Saturday, February 02, 2013

smartLav for iPhone

I'll admit that I wasn't that impressed when Rode announced the iXY Stereo Recording Microphone for iPhone/iPad recently. At $199 to add a better microphone to the iPhone, I felt that the money would be better spent on a dedicated recorder.

Now they've gone and announced the smartLav, which goes and turns an iPhone into a recorder - also - but this time with a lavaliere mic. Is that a good thing? Well the downsides, as Dan Chang notes in his article, include the fact that you need an iOS device, it has to be in Airplane mode to avoid interruptions, and you can't monitor the recording, so you can't be sure that's it's working correctly (the mic gets obstructed.) But then that's true for most self-contained recording devices.

I guess I like a few things about this:
  • the cost is said to be about $60 which is more affordable
  • it could be useful for recording audio only sessions; a lav mic is less intimidating than putting even an iPhone in someone's face
  • It could be a useful additional audio source; though I wouldn't depend on it as a primary source
  • I have an iPhone 3GS that works but wasn't worth selling because the case has a big crack in it.

So I might get one!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Quick Links

Animating the Inanimate: Interview with Charlie Collier | Michael Murie
| Filmmaker Magazine
At 20 years of age, Charlie Collier of Zapamation may be a young filmmaker, but he’s already got almost eight years of stop-motion experience behind him. A self-taught animator, he says he was able to get into this partly because of the flexibility he gained from being homeschooled; he was able to incorporate animation into the curriculum. 

Stop-Motion Music Video Uses Hundreds of Polaroid Pictures
| Brian Anthony Hernandez | Mashable
Cool animation using Polaroid pictures...
The video weaves a stop-motion tale using hundreds of Polaroid pictures, whose once-blank canvases were provided by ex-Polaroid employees now leading The Impossible Project.

FocusMaker – A unique focusing tool for stills lenses | Matthew Jeppsen | Fresh DV
Here’s a tool that I don’t really know how to classify…it’s called the FocusMaker, and it’s a simple $89 device that straps directly on to a camera lens, and gives you a few focus indicators and stops.

Why is the RED SCARLET Four Times the Cost of a Canon 5D Mark III | Joe Marine
| No Film School
Obviously one only shoots 1080p in H.264 but can be pushed quite a bit in lower light, and one can go all the way up to 4K at 24fps in RAW, but its ISO can’t be pushed quite as far. What if the stuff you’re shooting is just going to the web, do you really need all that extra resolution and detail? Will it make a difference in the end? Check out a test below from Robureau comparing the two cameras visually.

Apple Reportedly Discontinuing Mac Pro Sales In Europe Starting In March | DARRELL ETHERINGTON | Tech Crunch
But the Pro’s debatable market appeal isn’t what’s causing the termination of sales in that region: the existing models simply don’t comply with Europe’s new regulatory standards for consumer electronics, according to 9to5Mac.

Amazon Profits Fall 45 Percent, Still the Most Amazing Company in the World | Matthew Yglesias | Slate
I love Amazon, but sometimes I wonder about whether it's really a good thing....
The company's shares are down a bit today, but the company's stock is taking a much less catastrophic plunge in already-meager profits than Apple, whose stock plunged simply because its Q4 profits increased at an unexpectedly slow rate. That's because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. 

How to Deal with Crushing Feedback on Your Creative Work | Mark McGuinness
| 99u
Chances are you've been in Sarah's shoes: you produce work you're really proud of, then someone with none of your professional skill, knowledge, or expertise judges it in an instant - often based on vague or subjective criteria. They don't know much about art but they know what they don't like.

All The World’s a Virtual Stage in Disney’s New Camera Capture System
| Dan Sarto | AWN
The goal of the Camera Capture development project has been to replicate the feel of a live-action camera, providing a higher quality, more lifelike camera motion. Using rough layouts with simple geometry or more finished environments, Camera Capture let’s artists see what it would be like to move through each world and create exciting camera moves to meet the demands of the story.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quick Links

Seeing RED at Sundance | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
RED was part of a seminar hosted by HP: 4K and Beyond: The Evolving Role of Technology in Digital Filmmaking. Moderated by Schilowitz, the panel featured a number of post software developers including Adobe, ASSIILATE and Autodesk. The seminar focused on the 4K workflow, with the message that “you can edit 4K now.”

F5 & F55 Launch Event & Workflow Technologies | Sony Professional | Vimeo
View highlights of the F5 & F55 Launch Event, and learn about some of the workflow solutions presented at Sony's DMPC (Digital Motion Picture Center) on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California.

