Saturday, March 24, 2012

Off Topic

Last Tuesday I went to a lecture at MIT on "Documentary Film and New Technologies". The description was very promising:
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?
I thought that there would be a discussion of new technologies (DSLRs! WiFi enabled cameras!), ubiquitous filmmaking (cellphones! iMovie for the iPad!), new distribution (iTunes! YouTube!) and unique sources of funding (KickStarter!) Instead I got a rather esoteric discussion on how traditional funding sources have changed a little, and hints at interactive media replacing linear storytelling - with a dash of maybe.

There were moments of clarity - particularly a short riff on the temporary nature of media - that I will excerpt in a separate post, but for the most part, I was surprised how seemingly off-topic the discussion was. Instead of a discussion of actual technologies, we found out how Public Broadcasting in Canada is still funding documentaries(!) and have started dabbling in interactive (I think web based, though it wasn't clearly explained.) It was interesting, but of little use to those of us in the USA, where thinking that public funding will expand is a pipe dream. We also learned a little about funding from the Tribecca Institute, and a bit about how Sundance is exploring interactive media, though again it was more an overview than anything specific.

Now, my understanding is that this forum came at the end of some daylong event, so it may be that I dropped in at the end of the conversation, and thus couldn't understand at all why the butler did it. But it might have helped if someone had shown some examples, or defined what they were talking about.

The most interesting comments were from Patricia Zimmerman, who as a historian, noted the history of interactive television, and how much of what people were "discovering" now, had really been done before in other forms.

But otherwise, it was a very academic, dry, discussion. Academic both in approach - more about formal development through funding or art institutions, rather than people in the trenches - as well as academic in the sense of distance from actual details of what actual people were doing. Or even how they were doing it.

In other words, it should have been broadcast on C-Span.

Quick Links

My first 48 hours with the Canon 5DmkIII [Updated] | Philip Bloom | Blog
Philip tweeted some additional thoughts on the 5D Mark III:
Philip Bloom @PhilipBloom
the #5dmk3 video footage looks SOOO much better with post sharpening. Never like it with MK2 but it really makes a difference here

Frame grab from #5d3 video at 1080p. Graded& a touch of post sharpening in Premiere. Loads of detail. Much happier
and added this post-script to his preview:
EDIT: After doing some experimenting do some work on it in post. Bit of grading and post sharpening the footage is coming to life beautifully. Detail that is not there before is coming out….thankfully! I am still shooting footage and testing camera out. I will update this review in a few days…

CineStyle on the 5D Mark III and fixing softness in post | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew has also added some notes on the Mark III:
First a quick word to the wise – VLC Player is not giving accurate gamma with 5D Mark III footage at all so don’t trust it! Use Premiere Pro CS5.5 and Quicktime X to playback and evaluate your footage. If you still have gamma issues like I was having, you can use 5DToRGB and a gamma value of 1.22 to fix this.
Going on to say:
After my experiments today the 5D Mark III does seem to be responding well to sharpening because there are so few artefacts in the source footage and the high bitrate holds onto all the good stuff.

Canon C300 Scene Files from AbelCine | Andy Shipsides | AbelCine
Andy Shipsides posts scene files for the C300:
First, a couple of notes on the profiles. I found that the camera has a hard time with yellow colors, which tend to turn a bit green. This was hard to adjust with the matrix controls, so I added a color correction fix to each profile. Area A in the color corrector is set to fix this problem, but it can be disabled without having an effect on skin tones. Additionally I reduced the sharpness in each profile to remove any edge enhancement, feel free to increase it as desired.

Triad Canon C300 Camera EF to PL Lens Mount Adapter | Cinescopophilia
A PL lens mount adapter for the C300:
Triad Professional Camera Support have announced their new Canon C300 camera EF to PL lens mount adapter will be shown at NAB 2012.

5D Mark III and D800: Thoughts on Camera Tests and Company Motivation
| Joe Marine | No Film School
Promising a review of the Mark III and D800 in the future, this post offers some thoughts on comparing and reviewing cameras:
That doesn’t mean we can’t be critical of either Nikon or Canon. They are promoting the video features of these cameras as being complimentary to the photography features, rather than just an added bonus. We can’t forget that these are still photography cameras. Many have compared these to the FS100, and in some cases just for video purposes, it might be a better deal. I’m not going to get into those comparisons right now, because I haven’t used either camera yet – but that’s going to change soon.

Which digital cinema camera to get now? | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew looks at the Sony NEX-FS100, Canon 5D Mark II & III, Panasonic GH2, Nikon D800 and Sony NEX-7 and offers his thoughts on the pros of each:
Rather than progression, this camera is more like a fix. It does away with moire and aliasing, it has a headphone jack for audio, and better monitoring over HDMI. It reminds me in some ways of the difference between, say, a 60D and 7D. BUT it still has the muddy resolution of the 5D Mark II from 4 years ago! For certain shots the softness is just perfect. Portraits, medium-close ups, shallow DOF stuff is all very nice on this camera. At infinity focus on a wide angle shot though, it looks utterly terrible.

Importing Canon C300 and MKIII Footage into Avid MC6 | Matt Jeppsen
| ProVideoCoalition
Here are two quick tutorials by editor Dylan Reeve that will show you the simplicity of importing Canon C300 and Canon 5D MKIII footage into Media Composer 6.0.

