Saturday, March 17, 2012

MIT Forum: Documentary Film and New Technologies

Tuesday, March 20, 2012
5-7 PM
Bartos Theater, Media Lab

Emerging digital technologies are opening powerful new ways to create and even to reconceptualize the documentary film. How will handheld video cameras and ubiquitous open-source computing change the nature of documentaries? What are the implications for makers and viewers of documentaries of today’s unprecedented access to online editing and distribution tools, to an ocean of data never before available to the general public? These and related questions will be central to our discussion. Panelists will include a scholar of digital culture, a producer who has begun to exploit emerging technologies, and a representative of a newly-important specialty of the digital age – a curator of digital artifacts.

Gerry Flahive is a producer for the National Film Board of Canada. He has produced more than 50 films and new media projects including Project Grizzly, Waterlife and Highrise.

Shari Frilot is senior programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and curator of the New Frontier section of the event.

Ingrid Kopp is the new media consultant at the Tribeca Film Institute where she runs the TFI New Media Fund. Launched in 2011 with the support of the Ford Foundation, the fund seeks to develop interactive, non-fiction projects centered around issues of social justice.

Patricia R. Zimmermann is professor in the Department of Cinema, Photography and Media Arts at Ithaca College and codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. She is the author of Reel Families: A Social History of Amateur Film (Arts and Politics of the Everyday) and States of Emergency: Documentaries, Wars, Democracy and coeditor of Mining the Home Movie: Excavations in Histories and Memories.

William Uricchio is professor and director of MIT Comparative Media Studies and professor of comparative media history at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His books include Media Cultures, on responses to media in post 9/11 Germany and the US, and We Europeans? Media, New Collectivities  and Europe.

Forums are free and open the public.

Quick Links

5D Mark III Manual Online | CanonRumors
Via Planet5D, the 5D Mark III manual is online. Also, a report that the 5D Mark III may be shipping next week:
There are various reports around the globe of 5D Mark IIIs appearing in warehouses and stores. If you preordered, you’re going to be very happy next week.

5mins 5d mk3 | Sam Morgan Moore | DSLR 4 Real
Sam got to spend a few minutes, and shoot some video, with the Mark III:
The video shows a quick jello test - my opinion is that the jello is slightly better than the 5d2, but still there. Of course good camera handling means jello is often a non issue any way

We then filmed my shirt. I would subjectively say that I saw no colour artifacting - this is a major upgrade to the 5dmk2. While the image is not super sharp there were no horrid surprises.

First truly representative 5D Mark III video file graded – how does it stand up?
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew took a couple of frames from Sam and did some color grading experiments with them:
So much data in the shadows. Detail wise the amount of real detail is much improved over the 5D Mark II and seems better than all the pre-production footage. You can sharpen it a lot in post and it stills looks nice and organic, not too electronic. Out of the box it is softer than the GH2 – not sure what the in-camera sharpening was set to (picture profile was Neutral) – but it is a superb base to work from and after a bit of sharpening in post detail can pop like it does on the GH2. Sharpen the old 5D’s footage and it looks horrendous! Not so here.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Video Features | Jeremy Stamas | Camcorderinfo
Not a full review, but Camcorderinfo looks at the video features of the camera:
You can record video with the 5D Mark III in aperture-priority (Av), shutter-priority (Tv), full manual (M), program (P), or the dedicated auto mode (A+). Full manual is the only mode that lets you adjust ISO manually for your videos, and it also lets you set aperture and shutter speed independently. The manual ISO range for the camera is extensive, as you can select up to ISO 12800 in video mode.

10bit S-Log is no standard on the PMW-F3 | Sony
Sony's official announcement of the changes in the PMW-F3 product line to roll S-Log into the camera:
Sony has raised the bar on the PMW-F3 Super 35mm camcorder. The 10bit S-Log gamma option, so popular among F3 cinematographers, is now standard! As of March 1, 2012, every new PMW-F3 camcorder is equipped with the S-Log gamma encoding as a standard feature. The PMW-F3 now offers, out of the box, in addition to standard XDCAM EX™ 8bit YPbPr for 4:2:0 internal recording onto SxS cards, 10bit uncompressed RGB 4:4:4 and 10bit YPbPr 4:2:2 outputs for external recording. This is the first time such an option is available in a hand-held camcorder – at no additional cost.
Sony USA also says "We are further developing the program for those that purchased CBK-RGB01 (SLog package) at the original price, Stay tuned"

10 Tips On Producing And Financing From SXSW | Scott Macaulay | Filmmaker
Notes from the panel “Making it Happen: Financing an Independent Film” at SXSW with Troublemaker Studio’s Aaron Kaufman, Katie McNeill (V.P. of Production, Electric City Entertainment) and Garrick Dion, Senior Vice President of Development at Bold Films.
4. Find people who other people want to work with. “If you’re trying to compete with a Pirates movie costing hundreds of millions, you want an actor or director [attached] other people want to work with,” said Dion. “Your filmmaker and your material is your only strength as an independent producer.”

