Saturday, December 31, 2011

Quick Links

C300 | Rodney Charters | Vimeo
Rodney Charters shot this video of Drew Gardner and Lan Bui talking about the Canon C300 while shooting at the Billingsgate Fish Market. The BTS video was shot on the iPhone 4S.

How To Make Money From Moving Image: Producing & Others | El Skid | Wide Open Camera
Another article from El Skid about making it in the movie business, this time about being a Producer:
Producing is a skill all of its own and should not be considered the default fall-back for those who weren’t really good enough to direct. I’m really not very good at it, I’m way too nice to people and don’t negotiate prices properly. In fact I suck at producing. Which is bad really since about 90% of the work I do carries a producer/director credit. What I like is putting projects together, pulling all the elements into place so that it can happen. The budget and the operational side I’m just not interested in, which is why I prefer to hire a production manager to take care of all of that.

Sneak Peek Cinema Skater DSLR Dolly | Cheesycam
Neat little skater that will hold heavier cameras. I'd like to see the video shot by that camera in the demo...
A quick look at the new Cinema Skater Video dolly that can support larger size cameras. On the dolly you’ll see the huge Manfrotto 501HDV fluid head. There is no possible way this head would mount up on the smaller Pico Flex Dolly, so if you’re looking for a dolly to support something like a Sony FS100, Panasonic AF100, or even a RED Scarlet here’s an option.

Shooting Video? Better Under than Overexposed | Richard Harrington | Blog
A tip on exposure:
The key is to always protect your highlights. Do not let the bright areas of your image (like skies or faces) get clipped. One view you likely have on your camera is a histogram. You typically can see this after taking a photo or cycling through your view options (in most cameras you can push the Info button or press your navigation dial from side to side to cycle views). If the histogram is pushed against the right edge, it means you have no information to work with. Blown out highlights go pure white and there is just no way to recover the details.

FS 100 G-LOG (Type A) S&Q | ADW | Vimeo
Demo video shot using the Sony NEX-FS100 G-LOG recipe A from Frank Glencairn:
In each case you see the raw G-LOG clip and a corrected version.
Warning: This clip includes Raccoon-based colour correction. I also upped the saturation. Sorry, there's no sound.

Part 1 now live!! The Christmas mini shootout with the C300 (pre-production), F3, FS100, hacked GH2 and more!! | Philip Bloom | Blog
Posted a link to this post before, but Philip has updated the video because of problems with the Sony NEX-5n video.

Slo-Mo with the GoPro HD Hero2 | Jeff Foster | ProVideoCoalition
Using the GoPro Camera HD HERO2 under water:
I set up the camera attached to a light stand and rigged a short brace to help control the swaying in the water when the GoPro got splashed. Here you’ll see the mount and the GoPro’s lens just below the water line. The LCD BacPac helped me line up the shots a bit easier than just “guessing”. It’s a real time saver, but does add to the overall weight of the camera/housing.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Links

Case Study: Rampart | HD Magazine
A look at the workflow for the Arri Alexa used on the movie Rampart:
“This was one of the first; if not the first; feature films to use the SxS module to shoot directly to ProRes 4:4:4:4 files,” notes FotoKem Vice President Mike Brodersen. “We did quality tests that showed the format holds up beautifully with no obvious compression issues. The images are recorded in Log C, which allows the full dynamic range of the Alexa to be captured even on relatively ‘lightweight’ media. The ease of media management and the lighter files, without the need for a big recorder or tethering, was important to Bobby in this case.”

The Importance of Sound and Where You Get it From | Mario Feil | Zacuto
Zacuto has been posting articles on audio lately, the latest on using music in your videos:
1-Man-Composer: I work with friends who design music by themselves with Logic or Cubase. Stock instruments and sounds are already included with these programs. They have everything from simple mood sounds to orchestral music but it’s a lot of work (which means a lot of money) and of course it’s not a real band or orchestra.

How To Make Money From Moving Image: Directing | El Skid | Wide Open Camera
Tips on how to become a director:
If you want to attract an agent, or get representation with a production company, then you have to put the work on the table, stand and be judged. Building a reel is a long and tortuous process. Reels age fast and go rotten easily. I made some great stuff on DV and digibeta but in today’s glorious DSLR, HD world it just looks crappy and faded. You have to have to have to put your reel before anything else if you want to actually earn money from directing.