Nikon's D800 outclasses camera rivals in sensor test | Stephen Shankland | C|Net
Reviews and tests of the D800 are coming out:
So far, the D800 is head and shoulders above its predecessor, the D700, and a good contrast with the D4, which is geared more for photojournalists than the D800 with low-light performance and high durability. The biggest unknown right now is how well the D800 will compare to its direct competitor, the new 22-megapixel Canon 5D Mark III, which DxO expects to test soon.
First truly representative Nikon D800 video footage. DXOMark says sensor is ‘best ever’ | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew also gets excited about the D800:
The only concerns I have about the Nikon is that I cannot adapt my Canon glass to it and the 5D Mark III definitely does not have many moire or aliasing issues from what I can tell so far. The D800 doesn’t have the really bad false detail that plagued the 5D Mark II but there does seem to be more of an issue with rendering very thin perfectly straight horizontal lines on slowly moving shots. Fine patterns on shirts, brickwork and that kind of thing seems fine in this footage though, so it may be only a minor aliasing issue not full blown coloured moire.

The Best Color Correction Plug-In For Final Cut Pro Is Released AFTER It’s Demise | Danny Greer | Premiumbeat
Unfortunate that a great plug-in comes out...for Final Cut Pro 7:
Final Cut Pro 7 is end of life and investing so much into a dead product doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. For the same price you can pick yourself up a copy of DaVinci Resolve – a powerful, standalone application that doesn’t rely on the architecture of an NLE to function.

Notes from a talk by the director:
So why film? Why not any other medium? I can conjure up ideas and images in my mind – scenes and situations that I can see and hear in great clarity when it’s just me a notepad and a pen. But getting these thoughts to exist in reality purely by my own means is impossible. I’ve never been gifted when it came to art. I lack the patience and expertise to be a photographer and as everyone who knows me well would confess my rhythm, or lack of it for that matter, has always been in the way of any musical aspirations I may have once had.

Performing An 'Act of Valor': Managing DSLR Media with Military Precision
| Jon Silberg | Creative Planet Network
Great behind-the-scenes information for the movie 'Act of Valor':
Simple issues like file naming presented the filmmakers with a few challenges. "We shot to the CF cards," the CTO says. "We had a media manager on set who would collect the cameras and upload the files. But we'd have shooting days where different cameras would have the same file names and we couldn't do anything about it. It was a big awakening for us. You find a format that everyone falls in love with, but you see how disastrous it can be if you don't handle it correctly.

How to make a Behind the Scenes (BTS) video | Riley Hooper | Vimeo
The Vimeo Film School continues with this article:
Oftentimes other filmmakers are interested in watching BTS videos because they are curious about the technical aspects behind a project. They want to know what cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, microphones, rigs and post production software were used. Did the project make use of state of the art equipment, or a new camera that just came out on the market?

Jeffery Harrell @jefferyharrell | Twitter
"Be an editor," they said.
"You're a natural storyteller," they said.
"Watch progress bars all day," they didn't say even once.

Vortex Media Releases Sony PMW-F3 S-Log and External Recorders Test Footage
| Creative Planet Network
Vortex has put together tests of multiple data recorders when used with the Sony PMW-F3, though you have to buy it:
Vortex Media’s “PMW-F3 S-Log & External Recorders Test Drive” provides professionals the opportunity to compare, evaluate and experiment with 126 original, unedited, ungraded video clips that were recorded with a Sony PMW-F3 camcorder and five popular models of external recorders, including the Convergent Design Gemini 4:4:4, Cinedeck EX, Sound Devices PIX 240, AJA Ki Pro Mini and Convergent Design nanoFlash.

MIT’s Open Documentary Lab: part think tank, part incubator for filmmakers and hackers | Andrew Phelps | Nieman Lab
Interview with Sarah Wolozin, director of the new Open Documentary Lab at MIT and William Uricchio, the Open Doc Lab’s principal investigator:
The Open Doc Lab brings storytellers, technologists, and academics together in a place that has been home to pioneers of direct cinema, interactive cinema, and French realism. For all the worrying we do about technology and platforms, the story — that atomic unit of human communication — does not seem to be going anywhere.

LaCie 2big Thunderbolt series external HDD review | Michael Gorman | Engadget
A review of this premium-priced Thunderbolt drive [4TB $649] [6TB $799]:
Its robust build, massive capacity, quiet operation and, of course, blazing transfer rates all make for quite an attractive package for use as a media and backup repository. Despite those merits, the 2big's premium price is likely to be a turn-off for many.

Adobe Photoshop CS6 | PhotoshopUser
A collection of resources for those playing with the Photoshop CS6 beta

Sony reveals (some) NAB plans | Post Magazine
Sony doesn't give away too much about what it plans for NAB:
The company also called attention to the success of its F3, which began shipping just prior to NAB last year. To date, Sony has delivered 3,000 F3s, which are being used on project such as Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer, Key and Peele, and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.

