Friday, April 05, 2013

Quick Links

12 Things to Think About Before Committing to the Blackmagic Cinema Camera for Your Film | Micah Van Hove | No Film School
I’ve shot with 4 different Blackmagic cameras so far, and each LCD screen seems to have its different quirks, dead pixels being the constant, so potentially expect to see some. However, the real problem with the BMC screen is that it’s completely unusable in daylight or in any situation where light is hitting the screen, and the included sun shade is not a solution by any means.

Filming with this camera is pretty simple, make sure highlights are below 100%, focus and press record. That was refreshing. Although the footage doesn’t look very good while you are filming, once you get it on the computer it’s beautiful. The color reproduction, dynamic range and motion rendition are awesome. 

Freelance Taxes #3: 50 Deductions You’ll Want to Take to Save Money
| Evan Luzi | The Black And Blue
5. Cameras that you rent out or bring with you on productions. Just remember these are considered assets and depreciate over time.
6. Camera Accessories. They can add up to cost almost as much as the camera itself.

NAB Sneak Peaks Are Here | Adobe
Powerful new features are coming to Adobe's industry-leading video and audio tools. You'll soon be able to work even more creatively, seamlessly and profitably - from script to screen. Here's an early look at what to expect...

Adobe Drives Innovation with New Video Workflows at NAB 2013 [PDF] | Adobe
Adobe is also announcing Adobe Anywhere for video – a modern, collaborative workflow platform that empowers teams using Adobe professional video tools, to work together accessing and managing centralized media and assets across virtually any network (see separate release). Adobe will demonstrate its new solutions during the NAB 2013 Show at its booth #SL3910, South Hall in the Las Vegas Convention Center, April 8 – 11.

Most are familiar with how ISO controls a camera’s sensitivity to light and susceptibility to film grain. However, ISO has other consequences with digital, and its implementation often varies. This article explores how ISO is evolving and influencing camera technique in the digital era.

First 4K Canon 1DC drone flight (and FS700 / C300 also gets airborne)
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
The Canon 1D C has taken to the skies for the first time thanks to Perspective Aerials founder Anthony Jacobs, who has just stepped up their drone to fly heavier cameras. The new rig has a custom built RC follow focus by Anthony Lenzo of Air Sea Land (ASL).

Canon XA-25 with Wi-Fi and 1080 50p | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
The XA-25 and XA-20 join the XA compact camcorder range, alongside the XA-10 camera, to increase the proposition of affordable, compact and professional specification video cameras. The XA-25/XA-20 is designed to offer the customer an affordable solution for a video camera that is suitable for broadcast standard Electronic News Gathering (ENG) and also for other applications where the camera’s small size, high image quality, large optical zoom and commonly used CODEC are desirable

NAB 2013: Collaborative Film | Preston Kanak | Blog
With NAB only a few days away, I wanted to introduce a collaborative film project that will be taking place during NAB. For this film, we will work as a team to develop a concept and then work together to produce a three minute time-lapse film, utilizing the skills of as few or as many filmmakers that are interested.

NAB: The 4K Ripple Effect Makes Waves for TV | David Cohen | Variety
The newfangled sets aren’t even in U.S. living rooms yet, but already select TV pilots are being shot by Sony Pictures Television with digital-cinema cameras to future-proof the programming for the time when 4K is commonplace.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger Ebert 1942-2013

Quick Links

How the Hackintosh Suddenly Caught FireAnarchy amid the abdication of Mac Pro | Mark Christiansen | Pro Video Coalition
This is the story of one man’s experience assembling and running a Hackintosh. For anyone unaware of this illicit, but not yet forbidden alternative to the Mac Pro and altnerative systems from Apple, it is a custom-built computer - one which would straightforwardly run Windows or Linux - with an installation of a slightly modified (hacked) Mac OS that will boot on non-Apple hardware, in clear violation of the terms of the Mac OS.

Sony F5 & F55 Scene Files from AbelCine | Andy Shipsides | AbelCine
The Sony F5 & F55 cameras are shipping in quantity now, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests for some custom scene files. I’ve put together five files in our usual flavors. They are designed both to change the cameras’ look and make matching the two cameras easier. The cameras handle colors very differently due to their different Color Filter Arrays (to learn more, read Mitch’s article on CFAs), so you’ll see some obvious differences in the files. My focus on these files was to match skin tones and give a nice overall look.