The 8 Film Startups You Should Know From SXSW | IndieWire
A look at some of the companies "hawking the latest and greatest ways to share, tweet, sell, upload, download and otherwise ensure you're connected:"
The pitch: " is a new home for upcoming movies – and a home for the movie fans around the globe who care about them."
The backstory: Berlin-based, Moviepilot lets you "subscribe" to upcoming movies to build a "personal news stream," discover new projects based on your likes and discuss them with others, Doesn't sound terribly compelling yet, but the Moviepilot crew appears to be comprised of serious tech geeks who could develop some interesting ideas.

The Passion of the Bolex | Stu Maschwitz | prolost
Stu was skeptical about the Digital Bolex when he first heard about it, but after talking to the two people behind the project he's at least convinced it's not a complete scam.
I don't think it's scam, but I'll be surprised if they pull it off. Of course, stranger things have happened...
Elle was a good sport about my post right away on Twitter, but Joe also sought me out via the Prolost contact form. We had a delightful chat this morning via phone. Joe specifically wants to connect with filmmakers who have reasonable concerns. He sees thoughtful critique as an opportunity, not an attack.

Infinitely Wide – The new Distagon T* 2,8/15 super wide angle lens | Zeiss | Blog
Zeiss formerly announced the 15mm lens available for Nikon or Canon EF mount:
After plenty of guessing by Carl Zeiss fans, it’s now official: the new super wide angle Distagon T* 2,8/15 lens has arrived. With a large angle of view of 110 degrees in combination with a fast f/2.8 aperture, the lens enables the features for dramatic perspectives and performance demanded by the most ambitious landscape and architectural photographers. With a unique ability to capture events in a natural and extraordinary manner, it is also an ideal companion for advertising, journalism and commercial photography. It will be available with an EF (ZE) or F bayonet (ZF.2).
WideOpenCamera has a short video: New Carl Zeiss 15mm f2.8 Announced. $2900 Smackers

NAB apps
The NAB show has released a free iPhone and Android app:

It's available for Android too: Google Play: 2012 NAB Show

Making 'That Day' (Behind the Scenes) | Danny Lacey
A 42min behind-the-scenes video. The movie was directed by Danny Lacey and DP'd by Philip Bloom and shot on the Canon C300:
A fly-on-the-wall style look at how we made That Day, a short sci-fi film shot over 3 days on an incredibly low budget.
10 actors, 15+ crew, 3 locations, 11 page screenplay
Written, produced and directed by Danny Lacey. The short film will be released in Summer 2012.

Nazis in space - Crowdfunding and crowdsourcing are becoming more sophisticated | The Economist
More ways to fund indie movies:
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding have been slowly on the rise for independent films over the past few years. Sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo handle fund-raising; OpenIndie, which has just relaunched after a stagnant period, helps find and build audiences. Where “Iron Sky” has broken ground, says Tero Kaukomaa, one of the film’s producers, is not just in getting fans to pitch in with the work, but in its funding model: most of the money raised via the website was in the form of equity investments, which will pay back if the film makes a profit.

Adobe Story update: new and changed features (15March2012) | Adobe Blogs
Highlights of the latest release of Adobe Story:
This week, we released an update to Adobe Story. When you start the Adobe Story desktop application, you should be prompted to update the application. After you have accepted this invitation to update the application, the update will be downloaded and installed.

In addition to several bug fixes, this update adds many new features. You can see the details of what was added and changed in this update in the release notes.

Should I transcode HD video from the VG20? | NEX-VG20 User Group | Vimeo
Craig Marshall wonders about the best way to work with footage from his Sony NEX-VG20 and offers his workflow:
Now we come back to my original question. My suggestion is this: save your money on expensive third party SSD recoders and instead transcode your original .MTS footage to DNxHD. There are several good 'transcoders' available, some free and others available for a small fee. Few I've tested will accept the VG20's .MTS file directly without first convering it to an .MP4 or similar.

Friday, March 16, 2012

iPad (3) arrives

Fed Ex just dropped off my new iPad 3! Yes; I am a little excited! Just have to wait for the hour or so to restore the data from my original iPad.

...and I realize that Apple didn't name it the iPad 3, but I sort of feel I have to add the 3 just to make it clear...

Should you buy a - video - camera a month before NAB?

Sites like this one sometimes get accused of pimping gear to promote links to affiliate sites, which is totally untrue. I actually pimp gear to increase my Klout score.

And now I'm going to go completely against type, and suggest you put down that credit card - and don't order a camera!