Should Art Be Free? | Ron Dawson | Dare Dreamer
Ruminations on whether working for money is a good idea, including these comments from Francis Ford Coppola
You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.
-Francis Ford Coppola

FS100 G-LOG color correction of Philip Blooms x-mas shootout | Frank Glencairn | Blog
Manipulating video shot by Philip Bloom:
As you all know, the G-LOG profiles are made for grading, instead to use them out of the box. I´m working on a workflow in the moment, that includes a G-LTU, to get the bet out of the profiles.
I wanted to know, how close I can match the C300 LOG-C material and FS100 G-LOG material. So I tried my prototype workflow on the material that Philip shot.

Canon C300 test video – Michaelmas Goose Dinner | Lan Bui | The Bui Brothers
Another test video shot with the Canon C300:
Here we go!!! Another test video shot on the Canon C300… remember the dinner Drew was cooking the other day? You know when Drew and I were talking about the benefits of the C300 over DSLRs… Well after a few drinks and trying to stay out of Drew’s way that was what I shot.

So now I feel very comfortable shooting with the Canon C300. That is a very good thing because there are mo more test shoots with the C300 left… tomorrow morning we are off to shoot… we even have permits!!! YAY!

New Cameras in 2012 | Paul D | Blog
A look at new cameras that will be arriving this coming year, both announced and unannounced:
Now that Canon’s EOS 1D x has revealed a whole new generation of processor, a brand new sensor and autofocus system, it seems that all the pieces are in place for the release of what surely must be the world’s most eagerly anticipated camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Precisely when in 2012 this will happen is unclear, but it is impossible not to notice that over the last couple of weeks, the price of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II has been in free fall on both sides of the Atlantic.

Box-Office Bust: Movie Attendance Hits 16-Year Low | Matthew Rosenbaum | ABC News
Another article on the problems at the movies:
Despite some big-name sequels, superstar lineups and multibillion-dollar investments from movie studios, 2011 was a tough year for Hollywood. Ticket sales are on pace to be a half a billion dollars behind last year. Attendance figures haven’t been this low since 1995.

2011: The Year In 3D | Jessica Kiang | IndieWire
How'd the year stack up for 3D?:
...considering 2011 had the lowest cinema attendance overall since 1995, how much of this slowdown in 3D is merely reflective of a wider trend, and how much due to the 3D itself? Well, if we confine our analysis to the top ten 3D movies of all time (via Box Office Mojo): it features just 3 from 2011 (despite a record 40+ films being released in the format this year) as opposed to 5 from 2010, so it does seem like the initial excitement over the format is passing.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

$400 off Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II

B & H is offering the Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II at $1,974, that's $400 off. The offer appears to run through Jan 7th. It's a really nice - if rather large and expensive - lens.
 - Ahh, if I only had the money....

Happy Holidays from Redrock Micro

Redrock sent out an amusing little card this year. I particularly like the microTape spelling out the greeting...

Canon C300 at Rule Boston Camera Event with Larry Thorpe

Senior Director of Professional Engineering and Solutions at Canon, Larry Thorpe presents this powerful new camera tool offering quality and innovation at an affordable price. Join us for an overview of the C300 followed by Q&A.

Boston Rule Camera
395 Western Avenue
Boston, MA 02135
Thursday, January 5. 6:00 to 8:00pm • Pizza and Beer
Space is limited. RSVP

Quick Links

Part 1 now live!! The Christmas mini shootout with the C300 (pre-production), F3, FS100, hacked GH2 and more!! | Philip Bloom | Blog
Philip has posted the first part of his Canon C300 comparison, with some interesting conclusions:
Bang for buck the clear winner was the GH2 with the Driftwood hack but this is purely on resolution. The F3/ C300 are damn close to each other and the FS100 not far behind. Part 2 moves onto skin tones and low light where the camcorders come into their own. I also take a look at how well each of the internal codecs hold up to colour correction and grading.

