Saturday, September 03, 2011

Quick Links

Philosophy change... | Jim Jannard | REDUser
RED has changed their policy about pre-announcing things [Didn't they already change their policy about a year ago?]
We will only announce new things when they are done and ready to ship. That includes Scarlet and all other new products and accessories.

We used to go by "always late but worth the wait". That will no longer be the case because we won't telegraph what we are planning anymore. There will be no possibility of us being late. No more "we expect this to be done by..."

From now on it will only be "Here is is and we are ready to ship".
Meanwhile, the first Epic-X was picked up yesterday: 1st X......

The RED Revolution | Matthew Fleischer | LA Times Magazine
An interesting look at RED, it's history, and current place in the market:
The Epic will make its feature debut in the latest Spider-Man reboot—a Sony film. Sony, if you haven’t heard, happens to make a camera or two itself. Amazing Spider-Man director of photography John Schwartzman, ASC, says using a non-Sony camera for a Sony franchise blockbuster was virtually unheard of—but necessity dictated the use of the Epic. “I love film,” he says. “But if you’re shooting 3-D, you have to shoot digital.”

Media Management 101: Basics of Data Wrangling | Evan Luzi | The Black and Blue
Evan outlines how he manages data:
But I thought it would be useful for you to know sort of the basic data wrangling kit that I have as opposed to somebody who might build a cart worth thousands of dollars. This is sort of the bare bones thing and it’s not the fastest kit in the world, but you might be able to build it by spending a couple hundred extra dollars and it could give you a few jobs every now and then.

Video Review: JAG35 electronic FF Рimpressive with trade-offs | Sebastian Wöber | Cinema 5D
A video review of this budget electronic follow-focus. He shows how to set it up and operate it.
The biggest problem of the JAG35 Follow Focus is that it's noisy. This is very unfortunate, because in many situations you won't be able to use it. When you focus slower, obviously the motor is more quiet, but unfortunately, there is this second noise that is audible most of the time, this is the motor working against the force that it is dealing with.

Jonathan Taylor on using Canon EOS 5D Mark IIs for action in Captain America | Planet 5D
Taylor explains why he likes using the Canon 5D:
“The challenge with a lot of action photography is getting the camera in the right position,” noted second unit director of photography Jonathan Taylor. “I’m always looking to get the camera in impossible places because these kinds of shots make action sequences much more exciting. Most 35mm motion-picture cameras and even the leading digital cinematography cameras are just too big to get into interesting positions."

The Times In Which We Live | Steve Hulett | TAG Blog
A VFX worker tells his story of stress, no health care and too many BMWs:
I lost like 40 lbs and went back to work. On the next summer blockbuster I had my second heart attack......and I was back at work 5 days later. Out of the hospital on friday back at work on monday. I could tell NO ONE about my condition with out the fear of being fired.

Make it bounce in After Effects – Boing! | Chadwick Paul
An After Effects expression (script) that creates a rubbery aesthetic to your animation. To apply the expression copy the expression below, option + click the stopwatch on the parameter you want to affect, and paste. A video example appears on the page.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Quick Links

New EF Mount Video Camera in October? [CR1] | CanonRumors
CanonRumors has a couple of very sketchy reports on an EF mount, APS-C sensor video camera that might be coming from Canon in October. I've also heard a couple of similar rumors in the last few weeks, so maybe it's true?

It seems plausible too, given that:
  1. Canon's been expected to come out with a large sensor camera since before the XF300 series (and the XF100 after it) were announced. Surely they'll eventually get around to it?
  2. Canon has a habit of releasing new video camera technologies a year or so after Sony and others release theirs.
  3. They really need to do something about all those EF mount lens owners switching to Sony and Panasonic.
  4. It solves the 5D Mark III problem; all those video shooters expecting the Mark III to be a killer video machine must be giving the stills division fits trying to figure out how to package HD-SDI and other features into a stills camera, and keep the price and size reasonable.
Canon's video division has a habit of producing really great video cameras a little late, that often make Sony look like a budget product. But they don't tend to be revolutionary either. Don't expect this camera to be the size of the NEX-FS100, capture at 5K and sell for less than $5K. Now if they did that, the industry would be shaken up by Canon for a second time.

