Saturday, October 01, 2011

Very Quick Links

Friday, September 30, 2011

Nikon say's "it's all about the gear"....ah, never mind

You have to be careful with Social Media; it can turn around and bite you in the avatar. All it takes is one miss-step, as Nikon discovered this week when they posted the following comment on Facebook:
“A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses, and a good lens is essential to taking good pictures! Do any of our facebook fans use any of the NIKKOR lenses? Which is your favorite and what types of situations do you use it for?” | Oh no they didn't...
Now I think there are several ways to read that comment. One way is that if you want to do the best job, you want to use the best tool you can get. Another, similar, way to read it might be that if you don't have the best tool, it won't be as good as it could be. And I guess the third reading is that skill is unimportant, only the tool is important.

That seems a rather too literal reading of something that, admittedly, came from the PR department of a camera manufacturer. Still, we on the internet are a sensitive bunch, as a few thousand biting responses proved, and had Nikon quickly revising and extending their remarks:
“We know some of you took offense to the last post, and we apologize, as it was not our aim to insult any of our friends. Our statement was meant to be interpreted that the right equipment can help you capture amazing images. We appreciate the passion you have for photography and your gear, and know that a great picture is possible anytime and anywhere.” | Nikon’s Facebook response
And the whole thing has prompted a lot of additional blog posts too see: Nikon: "A photographer is only as good as the equipment he uses" | Pixiq, and, well, this one too.

Of course, as one commenter said:
Wait - a camera company tries to encourage people to buy their product? Using “weasel words" and "glittering generalities?" You mean they're more concerned with profit than Art? No, not Nikon! (Canon maybe...)

And seriously, is anyone suggesting that you can produce the same results with a Flip cam that you can get with a RED Epic? That there's no image or functional difference between a Canon 5D and an ARRI Alexa? Seriously?

Nikon's mistake was wading into the debate about skill and technique vs gear, which seems to rear it's head every few months. I think most people would agree that if you don't know how to use it, the latest RED Epic isn't going to turn you into the world's greatest cinematographer. On the other hand, why wouldn't you want to use the best camera you can get your hands on?

One person tweeted:
The Nikon PR guy is such an idiot: [Has] he watched @5tu @vincentlaforet or @PhilipBloom pics?
A good point. Philip Bloom produces better results with a Sony NEX-5N than many of us could produce with an ARRI Alexa. On the other hand, he bought a Sony PMW-F3 earlier this year, and just bought a RED Epic. Yes, it's all about the skill, but it appears that having a good camera is pretty important too!
In the end I was able to get a few nice pretties with [the Canon 5D] but I was disappointed. I missed some great moments and it was pretty embarrassing for me, to have to tell my client the [Red Epic] had died. But thankfully he was fantastically understanding and happy with what we had.
-Philip Bloom, Strongman: Shot on RED EPIC at 120 and 300 FPS

I see Phillip bought an Epic he had familiar Red Experience sadly I can relate, everyone so obsessed with 5K
- Rodney Charters

Quick Links

Sony FS100 Review | Jeremy | Tweak Digital
A positive review of the NEX-FS100, with a pros and cons list.
Sure, I have some strong opin­ions about this cam­era (and the dSLRs), but only because they are actu­ally so good (and could be even better). The Sony FS100 is, all-in-all, a huge win­ner that I can highly rec­om­mend. It isn’t a DSLR killer because of the cost fac­tor (pro stills shoot­ers will already have invest­ments in the bod­ies and lenses). It isn’t a mini-Alexa or mini-RED because it lacks ProRES and only goes to 60p. But, If you are tired of dual-system cap­ture or qual­ity issues with DSLR cam­eras, you’ll love the Sony FS100.

FS-100 PistolGrip Handle | Caleb Crosby | Vimeo
A video showing a custom top handle developed for the Sony NEX-FS100.

Zacuto EVF & SmallHD DP4-EVF Comparison: PART 1 | Nice Lady Productions | Vimeo
A video comparison of two EVF's, one from Zacuto, the other from SmallHD.

Strongman: Shot on RED EPIC at 120 and 300 FPS | Philip Bloom | Blog
Philip recently bought his own EPIC, and writes about using it on his first shoot:
The EPIC sensor is bigger than the RED ONE MX sensor, smaller than the 5DmkII of course but a nice size. The camera is a massive step up from the RED ONE, even the MX. Both in operation and size as well as the actual image. I never took to the RED One but one shoot with the Epic and I was sold.
The camera performed well - until it froze up due to a firmware bug, and he had to finish shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II!

