Saturday, June 11, 2011

Story vs. Gear

Vincent Laforet has been playing with the RED Epic, and has been posting about the experience. It seems pretty clear that, at least in this case, he thinks this gear does make a decisive change in the way you capture stories both because of the ability to capture high quality stills from a sequence:
...this camera has made me think A LOT. And ask a lot of "big" questions… such as: "Does the challenge of capturing "THE DECISIVE MOMENT" still exist when you can capture a 14 megapixel image at 120 frames per second? " For someone who idolized Henri Cartier Bresson and worked on mastering the capture of that "decisive moment" for most of my career – it is not a question I ask lightly. "Are the days of the "still camera" numbered?"
as well as the HDR capabilities, and looking towards future needs:
So why 5K some of you may ask? Well for one, it’s "future proof" – or we can expect it to be high enough resolution to look good on displays for years to come. It’s also exciting to know that with a camera that is not much larger than a Hasselblad H4D – you can have your footage projected on any silver screen in the world.
Pity I can't afford one. But I guess in another ten years, we'll all have video cameras that do 5K.
Vincent Laforet: What camera did I use to make this still picture?
Vincent Laforet: RED Epic – 5K and HDRx

Quick Links

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sony NEX-FS100 Tap Test, & Alpha-E mount Adaptor

Thursday I stopped by Rule Boston Camera to see the Sony NEX-FS100 in the flesh. When I got there, they happened to have it set up with a Sony 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 Alpha zoom lens, attached using the Sony Alpha to E-Mount Adapter.

Interestingly, they were trying to diagnose a problem with the adapter; the mount "clicked" quite loudly when adjusting the aperture of the lens. It didn't happen at the step-to-step change (though there's some noise then) but very loudly when it reached the limit of the lenses aperture.

In theory, the Sony Alpha adapter should allow the camera to control the lens aperture and focus, but while the camera could adjust the aperture, the focus command wasn't working. When you pushed any of the focus controls the camera said the lens was not communicating. Tom Talbot at Rule said they had just started working with it, so they weren't too sure what the problem was.

Tom also demonstrated a Zeiss 18mm lens attached using an MTF Services Ltd Nikon G to Sony E Mount Adaptor; there's no focus or aperture control from the camera using that adapter.

Build Quality
I got to spend a little time taping the camera (see video) and parts of the camera seem quite solid (the left hand side with all the buttons seems robust). The side on the right with the detachable handle and the removable panel where you can attach the HXR- FMU128 flash memory unit seemed rather light. The cover for the Audio/Video out jacks was similarly slight. I'd be a little worried about breaking those covers.

And yes, the buttons are small, and you have to really make an effort to click some of them. It took me a couple of stabs before it worked; I guess with a bit of time I'd get used to it.

Hand holding the camera
The NEX-FS100 is definitely an unusual shape of a camera, and hand holding feels a bit different. It's unlike any other camera I've used, but I think I could get used to it! Whether you use it with a zoom lens, the Sony kit lens, or a smaller fixed lens will change the handling characteristics quite a bit.

It was fun to get to handle the camera even for a few minutes. It's different, but quite frankly, if you can get used to using a DSLR to shoot video, this won't be nearly as much trouble.

Thanks to Tom @ Rule Boston Camera for putting up with me!

Upcoming Events
For those in Boston, Rule is having a LearningLab with the Sony NEX-FS100 on June 29th at 10am (RSVP to Tom Talbot said that they were hoping to also have an evening event on the same day with the NEX-FS100, a continuation of Rule's Pub Nights.

As of Thursday, Rule still had one more NEX-FS100 in stock from their original shipment. Rule is highly regarded amongst video pros in the Boston area; if you're in Boston, check out Rule Boston Camera.

See also: NoteOnVideoPub Night @ Rule Camera with the Sony PMW-F3

News From Here & There

Final Cut Pro X
Practically no news today, so it doesn't even warrant it's own post. Best Buy has been offering 15% off iTunes gift cards this week, but now it appears that Target will be offering 20% off iTunes gift cards this weekend. Stock up and save for when Final Cut Pro X when it's finally released!

Pitching Your Movie
An interesting article from Alexis van Hurkman about planning, preparation, putting your best foot forward, and always being ready to adapt. It also gives you an idea of how exhausting trying to get a movie made can be.
So, there I am in London, at an afterparty for the event that brought me out there, having gotten an actual appointment for my pitch meeting. I’m at a pub with another producer as well as my initial contacts at the production company, drinking and chatting about pitches, and they start talking about how great it is to pitch with an animatic. And there I sit, feeling like an idiot, since I had a whole year to put something together and I didn’t.
vanhurkman: Once Upon a Time in London

Saving Money With Light Sensitive Camera
The new cameras with their high light sensitivity, and ability to almost see in the dark have reduced the amount of lighting needed in production. I've seen several people talk about how much time this can save, but Mark Toia notes that it can save a lot of money too (in people and gear) though that's not good news for everyone:
One thing that dawned on us the other day was how our lighting (gaffa) quotations have plummeted over the last 12 months. We still hire Gaffas but really.. hardly any gear comes out any more. Well only a small percentage of what we did use.
The latitude and range of the chips these days are so bloody good in hi contrast situations and low light situations that large lamp fill is almost non existent anymore.
RedUser: Lighting bill plumets using EPIC

Sony HXR-NX70 User Report
Philip Johnston at HDWarrior has taken delivery of a Sony HXR-NX70, the new rain & dust proof video camera that can record at 60p. He's posted an overview as well as a first usage report:
The Sony NX70 coped admirably with all situations thrown at it and the 1080 50p pictures on my 50″ Panasonic plasma were truly breathtaking, solid and sharp as a tac, in fact this wee camera produces better pictures than camcorders 4x it’s price, I kid you not.
His only complaint so far is with the lens, which "although its very sharp you loose 1.5 stops of light from wide to tight and that can be really annoying."
HDWarrior: Sony NX70 “filming a corporate shoot”
HDWarrior: Sony’s NX70 has arrived

Threat to Crowdfunding?
FilmmakerIQ notes that the SEC intervened when a couple of guys started a campaign to raise money to buy Pabst Brewing Company. While it might have been a joke - and it was shut down without a penny being exchanged - the SEC found them in violation of Section 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933.
As FilmakerIQ notes, this could have implications for many Crowdfunding ventures:
You may be asking why haven’t they done anything about it. It could be as simple as no one has filed a complaint yet. Someday one of those projects is going to do very well or very bad and an “investor” will get upset and lawyer-up. When that happens who knows what the fallout could be.
FilmakerIQ: SEC Stops Social Media Fundraising Site

Wait?! What? Blu-ray?! No!