Apple Puts Legacy Final Cut Studio Back on Sale | MacRumors
In another sign of the impending apocalypse, Apple has put Final Cut Studio 3 back on sale; though it's available through their 800 number only, there doesn't seem to be an upgrade pricing option, and it's still being sold at full price (i.e. $999). It's also suggested that sales will only continue while they have stock...
Will the complaining about Final Cut Pro X stop now?

The same day edit (sde) tutorial | Canon Digital Learning Center | Vimeo
A really good tutorial for the beginning editor / producer about how to edit a video quickly. The idea of approaching the task as a collection of mini-stories is a good one...

Moire and Aliasing no more?! A solution for the 5DmkII | Philip Bloom
Philip has updated his blog post about the anti-aliasing/ moire filter designed and made by Dave Cubanski of Mosaic Engineering with a couple of color and resolution charts shot with and without the filter. Looks pretty impressive.

First Look: Panasonic AG-3DP1 | Barry Braverman | Studio Daily
A look at Panasonic's newest high-end 3D video camera, which was just announced:
Compared to its more modest AG-3DA1 predecessor the new AG-3DP1 will be considerably more rugged. The front nose retaining cap is now easily removable for adding supplemental Proxar lenses or screw-in type filters; the magnesium chassis of the camera extending forward to provide substantial support (possibly) for a lightweight clip-on matte box.
Don't confuse this with the HDC-Z10000 camera: Panasonic HDC-Z10000 3D camcorder announced

Panasonic Touts 3D Olympics Film Deal and HD 3D Camcorder | Peter Sayer
| PCWorld
A report on Panasonic's 3D cameras and the Olympics:
[The HDC-Z10000] not the camera the company will use for the 2012 Olympics, though: That honor will go to Panasonic's AG-3DP1. The company has agreed to supply Olympic Broadcast Services with cameras, screens and production teams to help a pool of TV companies broadcast the 2012 games live. OBS is building up a pool of broadcasters -- 14 have signed up so far -- who will share images of a dozen or more sports captured at 14 different Olympic venues. "We plan to broadcast over 10 hours a day of 3D product worldwide," said Manolo Romero, managing director of OBS.

RED Releases New (But Still Free) REDCINE-X PRO Software and Ships EPIC-X Cameras | NoFilmSchool
The first cameras are reportedly shipping today.

Litepanels is trying to block the import and sale of LED photo and video lighting in the US [UPDATE 5] | Tony Reale | Free Film School
Litepanels says they have a patent on LED lighting for film, video and photo. Now if they said they have one for LED lights - period - that would be one thing, but for a specific application?

Tony is leading the fight against it, and has added a video about this issue to his blog post:
Litepanels has filed a 337 complaint to block the import of LED lights in the United States used for film, video or photo. This would give them a monopoly and eliminate all other affordable options for filmmakers.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Adobe Press eBook's

Each week Adobe Press offers a $9.99 eBook deal of the week. This week it's Adobe After Effects CS5 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques by Mark Christiansen, which currently sells for $37.79 on Amazon, or $26.39 as a Kindle book: Adobe After Effects CS5 Visual Effects and Compositing Studio Techniques.

I've been curious about buying and using a text book electronically. I've bought fiction and read it on my iPad, but I haven't bought and used a book like this. And since I've been wanting to get a little more acquainted with After Effects, and the price was right, I decided to jump in and try it...

To get the deal, you go to the deal page and the click on the buy link: eBook Deal of the Week. You then have to create an account and enter payment information.

The deal of the day page

Once you create an account, you get sent a link to the book that appears on your Adobe Press account page. Clicking the link downloads the PDF that has been customized for you (it has your name on every page.) The book will be available in 5 to 10 minutes according to the FAQ page, though I found mine was available in about two minutes (your name appears on every page.)

The link for downloading the book is active for 7 days, but they will regenerate it for you at a later date, provided the book is still in print.(your name appears on every page.) Did I mention that your name appears on every page?! Well it does!

