Saturday, August 20, 2011

Quick Links

Sony PMW-F3 News | @CineAltaNews | Twitter
The following information from Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager for Production at Sony Electronics:
Up coming goodies for #PMWF3 this year: High power 14x zoom lens using native F3 mount, #3DLink option, PL mount wide angle zoom lens #F3

Sony PMW-F3 Two-Day Workshop | AbelCine
AbelCine is offering a two day class on the Sony PMW-F3 on August 24th & 25th in both New York and LA. Cost is $250 per day, and you can attend single days.

Review: Litepanels 1x1 - the LED light | Daniel Freytag | Freytag Film
Daniel finds these LED lights are both easy to set up, light to carry, and ideal for the single shooter:
At first sight you probably wouldn't trust the plastic housing, but it is amazing rugged! So it will survive your everyday production. The more important part, the light quality, is even more amazing! The output of the Litepanels 1x1, compared to it's size and weight is truly epic.
B & H: Litepanels 1x1' Mono Low-Profile LED Daylight Flood Light (100-240VAC) [1,975.50]

Moire and Aliasing no more?! A solution for the 5DmkII | Philip Bloom
Philip is excited about a physical filter from Dave Cubanski of Mosaic Engineering that is inserted into the camera to reduce moire and will work with up to 24mm wide lenses. It doesn't physically alter the camera, and you can remove it when shooting stills.
Cost will be about $400, and it works only with the 5D, though they are also working on a 7D model.
I was puzzled about the note about the change in flange distance:
There is a 1/8th stop of light loss and the flange distance is altered meaning the focus measurements on the lens are no longer accurate, also the minimum focal distance is a tiny bit longer but infinity is reachable which is key. Changing focal lengths on a zoom lens will mean refocusing every time too.
I suspect that what happens is that because the filter is placed on top of the sensor, the lens is now "focused" on the filter surface rather than the sensor, and the filter is slightly closer to the lens, hence the change in the focusing.

More information can be found at Mosaic Engineering's website.

Sony NEX-7, Photo Rumors
Sony NEX-7 full specs and imagesPhoto Rumors
More information about the NEX-7, which should be announced this week. This camera will reportedly have a 24.3MP sensor, an OLED viewfinder, HDR capability, a built-in flash and a magnesium body. BUT, it will cost around $1,000! I'd probably go for the NEX-5N, which will have a 16MP sensor, the same video capabilities, and will be about $300 cheaper!

The RED Epic-X will ship next week:
"Always late but worth the wait"... at some point "late" turns into "now". "Now" is next week.

Hollywood premier of the Sony F65 Camera | Sony
Going to be in LA on September 6th? Interested in Sony's latest large-sensor camera, the F65? Sony is holding a premiere of the camera at the Director's Guild of America Theatre. They'll be showing footage, a discussion of users experience, and the design team will be present. Sony also promises that they will be announcing product pricing and availability.

Location: Directors Guild of America Theatre, 7920 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM (PT)

Streaming Video’s Emerging Bounty | Dave Kehr | The New York Times
A look at the mixed bag of content provided by streaming services, as well as the promises of the future.
But perfection is not always a virtue, and streaming, with its forgivingly low resolution, provides a perfectly acceptable showcase for movies that do not exist in the flawless prints now considered essential for DVD, and particularly Blu-ray, release. There are many movies of interest without reputations or stars big enough to justify the expense of a full-scale digital restoration, but I cling to the conviction that it’s better for films to be seen with dust spots or dubious color than not seen at all.

Ten Must-Read Posts Before Running Your Own Crowdfunding Campaign | Koo | No Film School
A collection of articles about using crowdfunding put together by someone that just started his own crowdfunding campaign for his first motion picture.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Final Cut Pro X Information & Resources 19

It's been a couple of weeks since I've updated the list of new Final Cut Pro X resources, tutorials and opinions. Here's some of what's been going on:
How to Sync FCP X Effects Across Multiple Machines using SugarSync | FCPEffects
Not sure if this has been noted here before, but an interesting solution for syncing installed effects across multiple machines.

How to Share/Copy a Final Cut Pro X Project | FCPEffects
Here's another tip that explains how to share Projects

FCPX Sharing? Sure you can... | Steve Modica | CreativeCOW
Mark Ferris of Blue Ox Pictures also explains how to share Events and Projects on shared volumes.

Other News
Developers to get XML code from Apple in 2 weeks | Sean Cole | CreativeCOW
Though Apple promised some XML code to developers by now, they still haven't received it.

Need to Get Your Whole Team Using FCPX? | Liz Sunter | Jigsaw Broadcast
11 to 20 user license pack: all 20 copies on a single account - and your users don't have to use their own credit card details to download, so ownership of all your licenses stays with the company, rather than any individuals.

Plug-ins & Tools
Movie Preview Rating Title Template |
Currently on sale for $.99 (regular $9.99) Use this title template to create a movie preview rating title in seconds. You control what it says and the background color.

Muzzle Flash Plugin |
HD quality muzzle flashes that are: "pre-keyed, extremely realistic & incredibly easy to work with!" Over 15 side & front angle flashes. Cost: $24.00

Free FCPX Plugins and Templates |
An ever growing list of plug-ins and templates for Final Cut Pro X.

Magic Bullet Looks 1.2 | Red Giant
Red Giant announces and ships their first Final Cut Pro X compatible plug-in. It's available at a discounted price for a limited time.(This week only)
Meanwhile, Stu Maschwitz reports that adding support for their other products isn't so easy:
That turned out to be a lucky move, because so far it’s almost the only Magic Bullet plug-in that Final Cut Pro X can support. Both the graphical controls that Colorista II uses and the dense “custom data” blocks that Magic Bullet Looks relies on are victims of bugs or shortcomings in the initial release of FCP X.
Prolost: Magic Bullet Mojo for FCP X

Logickeyboard proudly presents the new FCPX keyboard | logickeyboard
Logickeyboard custom keyboard for Apple Final Cut Pro X, is based on the original Ultra Thin Alu Apple Pro keyboard. It offers plug-and-play setup with any current or recent USB-equipped Macintosh computer, with good feel and stylish, modern appearance that match the "new Apple look".. Cost: $114

mlooks for FCP X | Motion VFX
A collection of 60 FCPX/Motion 5 Grading Effects, available for $39

Feature Requests
FCP X road blocks | Oliver Peters | Digitalfilms.wordpress
A short list of things that Oliver thinks FCP X needs changed or added. The list includes: Rolling audio edits, Multiple trim points, Multiple mono audio channels, Manual organization of bins and projects, and more.

Some FCPX Road Blocks and More | Scott Simmons | Studio Daily
Scott adds to Oliver's list of FCPX limitations, adding: Only nine keyword shortcut slots, No way to skim clips in the iTunes browser, Clips don’t retain IN/OUT, START/END markers, and more.

Top 35 Requests for Final Cut Pro X | Richard Taylor | FCPX.TV
This list has just been updated on August 2nd.

How To Record Quick Voiceovers In Final Cut Pro X | Danny Greer
The FCP Voice Over function has been updated from the previous version with new features including the ability to assign the recording to a particular event and to monitor audio when recording.

Top and Tail Editing Now Available in Final Cut Pro X | Ashley Kennedy
Top and Tail editing allows you to instantaneously lop off either the beginning or end of a clip, which is a great way to quickly assemble B-roll, especially for news and documentary projects.

Final Cut Pro X: A Look From Past to Present to Future (Complete Footage)
| Tekserve | YouTube
Evan Schechtman of and Outpost Digital takes a look at the history of digital video editing—with a particular focus on Apple's Final Cut Pro X, and how this just-released software sets the foundation for the industry's next big revolution.

Andrew Balis talks about the FCPX timeline |
Two videos from the Moviola Arts Institute featuring Andrew Balis. The first is quite a bit of introduction, but the second gets 52 minutes of chat about the FCPX timeline.

Final Cut Pro X (FCPX): a Multicam workflow follow-up: more clips, more tips
| fxmah | YouTube
A demo using 9 video clips on the timeline and demonstrates a shortcut for mixing down those clips into the storyline

Optical Flow in Final Cut Pro X | Connor Crosby | Final Cut Whiz
How to smoothly slow down and speed up video.

The Magnet Timeline -- Thoughts on Apple's New Paradigm | David Lawrence
| CreativeCOW
David Lawrence explores one important aspect of Final Cut Pro X:
I set out to understand just exactly what Apple had done to a tool that, for many of us, is the cornerstone of our livelihoods. The changes in FCPX are broad, deep and many. This article will focus on just one aspect of these changes -- the main NLE editing interface an editor uses for the bulk of their work -- the timeline.

Fed Up with FCPX? Join International FCPX Refund Request Day | Scott Simmons | Studio Daily
An update on an attempt to organize a mass Refund Request for August 29.

Why I’m Scared of FCP-X | Misha Tenenbaum | Mishapost
An interesting post about FCP X that ponders the future of video editing.
The point is that producers still need the story teller. The tools alone do not write the book, edit the movie, or present the presentation. However, and this is a big however, technology doesn’t feel emotional pain when it becomes obsolete, but people do. I’ve read a lot of blog posts on FCP-X telling people to suck it up and embrace the inevitable. But to be honest, I was terrified.

It’s all about Puppets | Robert | digieffects blog
An interesting perspective on moving towards the mass market, as well as an interesting story told by Josh Mellicker of on who the typical Final Cut Pro user might be:
So he asked “Well then, what kind of movies do you make?” One guy said “I do training videos for our company. We make giant batteries.” Another said “We make videos that teach people how to make puppets.” And a third, “I shoot video every year at the annual conference for remote-controlled aircraft builders.”

Evaluation: Final Cut Pro X vs Adobe Production Premium | Von
| Huckleberry Film Studios
An explanation on why this studio is moving to Adobe:
When we purchased our first copy of Final Cut Pro at Huckleberry, we paid $1800/seat, and we knew it was worth vastly more. For years, Adobe has been playing catch-up with their editing suite to better compete with Final Cut Pro, and many feel that with the 2010 release of the Adobe Production Premium Suite 5.0, they surpassed Final Cut.

My First Adobe Premiere CS5.5 Experience – From a Final Cut Pro Refugee
| Bill Vincent | New Media Musings
Bill writes about his switch to Premiere, and his experience with a first project:
Overall, I’d say my first experience with Premiere since the late 90’s was pretty good, with some caveats. Just as FCP is native to the Mac, I really believe Premiere has been really tweaked and primed for the PC. It does run on a Mac, but not as smoothly as FCP for roughly the same amount of hardware investment. I don’t have the CUDA graphics card (one of only three that are actually approved for Mac use) that would give me the extra graphics acceleration, and I think without that it’s always going to be a bit on the rough side regarding playback, especially if effects are involved.

Transitioning: An update on our new Paradigm | Walter Biscardi
| Biscardi Creative
An update on Walter's switch to Premiere Pro, along with answers to some "problems" with Premiere that others have suggested exist:
I’ve read in multiple forums that “Premiere Pro has trouble with large projects.”  Based on this project transfer, I don’t see that.  Not sure how much larger of a project I can test than that.   I am definitely getting much more realtime playback in that project as well vs. what I would get in FCP, even using the ProRes codec.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5 For FCP Editors | Filmmaking Webinars
A free 90 minute webinar scheduled for October 20, 2011 @ 10:00 AM PDT to 11:30 AM PDT
If you are proficient in Final Cut Pro 7 and are considering the move to Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5, then this webinar is for you! You will learn the subtle and not so subtle differences in the every day tasks and workflows facing editors between Final Cut Pro 7 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS 5.5.

Exclusive interview: Adobe's Al Mooney on Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, and the future of video editing | David Gewirtz | ZDNet
An interview with I Al Mooney, product manager for Premiere Pro. Al formerly been at both Apple and Avid.
While I can’t comment on Apple’s go-to-market strategy with FCPX, I can say that editors who need those kind of features will find them in Premiere Pro, and that is no doubt part of the reason why so many more people are giving our NLE [non-linear editing system] a try.

Quick Links

Review of the Sony HXR-NX3D1 | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
Philip does a rather unusual 2D review of a 3D camera. Odd that he doesn't post some of the 3D video (YouTube does support 3D video.) He does think it's a really good 2D camcorder, and even likes the way it feels when holding it. He also prefers it over the much cheaper consumer model - the HDR-TD10 - which is very similar, though it lacks XLR audio input.
He does note that there's limited manual controls - there's no gain control - and in 3D mode the options are even fewer; you can literally only set exposure, focus and zoom; spot metering, white balance, IRIS and Shutter Speed are all disabled.
[You might also want to check out the new digital binoculars that Sony announced today.]
B & H: HXR-NX3D1 NXCAM 3D Compact Camcorder [$3,99.00]
B & H: Sony HDR-TD10 Full HD 3D Camcorder [$1,498.00]

*UPDATED* Big Megapixel Camera Next Week | CanonRumors
Next week Sony is expected to make some interesting camera announcements, and now it seems that Canon and Nikon might do the same, though what they will actually announce is still unclear.
It does also appear that Canon will introduce something that will be of interest to the video community in the next few months, though it may not be announced next week...

Samsung W200 waterproof / rugged 1080p camcorder review | Darren Murph
| Engadget
Engadget does a pretty complete review of this $150 "ruggedized" 1080p camera that is also waterproof down to three meters. It gets surprisingly positive results underwater, though low-light performance in general isn't that great, and the jello-effect is noticeably in many places.
Also, a short drop of the camera seemed to compromise the water-proofing of the LCD.
Amazon: Samsung HMX-W200 Waterproof HD[$149.99]

OS X Lion: We are ‘roaring’ through the issues!
| Red Giant Software
Red Giant provides an update on the status of their products when used in Lion. There are a few problems with Final Cut Pro;
We are happy to report that all of our products work perfectly between Lion and Adobe host applications. With FCP, there are a few issues that have come up, primarily with some of the products in our Magic Bullet Suite (read below).

Open Media Magazine! | Daniel Freytag
An interesting new eBook type product for the iPad and iPhone that is dedicated to various types of media. It's free

Skip the Gym and Head to a User Group Meeting | Wendy Woodhall
| masteringFilm
How User Groups can help you: our business it’s word of mouth and personal connections that get you hired. As the owner of a post audio studio for over 10 years, I spent a lot if time looking through resumes but there is simply is no substitute for meeting someone in person, getting to know them and meeting others who have worked with them. User groups are incredible places for this. We actually hired two engineers we met through our meetings over the past year.

Free Must-Download eBook ‘Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul’ Coming in September | NoFilmSchool
Some information about a free upcoming eBook called: Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul. The book is a series of case studies that “dive deep into the real numbers and real details of independent film distribution,” and will be released free in September during Independent Film Week here in New York

iPad App Lets You Finger-Paint With Video | Charlie Sorrel | Wired
Composite is an iPad2 app that lets you collage together bits of real life as if you were painting them onto the screen. NOTE: Requires a camera, so iPad2 is required!
iTunes: Composite - James Alliban

Pixar's Cash Grab with 'Cars 2': How Much is Your Soul Worth? | Joe Bader
| FilmSlate
Interesting report about how Pixar made more money from merchandise for Cars:
“Cars” merchandise sales worldwide through 2010 were estimated by the LA Times at $10 billion, 51% more than the aggregate worldwide gross of all 11 Pixar movies prior to “Cars 2.”

Amazing Optical Illusion Shows That Our Eyes Are Horrible Light Meters
| Michael Zhang | PetaPixel
An optical illusion that is hard to believe when you see it as a graphic; but seeing it recreated in reality it's even more incredible!

The Mountain | TSO Photography | Vimeo
Pretty amazing timelapse.

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Sony Digital Binoculars - DEV-3 & DEV-5

Sony has announced two new digital binoculars; the DEV-3 ($1,399) and the DEV-5 ($1,999). They support HD video, can capture 7.1 megapixel stills, and have f/1.8-3.4, 0.5-10x optical zoom lenses, and a pair of 1,227-dot viewfinders. They are expected to be available in November

A couple of sites have already had a chance to spend some time with these binoculars;
Using the double electronic viewfinders was easy when looking through the binoculars, zooming in and recording video. However, using them to scroll the menu system and playback footage was difficult to get used to. The optional added 5-inch LCD on the top made a huge difference to the usability of these binoculars. [1]
and there's already a video on YouTube from the Swiss Video Academy (with English captions): Sony DEV-5 / Digital Binoculars - First Look Review

And as others have noted, they look like they came out of Star Wars!

It's probably not surprising that Sony would think to add 3D capabilities to binoculars. The devices seem to be based on the same basic platform as the 3D camcorders from Sony (the HDR-TD10 [$1,499]). They seem to include most of the same functionality, including HDMI out and SD card/Memory Stick recording.
"Binoculars, being stereoscopic in nature, really lend themselves to 3D technology," [senior product manager, Phil Bouchillon] explained. Indeed, with separate sensors and lenses in each eye of the device, Sony would have been remiss to pass up on 3D video recording capabilities here. [2]
Given that they have the same focal length range as the HDR-TD10, I really wonder whether, if you're interested in dabbling in 3D, these binoculars might not be a better choice:
  1. They may be less conspicuous
  2. As binoculars, they have another use
  3. May be easier to use in bright outside light
On the other hand, walking around filming, with these held to your head, may seem a bit odd...

1: Photography for Beginners: Sony DEV-5/DEV-3 Hands on Preview
2: Digital Camera Review: Sony DEV-3 and DEV-5 Binoculars Record Stills and HD Video
3: Engadget: Sony Digital Recording Binoculars look like military night vision goggles, cost almost as much
4: PC World: Sony Video Binoculars Hands-On: DEV-5 and DEV-3 Are Straight Out of 'Star Wars'

Thursday, August 18, 2011

$9.99 eBook Deal through Sunday - Adobe Photoshop CS5


Adobe Photoshop CS5 Classroom in a Book

By Adobe Creative Team
Published by Adobe Press
Pages: 464
Watermarked eBook, includes PDF and EPUB

In addition to learning the key elements of the Photoshop interface, this completely revised CS5 edition shows readers how to edit images with precise selection control, correct a wide range of lens-based errors, interactively transform their images with the new Puppet Warp tool, and easily remove or replace image elements with the new Content-Aware Fill mode. The book also covers new powerful painting effects to artistically enhance images and shows how to combine multiple exposures into a single HDR image. 

Quick Links

More Sony NEX-5N specs | Photo Rumors
A very clear picture of the NEX-5N, and amongst the new specs details is "Improved audio quality during video recording"; whatever that means!

Panasonic to offer high end X lenses for Micro Four Thirds | EOS HD
Panasonic plans to introduce a "Lumix X" line of lenses similar to Canon's professional "L" series.

New Genus Bravo Deluxe Follow Focus System | Cinescopophilia
Pictures and video of the new Genus follow focus, which fits into the middle pricing for follow-focus units [B & H: $569.95]

Life’s a Beach – an insider’s guide to working the Cannes Film Festival
| Mick Southworth and Martin McCabe | movieScope
Everyone must be planning to go to Cannes, as this is evidently the most popular post on the movieScope site right now:
Speaking as distributors, there are better markets for the acquisition of new product, such as the AFM. Most of the best films have been sold well before Cannes starts, and the market section is pretty tame. So, what is Cannes good for? Well, if you can navigate the bull merchants and target important people with whom you would normally struggle to get eye-to-eye time, it’s best for networking.

DIY Homemade Light Stands – Photography Filmmaking | Knoptop
An inexpensive do-it-yourself project using Painters Pole or PVC pipe, and a Plunger or Bulb changer top. An interesting idea, but you need a flat ceiling you can reach with your pole for it to work, and it wouldn't work with heavy lights.

Canon to showcase video and broadcast products at IBC 2011 | Canon
Looks like Canon won't be introducing any new video gear in the next month if this press release is the last word on news from them.

Media Composer 5.5.3 AVAILABLE (w/OS X Lion support)!
| Kevin Klimek | Community Avid
This is a maintenance release that is free to all owners of Media Composer 5.5 software. It includes over 75 bug fixes, including new plug-ins for the AJA io Express that corrects the "Legends Audio Communications Error. Hardware Underrun" errors. You should consult the README before installing the software.

It also contains 30-day trials of both ScriptSync and PhraseFind.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quick Links

Sony’s NX70 Rocker Switch…”Taking the bull by the horns” | Philip Johnston
| HD Warrior
Philip did a review of the Sony HXR-NX70 [$2,799.00] weatherproof camera a while back that was very complimentary, though they noted that the rocker switch on it doesn't work as well as you'd hope.
He recommends using a Manfrotto 521i lanc zoom [$159.90] control instead, though notes that Sony may have a firmware update that will fix the problem.
HD Warrior: Review of the Sony HXR-NX70

HyperDeck Shuttle “User Review” £263 (Updated)
| Philip Johnston } HDWarrior
Philip also reviews the Blackmagic Hyper Shuttle [$327.75], with some interesting results, particularly because he used it with the 8-bit NEX-FS100. In his samples, you can see a very clear image difference (though once you put your final image up on YouTube or Vimeo, the viewer may not see the difference!) He also notes the huge amount of space required.
 HD Warrior
Still, I'm interested because the differences he sees seem a little more noticeable than those observed by others.

Also, there's an interesting comment about using the footage in Final Cut Pro:
A word of warning if you take this into Final Cut Pro under ProRes 422 you won’t see any difference in picture quality.
See also: Vimeo: BlackMagic Hypershuttle vs. FS100 AVCHD

DSLR: Get Steady with a Monopod | Robbie Carman & Richard Harrington
| Creative COW
A video tutorial talking about using a monopod for run and gun stuff. At the end they show a Manfrotto monopod with a fluid head, the 561BHDV-1 [$289.89] which is expensive, but a really nice looking piece of gear.

Shooting a feature film in 10 days | Daniel Freytag | Freytag Film
Pictures and a behind-the-scenes video from a feature film shot in 10 days using the Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.

Demo/Q&A Friday: Introducing Muse | John Nack on Adobe |
If you're interested in the new HTML authoring tool from Adobe, there will be a webcast session with Dani Beaumont, the Muse Product Manager this Friday at noon (Pacific Time.)

Apple releases 10.7.1 Lion update | Macworld
The update includes general bug fixes and improves Wi-Fi connection reliability.

Apple has also released the $69 USB Lion Installer \ Macworld.

Musings on Adobe's move to rental software

Adobe has rolled out Muse, their new WYSIWYG HTML web development tool for those of us who hate HTML. Think of it as Adobe's answer to Apple's iWeb tool.

At the moment it's a free download as it's in "public beta" until "early 2012." It's definitely beta; it crashed repeatedly when I tried to paste an OBJECT tag into the Insert HTML function!

Muse has a four-mode way of working; Plan, Design, Preview and Publish, and provides a number of widgets that make it easy to add functions like menus and accordions. You create the basic structure of your site in the Plan mode, then add actual content in Design. It's also a bit unusual because it's an AIR app, but the really unusual thing about Muse might be the pricing model.

Adobe Muse Plan View

Rental Software
Muse will be available by subscription only. According to Adobe, "this will allow us to add new features to Muse regularly and customers will always have access to the most up-to-date functionality." It also means that Adobe will have a guaranteed revenue stream.

One year plans will cost $15 per month, or $180 a year, while month-to-month pricing will be $20 per month.

The idea of renting software - rather than buying a license outright - is not new in the software world, though it has been unusual in mass market software. Usually it's been restricted to small niche products that often require a large amount of help and technical support.

Which raises the question; could Adobe go to an all subscription model for other products? Will Adobe Creative Suite 6 only be available by "subscription?"

Adobe already introduced a software rental - or subscription - program for their Creative Suite products back in April; Premiere costs $59 to rent monthly, $39 per month yearly, or $799 to buy outright. At the time, there were some articles about whether it makes sense to rent or buy, but with Muse, there won't be a choice. Could this experiment with subscription-only pricing for Muse be indicative of the direction Adobe intends to take with their other products?
Will Adobe Creative Suite 6 only be available by "subscription?"
Apple's model
Interestingly, Apple has changed their pricing model as well. Leaving behind the argument over how good or bad Final Cut Pro X is, they have done away with the upgrade pricing model for their software. Existing owners of Final Cut Pro 7 didn't get a break on buying the new release. But then the price of the new release was lower, and you are buying an outright copy, not a subscription.

The Future
For commercial sites and those with big budgets who need to always have the latest and greatest, whether it's a subscription or a purchase model probably isn't a big deal. Particularly if the subscription works out to be roughly the same as what they'd spend on buying the updates as they are released.

But for those on limited budgets, subscriptions are a mixed blessing. The monthly subscription model allows you to get the software without spending the big money to buy the package outright, but it also means you're on the treadmill to keep paying. You can't stay with the previous release for a couple of years and save some money.

To be clear, I have absolutely no idea what Adobe will do. I hope that they don't move to subscription-only pricing, and would encourage everyone who thinks the same way to let Adobe know. But if you have been thinking of buying the Adobe Production Creative Suite or Premiere Pro you might seriously consider buying the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium at the 50% before October 31st!* Though not because of what might happen in the future, but because it's a good deal!

Note: I contacted Adobe to see if they had any comment about a change to subscriptions only pricing but have heard nothing from them.
Adobe: Muse Features
Macworld: Adobe previews Muse Web design app
CNet: Adobe debuts Muse, a no-code-required site builder
MacworldWhy an Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 subscription makes sense
MacworldOwnership is the way to go with Adobe Creative Suite 5.5
Tech News Daily: Rent Photoshop From Adobe On a Monthly Basis

* Note, if you buy the software through the above link, this site does get a referral fee

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rule Camera Pub Night - Enhancing Your Creative Business Through Social Media - Aug 18

Rule Boston Camera's ongoing educational programs:

Thursday AUG 18 | 6pm - 8pm
Director of Photography Tom Guilmette shares his experiences with social media from the basics of using the web and a website to promote himself as an industry professional to "going viral" and using the web as a teaching tool (and more).
UPDATE: Tom says he will also be talking about Sports TV, Red Epic and the Phantom Flex .
See also
Videography: Vinten Vector 75 Takes Up Residence at Fenway Park The Phantom Experiment

Rule Boston Camera
395 Western Avenue, Boston MA 02135


Quick Links

Test: 16mm f2.8 SEL1628 e-mount and wide angle Sony VCL-ECU1 on FS100
| Jean-Philippe Archibald |
Jean-Phillipe recently bought an NEX-FS100, then he sold his Canon 7D and bought an NEX-3 with the 16mm pancake lens to go with it (since the cameras share the same E-mount.) He posts a review of the 16mm lens, along with the add-on wide-angle adapter. His results are similar to other's experience with this lens:
  • Sharpeness is good except in the corner
  • Corners are soft wide open, improves when stopping down. at f5.6 they are pretty good.

Behind the Glass: An Introduction to Lenses | Daniel Hayek et. al. | Vimeo
The Vimeo Video School is back with an introduction to lenses starring Vincent Laforet. It explains aperture, lens types, focal lengths and much more.

The Red Epic and why being tiny is cool | Epic in Action
The latest post at a new blog that is devoted to the RED Epic:
The modularity of the Epic allows the camera to be stripped down to almost nothing. For my HDRx test at S&O Media last week I took off almost every accessory apart from the camera’s side handle. This allowed the camera to be used as an in-car minicam; amazing for a camera you can legitimately shoot a feature film on! All it took was a simple suction pad and magic arm and the camera was secure enough to shoot a little test on.

Quick-Start: DSLR Editing Workflow For Final Cut Users/Switchers (Updated for CS5.5!) | Adobe TV
In this tutorial, Principal Worldwide Evangelist for Adobe, Jason Levine goes 'from the camera to the timeline', showcasing a complete Ingest-Edit-Export workflow when working with DSLR video media, or really any tapeless, file-based format in Premiere Pro CS5.5.
It's "short and sweet" because he talks really fast!

Renaissance Woman: Anna J Foerster | HD Magazine
Interview/profile of cinematographer Anna Foerster, who was cinematographer for the forthcoming film Anonymous. The movie was shot using the ARRI Alexa:
“The Alexa really is a beautiful camera and it worked well for us,” she notes, shooting at 800 ISO and occasionally pushing to 1280 ISO. “This a dark movie, a dark story so we didn’t want bright, colourful, sun-flooded footage that you often see depicting the era. Daylight, candles and fire were our main light sources. We sometimes used candles right next to the camera to augment lighting in a scene. I never used diffusion filters because the candles and the bright windows would show a slight halo in the image and give the filter away.”

Motorized Lazy Susan – Heavy Duty | CheesyCam
A do-it-yourself project for creating a small, smooth, Lazy Susan that can spin a person.

3D movie grosses double in 2010 | Hollywood In High Def
Since I mention all the negative 3D stuff, I have to be fair and point out some positive things too, right? Seems that 3D movie grosses doubled in 2010. Seems rather odd to be looking at results for last year when we're over half way through this year!

Snow on Cuba Mall in central Wellington (HD) | Ro Tierney | Vimeo
Why is everyone so surprised in this video? I grew up in Wellington, New Zealand, and never saw snow...

Snow on Cuba Mall in central Wellington (HD) from Ro Tierney on Vimeo.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Steve Weiss podcast on Planet5D

Steve Weiss of Zacuto was back on the Planet5D podcast today, talking about a number of different things:

Revenge of the Great Camera ShootOut
They are looking at shooting an additional episode of the Great Camera Shootout that will accomplish two things; it will add some cameras that weren't available when they started (the Red EPIC, Sony NEX-FS100 and the Panasonic GH2) and they plan to shoot the same scene with all of the cameras as a comparison.

They are planning to shoot this in September, show it at IBC, and hopefully release the new episiode before the end of the year.

Critics Idol
Steve outlined ideas for a competition called - at the moment - Critics Idol. The idea was to have film maker's compete, and have it judged by a panel of film makers. They are looking at trying to make the competition open to people the world over, though that's evidently a problem for the lawyers. Also, he said it's unlikely they can use the name Idol!

New Products
Steve demoed a number of new products, including the EVF Gorilla Plate Bracket [B & H $228 shipping 7-14 days] for mounting the EVF to Zacuto Gorilla Kits, the Zwis Cage, a new cage that will cost around $850 and features a handle on top, and two Zacuto portals for attaching devices.

They also showed rigs for the Sony NEX-FS100 [B & H: $3,330.00], and for the RED EPIC, the latter with an AJA Ki Pro Mini [B & H: $1,995.00] on the back. Interestingly, he advocated using the Ki Pro Mini as the capture device with the RED Epic, and editing with that footage rather than the 5K footage from the Epic

Also shown was the Pincher, an upcoming bracket for holding the HDMI cable in place on your camera.

Zacuto Pincher

HD-SDI for the Zacuto EVF?
Someone asked about an HD-SDI version of the Zacuto EVF [B & H: $764.75] , but he didn't think they would do that as it would be too expensive. He said they were working with AJA on a cable that will go from HDMI to an HD-SDI signal. It's "in the works", but "not solid" yet.

Current EVF update
A quick reminder to everyone to get the current firmware update for the EVF, which takes care of small bugs and added audio meters etc. Zacuto: Z-Finder EVF Support

They are working on the next update that will have some “exciting” new features: the next release will support 1080p (it currently only supports 1080i) so it will support the EPIC which only outputs 30p, as well as allowing loop-though at 1080p. They note that it won’t improve the actual image you’ll see.
The update is expected in about four weeks.

Less expensive Follow-Focus
They are working on a less expensive follow-focus that will work on the Gorilla kits, and will be a friction based (i.e. non-gears) follow-focus. "It will get your hand in a new and interesting position," according to Steve! It’s not totally refined but they think they will have a prototype they can show in about a month.

What percentage of sales are DSLR based as opposed to video camera?
Mitch asked what the approximate breakdown of their audience was. Mandy from Zacuto said that "DSLR's are probably about 75% right now and video cameras are on the rise again. We are seeing more and more Sony F3, FS100, Panasonic AF100 and now the Epic."
Dave from Zacuto added: "I can tell you that from search volume based on keywords, the video cameras are on a huge rise compared to the DSLRs, the last few months"

Other quotes:
Total equipment budget should be no more than 16%! You should be putting money into rehearsals...and food! You need all these other things that are more important than picture!
Steve mentioned that he used to only shoot interviews with one camera until one producer forced him to use a second camera for a profile shot, and now he says "I wish I had two cameras on every interview I’ve done."

As he did in the last podcast at Planet5D, Steve encouraged people to think about internet distribution, and discouraged people from trying to produce movies, due to the limited amount of distribution possibilities.

Planet5D usually posts a recorded version of the podcast a day or so after it's broadcast.
Planet5d: Podcast

Sony NEX-VG20: no release date yet

Hmmm, so I'm wondering if I should be concerned that Sony Alpha Rumors doesn't have a release date for the NEX-VG20, even though they have one for the other cameras that are supposed to be announced on the 24th?

In the comments with the post, people asked about the VG20, and Rumors said that they hadn't heard anything about that, but would try and find out more. The announcement of the NEX-5N, NEX-7, A77 and A65 and new lenses should probably be enough for anyone, right?

SonyAlphaRumors: (SR5) Exact Sony A77/NEX-7 availability report

Audio Roundtable at Mass. Production Coalition

The Massachusetts Production Coalition June Member Meeting featured an Audio Roundtable with a panel of six audio professionals discussing various aspects of audio production in film and video. The Moderator was Chris Anderson from Slice, and the panel consisted of
Following are some highlights from the talk, which covered general audio issues, ADR, as well as the CALM Act and working with composers.

John Whitcore: There’s so many incredible tools that we have as audio professionals. There’s a company right in town here, iZotope, they have a plug-in called RX2, an amazing plug-in for removing noise, hiss, and all that stuff. But it can’t fix everything, and it’s just so much more work after the fact, so just be kind to the audio guys. Pay attention to the little things, and it really is little things when you’re shooting in the field.

Brian McKeever: No matter what, a good recording is a good recording. We’ve never got beyond that. iZotopes great, it can do a lot of amazing things, but in the end the best stuff we work on in terms of film work ends up being the stuff that people go back and do ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement) on.

It’s heartbreaking when you realize that a lot of the problems are dialog. A great film has a dialog editor come in very early on, takes all your production audio, takes your initial cut, cuts it together and finds every piece he can of good audio and then decides what you need to do for ADR. As much as it seems like something we don’t have to do with all these wonderful tools, it is absolutely still a necessity.

I love ADR. I don’t like doing it. It’s arduous; it means an actor coming in long after a film has been done. It usually involves contractually forcing them to do it, because they don’t want to.

John Whitcore, Brian McKeever, Jim Sullivan

Dylan Schwartz: Perhaps some people are hesitant to do it because they think it sounds cheesy, but any skilled mixer will be able to finesse the dialog or add ambient sounds to make it seem natural.

You don’t necessarily want it void of sound, as long as the dialog itself is still easily understandable. Some people I’ve encountered, they want the thing devoid of noise and to me that doesn’t make any sense because [the background noise] adds to the overall vibe.

It’s good to capture room noise when you’re there, especially when used in conjunction with noise reducers. Many noise reducers work [by] sampling whatever that background noise is and if you can get a clean patch of it the noise reducer can get a better read of it and reduce the noise curve better.

Quick Links

Camera Review: Sony PMW-500 | Sean Twamley |
Sean is a freelance cameraman based in the UK who works on current affairs, documentary and sport, and does most of that work for the BBC. He recently decided on the Sony PMW-500 [B & H: $24,999.95], in part because several departments at the BBC have standardized on it.
On the face of it the 500 appears little different to any other Sony camera and I think that’s probably the point. Cameramen don’t want buttons being moved from where they’ve got used to having them. Nice additions are six assignable buttons, two of which are on the handle, that can all be given a different function. For example I’ve used one of the switches on the handle as a record button and a couple of the switches on the side for a particular white balance setting. The filter wheel at the front is just for ND as this camera uses electrical colour correction.

Sony announcing three NEX lenses on August 24th? | Dana Wollman | Engadget
It looks more and more like there will be a bunch of announcements from Sony on August 24th. Pictures of the three new NEX (E-mount) lenses; a 55-210mm / F4.5-6.3 zoom lens and fixed 50mm / F1.8 and 24mm / F1.8 just appeared on the web this weekend.

(SR4) Small but important Sony A77 Europe/US difference in video recording?
| SonyAlphaRumors
Reports that the A77 DSLR will be available in European and US versions:
US version is 24,30,60p, European 25 and 50p.
This would not be a huge surprise as Sony has done this with the NEX-FS100 camcorder and other cameras as well; though there have been rumors that Sony will announce a firmware update that fixes this for the NEX-FS100 some time in the future.
SonyAlphaRumors has also reported expected availability dates for the NEX-5N, NEX-7 and A77 and A65, but nothing on the NEX-VG20.

The Wrap – Being Eaten Alive by Filmmaking Clutter | John Hess | The Wrap
Scroll down and check the pictures - looks like my office!

Brad Bird: Hollywood isn’t brave enough to copy Pixar process | Geoff Boucher
| LA Times
An interview with director Brad Bird (The Incredibles.)
BB: Everyone in Hollywood says they wish they could do it like Pixar, but they really don’t. There’s no secret at Pixar, but there is a belief in letting people pursue something with passion and take chances, and most of Hollywood, really, doesn’t like that. It’s too scary. Some studio executives will say they love obsessive creators who take risks, but really most of them would rather play it safe.

So How Come ‘The Lone Ranger’ Was Going To Cost $250 Million? 5 Reasons Disney Got Cold Feet | Oliver Lyttelton | IndieWire
In case you cared, a look at the many possible reasons why 'The Lone Ranger' was cancelled, though the article also notes that it's still possible the movie will be made.

movieScope Magazine
A new site that looks interesting, and they've posted a bunch of articles in the last day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Toy - Canon HF G10

I've been thinking of getting a new small camcorder because, though I've been very happy with Sony HDR-XR500, it doesn't shoot in 30p or 24p, and I really wanted something that could shoot in those video formats. Also, something with a few more manual controls was appealing.

The Canon HF G10 first got my attention back when it was announced. I liked it for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it has a sensor specially designed for HD video, so in theory it should produce an improved image. Also, it has manual controls; even if you have to access them through a touch-screen interface.

After several weeks of back-and-forth on the pros and cons, I finally broke down and bought one this weekend, partly because it's the Massachusetts tax free weekend and partly because Best Buy had them in stock and I had a 12% off coupon, as well as $105 in gift certificates. It just seemed like an excellent time to buy one!

First Impressions
I'd played with the camera briefly at a show a few months ago, but it was a bit of a surprise to rediscover a) how plasticky it seems and b) how physically wide it seems. The later is really an illusion; compared to the Sony HDR-XR500 the HG F10 is only fractionally wider, but for some reason it just seems very fat!

HDR-XR500 (left), HG F10 (right) Without the lens hood, they are of similar size

It's not so obvious in the picture above, but the build quality does seem to be a little below par. The matte black plastic seems cheap and light, and the HDR-XR500 just seems more solid - particularly the LCD swivel - though that might be because it's stiffer.

The focus ring on the front of the HF G10 is very nice, and while playing with it I once again wished that it could be used to adjust the zoom range, as well as for focusing.

The camera comes with an AC adapter (you have to charge the battery in the camera) AV cables, and even an HDMI cable. I particularly like that it includes a lens hood, though you'll want to be careful you don't break it accidentally; it's thin plastic.

I was a little surprised that no shoulder strap was included; is this a recent item that manufacturers have stopped including, or have I only just noticed? I must admit that I hardly ever attach them to camcorders, but that's beside the point!

I'm still figuring out the menus; you have to drag on the touch screen to scroll some of the menus and I've found this a bit of a hit-and-miss affair so far. Half the time I accidentally select something instead of getting the thing to scroll. They do include a mini-stylis which I might try, though I'm sure I will lose it within a couple of days.

As with nearly every new camera I pick up, some things just don't seem to be in obvious places in the menus. It took me much longer than it should have to find where to change the recording compression and frame rate settings. And I only found the waveform monitor by accident; what? I'm supposed to read the manual?!

I was happy to discover that the battery from the Canon HF100 fits the HF G10, but not so happy to discover that because the lens on the front is so big, none of the wide-angle lens adapters I have will fit it, and the one that Canon sells specifically for the camera costs $400.

I'm still learning how to use this camera, and will post more in a few days.

Amazon: Canon VIXIA HF G10 Full HD Camcorder with HD CMOS Pro and 32GB Internal Flash Memory[Note: price varies between $1,448 and $1,499]
Amazon: Canon WD-H58W 0.8x Wide Converter Lens[$399]

Quick Links

Available Light Comparison Tests Shed Light on Formats | David Heuring | Kodak
A film and digital camera low-light comparison was performed by director Kate Dennis and cinematographer John Brawley, and the results then shown to different audiences. They shot on 35 mm and Super 16 using KODAK VISION3 500T Color Negative Film 5219 (7219 in the case of the smaller gauge). They also used the Arri Alexa, RED MX, Canon EOS 1DMK4 and a prototype of the not-yet-released Sony PMW F3.
While you can't see the tests, you can read about what they did and their impressions of the results:
“I still adore film – but you need to calculate your audience response,” [Dennis] says. “The digital formats are so clean – the resolution so astounding – that the qualities film brings (that humanising softness and luminosity) can't help but accrue meaning. The choice to use film is becoming a very deliberate one. Whether, in the end, we associate it with nostalgia, or something more compelling like truth – only time will tell.”

3 Ways to Raise Your Rates and Crush Your Freelancing Fears | James Clear | Freelance Switch
Setting rates, and knowing when/whether to raise them is always difficult for the freelancer. This article offers some tips:
A classic freelance mistake is to wait until the right time or the right client to raise your rates. The problem, of course, is that it’s never the right time. If you’re looking for excuses, then you’ll always find them. And if you continue to wait, then you’re leaving money on the table. It takes guts, but one day you’re going to need to make the jump. The sooner that day comes the better off you will be.

Adobe Story Lets Screenwriters Review Script Notes On IPhone | Taz Goldstein | HandHeldHollywood
Adobe Story, Adobe's online screenwriting tool is currently free, and they have now released an iPhone app that lets you review (but not edit) scripts as well.

Sony Alpha NEX-C3 | Jim Fisher | PC Mag
A review of the little Sony NEX-C3 [$599 with 16mm Lens @ Amazon]giving it 4 and a half stars out of 5. If you're intrigued by this camera you might want to wait a bit as the NEX-5N will be announced in ten days, and may be everything the NEX-C3 is, plus 1080 video!

Raise $10,000 in 48 hours for your film | Malaika Mose | MastringFilm
An interview with Zak Forsman about the success of his crowdfunding campaign on KickStarter.
ZF: Since the day we launched I have spent nearly every waking hour in front of the computer, either thanking each donator personally, writing to people asking them to spread the word, cutting update videos, sending out updates and of course, fostering the conversation on facebook, twitter and google plus. It is truly a full time gig.

The Kickstarting Never Stops: Three Sundance Films Are Looking for Distribution Dough | Bryc Renninger | IndieWire
You make the movie, and that's only part of the work! A look at three movies that are trying to raise money for distribution.

Spoiler alert: We like spoilers! | Mary Elizabeth Williams | Salon
Shock! Who knew? A study seems to reveal that we actually like to know spoilers (which explains why we often read the end of a book before we start!)