Shootout reveals Panasonic GH2 resolution at Canon C300 level | Andrew Reid
Andrew Reid at EOSHD looks at Philip's results and rates the cameras from best (C300 and GH2) to worst (AF100 and Canon 7D):
Although that is not the full story. For example I prefer gradation, tonality, colour and shadow areas in my 5D Mark II footage to the GH2. Stuff shot on the 5D looks great on a plasma TV. As anyone who has plugged in both the 5D and GH1 into a plasma will remember, the GH2 can still look a bit grey and digital in comparison sometimes like its older sister. The 5D has a very organic look. The 7D is better for certain shots than the AF100 as well. They’re nice cameras, but not for wide establishing shots of finely detailed landscape and architecture like above.

Canon C300 video – Grand Union Canal, Hertfordshire, UK | The Bui Brothers | Blog
Meanwhile, the Bui brothers also got to spend time with a C300 and have posted a few blog posts about it. The latest one has footage from the first shoot with the camera:
I shot for one hour during sunset… well during sunset time… it was massively overcast as you can see so it kept getting darker and darker. The last shot of the video might look a bit odd because it is so much brighter than the rest, that is because I opened up the 85mm lens to 1.2 and bumped up the ISO a bit. This camera really can perform in low light.

Video is half the battle - Audio is the Rest | Quick guide into audio recording
| Daniel Freytag | Blog
A introductory tutorial to getting better sound, along with a warning:
The fourth step, which ruined my shot a few weeks ago, is to check the battery level. The H4n won't warn you. There is no alert that the batteries are low and the device might run out of power. While I did an interview with a race organizer my batteries (which seemed pretty O.K. before) died. The H4n did not stopped the recording and saved my file, but it turned off and gave me a corrrupted and unusable file. I had to redo this interview. :(

Cameramaker Red claims espionage | Karen Idelson | Variety
Did Arri get some information that helped them in the development of the Alexa?:
In its complaint, Red asserts that during the time Bravin was hacking Band's email account, Band Pro and Red were discussing a possible joint venture. Red says Band's emails contained detailed descriptions of the technology used in Red's cameras and Red's plans for introducing new models and features.

Red alleges that Bravin passed that information to Arri, giving Arri an unfair competitive advantage, especially with respect to the launch and marketing of the Arri Alexa camera.

What’s Cool – The Ikan iLED-One Light | Rob Ruscher | Blog
Short video review of a useful portable light:
The Ikan iLED-One did an amazing job of getting extra light into the tools, machines, and hands of the worker. I was a little worried that the tungsten bulb wouldn’t play nice with the daylight balanced ID 500, but I was wrong. It added a nice golden punch and looked great. Having the set up that Ikan put together made for some pretty awesome options. I connected the light to my tripod, light stands, cables, tools, benches and pipes. Pretty cool right?

How To Make Money In Production: The Answers | El Skid | Wide Open Camera
In his own inimitable style, El Skid offers tips on how to break into the business:
If you have no ambitions towards DoP’ing big feature films or commercials then there are plenty of opportunities around to sling a camera for smaller productions. Sports and music productions in particular tend to need multiple camera units and they tend to have less money so you can often pick up work in those areas. What you won’t do is earn much money. As always, the more kit you own the more attractive you’ll be.

5 Reasons You Must Pursue Whatever Scares You | Tasra Mar | Blog
More advice on how to get ahead in the business:
Fear is not always helpful. Most people have fears of loss: home, people, possessions, memories. Those fears can paralyze and limit healthy decision making. Think about your most frequent or biggest fear and take it to the extreme… what’s the worst that could happen?

From 'Drive' To 'Melancholia,' Here's Why 2011 Marked a Shift In the History of Cinematography | Jamie Stuart | Indiewire
Another article about the death of film:
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" proved that David Fincher understands digital cinematography better than any other working filmmaker. He has made four digital features and five on film. As a result, he understands that digital works best when the lighting is built primarily around practical sources and the aperture is wide open. His approach on both "The Social Network" and his latest work, both shot by Jeff Cronenweth on the RED, is basically an extremely upscaled studio version of DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) filmmaking.

