Saturday, June 16, 2012

URLAI website analysis

Just for fun, I ran the blog through URLAI and got the following results:
Text analysis is probably written by a male somewhere between 36-50 years old. The writing style is academic and happy most of the time.

Gender Ranking is the 85th most manly blog of 3227 ranked.

Mood Ranking is the 271th most happy blog of 3227 ranked.

I guess I'm surprised it rates so manly & happy!

Adventures with Adobe Customer Support

We just purchased Adobe CS6 Production Premium through a reseller, and they sent us an Adobe Software License Certificate with the Serial Number for the package. We were told to download the software from Adobe’s site.

I logged into Adobe’s website, and figured that the first thing I would do is add the software to the list of products we had registered. (I also thought that this section would provide a link for downloading the software.) I went to the “My Products & Services” page, clicked the button to add software, entered the serial number … and it told me it was an invalid serial number.

After some time wondering about what to do next, and reading three FAQ documents that covered invalid serial numbers - they seemed to be linked in a never-ending circle - I connected to the Online Chat to ask them what to do. This turned out to be a confusing and somewhat frustrating adventure.

The following is an edited transcript; I have inserted some commentary to let you know what I was thinking as it progressed. The entire conversation - with many long pauses between - took about 30 minutes:

Friday, June 15, 2012

Glidecam HD-1000 Review

The last few weeks I've had the good fortune of trying out a couple of newer versions of things I already own; specifically the LansBaby Composer, and now the Glidecam HD-1000 [$389.00]

I bought a Glidecam 1000 Pro over ten years ago, so it's interesting to see what's the same, and what's been improved when comparing it to one of their latest stabilizers.

The old 1000 Pro is looking a little rough, 
particularly with it's washers rather than nicely machined base and weights. 
Note too: the sled on the 1000 is not the original!

The gimbal, which is perhaps the most important moving part, appears to be little changed. Maybe it's different internally, but it's hard to tell; it seems to work the same way. What has changed is almost every other part of the device. The arm that attaches the handle to the gimbal is a solid machined piece, rather than a strip of bent metal. The foot and weights are also now nicely machined, not simply a bent metal plate and washers.

The gimbal is similar, but the arm that attaches the handle has changed significantly

The camera cart at the top still uses the same mutli-hole design, with a simple bolt being used to attach the camera to the camera plate. What has changed is that the cart now includes a mechanism for sliding the top plate (and the camera) left and right, and forward and back. This makes it much easier to get the stabilizer balanced and is a huge step forward from the model I have.

The Glidecam came packed in a peanut filled box, in five foam-wrapped packages. Assembly was reasonably quick and easy. The enclosed booklet seems to show you the steps to assemble the device clearly, but I was completely flummoxed by the fact that the camera plate was already attached to the top, and I couldn't figure out how to detach it! That took several more minutes than it should have (you unscrew and then pull out the screws at the outer four edges of the sled.) There were a couple of other places where I didn't completely understand the written descriptions, so while the booklet is large and appears to be thorough, I think it could be clearer.

The most noticeable difference; the "foot" and weights!

Balancing a Glidecam
Do I need to explain what a "Steadicam" is? Probably not. But with the use of the gimbal and handle, and the weights and arm, the motion of the camera is smoothed or dampened. You should be careful to read the instructions carefully; I think a lot of beginners make the mistake of putting too much weight on the bottom of the stabilizer. On the other hand, I do think mass is important to the operation of these devices, and a very light camera with light counter balance can actually be a problem when moving about because the camera moves too much.

You can't really see the controls in this shot, but the most important difference
is that now it's much easier to adjust the center-point of the camera on the camera cart

Another thing to watch out for when balancing the camera; make sure you do it with the camera configured the way you plan to use it! Don't make the mistake I made at first of balancing the camera without the flip-out LCD panel in the operating position, rather than in the closed position!