Status Update | Sarah Thompson | The Abbess
Director Sarah Thompson writes about the lens collection she has put together for the Panasonic GH2, including the new Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 [$699]:
Rokinon 24mm f1.4. Just arrived today. Awesome lens, very cinematic look to the images. Very sharp, manual only so it should work well with a follow focus. Gives you a sharp, bright standard lens with the GH2. I'll probably use this a lot.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ron Risman on TImelapses | Pub Night report

At last nights Pub Night at Rule Boston Camera, Ron Risman [Cameratown] talked about Timelapses. Some interesting tips I picked up included:
Don't use auto aperture
If you have a Canon camera, don't use an automatic lens - or if you are, use the "disconnect" trick[1] to turn off the aperture control on the lens. Evidently, if the lens is fully automatic - all Canon's modern lenses are - and you are shooting at anything but fully open, the camera switches back to fully open after each shot, then switches back to the set aperture (say f/8) to take the next picture. But it might be f/7.6 for one shot, and f/8.1 for the next. This will cause flicker.
Ron showed an example video that had been shot at different apertures. The smaller the aperture (i.e. f/16) the more pronounced was the flicker problem (obviously, if you actually shoot wide-open, then the problem doesn't occur!)
This was news to me; I'd previously read that you had to shoot fully manual (i.e. set aperture, shutter and ISO) but I hadn't heard that you had to lock the aperture. This may explain why I was getting flicker back when I tried my hand at timelapses!

Planning ahead is really important
Whether it's knowing the time and place the sun or moon will come up, or knowing when high tide is, you need to plan. Also, make sure you shoot enough pre-roll and post-roll.

After Effects is his preferred application
Though he also likes Adobe Lightroom and a third-party tool called LRTimelapse, which lets you mark points in a sequence where color balance changes as key frames and adjust them in Lightroom, and then ramp the changes between the key frames. This requires sending meta data back and forth between the two applications in a few steps, and it sounds a little more complex than it is, but it seemed to be a really good way of adjusting color/exposure slowly over a range of frames.

Tom Lowe's website and forum are a great resource.

Ron also offered thoughts on what makes an interesting time-lapse, the settings he likes to use, and some guidance for Choosing An Interval (how often you take a picture.) Ron brought with him a couple of dollys and a pan-tilt head from eMotimo, which he said was very good, and not that expensive, though he didn't really talk at much length about using these.

If you're interested in learning more, Chris Portal has already posted an amazingly detailed report of the evening here: Pub Night: Cinematic Timelapses

And In Other News
Dan Bérubé of the Boston Creative Pro User's Group was at the event, and he had a Lytro light field camera, which he'd just received the day before. He gave a very quick demo, which - to me - wasn't that impressive, but he had only had it for a day, He did claim it was the "way of the future"; I couldn't tell if he was joking or not.

Dan has sold his Panasonic AG-AF100, and he told me that he's still planning to buy a C300, but that he's now waiting until after NAB to make the purchase. In the mean time, he has ordered a 5D Mark III!

We had a long conversation about whether the Digital Bolex would become a reality. Dan's hopeful, and I'm skeptical!

And next week we'll be back at Rule Boston Camera, who is hosting the Boston Creative Pro User Group meeting on the Canon 5D Mark III and C300...Filmmaking with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III & Color Grading Your Next Project and Canon C300 Footage on "Hustle"

[1] To "disconnect" a Canon lens, choose aperture, then press the depth-of-field preview button on the camera, and while that's held down, release the lens and turn it until the aperture display goes 0.0 on the camera display. It's now disconnected, though the lens is still reasonably firmly in place. Just don't forget that you did this!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First reviews - mixed - of the Canon 5D Mark III

Now that the 5D Mark III is arriving in people's hands, we're learning more about the video capabilities. It appears that while the camera shoots in even less light than the Mark II - and has some nice features like the audio-in plug and a reduction in moiré - the actual picture quality isn't that much better than the Mark II's. Certainly not much of a jump when you consider how long the Mark II has been out:

My first 48 hours with the Canon 5DmkIII | Philip Bloom
For me, resolution was the thing I wanted to really see an improvement with. I shoot a lot of deep depth of field high detailed shots. Yes the moire and aliasing is gone it seems, and this is wonderful, but the detail is rather muddy on high detail shots. [...]

Rolling shutter artefacts seem barely improved. Still clearly visible. A disappointment for sure.

No clean HDMI output. Both the Nikon D800 and D4 have this.

Canon 5D Mark III review | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew is so unhappy with the Mark III that he says he has bought the Sony NEX-FS100. I stand by may advice that a month before NAB is a bad time to buy a camera...
  • Not true 1080p video – more like 720p resolution in reality. No improvement on 5D Mark II
  • Fizzing codec mosquito noise visible even at ISO 100 on underexposed areas and shadows
  • Unlike Nikon D4 and D800, HDMI cannot be utilised for better image quality with external recorder
  • Other than the moire & aliasing fix and better ISO 3200+, no improvement in video quality over very old 5D Mark II
  • Nothing really very imaginative has been added for video users – no crop mode, no EVF, no articulated screen, no electronic ND filter like G1 X

Canon EOS 5D Mark III field review | Zach Honig | Engadget
Unfortunately, this review basically ignores the video side of the camera:
Like its predecessor, the 5D Mark III is an incredibly capable video shooter -- in fact, some of the camera's future owners may not use it to capture stills at all. We certainly don't fit within that elite category, though we did snap some homebrew motion pictures whenever still photos just couldn't do a justice. Video looked fantastic, just as it did on the Mark II.

