways to get your movies out there now. You can get into festivals, distribute them digitally. It is a brand-new world, and we now can do whatever we want to do. It is a good time to be a filmmaker.
Movieline: Closing Night at Tribeca: Edward Burns Talks The ‘Liberating’ Independence of Newlyweds
He also talks about distributing his last movie, Nice Guy Johnny, in this video interview: YouTube: Ed Burns interview for "Nice Guy Johnny"

Powering Your Camera
Need to extend the operating time of your camera? Andy Shipsides of Abelcine offers tips on Battery Mounting Systems, Battery Plates, Accessories & Cables and Alternative Camera Batteries in this piece which is oriented towards cameras like the Panasonic AG-AF100, Sony PMW-F3 and NEX-FS100, but should be applicable to other pro cameras as well.
CineTechnica: Powering Your Compact Cine Camera

Quick Tips

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sony PMW-F3 S-Log Firmware news

Sony US has tweeted that the S-Log firmware update for the PMW-F3 will be supported for RGB 4:4:4 output only, not 4:2:2 output, though they did add that if you need 4:2:2 output support for S-Log, to let them know and why at

UPDATE 6:00PM: Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager for Production at Sony Electronics has tweeted:
Excellent feedback & unanimous, everyone wants S-LOG 4:2:2 output, so we implement with ability turn off LUT on HD-SDI SL output

This will be a paid update.

James Webb adds:
This may be well known already, but I was informed yesterday the S-Log firmware update can only be performed by Sony. No authorized dealers.

Pre-orders for the Sony NEX-FS100

B & H is now taking pre-orders for the Sony NEX-FS100. Delivery - not specified, though maybe end of May?
If you really want one, it might pay to order it now; B & H in the past has had the habit of listing a new camera as available for pre-order, and then ceased taking pre-orders when they reach a certain number...

Sony NEX-FS100U Super 35mm Sensor Camcorder (Body Only) $4,999.00

Sony NEX-FS100UK Super 35mm Sensor Camcorder (with Lens) $5,599.00

Rule Camera LearningLab Events, May

Rule Boston Camera is offering three LearningLabs this month.
Wednesday May 11
Ian Tosh, Rule's Director for Engineering Services, outlines systems for single-operator production switching using pan, tilt, zoom (PTZ) cameras and Sony's AnyCast switcher.

Wednesday May 18,
John Gates, Emmy Award Winning Lighting Director explains the nuances and challenges involved in lighting for mobile platforms and small screens such as YouTube and Vimeo.

Wednesday May 25
Jim McKenna of Facilis Technology explains the merits of TerraBlock 5.0, a collaborative, cross-platform SAN offering complete FCP project sharing.
All classes run from 10am - 12noon at Rule.

New iMacs

There was no presentation or Steve keynote, but as expected, Apple rolled out new iMacs today featuring the same prices and body stylings as previous models, but with faster quad-core i5 processors (i7 available as an option) Thunderbolt, and FaceTime HD cameras. They also feature new AMD Radeon HD graphics processors.

Of course, if you're thinking of getting an iMac, you might be able to get a good deal on a previous generation model (Best Buy sometimes sells previous models at discounts.)

The other thing to consider is that Lion will be shipping soon, maybe as soon as June, so if you're not desperate for a new machine, maybe wait so you don't have to pay for an upgrade!
Apple: iMac

News From Here & There

Results from the Single Chip Camera Evaluation
Adam Wilt at the ProVideoCoalition talks about the Single Chip Camera Evaluation, in a series of comparison tests of several video cameras, including the Alexa, RED, Phantom Flex, Sony PMW-F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, Canon 5D Mark II and others. The tests were shown at NAB, and should be available on the net later in the year, but Adam summarizes the results, showing maximum resolution, sensitivity and latitude tables and discussing what they might mean.
All in all, it’s best to keep in mind that these charts show only three, very limited aspects of all these cameras. They don’t show the tradeoffs between highlight handling and shadow detail; the varying aliasing behaviors; how the different cameras handle saturated colors as highlights start to blow out; how their levels and textures of shadow noise differ; how they handle skintones and the wrapping of light around faces and hands.
ProVideoCoalition: NAB 2011 - SCCE Charts
See also: NotesOnVideo: The Great Camera Shoot Out 2011

Sony NEX-FS100 Tour from NAB
This 53 minute video with Juan Martinez, Senior Project Manager, Sony Electronics, and David Leitner, Director/DP and Producer, talks about the Sony NEX-FS100. Juan talks through the features of the camera, while David shows clips shot with the camera and talks about how it stands up to different material. If you've been following this new camera, there's nothing really startling here, but it's a fairly complete tour of the features and performance.
SonyA Tour of the NXCAM Super 35mm Camcorder NAB 2011