Let's face it; there's a lot of excitement about the Canon 1D X and 5D Mark III right now. You can almost smell the unboxing videos. Both are available to order online, and the 1D X now has a projected shipping date: the last week of April - Exciting. Though if you're looking to buy it primarily for video, I'm not sure that spending $6,799 on the 1D X is a good idea, even if I would get a commission if you did...

And then there's the 5D Mark III, which is $3,000 cheaper. The Mark II started a revolution, and the III is even awesomer! so shouldn't you just order it now?

But I can't help thinking that - no matter how good the Mark III might be - if you're planning on spending money on a video camera, is a month before NAB the best time to do it? Because who know's what Sony or Panasonic might yet announce? Maybe even Canon themselves have something up their sleeves?

What could happen? Well Panasonic might replace the AG-AF100. Or Sony might bring out YAC (yet another camera) - they seem to do it with monotonous regularity. Canon might get a bit more detailed about the 4K video thing they were hinting at back when they announced the C300 and JVC will probably stuff 4K into something the size of a GoPro Hero.

Or maybe they won't. Maybe Sony and Panasonic just have minor firmware updates, and Canon shows off the 1D X, Mark III and C300, and laugh all the way to the bank.

Certainly, if you already own a 5D Mark II and a bunch of Canon lenses, and are looking to upgrade without spending money on the C300, then buying a Mark III right now is probably not a bad decision. But if that doesn't describe you, I'd be holding on to my money for another few weeks just incase something else does come along.

NAB is usually when these companies announce something, so spending money just to be the first to get the latest toy seems a bit risky; unless you need the camera immediately, and the 5D Mark III is the perfect camera for you. In which case, click here.

Of course, I could be wrong; if you wait, you'll be waiting that much longer to get your hands on that bright, shiny, black, camera. Though we all know a better camera will come along...some day.

So in conclusion; don't spend money on gear you don't absolutely need, right now.

...Meanwhile, my iPad 3 should arrive today....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quick Links

Changes To Sony S-Log Pricing For The PMW-F3 | Michael Murie | Filmmaker
I wrote a piece for Filmmaker on the iterations of S-Log on the PMW-F3:
A month later, and now they have changed things again. Sony has introduced two new models of the PMW-F3, the PMW-F3K/RGB and PMW-F3L/RGB, which replace the current models and come with S-Log already installed. They are also now offering the original S-Log upgrade on an SxS card for $899. The rebate for those that already paid full price continues.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III | TJ Donegan | Digital Camera Info
Reviews of the camera are already up(!) though it doesn't go much into video:
In truth, the Mark III is not a revolutionary camera, but more a refinement of an already successful formula; it’s the combination of some of the advancements put into the flagship Canon 1D X along with a great deal of features first seen in the prosumer Canon 7D. There are plenty of things the 1D X has that didn’t make the step down (the 100k-pixel metering sensor, for example), but we’re betting the 5D Mark III’s sub-$3500 price is going to fit into far more budgets than the $6800 1D X.

The Megapixels are Coming [CR1] | CanonRumors
More rumors about future cameras:
Some have suggested the upcoming 4K DSLR will be the high megapixel camera. I don’t believe that to be true, as the high megapixel count is definitely a request of the photographic community, and paying for high end video features is probably not something that would make the segment too happy.

Set of Canon C300 Custom Profiles for Download | Alister Chapman | XDCAM User
Alister has put together some custom profiles for the C300. You have to register with the forum to download them
I’ve been playing and have come up with my first set of custom profiles for the Canon C300. You’ll find all the details here: including a downloadable package that you can copy to an SD card and the load the files directly to your own C300.

Mozilla considers H.264 video support after Google's WebM fails to gain traction
| Daniel Eran Dilger | AppleInsider
Last year Google came out with WebM in an attempt to kill H.264's royalty payment's. So far, it doesn't seem to have worked:
Mozilla's director of research Andreas Gal has proposed enabling mobile H.264 video decoding via hardware or the underlying operating system, signaling the end to the group's war on the Apple-led H.264 video codec.

The move is necessitated by the overall lack of support for Google's WebM video codec, which Mozilla and Google hoped would replace H.264, the technology backed by Apple, Microsoft, Nokia and other commercial vendors.

Sony SLT A57 Hands-on Preview | Richard Butler and Lars Rehm
| Digital Photography Review
Sony's $699.99 SLT-A57 does 60p 1080 HD, why can't Canon!!
The A57 can still shoot at 10 frames per second (or 12fps in an 8.4MP cropped mode), but it gains the ability to shoot 1080p video at 60 or 24 fps (50 or 25 on European models) and the high-contrast edge enhancing 'peaking' mode for manual focusing in video and with non-AF lenses.