Finding the sweet spot | Sam Morgan Moore | DSLR4Real
Sam compares the 5D Mark III and NEX-FS100, from a functionality/usability point-of-view, not looking at image quality:
If you add a monitor, batteries for that monitor, an XLR box or sound recorder you end up with a horror show that starts with the single mount point that means the darn thing spins when you touch it with a follow focus, a mini HDMI lead feeding the monitor that falls out, cost you shots, and cost a fortune if you damage the connection - same goes for the mic in and outs - repair bill waiting to happen

This is where the Sony FS100 sings - build it up and in my opinion you have a wonderful combination of cinematic footage with the realbility of an ENG camera all for an amazing price

SONY NEX-FS100 Firmware
With what appears to be a miss-step from Canon, Sony sees a chance to rest on their laurels: they were was supposed to release a firmware upgrade for the NEX-FS100 today, but this has now been pushed back to April 19 (the last day of NAB!)

Quick Links

5D Mark III codec noise research - example file | Andrew Reid | Vimeo
DON'T PANIC: but some people have encountered a noise issue with the 5D Mark III. It's unclear if it's a camera / settings / conversion / software / or user issue.
Exhibit A for the 5D Mark III codec issue of heavy noise even at ISO 160. This isn't ISO related it is an encoding issue. Research required to find out what is causing it.

As of now, this footage is unsuitable for professional use. I'm seeing tons of crawling noise over the image and it isn't stable. Noise appears in all apps I have used so far: Quicktime X, VLC 2.0.1, Premiere Pro CS5.5, 5DToRGB transcode does not help.

First day with the Canon 5d3 ( photos and video ) | Jacob Gibbins | Blogspot
Some nice photos and very good video shot with the 5D Mark III:
Canon 5d3, 70-200 2.8 , 24-105 , 15mm fish , slider, tripod , mics etc
All shot and edited in one day...

Canon EOS 5D Mark III quick tests | planetMitch | Vimeo
A short video with a couple of scenes shot with both the Mark II and III [someone buy Mitch a tripod-Ed]  as well as an interesting low-light shot, and extreme jello test.

Steve, Rob, Vince and Me | Steve Forde | Adobe Blogs
What looks like an interesting session on After Effects at NAB. Will also feature someone named Steve Wozniak:
Rob Legato just won his second Academy Award for Visual effects this year for the fantastic Martin Scorsese film – Hugo. Rob will be discussing how he feels these types of advances in technology will fuel the next generation of film and creativity.

Vince Brisebois and myself will be talking specifically about those advances and how you can use them. I’m also killer excited because it will be the first time in public that I get to explain what I believe to be one of the biggest advances to Adobe After Effects in over a decade.

After Effects Basics: Part 38: Range Selectors | Andrew Davis | Creative COW
And for the After Effect's user, a new tutorial on Range Selectors:
Range selectors in After Effects enable many text animation functions that would be quite complex to achieve through the normal 'stop-watch' approach to animation. Range selectors also give us the ability to animate the numerous functions within the character panel, which at first sight, appear not to be animate-able!

Episode 44: Tascam DR100 Mark II and Zoom H4n Compared | Caleb Pike
| DSLR Video Shooter
Another comparison of the Tascam DR100 with the Zoom H4n:
I have been using the H4n for as long as I have been shooting on HDSLRs. It has taken good care of me and I have not had any major problems with it. So if people think I am being unfair to the H4n they should also try the Tascam DR100… They might find themselves picking one up. Even though the H4n has become the most used audio recorder by HDSLR shooters, I believe the DR100 MkII has a serious edge on it.

Understanding Color Processing: 8-bit, 10-bit, 32-bit, and more | Karl Soulé
| Adobe Blogs
The is an old article, but worth reading about how Adobe Premiere handles color:
Trying to understand video color precision is, well, a confusing task. There are so many different terms floated around – 8-bit and 10-bit color are used to describe cameras, while software talks about 8 bits per channel, 16 bits per channel, and 32-bits per channel “floating point” color. What does it all mean?? And, for the colorist, how does Premiere Pro handle color?? If these are burning questions in your mind, then read on.

Denz shows off Canon EOS 5D Mark III PL mount body | Planet5D
A PL mount conversion for the Mark III probably isn't cheap!:
Hans-Jürgen Götz sent me this and I thought some of you might want to see… it is an extension of what Denz has been doing with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II but they’ve now shown a Canon EOS 5D Mark III version already at the Canon roadshow in Stuttgart, Germany the other day.

Matching Audio in FCPX | Larry Jordan | YouTube
Short instruction on matching audio. To be honest, I'm including it because I didn't know FCPX had this function (I knew it had a Match Color function.)
In this short Final Cut tutorial, Larry Jordan -- -- shows you how to match audio from two different days using two different mics. This is an excerpt from Larry's training, FCPX: Working with Audio.

ipad going invisible | michael cioni | Foresight|Tumblr
Interesting thoughts on the iPad:
3 years ago when the first iPad was announced I was in a meeting with a post production supervisor for a movie we were about to start shooting. I told her that 2 weeks after production started, the iPad 1 would come out and we would send a few to production for dailies viewing. She looks at me and says, “Why would anyone ever want to use an iPad for viewing dailies?” 3 years later, iPad dailies review has become the preferred method of image delivery (at least amongst my circle).