More on the Technicolor CineStyle for Canon EOS
Zach at Zach's Camera continues to turn out interesting stuff about this new Picture Style. His latest post explains how to use the LUT with editors like Sony Vegas that don't support LUT files.
Zach's CameraUsing Technicolors LUT file without a LUT plugin

Not sure how to install the Picture Style on your Canon 550DJonathan Palfrey has a blog post with video that takes you through it: Blog 20: Adding the Technicolor Profile to the 550D

Quick Links
  • 5D Mark III in the wild? reports that Canon is sending out test bodies to photographers. A little on the merging of the 1D line is included too: 5D Mark III & More
  • The 5D Mark II Team website has rebranded as the HD Cam Team website.
  • ARRI ALEXA Plus: An ARRI Tech Talk video about the ALEXA Plus with Marc Shipman-Mueller explains the differences between the Plus and the regular Alexa. YouTube: ARRI Tech Talk - ALEXA Plus
  • Speaking of the ALEXANick Shaw’s FCP plugin for converting from ARRI ALEXA LogC to Rec.709 in the Final Cut Pro timeline, as well as batch processing dailies, now has support for the new ALEXA 3.0 curves. The v2 version was free, but this version costs $30. A demo is available: Final Cut Pro LUT plugins
  • A blog from Zeiss looks back at their NAB experience: A special custom-made set of five SLR lenses was another highlight at Carl Zeiss’ booth. “These lenses are becoming more popular with filmmakers in the HD video entry segment thanks to their robust construction, optimum image quality and precise manual focus,” says Schiehlen. Looking back at the NAB Show 2011

Odds & Ends
  • Car Chases: Hot Rod Cameras provides a short history of car chases in movies. It includes an interesting picture of a car decked out for shooting the chase scene in The French Connection (in my opinion one of the most amazing chase scenes ever made.) HotRodCamera: A Short History of the Car Chase, Fast Five, and Hot Rod Cameras
  • Canon vs Nikon: an amusing little parody of the Mac vs. PC ads, but with Nikon and Canon discussing video: YouTubeCanon vs Nikon - Video
  • Edward Burns has been recently talking up his latest indie movie, which was produced at an ultra-low budget of $9,000. Eric Kohn at indieWIRE reviews the movie and isn't impressed, writing: Burns has done well to inspire other filmmakers to look beyond budget lines, but if this is the future of low-budget cinema, it still comes at a significant cost. Ouch! indieWIRETRIBECA REVIEW | What Edward Burns’ “Newlyweds” Says About the Future of Cheap Movies
  • Better video for business wbesites: The Globe and Mail provides tips on adding video to websites. Number 1 piece of advice: Don’t make commercials, make content. People are not coming to your website to be sold on your product or service. Ten ways to enhance your company's website with video
  • The Gamma & Density Journal No 4 can be viewed online and includes a History of Cinematography: e.g. The first Color film made for projection, by C. Francis Jenkins in 1894-95, was hand tintedA Short History of American Cinematography

Monday, May 02, 2011

Getting to Your First Cut - Free Webinar May 25

MAY 25: Webinar with Norman Hollyn

This is a FREE webinar on film and video editing featuring Norman Hollyn, head of the Editing Track at the USC Film School. Norman will be talking about how to organize your editing thoughts and then your footage to get the most out of your project. If improving your skills in the CRAFT of editing, rather than just the technology, is important to you, sign up for this session TODAY.

This session is for any editor that wants to improve their ability to tell a story visually. It will not focus on technology, but instead it will look at the craft of editing and storytelling.

This is a free session and there are only 100 seats available. MAY 25: Guest Webinar with Norman Hollyn

More on Push Pop Press interactive books

Mike Matas User Interface Designer at Push Pop Press held an online chat at about the design of their interactive book Our Choice.

While it wasn't like I actually interviewed him, he did answer a couple of my questions:

Q: Any thoughts on features like searching, bookmarking and note taking? You said a goal was to "Get rid of the UI," but to add features like that, youd have to add UI. Or do you not see these as necessary tools for the kinds of books you intend to publish?
A: I think there are unintrusive ways of adding those features if we want them in the future. We decided for this release to focus on simplicity and the content. Id rather have fewer features and a really good user experience, We can always add more stuff when necessary.

Q: The book only supports horizontal orientation. Was this an intentional decision, or a technology decision? Or that you can't make a switching layout that works automatically, so pages have to be laid out twice, so you decided it's not worth it?
A. We decided to support landscape only because most of the photos and all of the videos where landscape to begin with. I also think having both orientations makes for a very unsettling reading experiencing. If you support both orientations one orientation is always a little better than the other but it varies from page to page so as I reader I always find myself asking "is this the best orientation to be reading this page in?"

Someone asked what the idea behind the UI was, which he described as:
A. The idea [was to] "get rid of the UI". No toolbars, no back buttons, we just wanted the content to fill the screen so you could really immerse yourself in the content. I think its resulting in a user experience that comes closest to that of a physical book where you can just get lost in the content and are not constantly being pulled out of the experience to deal with the technology behind it.

I asked how the app manages content and memory, which he didn't answer, but he did answer another question about memory management with:
A. Kimon Tsinteris the Push Pop Press Co-Founder and Software Architect worked his magic.

A lot of people wanted to know whether they were going to release a publishing tool, and what it would cost, but he mostly avoided those questions. The few answers he gave on the topic were:
A. The tools we are building are not a development environment but are a layout tool (and much more user-friendly), but we can’t announce any specific details on the product quite yet.

A. We are building a publishing platform that we plan on releasing to the public in the future. Right now it's in private beta and we are working with authors to create books with our tool.

You can read the entire chat here at TED: LIVE conversation with Mike Matas: Monday, May 2nd, 1PM-2:30PM EST
iTunes: "Our Choice" app [$4.99]
See also: NotesOnVideo: Push Pop "Our Choice" app initial impressions

My Weekend

At Saturdays White House Correspondents' Dinner, Seth Meyers made the following obligatory jokes about CSPAN:
I'm also honored to be performing for those of you tonight, as well as the handful of people watching at home on CSPAN. CPSAN is of course the official network for wide shots of empty chairs. Every time I tune into CSPAN it looks like they just had a fire drill. CSPAN is one unpaid electric bill away from being a radio station.

People think Bin Laden is hiding in the Hindu Kush, but did you know that every day from four to five he hosts a show on CSPAN?

I'm not complaining about CSPAN mind you, I usually work on NBC so tonight I'm thrilled to be on a network that people actually watch.
-Seth Meyers

Sunday Evening, 24 Hours later...
Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who's responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
-President Obama Address to the Nation

Saturday morning Andy Shipsides of Able Cine tweeted that:
Sony news: the NEX-FS100 will be available at the end of May for $4,999 w/o lens and $5,599 with lens.
That's almost $1,000 less than the price previously listed. Unfortunately, I still can't afford it!

I spent the weekend trying to re-install Final Cut Pro to solve a problem I've been having at start-up. I followed the instructions from Apple's website; the second time because I wasn't sure I got it right the first time. Both times it took about three hours as the installer re-installs all the media files, even though they are already there and even though I told it to only re-install Final Cut Pro.

But it didn't work. So looks like I will have to give this app a try: Digital Rebellion FCS Remover.

Just about everyone this weekend seemed to be tweeting about the new Technicolor Picture Style for Canon EOS DSLR cameras.

Saturday afternoon I did an impromptu video shoot. 
Important Tip: Just because you checked that you have the wireless microphone unit doesn't mean the unit has the right adapter cable for the camera you're going to use. For instance: 1/8inch cables don't go in to XLR plugs.

Sunday morning at Boston Media Makers, Steve Garfield had the iRig mic for the iPhone. He says the quality is pretty good. It plugs into the headphone jack of the iPhone...

I didn't even know you could plug a mic into the headphone jack! Downside: though it has an extra plug that let's you use headphones while the mic is plugged in, you can't hear audio while it's recording. Make sure you use a recording app that gives a visual indication of audio coming in, or you risk having problems with audio...
Amazon: IK Multimedia iRig Mic Handheld Mic for iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad[$56.95]

Sunday: Happy May 1st, Alfred Hitchcock 

Street Chalk Drawing - Harvard Square, Cambridge MA May Fair

DSLRs are everywhere
At Sunday's May Fair in Harvard Square I only saw two people shooting video, and both were using DSLRs. One person was shooting with a Canon T2i, with an assistant holding a Rode VideoMic with a boom pole.