The Dynamics of Dynamic Range: Understanding Your Camera's Color Reproduction Process | Bill Klages |
A technical look at how to expose the scene correctly:
The reality is that the brightness range of many subjects is greater than the camera or display system can actually accommodate. In fact, a major part of our job as lighting craftsmen seems to be a constant battle to fit a wide range of brightness into a camera's limited range. In many cases, the camera will exaggerate these differences in an unbecoming manner, and elements of our picture that we would prefer to play a more subordinate role become dominant. Our nation's flag, so prominent during this political season, is the perfect symbol of this dilemma.

Is Amazon's New KINDLE FIRE good for filmmakers? | Taz Goldstein | Hand Held Hollywood
Taz looks at the Fire, and whether it works as well for filmmakers as the iPad does:
Let me be clear, these apps are NOT as good as the ones iPad owners currently enjoy. So, for now, I'd say the Kindle Fire is of limited use for filmmakers... but let's keep an eye on it. You never know what developments (and new Android apps) are just around the corner.

How I Raised $125,000 on Kickstarter | Koo | No Film School
Others have written about the success of Koo's Kickstarter campaign, and now he's put together his own article. This one is interesting because it includes more of the "behind-the-scenes" stuff that others could only guess at.
...over the last six weeks I spent 345 hours running this campaign (five weeks of which was spent on the active campaign, plus a week of prep work). This averages out to 8 hours a day, which does not include time spent running this website, which I tracked separately (and is not included in the graph below). Suffice it to say, I had absolutely no life throughout the Man-child fundraiser. This was all I did. Here’s the complete chart of my hours every day for the Man-child campaign:

Hands-on with the Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1 Upgrade | Jan Ozer | OnlineVideo
A rather jaundiced view of the recent Final Cut Pro X update, that ends with a discussion of what to do if you are a Final Cut Pro 7 user, trying to decide what to do next:
For me, all the glorious new features seem like solutions to problems that I don’t have, added complexity with no payoff. With Final Cut Pro 7 or Premiere Pro, there are projects, clips, and a timeline. You import your clips, organize them into folders, and drag them down into the timeline. Then you trim a bit, add some effects, maybe a transition or two, export, and you’re done.

Choosing your next NLE | Luis Sierra | Chesapeake Solutions
A short rumination on the same issue; 'which NLE?' that concludes:
If you simply need to shoot a relatively short disposable video, to put something together in the simplest way with simple transitions and audio clean up, and you are primarily mobile, then Final Cut Pro X is your answer. Hands down, FCP X meets all basic needs. Most of the people that fall into this description are "preditors" (producer/editor in case you didn’t know).
...and concludes you need to look at Avid or Adobe otherwise.

How to Use Placeholder Footage in Final Cut Pro X | Ashley Kennedy
How to use Final Cut Pro X’s customizable Placeholder effect to save a spot for future footage.

Could Documentaries Form the Core of the Cross-Platform Story Revolution?
| Documentary Tech
Let's ignore that it's an article at a site with 'Documentary' in the title, this piece makes an argument that the documentary has a strong future in modern media compared to fiction because it will prompt responses from viewers, and it's all about the hits:
An audiovisual work that evolves as its topic evolves could be the future of the form. Part of the drive to work across platforms, into a digital environment, relates to something as simple as return visits to a site, which one might translate to mean “increased engagement” in a social issue, or “increased revenue.” The dirty secret of online journalism is that those comment sections below stories, those cesspools of discourse, create return visits and, by virtue of that, ad impressions. Gawker has built its empire not on the content but on the comments, an example of morphing media that extends a story’s life by days. A documentary that can be the foundation of an ongoing discussion gives it a life beyond a single view.

New, unofficial NYC Lightworks Users Meetup: 1st Thursday of every month, starting next week! | EditShare | Posterous
if you're interested in the Lightworks Open Source NLE, and in New York:
Thursday, October 6, 2011, 5:30 PM
OnlyOneTV Studios
290 Fifth Ave, 5th Floor, New York, NY (map)

Sony to stop paying for movie theater 3D glasses, theater owners fire back | Richard Lawler | Engadget
I didn't even know the studio's were paying for the glasses!

Shoot 'Em Up Bundle | FCPEffects
The Shoot 'Em Up Bundle of effects for Final Cut Pro X includes the Muzzle Flash Plugin & Gun Sound Effects Pack. You save 15% when you buy them in the bundle. $49

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quick Links

Tools of the Trade Part 1 | Clinton Harn | Zacuto
Zacuto posts the second article on sound by Clinton Harn. This is the first of what is promised to be two parts on tools:
I’ve devised a method utilizing acronyms that will help you better understand sound and make appropriate choices in equipment selection. I encourage the use of these words as a reference for ongoing technical and artistic sound making as well as purchasing decisions. The system is separated into 3 stages:

The Nature of Acoustics Stage 1:RAD: Reflection, Absorption & Diffusion
The Recording Stage 2 (Golden Rules):PICSS: Proximity, Isolation, Consistency, Sensitivity & Separation
Captured Sounds Stage 3:STAT: Sound Transparency & Audio Translation

One Day, 197 Set ups, 12 Shooters & 9 Navy SEALs to bring Jeep COD (Call of Duty) Ride Experience to Life | Shane Hurlbut | Hurlblog
Shane writes about a fairly complicated, and intense, shoot:
Operator Andrew LaBoy loaded 8 contour cams in the Jeeps to get the participants’ reactions to the experience. Cinematography interns Derek Johnson and Danny Garcia and Kevin Anderson were driver over 5D cams, OTS of bad guys & Rangers. Matt Short came in and got into the middle of the Warlord firefight. Nick Rios, one of our Twitter followers, came all the way from Houston to help us out. He slammed on long lenses and grabbed tight coverage of wheels, etc. Jalal Pashandi was inside the Jeep to capture the rider’s POV.

MacVideo Expo, London
If you're in London, the MacVideo Expo will be held on October 18, 2011

MacBreak Studio Live - September 22nd, 2011 | YouTube
Didn't get enough info on the Final Cut Pro X update? Here's an hour and a half video with Alex Lindsay, Mark Spencer, and Steve Martin discussing the new features in the update to Final Cut Pro X.

Plastic Bullet | Red Giant Software | iTunes
Okay, this isn't a video app; but it is fun. I have had Plastic Bullet on my iPhone for months, and for a while I was using it on practically every picture I took! And now it's available as a Mac app, and that's cool, because a couple of times I have actually emailed a photo taken with another camera to the iPhone just to run it through Plastic Bullet.
The real trick is not to over use it...

Cooke Panchros Price Increase | Jon Fauer | Film & Digital Times
Not that I could afford one, but the prices of Cooke Panchro lenses [i.e. 32mm Prime Lens $7,400] are evidenty going up at the end of the month.

D|Focus v3 Review | Remsy Atassi | Vimeo
A video review of the budget D|Focus follow-focus.
Pretty good construction, although it is definitely made of plastic so you better be careful. Very little play, and overall, there's a lot of control, very easy for getting in and out. You will need a rail mount system, or you can buy the D|Mount.

Sachtler Ace | B & H
You can now pre-order the Sachtler Ace tripod at B & H (delivery date unknown, probably a month or so - at the announcement the ship date in the US was quoted as November 14th?) It's available in two models; with a mid-level spreader or an on-ground spreader for $535.00

Philip Bloom got to play with one before it was released and posted this preview: IBC 2011: Review of the new Sachtler ACE tripod for DSLRs and Daniel Freytag also got to play with one, and has posted a short review: Sachtler Ace - The new tripod series for DSLR users.

Sachtler: Ace Produce Page
Sachtler: Ace Technical Specifications

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Amazon Kindle On Fire

I followed the Amazon announcement today, and I got quite excited; for a moment or two I was seriously thinking of ordering a Fire...except that I already have an iPad.

But if I didn't already have an iPad, I would think seriously about getting the Fire.

Except I don't really use the iPad to read books and watch movies, which seems to be how they are positioning it. That, and for web surfing, and I don't use the iPad a whole lot for that either! Clearly, I'm not the target user.

I do use the iPad for those things sometimes, and especially when traveling, but I don't travel that much.

For me, I've discovered that the tasks I use the iPad for the most, the reason I'd miss if it was taken away, is for note taking/ audio recording. And I'm not sure that the Fire can do that. Does it even have a microphone?

Okay, so I'm sure I'm not the typical buyer, let's see what the experts think. Darrell Etherington thinks that the Fire doesn't compete with the iPad at all:

Kindle Fire details reveal no iPad competitor | Darrell Etherington | Gogaom
The problem is that Amazon hasn’t really unveiled much with the Fire besides a fairly basic delivery method for sales of its digital offerings. Limited storage means Amazon’s cloud services are almost a necessity for buyers, and yet the lack of 3G means that accessing content when you’re away from home will be difficult. The lack of both camera and microphone also mean that people can’t easily use this for taking or sharing mobile photos, or as a phone replacement with VoIP apps.

The good thing about experts; if you don't agree with one, you can always find someone that agrees with you: Noting all the limitations, and even that the Fire may be a more closed environment than the iPad, Molly Wood thinks the Fire will still kill the iPad:

Kindle Fire an iPad killer? Yes. It's the price, stupid | Molly Wood | CNET
Again, all true facts about the Kindle Fire, none of which matter. In these troubled times, and possibly even before, you need look no further than the $99 TouchPad buying frenzy for the lesson of the tablet market (and maybe every other electronics market, ultimately): it's the price, stupid.