I'll tell you why movie revenue is dropping... | Roger Ebert | Sun Times
Roger offers a half-dozen reasons why movie revenue is dropping, from smart phones and streaming, to ticket prices and lack of choice:
6. Lack of choice. Box-office tracking shows that the bright spot in 2011 was the performance of indie, foreign or documentary films. On many weekends, one or more of those titles captures first-place in per-screen average receipts. Yet most moviegoers outside large urban centers can't find those titles in their local gigantiplex. Instead, all the shopping center compounds seem to be showing the same few overhyped disappointments. Those films open with big ad campaigns, play a couple of weeks, and disappear.

Edward Burns and the Socialization of Indie Cinema | Christina Warren | Mashable
Edward Burns has adopted social media in a big way:
Edward Burns credits Ted Hope for convincing him to join Twitter. Hope, a prominent independent film producer in New York City, explained to Burns it was crucial that he find 500 followers to share and promote his message. Hope’s thesis — which he has since revised to include 5,000 fans — is that connecting with the people that really care about your work is the most effective way of getting things seen.

Tintin is Soso

I saw the Tintin movie - in 2D - the other night. I went in optimistic that it would be a good evenings entertainment; unfortunately, that wasn't really the case. In the interests of full disclosure: I was never a reader of the Tintin books. Though I was aware of them - and had glanced at them once or twice years ago - they never grabbed my attention. So I really knew very little about Tintin at the beginning of the movie, and came out knowing very little more.

Tintin is also bring distributed in 3D (stereoscopy), but I won't be talking much about that as I only saw the movie in 2D. I will note that when watching the movie in 2D there was never a point where I felt "this is a stereoscopic set-piece" - a scene that was obviously composed to create the maximum stereoscopic effect. I've always found those scenes a little annoying in stereoscopic movies, and I even noticed it in the recent Hugo, so points to the producers for not doing that in Tintin.[1]

But Tintin is a step forward in 3D animation, with some very human-like character performances. I've read articles talk about the "uncanny valley"; how 3D animated characters can be disorienting when they are almost human-like, but not 100% natural. Watching older movies like Toy Story or Polar Express, that seemed a more than obvious concept, because the human characters never looked human. But Tintin, the lead character, makes that jump to near-humaness.

For the first fifteen minutes or so, I spent a lot of time marvelling at the Tintin character and how life-like he was. Certainly, there were many times where it was possible to say 'oh, that's an animated character,' but there were other times where it felt like he was 100% real. Even if they were only flickering moments. Interestingly, Tintin was the exception in the movie; most of the other characters seemed more cartoonish in execution. Only the evil opponent Ivan Sakharine came close to rivaling Tintin's humanity. I'm not sure if the caricature's supporting cast hurt or helped the main character's attempts at realism.

Tintin is almost human, his friends, not so much.

Moving on to the story - and character himself - most of the story is one long chase scene. Like the books, there's no explanation of who Tintin is; is he English? French? Belgium? Other questions also go unanswered: How old is he? How come he lives alone? How did he become a reporter? How did he become relentlessly enthusiastic? Maybe a movie about how Tintin became Tintin would have been more engrossing than the non-stop adventure of this movie. There's other problems too; the movie seems to be undated, though it is likely set sometime in the 30's. Yet Tintin refers to Interpol, which only went by that name from the mid 50s.

Tintin also has a terrible habit of explaining everything to his dog, which makes for rather one-sided monologing. Certain points were laboriously explained, while others were brushed over; on seeing a picture of a model ship they were attempting to recover, Tintin notes that the image is distorted and the glass must be bullet-proof. Later on, a close-up of the glass at the edge of the case reveals a "Bullet-Proof" logo.

While Tintin lacks a noticeable accent, most of the supporting cast have pronounced English accents, yet the street and automobile scenes at the beginning are European, not English. When they are saved by Legionnaires in the desert, their commanding officer speaks with an English accent. Can you only make fun of English nationals these days?

On the plus side, there were some very amusing slap-stick set-pieces, and some ingenious action sequences and the first half of the movie was promising. But at some point, the lack of anything but a chase made the movie boring, and for the last fifteen minutes I was wishing that it was over. It also started to feel a bit too much like the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, meets MacGyver, with a red head.