Training Your Eye – Lighting for Cinematographers | Shane Hurlbut | Hurlblog
Many of you have heard me talk about how I light to eye by either looking at the back LCD screen or a  lighting monitor like an HP DreamColor. Lighting to eye is something that is based on experience and what you like esthetically. I trained my eye through the use of exposing film, not an LCD screen or a monitor, but a photo-chemical process and by the use of a light meter. Many say that the light meter is dead with digital. I disagree.

A Tale of Two Meters | Mark Vargo | Vimeo
How to meter and expose for the best of light, and the worst of light: how to use an incident meter and a reflective/spot meter.

End of an Era: Fuji Officially Ends Production of Motion Picture Film
| Dave Kendricken | No Film School
April 2, 2013
As previously announced, Fujifilm has stopped production of the majority of Motion Picture Film products by March, 2013.
We would like to thank you very much for your patronage during the long history of manufacture, sales and marketing of these products which will continue to be available until the inventory is exhausted. Please contact our worldwide distributors for availability information.

4K on your Sony FS700 for $1295? | Tony Reale | NextWaveDV
Convergent Design has gone a unique route in making a high-quality monitor with a built-in recorder that can be “unlocked”. For $1295 you get the monitor with no recorder functionality. For an extra charge you can purchase or rent a license to unlock recording options

Canon U.S.A. Announces Free Firmware And Application Software Upgrades For Select Cinema EOS System Cameras | CanonRumors
New ACES compatibility software for the Cinema EOS C500 and Cinema EOS C500 PL Digital Cameras will be available as a free download expected in June 2013. Additional Cinema EOS firmware upgrades, including a new 1,440 x 1,080 pixel recording mode at 35Mbps for the Cinema EOS C300 and Cinema EOS C300 PL Digital Cameras, are expected to be available as free downloads starting in October 2013

Canon Inc. Announces Development Of 35mm Cinema Prime Lens, Sixth In A Series Of Compact, Lightweight, Precision-Matched Lenses | CanonRumors
Canon Inc., the parent company of Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has announced the development of a 35mm cinema prime lens for large-format single-sensor cameras employing Super 35mm, full-frame 35mm, and APS-C size imagers.

Giving Credit Where Credit’s Due | RON DAWSON | Dare Dreamer
Credits count. They help potential clients determine whether or not to hire a filmmaker, producer or studio. To be fair to them and those involved, I encourage you to practice what I call good “credit-quette” (get it? Credit + etiquette = creditquette. I made that up all by myself. So please give me proper credit if you use that term elsewhere.

ProApps QuickTime Codecs v1.0.2 | Apple
This update adds the following video codecs for use by QuickTime-based applications:

  • Apple Intermediate Codec
  • Apple ProRes
  • AVC-Intra
  • HDV
  • XDCAM HD / EX / HD422
  • Uncompressed 4:2:2
  • XAVC

This update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, or Compressor 4.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Quick Links

Testing Rode’s new Reporter Microphone | Daniel Freytag | Blog
Thanks to the combination of a redesigned head and a low positioned membrane the sound is very resistant to wind. Rode itself says in a video that 'you can be in a hurricane and still don't get any wind noise'. I didn't have a hurricane at hand that but you get the idea how resistant it is.

Review of the Blackmagic Micro Four Thirds Cinema Camera | Philip Bloom | Blog
So…I recommend the MFT over the EF BUT is this a blanket recommendation? No. Everyone’s needs and circumstances are different. When I say I recommend it, I mean it is my choice of the two…if you own no MFT glass at all and lots of Canon glass it’s hard to justify going that route.

EOS-1D C Firmware After NAB | CanonRumors
I received a screenshot of the firmware being tested a few days and just got around to it today. The screenshot shows all the various frame rates available to you for the EOS-1D C. The biggest addition is the ability to record in 25p at 4K resolution.

Lightworks Shark Bytes Tutorials | EditShare
Interested in learning about the Lightworks NLE, they've posted some new tutorials:
Now introducing: Shark Bytes Tutorials, a new series of quick videos & fast projects to help everyone quickly get up to speed with Lightworks.

DFocus version3 VS. version4 | jeremy widen | Widen Media Blog
The most obvious change is moving from a dual rod unit to a single rod. The v4 is easier to maneuver around on a rig because it only need one 15mm rod to clamp to. It’s also lighter, which helps with making the whole rig better.