Also, if you're using this with a DSLR, you'll want to avoid using zoom lenses that change their center of mass when zooming - you'll have to rebalance every time you change the focal length of the lens!

The Glidecam HD-1000 is a big step foreword from the Glidecam of ten years ago. It's better machined and easier to balance. The latter reason is why I'd consider replacing my 1000 Pro. However, once the camera is actually balanced, the operation and performance are essentially the same. The only thing you really need to think about is; if you're planning to do a lot of shooting with these kinds of stabilizers, maybe you need to get something with a vest so your arm doesn't get too tired!

Note: The review unit was loaned by B & H Photo Video.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quick Links

8 Tips: Making Silent Films Today | Karlanna Lewis | Raindance
This article suggests that making a silent movie is a great way to build skills:
4. Camera and Set
Because visual elements are the core of silent movies, camera quality is crucial. Set also plays an important role in the story, so consider contrasting locations to follow the plotline and using existing locations since background noise does not matter.

Canon announces EOS-1D X release date | Christopher MacManus | C|net
The 4K DSLR is coming, though in limited quantities:
Talking to Imaging Resource, a Canon U.S. representative said that "the EOS-1D X cameras will be arriving in mid-June to select dealers in small quantities and increase gradually over time. They will be here in time for the Olympics and will be available."

Exclusive preview of Zacuto’s Revenge Of the Great Camera Shootout
| Philip Bloom | Blog
As luck would have it, they showed the film in Boston last night; unfortunately, I was unable to make it:
What Steve and Jens have made is a documentary of 90 minutes broken into 3 parts. The first of which goes lives on the 15th June. Unfortunately for some, I am in it. Although I was not able to participate in the testing part I was interviewed for the doc in Chicago last week and took the opportunity to get Steve and Jens to explain on camera exactly what this “Shootout” was about. You can view the video exclusively below.

Insert Coin: The Aviator Travel Jib lets you crane on the go (video) | Steve Dent
| Engadget
A KickStarter project for a jib:
At less than 3.75 pounds and 24-inches compacted, the device will tote anywhere but support up to six pounds, thanks to its sylphlike but rigid carbon fiber construction. It'll take your cinema cam or DSLR rig out to around six feet, and with its built-in fluid pan base, let you crane, track or truck to your heart's content. Pledge $400 and you'll get the jib, ballast, mounting hardware and a bubble level, while students can get the jib alone for $300. If that sounds like it could hit your mark, move fluidly past the break for the video.

Clean Up Your After Effects Projects for Archiving | Danny Greer | Premiumbeat
A link to a tutorial by Creative Cow contributor Kevin P. McAuliffe:
When you’re cleaning up an After Effects project, and especially before archiving, you’ll likely want to have one master composition and all the files that are associated with it. If you didn’t end up using a particular graphic or video that made it’s way into an After Effects project than there’s no reason for archiving it.

Prometheus: rebuilding hallowed vfx space | Mike Seymour | Fxguide
Visual effects creation for Prometheus:
Weta Digital produced a range of shots for Prometheus, from alien attacks to disturbing med-pod sequences, from Engineer ritualistic suicide to shot-for-shot digital doubles. A theme for many of these sequences was realistic skin. To produce such believable close-up character work, Weta had to build on its effects in Avatar and go even further into sub-surface scattering (SSS) algorithms than ever before. Weta used a global illumination tool starting on Avatar, and every project they have done since has advanced it incrementally

Several videos shot with the Canon C300, thanks to Paul Antico;

The Kimberley Gorges: Canon C300 | Philip Bloom | Vimeo
Montage for C300 Canon presentation in Seoul. Full documentary coming soon.
Edited by Sarah Estela with minor tweaks by moi.
Canon C300 - Overview & Setup - Magnanimous Media | Magnanimous Media
| Vimeo
Jonah Rubash extols the virtues of the Canon C300 and demonstrates the basic setup.
Canon C300 Field and Studio Test Tutorial | Marko Visual | Vimeo
I had the chance to field test a C300 for a couple of days. I'm going to be using the camera on my next trip to Guatemala to finish shooting the second documentary for Athentikos called Becoming Fools:
So I used this opportunity to see what kind of images I could get from the camera in certain lighting situations and settings. I used two lenses, the Canon 24-70L 2.8 and a Zeiss ZE 50mm 1.4. None of the footage has been treated and I used the LogC profile for all the clips you see.

Larry Jordan and Autodesk Smoke: What Makes Smoke Different? (Session 1)
| Autodesk | YouTube
More on Autodesk's Smoke 2013 (free trial through September):
In this first "Getting Started with Smoke 2013" tutorial, learn what makes Autodesk Smoke different from other NLEs and understand Smoke terminology.

“Save As…” Makes a Subtle Comeback in OS X Mountain Lion | J. Glenn K├╝nzler
| MacTrast
Glad to see Save As coming back:
One of the few things that has constantly frustrated me with OS X 10.7 Lion has been the removal of the “Save As…” command in all of the built-in apps. While certain tricks have surfaced that sort of duplicate the function, such tricks pale in comparison to the real thing.

Shot Lister | Reel Apps Inc | iTunes
Interesting iPhone/iPad app that's on sale this week for $9.99:
Shot Lister revolutionizes the art of shot listing from pre-production to the minute by minute decisions on set. It's designed by experienced film makers to deliver the only solution that can build, organize, schedule and share shot lists digitally.
Shooting a film never goes to plan, and now instead of scribbling over your printed out spreadsheet from a week ago, you can get back on track with a flick of a finger.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quick Links

Download Autodesk Smoke 2013 Pre-Release Trial | AutoDesk
The pre-release trial of Smoke 2013 is now available:
Enjoy this free* Autodesk trial until September 15, 2012.
...we will send out updated versions of the trial, helpful tips and tricks, instructional how-to videos, and more via email.
And if you want to learn how to use Smoke, check out these tutorials:

Smoke Learning Channel | SmokeHowTos | YouTube
If you are new to Autodesk Smoke 2013, follow the movies in this Getting Started playlist and learn the basics. Topics include project creation, media management, editing, timeline FX and Connect FX node-based compositing. We strongly advise you to view these movies in sequence, from first to last, before moving to more advanced topics in other playlists.

Video Encoding Presets for Kindle Fire, Nook, iPad and Android Tablets
| Danny Greer | PremiumBeat
Presets for Adobe Media Encoder for the Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble Nook, and other tablets using the Android operating system:
Hot off the heels of the Creative Suite 6 release, Adobe is already making preset updates to Media Encoder. New tablet products mean more avenues for video playback. Adobe is making it simple to optimize your video encoding for tablet devices.

A Quick Guide to Image Stabilization | Jason Row | Light Stalking
A look at the principles behind different types of in-camera and lens stabilization:
As a rule of thumb, you should only use image stabilization when it is really needed. If you have good shutter speeds and sharp images, switch it off, as you are actually running the risk of degrading the image. Also most manufacturers recommend switching it of when the camera is mounted on a tripod. For all systems it is well worth having a read of the manufacturers manual so that you can truly optimize your use of this excellent technology.

Lighting for Film & TV: Colour Correction Filters Pt 1: What is Colour Temperature? | Chris Weaver | Film Camera Course
Color Theory!:
As you can see from this Colour Temperature scale, the lower the value of the light (or Degrees K) the more ‘red’ the light becomes. In the film and TV industry we categorize light in the 1000-4000 K range as being Warm. 

5 Things Cinematographers Look For In A Director And Project Before Taking A Job | Cybel Martin | Indie Wire
Some tips on choosing collaborators:
2. Visual references - My director must have a clear idea of how the film should feel and look. It need not be finalized but they should have some tangible means of explaining their vision. If the script calls for “creepy”, the director might envision “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” while I think “Rosemary’s Baby”. Almost nothing excites me more than to be inundated with photographs, film clips, paintings that resemble the mood I am to capture. They help me get inside the director’s head.

Canon 5D Mark III Review | Nasim Mansurov | Mansurovs
In-depth review of Canon 5D Mark III with comparisons to the 5D Mark II and Nikon D3s and D800:
To their surprise, Canon only partially addressed some of the requests and none of the groundbreaking capabilities made it to the Canon 5D Mark III. And when someone like Vincent Laforet, who pretty much made the Canon 5D Mark II popular for videography did not feel very excited about the video capabilities of the 5D Mark III, you know that Canon could have done better.

3 Low-Budget Film Traps to Consider | FilmmakerIQ
Good tips for filmmakers:
Location scout with bad days in mind
Our location is a remote wooded area. It looks beautiful and is far enough from any traffic that its also been pretty good for sound (not counting the critters of the night).
Then it started raining for 3 nights in a row. The result is a quagmire in which its difficult to even walk without sinking into the mud, let alone push carts or move trucks.

| Coffee and Celluloid
After rejecting Final Cut Pro X, he starts to rethink the usefulness of metadata:
Logging is actually enjoyable. I can focus on watching the footage and not the hassle of jumping back and forth between different programs and using hacks to tag and log footage.
Even if you have no intention of cutting in FCPX, I’d argue (especially for documentary filmmakers) that it’s worth the $300 alone just to log and manage your footage.

New iMac and Mac Pro reportedly coming in 2013 | Ben Kersey | Slash Gear
After the disappointing update, now Apple hints there will be something better next year for the Mac Pro:
There were some doubts raised over the future of the desktop models that Apple currently offers with such a heavy focus on notebooks, but Pogue was told by an Apple executive that updates to both models are coming: “An executive did assure me, however, that new models and new designs are under way, probably for release in 2013.”

Why I am no longer a Canon APS-C user | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew is disappointed that the video image quality of the Canon APS-C DSLRs hasn't improved:
I am aware the EOS line is a stills camera first and foremost and I am aware that $15,000 is money found down the back of a sofa for professional Hollywood filmmakers. But where is the Canon solution for me and people like me in the mass market – but wanting to do more than just consumer point and shoot video? What I don’t understand is why so many people are still shooting video on APS-C Canon DSLRs, it is the biggest and best marketing trick of the decade. Celebrity shooter endorsements and brand appeal seem to be all.

Company 3 Color Grades Prometheus | Below The Line
Short piece about the company that graded Prometheus - it did look very blue:
Nakamura graded the first pass to optimize the imagery for the brightness level of the standard RealD system and subsequently adjusted and fine-tuned the material for the higher-brightness 3-D versions. He then completed yet another pass to make the most of the 2-D version, which is screened with brighter projection and is absent the softening effect that 3-D glasses can introduce.

Sony NEX-FS 700 Review | Firewerkz Films | Vimeo

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Quick Links

Canon C300 Tips for DSLR Filmmakers | Ron Dawson | Dare Dreamer
Ron offers some tips for using the C300:
The C300 comes with shutter speed defaulted to shutter angles. So instead of setting the speed manually to 1/48, you choose a shutter angle of 180, and it’ll make the correct shutter speed adjustment for you. But, if for whatever reason you want to achieve a different look and need to change the shutter speed, but you’re not familiar with dealing in “angles,” you can change the C300 setup to display shutter speed.

Canon EOS-1D X Manual Posted | CanonRumors
The manual for the upcoming Canon EOS-1D X is now available online

Apple announced - as well as didn't announce - several updates today:

Apple quietly discontinues the 17-inch MacBook Pro | Nathan Ingraham
| The Verge
...the company quietly did away with one of the long-standing veterans of its notebook lineup: the 17-inch MacBook Pro is no longer available. You can still buy a refurbished model on Apple's store (there's quite a few different configurations), but the computer has been removed from the regular store as well as all of Apple's MacBook product pages.

Do You Really Need The New MacBook Pro? Probably Not | Buster Heine
| Cult of Mac
A look at the advantages of the new MacBook Pro [B&H: $2799], and whether you need it:
The new MacBook Pro is crazy. It’s mind-bottling. But it’s not for most consumers because not everyone is a professional who needs to wring out every last drop of performance from their computer. Most of us use our computers for storing our pictures, listening to music, surfing the web, creating documents in Word or Excel, downloading videos, and creating a short video to post on Facebook every once in a while.

New Macs! Also Timescapes, the first film to be released for purchase in 4K and now native to the new retina macbook pro in just under 3k! | Philip Bloom
Philip offers his thoughts:
On the topic of that a real shame that the incremental improvements of the MacPro pretty much sum up where Apple is heading for pros. Minor speed increases, no new graphics card. Literally the same old mac with a teeny bit more oomph. Not what was needed after 2 years of zero love. I love me an Apple and my MacPro has lasted longer than any computer I have owned and pretty much most of my girlfriends (joke) but it has been switched off and replaced by a top spec iMac for the past 6 months.

One More Thing! Mac Pros are Dead? | Danny Greer | Premiumbeat
With a surprise minor update, both sides of the "Mac Pro is dead" debate seem to have been disappointed. So is the Mac Pro now dead? Who knows!
Although they were not announced at WWDC, new Mac Pros have been added to the Apple Store. It’s been nearly 2 years since the latest Mac Pro update and these latest versions are simply incremental updates. The new Mac Pros get a minor speed upgrade. That’s appears to be it – no Thunderbolt and no USB 3.0.

Tall Computers | Stu Maschwitz | Prolost
Folks make moving pictures for a living have been eagerly awaiting—and debating the likelihood of—a Mac Pro update. This non-update update does little to squash the debate. Is this a placeholder bump while Apple readies the “real” new Mac Pro? Or is this the death knell for the Apple’s tower line?

Diffusion for the Digital Age: The Use of Glass Filtration | Shane Hurlbot | Hurlblog
Using real glass to add filtration:
Filtration Rules
Typically, the rule of thumb is to use heavier diffusion when using a wider lens and a lighter diffusion when going to a tighter one, pretty much like the net being stretched looser or tighter. So for a 24mm, I would use a number 2 SFX. Then on the 50-85, I would use a number 1 SFX. For anything above a 100mm, I would use the number 1/2 SFX.

Free Cinema 4D Student Version | Maxon
Now free for students:
As of June 11, 2012 MAXON introduces the free CINEMA 4D Student Version in selected countries worldwide. MAXON will offer both a completely free version called CINEMA 4D Sudent and the very affordable CINEMA 4D Student/Teacher version. This makes MAXON's revolutionary tools affordable for students, teachers, colleges and universities, and lets them unleash their creativity in new dimensions.

What Excuses Are Holding You From Making Your Film? | Grant Peelle
| Dare Dreamer
Tips on making your own movie:
Excuse #4: “I don’t have budget to advertise my work…”
As we just talked about, I assumed that without an existing audience I would need millions of dollars in an advertising budget to reach people. What I’ve come to realize is that word-of-mouth has always been (and always will be) the best advertising.

Canon 650D Audio Monitoring Solution for DFSLR Shooters: Yes DFSLR
| Cinescopophilia
Audio monitoring when there's no audio-out plug:
Designed as a headphone monitoring interface between preamps, field recorders and DSLR cameras. Many recording devices and preamps have only a single Line Out jack. This jack is used to monitor with headphones or to connect to a DSLR. This cable allows users to go directly from the audio recorder into the camera and also monitor with headphones, creating a compact & elegant interface solution.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quick Links

Canon EOS Rebel T4i | TJ Donegan | Digital Camera Info
The first review of the new Canon is already up:
The major improvement to AF is seen in live view shooting and video recording. In either mode on most DSLRs, the normal method of phase detection autofocus is not available, forcing the camera to rely on contrast-detection AF. With the T4i’s new image sensor, the camera has a hybrid phase/contrast detection system available in the middle of the frame, combining with Canon’s new stepping motor lenses to provide smooth, silent autofocus tracking to the subject.

It starts at the camera | Oliver Peters | digitalfilms
Interesting thoughts about not relying on how well modern cameras handle bad lighting:
All too often though, producers take the “fix it in post” mantra way too seriously. Since modern cameras offer excellent low light sensitivity, the basics of good lighting and proper art direction get short-changed. If the director, DP and lighting crew are allowed a bit of time to exercise their craft, the results will be so much better in the end.

The Depth-of-Filed-Quiz for Camera Assistants | The Black and Blue
A quiz spilt into two parts; the first part tests your knowledge of the basic principles of depth-of-field, while the second part tests your ability to accurately guess the amount of depth-of-field with a real-world situation:
1. Which camera or lens setting has no effect on depth-of-field?

Focal Length

What’s missing from today’s tech based editing | Ron Sussman Edits | Blog
Ron suggests that the old way of film editing provided the assistant editor with much more exposure to the process:
I got to sit right next to the editor and watch which shots he chose and why. I got to hear the discussions with the clients and I was directly involved with the editorial process. On top of that, since I had been working with this footage since dailies and had organized it into select rolls, I knew the footage better than the editor did. I knew which roll every stray single frame came out of and if the editor needed a CU of, says a particular actress, I knew where to find it among 24,000 of film.

Remove banding in After Effects | Rich Young | Pro Video Coalition
Some tips on reducing banding in footage:
It’s a bit of a mystery why there’s still so much banding in TV & web graphics.

Maybe people can’t preview in the appropriate color space or codec to see banding, which may be eliminated by adding the AE Noise filter (or Add Grain) at about 5% (maybe on an adjustment layer).

The Weekend Report, June 10, 2012 | Leonard Klady | Movie City News
I saw Prometheus in 2D too:
Of note this weekend was the fact that both of the national debuts were 3D offering with 74% of Madagascar playdates stereoscopic and Prometheus going out with 92% of its engagements in the process. However, 3D accounted for 42% and 54% of the respective films box office.

Writers + Directors, Part 2: Working With a Director | Jill Remensnyder | Zacuto
Tips on working with Directors:
2. Speak up early or suffer the consequences. If everyone wants to turn your drama into a slapstick comedy and you don’t speak up, do you really think standing your ground on the first day of filming is going to get you very far? Don’t be the jerk holding up the shoot.

Having a Look at Resolve 9 | Alexis Van Hurkman | Blog
A tutorial for DaVinci Resolve:
I was pleased to be in Montreal, presenting to the Final Cut MTL group’s PostNAB 2012 gathering, and they’ve released the video of my Resolve 9 preview on YouTube. If you’re a current Resolve user, you have a lot to look forward to. If you’re not, but you’re thinking of getting started, the next version will make it a much more enjoyable experience.

The problems with Prometheus ; even if it is only Science FICTION

I'm going to come right out and say it: I wasn't that impressed by the movie Prometheus. The movie was nicely shot, the acting was good, effects mostly believable, and it moved along quickly, so you didn't have to dwell so much on the problems with the story.

But seriously...

It's hard to believe that anyone - including eccentric trillionaires - would finance an expedition staffed by such amateurs.

For those who don't know, Prometheus is about a bunch of alleged scientists sent on a secret mission to investigate the possibility of aliens on another planet. Aliens who might have had contact with humans in the past. Unfortunately, I think some of these "scientists" might have lied about their backgrounds, or were judged experts only because they had appeared on CNN.

In a nod to Alien, there's a brief hint that some of the crew are dissatisfied with the money they are receiving, but that doesn't become a major plot point. My major complaints are:
  1. Why staff a mission with people who don't seem that interested in going?
  2. Why have the team members meet each other for the first time when the craft gets to its destination?
  3. Why is there even the need for total secrecy? Why couldn't the crew know something of what they were looking for and going to do?
  4. Why land on a new planet without sending down a robot to scout it out?
  5. Why rush around the first afternoon, after taking over two years to get there? How about having a plan and being a bit more methodical?
  6. Why let the team members - with little training or coordination - explore / touch / and take samples and run analysis on things on their own initiative?
  7. Why let team members wander off and get lost?
  8. Why would someone who is supposed to be a scientist, notice he's exhibiting some odd symptoms and not say anything, even to his girlfriend?
  9. Why does the same person, on the same day of discovering an alien race that may have created the population of earth, go into a funk because he didn't get some answer he was looking for? On the first day? Talk about short attention span!
It goes on. In another nod to Alien, an infected team member is definitely not let on board - finally, some rational action! - but then ten minutes later, after lots of weird things happen "Hey! What's that out there? Let's open the door and wander out and take a look!"

Some of the crew pick a good day to die.

In 2001 and Alien, the actions of the androids/robots could sort of be understood in the context of secret mission objectives. But it is difficult to understand the goal of the android in Prometheus; unless he is just a psychopath?

I'm not going to even get into the aliens; their relationship to humans, their objectives, and the surprisingly immediate results that occur from intersperses breeding.

All in all, it seemed more like a grand 18 century exploration, rather than a scientific exhibition of any kind in the 21st or 22nd century. Is this how science will be conducted when it is funded by Google and Facebook billionaires?

Now in response to some of these complaints, I've seen some push back from fans along the line of; don't be so critical, it's science FICTION. I would suggest that it's science FANTASY, but even at that, it's bad fantasy.

With any fiction, the object is to suspend disbelief. For some reason - and maybe I'm being difficult - Prometheus didn't do that for me. I don't think I'm a particularly hard audience; I don't believe in witches and wizards, yet I sat through all the Harry Potter movies without feeling the same level of agitation. Well, I did in the one where they went back in time...

Now perhaps if these adventurers had been dressed up as 18th century space-pirates, in a steam-punk spaceship, then their propensity for thoughtless actions wouldn't have annoyed me.

So as you can tell, I didn't think this was a great movie. But perhaps the greatest damnation of the movie came from my teenager daughter: "I thought is was going to be scarier."

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

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Quick Links

'Dark Knight Rises' Director Christopher Nolan Isn’t a Fan of Digital
| Alex Ben Block | The Hollywood Reporter
It's not news that Nolan doesn't like digital, but here's more quotes from him:
Nolan said he thinks film is still best because it provides the filmmaker the most range, captures the most depth of image and works best as a tool to tell a story. Nolan said that moving to digital creates a risk of “devaluing what we do as filmmakers.”
“The problem with the push to digital is its has been given a consumer aspect,” says Nolan,” who suggests it confuses the camera with an Ipad. “It’s not what is best for the film,” he insists.

Celluloid no more: distribution of film to cease by 2013 in the US | Megan Geuss
| Ars Technica
It's also not news that celluloid distribution is going to end sooner rather than later:
While economics may be spurring directors toward digital movies, theaters aren’t following quite so quickly on their heels. "51.5 percent of worldwide screens had digital projectors at the end of 2011," said Deadline. While that's an 82 percent increase from the year before, the move from film to digital will almost certainly create a burden on theaters to invest money they may not have on new projection technology. Digital projection systems can cost between $70,000 to $100,000 and small town movie houses will have trouble coming up with that cash.

What should the long-awaited Mac Pro update look like? | Chris Foresman
| Ars Technica
Interesting thoughts about why such a long delay on an update to the Mac Pro, and what a new Mac Pro might look like:
As we noted above, Apple could easily ditch at least one of the internal optical drive bays. The company could also switch some or all of the internal storage bays from 3.5" to 2.5". That alone could allow Apple to make the Mac Pro thinner and significantly shorter, even if it keeps the number of internal bays constant.

DIY Catering Part II: 4 Easy Ways to Go Green(er) | Ashley Maynor
| Self-Reliant Film
Ideas for reducing costs on catering:
2. Require BYO-Bottles & Provide A Refill Station: Our film sets are BYO-water bottle for all crew. I also keep a few extra stainless steel bottles on hand for talent, PAs, and the inevitable forgotten bottles. Having designated, labeled bottles helps to cut down on waste–no more unidentified, half-drunk plastic bottles lying around! And I’ve found that many crew will keep their bottles attached to their belt loops with a carabiner. This constant access equals more hydration and less fatigue on set.

Just say NO to vertical videos | Nino Leitner | Blog
Sure, BUT I have seen one use for vertical video that was very effective - when the screen was mounted vertically!
This is an issue I have come across MANY times with amateur shooters who are mainly using their phones to shoot video – they shoot vertical videos and don’t even realize that it’s utterly stupid.
Vertical videos make absolutely no sense for a lot of reasons, and I want to smack the phones out of people’s hands whenever I see someone doing it. That’s for photos only!!!

HBO’s future is in standalone streaming. It just doesn’t know it yet
| Farhead Manjoo | Pando Daily
Today I was talking to someone who used to work in the local video store (now defunct) and we talked about how video stores are virtually a relic; will television channels be a thing of the past soon too?:
One morning during the next five years, you’ll wake up to news that HBO has seen the light. The cable network will announce that it has decided to take your money—maybe $12, $15, or $20 a month—and from that moment on, you’ll be able to watch its shows without a cable subscription.

Five Ways a 2nd AC Can Impress Their 1st AC Beyond Belief | Evan Luzi
| The Black And Blue
Many of Evan's articles could be easily re-written to apply to almost any career:
The demands placed on a 2nd AC are tremendous because they are expected to accomplish tasks the 1st AC would do themselves were they not metaphorically strapped to the camera. The more you, as a 2nd AC, can meet those demands without the intervention of the 1st AC, the happier you keep your department.
And the happier the department, the more likely you are to get hired on another gig.

Check out the winners of the 2012 Vimeo Awards | Philip Bloom | Blog
Philip collects together the award winners from the Vimeo awards (I didn't even know they were going on):
I was lucky enough to be asked to judge the “Lyrical” category. It was very tough as there were very strong entries but one stood out amongst the others and that was Symmetry by EveryNone. I presented the award to them tonight at the Vimeo Festival and they fantastically went on to win the Grand Jury Prize. Well done guys. Incredible work.

Meet Tom Lowe, The Filmmaker Who Talked Back To The Pirate Bay
| John Biggs | Tech Crunch
A director posts on Pirate Bay:
When I saw the torrent, I felt like letting downloaders know that this was a small, self-financed film, and there are not any Hollywood fatcats in the revenue stream. We have also gone out of our way to offer like 15 different types of paid downloads, from standard-def resolution up to 2560×1440, for those with 2560×1600 monitors, which we believe is a first. If you want reduce file sharing, I think you should offer fast, secure, relatively inexpensive, DRM-free downloads in as many flavors as possible. The only people DRM hurts are your actual, paying customers.

Cool Text Effect with the Puppet Warp Tool in Photoshop CS5 | Abduzeedo
A step-by-step tutorial on creating an interesting effect. Not for video, but then Photoshop can edit video, so maybe it could be used for a video effect:
When Adobe started announcing some of the new features of the CS5 version of Photoshop they showed the Puppet Warp tool in which they played with an elephant's trunk. I was really impressed with that tool but never used it that too much, because of that I decided to give it a try, especially after seeing a screen cast with Russell Brown in which he was showing how to manipulate a rope with the Puppet Warp Tool.