Things weren't helped towards the end when Tintin, who spent most of the movie a relentless, optimistic, advertisement for Ritalin, suddenly decided to pack it all in and give up, prompting his companion, Captain Haddock to deliver a speech about "never giving up." The fact that in the first three quarters of the movie it was Tintin who never gave up, and Captain Haddock who abdicated any responsibility, may suggest this was supposed to be an ironic comment on the character traits of the two, but it didn't play that way.

And then suddenly the bad guy is captured, some treasure is found in an unexpected place, and a map to more treasure is found, and...that's it! It's all wrapped up in five minutes, in a very unsatisfying way with a suggestion of a sequel. I don't think I want to see the second half of this movie.

In conclusion, they've almost got the 3D rendering of humans down pat, they just have to inject some humanity into the story.

[1]. I'm deliberately using stereoscopic rather than 3D when describing the projection of the movie because the movie itself is a 3D animated movie, and I'm mainly interested in that aspect of the movie.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Links

5D Mark III Sooner Than Later [CR2] | CanonRumors
Now the rumors say sooner rather than later on the 5D Mark III. But don't be surprised if it changes again!
Barring another manufacturing problem in Asia, count on the 5D Mark III being announced around the end of March or early April 2012.

Don’t Hold Back Your Art | Ron Dawson | Dare Dreamer
The next two posts are sort of similar. This one is an argument for putting yourself out there...
Do you know what’s so ironic about my initial feelings regarding this video? It has a sound bite by designer Rick Anwyl of (the presenter the day the video was shot) saying how each of us is unique and special, and that we each have something to give. He goes on to say “Find your voice. Be confident in who you are and what you do.” I guess I need to pay more attention to my own work.

Under The Circumstances: The Phrase That Means Nothing & Everything | El Skid
| Wide Open Camera
....and this post argues that you shouldn't apologize for your work:
On my recent WW1 short we got stuffed when our lead actor pulled out three days before the shoot. So what? I want people to judge the film for what it is. No more excuses. If it turns out the lead actor ruins the film, then we’ll take that on the chin. I will do better work from now on and stop making excuses for where it did or didn’t work. If it turns out that I’m not capable of the level I aspire to then I’ll have to take that on the chin too.

Tascam iM2 Microphone Quick Take Audio Test. Wide Open Camera | Jared Abrams
| YouTube
I also don't think this device is appropriate for most work, but here's an audio test:
Here is a quick test of the new Tascam iM2 stereo microphone and PCN Recorder App. The stereo mic feels pretty cheap and the App is fairly clunky. Files have to to be uploaded to soundcloud then downloaded to your editing suite. The audio is better than the on camera mics but I cannot recommend this for pro use. It might be a decent back up system.

Various Uses For Teleprompters Prompt Variations | Pat Nordell
| Government Video
An overview - not reviews - of several brands of teleprompter:
Tiffen of Hauppauge, N.Y. has introduced a four-inch prompter—the PW-04—that attaches to the lens of a small camera. “It comes with a case and remote control and software, so the user is ready to go,” says Ray Blumenthal, Tiffen’s vice president of broadcast systems. The PW-04 provides professional video prompting in the palm of the user’s hand, he said.

How could Amazon Studios change the way we make movies? | Roy Price, Director, Amazon Studios
Interesting defense of Amazon Studio's that somehow suggests having more people reading and adding their input in the process will improve the quality of movies being produced. I'm not convinced that's true:
This approach makes complete sense in a world where (a) it is hard to solicit people’s opinions on a large scale and (b) it is expensive to produce any sort of audiovisual representation of a film. But that’s not the world we live in. Mass online discussions are all around us, it is easy to share video and it is not uneconomical to create a viable test movie. Today’s development process yields a lot of box office surprises. If a more open development process, one that looks a bit more like a conversation with fans, can reduce disappointing surprises, it should yield more movies that moviegoers like.

The Secret to Success on Your First Film Job | Evan Luzi | No Film School
Evan normally writes at The Black And Blue blog, but here's an article he's written about how to be a success on your first job:
Before you stepped on set with the professionals, there were dozens just like you who came and went. I bet most of the crew didn’t even bother to keep in touch with them. It’s not that they weren’t nice people, or that they weren’t capable of the job, it’s that they didn’t approach it in the right way.

The real secret is you can’t be satisfied with the job you’re doing.