I honestly have no idea who's right, but I agree with Andrew Leonard's comments; either way, it's a great time for gadgets!:

Amazon's Kindle Fire and the golden age of gadgets | Andrew Leonard | Salon
Actually, I have no idea whether the Fire will be a hit or a dud, whether it will deal a death blow to a stumbling Netflix or have any impact at all on the amazing Apple. The only thing that is clear to me is that an astounding amount of innovation and rapid-fire product development is going on right now in the space where consumers intersect with digital entertainment. Music, movies, books -- when you want them, where you want them, at ever lower prices.

If you get one, let me know what you think of it!

Quick Links

What Adobe Should Do With IRIDAS SpeedGrade | Stu Maschwitz | prolost
Stu offers his thoughts on what he thinks Adobe should do with the new color software they bought. Noting that he's both a user, and a competitor (designer of Colorista) and noting that IRIDAS has a uniquely weird user interface, he also thinks that Apple sort of had it right when they integrated Color into FCPX, even if they did it the wrong way:
This is important, so I’ll say it another way: Apple screwed up by making the FCP X “Color Board” less industry-standard (I mean sure, dream up a better way—but it has to actually be better), but their decision to make color controls part of the settings inherent to any clip in the timeline is spot-on.

inqScribe - review | NotesOnVideo
Looking for a tool to help transcribe or caption video? InqScribe is pretty good and available for Mac and PC. I posted a review yesterday.

Kodak Vision 3 vs Canon 7D w/CineStyle ad hoc test | Alex Walker | Vimeo
"While prepping for a short film shoot with the cinematographer, Michael Street, I shot some comparisions with the 7D. This test was completely on the fly. No tripod for the 7D and the lenses don't match. Street over saw the telecine to ProRes 444 and I graded the 7D material to match."

Constructive Advice For Crowd Funding Your Next Movie | Stacey Parks
| Independent Film Blog
Five points of advice for anyone doing a Kickstarter or other crowd-funding campaign:
1. The money’s in the list – this is a big one and I tell my clients this all the time… do not attempt to do a crowd funding campaign without a ‘legal’ email list. What do I mean by legal? I mean when you do your crowd funding campaign you don’t want to spam everyone in your hotmail address book. Instead you should be emailing your fans and supporters via a 3rd party email database like Aweber, Constant Contact, or Mail Chimp (I personally use Aweber), where users have ‘opted in’ to receive messages from you and where they can safely unsubscribe at any time should they wish to stop receiving email messages from you.

7 Lessons Koo Taught Us for a Successful Kickstarter Campaign | Ron Dawson
| Dare Dreamer Mag
And here's another 7 tips based on Koo of NoFilmSchool's recent success in raising $125,000 vie Kickstarter:
Social Networks Work. Koo has spent the past 18+ months building a huge following on his blog. He reported that 50,000 people have downloaded his free ebook about DSLR filmmaking, which you get when you subscribe to his newsletter, so it’s safe to assume he sas about that many members on his email list. He used the power of that list, his Twitter following, and working the social networks to get the word out. I think it’s safe to say his hard work in building his social network following really paid off.

IBC 2011: IKONOSKOP – the 16mm digital cinema camera – 7700€ | Cinema 5D
Interview with Peter Gustafsson from ikonoskop, about the Ikonoskop DII which records uncompressed RAW 12bit at up to 30fps and has numerous lens mounting options including Canon EF, FD, C-mount, PL mount, Leica, f-mount, and 16mm film lenses.

October 26 Event? | CanonRumors
Canon is holding a video camera related event - everyone is assuming that's what it is - on November 5th, but now comes an announcement about an event on October 26th, and it has the PIXMA and EOS logos at the bottom. Could it be DSLR related, or is it just a printer announcement?

‘Toy Story 3’ Director Lee Unkrich Starts Work On New Pixar Movie & Will Blog About It | The Playlist
Each day, director Lee Unkrich says he will be documenting his progress on his Tumblr page, though yesterday it looks like all he accomplished was lunch...

Tales from the 3D Road: The Naadam Festival of Mongolia | Al Caudullo | 3D Roundabout
A diary of shooting in 3D in Mongolia, primarily using the Panasonic AG-3DA1 3D camera. There's an interesting side-note about shooting with the GoPro camera:
The GoPro provided the only challenge. While the ‘cool’ factor was good, the quality of the camera is not really what is advertised or what I have seen in the test footage. Of course, shooting a ten-year-old riding bareback on a horse at full run is a lot to ask of the camera. While the format says .mp4, it is really .mov in an .mp4 wrapper which did not make for the smoothest playback, even though it was set for 720/60p. Ultimately, I had to transcode to real .mp4 and slow it down drastically in order to use it.

Non-video News

Engadget live at Amazon's tablet event in NYC! 10am EDT | Engadget
Amazon is expected to announce an Android based tablet of some kind today.

An interesting iPad/iPhone dock: JVC UXVJ38[Amazon] | JVC
Not exactly video related, but this iPad/iPod dock from JVC looks interesting. It lets you attach both devices at the same time and looks rather nice (guess I'll have to see it in person though!) List price is $199.99, and Amazon has it for ~$168.
Of course, it you want to type - not just play music - you could get the iLuv Workstation: iLuv unveils WorkStation docks, turns your iPad 2 / Galaxy Tab into a PC, sort of | Engadget

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adobe Takes A Leaf Out of Apple's Book

Adobe seems to have taken a leaf out of Apple's playbook. Last week they bought color correction developer IRIDAS, and this week they entered into some kind of arrangement with the developers of Automatic Duck.

Tom Dagion at Adobe says it's a partnership:
So I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to say that Adobe and Automatic Duck are now partnering with the aim of bringing absolute best-of-breed workflow integration into Premiere Pro. This means that, as we work together, Premiere Pro’s ability to integrate with the industry’s other leading tools using technologies like AAF, XML and OMF will get stronger and stronger. And so Premiere’s ability to be a good citizen in all kinds of broadcast and post-production workflows will get better and better.
-Al's Blog / Exciting News

While at Automatic Duck, it seems more like a purchase:
To that end I have joined the Adobe Product Marketing team and am really excited about their products both today and new things yet to be released. Harry Plate (my Dad and the co-Founder of Automatic Duck) will be assisting with the technology integration while continuing to focus on supporting other Automatic Duck partners.

We view our partnership with an Adobe as a great opportunity for our customers, as we will finally be able to offer the same best-in-class quality translation interface for Premiere Pro as we have offered in the past for other video editing products, enabling customers to seamlessly move in and out of Premiere Pro in their editing/processing workflows.
- Wes Plate, co-founder of Automatic Duck
Automatic Duck | News:
Does anyone else find it ironic that Automatic Duck was one of the solutions being pushed for Final Cut Pro X users to solve their XML export issues? Apple might want to rethink that whole third-party developer support idea.

It certainly looks like Adobe is seriously committed to building out their existing technology base. Apple has done that in the past too; though they have had a habit of killing off many of the standalone technologies (Shake, now Color) once they were absorbed. But surely Adobe won't do that (quiet, all you PageMaker, Authorware, FreeHand, PageMill and GoLive users, and we won't mention the first time Adobe abandoned the Macintosh platform.)

InqScribe - review

Last week I wrote about adding transcriptions and captions to YouTube videos, and I wished that YouTube would add a captioning tool. Well, so far, there's no sign of that happening, but a reader pointed out an interesting transcription application, InqScribe, that supports the captioning format that YouTube imports. And it looks like a pretty useful tool for both captioning and transcribing audio. Even better, you can download a 30 day demo for either Mac or Windows.

The InqScribe interface is straightforward; drag either a video or audio file to the top left media panel. There's controls for starting and stopping playback below this panel, and a text panel to type in on the right.

To use the program, you really only need to know three things:
  • The Tab key stops and starts playback
  • Control-tab jumps back 8 seconds.
  • Command-; inserts the current time code.
And away you go.

There are a few other major features in InqScribe; support for a foot-switch control, customized keys and adjustable playback speed, but I didn't really need those to be productive.

Generally, I found the application easy to use, and really useful. But I still found a few things that I'd like to see changed:

I wish you could set the length of the jump back; 8 seconds was a fraction longer than I'd like. [See the comments section for instructions from the developer on how to change this! - Ed]

The Play Rate slider is a little awkward to use. I was always slowing the playback down - so I could keep up! - but there's only a very small range of the slider for adjusting the speed less than 1.0x. It wasn't that I couldn't slow it down enough, I just found it hard to position the slider at a speed I wanted. And if I tried adjusting it, the speed would jump more than I wanted. Either they should make the slider still longer to provide finer control, or allow you to enter a numeric speed.

While I don't want - or need - to type captions onto the video, I wish it had an option to display the captions in playback (if you're creating captions.) It would be useful to provide a clear idea of how the captions appear without having to upload them to YouTube.

Captioned file attached to video on YouTube

Transcribing with InqSribe was definitely faster and more efficient than the way I normally do it. Being able to start and stop the audio with a key-stroke in the same application you're typing in, and being able to jump back a few seconds without starting and stopping really makes my efforts much more efficient (Yes, I'm not a very fast typist!)

You can also use this with a USB foot-switch to start and stop playback, and I'm sorely tempted to get one!

Creating Captions for YouTube
Obviously, creating a transcription is slightly different to creating captions. With captions, you have to add time code points throughout the transcription. If you have long pieces of speech, you also have to decide how to break it up into segments. Doing a good job vs. a great job is probably a skill that takes a while to develop, but even so, I was happy with the results I got on my first attempt.

One trick with captions; if you want a caption to cease displaying before the next caption line is displayed, add a time code with a blank line.

Once the captioning was complete, importing the captions into YouTube went without a hitch. Export the caption file from InqSribe to a Subrip (.srt) file, then follow the regular YouTube import caption file process to add the captions to the video..

You may wonder why you might need something like this when you already have lots of devices and applications that play media and let you type? Maybe you don't, but I've done a lot of transcribing and captions over the last few months using multiple applications, and even two devices, and this is the first time it really felt like something improved the process for me.

I think this is a worthwhile tool if you're regularly transcribing media.

NotesOnVideo: Adding a Transciption in YouTube
NotesOnVideo: Adding Captions in YouTube

Amazon Deal of the Day: AmazonBasics 16 GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card

AmazonBasics 16 GB Class 10 SDHC Flash Memory Card: $18.99 ($4.50 down from $23.49)

Quick Links

Finally! The looming EF Mount Adapter Wars – Birger, MTF, Redrock | Nino Leitner | Nino Film
A look at the current - actually, the near future, as most of these are still not shipping - options for using Canon EF mount lenses on non-EF mount cameras like the Sony NEX-FS100 and Panasonic AG-AF100.

Unfortunately, much of this is speculation until the Birger and MTF products ship! Birger Engineering yesterday tweeted:
Birger adapter EF lenses on Sony PMW-F3 ships next week. More details in dealer package out late this week. No cables!
Birger Engineering mount for PMW-F3

Sony PMW-F3 Firmware | Peter Crithary | Twitter
Peter Crithary , Marketing Manager for Super 35mm acquisition at Sony US has tweeted:
NEW firmware #PMWF3 coming soon, FREE update v1.20 enables #CINE S-Log-EI mode, easy stepping through assigned EI values & more

EI is Exposure Index values, new v1.20 free firmware updates requires #SLOG optional purchase to work for this specific feature

Get Media Composer for Just $995 | Avid
Don't forget that Avid's discount cross-grade offer for Final Cut Pro users to switch to Media Composer ends September 30th (after which there will be an on-going cross-grade offer of $1499.)

Plexus | AEScripts
Version 1.4 of this 3D Particle System Plugin for Adobe After Effects renders faster, has a streamlined UI and includes multiple bug fixes.

Zacuto EVF Firmware Update | Zacuto
It's not available yet, and they aren't saying what changes are coming, but Zacuto has been tweeting today that another firmware update for the Zactuo EVF is coming soon.

US Consumers Prefer 3D TV over 2D, HD TV Reveals Panasonic Study | Ravi Mandalia | ITProPortal
Startling results from a study conducted for Panasonic:
The study claims that an overwhelming majority of the participants believed that 3DTVs were capable of enhancing their TV viewing experience significantly.

It further stated that 99 percent of the participant in the survey acknowledged that 3DTVs were “somehow better” than standard 2D and High Definition TVs.
Except over at ubergizmo, more details reveal that:
The survey was done face-to-face with over 500 attendees at Disney’s D23 Expo that was held in Anaheim in August this year.
It sounds like the survey sample may suffer from self-selection bias.
ubergizmo: Majority of consumers say 3D TV is better than regular TV

Biz crosses blurry line on 'true 3D' | David S. Cohen | Variety
I keep reading things about how the "after-the-fact" 3D isn't as good as stuff shot in 3D, but this article seems to be a defense of fixing things in post:
Bay encountered troublesome technical issues with 3D capture on "Dark of the Moon": misalignment, reflections on the lenses, cameras getting out of sync.

"Sometimes the image is broken and you've got to fix it -- and sometimes it's not fixable, so you have to have conversion companies," said Bay. "It's a must. You can't keep it all native."

Buckle up: Traditional TV is in for a heck of a ride | Habib Kairouz | Gigaom
Seems that traditional TV is facing problems too; will they suffer like the print industry has?:
A 2010 Forrester study showed that for the first time, Americans now spend as much time on the Internet as they do in front of the TV. Is it inevitable that like print media, consumers will turn to the Internet for their TV and video content and eventually drain the profits from TV’s ad-driven business model?

How to Archive Projects in Final Cut Pro X | Danny Greer |
"So, you’ve completed a project in Final Cut Pro X and need to manage it for archiving? In this post, we’ll take a look at one way to consolidate your FCPX projects so you can archive them and quickly restore them at a later time."