MC 5.5 to MC 6 Upgrade Price Change on the Avid Store | Mariana | Avid Forum
Watch out! There's a price increase coming!:
Heads up everyone..........I wanted to let you know about an upcoming price change to the Media Composer 5.5 to Media Composer 6 upgrade. Effective April 1, 2012, the online Avid Store pricing for this upgrade will change from $299 to $499 US MSRP.

Cut Notes for iPad can now be used with Final Cut Pro X! | Taz Goldstein
| Hand Held Hollywood
A handy utility for the serious filmmaker to quickly create edit notes with the iPad.  An upgrade to the separate utility Cut Notes Marker Importer now allows you to import into Final Cut Pro X:
In a nutshell, Cut Notes let’s you use your iPad to quickly create a list of edit notes that can be imported into Final Cut Pro 7 as timeline markers.

iTunes Appears to Change Colors of Images Sent to the New iPad
| Melissa J. Perenson | PCWorld
This applies to stills only, but interesting to know:
To be clear, it's not news that iTunes alters photos that it syncs to an iPad. Images sent to the iPad 2 via an iTunes sync undergo an "optimization" process, in which iTunes first downscales and then resizes the image so that it takes up less space on the iPad. But with the new iPad, iTunes seems to be doing something more than just resizing photos, whether by design or by accident.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quick Links

Spring Revolution – my shoot with the Canon 5D Mark III – first impressions
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Minor issue with the Canon 5D Mark III effects some Mac apps:
The colour space of video is now broadcast HDTV standard Rec. 709 (thanks for the discovery, David Newman on Twitter). The 5D Mark II had the old standard definition 601 colour space, which didn’t make any sense at all. Meta data and timecode is stored in the Quicktime clip, no THM file is present. VLC Player 1.9 doesn’t playback the ALL-I H.264 – unusually for that app. Quicktime X is OK but I don’t use it. Instead, updating to the latest VLC Player 2.0.1 fixed the issue.

EOSHD test of Canon 5D Mark III ISO 12,800 | Andrew Reid | Vimeo
Andrew has also posted a short, low-light, hand-held video clip:
5D Mark III footage shot with Leica R 50mm F2 wide open, direct from the card, edited natively in Premiere CS5.5, no colour correction or any other alterations in post.

ALL-I 1080/25p.

Canon 5D Mark III Graded | Stu Maschwitz | prolost
Quick experimental grade with some Mark III footage:
Dan Chung posted some camera-original clips from his new 5D Mark III. I grabbed one and did a quick color grade. [...]

To my eye, in this highy subjective and non-conclusive test, the footage holds up better under extreme adjustments than that of the 5D Mark II.

How to shorten the Sony FS 100 Viewfinder? | eteotico | YouTube
The Sony NEX-FS100 viewfinder tube is rather long; this video tutorial offers a solution for shortening it:
This is a quick tutorial on how you can make the Sony FS 100 Viewfinder shorter. All you'll need is a reading lens (go to your nearest optical shop) and a 2" velcro tape. This was shot with an FS 100 using a Minolta Zoom 70-210mm F4.0.

Light is Our Inspiration | Moose Peterson | B&H
This applies to video just as much as stills:
Light—in all of its magical and frustrating patterns—is to me the number one ingredient in a great photograph. Beyond any piece of camera gear, Photoshop, or shooting technique, it is the heart and soul of a photograph! This is the problem, as I see it. For many photographers, recognizing great light when we do have it, and then working with it, is a hurdle. (The opposite is also true, but that’s another article). And just as important, I think, is recognizing it in the photograph, be it in your own or in that of others.

What is the Future of DSLR Video? | Romanas Naryškin | Mansurovs
A couple of days ago I linked to Philip Johnston's article that the DSLR revolution was over. Not everyone agrees:
With all the attention the biggest DSLR manufacturers have been giving to the video recording capability of their cameras, it is safe to assume DSLR video is here to stay. Even the skeptics seem to be less sure of their arguments against such a trend. A new wave of short films hit the broad horizon of the Internet – is now full of short DSLR-filmed movies, and plenty new videos are added every day.

Nikon D4 tested at DxOMark, gets second best overall score | NikonRumors
The D4 does well in testing:
DxOMark published their test results for the Nikon D4 camera. The D4 automatically took the #2 spot, based on overall test score and just 2 points after the PhaseOne IQ180 digital back. Another interesting aspect is that the Nikon D3s got a better low-light ISO score than the new D4.

Jag35 Zip Tie Focus Lens Gear | Olivia | Olivia Tech
Quick video about Jag's low-cost focus lens gears:
We received these Zip Gears from Jag35. The Zip Gear is a strap that wraps around a lens to provide an interface with a 0.8 mod focus driving devices. These lens gears have a low profile and can be kept on your lenses to eliminate having to change out the gears for each use. They’re easy to apply, you simply attach the gears to your lens using a Zip tie.

Import Only Audio or Video Into FCPX Timeline | Connor Crosby | FinalCutWhiz
Tutorial explaining how to import a video or audio track only; also has a link to Dan Allen's YouTube video that explains the same thing:
Sometimes you may just want only video or only audio when bringing in media from your Event Browser to your Timeline in Final Cut Pro X. Luckily, there is a simple way to do this.

Apple’s iMovie will now work on your iPad 1! | Taz Goldstein | HandHeldHollywood
Taz wonders why Apple has brought iMovie - with limited features - to the iPad 1 now, and thinks that maybe it's in response to Avid Studio:
So, iPad 1 owner, are you excited to create your very first iMovie Trailer? Not so fast… It seems Apple still has you sitting at the kid’s table. While you’re able to edit video with ease, you don’t have access to the app’s new Movie Trailers feature. For that, you’ll still need to upgrade your iPad.

5 Ways to Keep the Sound Guy Happy | IGGY | How To Film School
Some tips on sound - many apply even if you don't have a sound guy:
Room Tone
Everyone knows how important room tone is, but a very important part of room tone is making sure that it is being captured under the same conditions that you were shooting under. That could mean all the lights being on and even trying to match the amount of bodies in the room.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quick Links

“Borrowed” – what’s it like moving from an HDSLR to the RED Scarlet-X?
| Josh Negrin | Planet5D
Josh recounts his experience moving from the Canon 5D Mark II to the RED Scarlet:
I’ve never been much of a camera manual reader, but I did myself a favor and read through the RED Scarlet manual, before day two. Oh, and I also ordered us an LCD Hood (Hoodman 5.6″ Monitor Hood for RED Cameras, which fits the 5 inch touchscreen perfectly). In the manual, I found that the top button, on the side of the lcd, will let you punch into the image, and a simple auto focus setting will allow you to either press the front record button down half way to get focus or by simply touching and holding on screen where you want the focus.

10 Reasons to love the Sony FS100 | Corey Steib | Blog
Corey provides ten reasons to "like" the Sony NEX-FS100, though sometimes it seems like he's damning with faint praise:
3. The Handgrip
Ok I agree with everyone that this handgrip is not the best in the world and looks funny a breakable but it's built pretty dam good. Yes you have to screw it lose to re position it but once you get it to were you want it then I think you will like it as I do.

Director/DP Kyle Camarillo Skates through Life with his AG-AF100 | Critical View
| Panasonic
On Panasonic's own site, an interview with skateboard shooter Kyle Camarillo who uses the Panasonic AG-AF100:
“Trying to make DSLRs work for the past year was a constant struggle,” he continued. “I loved the look but never was happy with the actual video quality. The usual suspects (moire, aliasing, rolling shutter) were always a disappointment when going into editing.

Video: “Both Ends” And Thoughts On The Canon EOS C300 | Jamie Stuart
| Filmmaker Magazine
Jamie got to borrow a C300 for a couple of days and shot a movie using two - comparatively - slow lenses, the Canon f/2.8 16-35mm zoom and Canon f/2.8 24-70mm zoom:
The semi-radical conclusion to this approach was that I shot a low-light practical source film without high-speed lenses. The camera alone made this possible. Yes, there was noise in certain high ISO shots, but that was mostly visible when the lighting was indirect and extremely low-contrast, as opposed to it being entirely ISO-based; high-contrast lighting in shots using the same ISO didn’t yield particularly noticeable noise.

Looking Into the Camera for Interviews | Ron Dawson | Dare Dreamer Magazine
Interesting suggestion about shooting people talking to the camera. I agree that it adds more impact for some things, though I also think it takes much longer to shoot, as you will have to do more work to make sure your talent is comfortable:
But for the past year or so I’ve been a fan of having the interviewee look directly into the camera, as if they are talking to you personally. I think this composition is particularly effective in videos where there is some call to action or a testimonial. It feels stronger and more personal that way. Let me demonstrate.

Shane Hurlbut Full Interview Part 1 | The Rock | YouTube
If you follow the work of Shane Hurlbut, and the move Act of Valor (which made extensive use of Canon 5D Mark IIs) you'll enjoy this radio interview:
Shane Hurlbut director of Photography calls into The Rock and talks to Studio Guy and Hollywood Scott about his work on the hit movie Act Of Valor in theaters now. This is part 1 of the complete interview. Parts of which were aired on The 80's at 8 every sunday at 8 am and 8 pm on the Rock 106.9 WCCC!

Expression Shorts - Auto Center A Layer Between Two Moving Layers
| David Torno | ProvVideoCoalition
Ever have the need to have a layer stay exactly at the midpoint between two other moving layers? This tutorial for After Effects explains how - though it includes code!
x1 = thisComp.layer(“Point 1”).transform.position[0];
y1 = thisComp.layer(“Point 1”).transform.position[1];
x2 = thisComp.layer(“Point 2”).transform.position[0];
y2 = thisComp.layer(“Point 2”).transform.position[1];
xResults = (x1 + x2) / 2;
yResults = (y1 + y2) / 2;
[xResults, yResults];

Top 10 Pitching Tips From Script To Screen | Nick Dawson | Filmmaker Magazine
Notes from a “Pitch Intermission” session in which a panel of experts fielded pitches and then offered advice on how the screenwriters could hone their spiel
2. Keep it loose. “Try and be personal and conversational,” suggested Sokol Savage. “Allow yourself to be off the cuff.” David Young agreed, adding, “Don’t be too rigidly scripted, because if an exec interrupts you, you’ll struggle to get back into your flow.”