The FT-ONE gives you 4K slow mo at 900fps (84secs) | Philip Johnston
| HD Warrior
The FT-ONE can record up to 900 frames per second (fps). Employing FOR-A’s high-sensitivity CMOS color sensor, “FT1-CMOS,” the self-contained unit records and plays back full 4K (4096 x 2160 pixels). One output channel can provide QFHD (four 1080p 3G-SDI) outputs, while the other output channel provides down-converted HD-SDI for live viewing and playback.

Behind the Lens: Game of Thrones with Anette Haellmigk | Anette Haellmigk
| Creative COW
Sean MoeGame of Thrones came to me through director Alex Graves, with whom I've worked for 17 years. In Spring of 2012, when we were doing the 666 pilot together, he told me Game of Thrones had approached him to shoot two episodes, I said, "If you get it, you have to take me with you. I love that show so much, and I think I can contribute."

Supply and Demand Pains: Fujifilm Film Prices to Jump 20% Later This Year
| Michael Zhang | Peta Pixel
Last week we reported that Fujifilm is planning to increase its film prices by 25% starting this month due to decreased consumer demand. Turns out that was specifically for the Japanese market, and that the hit won’t be as serious in the United States.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Day After April Fools Day

When I was young - before the internet - you could go through April Fools Day without encountering one joke, trick or jape. Now it seems you're deluged with's just not the same (and by the way, yesterday's piece on the Sony Action Cam was not a joke...maybe I shouldn't have posted it that day.)

Lesson: tech companies should not roll out new products on April 1st.

Hopefully the following are mostly true, though I'm not 100% certain.

NAB 2013 Schedule and “something very special” coming to this blog Part II
| Vincent Laforet | Blog
Vincent posted this on Sunday, so I think I'm safe. He claims he's been working with a "game changer":
I feel the same way about the device that I shot with a few weeks ago – and haven’t felt that way about ANYTHING I’ve seen or shot with since the Canon 5D MKII (The RED Epic is close – the only reason it didn’t make the list was due to the fact that it’s simply not affordable to the amateur market.)   And that’s why I’ve chosen to to repeat the same blog title for only the second time in nearly 5 years for this launch…
But he tells us it's not a camera. He also later confirmed it's not a light, audio, or Final Cut Pro XI.

Red Giant BulletProof
Red Giant has pre-announced BulletProof, a tool for managing content from your camera. Sort of like what I thought Adobe Prelude would be, but with a lot of extra bits and pieces.
BulletProof is a complete offload, prep and delivery solution that bridges the gap, with a workflow that simplifies how you handle footage every day. Import, backup, organize, color, deliver: BulletProof has your back at every step. Whether you shoot DSLR or a GoPro, BulletProof lets you focus on your story and get to the editor fast.
Backup Offload Your Files. Select clips from disks/cards, then import into a catalog with backup.
Organize Organize Your Files. View the whole catalog, and sort clips with folders and playlists.
Review Review Your Files. Play individual clips to check their color, quality and consistency.
Color Edit Color & Metadata. Apply first-pass color adjustments and add helpful metadata.
Deliver Deliver Your Files. Queue and export the clips as transcoded project-ready media.

Hero Punk: A Cyberpunk Superhero Film Shot on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in Green Screen | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
At the moment he’s working on Hero Punk, a full-length feature which was shot using the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Hero Punk is unusual not just because it’s a low budget indie shot on a $3,000 video camera. Much of it was shot on green screen and the visual effects work is being done by a variety of individual visual effects artists distributed around the globe.

The new Juicedlink BMC366 Low-Noise Preamp has been designed exclusively for use with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Launched just prior to NAB, the Preamp is very similar to the RM333 Riggy Micro, except for a few subtle changes.

Canon C100 and C500 ND Filter/Sensor Dust Prevention Improvement Now Available for the C300 | Joe Marine | No FIlm School
As part of the on-going feedback process with customers Canon has implemented a revised design in the filter and sensor units of the Cinema EOS System’s EOS C100 and EOS C500 digital cameras that further improves dust prevention performance.
The new design further minimises any possible ingress of dust within the sensor and filter array and, after additional development, the same upgrade can now be performed on all existing purchased EOS C300 cameras and it will be implemented in all future EOS C300 and C300 PL models.