Q&A: Lighting Multiple People with Glasses | Strobist
Eye glasses can be a real problem with lights; best advice: have your talent take them off! This article is about lighting for stills with strobes, but the same theory applies to video:
He is facing camera left, the key light is on camera right. No reflections at all. If I had lit him from camera left, there would be reflections. And to lose them, I would have had to walk that light so far up, or further to the left, he would have started to look bad long before I had clean glasses.

Interview with Elle Schneider of Digital Bolex | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
More on that Digital Bolex. Another interview with the developers:
Elle: The prototype has been in development for one year. Joe worked on the project for a little over a year before he brought me on board. He originally wanted to do a much more stripped down Digital 16mm camera, no internal battery, no screen, no image out… I talked some sense into him! I think that a true D16 is a great idea, but unfortunately there’s no running from the conveniences that we’ve all become accustomed to while shooting digitally.
10 ways to look at the Digital Bolex 16mm raw digital cinema camera | Comments | EOSHD
Though it appears they are actually using another camera for their videos:
sorry guys but there is no dbolex prototype ...
their promo video was shoot on prosilica gx2300 machine vision camera...
Episode 65: The End Of 16MM? | Digital Convergence Podcast
And it even became the topic of conversation on this podcast:
The Digital Convergence panel launches into a discussion on the sunsetting of 16mm movie cameras in film school as reported to us by a listener of the podcast. Talk about convergence timing... planetMitch reports on the latest Kickstarter sensation, the Digital Bolex 2K Raw video camera. Is this camera too good to be true?

Is Final Cut Pro X going to do to video what Gutenberg did with printing?
| El Bibliomata & Matt Neale | FCP.Co
- No.
Makes the argument that the transition to web distribution will be the equivalent of the Gutenberg press. I'm not sure I buy it: it's the computer that's been the driver here, not one piece of software:
Apple have the Editor, designed to take advantage of the digital workflow, they have a distribution network for all types of content and they have devices to consume this and it all works very smoothly. They are not the only ones and have competitors in each of these markets but the lines are drawn and the game is about to start - So who’s ready.

Portable EntertainmentHome EntertainmentComputersCamcorders
Digital Cameras & Gear
Pro Audio
You go to B&H

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Massachusetts Seminar Series

The Massachusetts Production Coalition is promoting a series of 2hr seminars on different topics.
This series of six Seminars held throughout the year provides an overview, focusing on each stage of creating film and advertising media. Guiding you through the production process from start to finish – these seminars will cover the challenges and nuances of creating media and production, and turning hard work into creative success.

Each phase of production will be covered by key leaders in the industry with presentations and a panel discussion on essential film and media making topics.

The 2-hour seminars will cover a range of topics with speakers and presentations for the first hour, followed by a panel discussion for the second hour with Q&A sessions to open the conversation.
Sessions: Concept & Writing: March 24th, Pre-production & Producers: April 28th, The Shoot: May 5th, Post Production & Visual Effects: September 15th, Post Audio: November 10th.

Full 6-Seminar Series: $250 (MPC Member) $220
3-Session Pak: $135 (MPC) $115
Individual Seminars: $50 (MPC) $45

Mass Production Coalition: Seminar Series

Quick Links

Digital Bolex | Stu Maschwitz | Prolost
It seems that a plan to produce a "Digital Bolex" really lit up the internet yesterday. Reaction seems to range from excitement to skepticism; often from the same person:
I desperately want them to succeed.
But after watching the well-financed and well-intentioned Red Digital Cinema company struggle to deliver on their promises, and abandon the “3K for $3K” design/price-point of their Scarlet camera, one has to wonder if these flmmakers-turned-cameramakers have any idea of the challenges they’re about to face.

10 ways to look at the Digital Bolex 16mm raw digital cinema camera
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
5. Do you need raw?
Many people have a misconception about raw that it makes for better image quality. It is not a final delivery format. Nobody will watch your film in raw. Nobody goes to a cinema to watch a colourist work or a filmmaker adjust exposure. The final result doesn’t need raw. Only the process benefits from it.

The Digital Bolex D16. Raw 2K for less than a cost of a 5Dmk3? | Philip Bloom
| Blog
The concept is so crazy good I was instantly in love and instantly super sceptical. All I knew about the project was from the website and their kickstarter campaign. So I did the most sensible thing possible. I phoned the camera creators Joe Rubinstein and Elle Schneider and did an interview with them to find out everything I could about it! You can listen to the interview below.

First days with the Canon EOS C300 | Paul Joy
Paul has updated his post (scroll down to 12-3-2012) to include a bit on the fringing issue that was mentioned yesterday:
When the sky is exposed correctly the images look fine, it just seems to be happening when the images are blown out. Maybe this camera just needs a different approach than what I’m used to and blown highlights need to be avoided at all costs. That’s going to be tricky in some of the non controlled environments I have to work in though. I remember shooting an awards presentation for Harley-Davidson in Croatia last year when the stage was unlit and had a backdrop of the setting sun! No choice there but to shoot silhouettes or blow out the background.

