Saturday, August 04, 2012

Quick Links

Extending SpeedGrade with SpeedLooks | Eric Philpott | Adobe
A short interview with Jeff August of LookLabs, who sells these LUTs for SpeedGrade, and will be giving a free webinar on the 16th:
What are SpeedLooks?
SpeedLooks are specially designed LUTs which emulate the look of film. They are based on Fuji and Kodak film stocks and they give images character instantly.
What gave you the idea for this?
For a long time I’ve tried to give a unique look to interlaced video. I wanted my shows to look different from the way broadcast looked – to give video a more filmic personality.

More Canon C300 CP's! | BrianCWeed | CinemaEOSUser
Some Picture Profiles for the Canon C300:
TRUvid2 was designed to be bright, vivid, & punchy (but not in a cartoony way like you get with EOS Std); for when you need to deliver right away and you know there won't be time for color work. TRUcine looks great out of the box w/ nice DR, really hangs on to the highlights & will grade very well. And TRUlog is for when you need a color-accurate c-log profile that doesn't skew the greens to cyan, maintains solid reds, and also keeps the blues in check a bit more (although, I do find that aspect of the CINEMA profile often very pleasing).

FCP X: Avoid Lion Slowdowns | William Hohauser | Larry Jordan Blog
Running apps in full-screen mode is not such a good idea...
Activity Monitor did not show anything out of the ordinary so I downloaded the program atMonitor to monitor the video card. What I saw was that full-screen apps can absorb up to 70% of the VRAM even though you are not on the particular program. This was clearly conflicting with FCPX and slowing things down.

The Future of Film | Lori Kozlowski | Forbes
This article isn't abut film, but are notes from a panel on the future of the film business:
Tercek: After a few years of intense debate, the results are now in, and the skeptics have been proven wrong. Social media exerts a decisive impact on the success of Big Media launches, from music to games to motion pictures and T.V. shows. In every step of the motion picture business, from the earliest creative exploration and initial research, through casting and set design, through principle photography and after the theatrical release, savvy filmmakers have learned to take advantage of this powerful channel of communication to build a direct link to their audience.

Court Rules Embedding Video Is Not Copyright Infringement | Ted Johnson
| Mashable
The court ruled Thursday that embedding a video that infringes on copyrighted material is not a violation of copyright law. For example, if you found an episode of The Simpsons on YouTube and embedded it in your blog, you would not be violating any copyright laws. That holds true even if the person who uploaded the video ripped it straight from The Simpsonsseason 3 DVD. However, the person who uploaded the video is in violation of the law

Vincent Laforet in New Zealand | Canon
Filmmakers/Photographers in New Zealand will have a chance to see Vincent this month at a talk in Auckland on the 27th and two workshops; Auckland on the 28th and Wellington of the 29th:
This is one of the founding reasons why Canon New Zealand are bringing Laforet to conduct two highly anticipated full day workshops (Auckland 28th and Wellington 29th August). Laforet will share a variety of cinematic techniques that are common in all films, and will also provide the tools and rules for filmmaking so attendees can craft the most important part of any film – storytelling.

New Podcast Series - Industry Insights | Den Lennie | Blog
Den, Bruce Logan and Mick Jones have started a new podcast series. The first episode topics include:
  • The culture of “wanting and waiting”
  • How important is the camera?
  • Is Film Making the new rock and roll?
  • Does Social Media build your business?
  • The power of people and collaboration.

EGO REVIEW | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
The Liquid Image EGO [$179.99, they should be available shortly] is another little action camera. This one has Wi-Fi capability (though the video stops transmitting once it's in recording mode!) Philip likes it, but would like to see some improvements:
The first thing that must be updated is the ability to have manual iris/exposure, this one feature would enhance this wee camera ten fold as it has a tendency to close down at the hint of any skyline.
The battery lasts about 30mins max when filming 720 60p which is not very good as you can’t replace it when it goes down.

Kinefinity Dives Into the Sub $10K 2K Category with KineRAW | James DeRuvo
| DoodleMe
A collection of information and clips of this Super35-chipped camera from China:
One thing is certain, the price of 2K and 4K cameras are dropping like a rock every time a new camera enters into the market. This time, it’s the Kinefinity KineRAW, which offers 2K RAW resolution from a Super 35mm sized CMOS sensor.

Matthew Robertson: Filmmaker with Over 30 Million Views (X180-078)
| RON DAWSON | Dare Dreamer
Podcast interview:
His videos have over 20 million views. They have been spoofed and attacked due to their provocative content. His email is blowing up because of it. He has so much work coming in, he dropped out of school. Yeah…school. He’s only 20!

Getting started with Adobe Speedgrade (The interface Part I) | SpliceNPost
| YouTube

Friday, August 03, 2012

Quick Links

SpeedGrade for Aspiring Colorists: A Color Grading Primer for Editors | Adobe
Thursday, August 16, 2012 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM US/Pacific
I sat in on a SpeedGrade webinar before getting the software. I've since launched the program and become confused, so I'm actually looking forward to seeing how to use the program!
Aimed at editors who want to add color grading to their workflow, this seminar will start with a look at the color correction tools in Premiere Pro and then move on to provide a primer in the powerful color capabilities of Adobe® SpeedGrade™ CS6. Open the full dynamic range of your footage and learn how to manipulate light and color to craft picture-perfect results. Now part of Adobe Creative Suite® and Creative Cloud, SpeedGrade gives you the power to push your stories further. Sign up for this live Ask a Video Pro session with award-winning editor and colorist Jeff August to learn more.

Adobe Premiere Pro: Applying Audio Effects to Multiple Tracks | Clay Asbury
| Premiumbeat
This is from a month or so back, so I might have linked to it before, but I wasn't really paying attention to Premiere then. Now I am:
Using Premiere Pro’s workspaces save you time in that they set up a layout suited to specific tasks. In this instace we’ll want to work with the Audio layout.
Go to Window > Workspace> Audio. This workspace rearranges the layout, with the Audio Mixer on a tab with the Source Window and the Project top left.

Animate Chapman | Competition
A competition sponsored by Adobe (win a copy of Adobe Production Premium Suite.) Make an animation based on an audio clip of the late Graham Chapman:
In celebration of the new 3D animated feature film "A Liar's Autobiography - The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman' a global animation competition is being launched, sponsored by Adobe to bring Graham and Monty Python's hilarious sketches to life. This is your chance to animate the world renown British comedy troupe Monty Python in your own unique style.

Davinci Resolve V9 '5 things I like in 5 minutes' | icolorist | Vimeo
Warren talks about 5 of his favourite features. Filmed in Sydney during a break in shooting his latest online classes for FXPHD.

Green Screen Production Quick Start | Richard Harrington | Blog
When preparing to record a subject in front of a green screen, it is important to find the correct lighting and backdrop. Once you have the green screen set and a test subject lit, you are ready to record and key your new background in post-production In this episode, Rich demonstrates several techniques to keying in Adobe After Effects.

FCP X: Effects with Light | Larry Jordan | Blog
Three different effects in Final Cut Pro X:
Vignette works by darkening portions of the frame. Spot works by lightening portions of the frame. However, used carefully, you may end up with a more pleasing vignette effect using Spot than vignette.

When Starry-Eyed Dreams Confront Harsh Realities | IMAHNI DAWSON
| Dare Dreamer
Thoughts on acting, and not being able to do it:
To inhabit the spirit of an imagined person is hard. It’s humbling. It’s no longer about you. It’s about them. This is why my respect for actors is so great. They allow us to see into an aspect of human life that would be hidden from us otherwise. The people who are truly grieving or living their great and strange lives would never allow an audience in the room.

The Origin and Idea | joerubinstein | Digital Bolex
A little bit of history of the Digital Bolex project:
There has been a lot of good writing about how “concept is king” and I don’t intend to dispute that, but I feel like the best products come from a harmonious relationship between the craft and the concept. This sounds obvious, but how many times on set have you heard “If the audience is looking at the ____ we failed to do our job as story tellers”?

