Friday, February 22, 2013

Mocha, TouchEdit & Quick Links


Last night was the latest Boston Creative Pro User Group meeting. This meeting featured three separate presentations, and in the first one Ross Shain of Imagineer Systems talked about - and demoed - Mocha, along with Robin Hobart of Brickyard VFX who went through some examples of projects on which he had used Mocha.

If you're not sure what Mocha is, it's a "planar tracking tool"... which doesn't really explain all the magic that it can do. Basically, it will identify the movement of a group of pixels in your 2D video sequence, and figure out the plane of those pixels in the frame, and how it changes as the camera moves. This makes it much, much easier to replace parts of the image; whether the screen on a computer, or the label on a box.

Mocha can do many other tricks; the Pro version can remove parts of an image, and even figure out the movement of a 3D camera based on the video sequence (making it reasonably easy to place 3D models into your 2D video.)

If you have a recent copy of After Effects, a copy of Mocha is included (not the full Pro version, but still a useable version.)

Mocha Weekend Sale
A special note: this weekend only, to celebrate their Academy Award, Imagineer is offering a 50% off sale on the node-locked versions of Mocha: Oscars 2013

Rick Macomber - the making of the music video Ready or Not

Rick Macomber talked about the making of his latest music video for Air Traffic Controller. I've written about this here: Getting the Shot: Scenes from the Making of the Music Video, “Ready or Not”, and you can also read Rick's own blog about it here: How we made the ATC music video "Ready or Not" so I'm not going to go into it at length, but it's always fun to hear Rick speak.

Dan Lebental & TouchEdit

Finally, Dan Lebental A.C.E. (Ironman, Ironman 2, Elf, Cowboys & Aliens) talked about his history in editing, and demoed the iPad editing application TouchEdit. I really enjoyed Dan's talk, and he gave a compelling demo of the product. I'm still not convinced that it's something I want to use...but I am actually intrigued and might even buy it today (it's on sale today only for $25.)

Quick Links

Blurry Backgrounds, Big Sensors and Bokeh | David Pogue | New York Times
David tries to explain why larger sensors produce a shallower depth of field, but one of the comments may sum it up better:
Focal length (the distance behind the center of the lens where the subject comes into focus) and aperture (the size of the opening in the lens to let the light through) determine depth of field (area in focus). The longer the Focal length, the narrower the depth of field; ditto a wider aperture narrows the depth of field. Those are the only determining factors. Larger formats (sensor or film) require a longer focal length to maintain the same size or angle of view, hence smaller format sizes use shorter FL lenses and the secondary result for them is larger depth of field. 

7 Tips to Help You Succeed as a Freelance Filmmaker | Ryan E. Walters
| No Film School
Tip #1: Know Your Budget and Have SavingsIf you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the article I wrote on determining your day rate. Knowing how much you need to make down to the penny will enable you to realistically put a plan into action. In addition to knowing what your minimum budget needs to be, I recommend having at least 3 – 6 months of savings. 

First Do No Harm: Lessons and Questions after a Crowdfunding Campaign
| Sara Kaye Larson | Filmmaker Magazine
As you’ll read below, things can get a little tricky when you choose the crowdfunding method when you are still in production, particularly on a documentary. Crowdfunding fans expect a lot of insider info and perks, and we had to spend a four-month campaign figuring out how to balance old-school documentary ethics with the new world of crowdfunding.

Canon EOS M Review | ERIC REAGAN | Photography Bay
The worst, however, was attempting to video with the EOS M as it tried to hold autofocus. It would pump in and out of focus for what seemed just for the heck of it. I cannot understand why a camera manufacturer that makes excellent video cameras throughout pro and consumer lines cannot get the AF right for the video function of its DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

Sony and Fox News Talk About Why You Should Be Interested in 4K Technology
| Cinescopophilia
Alec Shapiro, President of PSA at Sony chats with Fox Tech Take on 4K, and UltraHD technology, and about how it is changing the cinema and home theatre experiences for everyone.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Quick Links

ARRI’s New ALEXA XTs – Internal ARRIRAW, True Anamorphic Capture, Better Lens Metadata (But Still No 4K) | Neil Matsumoto | HD Video Pro
Today , ARRI announces its new  ALEXA line with features that have been requested by professional users. The ALEXA XT, ST M, XT Plus and XT Studio cameras will replace all previous models with the exception of the original ALEXA. ALEXA camera owners will be able to purchase individual upgrades that give you the same features of the new XT configuration.