Misek Says Apple TV Production May Begin May/June | Bloomberg
Everyone seems to think Apple will release a TV later this year:
Apple "iTV" full-scale production is expected in Mayor June. Peter Misek, managing director at Jeffries & Co. talks with Emily Chang on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)
Samsung official claims Apple plans to release 7.85-inch iPad this year
| AppleInsider
The detail was included in a recent report from Korea Times, as highlighted on Tuesday by SlashGear. Citing an anonymous Samsung source, it was said that Apple is expected to buy about $11 billion in total components for a range of devices, including a smaller iPad.

Intel Aims for Faster Thunderbolt With PCI-Express 3.0 | Agam Shah | IDG News
I'm still waiting for regular Thunderbolt to catch on...
Intel in the future will support the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol to shuttle data faster between host devices and peripherals, an Intel spokesman said in an email. Computers with Thunderbolt interconnect currently communicate with external devices using the older PCI-Express 2.0 technology.

Google's entertainment strategy is in disarray | Greg Sandoval | C|Net
I'd say that I was shocked - or at least surprised - to learn that a company like Google would suffer from infighting and internal divisions like this, but I've seen it in so many companies that I really believe it's the norm in medium to large companies, rather than abnormal:
Three weeks ago, shortly before Google pulled the plug on Google Music as a standalone service, music industry insiders told CNET that the service had failed to meet sales expectations. Multiple sources at the record labels said then that Google lacked a cohesive approach to music. According to them, there was one strategy for YouTube and one for Google Music and sometimes they appeared to be at odds.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More on Canon C300 cyan/purple fringing

A follow-up to the cyan/purple color fringing issue listed in today's Quick Links.

Paul Antico sent this email to Canon Tech Support:
It seems many are having the issue; everyone who tries to re-create it can. If you take one of your C300 cameras, and aim it at high contrast situation such as a window (try to recreate the shot I sent you as an example), then overexpose over 100 IRE the window itself, and move the camera so that there is an angle of some sort, you will see it too.

Another test is to aim the camera at branches of a tree, but such that the sky is over-exposed past 100 IRE. The branches will show pink and purple fringing not related to the lens, especially on horizontals and angles.

I think it's likely an error in processing when the highlights are concerned. Sony's FS100 does it as well, albeit much more harshly. That said, if one properly exposes the highlights the issue does go away. I didn't notice the problem until I specifically tried to create it. I normally don't let the highlights clip because, well, that's the wrong thing to do.

The concern is when transient clipped highlights happen in areas of horizontal or angular contrast junctions. For example, a window, glints of sunlight off water, etc. Basically difficult to plan for clipped whites. If there is any strong contrast in the vicinity, the camera may bloom or show chroma aliasing as green/purple blocks.
and received this reply:
Thanks for following up with us.

I took a look at those forum posts, and I can see how that would be distracting. The cyan/purple fringing seems to be more notable when the shooter is deliberately trying to blow out the highlights. Keep in mind that the camera has 12 stops of latitude, which goes beyond what many cameras can do, plus it has 3 built-in ND filters that can cut down in the light coming into the camera, so this seems to be a situation that can be avoided by adjusting the settings accordingly. Still, it is something that I will pass along to our senior engineers. We will investigate the situation, and see if there is anything else that can be done to reduce the fringing.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance with your Canon equipment. Thank you for choosing Canon.


Canon Technical Support Representative

Quick Links

EOS 5D Mark III, An interview with Chuck Westfall | Arash Hazeghi Photography
An interview with Chuck Westfall from Canon. Unfortunately, this mostly relates to still photography:
AH: Canon has indicated two stops improvement in high ISO performance relative to the 5D Mark II. We understand this figure refers to in-camera JPEG files with noise reduction. Approximately how much of an improvement in high ISO performance or low ISO dynamic range is expected in RAW (CR2) files when using the latest Canon DPP software?

CW: These figures are not being disclosed, but of course they will be lower than the noise reduction achieved with in-camera JPEGs and EOS Movies.

Setting up your Canon 5D mkII (and mkIII?) | Vincent Laforet | Blog
Vincent wrote this blog post just before the 5D Mark III was announced, though he thinks some it will apply to that camera as well as to the Mark II:
You should see the picture style settings as a starting point that works for almost all circumstances. Personally I almost never stray from the settings myself. However you should feel free to change the contrast and saturation settings for certain situations – but never the sharpness in my opinion (you always want to keep that all the way down to give you the most filmic results.) These settings are meant to work well for web, broadcast televisions and motion pictures – but will require grading (color correction) to add saturation and contrast back in.