9 to 5 Mac has just posted a rumor about a new Mac Pro design that is smaller, rackable, carries "stacked" drives in a higher density than currently available, along with Thunderbolt support.

But then it goes into the realm of fantasy with the following prediction:
Beyond what we’ve heard, it would seem appropriate that these new Mac Pros would also have a Thunderbolt port and perhaps even BluRay options for the Final Cut Professionals.

With the new version of Final Cut Pro coming in June, we can’t think of a better time for Apple to update the 8-year old design of the Mac Pro
Blu-ray? Seriously? On a Mac? Prepare to be disappointed!
9to5Mac: Prototype next-gen Mac Pro detailed: redesigned, rackable, stackable

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Dear Apple...

Can we please have Final Cut Pro X tomorrow, Friday?  'Cause then I could spend the weekend playing with it.

Thank you.


Final Cut Pro X: Post of the day

There had been a number of people saying that Final Cut Pro X would ship today (though I was never able to find out where that date came from.) Unfortunately, so far there's no sign of it.

Projecting a release date is a tricky business; do you go based on dates/days that Apple has previously announced/shipped things? Will Apple slip it out quietly in the night, or will they roll it out at some kind of event?

I can't help thinking that with something as momentous as they seem to think Final Cut Pro X is, that Apple wouldn't miss a chance to do some kind of public event. The upcoming SuperMeet in London would have been a good place; except it's in London. Perhaps they will just slip it out, and then make the rounds of different shows and user groups?

Fevered Dreams
Scott Blaszak had a dream that he got to see Final Cut Pro X with a bunch of famous directors:
It was an intense session. James Cameron demanded to know how FCP would handle a 3D workflow. Quentin Tarrantino was concerned with blood-spatter effects. David Lynch wanted a guaranteed the new suite would support a third-party plugin that creates impressionist nightmares.
Unfortunately, he can't remember any other details: FCPX -- Into The Beast

Analyzing The Screen Grabs
Those screen grabs that were posted yesterday (and then removed from TwitPic, but are available at AppleInsider and other sites) have prompted some discussion. takes apart one of the screens and wonders if we'll be able to build own own transitions in Motion. FCPX and Motion 5 or X - Analysing the screengrabs. Will we be able to build our own custom effects and transitions?

The death of DSLRs

Using a DSLR to shoot video? That's so 2010! DSLR's are dead; they were pronounced dead at NAB 2011!

Its ironic really; 2010 had been "the year of DSLRs" at NAB, but this year everyone agreed that their moment had passed. Attention moved to the large sensor video cameras; from the expensive RED's and Alexa's, to the more price conscious Sony PMW-F3, Sony NEX-FS100, and Panasonic AG-AF100.

Not everyone was happy about this change, but before we get to that, let's review how we got here.

A little history
It's hard to believe that it was less than three short years ago, in August 2008, that Nikon announced the D90, a DSLR with a 720p HD video mode. Just a month later, Canon announced the 5D Mark II, which captured 1920 x 1080 HD video. Canon had added the video capability because of requests from the Associated Press and other news organizations, who wanted their news photographers to be able to shoot short video clips for use on the web.

Canon was surprised - maybe even shocked - by the excitement generated when Vincent Laforet's short "Reverie" appeared on the web. He'd shot it over the course of a weekend using a borrowed prototype he wasn't supposed to have seen and he literally begged them to let him use it.

While the Nikon D90 was - just - first, it's lower resolution, less sensitive chip, and more obvious rolling shutter issues meant that it didn't get the attention the 5D Mark II did.

The 5D wasn't perfect by any means. Originally it shot at only 30fp; it wasn't even 29.97 to match video's frame rate. BUT, it had a really large sensor, making it possible to do dramatic shallow depth of field effects, and produced amazing pictures in low light. The commonly used video cameras - like the Sony EX3 - have 1/2" sensors which have a diagonal length of 8mm; while the 5D's 35mm Full Frame sensor is 43mm across the diagonal.

Cinematographers like Philip Bloom quickly started using the 5D to produce spectacular shorts and demos, and in a comparatively short period of time, it was adopted by indie filmmakers, used on the TV series 24 to shoot plates and other effect shots, and was even used to shoot the opening sequences for last season of Saturday Night Live. Perhaps the peak came when the 5D was used to shoot an entire episode of the TV series House.

The Imperfect Camera
Most people recognize that DSLR's, while they are comparatively inexpensive and offer some advantages over traditional video cameras, still have many limitations; they can be difficult to hand hold, monitor, focus, and record audio. In short, for the video shooter they are a great imager in the wrong package.

With the Canon DSLRs enjoying remarkable success, speculation arose in late 2009 that Canon would put out a "true" video camera with a large sensor, and many wondered when companies like Sony would come out with a video camera with a large sensor? Most theories were that the video division's of those companies didn't want these DSLR cameras to kill their regular video camera business.

After several months where it was thought that Canon would release a new video camera, there was some surprise when the Canon XF300/XF305 was announced last year and they did not use a large sensor.

And all the time, people talked about "The DSLR Killer."
When Panasonic finally rolled out the AG-AF100 - a large sensor camera in a more traditional video camera package - people whispered that it was a DSLR killer. While the picture quality wasn't considerably better than the DSLRs, many professionals started to move to the AG-AF100, though not always eschewing their DSLRs.

Then Sony came out with the PMW-F3 and - more recently - the NEX-FS100. Sony hasn't officially said either camera is intended as a DSLR killer; Den Lennie described the NEX-FS100 as Sony's response to EX1's and EX3's buyers switching to DSLR's. Rather than intended to "kill" DSLRs, they are a defense move against the inroads that DSLRs were making.

Why DSLR's?
It's important to consider who has been buying DSLRs, and why.

In one camp, you have people like Philip Bloom, who prior to the arrival of the DSLR were shooting with a Sony EX1, and using a Letus Extreme to create shallow depth of field. The ease with which you can create shallow-depth of field with the 5D sensor, and it's low-light performance were clearly what attracted Philip. But if the EX1 had a similar sensor (i.e. the PMW-F3 or NEX-FS100,) would he rather use that, or a DSLR? It seems pretty clear that unless he needed to be really stealthy, he'd rather have a serious camera, and it's worth noting that he did just purchase a PMW-F3.

Clearly Philip will continue to use DSLRs for time-lapse work, and for situations where small size is important, but otherwise, why would he want to use the 5D? Maybe if the Canon 5D Mark III comes out with RAW capture and even better low-light performance he'll switch again, but for serious projects, why continue to use a DSLR?

Alternatively, for the low-budget indie film maker, the DSLR's are still attractive; buy a T3i and an inexpensive lens or two, and you can produce some outstanding visual work for less than the cost of the AG-AF100 body. You have to work a lot harder, but you can save money and make up for that savings through your hard work.

The most expected, unexpected demise
Really, who was surprised that the DSLRs day in the sun was past? At NAB, Cinema5D ran a series of articles entitled "Death of HDSLR" even though the three parts were a somewhat less than coherent argument; grouping together two digital recorders and the Sony NEX-FS100. I'm not sure how the digital recorders spell the end of the DSLR

We also seem to be suffering from some internecine warfare. In a post originally titled "Vincent just lost his credibility with me" [now titled "Vincent Compares Canon to Phantom"] Sebastian Wöber at Cinema 5D took issue with Vincent Laforet comparing a Canon DSLR to a Phantom camera.
His words: “Do the math! You know, none of us have 50 thousand dollars laying around, maybe 2 in the audience do, but I can take a lot more of the cameras on the right than I can of the cameras on the left, that’s why it becomes much more versatile.”

I feel like Canon wants to sell their dslrs in a way that is very misleading.The Phantom model shown in that slide was a highspeed camera that records 1500fps uncompressed 1080p to be exact.
Vincent shot back viaTwitter:
"Seb" completely missed the point - I was showing that while a Canon w/ all of the kit may be intimidating - all motion pictures can look intimidating.
- @Vincentlaforet

The End of the DSLR Community?
The DSLR community seems to be splintering intro three groups: those who are moving on, those who see it as continuing to be a viable - though limited - tool, and those that are mounting the ramparts in its defense.

Moving On
Those who are moving on, and don't regret packing away the DSLR include:

Peter Lundström at the editman blog wrote an inflammatory post: "I don't find DSLR video shooting exciting anymore!":
Since getting the AF101 I hardly flipped the mirror on my 5DmkII. I'm using it as what it's meant to be - a still camera.
Another thing that's great, when having a video camera, is you don't have to get all of the things you need on a DSLR. All by itself the AF101 is a one box solution. Just peeking inside my numerous boxes of things reveals what hassles I've gone through to get DSLR to work like I want them to.
Sam Morgan Moore, a self-described "professional stills photographer" writes at DSLR 4 Real that DSLRs for shooting motion are dead, though he then clarifies it by saying that for the cinema crew and the corporate video shooter, the DSLR is dead, but for stills photographers and for the Indie shooter:
DSLRs are far from dead

Robin Schmidt, (also known as el skid), wrote after returning from NAB:
[...] there’s no denying the buzz of 18 months ago has receded. Large sensor filmmaking has been subsumed into the grand melée of filmmaking in general, closing the gap between the haves and the have nots, a much needed kick of adrenaline to an industry that was innovating far too slowly.
and went on to announce that he's moving on, or at least the topic of his blog posts is changing:
So that brings me to the final point of this slightly meandering post. It’s time to say goodbye to this blog as a DSLR beast. The grind and graft of finding something new to say about this funny little community of ours really isn’t that much fun anymore. I’d rather talk about filmmaking.
I guess this is as good a time as any to announce my retirement from the DSLR blogging scene. Been fun gang, but this dog is moving on

Still usable, with reservations
If many pros are eager to move on, some others are a little more circumspect. Vincent Laforet isn't exactly on record, but he did tweet:
Different - very different. I'd take a Canon HDDSLR over an AF-100 anyday in terms of IMAGE purely.
Similarly, Philip Bloom, after announcing his acquisition of a PMW-F3, did tweet that he will continue to use DSLRs, though I wonder if it will be mostly for the beautiful time-lapses that he creates.

To The Defenses!
And then there are those who are mounting a vigorous defense.

Kurt Lancaster at Mastering Film writes:
Rather than “killing” the HDSLR, it seems the large sensor HDSLR market has been killing the prosumer video camera market. They’ve stepped up and noticed. They’re taking on the best of the DSLR features and are crafting cheaper video cameras with DSLR sensors in order to be competitive in the low budget cinematic market.
And points out that:
If you want everything in one package, and you can afford it, then the Sony FS100 may be the camera you should use. If you’re on a budget or prefer the smaller form factor of a DSLR, use it. Nearly twenty percent of the films at 2011 Sundance were shot on DSLRs. They’re not going away. Not even close.

Andrew Reid at EOSHD noted:
For me NAB 2011 marks the moment when even some DSLR advocates upped sticks and realised that there was no such thing as a 'DSLR shooter', that 'timelapses were all a cliche' and that 'gear tests are irrelevant'.
and adds:
'DSLR shooter' is just as valid as 'documentary filmmaker', 'video journalist' or 'sci-fi filmmaker'. For the zero budget indie film community DSLRs have come to mean a certain thing.

So What Is A DSLR Shooter?
Is DSLR Shooter a category like documentary filmmaker, or an aesthetic, or is it just a gear label like "Sony Shooter" or "Canon Shooter?" And by the way, it's ironic that Andrew Reid could take a stand on people and labels; since at his EOSHD website he's spent a lot of time recently bemoaning Canon and advocating for the Panasonic GH2!

The identifiable characteristics of the DSLR video shooter are:
  • large sensor - shallow depth of field
  • small size - makes for guerrilla shooting
  • lower cost - though only if you don't buy lots of accessories!
Of those, the small size and lower cost are the two characteristics not duplicated by the DSLR killers; the PMW-F3, AG-AF100, and the slightly smaller NEX-FS100.

But really, was that all? Or was also a sense of excitement, experimentation and amazement, as people experimented and turned out amazing footage? Was it was also a little subversive? And like all subversive ideas, if they catch on, do they not become subsumed within the mainstream and lose some of their appeal?

We may look at these cameras as DSLR killers, but really it was success that killed the DSLR. When everyone was doing it - when you go to an event and the only people shooting video are doing it with DSLRs, you know that the moment of the "new" has passed.

And maybe that's what people are really mourning.



Happy Birthday Les Paul

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Les Paul, a pioneer in the development of solid-body electric guitars, and Google celebrates with a little guitar widget you can play on their home page.