Canon Service Advisory Emails Sent for 5D Mark III & EOS-1D X | CanonRumors
But the updates aren't expected until April and May...
Depending upon the shooting conditions, it may take slightly longer for the EOS 5D Mark III and EOS-1D X digital SLR cameras to acquire focus when using the Speedlite’s AF Assist Beam, compared with that of the EOS 5D Mark II and EOS-1D Mark IV digital SLR cameras using the Speedlite’s AF Assist Beam.

Diary of an Avid Switcher – Part 1: Humble Beginnings | Jonny Elwyn | Blog
My overriding thought about the journey so far is that for the past 10 years I heard nothing but how great Avid was and it was the only thing real professional editors used. Which I never really believed to be true and now I own it, and I’m starting to embark on the long road to learning it properly, I feel like I’ve moved out from under the shadow of the mighty Avid.

Should you work for free? | Seth Godin | Seth's Blog
On the other hand, for a long time it made perfect sense for opinion leaders without big blog followings to write (for 'free') for the Huffington Post. And there's still a line of people eager to write for the New York Times op ed page, not for the money. And if Oprah calls, sure, answer her, even though her show isn't what it used to be.

5 Tips on Clearing Music For Your Film | Celine Palavioux | RainDance
Tip 3: Have a plan B!Unfortunately and for many reasons, you may not be able to clear the track that you really want. So come up with alternatives early on. There are approximately 9000 record labels in the UK and several hundreds production libraries so surely there must be something out there that you use….

Digging with the F55 - Behind the Scenes of Dig | Fried Pixel Films | Vimeo
A behind the scenes look at 'Dig', the first film in Europe to be shot on the PMW-F55. Directed by Michael Blackwood Barnes.
Produced by Fried Pixel Films, a new venture from Cinematographer Steve Lawes and Director Martin Scanlan, for Sony Europe

Vinten Vision Blue3 Tripod Head Announced | Cinescopophilia
Vinten announced the Vision blue3 75mm tripod head, which they claim is developed for today’s intermediate weight 1/3” chip camcorders and highly accessorized lightweight DSLR cameras.

FStoppers Lighting Diagrams- Head Shot | FStoppers
I'm always interested in different lighting techniques, even if they are more applicable to still photos..
This was my first attempt at this technique. Though I am happy with the result, it doesn’t look like a Schoeller. For my second attempt, I will try adding a second light to get more catch light. I’ll also try flagging the strobes to restrict the lighting to just the model’s face.

I don't know how to write this letter | Letters of Note
Kubrick shows you how to let someone down easy...
In June of 1972, [Anthony] Burgess supplied the filmmaker with the first half of his manuscript; Kubrick rejected it by way of the following letter, thus ending the collaboration. Burgess was undeterred, and Napoleon Symphony was published as a novel in 1974. Kubrick's movie, however, failed to materialise.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quick Links

Review: Blackmagic Cinema Camera | IAIN ANDERSON | MacProVideo
For the solo operator using DSLRs with a small kit, it’s a great A-cam, that lets you produce fantastic images with room to expand. You can rig it up, you can use it alone on a tripod, you can go naked and handheld (with a stabilized lens). It works with you, encouraging you to learn more about filmmaking as you chase that perfect image. For every tiny thing wrong, there’s a huge thing right.

Dissecting a Trailer: The Parts of the Film That Make the Cut
Interesting little interactive doodad that shows the location of the source material used in the trailers for five of the nine best picture nominees.

Check Out The First Affordable Electronic Viewfinder with HDMI Loop
| Cinescopophilia
$375 for an electronic viewfinder?! There's an update with a lower price too...
IndiPRO Tools have released what they call the first affordable 3.5″ electronic viewfinder with HDMI loop through. The EVF Pro offers an 800×480 3.5” screen with a flip-up viewfinder that can also be detached. The EVF includes a diopter.