Five Predictions For Online Video In 2012 | Peter Csathy | Tech Crunch
Peter Csathy, President and CEO of Sorenson Media, offers his thoughts on the future of online video:
(3) Battle for Your Living Room & Cutting of the Cord. Not to be outdone, Google will continue its massive push—and billions of dollars in investment — into the premium video and “TV” world. It doesn’t matter whether Google’s initial experiments have worked so far (they haven’t); Google is patient and recognizes that we are still early in the video game.

Hollywood says goodbye to celluloid | Nick Allen | The Telegraph
It's looking like the end of film will come even quicker than we thought:
A single celluloid print of a movie can cost more than £1,500. A big release can see millions of dollars spent on prints to distribute to cinemas.
With digital projection each copy of the film can be sent out on a hard drive costing just £150. The lower cost makes simultaneous worldwide releases more feasible, which in turn reduces the risk of piracy.

The Sony NEX-VG20: What I like

I’ve had a chance the last couple of weeks to play with the Sony NEX-VG20 thanks to B & H PhotoVideo, who kindly loaned me a camera (full disclosure: I have to send it back.)

The NEX-VG20 is an upgrade to the NEX-VG10, and one way to describe this camera is as a DSLR in a personal-camcorder body. Like a DSLR, it has a large sensor (I've read that it's the same sensor as the one in the Sony NEX-5N),  and supports interchangeable lenses using the Sony E-mount. Like a camcorder, it has a flip-out viewfinder, a very different form factor, and a much better microphone.

At $2,199 - with the $600 kit lens - this camera is not cheap, though you can buy it without the lens. Here's a list of things I like about this camera:

Body shape: At first the camera just felt wrong in my hands; it wasn’t a small traditional camcorder, but it wasn’t a big body camera either. It was sort of in-between. After a week or so of handling it, I got used to it, and it actually works out pretty well. And I really like the LCD screen. More importantly, I like hand holding it much better than holding a DSLR body.

The rotating LCD: This is a camcorder, so it has a rotating LCD on the side, as well as a viewfinder on the back. I like the way the flip-out LCD can easily be viewed from more angles. It's much easier to see than the LCD on the back of the NEX-5N. Interestingly, if you just pick up the two cameras, the LCD on the NEX-5N appears much larger than the NEX-VG20's; but it's an optical illusion caused by the relative sizes of the cameras; the screens are the same size. More importantly, due to the menu system used on the NEX-5N, the NEX-VG20 displays a larger image.

Viewfinder with focus-peaking on

Color peaking: While this is a consumer camera, it does have color peaking, something I’m finding more and more invaluable; and available on more and more consumer cameras.

The Expanded Focus button on the top of the side handle: the NEX-VG20 doesn’t have a whole lot of buttons; that and the lack of XLR inputs are perhaps its two biggest deficiencies. But the focus enhance button on the top of the side handle is really useful; it zooms the center of the image, and it stays zoomed until you hit the button again.

The Record button next to the Expanded Focus button: If I'm going to criticize the lack of buttons, then I have to mention some I find very useful!

The Kit lens: Like the camera itself, this lens takes a bit of getting used to. It’s not incredible; I wish it didn’t extend out the front as you zoom, and I wish it was faster, but if it did all that it would have half the zoom range and cost twice the price. So with that in mind, it’s a pretty good general purpose lens. Zooming isn't totally smooth and silky, but it seemed to improve a bit with use, and in the final analysis it's better than using the small zoom rockers that personal camcorders have.

The Mic: This mic is almost as big as the NEX-5N, and it does a much better job than any DSLR mic.

Operation: if you compare this camera to the NEX-5N, then the big differences - given that the camera has the same lens mount - is the shape of the body, the menu system and buttons, and the audio mic. And the shape of the body, placement of the screen and buttons, all make a noticeable difference in ease of operation.

The price: Okay, if you compare it to a Canon T3i, or even the Sony NEX-5N, it's expensive. But if you want a camcorder with a large sensor, the choices are rather thin in the sub $5,000 category; the Panasonic AG-AF100 and Sony NEX-FS100 are the only other large-sensor camcorders out there. Both of those add features I wish the VG20 had, and the NEX-FS100 has a better sensor, but that's an extra three thousand dollars.

Of course, you could just buy the NEX-5N, and get similar results. The NEX-5N body-only is $599.99, while the NEX-VG20 body-only is $1,599.99. So you're paying $1,000 for a different body shape, slightly bigger LCD, a viewfinder, much better microphone and a few more buttons and controls. But if you're primarily interested in shooting video, and don't mind the slightly bigger body, I'd recommend the NEX-VG20.

Note: the camera was loaned by B & H PhotoVideo. This site also receives a commission on any sales made via links to that website.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Quick Links

A Year with Large Sensor cameras | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
Philip looks back at the large sensor cameras he's encountered this year, starting with the Panasonic AG-AF100:
My recommendation is to get a prime lens that is f1.4-f1.2 for producing interviews and don’t be scared to give the subject breathing space by shutting down the iris to f2.8 there is nothing worse than a person moving in and out of focus during an interview, 9 times out of 10 you won’t know that till you have started the interview wether they sway back and forth.

F65 "Behind the Scenes" | Sony
A five minute video on the F65, with an interview with Curtis Clark, ASC.

The Sony F65 | Video4
This F65 dealer has put together an information page on the camera. You can find most of this on Sony's page, but it's all in one place here:
Some camera manufacturers measure their sensor resolution on the basis of “K,” a unit that equates to 1024 horizontal photosites. So a 4K sensor might have 4096 photosites on every row. Unfortunately, the actual resolution is less because these sensors use Bayer color filter arrays. This design leverages two facts. First, the human eye is more sensitive to black & white (luminance) detail than to color detail. Second, the largest component of luminance is Green. In the Bayer array, 50% of the photosites detect Green light only, 25% detect Blue only and the remaining 25% detect Red only.

No Budget Porsche Spec Ad BTS | Alex Walker | Wide Open Camera
Alex explains how he got together some people to shoot a no budget spec ad:
I wasn’t about to just get some shots of the car driving by with a tripod and call it a day. For awhile now I’ve been really wanting to get a jib and put it in the back of a truck for some almost helicopter like moving jib shots. Those types of shots are usually reserved for folks with a budget so I felt that if we could accomplish these shots with no money it would appear as if we were a little more well funded. Trouble was I don’t own a jib and I had no time or budget. Solution? Twitter contacts. I’ve always felt that Twitter has been instrumental in getting me to where I am today but never has it felt as tangible as when this project fell together.

New Rules for the Ways We Watch | David Carr | New York Times
Carr, the media reporter for The New York Times, looks at the future of video:
So-called virtual operators — Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google and Apple — have none of the legacy or infrastructure costs. Google has unleashed $100 million to seed new programming on YouTube, and Netflix is financing a series by the director David Fincher. That gaming device your children are playing with? That too is a network in the making. Traditional networks and cable providers have the content, but if they hold on too tight, they will miss out on vast new avenues of distribution and revenue.

Production Video #5: On Location | The Hobbit | Blog
Peter Jackson has been posting video blogs about The Hobbit. This one is about logistics for location shooting.

The Real Wizards of Oz Deserve Better Treatment | Eric Roth | Huffington Post
Interested in getting into the world of Visual Effects? This might turn you off it:
But for the artists who create the visuals and help tell the stories we all want to see, life and working conditions are often not a happy Hollywood fantasy. Here's a dirty secret no one in the industry wants to talk about: visual effects artists and professionals are the only major group of entertainment industry workers who are not protected from labor abuses or provided with health insurance and other benefits through collective bargaining. That's just not right.

New Xeon CPU Reported to Be Amazingly Fast | Hardmac
If Apple ever makes a new MacPro, it could be really fast...
According to such information, the new Xeon E5-2690 clocked at 2.9 GHz would be 1.5 to 2.2 fold faster than the fastest current Xeon X5690 clocked at 3.46 GHz.