How to Clean Your Lens and Filters Properly | Allan Weitz | B & H Photo Video
Smudges and fingerprints take a bit more effort, and here too, you should be as gentle as possible. Start by taking a soft micro-fiber cloth or a piece of lens tissue (folded, not bunched up), breathe onto the lens surface (never dry-clean a lens) and gently wipe the lens surface in a circular motion. Repeat if needed using a fresh piece of lens tissue or clean portion of the micro fiber cloth.

Embracing Limitations to Drive Your Creativity | Peta Pixel
Here’s an interesting TED audition by artist Phil Hansen, who speaks on embracing limitations (both natural or artificial) in order to drive your creativity. While Hansen isn’t a photographer, many of his ideas should be very relevant to photographers looking to give their work a kick in the butt.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Quick Links

10 Premiere Pro Tips for FCP Editors | Clay Asbury | Premiumbeat
A good resource for those starting out with Premiere Pro:
Personally, I save my media/projects to a folder on my media drive (fastest drive). I put my Premiere Auto Saves & Previews/Renders on a seperate drive and back up the projects to Dropbox daily. Whatever strategy you choose, please back up your project! If you forget or need to change your scratch after launching the project, go to Project>Project Settings>Scratch Disk to make modifications.

Premiere Pro memory settings explained | Digital Rebellion
An explanation of memory management in Adobe's video products:
Premiere, After Effects, Encore, Prelude, Media Encoder and Photoshop all use the same memory pool so the RAM is assigned between them. Premiere and After Effects are assigned the highest priority within the pool so closing these applications can improve performance in the other apps.

A big addition to this site: The Educational Resources Page | Vincent Laforet | Blog
Vincent announces a new feature of his blog:
With this post I am introducing something to this blog that I have been wanting to do for a very long time: the "The Educational Resources" section that organizes 4 years of instructional material from this blog. To date, the "Gear Page" has been the single most popular destination of this site – that section contains detailed information on every single lens, camera, accessory, light, monitor (you name it it’s there!) that I have owned/used/ or rented and that I would recommend to others.

Metabones EOS Mark II mount adapter for Sony NEX, FS100 E-Mount review
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew likes the new version of the Metabones adapter, recommending it "100%."
Even though a lot of my EOS mount lenses are manual focus (like the Samyang 35mm F1.4) the electronic contacts a necessity for those needing image stabilisation and electronic aperture adjustment on Canon EF lenses. No other adapter to date has come close to the Metabones in terms of build quality and compact size either.

The Power of Lighting for Cinematography with Just Two Lights: “We Are Marshall” | Shane Hurlbut | Hurlblog
A good post on lighting with just a couple of lights, from Shane Hurlbut:
Always fire up a test before you go crazy lighting things. Sometimes your subtleness in the light you created doesn’t come through once all the effects are fired up. I had the warm side light that was motivating the porch light on a 6K dimmer at 35%. Once the rain started, I ended up cranking it up to 65% to cut thru the rain and mist.

FCP X: Fun with Titles | Larry Jordan | Blog
Some tips for creating titles in Final Cut Pro X:
Drop zones always play video clips from the start of the clip. To have the clip start somewhere other than the beginning, create a compound clip and edit the video into it so that the clip starts when you want.
Then, add that compound clip to the drop zone.

| DSLR News Shooter
A couple of weeks back I sent filmmaker James Miller some RAW test footage that I shot on a beta Chinese KineRAW S35 camera. The footage was shot using a Nikon 17-35mm lens and was a simple, quick test given the brief time I had with the camera. The recording format was 2K using Cineform 12bit RAW. James has kindly graded it and posted it on Vimeo as a 1080P version which can be downloaded

WHY I DON’T BUY THUNDERBOLT HARD DRIVES | The Illiterate Ramblings of a Creative Hack
I also don't think Thunderbolt makes sense unless you're using a true raid:
Long story short, you are paying a premium to remove universally available IO ports, and replace them with 2 that are only available on the latest Mac hardware (BUT NONE OF THE MAC PROS). This may be okay in many situations, but if this drive is going to be used anywhere other than YOUR Mac, you might be setting yourself up for a missed connection and a headache. I can’t afford to not be able to plug into a Mac Pro or even a PC when the need arises.

Videomaker Update: Greenscreen, Lighting and Free Stock Footage | YouTube
A video on YouTube that highlights some new articles on Videomaker....or you could just go to the site instead:
Green Screen Videos on
Fixing Rough and Discolored Edges
Fixing Unwanted Green and Spill
Subject Doesn't Match the Background
Source Footage has a Camera Move
Specialty Lighting for People
Audio Sweetening

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Quick Links

Importing AVCHD media into Premiere Pro on Mac OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) | Todd Kopriva
| Adobe
A couple of problems with Premiere Pro and the new OS X release:
It has come to our attention that Apple has made a change in Mac OS X v10.8 (Mountain Lion) that changes the way an AVCHD folder structure appears to the operating system once imported. This affects the workflow for importing AVCHD media into Premiere Pro CS6.
We have also today discovered a bug when using Premiere Pro with Mac OS X v10.8 in which AVCHD media that has gone offline cannot be successfully relinked.

Blackmagic Design Releases DaVinci Resolve 9 Public Beta for Mac, Windows and Linux! | Creative COW
Blackmagic releases a Public Beta for Resolve 9, as well as the Lite (free) version:
New user interface improvements include a new streamlined project import, export and selection workflow, scrubbable media thumbnails to speed up shot selection, production metadata fields for entering on set shot notes and larger color control palettes to give faster access to grading tools.

Six, (er) Seven New Features in Resolve 9 | Alex Van Hurkamn | Blog
Alex lists what he likes about the new release:
Mixed Frame Rate Support
For me, this is the single biggest new feature in this release. Bigger even then the new UI. Mixed frame rate media has been a frequent hassle in projects I get from clients. Most NLEs let you edit any kind of footage you want together into a single timeline, regardless of frame rate.

Academy of Art students work on 'Beasts' | Carolyn Said | SFGate
Should students work on films for nothing? As part of class?
"We work on independent films that don't have a budget for visual effects, so we aren't taking jobs away," she said. "We structure the class in teams set up like a studio. The more experienced students take ownership of the projects and serve as lead artists and production coordinators. They are learning the production pipeline of work with clients and real deadlines, not just homework deadlines."

3.2 inch Z-Finder Frame | Zacuto | Vimeo
Zacuto introduces the 3.2" Adhesive frame and 3.2" metal frame for the Z-Finder Pro and Jr models. No need to buy a new Z-Finder for your Canon 5d Mark III or Nikon D800, now you can just buy one of these frames and retrofit your existing Z-Finder. Watch this video for more information.

Notting Hill Sounds promo | Ed Moore | Camera Notes
A write-up on a shoot with two Sony F65's:
I’ve had very good experiences with the Sony F65 over the past few months so we went with a two camera F65 package from Filmscape. A camera had a 16-42mm and B camera had the Optimo 24-290. The F65 is hardly a small camera but if you have the crew to handle it I believe the results are unparalleled at present, and I’m a big fan of the mechanical shutter.

At the Bench: Sony’s SR-D1 Download Station for the F65 | Andy Shipsides
| CineTechnica
A look at playback deck for the F65 memory cards. It's an expensive piece of equipment (I think; I couldn't find the price anywhere other than an "under $5,000" quote in an article), but it does makes you wonder what the 4K option for the Sony NEX-FS700 will be:
At NAB this year, Sony gave us a first look at the new SR-D1 Memory Drive Unit, which is a single-card SRMemory reader. SRMemory is extremely fast and robust, but previous card readers offered more features then most required. The SR-D1 offers a simple downloading solution for the F65 and the SR-R1 recorder. It features eSata and USB 3.0 connections for quick offloading to both Mac and PC.

LIGHTING: The Most Common Light Leaks, and How to Stop Them | Art Adams
| ProVideoCoalition
A lighting tutorial that looks at lighting challenges:
Barn doors are generally not a matte black. The black coating has some shine to it. If one of the barn doors, typically the one opposite the set, is in exactly the right position, it will catch light on its interior surface and throw it across the set like a small shiny board.
I hate this.

I'm a long-time Bond fan, and I hope this is a good one. I hear it was shot on the Arri Alexa.
Casino Royale was a good movie, but the follow-up, Quantum of Solace, was way too confusing and pointless.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Quick Links

Panasonic AG-HPX250 Delivers Master Quality In A Compact Size | Tony Muzzatti
| Crews Control
DP Bill Mills went on a 10 day safari to three conservation areas in southern Africa with the Panasonic AG-HPX250 ($5,595]:
The HPX250’s is the first P2 HD handheld camcorder that records in 10-bit, 4:2:2 independent frame, 1920 x 1080 resolution in the AVC-Intra 100 codec. To most professional camera operators and cinematographers the importance of capturing in 10-bits is a must. 10-bit capturing allows for four times more precise color sampling, while also eliminating the video artifacts often seen in 8-bit device recordings.

A roundup of the current Blackmagic footage | John Brawley | Blog
John recently posted some footage from the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, which raised some questions that he addresses in this post:
The aliasing is not from the camera in this case, as you can see from looking at the very first clip. This was introduced by the post process.
And there's an update on availability of the camera from @SafeHarborComp:
This just in from Blackmagic -- BMD cam should be ready to ship in 2 weeks, resellers will have by 3rd week of August. Unsure how many.

Metabones creates second-generation Canon EF to Sony NEX 'Smart Adapter'
| DP Review
Heralded as the first electronic adapter for mounting EF and EF-S lenses on Sony NEX cameras with aperture control directly by the camera body, EXIF and image stabilization lens support, the Metabones Smart Adapter has since become an indispensable tool for the most demanding cinematographers and other professionals. Now, the Second Edition adds numerous incremental refinements based on customer feedback.

Ep. 6 - You Must Toil | NeedCreative Podcast
The latest issue of this new podcast is out, covering a bunch of topics including:
  • The Olympics in London - the opening ceremony
  • The new EOS M Mirrorless Camera
  • Doing Voice Overs for drama
  • Red Giant has a new Denoiser out

Real Samyang/Rokinon Cine lenses coming in September 2012 | Cinema 5D
The official Rokinon facebook account just announced that they've been developing cine lenses featuring smooth T-stop rings and they also appear to have built-in follow focus gear rings.
"Rokinon 35mm T1.5 cine lens will be available in U.S in few weeks and Rokinon 24mm T1.5 & 14mm T3.1

Color Correction Basics – Working with the Waveform | Eric Philpott | Adobe Blogs
New to color correction, this blog post will get you started with the wave form monitor:
The Waveform display shows the pixel densities for the Red, Green, and Blue channels in your image. The image above shows all three channels floating somewhere between 20 (in the shadows) and 70 (in the highlights). To get the shot balanced, we’ll want the shadows to come down to around 0 and the highlights to reach up towards 90.

Using an Audio Compressor in FCP X | Mark Spencer | Pro Video Coalition
Steve Martin from Ripple Training talks about using an audio compressor in Final Cut Pro X. He demonstrates versatility with FCPX’s compressor to sweeten your audio to improve its overall quality.

Fundamentals of Video: Cameras & Shooting | Anthing Q. Artis
Get free access to this introductory video course through August 10th (you have to "like" it through Facebook)
Anthony Q. Artis' Fundamentals of Video course will be free to Facebook fans now through August 10th. The course covers shooting with shallow depth of field, understanding exposure, white-balancing, and foundational concepts of lighting. In addition, Anthony discusses sounds, an often-misunderstood aspect of video, and shows how to properly set up mics and adjust audio levels on a shoot.

Does Mountain Lion do graphics faster? | Bare Feats
Does the new version of Mac OS X effect performance? Seems to:
The Mac Pro with the Radeon HD 5870 gained speed running Photoshop CS6's OpenCL effects and Motion 5's RAM Preview. It lost ground running Premiere Pro CS6's Fast Color Correction and all but one 3D OpenGL scenario.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Switching to Premiere Pro: Days 2-5: A Few Problems in Premiere

I've been working with Premiere Pro CS6 the last few days. I had actually been meaning to give it a go with a project for some time, but just kept putting it off. Finally I decided I just had to do it, so I edited a half hour program with it.

I probably should have started with something shorter.

The good
Before I get in to the problems, I want to note one important thing: it's easy to use and I like the UI. I say that as a Final Cut Pro 7 user who found Final Cut Pro X confusing and discombobulating. By comparison, I’ve so far found working with Premiere Pro very easy. The interface and method of working is close enough to Final Cut that I've been able to do this project without spending time reading manuals or watching tutorials. And the U.I. hasn't frustrated me, so I'm really happy about that.

The bad
On the other hand, I have had a very perplexing problem with performance. Specifically, jumping from one section to another can sometimes cause the program to take half a second to a minute just to update and display content. I've seen a lot of the media pending window, though I've also spent a lot of time with the program just sitting and thinking.

Consequently, I also spent a lot of time rendering the timeline so that I can preview (and that means, if I make any changes I have to re-render.) Good thing I’m used to working with Final Cut Pro!

I’m still trying to work out why it’s performing so badly, and I need to spend some time trying to “debug” the problem (last week I was just trying to get the first cut done the best I could.) It is using five tracks with a mix of content (1080 30p, 60i and some HDV.) I spoke with an Adobe engineer at the BOSCPUG meeting last week and he assured me that those formats shouldn’t cause a problem. It might be that I’m using an iMac that needs more memory. I’m working on changing that too.

About that GPU
One other odd thing, which may or may not be related. The software seems unsure about whether I have a supported GPU (I’m pretty sure I don’t, because officially Adobe only supports MacBooks…)

Yet it’s shown the selection for the GPU a couple of times, and then it later objected when opening a project, saying that the GPU had previously been selected, but was not available. I'm not sure what’s up with that (and no, I did not try and do the "fix" that fools Premiere into thinking the system is supported.)

UPDATE: Paul Joy has written about some performance issues with Premiere too. He talks about a somewhat similar problem in CS5.5, though suggests those are fixed in CS 6. I haven't seen the problems he talks about in CS6: Premiere Pro reliability – doing things by halves
For me CS5.5 on Lion got to the point of being fairly stable, it’s weakness continued to be handling projects with a lot of media, I found that scrubbing through a timeline with hundreds of short clips would always result in playback problems so learned to not demand too much from it and avoided scrubbing through clip heavy timelines.

[...]when working on a large project I would often see the ‘A Serious Error has Occurred and Premiere needs to close’ message many times throughout each day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Register for Alex Buono/Canon Event Aug 1st

If you're interested in attending this weeks Rule Boston Camera/Frontline/Canon event with DP Alex Buono of Saturday Night Live, you should register now. The event is filling up and could be full by event day:

WHEN: Wednesday, August 1
5:30-6:30pm Food & Drinks
6:30-9pm Presentation with Alex Buono

WHERE: WGBH Yawkey Theater
One Guest Street, Brighton, MA


UPDATE: The event is now full

The Opening of the London Olympics: A great spectacle

I must admit, at the beginning of the opening ceremonies for the Olympics, I really wondered what we were in for. The large green grass field with people wondering around? It looked like an over-budget school play gone horribly wrong.

But then Kenneth Branagh appeared and things started to get interesting. James Bond parachuted in with the Queen, a giant ring was forged and then raised into the sky joining four others with sparks streaming from them (how did they do that?) The Artic Monkeys played Come Together while winged cyclists circled the stadium, and the large bed pans the teams had brought in with them formed the petals of a large flower that formed into the Olympic torch. And then they had fireworks going off all over and around the stadium.

The show was an amazing combination of music, film, dancing and visual effects. And imagination. The more I think about it, the more impressed I am that they even pulled it off.

I may not watch much of the rest of the Olympics, but the opening was well worth catching.

And in recognition of the work of Danny Boyle for putting it together, here’s some comments from Danny’s twitter account:

There are always going to [be] people who will criticise what you do. You can't please everyone.
You will only get to where you want to be if you work hard and dedicate yourself.
What would this world be without creativity? A world without imagination.
Film will be the next decades black and white.
With digital video camera's and the internet combined, you can turn yourself into your very own writer, director and producer. Go for it!