It may not be GarageBand, but it's pretty neat!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Daily Sony NEX-FS100 Update

Update on First Impressions
When Paul Antico tweeted that he'd posted his "first thoughts" about the NEX-FS100, I teased him about when he'd be posting his second thoughts.

Well, it didn't take long, as he's gone back and updated his opinion about the construction:
I started to try to rig it. And after some time I have to admit it still feels like a lightweight plastic shell as compared to most devices of this price range and even the Canon HDSLRs. While test rigging it tonight I thought I was going to literally crack it in half as the lens got caught on my follow focus as the rig collapsed a bit while adjusting. If you knock on the side panels with your knuckle it sounds hollow.
and added that the buttons don't give much feedback:
...I do think they are a tad too recessed into the body, and don't have as satisfying of a tactile "click" as I am used to, especially on pro cameras.
He still likes the images it produces.

Read the whole article:
NeedCreative: Sony FS100 First Very Brief Look

Not All That Great
Andrew Reid at EOSHD, the website for Panasonic users [remove your tongue from your cheek - Ed] wants you to think that the NEX-FS100 (and PMW-F3) aren't really worth the money they cost, since all they do is add:
  • A slightly better image that the end user doesn’t notice
  • Buttons
Here's his point:
So let’s get practical and let’s get real – what does the £5000 spent on a Sony FS100 get you over a £800 Panasonic GH2? More resolution? No – both do a pretty good job on that front. A better codec? Sure, but hardly anybody will be watching it in it’s original high bitrate form, especially not over the internet or on TV. Better ergonomics? A place to balance your tea cup, maybe – I don’t know about you but I can shoot good looking video without desperately scrambling for traditional EX3 style video controls, and I am sure it was the last thing on Danfung Dennis’s mind when he shot with the 5D Mk II in Afghanistan, which oddly enough looks cinematic enough to be nominated for Cannes.
He's sure he will get a lot of criticism:
Now I am sure I will get a lot of criticism
And he probably will, but in a way he's right. If you're only showing stuff on YouTube, then the quality improvement is marginal at best. You're paying a lot for a - comparatively - small increase in image quality, and for a lot of convenience; audio monitoring? peaking? etc., etc. Do you need it? No! But the same might be said when comparing a Handicam and the Sony EX3.
EOSHD: The Sony FS100 – Why professionals are all mad

16x9 Inc PL-Mount for the NEX-FS100
This is from NAB, but may now be of interest to those just getting their new NEX-FS100's; a short clip from Cinema5D about the PL mount and lens support from 16x9Inc. It'll set you back $870, but it's made from quality materials - and includes a lens support (without the lens support, it's $595.
Cinema5D: NAB 2011 – Very high quality PL-mount for FS100 by 16×9 Inc.
16x9: Lens mounts

Sampel Footage
W. Ashley Maddox posted some footage shot with three lenses:
  • Tokina 11-16mm
  • Canon 70-200 2.8
  • Sigma 30mm 1.4
Vimeo: Test Footage from the FS100

Matthew Thomas posted a clip with video shot in the 120fps mode. Clips are limited to 3 second, and resolution has "no more detail than 960 x 540 or less.":
It records into 1080i at 29.97fps, but the footage resolution is not close to this. Regardless of the lower quality, there are times when this feature makes sense and at Standard Definition, it is hard to notice the quality drop.
Vimeo: Sony FS100 120fps over 30 Sample

Sony has launched a new Super 35mm web site, with the F65, HDCAM SR, PMW-F3 and NEX-FS100.
Sony: HighEnd

Final Cut Pro X: The Natives Are Restless

When Apple said that Final Cut Pro X would be released in June, many people seemed to read "1st June," and there's been a constant hum of "where is it?" comments on Twitter over the past week.

As I expected (and I'm mostly half right) there was no mention of it at the World Wide Developers Conference key note.

Complaints - as well as guesses - have been proliferating. There have been different date predictions: as previously reported, Philip Hodgetts thinks it will be June 21st. I've also seen talk about June 14th, and several people have been saying it will be tomorrow, June 9th.

Not until Lion?
Aaron Robinson thinks it won't be released until Lion is released in July, but I think that's a miss-reading of what Apple has previously said. At the Vegas SuperMeet, Apple said that it would be in June, and they knew that Lion was not scheduled for release then (they also said that Final Cut Pro X would run on Snow Leopard.)

Of course, development can run into problems, things can get delayed, but if we take Apple at their word, there's no reason to believe that Final Cut Pro X will be held up specifically to role it out with Lion.
Arron Robinson: When Apple!? I want it now!

Motion 5
These may be faked,or this could be a sign of impending release, but Twitter user @BWilks2001 has this morning posted some screen grabs that are claimed to be from Motion 5, and also Final Cut Pro X.
Is this Motion 5?

TwitPic: Motion 5 interface
TwitPic: Motion 5 Project Browser
TwitPic: Rig Menu
TwitPic: Final Cut Pro X Import Preferences

TwitPic: B Wilks

[Update 12:45: The pictures have been removed from TritPic, but can be seen at AppleInsider: Images claim to show Apple's Motion 5, Final Cut Pro X ]

There have been other reports that Motion was being updated (as well as Compressor and SoundTrack Pro) so this is consistent with those reports.

A week or two until #FCPX arrives. Rumors are some other pro apps are in beta
We are 7/30ths of the way through June.

Other Rumors
I'll wager Apple will release a new Mac Pro whenever they release FCPX this month. No current towers have Thunderbolt, after all.
So says Philip Owens,(@POCuts) who has a VHS logo for his icon on Twitter...

love Apple products, been using it for a quarter century, but I disapprove their insincerity. FCPX isn't a hobby we need more info.

The waiting continues...

[Update: Added link to AppleInsider.]


Filmmaker Profile: Ben Pender-Cudlip

Freelance filmmaker and documentary director Ben Pender-Cudlip of Unrendered Films talks about two documentary projects he's currently working on. He's been shooting these primarily with a Canon 60D.

Q: Can you tell us about the projects you are working on right now?
One of the projects I’ve been working on as the Director of Photography is a documentary on youth violence in inner-city Boston. [...] We want to tell the stories of the perpetrators and the survivors of youth violence

Q: Who’s making it?
The director’s name is Adam Mazo of Mazo Productions, and he’s a terrific director. I worked on one of his previous projects as a colorist and he said he was doing something else and I said I didn’t care what it was. I’d shoot it.