That the book is "regenerated" if you try and download it at a later date is an important detail because their FAQ says that if a product ever goes out of print, we are obligated (by contract) to stop vending it. So in those cases you will not be able to refresh your file. But since the PDF file has no DRM, and the terms allow you to keep six copies of the file, this is not so much a problem as a minor annoyance.

Book download page

Apart from the watermark - your name on each page - the downloaded file is a regular PDF. I was able to view it in Preview on my Mac just fine.

The PDF in the Macintosh Preview app

I also moved it over to my iPad (using the GoodReader PDF app to view it.) I didn't try it on the iPhone, though I'm sure it would work. I just suspect it would be a lot of effort to read through the book on my iPhone's screen, though it might be useful for a quick review of something.

Using iTunes to make the PDF available to GoodReader

It's interesting to read a book like this on the iPad and in the Preview app on my MacBook. It's mildly curious to watch the pages go from left orientation to right orientation as you scroll through the pages. It's apparent that traditional books really should be reformatted for electronic distribution. Electronic books have been available for how long now - and no one has solved this problem? I guess it's useful if you decide to print your book from the PDF file - an option that is available - though it seems to defeat the point a bit.

On my MacBook, the 100% view doesn't show the whole page, but the text is easy to read, and I'd probably leave it at about that size. On the iPad in vertical orientation (when you can see the whole page) I find the text too small to comfortably read. I either have to zoom in, or turn the iPad to horizontal orientation. Ideally, I'd like it formatted to fit the iPad's screen, but then that probably wouldn't be ideal for the MacBook.

What About The DVD?
One obvious thing missing from this digital edition is the contents of the DVD that comes with the book. The demo software isn't so vital, but it would be nice to have the sample files used in the text. Fortunately, you should be able to work through the examples using your own art quite comfortably. More troubling is that there's no details provided about this absence, either before you buy, after you buy, or in the electronic book itself.

The book on the iPad
I'm not reviewing the book here, just the experience of buying one of these electronic books. Maybe in a few weeks I'll have a better feeling for how this medium "works" for me.

The purchase experience is relatively hassle free, it's easy to download the content, and the fact that it's not DRM'd in any way makes it easy to use on any device. The lack of the digital content is an annoyance, though for this book I don't think it will cause me too many difficulties. A programming book, which usually includes completed projects, may be more problematic.

At $9.99, I think it's a pretty good deal. I'm not sure I'd feel the same way about paying $26 for it! eBook Deal of the Week

NOTE: Make sure you get the iPad version of GoodReader if you have an iPad!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Panasonic HDC-Z10000 3D camcorder announced

Following on from the over $20,000 AG-3DA1 Integrated Twin-Lens 3D Camcorder [wow, now $15,999.95!] Panasonic has now announced the HDC-Z10000 which, if nothing else, looks a little more "professional" than the AG-3DA1, which had a very plastic-toy like appearance. No price for the HDC-Z10000 has been announced, but PCWorld's suggestion that it will be a higher-end rival to the Sony HDR-TD10 is a safe one. I suspect it will be closer to $10,000 than $1,500.

Notable features:
  • Fully compatible with the AVCHD 3D/Progressive standard. AVCHD 3D, which uses MVC (Multiview Video Coding) to record and playback 3D images via the Frame Sequential Method, and AVCHD Progressive for progressive formats.
  • Recording modes from AVCHD 3D (1080/60i, 1080/24p, and 1080/30p*2), AVCHD Progressive (1080/60p), and AVCHD (1080/24p, 1080/30p*2 and 1080/60i PH/HA/HE mode).
  • The closest 3D video macro setting for a twin-lens 3D camcorder at approximately 17.8 inches.
  • A 1,152,000-dot, 3.5-inch LCD that appears 3D to the naked eye – no 3D eyewear needed.
  • A Double 3MOS System featuring two high-sensitivity 3MOS sensors (with an effective pixel count of 6.57 megapixels each).
  • New F1.5 lenses with Nano Surface Coating, greatly reducing the light reflection and thus reducing ghosting in order to produce crisp, clear image rendering.
  • A 32mm wide-angle lens with a 10x optical zoom while shooting in 3D or 12x optical zoom while shooting in 2D.
  • Three independent rings for adjusting the zoom, focus, and iris control.
  • Built-in microphones for recording Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround sound/2-channel stereo.
  • Two XLR audio inputs with a 48-V phantom power supply for external microphone use.
A dedicated dial lets the user finely adjust 3D convergence (parallax). Frequently-needed features, such as O.I.S. ON/OFF, Color Bar ON/OFF, Zebra Pattern Display, 3D Guide Display, Auto/Manual Iris, Auto/Manual Auto Focus, and Auto/Manual White Balance are available on the side of the body as separate buttons for quick, intuitive access.