The new Sony F55 | Digital Logic | Vimeo
Hani Arab from Digital Logic, and Mick Jones from Litup Digital discuss the new Sony F55

The new Sony F55 from Digital Logic on Vimeo.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Why I bought the Sony HDR-AS15 Action Camera instead of the GoPro Hero3

I just bought the Sony HDR-AS15 [$269] Action Camera. I nearly bought the GoPro HERO3: Black Edition [$399], but ultimately decided on the Sony for a couple of reasons. Here’s why:

Firstly, I couldn’t get my hands on both units, so I had to make the decision based on reading reviews and watching example videos on YouTube, and then taking a guess about which one was the better one to get (for me.)

Secondly, I have spent a little time with the GoPro Hero 3, primarily helping a friend trying to update the firmware and turn on the Wi-Fi mode. We did take it out and use it to shoot some video during that process, but I didn’t get to review that video afterwards.

What’s to like about the GoPro Hero 3?
Believe me, it wasn’t an easy decision to not buy the new GoPro Hero 3. It’s really defined the action camera scene, and the new release has improved low-light performance, and has increased resolution; offering 2.5K , and even 4K (both with the $399 Black model). It’s probably the most popular action camera, and if I were concerned about impressing clients, I’d probably just buy one.

Also, the only site that I found that reviewed both cameras gave the Hero 3 a higher score (CamcorderInfo 7.3) than the Sony HDR-AS15 (CamcorderInfo 6.3). This is significant, though after reading both reviews, the things they dinged the Sony for didn't really worry me. Again, YMMV.

So why the Sony HDR-AS15?
Well, everything’s a trade off, but these are the major feature I considered and how I came down for the Sony:
Resolution: The 4K feature in the Hero 3 seems like a marketing feature rather than something that I really need, especially given it’s not 30 or even 24 frames per second. There are even questions about the 2.5K quality, and whether you can really see the difference between that and 1080P. Since most of my material is viewed at 720p (or less) at the moment, 1080P seems to be more than enough.

Picture Quality: This one’s a mixed bag. Several people have noted that Sony’s camera has a tendency to create ‘neon” skies that look artificial. I definitely see that problem in the samples, but I also see that the Sony performs better in low light and mixed light environments. I really wish that the Sony did a better job with the sky, but I’m willing to accept that. For what I am planning to use it for (to get crane and overhead shots without having to use a big crane) I’d rather have the better exposure, and do what I have to for the few sky shots in post. I may yet regret that; I'll let you know.

Image Stabilization: This is one area where the Sony comes out way ahead; the Sony has built-in image stabilization, and it does a good job from the results I've seen posted. Sure, you can run your video through After Effects, but I don’t think you’ll end up with as good a result as you will with the Sony (and you can run the Sony's results through Warp Stabilizer and get even smoother results.)

Mounting: Here I think the GoPro Hero 3 wins out. The mounting for the GoPro is more flexible, and the various mounts seem to work better. Depending upon what you want to use the camera for, then mounting can be an important issue. The Sony does come with a small waterproof housing does have a tripod mount in it. Ultimately, the mounting issue was not a concern for me.

Cost: The Sony HDR-AS15 is $269. The GoPro Hero 3 Black is $399. Admittedly, I could skip the higher priced GoPro and get the Silver model since I don't think the higher resolution is worth having, but somehow, not buying the top of the line model seems wrong...

Wi-Fi Control: One last thing (and I didn’t find this out until I got the Sony home.) The iOS Wi-Fi app for the Sony works much better than the GoPro Hero’s app. When I tried out the GoPro app – and I’ve also seen this mentioned in reviews – I found a noticeable lag between what the camera sees and what appears on the iOS monitor app. If you panned the camera, the image wouldn’t start panning on the iOS app for a second or two.

I was sort of expecting the same with the Sony Action Cam, but I was surprised when I tried it and found it was updating almost instantaneously. The other thing that impressed me – but I didn’t try this with the GoPro – is that when the app is installed on an iPad, the preview image is surprisingly large and highly detailed.

All in all, I’m impressed with this, though disappointed to find that the range of the Wi-Fi from the camera is only about twelve feet.

So far, I like this camera.

One last note: Don't forget that you need to buy a microSD card for the camera... (I forgot to get one when I bought the camera, but fortunately I had a spare one lying around...)