Q: And you’re shooting it with what?
I’m shooting it with the Canon 60D and a custom shoulder rig. I’m shooting observational long-form documentary on a DSLR.

Q: How far along is it?
It’s an observational documentary, and we’re squarely in production. We’ll know when it’s done. It’s one of those…

Q: What’s the biggest challenge you have shooting with a DSLR?
Technically some of the biggest challenges is; it’s not a video camera, it’s a DSLR, a still camera. Sound is a huge issue, I have to record sound to a Zoom audio recorder and sync it up later.

Q: Is this a one-man crew?
Yes. That’s probably the biggest challenge. There’s going to be a huge assistant editor role dealing with all the raw footage, which I’ve been dealing with as I go along. And hopefully Final Cut X will make some of that easier.

Q: You’re editing it as well?
Yeah. And I’ll be coloring as well, possibly.

Q: And you're working on another project?
I worked with another director who is fascinated by individuals who believed that the world was going to end on May 21st. We connected with a few of them and followed them around before the 21st. It was really surprising. We meet some great people and it wasn’t what we expected. So we’ll put the film together and then you’ll see.

Q: That was shot with the same gear?
Yeah, on the 60D.

Q: When do you think it will be done?
That one is more of a personal project, so I'm editing it whenever I don't have paying work.

Q: You also use GoPros?
Yeah. I have basically a James Bond case full of all my GoPro gear, I’ve got three GoPro HD HERO cameras with all the mounts. So rafting or kayaking I attach them to myself, my helmet; I’ve got custom mounts to put those on white water rafts for class 4, class 5 rapids. I lost one of these once in the river and it was completely unharmed when it came back to me. They’re terrific. I’ve strapped them to airplanes. Literally on the wing tip of an airplane I suction cupped a Go Pro. It was a Cessna.

They’re terrific cameras. They are very limited in what they can shoot; they have a fixed wide-angle lens, fixed focus, they only work in direct sunlight, or bright outside, but as crash cameras they’re awesome. They’re $300 a pop. They’re basically disposable.

Unrendered Films

Some Old Ford from Ben Pender-Cudlip on Vimeo.

iOS iMovie 1.2.1

I case you missed it - I did - Apple released a minor update to iOS iMovie last week:

What's New in Version 1.2.1
  • Audio plays from your HDTV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter.
  • Video plays full screen from Marquee to your HDTV when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter.
  • Resolves some cases of missing media in projects.
  • Provides more accurate clip grouping by date in Video browser.
  • Fixes an issue where a project's background music would not fade in or out.
  • Additional performance and reliability improvements.
iTunes: iMovie

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sir, if I may, I want to party with you, cowboy

Yesterday, Cave of Forgotten Dreams Director Werner Herzog appeared on The Colbert Report, and things got more than a little other-wordly as Werner explained to Stephen why he added radioactive albino crocodiles to his documentary about cave paintings...

Sony NEX-FS100 Operating Guide

The Sony NEX-FS100 Super 35mm User Group has posted a copy of the NEX-FS100 Operating Guide in PDF format. It's just under 4MB
Vimeo: NEX-FS100 Operating Guide (Manual) available now!

News From Here & There

Comparing Six Cameras
While we are waiting for the Great Camera Shootout 2011, John Brawley and Kate Dennis in Australia went and put together their own little test with 35mm film, Super 16mm film, RED MX, Arri Alexa, Sony PMW-F3 and the Canon EOS 1dMKiv.

John says this was really intended to be viewed projected, rather than on the net, noting that on the Viemo version the blacks look a little crushed:
We also made a definite choice to NOT edit them exactly the same way, but to favour each edit to be the best it could be with the available material.  This extended to the grade.  Instead of trying to match everything to one camera, we simply tried to make each camera look the best it could.
JohnBrawley: Posted – Available light tests are finally online

Sony FS100 First Look
Paul Antico at Need Creative got his NEX-FS100 yesterday and after only an hour or so of playing with it, has posted his impressions. He notes that the LCD is awesome, it feels a bit plasticy but quite solid, and it's easy and intuitive to operate:
Now how about low-light performance? One thing these stills won't show you well is the characterization of the noise. The noise on the Sony FS100 and F3 is a filmic-kind of grain, vs the very digital noise in the Canon 5D Mark II. It's quite pleasing as far as noise goes, seems confined to luma, and is easy to remove in post.

And there's far less of it. As this camera can virtually see at night.
NeedCreative: Sony FS100 First Very Brief Look

For more low-light samples, Production Junction posted this video shot at night in Washington DC using a Nikon 70-210 zoom lens.
VimeoSony NEX-FS100 Footage: DC Girls

Baby Primes - what are Baby Primes?
A little back ground; Zeiss sells a line of ZF.2 still lenses which retail for between $1,000 and $1,800 each. They also make the CP.2 line, which reportedly have the same or similar optics, but have a very different housing that is designed for film and video work; Calibrated Lens Scales etc., and cost from $3,900 up.

Now it appears some Italian company claims they will be selling "Baby Primes" that will offer film/video features (95mm front diameter, focus and iris markings etc) and will cost about $2,500.

Cinema 5D has some photos from the factory.
Cinema5D: Exclusive Look – babyPrimes factory photos
NoFilmSchool: Italian Camera Company Announces babyPrimes, Zeiss CP.2-Equivalent Lenses for 35% Less
HDWarrior: babyPrimes coming soon…

3D Video Editing
Thinking of doing some 3D video editing? - Madness. But if you insist, Matt Brown offers some options for shooting and editing. Unfortunately, the editing option isn't cheap:
A popular stand-alone application for professionals is a program called Cineform Neo3D ($3000). The software takes the left and right channels of video information and combines it into one AVI or MOV video file, which makes the dual-channel video compatible with most video-editing programs.
I'm pretty sure there are other options out there.
MacWorld: An insider's guide to editing and sharing 3D video

Prepping for a shoot with the Sony PMW-F3
Giuseppe Pugliese explains how he went about evaluating the Sony PMW-F3 for shooting a feature length movie in Africa. He discusses the tests they conducted, as well as lens and storage choices:
Our goal was to test the camera’s dynamic range, skin-tone rendition, and low-light capability — the latter with just candlelight. We then took the F3 out to shoot in hard sunlight to see how it handles highlights and blown highlights. The footage was then dumped into a Final Cut Studio editing bay for analysis. It was then brought into Apple Color to see how the footage handled grading in various degrees of strength. Jordan and I were very pleased with the results, and the camera handles like a mini ARRI Alexa. Sony PMW-F3 Goes to Nollywood

Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Review
Nino Leitner reviews the Zacuto Z-Finder EVF:
The built quality is hard to describe as you really need to hold it in your own hands to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it. To sum it up, I would say it feels as solid as any Zacuto gear I’ve used so far, and that is a huge thing to be said about something as fragile as electronics. It does not feel like other monitors that are usually clearly not designed to go into your gear bag without additional protection It’s more like the rigid enclosure of a heavy-duty pelican case.
NinoFilm: Zacuto Z-Finder EVF – Review

Journalism with HDSLR's
DSLR News Shooter has a short piece from the the head of the Digital Media department the Columbia University’s School of Journalism about their year-long intensive program that included HDSLR news production.
The basic kit that students use at Columbia includes a Canon T2i, a Canon 17-40 F/4L lens, an Olympus LS-10 audio recorder, and a Rode NTG-2 shotgun. Besides the T2i’s, most of this gear was salvaged from previous cameras that had been retired. Students did not have Zoom H4N recorders, Small HD monitors, or any fancy Zacuto gear. Being an academic institution, we were working on the cheap. But, in retrospect, the fact that we had fewer accessories to confuse ourselves was a big bonus.
DSLRNewsShooterColumbia J-School teaches students to create video journalism – the Canon HDDSLR way

Keith Wasserman: On the 48 Hour Film Project

Keith Wasserman was a member of team from Movie Magic Media that participated in the recent Boston 48 Hour Film Project. Teams had just 48 hours to produce a movie in a genre they were given, and they had to include three specific elements. For this years movie, their team had to produce a War / Anti-war genre movie, and it had to have a chess piece as a prop, a character that was an Aunt, and the line of dialogue, “I didn’t see that coming.”

This Thursday, June 9th, at 7pm there will be a screening of all the films at the Kendall Square Cinema, One Kendall Square, Cambridge.

At last Sunday's Boston Media Makers I spoke with Keith about what it's like participating in a 48 hour film project (you can view their completed film on Vimeo, listed below.)

Q: This is your fifth 48 hour film project?
I think it’s the fifth or sixth year. I’ve taken a year or two off.

Q: Have you been working with the same group of people each time?
I have been doing it with, for the most part, the same group of people. I think the first three years I did it with the same team. The first two years I was the writer, and the third year I was the editor, working with same DP and the same composer and the same director.

After those movies, I decided to put together my own, completely different team, where I brought in a new editor, and I was the director. That went okay. And then I took a year off

For the last two years I have worked with the same editor, who is now the director, and the same DP and the same composer from the earlier years.

Q: How many people are in the team?
This last year my team was ten people, including the three actors.

Q: What were the roles?
Writer/producer, editor/director, D.P., Gaffer, Special Effects Artist, Production Coordinator, Composer.

Q: Is that typical?
If you’re smart, less is more, the more you can accomplish, because you only have 48 hours to write the script, etc. It’s an exercise in chaos. Earlier, during the first two films, we found we had more people in the writing room, and you get everybody adding their two cents and speaking up “what about this,” and “how about that?” … in film production everybody should have a job, and you do your job and sort of let the director’s vision inform the DP, so we’ve streamlined it.

Q: For those not familiar with it, how does a 48 hour film project work?
Friday night, at the kick-off event, you draw a genre from a hat, so you don’t know what genre it’s going to be [until then]. And every team is given the same three elements, which is a line of dialog, a prop and a character. Every film needs to incorporate those elements.

Q: How did that 48 hours breakdown?
Friday night we wrote from 7 to 10. Micah - who’s the director - and I, we brainstormed a concept and then we met up with the DP and the composer at 10:30 and we hammered out the concept and got a little input of what they think, to create kind of brush strokes; 'what’s the texture?' 'what’s the tempo?' 'what’s the feel?' and then the composer went home and started writing cues, and I went home at midnight and wrote the script from the concept.

Then we had a 7am production start, so everybody was there. We started shooting around 9:30 - 10 by the time we were lit and what not. We shot all day until about 10 at night, and then we went directly into the editing studio, had a rough cut by 3 am, went home, slept for about 5 hours. Came back to the studio at 9 or 10 and had the rest of the afternoon to get the final cut, lay in the soundtrack, color it, sweeten it and deliver it by 7.

Q: What was the biggest problem you encountered?
The biggest problem turned out to be a gift, and it was that at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning, our fourth actress up and quit. She said “You know what, this isn’t for me,” and she left, which forced us to scramble and collapse some of the characters and refine the story a little bit, which turned out to be a godsend.

Q: Do you find you learn things each time, or do you have a process down, now, and you just do it?
Last year we hit a stride where we had one actor, with two cameo’s. But really it was one actor and there were about three lines of dialog in the whole thing.

In film you want to show, not tell. You want to move a story visually, so the challenge is how do you make something that’s visually compelling - and moves the story along - but is condensed and concise enough to be a five minute film that we can make in 48 hours?

The inclusion of having an effects artist on our team was huge. Last year we had Sc-Fi, this year we had a War. Or anti-war, you could choose.

But the Writer writes, and communicates that to the Director, who gets a vision. The Director communicates to the DP, who makes it look right, and then the Composer comes in. You don’t have overlap, you don’t have too much distraction from what the job is.

Q: What would your biggest piece of advice be to someone doing it for the first time?
Script it Friday night, Shoot it Saturday, edit it Sunday

Q: Why do you keep doing it?
I think it’s an amazing exercise. We have our team now. These are my friends, and we all work in the industry, and we’re always like “oh, we should do something,” but we never do because we have families. But the 48 hour comes along and its an opportunity for us to say “okay, we have a structure, somebody’s giving us a deadline, let’s do it.”

And then it’s an exercise really…artist’s don’t like rules, and yet we need them, and they’re helpful. And artists don’t like deadlines, but we need them, and they’re helpful. So I think doing the 48 hour film project is an opportunity to impose some structure and see how creative we can be within that structure, which is just like working in the real world with clients or other people who are asking you to make this, or do that.

Q: Has it helped you in your regular production life?
On a personal level, I come from a theater background, and the first time I was working on a film set and it took four hours to light a scene that lasted 30 seconds, and my reaction was; “this is ridiculous! This is how a movie is made?”