Rainbow-like Moire? | DVXUser
Color fringing is not a new problem for digital cameras, and some cameras suffer from it more than others. Now there's report's of it on the C300:
The following link shows an example of a kind of rainbow moire pattern I shot the other day on the C300 while conducting some lens tests. I've been shooting with the camera constantly under numerous less-than-favorable conditions and this is the only instance where I've seen this problem occur, so please treat this as a very unique case-study. But this may be something to be aware of in case you decide to bring this camera into a space with a lot of stained glass, like a church.

Paul Antico of Anticipate Media, who has a C300, drew my attention to this thread, and notes:
It's not nearly as bad for me as some are seeing. But there is a problem. The only time I could recreate it was worse case possible scenario of totally blown highlights that weren't properly exposed for and a straight or angles hard Contrast edge. The Sony NEX-FS100 is far worse, but I'm surprised the C300 is doing it at all.

The Canon EOS 300C And It’s Place In Image Making History
| Hungry Eye Magazine
The first part of this article is posted online and covers what came before the C300:
Having got that out of the way, I think I had better put some flesh on the bare bones of my initial announcement that the EOS C300 is a game changer. To begin with, it delivers on quality, it delivers on functionality, it delivers on specifications and it delivers on ease of use. Most importantly, the filmmakers I spoke with all agreed that it features everything the 5D MkII was criticised for not having.

Proof in high ISO pictures: Canon 5D Mark III kills Nikon D4 | Dennis Bodzash
Looking at stills from Imaging Resource, Dennis concludes the 5D Mark III kills the D4:
At ISO 12,800, the D4 continues to get noisier in the shadows and the fine details (especially on the thread bundles and paint brushes) start to look a little ragged. However, the 5DIII continues to look exemplary at ISO 12,800, with really no difference from 6400. 5DIII wins again, this time decisively.

Where to find/ask permission to shoot | Reddit
Interesting thread about getting permission before shooting. This subject isn't always black and white; in some cases it is open to interpretation:
Also, remember the law. If you only need a backdrop of an industrial location then you are legally permitted to film and take photographs of the area so long as you are on public property (roadside etc.) and you're not shooting a government building. Parking lots are usually owned by the premises and are not public highways, as such you would need permission to film on them.

JVC HMQ10 4K sample footage (3840x2160) | EOSHD | YouTube
Andrew has now posted a four minute clip that's higher than 1080p on YouTube! It plays fine at 360p on my Mac!

Understanding LOG – S-Log, Log C, and Canon Log | AbelCine
AbelCine is holding a couple of workshops on LOG this March 22 in New York and LA.:
Participants will be presented with technical and aesthetic implications of shooting in different Log modes, and discussions will be part theory and part practical application. We will demonstrate shooting Log in exterior and interior situations, and various recording techniques will be explained. Finally, the class will cover various post workflows for Log material, including color correct solutions in Final Cut Pro and Resolve.

The Phoblographer’s List of Alternatives to Purchasing the Canon 5D Mk III and Making Your Camera Live Just a Bit Longer | Chris Gampat | The Photoblographer
Can't afford the 5D Mark III? Chris argues that the 5D Mark II is still a good camera, and maybe you should spend some money on accessories to improve it; like lights or lenses:
Canon 85mm F1.8- Canon’s 85mm f1.8 is perhaps one of the best purchases one can make when upgrading lenses. At the time of writing this post, it is currently rated as Canon’s fastest focusing lens due to the combination of USM motor drive and the light glass elements. Indeed, this lens isn’t very large and also is quite light.

There are fringing problems when shooting wide open, but when stopped down to f2, they go away. Additionally, it is also known to be one of Canon’s sharpest lenses.

How to release your movie in UK cinemas yourself… by the guy who doing it right now! | Chris Jones | Blog
Article on how to do-it-yourself movie distribution. Some of this may be applicable in the US too (See: "Sell Your Own Damn Movie" - book review Part II)
Mostly this involved sending a screener to the cinema and waiting for them to decide whether they would programme the film. I wish I had done this earlier in the process as some cinemas I missed out on because they programmed well in advance. I started this process about 3-4 months before the start of the tour with the cinemas that I really wanted to screen at.

CineGrain | TejBabra | Tej's Tech Blog
Another review of the CineGrain plug-in:
CineGrain is a fantastic way to get the desired film look without banging your head against the wall. CineGrian also save a great deal of time, as you can get your desired look in a matter of moments without the need to jump into other suites or use several video layers. The addition of 2k support is great for those of you working with RED cameras or are finishing 2k to later be transferred. CineGrain comes in different packages depending on your budget for either Personal, Professional or Indie.

Some kaleidoscopes in After Effects | Rich Young | an After Effects Portal
Links to plug-ins and tutorials on creating kaleidoscopes in After Effects:
CMD has a tutorial (below) on creating 2D kaleidoscopes in After Effects. As many have, instead of the built-in CC Kaleida, they used PetesPlugins, which is no longer developed. You could also use Sapphire Kaleido, AIST ProFX Xkaleido, or the unique Omino Kaleidoscope from the free Omino After Effects Suite (demo below).

Cameras, banks and the financial crisis! Or why camera prices seem so high these days | Dave Newton | EOS Network
An argument that the 5D Mark III isn't over-priced. Maybe:
Give or take inflation has been around 3% for the past few years. So we will add 3% to the Yen price for 2009, 3% for 2010 and another 3% for 2011. That’s 1.03×1.03×1.03X342074.4 = 373793 Yen.
Time for the reveal, let’s change our 373793 Yen price tag back into pounds. The exchange rate in February 2012 123.965 Yen to £1. That’s 373793/123.965=£3015

How to Record Voice Overs | Videomaker | YouTube
They almost had me until the bit "you've got an excellent script and awesome voice talent."
In this segment we show you how to prepare a recording booth and choose proper audio equipment. Once you know the ins and outs of recording and editing voice-overs, your narration will be solid and carry as much impact as the rest of your production
Videomaker has other interesting tutorials, like this one on reducing Hiss and Hum.

‘Ishtar’ Lands on Mars | Brooks Barnes | New York Times
It's been a while - at least a year - since a movie was compared to Ishtar...
On Sunday, Rich Ross, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement, “Moviemaking does not come without risk. It’s still an art, not a science, and there is no proven formula for success. Andrew Stanton is an incredibly talented and successful filmmaker who with his team put their hard work and vision into the making of ‘John Carter.’ Unfortunately, it failed to connect with audiences as much as we had all hoped.”

Portable EntertainmentHome EntertainmentComputersCamcorders
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Quick Links

4K for £4k – full resolution sample frames from the JVC HMQ10 | Andrew Reid
Some images from a prototype JVC 4K camera that will cost about $5,000:
Here are some frame grabs from the JVC HMQ10 4K camera which is the first semi-pro 4K camera, that breaks under the £4K mark. The frame size is 3840×2160 and it is the biggest step up in resolution yet seen for video standards. 4K makes the difference between 720p and 1080p seem minuscule!

Tascam DR-100 mkII vs Zoom H4n Review | Paul Joy
Paul has updated his comparison of these two recorders:
I did find that my recordings with the DR-100 were much more accurate in terms of getting the levels correct, I set both units so that there was very minimal peaking being reported and the resulting levels on the DR-100 were higher then the H4n and still free from any peaking distortion. I’m not sure if the H4n just reports peaks at lower levels but there was certainly a difference.

Teens are watching more TV, not less, report says | Joe Flint | Los Angeles Times
Online video not as popular with teens as thought?
Currently, teens watch almost four hours of television a day. Although that is about two hours less than most adults, it is up from the roughly three hours they spent in front of the television in 2004. Adults have always watched more television than teens — even though it is generally assumed that kids, not their hard-working parents, are wasting their time in front of the boob tube.

Apple employing improved compression for new iTunes 1080p videos | Josh Ong
| AppleInsider
A look at the new 1080p compression being used on iTunes and the new Apple TV and iPad:
After comparing relative file sizes and video quality of the 720p and 1080p versions of iTunes content, ArsTechnica reported on Thursday that 1080p versions (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) were on average just 1.5 times larger than their 720p counterparts (1,280 x 720 pixels), despite having 2.25 times the number of pixels.

FAQ: What is the best format for rendering and exporting from After Effects?
| Todd Kopriva | Adobe
This article links to several other tech notes on settings for rendering from After Effects:
Examples of lossless codecs include Animation and PNG at highest quality settings in a QuickTime container. Losslessly compressed movies often don't play smoothly in a media player, but that isn't relevant because that's not their purpose. See "FAQ: Why does my output file not play smoothly, and why is my output file huge?"

What did Kubrick have to say about what 2001 "means"? | Playboy | Kubrick FAQ
An interview with Kubrick from Playboy magazine about the meaning of the film 2001:
I intended the film to be an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does; to "explain" a Beethoven symphony would be to emasculate it by erecting an artificial barrier between conception and appreciation. You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning of the film -- and such speculation is one indication that it has succeeded in gripping the audience at a deep level -- but I don't want to spell out a verbal road map for 2001 that every viewer will feel obligated to pursue or else fear he's missed the point.

New Royalty Free Music Website For Independent Video Producers
| Cinescopophilia
When they see free, you still have to pay for the music, but it's a one-time upfront fee:
Most importantly, the website offers independent producers a legal alternative to using unauthorized music within their projects. A license from offers the assurance that the music can be used within a commercial project without any risk of litigation. Best of all, due to the generous terms of the ‘royalty free’ agreement, the customer can use the same music again and again, for life!

Sony Updates SR-PC4 and F65Viewer | Jeff Lee | CineTechnica
Sony updates the SR-PC4 memory transfer unit to support the F65:
With this update, the SR-PC4 can now play back F65RAW footage from the SRMemory cards via the HD/SDI port. Being that the F65 records F65RAW in full 8k sensor resolution, which produces a demosaiced resolution of 4096×2160, the SR-PC4 will first down-convert the playback footage to 2048×1080, then provide a 1920×1080 cropped image.

Video Space Calculator 1.0.1 released - audio support, H.264, Phantom and more | Digital Rebellion
Video Space Calculator is a $2.99 iOS utility that calculates files sizes:
You can now calculate audio sizes as well as video. Swipe to the left to set the number of audio channels and bit-depth. Currently it assumes you are dealing with 48 KHz PCM audio but it is likely that we will add further customization in future versions.

[TaoColorist] Sunday Morning Reading (Rear View Mirror Edition) | Patrick Inhofer | Tao of Color
This weeks color grading newsletter from Patrick Inhofer is a look back at the best articles of the past year:
The Soap Opera Look (and how to avoid it) - Ever had a client complain that their final product looked 'video-y'? Here's one possible problem they might be having (and how to fix it).
Rescuing Dark Footage - Using composite modes to build up underexposed images while (hopefully) minimizing noise.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Quick Links

BOSCPUG Visual Storytellers: Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Color Grading "Hustle"
The next meeting of the Boston Creative Pro Users Group is Wednesday, March 28, and will have an interesting couple of topics for those interested in the 5D Mark III and the C300:
Join Carl Peer of Canon U.S.A. for an interactive, hands-on talk about the new Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR and trends in Canon EOS filmmaking. We will have the camera on hand to touch and try as well - plus a perfect opportunity to get your Canon EOS DSLR questions answered!
Join Colorist Rob Bessette of Finish Post and some of the filmmakers involved for a lively talk on making 'HUSTLE", an impromptu camera test turned short using the new Canon Cinema EOS C300 Digital Cinema Camera.

How To Become A Cinematographer | Tom
This is mostly a directory of terms:
If working through a set of visual puzzles that result in unforgettable images is something you’d like to spend your life pursuing, then cinematography might be the career for you.
Everything that ends up on film passes through the educated eye of the director of photography. We at #TeamTC kept that in mind as we put together this informative starter’s kit for aspiring cinematographers. So read on and find out if you have what it takes to create images that will inspire and astound.

Back To The Basics | Stewart Redwine | FreshDV
Director Stewart Redwine wrote this introduction to production:
Slow is Smooth, and Smooth is Fast
I was talking with John about the idea for this article and he made an excellent observation. It is easy to give yourself time to script and even time to edit, but it’s difficult to make time on set. Unfortunately, when time is cut short on set, the story suffers. If we provide ourselves time to write and edit, in order to refine our story, we also need to make time on set for the same refining process to occur.

Irudis Releases FREE Download of Tonalizer|VFX LITE | Digital Production Buzz
A free plug-in for Final Cut Pro (7 & X) and Motion 4&5:
Tonalizer|VFX LITE is a tonality enhancement- and fine-tuning tool. Tonalizer|VFX LITE differs from to the conventional category of color grading tools that assists in establishing a certain desired creative style, look or mood to the footage.
Tonalizer|VFX LITE is a FREE feature reduced version of Tonalizer|VFX PRO. Tonalizer|VFX LITE includes the following features: Brightness; Midtones; Contrast; Shadow Boost; Highlights; Details; Chroma; Mix.

NEW TUTORIAL – Captain America Shield | Eran Stern |
A tutorial for After Effects:
In this video tutorial I’ll show you how to create the shield inspired by the movie Captain America without leaving After Effects. The project is based on plug-ins created by Mettle and includes two compositions, one which uses FreeForm Pro and ShapeShifter AE and the other based on the bundled FreeForm plug-in which is included with After Effects from version CS5.

Revealed: Metabones EF Sony E-Mount adapter optically defective | Andrew Reid
It seems that this Canon EF to E-mount adapter isn't that great afterall:
When a light source is off the edge of the frame be it left, right top or bottom you get a ghostly reflective image of it at the edge of the frame. It is a very common occurrence, even a 40 watt desk light or LCD display is enough to trigger the deadly reflective glow.

Head, Ribs and Hips part 1 | Mark Kennedy | Temple of the Seven Golden Camels
This site is devoted to storyboarding tips and how-to:
When we think about the expressiveness of the human body it seems like the further out from the torso the extremity is, the more flexible and expressive it is (shoulders seem pretty expressive, hands even more so). We don't always think of the rib cage and pelvis (otherwise known as the hips) as contributing to great expressions, but the relationship between the head, ribs and hips tell us a lot about a person and can have a big part in telling us the age and health of the person and what their mental state is at that moment.