Shooting with Canon T2i and Rode mic

Saw the movie Hanna Sunday evening.
So the pitch for this movie was: Jason Bourne as a 14-year old girl? It's a well made, intense movie, though I didn't enjoy it as much as the Bourne movies. I'm not sure why.
IMDB: Hanna

And this morning, Philip Bloom tweeted:
Two years ago today I got my first Canon 5D Mark II

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Quick Links

Final Cut Pro Problems
I've been having problems with Final Cut Pro lately; it keeps asking for my administrator's password whenever it starts, and half the time it seems to hang during the open.

So today I deleted the application, following these instructions: Uninstalling Final Cut Pro 3 in Mac OS X, and then I spent about three hours re-installing the application...and then it still wasn't fixed!

Oh well. Try again tomorrow....When will FCP X ship?

Hello, future: A Music Video Challenge
Make a music video with one of 3 Moby tracks available to download below. Submission deadline is Midnight EST May 9, 2011.
The winner will be announced and their video screened at this year's New Directors' Showcase in Cannes, as well as on the Vimeo site. They will also be offered the chance to work on a project in one of Saatchi & Saatchi's key offices around the Saatchi & Saatchi Global Network.
Vimeo: SaatchiandSaatchi

Apple to introduce new iMacs May 3rd?
AppleInsider reports that Apple will roll-out new iMac's "as early as" May 3rd. These iMacs should feature second-generation Core i chips and the Thunderbolt port. AppleInsider: Apple preparing to introduce Sandy Bridge iMacs early next week - sources

More on the Technicolo Cinestyle for Canon EOS
Everyone's playing with this new Picture Style and posting their results. I must admit, I was tempted to install it today, but then I got hung up re-installing Final Cut Pro...

Alex Cican:
I personally have yet to be convinced that it’s far better than the Neutral Picture Style. I’ll continue testing it (maybe a more thorough test) over the forthcoming weeks and hopefully arrive at a conclusion.
AlexCican: Canon 5D MKII Technicolor Picture Style

Zach at Zach's Camera follows up his test from yesterday with a test of flesh tones using CineStyle, SuperFlat, MarvelCine and Neutral. CineStyle came out on top for a regularly exposed image, and second for the over-exposed text; just behind Neutral.
Before CineStyle was released, I used to prefer SuperFlat when I needed the dynamic range and Neutral when I didn't, but now I will most likely be using CineStyle all the time because not only does it have the raised dynamic range, It is extremely flexible in grading.
Technicolor CineStyle vs. SuperFlat vs. MarvelCine vs. Neutral

Samuel Hutchinson provides a short clip with and without the S-Curve for CineStyle LUT - + tests using the Standard and superflat picture styles. Vimeo: Technicolor CineStyle - 60D Test including S-Curve LUT

Andrew Schär posts a test made using Cinestyle, but designed to prove whether ISO's should be used in multiples of 160.
The results as you can see in the video, are pretty much spot on with what Technicolor has said. Interestingly enough, it seems to me that ISO 640 has about as much noise as ISO 100.

It also seems that ISO multiples of 125 are specifically bad. ISO 1250 is pretty much comparable to IS0 125!
Vimeo: Testing Canon's ISO noise in Video mode on the 60D

Darryl Gregory posted his own test and notes:
...although seeing an extreme difference between the Standard and new Technicolor CineStyle I'm not sure if it is useful enough on day time outdoor shoots using a Fader ND more testing is needed,
Vimeo: Technicolor Profile for Canon HDDSLRs / Sample Test

Unique Design posts a short video of dogs playing, ungraded and ungraded: playing doggy's / Technicolor Profile

Emmanuel Junglander posts a video with "CineStyle" compared to "Standard", which is the default Picture Style and "Neutral", with Sharpness: 0, Contrast: -4, Saturation: -2 and Color Tone: 0. Though note that the CineStyle video examples are ungraded: Vimeo: TechniColor CineStyle

Problems with LUT Buddy in Final Cut
LUT Buddy, the tool for Final Cut Pro for working with Look Up Tables should have been ideal for working with CineStyle footage, but several people reported that Final Cut Pro was crashing when using it.
Samuel Hutchinson on Vimeo reports:
I had some issues with prores 4444 and 422(HQ), when I would try and render the transcoded footage with LUT buddy applied FCP would crash. So I cut this video as a H.264 in FCP, applied the LUT and it worked fine; which was fine for the test but it's not so much in the real world.
Vimeo: Technicolor CineStyle - 60D Test including S-Curve LUT [In Comments]
RedGiant: Two New FREE Tools for Color Grading & Color Decisions

Fix for LUT Buddy crash in FCP with Technicolor LUT: convert the LUT in LUT Buddy and export to a new file, then use that LUT file.
- @joeyciccoline