And then over the years, as I’ve worked on different sets and seen different types of films being made, from documentaries to music videos, I’ve learned more about what the process is like. On some level, making movies is grotesquely irresponsible, with the type of money it takes, so I really appreciate that you only have 48 hours, so you really need to be respectful of everybody’s time and respectful of the ideas. We make these movies for no money. We volunteer our time, we volunteer our gear, and we’ll spend a hundred bucks on props, we’ll run to Home Depot, and so for $150 bucks and donated time we can make something so beautiful.

Q: How do you feel about what you ended up with?
Oh my god I’m so proud. I feel as though these last two films we’ve made, you can lop off the opening title card that says this was made as a 48 hour film project and just put it out there and it will absolutely hold up as a film that could have taken a week to make with a $5,000 budget.

Boston 48 Hour Film Project
Date: Thursday, June 9th
Time: 7pm
Place: Kendall Square Cinema, One Kendall Square, Cambridge
Tickets: $10

Movie Magic Media’s official submission to the 2011 Boston 48 Hour Film Project.

Directed & Edited by Micah Levin
Written & Produced by Keith Wasserman
Director of Photography- Benjamin Eckstein
Music & Sound Design – Jason Jordan
Visual Effects – Will Cavanagh

Lauren Michelle Alexander
Sarah Douglas
Gigi Raines
Micah Levin


Monday, June 06, 2011

I love it when my predictions turn out!

There was no announcement about Final Cut Pro X at today's World Wide Developers Conference. That's great news for me, as I had predicted that there wouldn't be. It's bad news for me, because I was sort of hoping that they would say something...anything.

Of course, this doesn't mean that it might not still be pushed out next Tuesday, or the Tuesday after that, or the Tuesday after that....or some other time this month.

In the mean time, you might think of hopping over to Best Buy and buying some $100 gift cards. They are on sale for $85, and I'm told you can use them for purchases at the App Store.

Daily Sony NEX-FS100 Update

John Godwin posted a test shot with the NEX-FS100 using the Canon 7D kit lens (18-135 3.5 EOS) and Tokina EOS lens (11-16 f/2.8) set to wide open, and a Genus variable ND for exposure control: Vimeo: FS-100 tests

And Jeff Scholl has posted a video shot with the NEX-FS100 with a 16mm prime on a Hexakopter. Geesh! I don't know I'd risk my camera on that! Vimeo: Sony NEX FS100 flight on a Hexakopter

Jose Luis Hugo posts a video with a Custom Profile he made in an attempt to emulate the flat image profiles people like to use:
I basically changed the PP6 since I thought it was the darkest out of the cine gamma profiles. I then compared it to PP5. I did color correction on both profiles and compared them side to side. FCP was used to edit and Color for color correcting.

Profile Settings (PP6)
Black Level: +15
Gamma: ITU709
Black Gamma: Middle/ +7
Color Mode: Cinematone 1/ 8
Color Level: -2

I did notice some noise on the dark parts of the image but I guess I underexposed it. I am still trying to get to know the camera.
Vimeo: Sony NEX FS100 Custom Profile

It's here! It's here! Zachary Mami posts the "First Official Unboxing of the NEX-FS100u" Not sure it really tells you anything, but it can be fun to live vicariously though others!

NEX-FS100 First Official Unboxing from Zachary Mami on Vimeo.

Screenwriting 201: Diary of an unproduced Screenwriter

Just as everyone is expected to have at least one book in them, I think it's assumed that every filmmaker must have a script in them. And even though I don't really have the urge to spend my days writing scripts, I will confess to having started, on different occasions, at least three separate scripts...

...none of which were ever close to being completed.

Then last year I saw the Amazon Studio's project, and while I have many reservations about how you sign away your rights for 18 months and so on, it did seem like an interesting experiment. And they were offering attractive prizes. And surely I could bang out a script - something - in a month or so? It would be kind of fun, wouldn't it?

How hard could it be?

Pick Your Tool - Scrivener
So I had an idea, and I started writing the script using a Mac word processor called Scrivener. I've been playing with this word processor off and on for the past year, and it has has some interesting tricks; you can easily move sections about using a note card metaphor, you can type in a full-screen mode (now present in many other programs) and it has a script writing template.

Scrivener with it's "corkboard" metaphor for arranging scenes

And you can get a one month free trial, which at least on the previous release, seemed to extend to almost eternity as it would increment by one day every time it was restarted, rather than counting from the day it was installed.

Running Into Trouble
I'm not going to dwell on the subject matter of my script; let's just say that the story is sort of When Harry Met Sally meets E.T. The script itself isn't really important; unless you're a producer that wants to make it! What is important is that after a month I'd written about 75 pages, and hit a wall. It just wasn't working. So I put it aside.

A couple of weeks later I came across a free online screenwriting class [4]. I read the first weeks notes and it was like a veil had been lifted. I knew what was wrong with my script! There were too many characters, too much going on, and not enough focus.

With that knowledge, I threw out a bunch of characters, streamlined the storyline, and just two short months later I sort of had it finished. At least the first draft.

Pick Another Tool - Word
About this time I had run into one problem with Scrivener - and it wasn't the expiration of the trial version. It wouldn't let me do two columns (with two people talking at once) and I convinced myself that I really needed to present the dialog that way for a couple of Scenes.

I happened to have a Script template for Microsoft Word, so I took the script over to Word, and spent about a week tidying the thing up. That template didn't do the two column formatting either, but in Word it was easy for me to create a section in the document and custom format it the way I wanted it to be.

 A two-column format in Word

Pick A Third Tool - MovieDraft
All was going well with Word until I discovered a program called MovieDraft, which for $30 would do the formatting "right" - it automatically put in (Cont'd) and (MORE) for continuation across pages. That was something I would have to do manually in Word, and I couldn't begin to imagine how I would manage the page breaks.
CONT'D, and MORE in MovieDraft

I briefly tried the MovieDraft demo - which does everything, but won't save files - and since it was only $30, I bought it and then imported the script into the program. That wasn't a very fast process as the importer only worked in fits and starts; I ended up copying and pasting the script in sections and having to manually fix a lot of problems.

All in all, MovieDraft works pretty well, I really like how it handles the formatting, and I'll post a separate review shortly.

Once completed, I output a PDF file, which looked great.

MovieDraft - the color formatting can be turned off and on

People Copying My ORIGINAL Idea
In the mean time, I was a little concerned about my little story, not because of the story itself, but from what else was going on in the popular media.

I'm not sure if I missed a memo or something, but it seemed like suddenly everyone was doing Alien stories. After I'd written the first 50 pages of the script I saw the trailers for Cowboy's and Aliens, and Super 8. I wasn't even aware of those projects prior to that! Would everyone think I was being derivative?