The Panasonic HDC-Z10000 will be available in black and the pricing and availability will be announced approximately 30 days prior to shipping.

DPReview: Panasonic creates HDC-Z10000 AVCHD 2.0 compatible 3D HD camcorder
PCWorld: Panasonic Makes Big 3D Push With High-End Z10000 Camcorder

Objectified: The Movie

Last night I saw the documentary Objectified, the latest movie from the maker of the film Helvetica:’s about the manufactured objects we surround ourselves with, and the people who make them. On an average day, each of us uses hundreds of objects. (Don’t believe it? Start counting: alarm clock, light switch, faucet, shampoo bottle, toothbrush, razor…) Who makes all these things, and why do they look and feel the way they do? All of these objects are “designed,” but how can good design make them, and our lives, better?
Years ago I read the book The Psychology Of Everyday Things and it really was an eye opener for me. The message of "The Psychology Of Everyday Things" was that if the user has a problem using something, then it's the fault of the design, not the user.

Objectified covers some of the same ground, starting with the idea that we don't even consider that common everyday things are designed. It then moves on to theories of design, before ending with a look at issues of reusability, recyclability and our consumption culture. It's perhaps in these later elements that the movie makes it's strongest points. Along the way, a number of designers pop-up to talk about how they approach design, including Apple's own Jonathan Ive.

Having just seen the movie, a couple of blog posts I saw this morning really resonated:

Movie Site: Objectified

A peek at the upcoming design documentary "Objectified", by Gary Hustwit, the director of "Helvetica". The trailer features the voices of Jonathan Ive, Andrew Blauvelt, Marc Newson, and Karim Rashid. The song is "I Like Van Halen Because My Sister Says They Are Cool" by El Ten Eleven.

Quick Links

First Amendment Rights: New Ruling on Recording Police | Jennifer O'Rourke
| Videomaker
Police in several states have been actively trying to prevent the public from recording them. In Massachusetts they have sometimes used a law against wire tapping to prevent this recording. Now the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts has ruled in favor of a man that was arrested while shooting an arrest:
“In this interlocutory appeal, the defendant police officers challenge an order of the district court denying them qualified immunity on Glik’s constitutional claims. We conclude, based on the facts alleged, that Glik was exercising clearly established First Amendment rights in filming the officers in a public space, and that his clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights were violated by his arrest without probable cause. We therefore affirm.”

DaVinci Resolve On The Mac For Video Editors | Filmmaking Webinars
September 8, 2011 @ 10:00 AM PDT to 11:30 AM PDT
This is a free webinar as long as you watch it live on the day it's broadcast.
Using a project based approach, Barry Goch will walk through a Resolve project from start to finish. We'll take a TV Spot that was cut in Final Cut Pro 7, grade it in Resolve, then return to Final Cut Pro for titling and final delivery. We will also discuss working with Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro as well as using the built-in scene detection for projects without the sequence metadata.

Where applicable, we'll tell you the differences between the paid version and free version of DaVinci Resolve.

Should I buy the 5D Mark II or wait for the Mark III? | Kai | DigitalRev
Rather than speculating about the actual features a Mark III might have, this is really an article about want and need. "We want a 5D Mark III and we need Canon to release it now!"

Review of the creative SLR Magic NEX 28mm F2.8 | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
If you're thinking of getting an NEX-5N or NEX-VG20, or maybe even if you have an NEX-FS100, this lens might be interesting. Andrew certainly likes it:
Some people don’t buy into the low-fi philosophy of these lenses and believe them to be overpriced but I don’t subscribe to that view. The NEX 28mm F2.8 is a sharp lens even wide open, and sure it lacks the sophisticated coating and inky black contrast of a Zeiss but that is the whole point! Those that are used to Lomo and Holga photography will like this lens and unlike on a Lomo retro hipster film camera, be able to shoot low-fi video as well.
It's selling for $160 on eBay.

How Much Does An American Indie Producer Get Paid? | Ted Hope | IndieWire
What does an indie producer get paid on a film? - "2-5% of “budget”—depending on experience." Sounds pretty good, until the following caveat is added: How long does it take to get a project made? 5.5 years (generally speaking). With a 3m feature, that could mean only $10,000 a year.

Why Writers Should Learn About Production | Alan Denman | Raindance
Some interesting ideas on improving your script writing by better understanding production:
Do you want to write endless scripts that will never be produced? Of course not. So what would be very useful is to learn is the bigger picture. There are two main aspects to this: one, the physical aspect of actual film production, and two, the business end of finance, markets, audiences and distribution. In this article I’m only going to talk about what you can learn from understanding how films are produced.

RED Finally Begins EPIC-X Production; Cameras to Start Shipping as Early as This Week | NoFilmSchool
If you have $28,000, you might want to think about getting one...

How to Make Breakaway Glass | FilmmakerIQ
A video showing how to make breakaway glass, along with a recipe!

13 Examples of Why DVD Bootleggers are More Honest than Hollywood Studios | FilmmakerIQ
An amusing collection of bootleg DVD covers with some very bad pull quotes:
"you feel yourself trying too hard to make the film work."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Quick Links

The SLT Mirror: Effects on Image Quality | Ray Lemieux | TheSyberSite
Sony's new A77 features a translucent mirror, which splits some of the light to the viewfinder, while letting the rest travel through to the sensor. Which raises the question; can you get something for nothing?
Ray did a test with his A55 (which also has a translucent mirror) by shooting with and without the mirror, and discovers that:
1. The mirror reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by about 1/2 stop.
2. The mirror reduces image detail.

Small but important Sony A77 Europe/US difference in video recording? | SonyAlphaRumors
It was noted before the announcement, but it's now confirmed, that the European version of the A77 won't shoot in 24p, and the US version won't shoot in 25p.

Known Issues | Adobe products on Mac OS 10.7 Lion | Adobe
Issues for all products are listed, including Premiere Pro:
In Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, the eyedropper tool (e.g., for the Ultra Key effect) does not behave correctly. This problem does not exist for Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5, though a separate issue does cause incorrect behavior when using the eyedropper tool on a system with multiple monitors with different vertical resolutions.
See also: Adobe Premiere Pro, Nvidia CUDA drivers, and Mac OSX v10.7 (Lion)
If you are using the version 4.0.31 CUDA driver from Nvidia on Mac OSX v10.7, you may notice that the Mercury Playback Engine GPU Acceleration setting is unavailable.

Chasing the Ninja: Atomos ProRes recorder | Rick Young | MacWideo
Rick gives a video tour of affordable 10-bit, ProRes recorder, the Atomos Ninja.

Great Sony NEX-FS100 Footage
| Paul Antico | Need Creative
Paul has collected together some of the best video's on the web shot with the Sony NEX-FS100
I have seen a lot of lousy footage online from the Sony NEX-FS100 Super 35mm "baby of F3" camcorder so far, many people "testing" who don't have a clue how to compose a shot, or a lot of tests where the operator didn't know how to tame the camera's settings.

Kickstarter Responds. It Begins. The Board Of Education Doc | Jared Abrams | WideOpenCamera
Jared is starting his own KickStarter campaign, and notes his first interaction with the site, which has asked for more information...

14 Blog Posts That Helped Us Launch Our Kickstarter Campaign | Biagio | joke and biagio
A list of resources that helped husband-and-wife production team Joke and Biagio run their KickStarter campaign.

Pincher #Z-PNCH | Zacuto
Now available from Zacuto for $130, the Pincher is a universal HDMI cable restraint for DSLR's. It is the perfect solution for keeping your HDMI cable in place. It includes the pincher device and a mounting bar that will allow you to use it out of the box on the Zacuto Gorilla Plate or DSLR Baseplate.

Top 10 Lies Editors Hear | Chadwick Paul | Chadwick
The 10 lies Creative Directors and Producers tell Editors:
3 - "I've never had this problem anywhere else I have edited"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Rule Boston Camera's September LearningLabs

Rule Boston Camera's ongoing educational programs:

Wednesday SEP 14 | 10am - 12 noon
Ross Video reviews the CrossOver Studio - a portable and affordable multi-definition production solution with 12 HD/SD inputs, internal multi-viewer, 4 channels of media store with 4 GB of RAM cache and more.

Wednesday SEP 21 | 10am - 12 noon
Cinedeck CEO Alan Hoff brings breaking news from IBC along with an overview on how best to utilize Cinedeck Extreme with Sony F3 S-Log capture and uncompressed 4:4:4, Arri Alexa and RED Epic plus more

Double Header:
Thursday SEP 29 | 10am - 12noon LearningLab OR
Thursday SEP 29 | 6pm - 8pm PUB NIGHT
ARRI's Guenter Noesner provides the scoop from IBC along with updates on the ARRI ALEXA featuring the CODEX ARRIRAW recorder and an overview of the ARRI Look Creator.

Rule Boston Camera
395 Western Avenue, Boston MA 02135


What Next For Lightworks?

EditShare, the developers of Lightworks, the Open Source Video Editing Project, are promising a big announcement on September 8th at IBC in Amsterdam.
We have a very big announcement to make, and we're going to do it at the IBC show in Amsderdam on September 8th. All registered users will be informed at the same time.

We're sorry that you're going to have to wait just a bit longer, but please take it from us: it's worth waiting for. Put September 8th in your diary for some extremely exciting news.
Hmmm....what could the big announcement be? Could they be announcing an iMovie-like Pro version? A free cross-grade for existing owners of Avid and Adobe Premiere? 3D video editing support? Or maybe it's a Mac version?

We shall have to wait and see...

Lightworks video editor

EditShare: Will you be at IBC in Amsterdam on September 8th? We'll be there, and with big news about Lightworks!

UltraStudio 3D With Thunderbolt Technology Is Now Shipping

Blackmagic sent out a press release announcing that it's UltraStudio 3D is the "world’s first video product with Thunderbolt technology," and that it is now shipping.

UltraStudio 3D allows portable capture and playback with full resolution dual stream 3D support, 10 bit hardware architecture, dual link 3 Gb/s SDI, support for up to 1080p60 in SDI and component analog and HDMI 1.4a connections, as well as full SD, HD and 2K support, is now shipping for only US$995. [B & H still lists it as available for pre-order, at $945.25.]

Dual stream 3D allows customers to use the UltraStudio 3D dual link SDI connections to capture and play back two streams, one for the left eye and one for the right eye. The two streams are recorded into two separate media files.

UltraStudio 3D is also based on a new internal hardware design with support for 10 bit SDI video and full support for video rates up to 1080p60 via SDI, HDMI and analog component. Thunderbolt technology easily handles this quality, and allows high end post production quality and features in a portable design.

“We are so excited to release the world's first feature film quality Thunderbolt technology based capture and playback device. Working closely with Intel and Apple on this project, I cannot believe how many advanced industry leading features are packed into this single product,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. "UltraStudio 3D has finally provided a real, portable high quality solution at a price anyone can afford!"

UltraStudio 3D Key Features
  • Thunderbolt technology at 10 Gb/s data rate.
  • 3G SDI (3 Gb/s SDI) in and out, supports SD, HD up to 1080p60 and 2K.
  • RGB 4:4:4 Workflows Up to 2K Resolution.
  • SDI inputs include full SDI re-clocking for capture from poor quality SDI sources.
  • HDMI 1.4a in and out, supports SD and HD formats up to 1080p60 and frame packing 3D.
  • Hardware based 10 bit Up, Down and Cross-Conversion.
  • RS-422 Deck Control.