Sony A55 and NEX VG10 | Samy's Camera | YouTube
Short video from an event held by Samy's Camera that focused on video-capable Sony Alpha DLSRs, the large chip Sony NEX-VG10 video camera, and the NEX line of cameras.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Quick Links

$100 Canon 5D Mark II Rebate | B & H
Last week CanonRumors reported that the price of the Canon 5D Mark II in Canada dropped to $1,999, so I was thinking there might be more than a $100 instant rebate announced by Canon, but that's all we got! The rebate is in effect until Oct 29, 2011. (And note, CanonRumors thinks this is just a regular end-of-year sale, and doesn't expect a 5D Mark III this year.)

Editing Sony NEX-5n 60p Footage in Final Cut Pro X | Eric Reagan | Photography Bay
Final Cut Pro X doesn't support the Sony NEX-5N 60p files, but Eric documents some workarounds:
I’ve already covered how to import AVCHD files into Final Cut Pro X; however, working with AVCHD 2.0 files at 60p requires another step to get the footage into FCP X. Still yet, it’s no so bad.

New GlenColor Picture Profiles for the Sony FS100 | Frank Glancairn | Blog
Originally posted last month, Frank has updated the picture profiles he's using with the NEX-FS100:
After more testing I removed the highlight protection, since it often produces ugly results, when you don´t have controlled light.
I also provide basic black levels now, if you have time to set your variable black level per scene, I recommend to do so.

Pitching a Screenplay | Frank G. Caruso | Sony
An interview with director Frank Caruso about script pitching:
I believe we live within each other's dreams and, as an independent filmmaker, you rely heavily on people loving your dream enough to say let me help. I went and talked with each person about the screenplay and the trailer I wanted to create. From Butch's Tree Service, that had us up to 90 feet in the air, to the fire department who wet the pavement, to the Olson brothers who lent me the car, and the Historical Society that provided wardrobe, and the list goes on. Without their help, there would be no trailer.

Final Cut Pro X Bug: Application Crashes on Export | Danny Greer |
A possible fix for one problem:
Many FCPX users have reported the application crashing when attempting to export a video. The problem seems to stem from Quicktime components you may have on your system.

Why is it so hard to convert FCP 7 XML to FCP X XML? | Philip Hodgetts
I missed posting this earlier, an explanation of the differences in the flavors of XML that different apps use:
In the case of XML for editing applications, the XML represents the underlying data structures from the application. So, we have:
  • Final Cut Pro 7 XML known as xmeml
  • Final Cut Pro X XML known as fcpxml
  • Motion Project XML files are ozxmlscene
  • Premiere Pro file is XML in the PremiereData format.

Hollywood downloads a post-DVD future | Ben Fritz | Los Angeles Times
With the decline in DVD sales, Hollywood is moving to change things up in the online world, accelerating offerings, and making other changes:
One thing is certain: People who like inexpensive movie rentals are going to have to get used to waiting longer than they do now. Studios are beginning to use the Internet to slice up the market so that people who are willing to buy a movie or pay more to rent it can get it sooner.

Video Editing News

Final Cut Pro

A quick note on the Final Cut Pro X XML | Digital Rebellion
An explanation of why you can't take Final Cut Studio XML into Final Cut Pro X, and vice versa:
So the two formats are completely different and there is no way to directly import FCP 7 XMEML into Final Cut Pro X or vice versa. Apple seems to be leaving this up to third-parties. DaVinci Resolve supports FCPXML and XMEML so it may be possible to convert one to the other (I haven't tested this). Some features will not translate back and forth because they don't exist in the other application.

Announcing Project X₂7 | Philip Hodgetts | Blog
Philip gives the details on a new app for processing XML from Final Cut Pro X and passing it to Final Cut Pro 7. The app was previewed at LAFCPUG's DV Expo meeting.
We still have a little work to do, but right now we support most features: connected clips, primary storyline, transitions (currently all are replaced by a cross dissolve but we’ll do better than that before release) but any time we can’t accurately reproduce something we’ll tell you in a report.

Apple's Richard Townhill discusses the latest FCP X release | Randi Altman | Post Magazine
An extensive look at the new features in the latest release, as well as some general comments about Apple's intentions:
Apple, for its part, wants it known that they are interested in providing a tool for the pro community and feel this 10.1 release starts to do just that. “We are excited to be able to prove to the professionals that we are listening to them and they are important to us,” says Richard Townhill. “We really are committed to this marketplace, and we really want the professional customer to continue to use Final Cut Pro as they’ve always done.”

FCPX Audio Roles...a Media Stems Export test | michaschmidt | Vimeo
Sets out to answer the question: "is "Media Stems Export" a OMF replacement" and in a fairly long experiment, decides that it isn't:
In conclusion, nice way to tack your footage, your media, to solids, but no way this replaces an actual OMF export.