Worse, the title, (1+1+1) which was a cute play on the number of central characters, communicating with alien intelligence using mathematics, and the song "Come Together" rolling around in my head, was pretty much ruined when Beyonce came out with a song "1+1" just before I was about to upload the script. Are you kidding me?!

Fortunately, no one seemed to like that song; so hopefully people will quickly forget about it.

All Done?
I certainly thought I was, so I went to the Amazon Studio's site to upload my script, where, after hitting the Upload button I discovered that they wanted a description and a synopsis, neither of which I'd given any thought to; and it's not really something you can throw together in a few seconds on an upload page.

I had created a simple cover graphic in vertical format; but it turned out they wanted it in HD (1920x1080) format, so I had to quickly repurpose that into the desired format too!

Changing the cover orientation with a bit of stretching

Worst of all, I'd forgotten that they wanted an RTF file. Not just wanted it; that was the FIRST thing they wanted; the PDF file was optional. So my perfectly formatted PDF file wasn't what they wanted, and guess what? MovieDraft doesn't output to RTF! It only saved to Final Draft and Text formats!

After saving the file in Text format, I imported it into Microsoft Word and then saved it in .RTF format. It wasn't very intelligently saved (lots of spaces!) and there were some unprintable characters that I had to do a find and replace on. But it worked.

All in all, it wasn't a very successful "launch," but I did manage to get it finished and posted, and that's something.

Now I'm trying to decide whether to rewrite it, or start on something else....

  1. Amazon Studios: 1+1+1, Michael's Original Draft
  2. iTunes: Scrivener
  3. iTunes: MovieDraft
  4. University College Falmouth, UK: Screenwriting Unit by Jane Pugh
  5. NotesOnVideo: Screenwriting 102

iSteve: The Book of Jobs


Seriously. This is supposed to be the authorized biography of Steve Jobs, and though Amazon is taking pre-orders, it won't be available until March 2012.

BUT, how could it possibly be authorized by Steve Jobs? Look at that cover! And the title?! Seems hard to believe Steve would approve either of those...

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Capturing Video and Audio on the iPhone

At today's Boston Media Maker's, Adam Weiss talked about the iPhone app FiLMiC Pro (currently $1.99) which provides several advanced video capture features including 3 separate shooting modes, 4 selectable resolutions, variable frame rates, the ability to set separate focus and exposure points, and more.

Adam also talked about capturing audio, using cables from kV connection to connect microphones to the iPhone.

Quick Links

AJA Ki Pro Mini: Digital Content Producer posts an in-depth review of the Ki Pro Mini, which also notes the appearance of other competitiors:
What it really boils down to is “codec wars.” Which codec is best is a question that leads to a bottomless pit of discussion. In essence, the answer is what look do you like and what works best in your scenario. ProRes is a 10-bit I frame codec which most importantly holds up to considerable grading and VFX work. That alone places it at the top in the minds of many users.
In Review: AJA Ki Pro Mini

Sony NEX-FS100 News

The Sony NEX-FS100 has been landing in several lucky people's hands this week. More than a few New England people are expecting to take delivery of theirs on Monday. More videos are turning up on the web too. Here's a recap of the latest news and videos:

Camera Review
CVP Television has posted their video "review" of the camera, which shows layout and operation and how the viewfinder works. It's really more a demonstration of how the camera is operated than a review.

Note that more than a few people think that you will want to get something like the Zacuto EVF to work with the camera. Yes, the camera does seem to be covered in buttons!

They think that even though the lens is slow, it's still possible to get good shallow depth-of-field shots with the lens, and the sensitivity of the camera is such that the comparatively slow lens isn't a problem...
YouTube: Sony NEX-FS100 Review

The NEX-FS100 does 4:4:4
Thaddeus Setla went to the Cine Gear Expo show (that's going on in LA this weekend) to check out the NEX-FS100 as he already has three on order. He also wanted to confirm - in person - that the camera does indeed do 4:4:4 out. Which it does, though the next problem is; what do you record 4:4:4 RGB onto? The Ninja, for example, only does 4:2:2.
SetaFilms: Report from CineGear – FS100 does 4:4:4

Holga Lens
If you're looking for some interesting lens options, there's a Helga NEX mount lens available from some sellers on eBay. Sony Alpha Rumors has the details: New Holga lens for NEX

Low Light Performance
User "cheezweezl" at DVXUser has posted a clip that was shot at 30db in very minimal light; the light source was a streetlight about 30 feet away. The lens used was a 50mm f1.8.
DVXUser: 30db night footage noiseless

Video Samples
Rick Darge posted another short clip with a variety of material: VimeoSony FS100 - Mixed bag of shots

Matthew Thomas has posted a short video that's a quick and non-scientific test for dynamic range in heavily white balanced, dark light, comparing the NEX-FS100, Canon 5D and Panasonic GH2 A
The FS100 was at 9dB gain with f4.5 since the 18-200mm only goes down to f4.5 at 18mm. The other cameras were at 2500 at f4. I matched the cameras in the histograms, not by metrics. From that, you can infer that the Sony is more sensitive than its metric ratings indicate. [...]

I should add that this morning I noticed that the FS100 is recording additional detail into SuperWhite. There is detail all the way up to 109%, but when I exported this, I didn't drop the gain for that particular clip. This brings the highlight control back into the range of the 5D, which is very good.
He's also added an outdoor comparison.
Vimeo: High ISO Test for Dynamic Range
VimeoFS100 5D GH2 Outdoor Dynamic Range Test - includes ProResHQ HDMI captures

Looking for a fast lens?
Samyang makes a variety of lenses that are sold under different names in the U.S. and Europe. These lenses are priced quite a bit lower than comparable lenses from the big name companies, yet they do pretty well in reviews.

They offer a 35mm f/1.4 with a Sony Alpha mount which is being sold under the Rokinon name at Amazon for just under $500. Just get the Sony Alpha/Nex adapter [$149.45] and you're all set to use it on the NEX-FS100!
  • Aperture range: F/1.4~22
  • Optical Construction: 12 elements in 10 groups
  • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 1 foot (0.3 meters)
AmazonRokinon 35mm f/1.4 Lens for Sony Cameras

Alternatively, you could go for the Nikon 35mm f1.4 (with an adapter):
B & H: Nikon Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AIS Manual Focus Lens [$1,099.95]