Working in True 4K with the F65: Belle - the UK's first 4K cinema production
| Andy Stout | Red Shark
"We were after a really naturalistic look for Belle, in keeping with the period," explains Smithard. "The F65 produces images which have a softer, more pleasing quality, and you could really feel the beauty of 4k. It’s the closest to film that I’ve worked with without actually being film – there really was hardly any difference. As it’s set in the late 18th century we also needed the images to show off the richness of the setting and bring the audience into the piece, and the F65 was the perfect camera for that.

Working in zero light for Zero Dark Thirty: VFX making of | Ian Failes | FX Guide
Rotor blades on the digital helicopters were something the VFX supe played close attention to. “We started with footage that had been shot of the Black Hawks, then we took our CG model and we ran out a really exhaustive series of wedges. We set our rig up so you could literally enter in an RPM value for the rotors, then ran out a series of side-by-side renders against the real footage, running at different RPMs. We found the RPM setting that matched and that became the default value that we plugged in.”

Blackmagic Cinema Camera firmware update v1.2 released | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
What’s new?
Timelapse interval recording
Canon lens F-stop display on the monitor
ExFAT file system support for SSD media
SDI output now supports RP-188 timecode

| DSLR News Shooter
Canon has announced the development of a feature upgrade for the groundbreaking EOS-1D C DSLR that will add support for 25p recording at the camera’s maximum 4K resolution. The upgrade has been developed after taking into account feedback from the European professional video community.

Canon 24-70mm f/4L IS Hands-on Review | DigitalRev
In this video, we take a look at Canon's 24-70mm f/4 L IS lens, which seems to fit in right between the 24-105mm f/4L IS and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II. Or does it? With less range, does it seem like a worse choice than the 24-105mm, which is considerably cheaper? Watch the video to find out.

YouTube Set to Introduce Paid Subscriptions This Spring | Jason Del Rey | Ad Age
YouTube has reached out to a small group of channel producers and asked them to submit applications to create channels that users would have to pay to access. As of now it appears that the first paid channels will cost somewhere between $1 and $5 a month, two of these people said. In addition to episodic content, YouTube is also considering charging for content libraries and access to live events, a la pay-per-view, as well as self-help or financial advice shows.

Alisa Filters - Yes or No? | Martin Doppelbauer | Blog
In tests of photography magazines cameras without aliasing filters are sometimes presented as if they had a "better" resolution and possibly even receive extra test-points in the evaluation. This is complete nonsense. In the images of artificial test charts, all visible structures are measured, including false artifacts, and not just the "true" structures from the real image. There is no way to differentiate between aliasing artifacts and real parts of the image in test charts.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Quick Links

Day for Night: Magic Bullet Looks vs Baselight suite | SUPER MASSIVE | Vimeo
An interesting comparison. Baselight maybe looks more 'realistic' but hard to see what's going on!:
Footage shot with various camera settings on ARRI Alexa, 19-90 zoom lens. Half graded with Magic Bullet Looks and FCP 3 way colour corrector, gradients added. Half graded on Baselight suite for comparison.H264 compression very harsh on all gradients and masks, horrible artefacting - all baselight graded material looks perfect on Dolby monitors. Download least compressed h264 for closest impression. (But still knocked down to prores and then H264).

How to Keep Track of Your Battery Levels | DSLR Video Shooter
Most people don’t know this, but there is a built in way to label your batteries as full or empty. This works best with the Canon LP-E6 batteries, but you can make it work with any battery with a simple mod. If you look at the back of your LP-E6 battery you will see two colors, blue and gray.

Top 10 Video Interviewing Tips For Documentary Filmmaking
| Desktop Documentaries
Prepare, but be spontaneousEven though you have prepared questions in advance, allow yourself to veer off from questions if the interviewee says something interesting or unexpected that you’d like to explore further. Sometimes the unplanned “spontaneous” questions & answers create the best moments.

Sony F35 reaches $12,000 on eBay from $250,000 in 2008 | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
I always say ‘invest in lenses’, these truly hold their value and sometimes even go up 1000% in value like some of the rarer anamorphic lenses on eBay.There’s some crazy depreciation going on here in camera-land though. The depreciation on high end cameras is worse than a luxury car.

Speaking of 4K Broadcast, Japan is Flying off the Handle: TV is 4K in 2014. Plus, an 8K Future? | Dave Kendricken | No Film School
I realize that spec can drive tech and all that, but 8K? In 2016? 8K in any time-frame is simply amazing, there’s nothing else to say about it — but in just three years? Pretty unbelievable stuff, even if it doesn’t materialize: the push alone is going to make waves. Of course, 4K TVs may be (well actually, they pretty much are) pointless at certain distances....

Zero Dark Thirty (Script) PDF | Mark Boal | Sony
Sony has made available the script for the movie in PDF format.

Episode 92 - Motion Graphics with Magic Bullet Looks | Simon Walker
| RedGiantTV
In this episode of Red Giant TV, Simon Walker shows you how to enhance and alter motion graphics with Magic Bullet Looks, even if you aren't working in a motion graphics program like After Effects or Motion, and are instead working in a video editor.

6 Dos & Don'ts for Better Content Marketing | Marla Tabaka | Inc
1. Don't Skimp on DesignSure, it's the quality of the content that will keep your visitors coming back, but don't underestimate the power of a slick, eye-catching site. Designing your site with a high-quality screen resolution will help your viewers to think of your site as premium, as does using high-quality images that take up their entire frames.

Amazon launches Cloud Transcoding service | Daniel Freytag | Blog
So far only Brightcove, which is known for its video hosting services used by clients such as the New York Times, provides a similar Cloud Transcoding service. In comparison to Brightcove you can start with Amazon's AWS right away without any complicated registration.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quick Links

Color Matching a Canon C300 to an Arri Alexa | Art Adams | ProVideoCoalition
The C300 doesn't have the subtlety of color that Alexa offers, nor can it match Alexa's dynamic range, and it doesn't duplicate that delicate Alexa softness that makes everyone and everything look great. On the other hand, the C300 is less expensive and much smaller and lighter, and is the perfect tool for certain projects.

I found the camera design to be very good. Everything was easy to find and the key camera functions are accessible without having to go into deep menus. Even as a first time user of the camera, it is very easy to get it turned on and shoot quickly. There is one major design flaw: the connection cable for the new Sony OLED or LED viewfinder sticks straight out the side of the camera.  While it is reasonably secure, it would be easier to knock and broken given this placement. 

Tempo: A budget VFX lesson from Seth Worley and Red Giant | Michael Murie
| Filmmaker Magazine
Red Giant is known for their effects software, including Magic Bullet Looks, Colorista and Trapcode Particular. But they are also developing a name for themselves with a series of short films that are both entertaining and great demos of how-to-do effects on a budget. It probably doesn’t hurt that they also demonstrate how to use their software too!

Super in depth Video review of the Canon 1DC in which I froze my n*** off to make! | Philip Bloom
The price of the camera and the 24p limitation at 4K put me off the camera, despite this beautiful footage. So what is it that made me really want to check it out properly? Is it actually worth the dosh? What is the image like, and of course, is it any good? All of these questions and many more are answered in my video review. It’s super in-depth and has lots of example footage.

Is Final Cut Pro X Ready For Professional Use? | Larry Jordan
Here, I think, FCP X has an advantage. I did a test this semester at the class I teach at USC in Los Angeles. I decided to teach FCP X to non-film students who just wanted to learn how to do video editing. I discovered that I could make them productive in about one-quarter the time it would have taken me in either FCP 7 or Premiere Pro CS6.

Bright Lights: The Kickstarter Revolution: A Guide to Sucessful Crowdfunding with Nathaniel Hansen  | Emerson College
1/29/137:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Paramount Center
Bright Family Screening Room
When Nathaniel Hansen set out in May 2010 to fund his idea for a documentary using a site called Kickstarter, he wasn't sure what to expect. After all, the concept of "crowdfunding", which lets contributors and fans help fund a project in return for rewards, was fairly new and unproven, and would people really contribute their own money to help him realize his vision?

7 Tips that will prepare you for a photoshoot with fire | Von Wong
2. Wear organic, not syntheticOrganic clothing will burn whereas synthetic will melt. And while catching on fire doesn’t sound like the best of situations, I can assure you that it’s better than having something melt into your skin. It actually takes a lot longer for cotton to catch on fire whereas synthetic clothing will almost instantaneously melt. Don’t trust me? Try burning your shirt with a lighter. 

Courier Prime | Stu Maschwitz | prolost
John August has just released Courier Prime, a free typeface designed specifically for screenplays. John calls it “Courier, but better.” I think it’s beautiful.

A Composite Time-Lapse of 90 Airplanes Taking Off in 30 Seconds | Michael Zhang | Peta Pixel
Photographer and film professor Cy Kuckenbaker scored a viral hit in December 2012 with a clever video showing five hours of airplane landings condensed into a 30-second composite time-lapse. That video has been viewed more than a million times over the past couple of months.Kuckenbaker tells us that he just released a second companion piece — one that shows 90 airplanes in 30 seconds rather than 60.

CES 2013: CONTOUR ROAM2 & CONTOUR+2 | Videomaker
We got a quick rundown of the new features for the Contour ROAM2, as well as the Contour+2.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quick Links

A SHORT WEEKEND WITH THE C100 | Sean Meehan | Cross River Pictures
Sean has been shooting recently with a Canon C100 and loves it:
First and foremost, I love the image out of this camera. So many of us have fallen in love with the look of the C300, and I would say that, to my eye, they’re pretty comparable. They could certainly intercut, and if you’re contrasting with Canon HDSLRs, the difference in sharpness, dynamic range and resolution is big. It’s not surprising, considering it’s processing the image in a way very similar to its bigger brothers.
You're Not Too Old | Vimeo

HOW WE MADE THE ATC MUSIC VIDEO “READY OR NOT” | Rick Macomber | Macomber Productions
I wrote about this for Filmmaker Magazine, but here's Rick's report:
The video has two distinctive shooting styles. Most of the narrative scenes were either shot on a Miller Solo tripod, on the Kessler slider or the Kessler Crane, all donated for the entire length of the shoot by Mike Sutton and Paul Antico. The performance shots were all handheld except for one crane shot of Dave during a specific vocal moment where I thought it might look cool to move the camera up and away from him as he sang.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera - Lowlight Test | Adam Roberts | Vimeo
We used the Sony NEX-FS100, recording to ProRes HQ via an Atomos Ninja 2, as known refrences for comparison. All shots were underexposed by over 2 stops.There is a rolling noise pattern in the BMCC footage but at over 2 stops under exposed I'd expect to see sensor take strain. This could be addressed with some noise reduction filters in post.

Meet Me in Big Sur | Andrew Julian | Vimeo
I used my Blackmagic Cinema Camera for this film and the color and latitude that shooting in raw provides still amazes me. The flexibility that uncompressed raw gives you in post production makes the 1 Terabyte per 2 hours of footage data rate worth it. I also can't wait to use the new firmware that's been announced! Many more great options to expand the capabilities and improve the workflow. It definitely would have made this shoot a bit easier.

Next-Gen Video Format H.265 Is Approved, Paving The Way For High-Quality Video On Low-Bandwidth Networks | RYAN LAWLER | Tech Crunch
The hope is that, through improved compression techniques, H.265 will enable publishers to stream 1080p video with about half as many bits as required today. That should make true streaming HD video available not just in broadband households, but on mobile and tablet devices, using networks that are a lot more bandwidth-constrained. 

FStoppers Lighting Diagrams: Shooting Products on Black | NICK FANCHER
| FStoppers
This is for stills, but would apply to video too:
all I have is a 2’x3’ piece of wood, covered in black fabric and a sheet of glass. For lighting I have one LumoPro LP160 attached to a LP621 mini-boom arm, fired into a silver umbrella. I angled the umbrella slightly and placed it just behind the sunglasses, to keep the light from spilling onto the black board. The great thing about shooting with you products elevated is that you now have the option of placing a reflector or strobe underneath, to further sculpt the light.

10 Zero Budget Filmmaking Tips | Elliot Grove | RainDance
2. Location Location LocationThere are two expensive components to a film shoot. Image capture (camera) and the locations.Moving a cast and crew from location to location is time consuming, and expensive, regardless of your budget.If you can reduce the amount of location moves, or eliminate them altogether, then you are a huge step closer to reducing your budget.

Side by Side: Documentarian Chris Kenneally on the future of film | Moviescope
It’s amazing to think that the basic mechanics of filmmaking haven’t changed much; you can take a piece of four-perf 35mm film from 1900 and play it in a current film projector. So a lot of people have decades of experience working with film, and have become experts in this craft. Businesses and workflows have been built around film technology and now all that is changing. This is having a huge impact on a lot of people and businesses and I think people are really excited to share their opinions on what this means.

Why Experts Think Twitter’s 6-Second Videos Could Be Huge | RYAN TATE | Wired
Thus far, people seem to be using Vine mainly to show off their desks and offices. But then again, people initially used Twitter to report their every mundane move throughout the day: Eating lunch, going to the park, catching a movie. It was hard at the time to imagine what more could be done with 140 characters.

6 Things You Need To Know As A Screenwriter If You Want Your Scripts Made
| Lucy V Hay | Bag2Write
6. One minute a page?Well, that depends who’s making it/in it.  100 pages is a 100 minutes – right? WRONG. The “page a minute” thing you adhere to so strictly as a spec screenwriter is just a GUIDELINE. How long your produced work ends up will depend not only on what it is, but who is directing it, who is in it and even who is editing it. In other words, the process of collaboration will make its mark

Raiders Story Conference Transcript (tape 1)moedred's Journal
Transcript with Lucas, Spielberg and Kasdan:
G - [...] The basic premise is that it's sort of a serialesque kind of movie. Meaning that there are certain things that have to continue to happen. It's also basically an action piece, for the most part. We want to keep things interspaced and at the same time build it. As I build this up, you'll see it's done vaguely by the numbers. Generally, the concept is a serial idea. Done like the Republic serials. As a thirties serial. Which is where a lot of stuff comes from anyway.