Edward Burns, Director of Newlyweds, on the Changing Face of Indie Film Distribution | Edward Burns | The Daily Beast
Burns has been pioneering new ways to produce and finance low-budget independent movies:
Sixteen years ago as a film student at Hunter College, I made my first movie—The Brothers McMullen. While film technology has made rapid leaps and bounds since then—I shot my most recent film on a Canon 5D—the method of exhibiting indie films theatrically has seen little change over the years, and it is still as difficult as ever for independent filmmakers to reach a sizable audience in movie theaters.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Quick Links

Canon C300 review and short film “Le Mont, La Pluie et La Nuit” | Philip Bloom
| Blog
Philip posts his review of the Canon C300. Interestingly, he seems to think he will get one, but still keep the Sony PMW-F3:
Things I love about the C300: Size, the amazing image, EVF pretty good, the little lip at the front of the camera, light sensitivity, the onboard codec, the way it works with the Canon lenses, great quality LCD and waveform, actually works great in my hands ergonomically especially with IS lenses. Works out of the box without a rig surprisingly although a rig would be recommended for longer handheld filming. Excellent build quality yet still nice and light. The price at just under £10k for a camera of this spec is amazing. Remember this is not a DSLR but a high powered S35 camera.

The need for more cameras…Why? | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
Philip asks Alister Chapman why he needs more than one camera:
Now I have the luxury of owning an EX1R for run and gun, quick and easy shooting, the EX1R works very well in that type of application. Next came the PMW-F3 for those more set up shoots, interviews, documentaries, shorts and movies. I now have 2 of them as I shoot a lot of 3D and they are fantastic in this role. However the F3 (which is my all time favourite camcorder) just isn’t suitable for some of the things I shoot, especially things like tornadoes, which are often fleeting, fast moving and unpredictable. It can be done, but the EX1R is a much better camera for this type of thing.

The need for steed: How Skywalker Sound brought Spielberg’s ‘War Horse’ to life | Mike Seymour & Ian Failes | The Daily
A look at the production of foley sound for the movie War Horse:
For the horses themselves, including titular star Joey, Rydstrom faced the challenge of creating characters that audiences could relate to, even though they had no lines. To achieve that key emotional attachment, Rydstrom eventually replaced just about every sound recorded on set.
“Horses don’t really vocalize all the time,” he said, “but they do emote through how they breathe.”
“The most time I spent on the movie, especially in the mix, was making the footsteps and the tail swishes and the body shudders, ear twitches, the breathing and the snorting.”

The Truth About 2K, 4K and The Future of Pixels | John Galt | Creative COW
A look at resolution; is 4K really 4K?
Unfortunately, one of the tragedies of digital imaging, is that now we've got these ridiculous numbers games, because so few people understand the fundamentals of the imaging technology, everybody wants a number to latch on to. The numbers don't mean anything in the context of 100 years of development of film and motion picture technology, optical technology and laboratory practice and cinematographers did wonderful work without understanding anything about the chemistry or photographic emulsion technology.

GoPro HD Hero 2 review | James Trew | Engadget
The new GoPro HD Hero 2 may not solve some problems of the original - it's weight and mounting issues) -but the image quality is improved:
The first thing you'll notice if you have the luxury of having both cameras is that the HD Hero 2 is noticeably clearer. Many people tend to think in pure numbers: megapixels, resolution and so on, but then forget that a lot of it really depends on the piece of glass the image is coming through. We noticed that images were generally sharper, but this was most visible with more complex textures such as asphalt, grass and so on.

How to: Update Firmware on a Sony PMW-F3 | Production Junction | Vimeo
Short video showing how to upgrade the PMW-F3 firmware.

Sony’s FS100 camera to become “WorldCam” via free firmware update
| Allan T├ępper | ProVideoCoalition
No date fixed yet, but the NEX-FS100 firmware upgrade should be out in the new year:
Sony USA has just officially announced that the (so-far) segregated 59.94Hz FS100 camera (officially known as the NEX-FS100, often followed by a regional suffix, and then sometimes by the letter “K” to indicate that it is a kit, packaged with a lens) is about to go “WorldCam” via a free firmware update sometime at the beginning of 2012. “WorldCam” is a term used to indicate that a camera has the necessary framerates to be used worldwide

Episode #80 : Alex Lindsay Interview: Introduction To Live Streaming
| Digital Filmmakers Podcast
This weeks podcast covers video streaming:
Have no clue what a CDN is? Interested in streaming your next corporate event live to thousands of people? Then you need to listen to this week’s interview with Alex Lindsay where it’s all about hardware, software and services for streaming online.