City In The World (HDR) | Colby Moore | Vimeo
Some interesting stuff, but not sure I'd want to see a whole movie shot this way:
filmed entirely in high-dynamic range and comprised of some HDR Timelapse footage I shot, along with a collection of slow-motion and normal 24fps footage processed from Red Epic-X RAW video that I recently captured and then exported as -2,0+2 TIFF stacks to be tone mapped in Photomatix using a batch processing workflow. Please note that none of this was shot using HDRx -- only normal exposures from the camera post-converted into HDR using the traditional faux-HDR method of pushing and pulling the RAW file to create bracketed images.

Educational Event for Filmmakers in LA | Shane Hurlbot | Hurblog
Saturday, February 23 at 1:00pm in San Fernando. This free workshop will provide education via hands-on demonstrations of new revolutionary 4K acquisition tools for cameras, lenses and on set post workflow systems that will enable story tellers to create without performance limitations. The latest and greatest in tools and support equipment will be made available to you.

IFP's First-Time Director Program Filmmaker Labs Now Accepting Submissions | CAMERON SINZ |  IndieWire
IFP's Filmmaker Labs, a mentorship program for first-time directors, is seeking feature film submissions in post-production (anywhere from rough assembly through fine cut) for this year's program.
This year's deadlines are March 8 for Documentary Labs and April 5 for Narrative Labs

2013 Predictions for Canon EOS Products | CanonRumors
Rumors for EOS 70D, EOS 700D, EOS Me, EOS 7D Mark II and EOS 3D. Also, some specs for the 7D Mark II.

Participation: The Trend That Is Bigger Than The Harlem Shake | MARK SUSTER
| Tech Crunch
Can anyone really predict what the next 'pet rock' will be (you probably have to be over 40 to get that reference.) I'm just not sure that this one phenomenon is a true predictor of changes in media consumption habits:
Global audiences of prosumer video producers will create content that is viewed by global audiences in numbers far in excess of traditional TV. TV will enter the era of “participation” which is a much more important trend than “social video” even if it seems less sexy or less fundable.

Revolution Intro: Behind the Scenes! | Andrew Kramer | VideoCopilot
This is a couple of months old, but an interesting piece about creating effects in Adobe Effects:
Recently I had the opportunity to work on the Intro and Title for a new Bad Robot show called Revolution by NBC. The show takes place 15 years after the power mysteriously goes out. The objective of the intro was to show the transformation of time passing in a stylistic time-lapse ways to help establish the world.  And although we were visualizing 15 years in only a few seconds, the reality is that we only had a few weeks to get it done! I thought I would highlight some challenging aspects of the project and share some insights with you.

Jonah Kessel: There’s no real difference between the online story and the feature story, apart from duration. Even then, the features are a minute longer, two minutes longer. Dreams of Freewheelers (third prize in the online feature category below); that one is actually a little different. The other five winners are all a formula. You don’t see any live action. It’s literally an interview – half the time a single interview – followed by representative imagery. It’s a very basic formula and, to me, that shows almost no originality or storytelling.

Review: Sony NEX-EA50 Camera | Adam Garstone | Definition Magazine
Generally positive look at this camera:
A weirder feature, whilst we are here at the front of the camera, is the lack of ND filters. The E mount has a very short distance from flange to sensor – great if you want to make compact stills cameras, but not so good if you need to get a filter wheel in there. It’s possible– the FS700E has NDs – but too expensive for the EA50. You’ll need to invest in an ND system in front of the lens – no great sacrifice, but irritating in a camera that is so obviously ‘run and gun’ style.

Sole Survivor: Abbey Road Studios: In Session | Julian Mitchell
| Definition Magazine
Times and budgets have changed as the show now shoots exclusively with Canon 5D MkII DSLRs and has a music show discipline that eschews all the guess work from the edit. Editor of the show now is Jon Walton and he cites Director Matthew Amos as the catalyst for the change, “Matthew comes from the world of live music direction and he identified quite early on that we could streamline the shooting regime by filming a close up version of the performances followed by a mid-shot version. You then make the show in the edit.”

