Saturday, July 16, 2011

Quick Links

Friday, July 15, 2011

Final Cut Pro X Information & Resources 15


International Price Changes
In recognition of changing exchange rates, Apple has adjusted the price of some of their software in the Mac App store. This means that in the UK, the price of Final Cut Pro X has gone up, while it Australia, there price has gone down.

Save $100 on the Matrox Compress HD card | Matrox
Until September 30, 2011, when you buy Compressor 4, you can save $100 on the Matrox Compress HD card, bringing the cost to $395.[Info at bottom of the page]


How to Make Final Cut Pro X More Like Final Cut Pro 7 | J.R. Bookwalter | MacLife
Making the timline look and feel more familiar, displaying audio meters, managing media, and other tips.

Launching Final Cut 7 with FCPX Installed | geniusDV
Explains problems Final Cut Pro 7 might have after installing FCPX and Motion 5.


A free fifteen part course on color grading within FCPX | T Payton |
An impressive collection of instruction on color correcting within Final Cut Pro X.

FCP X Audio Tutorial Part 4: Enhancing Audio Using Final Cut Pro Equalization and Analysis Tools | Danny Greer |
Looks at audio enhancement, including the graphic equalizer and analyzation tools


FCPX: Hardware changes - PART Two | Gary Adcock | CreativeCOW
Looks at the hardware requirements of Final Cut Pro X.

Using Matrox MXO2 devices with FCP X and Compressor 4 | Matrox
Explains functionality, and notes that exporting to H.264 files from Compressor 4 using Matrox MAX-enabled MXO2 devices remains up to 5 times faster than software alone.


After Final Cut Pro debacle, does Apple still care about creative pros? | Dave Girard | Ars Technica
Dave sums up what many people believe; Apple is going after a larger market than the pro one.

Thoughts On: The Future of Final Cut Pro | Dylan Reeve | Edit Geek
Though it may be possible to add third-party tools to improve the functionality for film & TV post-production, Dylan concludes that "it seems unlikely that the application will ever again be as applicable to that world as its predecessor."

Where Did Apple Go Wrong? | John Kostrzewski | FUEL
Considers all the problems facing pro users "The bottom line is if a tool doesn’t allow me to do my job properly or easier, then I’m not going to buy it."

Is Final Cut Pro X Ready for Professional Use? | Troy Dreier | OnlineVideo
Goes through First Impressions, Interface, Missing Features and New Features, listing Pros and Cons for each.

Another Professional Fool’s Review: FCPX - PART 1 | simplydg | Odd-yssey
More a review than an opinion piece, covering many of the new features; "I feel as if someone has released my creative shackles when using it, and I really do love editing with the Skimmer, Magnetic Timeline, and slew of keyboard shortcuts."

Creativity and The Final Cut Pro X Debacle | David Intrator | The Creative Organization
David looks at the development of Final Cut Pro X, not just as a movement towards the masses, but also towards software tools that encourage "pre-formatted" creativity.


My Life in FCP | Rob Tinworth | Vimeo
Rob looks back at the last 10 years of Final Cut Pro editing.

Quick Links

iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store

The Joy of the Bad Trailer

I'm at the Brattle Theater and a bluegrass band is playing. This is rather odd in and of itself; we are in Cambridge MA after all.

There's garden chairs, flags and pink flamingos decorating the stage. I'm not sure if these are the remains of their July decorations, or were put out especially for the night.  It is Cambridge after all.

There's beer being served, and the audience is animatedly talking to one another. I can't really hear what the lead singer is singing, but occasionally they get loud enough to rise above the cacophony. The band would be good if they were easier to hear, or maybe we should have sat closer. This is why Les Paul invented the electric guitar.

This is a movie theater, right?

Yes! It's the Trailer Treats & 2011 Trailer Smackdown event and we're not exactly sure if it's started yet.

The Brattle Theatre is one of the last art house movie theaters in Boston, and the fact that they continue to survive in the heart of Harvard Square is a testament to...well it's pretty amazing really.

Teams have created two minute trailers for sequels to imaginary movies, and the audience is about to get to view the trailers, and then vote to choose the winner. I should admit here that I am related to one of the entrants. We're here to see the competition, and as there are only twelve - fourteen really - entrants, we're thinking that with a bit of luck we'll be out of here in under an hour.

This is the first time we've attended, and we soon discover we have misunderstood some of the details.

The bluegrass band clears the stage, figuratively and literally, and the MC bounces on stage to announce that it's sold out, saying "Thanks for buying tickets, and allowing us to turn people away!"

And then the evening begins proper, but it turns out that tonight's both an homage to the trailer, as well as the Trailer Smackdown, and they start off by showing a collection of - and I'm being polite here - "vintage" & "classic" trailers. We're talking the original Mad Max, Pet Cemetery, Demon Seed, and the original Casino Royale, to name a few. Or how about The President's Analyst, the Gnome Mobile, or Zardoz? [What was Sean Connery thinking? -Ed]

Eventually we get to the screening of the actual trailers for the competition. Nearly all are humorous in tone, and there are some very inventive entries; notably a Labor Day 2: After Birth movie where all the woman of the earth have turned pregnant (with an attitude) and a rather odd nun movie. Production values vary greatly too; but really this competition is about the fun of it, rather than identifying the greatest works of art.

We vote, and more classic trailers were shown before the winners are announced. Truly, it was a fun night, and if you want to make a short movie and see it projected on the big screen, then try out for next years Trailer Smackdown. The entry fee is just $10, and for that you get in for free too.

Brattle Theater: Trailer Treats
Brattle Theater: Trailer Smackdown 2011


This year's winner:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The - former - Empire Strikes Back

More excitement amongst the Avid user community as Avid held an event yesterday talking about their current plans and laying out a roadmap. There were, however, a couple of caveats, including:
Anything discussed, described or shown was not necessarily going to make it into a future Avid product. No committments were being suggested made.
But that was hardly enough to dampen the enthusiasm of Avid users. Randall Rike posted a short summary to the Avid Community Discussion, while Shane Ross offers more detailed impressions in a blog post covering cost, software update frequency and a new UI design:
Nice update, great look without changing the tools and locations of buttons we have gotten used to. VERY sleek. I love the look of the Audio Tool.
Over the past few years, Avid has significantly lowered their prices and increased the frequency of software updates, good news for existing - and possibly future - users. Having switched from Avid to Final Cut and now planning to move back, Shane offers one final warning:
One thing that I have taken from the NLE wars is this…be on your toes. Don’t be content with one system.

Avid Event on the lot @ Warner Bros. Burbank 07/13/2011
| Randall Rike | Avid Community

THE AVID EVENT - July 13, 2011 | Shane Ross | Little Frog in High Def

UPDATE 7/15:
Scott Simmons assembles together some tweets from the event.
Tweets from Avid’s Committed to the Professional event | Scott Simmons | ProVideoCoalition

Quick Links

John Lasseter - A Day in a Life - Full Length Documentary | YouTube

VideoQ&A: More about the Canon HF G10

A few days ago I was asked whether the Canon HF G10 was a good camera for shooting short interview pieces, and I said I thought it was a great camcorder, though it lacks good audio inputs and won't give you the shallow depth-of-field of the large sensor cameras.

But then I got a follow-up question: would the HF G10 produce video that was good enough for broadcast TV?

If it's like most of my local TV station's, it will probably look almost as good as the stuff the station produces for it's news segments!; providing you don't make mistakes in how you use it. Backlighting or poor lighting, out of focus, or shaky camera work, those kind of issues will stand out more than the image quality itself

There are some exceptions: if you want to make a documentary for the BBC, then you might have a problem, because the camera doesn't meet their technical specs! The BBC - and many other large broadcasters - have guidelines about what acquisition cameras they will accept, notably saying that cameras have to support at least 35Mbps, though that doesn't mean they won't show programs with some material that's been acquired with unapproved cameras. And as long as the video isn't badly exposed, what they don't know, they probably won't notice!

This camera should be able to do a very good job. Also, the truth is, if these clips are for submission to local news programs, then their chance of airing are more likely to be driven by the subject and how compelling the content is, than they are by the picture quality.

The other problem is that the next jump up is to cameras in the $3,000 to $4,000 range, like the Canon XF100, and I actually doubt that there's that much visual difference between the two. I suspect that the average man-in-the-street would not be able to see a difference between the image quality of the HF G10 and many pro-cameras under $5,000. The XF100 and the HF G10 (& XA10 the "pro" version of the HF G10) share the same sensor, though the image processing, and the file compression are different. The HF G10 uses 24Mbps AVCHD, while the XF100 uses 50Mbps MPEG-2, and supports 4:2:2.

I would worry more about how you use the camera, than the camera itself.  Concentrate on getting the lighting and exposure right, camera work, and getting good sound, and that will make a much more dramatic difference

Just this week, Philip Bloom posted a review of the Canon XF105 / XF100, and the Canon XA10 and he basically says that the image quality of the XA10 is as close to the XF105 as makes no difference. He does point out one other "limitation" of the XA10/HF G10; all those manual controls are managed through the touch screen, rather than through buttons and controls on the cameras body. But that's expected given the size - and cost - of the camera.

Philip Bloom: Video review of the Canon XA-10, XF100 and XF105
NotesOnVideo: VideoQ&A: What Do You Think of the Canon HF G10?
B & H: Canon HF G10 [$1,499] In stock
B & H: Canon XA10 [$1,999] back-ordered
B & H: Canon XF100 [$2,999] back-ordered

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Zacuto FS100 Filmmaker Kit

Zacuto has announced a new rig specifically configured for the Sony NEX-FS100.
"We created a specific kit for the FS100 as it has a little different platform than the other video cameras like it. It still uses the trusty Universal Baseplate as the base but we had to add a spacer (Z-spacer) to raise the lens to the correct height for aligning the matte box," says Zacuto VP of sales and marketing, Mandy Rogers.
While it's configured for the FS100, the rig can still be used with other cameras.

FS100 Filmmaker Kit Includes:
  • Universal Baseplate w/ 12" Rods
  • Z-Spacer
  • Shoulder Pad
  • 10" M/F Rods
  • Zwiss Plate
  • Zgrips V3
  • Z-Focus
  • ZipGear Prime Lens Kit
  • EVF Rod Mount
  • 1/4 20" Lens Support
A Zacuto EVF is not included. Zacuto says that they are also working on a new top handle for the FS100 that will be available late summer.

B&H: Zacuto Z-FS100 Filmmaker Kit $3,330.00]
Zacuto Store: FS100 Filmmaker Kit #Z-FS100 $3,515
Zacuto: Sony’s NEX FS100 has Arrived
MarketWire: Introducing Zacuto's FS100 Filmmaker Kit

Final Cut Pro X Information & Resources 14


FCPX Quick Tip: How To Use the Position Tool To Override the Magnetic Timeline | Danny Greer |
Yes! It's possible to override the FCPX magnetic timeline and create "space" in the timeline.

Safe | Jonathan Eric Tyrrell | PostPost
Jonathan looks at how to apply the Broadcast Safe Filter in FCPX, and how to avoid mistakes:
In Final Cut Pro X you can also apply the new Broadcast Safe effect to a clip or a Compound Clip. However any corrections you make to an individual clip appear to be applied after Broadcast Safe in the effects pipeline. As before any adjustments you make afterwards will overrule the effect and if you’re not careful you could push the clip outside the regulatory requirements.

Preparing for Final Cut Pro X | Silverado Systems
An 18-page PDF that's free; for a Tweet or Facebook post.
What kind of Mac should I edit with?
Do I need a tower?
How much RAM should I buy?
What graphics card should I get?

Canon XF workflow with FCPX | Daniel Houghton | Houghton Multimedia
A work-around for using footage from the Canon XF100 in Final Cut Pro X...using Adobe Media Encoder!

Using the Keyboard to Make FCPX Frame Accurate Edits in the Precision Editor | Brendan Boykin | CreekMountainMedia
Using the keyboard to trim clips in the Precision Editor.

Managing Your FCP X Events & Projects using Disk Images | Ken Stone |
How to move Events and Projects from computer to computer, or to hide/archive projects.


Hidden Final Cut Pro X Techniques | Iain Anderson | FunWithStuff
Six techniques, including Audio-only transitions and advanced timeline features.

Volume Licenses Arrive | leefromnew haven | Discussions.Apple
Information on the Volume Licence Apple has made available for Final Cut Pro X.

Two ways to remember those FCPX shortcuts | Alex Snelling |
Links to two pages from Alex Snelling showing Final Cut Pro X shortcuts that he created using the application KeyCue.


Final Cut Pro X Advanced Tutorial - Creating a Muzzle Flash [Part 1]
| Dan Allen | YouTube
Adding a muzzle flash inside of FCPX using only the built in tools (Effects / Generators).


Why Every Blogger Should Have Final Cut Pro X | Sean Ogle | Location180
Finally! A Positive review! An iMovie user finds that Final Cut Pro solves all his problems: "Final Cut Pro X is the video editor that I’ve been dreaming about."

Review Apple Compressor | Gary Adcock | Macworld
Having already reviewed Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5, here comes MacWorld's review of Compressor. Covers 32-bit issues too.
While seemingly unchanged on the outside, the core of Apple’s newest release of Compressor 4 (available for download only on the Mac App Store) reveals a robust workflow that’s completely integrated within Final Cut Pro X. As an upgrade in and of itself, it's somewhat better than average, though not stellar.

Final Cut Pro X Review | Connor Crosby | Final Cut Whiz
Please note that the pros and cons I have listed in this post may differ from yours. As I mentioned, I am not a “professional” video editor, so my needs may vary from others. Back to more information about me: I use a Canon DSLR. Final Cut X is great for tape-less media!

Apple Final Cut Pro X | Oliver Peters | digitalfilms
Another extensive review:
Without a doubt, it’s definitely worth tapping into some of the various training materials if you want to use Final Cut Pro X to its fullest. The manual (available as online Help or a downloadable 395-page PDF) covers a lot, but I’ve already hit a number of undocumented features and I’m sure there are many more.

Netflix Raises Rates

Netflix has upped their prices and some customers are seeing red. The announcement came yesterday that the price structure was changing:
There are no longer any hybrid plans that offer access to DVDs and Internet streaming. There's one plan now for DVDs and a separate plan for streaming. Each costs $7.99 per month (for one disc at a time). To access discs and Web video, people have to pay for both plans and that means $15.98 a month.
Even though I'm not a subscriber, I was hardly surprised, having read an article earlier this week that said that Netflix was facing increased costs from the studios. Whether the recent price rises are a result of those cost increases, or the fact that customers were continuing to order DVDs at a high rate as Netflix said in their announcement, remains unclear.

One thing that has surprised me is that both yesterday and today I have run in to people complaining about these price increases. Clearly it has struck a nerve!

CNN: Angry Netflix subscribers--so, who has a better deal?
CNNMoney: Netflix's vanished Sony films are an ominous sign

News From Here & There

More than 10% of new TV's 3D-enabled by end of 2011 | 3D Radar
Manufacturers predict between 10 and 20% of new televisions sold will be 3D in 2011:
The competition between passive and active shutter glasses is being seen within the industry as a battle which will ultimately drive prices down for the consumer.

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder | Samson
Samson has announced the new H2n, a smaller recorder which offers stereo and surround recording, but lacks XLR inputs. Expected in August for $199.
The H2n features our best microphones yet and is the only portable recorder with five mic capsules onboard. This design enables the H2n to offer four unique recording modes: Mid-Side (MS) stereo, 90° X/Y stereo, 2-channel and 4-channel surround sound.

Panasonic AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D Camcorder Really Is Out Of This World! | Panasonic Blog
Panasonic has provided NASA with AG-3DA1 3D Camcorders, BT-3DL2550 25.5” 3D LCD monitors and ruggedized Toughbook® laptop computers that have documented the training and preparation leading to the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station.

How To Manage Your Client’s Expectations Through The Video Production Process | Jon O'Brien | ReelSEO
Offers some good tips on managing clients (whatever business you're in.) Number 3 is basically what I tell people how to manage a relationship with a business, rather than an individual:
3) Review with the decision makers
Where does the buck stop? Who specifically has the authority to “approve”? Find out and review with them whenever possible – and their influencers. And know where the notes or opinions come from. It could be the CEO’s spouse or teenage son…

The importance of framing | Michael Scoot | Dorkman’s Blog
This post from Michael almost expands on the previous article about managing client expectations by looking at how framing an idea or message is very important [Apple should read this post -Ed]:
You have to convince people that they want what you’re offering. And you’ve got to be able to frame your pitch properly. A lot of indie folks don’t seem to think about this. They seem to figure that they don’t need “spin” because they’re not trying to hide a crappy product behind a bunch of hand-waving — they’ve got a good product that ought to practically sell itself. But nothing sells itself. You’ve got to prime your listener, to make them understand why what you’re offering is desirable.

On set for the final chapter of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' | Making Of
This is almost like seeing the "making of" DVD extras before the movie is released (though there's no commentary track, just lots of raw footage)!

Adapting a Novel | Stanley Kubrick | Old Hollywood
An excerpt from an essay by Stanley Kubrick on adapting a novel to film:
Style is what an artist uses to fascinate the beholder in order to convey to him his feelings and emotions and thoughts. These are what have to be dramatised, not the style. The dramatising has to find a style of its own, as it will do if it really grasps the content.

Video: Determining the number of shooting days | Maria Battles Campbell | MasteringFilm
2nd AD Maria Battles Campbell, with support from Jason Tomaric, talks about the logistics of a shooting day and the joy of having a shot list.

The Ultimate Hitch Cookbook | Vimeo
"Hitch" is our graduation project at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hannover.
It’s about "The Ultimate Hitch Cookbook", an animated book containing the recipes for Alfred Hitchcock’s classics. It’s made for Hitchcock enthusiasts and every other couch potato out there.

Hitch from Pascal Monaco on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fair Use: Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use

Patricia Aufderheide, a film-studies professor, and Peter Jaszi, a law professor at American University helped author this short, free guide for documentarians; the Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use,
Documentary filmmakers have created, through their professional associations, a clear, easy to understand statement of fair and reasonable approaches to fair use. Fair Use is the right, in some circumstances, to quote copyrighted material without asking permission or paying for it. It is a crucial feature of copyright law. In fact, it is what keeps copyright from being censorship. You can invoke fair use when the value to the public of what you are saying outweighs the cost to the private owner of the copyright.

It covers several topics, notably:
ONE: Employing Copyrights Material As The Object Of Social, Political, Or Cultural Critique
TWO: Quoting Copyrights Works Of Popular Culture TO Illustrate An Argument Or Point
THREE: Capturing Copyrighted Media Content In The Process Of Filming Something Else
FOUR: Using Copyrighted Material In A Historical Sequence
It also includes a section on common misunderstandings about Fair Use. You can download it for free.
Center for Social MediaDocumentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use

The two are also co-authors of a forthcoming book Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright, and their work is highlighted in this article at The Chronicle:
"People are choosing not to create," says Ms. Aufderheide. "The general feeling is, You never want to do anything that deals with popular movies or music, because you can't clear those."
Pushing Back Against Legal Threats by Putting Fair Use Forward | Jeffrey R. Young | The Chronicle
Amazon: Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright

News From Here & There

A Faster PluralEyes for Premiere Pro | Singular Software
Singular has a preview of a new, faster version of PluralEyes:
Thanks to taking advantage of multiple processors and general algorithm improvements, the new PluralEyes can be 3x to 10x faster than previous versions.

You can try it out now by downloading from the link below. This will eventually be a free upgrade for all users, but we have a few more tricks up our sleeve to implement before we release to everyone.

What Price Pro for Hire? | Jennifer O'Rourke | Videomaker
After Sunday's link from Jared Abrahms, How Much To Charge For Camera Work. What’s Your Day Rate?, comes this link to an article - from a couple of years ago - that offers a couple of stories about bad decisions made based on price:
I wonder sometimes, why people are so willing to pay an attorney $100 an hour, or and accountant $75 an hour, without really knowing the amount of time these skilled professionals really put into their cases, but the clients will swallow and pay anyway. However, these same people seem to think that anyone can buy an affordable camera nowadays, and shoot a quality piece themselves with no training, skills, vision or ideas. Amazing.
WideOpenCameraHow Much To Charge For Camera Work. What’s Your Day Rate?

Preparing For Your First Wedding (As a Second Shooter) | Jessica Ford | The Photoletariat
Jessica outlines the steps she actually went through to prepare for her first wedding shoot:
Since candids are one of my weaknesses, I needed to find ways to practice before the event. If you have kids in school or sports, go to their events with your camera. Focus on the people watching the events, not just your kid. Capture their reactions to things happening. I also recommend you practice taking shots from different angles and while moving around.

Netflix's vanished Sony films are an ominous sign | Julianne Pepitone | CNNMoney
Netflix has been doing well recently, thanks in part to limited competition, and good rates they had negotiated with the studios. But now the studios are starting to take notice, expecting higher rates and looking at competition, so things may change for Netflix:
Pachter [analyst at Wedbush Securities] predicts Netflix's streaming content licensing costs will rise from $180 million in 2010 to a whopping $1.98 billion in 2012.

My first RED Epic short film “Great Wooden Boats” | Philip Bloom |
Philip borrowed a RED EPIC to shoot a short video.
Now could I do this with any of my other cameras? My DSLRs, my F3 or my AF101. Well of course the content would have been exactly the same. Just different image. The 300fps of course would have been impossible. The 60p out of the Canons I hate due to the moire and aliasing but the 60p in the F3 and AF101 is pretty good but it’s still not 120fps, let alone 300fps. Twixtor would have helped a little but no comparison.

DaVinci Resolve 8 Training – My Roadmap | Patrick Inhofer | Tao of Color Grading
Apple Color is dead, so if you're serious about Color, DaVinci Resolve looks like the thing to learn. Resolve 8 just came out, and Patrick Inhofer is developing a new training MasterClass and is inviting potential users to review his outline.
Are you concerned I’m missing something? Is there something in particular you’d like to see? Now’s the time to tell me! I’ve started recording this past weekend and will continue for the next few weeks. If I think it fits within the scope of this training, I WILL incorporate your suggestions.

Free Webinar: Motion Graphics With Adobe Creative Suite 5 | Thursday July 21, 1 PM EDT | CreativeEdge
A one-hour webcast with Richard Harrington, co-author of Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5: Studio Techniques which will offer:
Essential techniques like repairing and retiming footage, stylizing footage, background design, and using 3D objects and cameras, and how to connect After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere Pro and Illustrator.
Amazon: Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques

Videomaker’s Advanced Shooting Webinar this Wednesday | Videomaker
Class takes place at 11am Pacific on July 13, and costs $29.95:
We will teach you camera placement, creative composition, shooting techniques, dramatic angles and framing. Becoming more efficient in your shooting abilities will allow you to create professional-looking video. Length: 1 Hour

Monday, July 11, 2011

Panasonic AG-AC7PJ

It seems that with all the Final Cut Pro X excitement over the last couple of weeks, I totally missed Panasonic's announcement of the AG-AC7PJ Shoulder Mount AVCHD Camcorder.

Panasonic AG-AC7

The AG-AC7 is a surprisingly affordable $1,175, and the press release mentions:
A variety of manual functions, affording shooters enhanced creativity, includes Manual Focus, Manual Iris, Manual Shutter Speed, Manual White Balance and On-Screen Assist Functions (Zebra Pattern/Luminance Level/Histogram).

The AC7PJ is touch-screen driven, with controls set simply by touching the 2.7-inch LCD screen, making operation intuitive and easy.
I'd want to check it out first before buying, as I'd be concerned about how easy it is to operate the manual functions through the touch screen.

I already own the AG-HMC70U, which is a previous generation shoulder-mount AVCHD camcorder from Panasonic that is now discontinued. I really like a shoulder-mount camcorder for doing stand-up interviews quickly, and the XLR inputs that the70U has make working with external mics much simpler. The downside to the 70U is that it's basically all automatic - there's very few manual controls - it's interlace not progressive, and the image quality is only so-so.

The AG-AC7PJ is also interlaced, but more disappointingly, it's lost the XLR inputs. But, it's quite a bit cheaper (I think the AG-HMC70U cost about $500 more.)

The pros for the AG-AC7PJ remain the shoulder-mount design. If that works for you, this is probably the cheapest AVCHD camcorder of this type out there. The image quality probably won't rival that of the best consumer camcorders (like the Canon HF G10) but it's probably more than good enough for most web-reporting type situations.

My biggest disappointment remains the loss of the XLRS inputs. That's a real shame.

Final Cut Pro X - Opinions 4

First-Person Final Cut Pro X, Day One: Completely at Sea | Matthew Levie | TUAW
An interesting blog of Matt's experience, including his miss-conceptions experienced along the way:
It turns out, of course, that all of these basic features are in the program, but the documentation isn't very well written. You'd think that if they were going to radically change the way we edit, they'd throw us a lifeline and walk us through it. In fact, when I looked up split edit, it proposed a really Byzantine five-step process involving a ripple trim. It only takes three with a rolling trim. Of course, in FCP 7 it only took one step. That's not promising.
There's also a followup: First-Person Final Cut Pro X, Day Five: Trimming and Closing Thoughts
So today I had to go back to a multicamera FCP 7 project and, truthfully, it was quite a relief.

FCP X – Initial Reactions | Tim McLaughlin | MediaStorm
The prospect of waiting years for FCP X to mature is a depressing thought, and one that might not be financially viable for many institutions. I hope I’m wrong that it will take this long, but the point is, we just don’t know.

News From Here & There

Carl Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 Lenses | Nigel Cooper | DVUser
Zeiss' Compact Prime lenses are expensive, but if you're serious about lenses, these are reportedly the bees knees. Nigel gives an in-depth review, wrapping up by stating that these are "probably the best you can buy for digital video filmmaking."
The first great thing about these lenses is that there is no focus breathing, unlike photographic stills lenses, which are not designed for video. Even some ENG style video lenses suffer from focus breathing. These CP.2 lenses are free of any horrible focus breathing phenomenon so your pull-focus shots will look amazing. They are also pretty much free of any colour aberrations and vignetting around the edges of the image. These modern CP.2 prime lenses with their ultra tight tolerances ensure low distortion, high resolution and superb colour rendition resulting in very sharp and punchy images.

How to ensure proper Audio/Video sync through a QuickTime conversion | YouTube
Had problems with sync in your uploaded YouTube videos? I haven't noticed any myself, but here's a useful reference from YouTube if you encounter this problem.
MOV/MP4 files exported from programs such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, and QuickTime Pro have certain elements that are not handled well by YouTube transcoding. In order to ensure optimal upload quality--and specifically that the Audio and Video of the file remain in sync--use the encoding settings outlined below.

Lighting Basics Series I: Where to place your KEY LIGHT | Shane Hurlbot | Hurlbot Blog
Just in time to miss my collection of lighting resources, this post from Shane explains how to set up key lights:
The key light is the most important light you can place. It lights the actor’s faces and brings out their emotions. I like to study the features in an actor’s face. You can quickly see if one side is better to key from. This information is always in the back of my mind so when you are blocking scenes, you can make suggestions that would aid in getting the key from the correct side. Sometimes it is not possible because of the location or the blocking will not allow it, but at least it is a starting point.
See also: NotesOnVideo: Lighting Resources

Top 10 Takeaways From TV/Film Summit | Abe Schwartz | HuffPost
Want to get into television? Abe attended the TV/Film Summit and came back with tips for the aspiring TV writers:
4. When writing a pilot, it needs to be a prototype of your show. It needs to be THE show, not an origin story. (Write this on a chalkboard 100x, Bart Simpson-style.)

After Effects & Premiere Performance Workshop | Rich Young | ProVideoCoalition
Video2brain has 1 hr 20 minutes of free video training by Todd Kopriva on optimizing After Effects & Premiere and systems for maximum speed.

Another example of how dangerous lasers can be for your HDSLR sensor!
| Mitch | Planet5D
More proof that you don't want to point your digital camera at a laser light show!

Sneak Peak Leaked: Letus Follow Focus | VisionWrangler | Cinescopophilia
Letus have a special going for pre ordering their follow focus unit that is about to ship. $499 is the asking price for an essential piece of kit.

July 8, 1908: Some Movies Get Colorful | Randy Alfred | Wired
A couple of days late, but did you know that the first color motion-picture was demonstrated in Paris in 1908?
British inventor Edward Turner actually received a patent on a three-color motion picture process in 1899. The problem is, his system didn’t work all that well.

Sony Kills MiniDisc

Sony will stop manufacturing the MiniDisc Walkman in September. It's unclear if that means they have ceased manufacture of all MiniDisc devices, but it's probably as close as makes no difference. They do say that - for the moment - they will continue to manufacture the MiniDisc discs, but the format is definitely on it's last legs.

Not that it was ever that popular.

I have a Sharp MiniDisc recorder that I bought probably 15 years ago; before the solid-state digital recorders became available. It worked well; I particularly liked that your could jump from track to track rather than having to fast forward with a tape recorder. The other advantage was that the MiniDisc's are "relatively" inexpensive, and you could use them to archive the audio you recorded.

Sharp MiniDisc Recorder

With the availability and falling cost of solid-state recorders, I bought a solid-state recorder about five years ago, and the MiniDisc recorder hasn't gotten much use since; though it appears to still be in working order! The truth is, it is much easier to get the audio into the computer from the solid-state digital recorder, than it was from the MiniDisc recorder. There was no way to connect the player to my computer and transfer the digital files. I believe that Sony later made it possible to connect their portable players to your computer, but by then it was too late.

MiniDisc was also interesting because I think it was the first encounter with audio compression for many of us; up until then, computer audio was "compressed" by simply lowering the bit or sample rate. MiniDisc's use ATRAC audio compression. When Sony rolled it out, they claimed that you could not detect the difference between CD audio and MiniDisc audio. I went to an event where Sony played audio from a CD and then a MiniDisc, and they asked the audience if we could tell the difference. It wasn't a true blind test, and the audio acoustics weren't ideal in the convention hall, but even so, only about 5 people in the audience of 200 put their hand up saying they could tell the difference.

I figured at the time that a larger percentage of the population thought that Elvis was still alive, so maybe they were on to something!

But, it turned out no one really needed the MiniDisc. The CD was fine for buying and playing songs, and not many people bought MiniDisc for recording.

And then came MP3.

Source: CrunchGear: Sony To Kill The MiniDisc Walkman In September

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Odds & Ends

7 Things FIlmmakers Eat For Breakfast | Elliot Grove | Raindance
Some great - and different - tips to get you going in the morning!
4. Exercise
A healthy body means a healthy mind. Don't ignore it. It's not just about going to the gym either. Learn some of the stretching exercises like Yoga or Pilates. Stretching exercises release energy, keep you supple and healthy and fights aging.

What color are the sash and bonnet in this painting? Wrong. | Esther Inglis-Arkell | IO9
Interesting article about how the names of colors have changed. Also check xkcd article for an amusing take on how men and women see - or describe - colors.
At the time this was painted, over 200 years ago, they would have been considered yellow. Colors aren't as eternal as we imagine them to be. The way our cultures perceive colors changes over time, just like everything else.
xkcd: Color Survey Results

How Much To Charge For Camera Work. What’s Your Day Rate? | Jared Abrams | Wide Open Camera
What to charge? Always a difficult question, especially when you are starting out in the business. Jared offers his thoughts, and actual rates. A couple of the comments are worth reading too:
I feel comfortable asking for around $1K per day camera and lighting package included. I think this is a fair price for the work that I do, and the gear that I bring to the party. This is based on a ten hour work day, one DSLR or AF100 style camera package and a small lighting kit.

Google Web Fonts | Google
Google has made available several hundred fonts for use on web pages. You can also download the TrueType files for the fonts. There's a large collection of "handwritten" fonts as well as display, serif and san-serif.

The 15 Most Innovative Companies Of All Time | Patricia Laya | Business Insider
A picture survey of the 15 most innovative companies of all time; as long as you mesure innovation by the number of patents you own. [Using this brilliant metric, the best guitar player in the world is the one who owns the most guitars? -Ed] Such measurements of success could only come from a true, business insider!
IBM is number 1, Canon number 3 and Sony way down at 7 and Samsung at 6. Wait, Samsung scored higher than Sony?!
Yes, well, of course, this is just the sort blinkered philistine pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage.
-Monty Python

Top Ten Tips For Titling Your Movie | Chris Jones | ChrisJonesBlog
Chris, co-author of The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook and Handbook, offers some interesting tips and ideas for picking a movie title:
As humans, we make immediate and long lasting judgements in that very first moment of experience. Much like seeing someone across a room who catches your eye, a title should attract both powerfully and authentically, promising something exciting, stimulating, thought provoking and mysterious…
Amazon: The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook
Amazon: The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook (All New American Edition)

Hitchcock's Elevator Story | Peter Bogdonavich | Harper's Magazine (from Netjaunt)
Years ago I came across this fun little story from Peter Bogonavich, then yesterday was reminded of it. Of course a quick Google search turned it up...
"Well, it was a quite shocking, I must say -- there was blood everywhere!" Alfred Hitchcock began suddenly from the rear of the elevator...

Interesting Music Licensing Info

I received an email from Royalty Free Music Library, which was interesting both because I've never bought music from them, and because of the subject matter. I'm not too sure how I got on their mailing list, but this email had some interesting news about YouTube:

Important YouTube News

If you use production music in your YouTube videos, THIS IS IMPORTANT TO YOU! Youtube faces an increasingly difficult job making sure that any music used on the site is properly owned by the account owner, or properly licensed by the account owner. In an effort to make sure your videos do not get muted or improperly removed, all of our music will be ingested into the YouTube system over the coming weeks for easy recognition.

If you have used our music in your YouTube videos, you may get an email stating the following:

"Your video may have content that is licensed by BFM Digital. No action is required on your part."

There is no action required on your part, and your videos will continue to be displayed as always. We just wanted to give you the heads up so that there is no confusion when the email arrives.

I knew that YouTube had agreements with some big music labels, but this is an interesting development, and suggests that YouTube is working hard to index all music that might be uploaded to their site.

It's rather oblique wording to the YouTube email warning though; has anyone received something similar from YouTube?

Craig D'Andrea
Another thing that I noticed, is that they have a $5 song of the week, and this weeks song is Yesteryear by Craig D'Andrea. That caught me by surprise as I did a short video piece on Craig a year or so ago. Craig's a great guitarist, and I might have to license that song just so I can use it in something in the future!

Royalty Free Music - sort of
And since I was on the site, I was intrigued by their licensing terms (and company name.) It appears - and I did some reading on their site and am still not 100% sure that I am right - that they offer songs as a collection of about 10 or so pieces, which cost $79.99 for download, or $89.99 on CD. Or, you can buy a single song for $39.99 (or $5.00 if you get the $5 song of the week.)

That appears to be the arrangement - if I've got it right - and so it appears to be more advantageous to buy a collection than to buy individual songs; by a wide margin!

BUT, it also appears that their licensing is in two parts:

Standard Synchronization License
With the collection ($79.99) single song ($39.99) or $5 song of the week, you get their Standard Synchronization license:
This license allows you to synchromize our music in tandem with other audio/visual media. Common examples: as background music in a video, commericals, TV programming, film, presentations, on-hold productions, etc...
It appears that this license also allows you to manufacture/duplicate up to 2,000 copies of a DVD etc., with the songs (I'm not sure if the collection license is 2,000 copies per song or 2,000 per collection...)

However, if you go above 2,000, you need the Mass Duplication License, which is $150

Mass Duplication License
This license grants the right to duplicate a production that includes our music (properly synchronized) whether the duplciated media is for sale or given away as in a promotion or the like. Common examples: DVDs for sale or rent, Legacy productions, downloadable or electronically transferred media.
** a standard synchronization license must first be obtained and any music mass duplicated must be properly synchronized according to our Standard Licensing Agreeemnt. Our Standard Synchronization License allows you to manufacture/duplicate up to 2,000 copies. This Mass Duplication License covers an unlimited number of copies.
This is not a bad deal, even if I didn't think it was as clearly explained as it might be on their site.