Should you upgrade to the New iPad? A filmmaker’s perspective | Taz Goldstein
| Hand Held Holywood
Personally, if you have an iPad 1, upgrading makes sense; if you have an iPad 2, I'm not sure it's quite as worthwhile - but that may depend on how good your eyes are!
I’ve been banging on Apple’s newest iDevice since Friday morning, and I’m ready to offer my answer to this burning question: Should mobile filmmakers run screaming to the nearest Apple store to grab the new iPad?
Answer: Yes.

Monday, March 19, 2012

BOSCPUG March 28th Venue Change

The upcoming Boston Creative Pro User Group March 28th meeting on "Filmmaking with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III" & "Color Grading Your Next Project and Canon C300 Footage on "Hustle"" has moved location to Rule Boston Camera.

Rule Boston Learning Lab: GETTING PERSONAL WITH SONY 35MM Mar 28

Boston-based corporate and documentary cameraman, Ben Eckstein, shares his experiences (and footage) shooting with the PMW-F3 along with a refresher from Sony on the F3 and the NEX-FS100.

10am to 12n with Breakfast

March 28: Showroom Demo at 12n featuring F3 and FS100 accessories.

Quick Links

Seppe Van Grieken Has An Early Hands On A Production Canon EOS5D MKIII
| Seppe Van Grieken | DSLR News Shooter
Seppe gets to play with Dan Chung's 5D Mark III. He finds the menus complicated, and the image quality a little bit better than the 5D Mark II, but says he's saving for the C300 instead:
Low light performance in video mode is pretty good, it produces quite clean images on everything under 10,000 ISO. Detail is certainly not at the same level as the Canon C300 though – maybe it’s a bit better than a 5DmkII. Moire seems to be much, much better than the 5DmkII – almost invisible. Rolling shutter still seems to be there, but not as bad.

Has the DSLR video bubble finally burst? | Philip Jonhston | HD Warrior
Philip is a long-time ENG/videocamera operator, so he may be a little biased against DSLRs, though I think he's somewhat right:
I think the bubble has burst big time, this marketplace has moved on and with a hard hitting recession sales of the new DSLRs are not going to be as easy with phase two, phase one was a roller-coaster, a learning curve, the new kid on the video block…that has all gone and so has the enthusiasm to spend over £3,000 on a DSLR that on paper has not got £2,000 better features than the last camera.

Canon NAB 2012 | Canon
Canon has created a page dedicated to NAB with some odds and ends, including Martin Scorsese talking about "Cinema EOS":
It's been a significant year for Canon USA, with the announcement of a whole suite of new products designed for film, TV and related industries. Join us at NAB Booth #4325 and see what's next from Canon. Check back for the full Canon NAB event schedule.

EXCLUSIVE ! Leica Noctilux f/0.95 VS SLR Magic Hyperprime T0.95, the movie!
| Seb Farges | Vimeo
A comparison between two f/0.95 lenses (one less than a third the price of the other!):
My opinion ? mmmm the Noctilux is an extraordinary lens, good rendering at f/0.95, smooth aperture ring. This lens is a little smaller and lighter than the SLR Magic lens. It's in M mount (Leica). The problem : the Noctilux is too expensive for me, 8000€ (10600$) !!! Please note that the SLR Magic I've used here is a prototype lens. It's be available in september in M mount, it's price is not fixed yet, but it will be around 2300€ (3000$), 3.5X less cheaper than the Leica.

Doc Trends In The Digital Age | Amanda Lin Costa | TribecaFilm
Interviews with Eddie Schmidt, Lois Vossen, Jason Spingarn-Koff, Sky Sitney, Peter Hamilton, and Scott Macaulay about trends impacting indie films:
I do think filmmakers are beginning to imagine new ways of telling stories across multiple platforms including online, through Games, etc. and so transmedia and more immersive formats will continue to pull documentaries in new directions. Much more relevant to independent filmmakers is the question of how viewing habits have changed and what audiences will “sit through” in terms of television running times.

The '70s, When Critics Mattered | Matt Singer | IndieWire
The speed of the internet has made it harder for the movie critic:
These days, it's all about the instantaneous reaction; critics are expected not only to be the best, but to be the first as well, in part because modern movies don't last in theaters long enough to support a substantial conversation. Only the rarest and most intelligent of Hollywood films (intelligence being the rarest of all qualities in Hollywood) have enough theatrical staying power to provoke truly interesting critical analysis.

Why the New Apple TV, iCloud, and 1080p iTunes Affect Filmmakers More Than the New iPad | Joe Marine | No Film School
Personally, 1080p isn't much of a difference on either my TV or iPad..maybe I need new glasses:
Regardless of the successes or failures on iTunes, getting 1080p is finally a step in the right direction for Apple and you’re going to be seeing a lot of films being bought and sold through its iCloud service – and since it’s less likely to find an independent film at your local theater, at least we can get those films in “real” high definition.

The Failures and Fallacies of Mike Daisey’s Apple Attack and the Media
| Arik Hesseldahl | All Things D
The unfortunate thing is that we are more swayed by anecdotes than by facts and figures. Many of the basic facts were true, they just didn't happen to him, or the way he presented them. As Hollywood would say "inspired by actual events." The other unfortunate thing is that this turn of events just made me feel less guilty about buying my new iPad:
Clearly, people care about how workers who make our electronics are treated, or there wouldn’t have been a market for Daisey’s show, or for an hour-long radio documentary adapting it. And the subject is one we need to discuss at length as a society. The net result of Mike Daisey’s efforts to put self-promotion ahead of the facts has badly muddied the waters, and has probably done more harm to the people he sought to help.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Quick Links

DataVideo iPad Prompter upgraded for Canon C300 | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
I have the DataVideo TP-200 Teleprompter, and for $575 (plus the cost of the iPad if you don't already own one!) it's a great little device. However, Philip has discovered that the C300 is too tall for it; he demo's a workaround:
Sometimes you buy technology and it works just fine but the DataVideo iPad Prompter as it stands won’t work with the Canon C300 without severe vignetting.
The problem lies with the camera itself, it’s too high and brings the lens far to close to the top of the 45˚mirror and on a 17mm lens the top part of the mirror assembly and the sides interfere with your picture.
The answer is to lift the mirror assembly 32mm above the base plate.

Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter | Dong Ngo | C|Net
A while back I experimented with the Seagate USB 2.0 and Firewire adapters for their GoFlex Desk drives, and found that while there was a measurable difference in copying really large files, the impact on day-to-day things like rendering in FCP was very small. I wonder if the Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt Adapter (STAE122) adapter, at $189 plus the cost of the cable, will make more of a difference:
The bottom line: All things considered, the Seagate GoFlex Desk Thunderbolt adapter is currently the best investment for those who want a superfast storage device to use with a Thunderbolt-enabled Mac.

Little Known Way to Make Hidden Marks for Actors Outdoors | Evan Luzi
| The Black and Blue
Simple idea for putting down marks using golf tees:
Normally for marking actors outdoors I use a piece of chalk or these DIY steel T-marks, but these methods are blatantly obvious if the camera were to pick them up. Obviously, you can’t expect the audience to suspend their disbelief if they see a group of actors all standing on white “X’s” drawn on the asphalt, so in those situations, I’m left without any marks at all.

Final Cut Pro X: Troubleshooting basics | Apple
Some tips for helping with FCPX issues, including this nugget:
In order to verify that Final Cut Pro X is working as expected, it's always a good idea to review the documentation to ensure that you clearly understand the expected behavior of what you're trying to do in Final Cut Pro X. Following this step thoroughly could save a lot of time by eliminating perceived issues.

FCP X: Adding Keywords Manually | Larry Jordan | Blog
An introduction to adding keywords to clips in FCPX:
In FCP 7, we organized our files using folders and file names. In Final Cut Pro X, we organize files using keywords. There are two ways to apply keywords: automatically and manually. Here’s an article that describes how to apply keywords automatically.
However, most often, we need to organize our clips manually as we figure out the organization we need to make sense of a project. Keywords are perfect for this – and very fast, both to apply and to use.

video tutorials for working in 3D by Andrew Devis | Todd Kopriva | Adobe
Collection of tutorials for After Effects:
Andrew Devis (who has been creating a lot of great material lately) recently published a five-part series on setting up 3D scenes and animating cameras in After Effects. I appreciate how simple Andrew managed to keep these video tutorials, while still showing how to fine-tune and control 3D animations.

What’s happening at NAB 2012? | Scott Simmons | ProVideoCoalition
Scott is attempting to keep track of what's going on at NAB:
There’s a ton of both official and unofficial events that happen during the day and in the evening. There’s not really an official list anywhere and as I’ve been trying to compile a list of my own I thought I’d post that list of events here on the Editblog. I’ll continue updating this list as the show draws near. If you have anything to add to the list please put them in the comments below or email them to editblog [at]

Digital Bolex | Forum
Now there's a forum for the Digital Bolex:
Building the Digital Bolex - What to include, what not to include
The Future of Cinema - The Power of Local Films
Lenses and Accessories for the D16 - Wishlist of LENSES for the D16

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

Dan Chung Tweets on the Canon 5D Mark III

Dan Chung of DSLR News Shooter just got his Canon 5D Mark III and is tweeting about it:
Finally got my 5DmkIII in my hands - some strange layout choices. Not quite the same as the 5DmkII. Some better some worse.

Focus magnification now either on the left side of screen or the Set button - I find it harder to use when handholding

Aperture control is nice as you can set it on the main dial and lock the shutter speed, no more accidental changes in vide

On screen meters seem to require a whole lot of other stuff on display to clutter the screen. Anyone figured out how to remove that stuff?

Using a 5DmkIII alongside a 5DmkII for video is going to be very very confusing. Control layout too different

HMDI out of 5DmkIII also not quite what I was expecting - basically windowed 1080i, similar to 7D

Really annyoing thing is the audio meters are outside the windowed HDMI area - U lose audio meter if U scale an EVF to fill the screen

The Moire is much much better on the 5D3 - and rolling shutter too. Very clean high ISO. Audio control is nice

And I can't seem to get audio to pass out of the HDMI, so no option for @Zacuto EVF's audio levels either