Quick Links

Nikon D5200 review | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Hmmm...Andrew seems to think this Nikon is a better video camera than most of the Canon DSLRs, and the Panasonic GH3 as well...and it's only $800.
UPDATE: The HDMI output on this camera is uncompressed 4:2:2, for a leap in image quality over the internal 24Mbit codec! Check the forum for my ProRes noise grain sample shots
The Nikon D5200 is the best mid-range Nikon yet for video. What is more of a surprise is the relish in which it takes on the much more expensive 5D Mark III, Panasonic GH3 and Nikon’s own flagship the D800 and D4.

RED Sues Sony and Other News | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
Some Canon and Sony firmware news too...
In case you are living in a cave and missed it, the big news of last week was that RED is suing Sony. RED claims that Sony’s F65, F55 and F5 infringe on patents RED holds, specifically relating to REDCODE RAW. It appears that the issue may turn on the compression of a RAW video stream in the camera.

In retrospect, shooting C300 was absolutely the right choice. I like the size of 5D, and I like full-frame much more than APS-C sensors. For me though, the sharp image and professional features, like peaking and zebras, make C300 worth the high price tag.

First Impressions (crafting a winning trailer) | Stephen Garrett
| Filmmaker Magazine
Above all, and without exception, trailer editing is about rhythm. If you don’t have an innate sense of it, then your trailer will not sing. A trailer, cut well, will have a flowing motion to it, a sense that everything plays off everything else, and will propel the viewer through the experience of the film. Trailers build up excitement and anticipation, and a keen sense of rhythm heightens those sensations.

Lenses: Balancing Cost With Features | CRAIG JOHNSTON | TVTechnology
“As the sensors get smaller, people expect to pay less,” said Thom Calabro, director, marketing and product development at Fujifilm’s Optical Devices Division in Wayne, N.J. “It’s the actual opposite for lenses. The smaller the sensor, the harder it is to make the lens, or the more exacting we have to be to make an acceptable lens.”

Samyang 24mm F3.5 TILT SHIFT for Canon Nikon & Sony | B & H PhotoVideo
I've wanted a tilt-shift lens for a long time, but couldn't justify the price. Canon's TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Tilt-Shift Manual Focus Lens costs $2,100....ouch! So here comes Samyang with a 24mm f3.5 tilt-shift that will cost $999. B & H is taking preorders.
I'm not sure I'd get one until someone else has reviewed it, but it's probably a pretty good lens. If it's like Samyang's other lenses, the Canon's will still be better, but not by much!

FCP X: Easy Animation of Stills (Video) | Larry Jordan | Blog
Worth watching as you could easily use the same technique in any other NLE...
This is a very cool technique to bring depth and animation to a photograph by using Photoshop layers and Final Cut Pro X. All it takes is a still image with a clearly defined subject, a little bit of time, and some imagination.I first used this technique decades ago using an animation stand and a video camera, it’s also  used a lot in high-end documetaries. Now, we can create this effect totally within our computer – no camera needed.

March Deadlines, just added | no entry fee festivals
ABOUT THIS BLOG: was created, and is maintained, by tracy miller-robbins, an artist and animator. It is at once a guide to no fee festivals and opportunities, a directory of festival organizations throughout the world and a resource for current artistic work in the mediums of animation, film and video

Five Inspirational Filmmaking Lessons From Charlie Chaplin | Zeke Iddon
| Dare Dreamer
Pacing is one of the many things they teach at and countless other film schools up and down the country, and dreadful pacing can kill an otherwise good film stone dead. Since this isn’t exactly a secret, why do I bring it up here? Because Chaplin’s pacing was beyond masterful. And it had to be – only someone with clinically precise control could mix extremely silly comedy with deep moments of profound tragedy in one film without a clinically precise pace?

$2,000 off the Canon C300 | B & H Photo Video
It seems that the Canon 300 is now being offered with a $2,000 price drop (and you can still get the 0%, 24 month financing through Canon as well.) I wonder if this heralds a permanent price reduction, or a new model at NAB....

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quick Links

Sony EA50 and the Z test | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
Philip has the Sony NEX-EA50 on loan and is working on a review. He tried out one simple test to see what happens if you remove the card during recording:
Simple…you let the camera record for 30 seconds then pull the SDHC card while still in record mode…why ? This gives you some interesting critical information about your solid state camcorder thats worth knowing, for instance…If your battery fails will your precious footage still be recorded as we all know horror stories of lost footage and corrupt cards.