Blackmagic: Blackmagic Design Announces UltraStudio 3D With Thunderbolt Technology™ Is Now Shipping

Thoughts on the Sony NEX-VG20

I have to admit that I'm more than a bit curious about the NEX-VG20, mainly because I don't like shooting video with DSLRs (I don't like the form factor, and the need to add on a bunch of gadgets to make them useable) but also because it's half the price of the other alternatives; the Sony NEX-FS100 and the Panasonic AG-AF100, so it's a big sensor video camera that's within my budget.

When the NEX-VG10 appeared a year ago, there was a lot of interest in it because it almost seemed like Sony's answer to the DSLR video resolution. But it had a lot of limitations; 30p video (stored as a 60i file), no ND filters, limited controls, a slow, awkward lens, no manual audio controls...

When I managed to spend a few minutes playing with one, I really didn't like the lens; it wasn't a zoom lens by any means, but a variable focal length lens that was rather sticky.

And then a few months later, Sony started to roll out their professional grade cameras; the PMW-F3, followed by the NEX-FS100.

An important note; the PMW-F3 and NEX-FS100 share the same "Super 35mm" sensor (though not the same image processor) while the NEX-VG10 and VG20 use sensors that come from the DSLR/photography division. The NEX-VG20 sensor is an APS-C sized chip (23.4 X 15.6mm), while the Super35mm sensor is 23.6mm x 13.8mm. This may result in a slightly different apparent focal length, but all four cameras should have very similar depth-of-field and field of view.

Oddly, one year on and with a few improvements, the VG20 looks more attractive to me now than the VG10 did. Partly it's because of the support for 24p, the manual audio control, and the improved manual controls. You can even buy it without the kit lens if you don't want that.

But it may also be that the lack of ND filters, and the questionable lens choices, seem less of a problem given that the exact same problem exits for the twice as expensive NEX-FS100! I'm not sure what that says about either camera, or how my impressions can be manipulated!

And while I realize that the VG-20 may not rival the NEX-FS100 for image quality, options, controls and XLR inputs, when you're on a DSLR budget, the price difference becomes a huge decision driver.
B&H: Sony NEX-VG20 Interchangeable Lens HD Handycam Camcorder (Body Only)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Quick News - Hurricane Irene Edition

This'll be quick, incase I lose power, though it seems that at least here in Eastern Massachusetts, the storm has not been nearly as bad as it could have been.
I hope everyone has made it through the storm okay.

Sony NEX-5n to be in Stock tomorrow(!) in Canada (one week later in US)
| SonyAlhpaRumors
Looks like the Canadians get the NEX-5N first, and it will start shipping - at least from Sony - in the US next week.
The NEX-5N looks like a great camera, and I'm hoping to get my hands on a review unit shortly.
Amazon: Sony NEX-5N 16.1 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera with Touchscreen - Body Only (Black)
Amazon: Sony NEX-5N 16.1 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Touchscreen Camera With 18-55mm Lens (Black)
B&H: Alpha NEX-5N Digital Camera (Body Only) [$599.99]
B & H: Alpha NEX-5N Digital Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black) [$699.99]

Sony FS100 Picture Profile & thoughts | James Miller | mmfilm
James explains the picture profile he now uses with the FS100. He also talks about the performance of the AVCHD codec:
With the Canon I’m used to finding what I observe though the camera LCD was pretty much what I would capture. With the Sony, some scenes look beautiful through the camera LCD but do not record in that way. And this is mostly due to the in camera AVCHD codec. Replicating those scenes with an external recorder eliminates most of these problems.

BIRTV 2011 – China's Answer to RED? The KINEFINITY KINERAW S35 Digital Cinema Camera for US$8000 | Dan Chung and Sarah Li | DSLR News Shooter
Wow, a 2K digital movie camera from China for $8,000. That could be interesting (though out of my price range):
...featuring a Super35 CMOS sensor, which the manufacturer hopes to bring to market for around US$8000. It offers what the manufacturer calls Dual RAW as it can record in 12 bit to either DNG, for CinemaDNG based workflows, or GoPro-Cineform RAW on removable SSD drives.
One of the interesting questions will be; who is making the sensor?

Apple kills TV rentals, subscription offer not coming | Greg Sandova | CNET
Not because Apple doesn't want it, it's the studios that are against it:
The Hollywood studios and TV networks don't want another Netflix. Look around. They're trying to stuff that genie back into the bottle. The talk coming out of Hollywood is about raising prices for content and offering Netflix less, not more. They don't want to discount content just because it's on the Web.

Mind The Gap – How digital technology is polarising filmmaking | Mike Gubbins
| movieScope
An interesting article about the - apparently - increasing chasm between the small indie movies and the big budget movies, and how difficult it is to go from one to the other. But I'm not sure I buy the thesis; I'm not sure it was ever easy to go from zero to big budget movies, and now there is a lot more competition at the low end, but the number of big budget movies (and jobs in that part of the industry) remains about the same.
The future for the lower-budget sector aiming for quality may lie in greater collaboration between filmmakers, and more public support for training. But it is difficult to see the gap between the great and the small becoming more of a gulf.

Lens News

Bore yourself senseless with this Lens Blog | Sam Morgan Moore | Dslr 4 Real
Prompted by discussions about lenses between other DPs, Sam weighs in with his lens preferences in a stream-of-consiousness form.

Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 OSS Lens Sample Photos | ePHOTOzine
Some sample pictures from the upcoming Sony NEX 50mm f/1.8 lens. This lens will sell for $299.99, but since it's not expected until around November, neither Amazon or B & H are taking pre-orders.

Sony also offers a f1.8 Alpha lens, and there's a review of that at photozone using it with the LA-EA1 adapter and the NEX-5 (not the 5N.) They weren't that impressed with the build quality of that lens, or it's autofocus capabilities (though that lens sells for only $149.99). Hopefully this NEX lens will be a bit better.
Photozone: Sony 50mm f/1.8 DT ( SAL-50F18 ) on Sony NEX - Lab Test / Review
B & H: Sony 50mm F1.8mm E-MOUNT LENS [Notification only]
B & H: SAL-50F18 50mm f/1.8 DT AF Lens for Alpha & Minolta Digital SLRs

Everything you wanted to know about the EPIC Canon Mount | Jarred Land
| REDUser
A lot of information has been posted about the upcoming EPIC Canon mount:
  • These will start to ship to customers on September 9th.
  • Deposits will open on RED.COM in the store in the next couple days. Price for the smart Titanium Canon mount is $2000.
  • The Titanium mounts are all machined out of solid Titanium.
  • The Canon lens mount is "SMART" which means it controls camera Iris, Image Stabilization, and Autofocus electronically, via the various control options with EPIC (touch screen, side handle, REDMOTE)
  • All lens data available from the lens will be stored in the R3D metadata. There is on screen displays for iris stop, focal length ( including zooms ) and the current focus distance in inches or mm.
There's a list of lenses programmed into the mount too.

SONY F3 LENS OPTIONS | Matthew Duclos | Circle of Confusion
This post from January about lens options for the Sony PMW-F3 is almost as applicable to the NEX-FS100; if you add a PL adapter to the camera.

An Examination of Lenses Part III: Cooke 25-250 CineVarotal MkI T3.1 | Timur Civan | Timur Civan
A look at a vintage PL lens:
Being a product of the late 1970's this lens certainly has the character and look of that period. Zoom lenses from that era, the pre computer age, completely hand made, with all the flaws and perfection unique to a hand made product, have a distinct feeling to them. Somewhat soft, with a dreamy dramatic look. The Angeniuex's had it, the Cookes had it, and the Lomo's certainly had it.

D|Focus V3 Review | Ben Sengsouvanh | Ben Sengsouvanh
Ben actually won this follow-focus in a competition, but he says he was going to buy it anyway, and he is quite impressed by it:
The build quality of the follow focus is really solid, theres little to no play in the focus gear allowing for an accurate focus pull. Being able to reverse the gearbox on the D|Focus enables to use the follow focus on shorter lenses which is a great addition for me since I use old Nikon prime lenses which means that the focus ring is closer to the camera body.