The post FCP world | Oliver Peters | digitalfilms
Oliver isn't really appeased by the latest update from Apple:
I do think Apple is listening to its pro customers and values them. I just don’t believe they are willing to make many (if any) concessions to users who disagree with the design direction Apple has taken.
He goes on to say - probably rightly - that the features Apple just rolled out were probably planned and even in development prior to the release of FCPX, and weren't really as a result of the complaints from Apple users. He ultimately believes that the future for power users lies not with Apple, but with Adobe or Avid.

Pro Maintenance Tools | Digital Rebellion
A series of tools for keeping Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro X, Avid Media Composer or Adobe Premiere Pro Mac running at optimal performance and help resolve problems when they arise:
The suite contains tools to repair corrupt QuickTime movies, locate corrupt clips within a timeline, diagnose crash logs, manage plugins, repair Final Cut Pro projects, manage autosaves, salvage movie data from corrupt files, and much more.

Final Cut Pro X Effects has been releasing a number of plug-in effects for Final Cut Pro X, including: Shaky Cam [$29], Miniaturize [$19] (a tilt-shift effect) and Poor Man's Light Effect Plugin [$19]. They are offering a $9 discount on the purchase of two effects.

Poor Man’s Light Effects Review | Connor Crosby | Final Cut Whiz
Connor reviews the Poor Man's Light Effect: did a great job with this package. There is so much in terms of customization. I’m given the tools I need to get the job done. Plus, it’s very affordable! Only $19 USD! And you can get $5 off this plugin using the code “FCW432″! Now that’s dirt-cheap!

Adobe Premiere Pro

Ask a CS Pro: Mastering the Adobe Premiere Pro Timeline Panel | Facebook
A free webinar on Friday with Richard Harrington on the Premiere Pro timeline, September 30 · 12:00pm - 1:00pm at:
The timeline panel in Adobe Premiere Pro is where the story comes together. Sure there's standard operations like Insert and Overwrite as well as the ability to Ripple and Roll. But once you dig in, you'll find much more. In this session you'll learn essential operations and advanced features like replace edit, creating custom transitions, and using Adobe Dynamic Link to exchange files with Adobe After Effects and Audition.


Adobe's 50% off Adobe Creative Suite CS5.5 Production Premium [$849.50 instead of $1,699] or Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 [$399.50 instead of $799] for Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer Users ends October 31st [originally September 30th!]. Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium - License

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quick Links

Sony offers 'adjustment' for NEX-5N camera to reduce clicking sound while recording video | Engadget
Sony is offering a fix for the NEX-5N clicking noise, though it's unclear what that fix is; it appears to involve sending the camera to Sony for repair.

November 3rd…are the planets converging?! Canon S35 camcorders! Red Scarlet goes on sale! Also Nikon bring out mirror-less cameras! | Philip Bloom
Philip adds his own details and speculations about the forthcoming Canon announcement.

New NEX system chart (in japanese) | SonyAlphaRumors
A chart that graphically shows the NEX still cameras and there accessories.

An interesting comment about chip resolution and processing | EOSHD
4K and 5K video has become the next big thing; there's some speculation that Canon's new video camera might even support 4K. Yet it's easy to forget that digital cameras have been routinely including sensors with much higher resolution for some time now. It's the processing out of the sensor that needs to be upgraded to support that resolution, as a commenter in a post at EOSHD about the new Nikon camera's notes.

Robert Rodriguez on SPY KIDS 4 | ARRI
On the ARRI website, a very short interview with director Robert Rodriguez on why he's shooting with the ARRI ALEXA:
We gave all the other cameras their day in court at Troublemaker Studios. ARRI was the clear winner in image quality, detail and dynamic range. And its images just looked better.

Adobe eBook Deal of the Week

This week's Adobe eBook Deal of the Week is:

Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques
By Richard Harrington, Ian Robinson
To get the deal, you go to the deal page and the click on the buy link: eBook Deal of the Week. (You'll have to create an account to download it.) The eBook is provided in non-protected PDF, though your name is stamped on each page.

ARRI Alexa latest news @ Rule Boston Camera, Sep 29th

Rule Boston Camera will be holding two ARRI Alexa related events on Thursday, Sep 29th:
Join ARRI's Guenter Noesner for the latest news of the ALEXA 35mm film-style digital camera including an overview of the new CODEX ARRIRAW onboard recorder and workflow and ARRI Look Creator, a creative in-camera tool enabling DPs to view the final look for each scene while on set.
You can attend either the morning Learning Lab, or the evening Pub Night:
Learning Lab 10am - 12 noon
Pub Night 6- 8pm

Rule is located at: 395 Western Ave, Brighton, MA 02135