The New 4K: Different from the Old 4K | Art Adams | ProVideoCoalition
I've seen 4K demos projected on 25' screens, and the footage comes across just as a movie would: there's nothing inherent in the presentation that makes me say "Wow, that's an amazingly detailed image!" When the same image is displayed on a 60" monitor, however, the effect is jaw-dropping. The amount of detail crammed into such a small space is almost too much for the brain to process. Indeed, a Sony rep told me that 4K sports panning shots have to be very slow not because of technological issues but because the human brain can't process the new image information fast enough.

Firmware Timeline | Peter Crithary | Sony
Sony outlines future firmware updates for the Sony PMW-F5, F55 and the AXS-R5 Recorder:
In that spirit of continued collaboration, we want to share our planned timeline for releasing firmware updates and enabling new features of the F55 and F5. But more important, we want your input on the further development of these cameras. In the coming months, we will expand on the cameras’ feature sets considerably, and always at no charge to the end user. The information in the timeline below represents our current plan and is subject to change based on user and market needs.

An Examination of: Black Magic Cinema Camera | Timur Civan | Blog
Its definitely a first try camera.   Its essentially an off the shelf sensor, with an off the shelf LCD screen, Black Magic Hyperdeck Shuttle, Black Magic Deck Link card and a small off the shelf audio board, jammed into a small box.   It feels like it.  It is awkward to hold, with no thought to ergonomics AT ALL. This is why it needs this massive contraption to be made functional. IT would not have been hard to make this camera look like this:  An Ikonoskopp Dii.  The best hand held camera no one knows about.

Dynamic Range on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera & Canon 550D | Iain Anderson
| Vimeo
This tutorial video compared the dynamic range of sample video shot on a Blackmagic Cinema Camera and a Canon EOS 550D. Settings were matched between the two cameras, and it's easy to see where the BMCC allows you to recover highlights the Canon couldn't capture.

'Iron Man' Editor’s $50 iPad App-a '21st Century Moviola'-Is Now Available on iTunes | Carolyn Giardina | Hollywood Reporter
I'm curious about TouchEdit, but at $50, not that curious (partly because I don't think I can do that much editing on an iPad - not enough space for files.)
Lebental describes TouchEdit, a frame-based editing app, as a  “21st century version of the Moviola” that brings back the simplicity of film editing (including a retro design) while incorporating the latest advances in mobile technology and cloud-based services.

Seven Ways to Fail at Promoting Your Film Online (Broken Record Edition)
| Scott Macaulay | Filmmaker Magazine
2. Let your blog or Facebook page lie dormant.Here’s a related one. I’ve checked out a few websites and Facebook pages recently for films I know are in post. There are blogs and timelines, yes, but no updates within the last year or even two. Did these films disappear? Has truly nothing happened?

5 beautiful films with Janusz Kaminski | Christy Lemire | The Daily Journal
“In Cold Blood” (1967): Based on Truman Capote’s pioneering true-crime book about a vicious family murder that took place in a small Midwestern town. Kaminski praised its “visual metaphors.”

Japanese government to help launch UltraHD, but market will decide its fate | Michael Grotticelli | BroadcastEngineering
On the heels of Eutelsat’s initiative late last year in deploying the first 4K TV channel for experimental and demonstration purposes, Reuters reported in January 2013, that the Japanese government is set to launch the world’s first 4K TV broadcast in July 2014, roughly two years ahead of schedule, to help stir demand for UltraHD TV sets.

PTC001: Robbie Carman — Film & Video Colorist | Power to Create TV
Joining us this week is professional film and video colorist Robbie Carman (  He shares practical advice and inspirational techniques used in the world of cinema.  Robbie's job is to enhance the visual appearance of television programs and films.

Canon Cinema RAW Development Software | Juliet Verni | CineTechnica
Canon has released their very easy to use Cinema RAW Development software for Mac OS Lion and Mountain Lion, which allows you to ingest, play, and export Canon RAW files. The user interface is very intuitive; just click on a clip and it immediately shows up in the Preview window. You can play it straight, scrub, go through it frame by frame, and set in and out points. 

Nikon & Canon Promotions | B & H Photo Video
Several promotions on various lenses that run for the next two weeks: