Friday, April 26, 2013

Notes from the Boston Creative Pro Users Group

Here’s some quick notes from the three speakers at last night’s Boston Creative Pro User Group meeting:

Ben Consoli

Final Cut Pro WorkFlow
Ben Consoli of BC Media Productions started the evening off with a demonstration of Final Cut Pro X. He explained that he intended to show the workflow, not provide a training session as such.

  • He said that the first thing he does when importing new media from a camera or card is create a camera archive of the material.
  • He then demoed creating metadata in Final Cut Pro X, and how to add metadata, create Roles and use Filters. I’ve seen several metadata demos before, and I understand how they can be useful if you work in a certain way. Unfortunately, I have many bad editing habits, and I tend to just throw things onto timelines and start cutting, rather than go through and tag and divide things up before I start. Maybe if I had a production assistant I would be doing that more...
  • That said, Final Cut Pro X can demo well. The Precision Editor is definitely cool, letting you do the little fiddly things in the Magnetic Timeline, including J cuts. I still don’t know how you do it, but you can do it.
  • Said Ben about the Magnetic Timeline “A lot of stuff people were saying that the magnetic timeline constrained people, but you can get around it,” though he also said he actually likes it.
  • Ben demoed the Color Tool in FCPX. For someone who doesn't want to get into serious color grading, it's definitely a nice little thing.
  • Greg Ikens then stepped up and demoed how he uses Magic Color Looks in Final Cut Pro X to do color grading. One caveat; it only transfers a single frame to Magic Color and you grade using that; you can’t scrub through the video clip as you adjust it.
  • I liked Greg’s comment about video “There's always too much green in video.”
  • Ben came back to show some audio features, including the Logic plugins, and how you can get AIF files across to ProTools (export to XML, then use X2Pro Audio Convert to create the AIF files.)

Ben’s last advice on Final Cut Pro X: “It's too different to just tinker with; you have to learn it the right way.” He recommends getting a training package from or Ripple and working with that.

Next up, Patrick Sculley asked the question "How can the cloud benefit video production and what can it do for Post?" He also asked the rhetorical question: “Have you ever had to work with a technically challenged customer?” [Are there any other kinds? –Ed]

PixelFlow is a cloud-based service that let's you share videos with customers and lets them make comments or annotations. If you work in a situation where you have to give clients the control to intimately review and comment on video projects, it seems like a good idea. Personally, I don't encourage giving clients that kind of control...

  • Viewers can enable playback sync and play through a movie together, even though they are in different locations. 
  • There’s no licensing; you’re billed on a monthly basis for usage based on the amount of material uploaded.
  • They support anything except RED, “so please don't send us your 4K files.”
  • They have a desktop app and a browser version that runs on anything HTML5 compliant. They have an iPhone app and are working on an iPad version that will have additional features.

Up to 200MB upload for free.
1GB monthly $15
5GB monthly upload $60

Ignoring the pros and cons of client review, this is the second presentation in as many months about working collaboratively via the net with others (the last one was Kanen Flowers of Scruffy.TV) The latter was more about editors and VFX people working together, while Pixel Flow seems to be more about working with clients or producers. seems like a good tool for client review, but not really for collaboration between people working on a project; i.e. it's not for sending about your project files and your source clips.

Colin Smith

What's next with Adobe Premiere?
Last up, Colin Smith from Canada – and Adobe – to talk about the nest release on Premiere. “This one doesn’t have a number yet, but we're going to call this the FCP7 version.” He described it as the version for people who loved CS6, but they wanted more FCP 7 features.

There was some discussion about Adobe’s Cloud pricing, and the fact that Adobe thinks it can’t give users any new features after 90 days due to lawyers. “Adobe, Apple, no one can release new features after 90 days,” he said. Given that they are already getting ideas for features from Final Cut Pro 7, maybe Adobe should talk to Apple about how Apple does their releases; they’ve been releasing free updates to FCP X – with new features - for the last year. And I’m not paying any monthly charge for that…just saying.

The demo of the new features was pretty impressive. I thought CS6 was a pretty good update, but this next one should be pretty hot too. Features included:

  • New Relink dialog box for relinking media that looks much better than the old dialog box.
  • “Join Through Edits” allows you to remove cuts in a clip that aren't needed. (i.e. you cut a clip but never did anything to the edit, so the material is contiguous through the edit point.)
  • The Effects indicator on a clip indicates if the clip has a change attached to it, or an effect, or both.
  • They are now supporting more GPUs. “If you have 1GB on any video card, you can use it,” though it will tell you that it's an unapproved card; its up to you to decide to use it. He noted that when editing 4K he turns the display down to 1/16
  • Colin pointed out that Mercury just accelerates the effects; it doesn't accelerate playback of any compressed media.
  • They’ve added Paste Attributes, and added a twist: you can select the filters from a list instead of just applying all of the effects.
  • They’ve improved working with tracks and zooming in and out. “I don't think we could make transitions any harder to edit than we did in previous versions.” Editing transitions is now symmetrical rather than asymmetrical (though you can still do that by holding down the shift key)
  • They’ve added their own audio waveform syncing tool. No more Pluralize.
  • Multicam is no longer a separate window: it’s been added to the Project window rather than floating off in another world. [Why it couldn’t replace the Preview window I don’t know –Ed] And it can collapse the clips and export an EDL.
  • They have added the 32-bit engine from SpeedGrade into Premiere, and added a Shot Matcher in SpeedGrade that takes a Targa file and matches the “look” in the image to the video clip. He said that the results are usually “close, but may still need some work.” They have also added some film emulsions.
  • The control-tilde now does true full screen.
  • There’s now a track mixer for adjusting audio volumes on tracks. Some Isotope plug-ins are included, as well as the plug-in Loudness Radar from TC Electronic to check for loudness and peak levels
  • Closed Captions: .scc file can be added as a track and you can live edit the captions. BUT you can’t output these captions to an HD video file.
Asked when the next release would be available, he said he wasn’t saying... “but shortly.”

His final advice: “Be a problem solver, not a specialist," (and buy the Master Collection...)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Quick Links

ARRI Says: Don’t Believe the (4K) Hype | Studio Daily
And just today I got an email from Best Buy introducing Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs
Noting that ARRI is showing footage on a Sony 4K display in its booth, Shipman-Mueller encouraged viewers to take a critical look at those pictures."4K, right now, is way overhyped," he said. "What's more important than resolution is overall image quality. Once you have that, you can upres [the images] to 4K, and they look spectacular."

(Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera) Footage in your pocket | John Brawley
This footage was shot over about an hour at my local market on Sunday morning.  So yeah, it’s just home movies.    I was literally grabbing shots where I could whilst I was shopping !  But, you do get to see what one man can do with a pocket cinema camera and a 12-35 Panasonic m4/3 zoom. 

The Why, The Where and The When to Move the Camera | Shane Hurlbut
Motion is a very powerful tool in telling your story. It can create tension, evoke tears, make you laugh and keep you on the edge of your seat. I love moving the camera, but only if it helps the story. Moving a camera just to move it is not a good rule. Read the scene and ask yourself how will movement make this better? How will it support your character’s Emotions?

Random DIY Project Ideas using Motorroid Motorized Kit | CheesyCam
On a budget, this Varavon Motorroid motor kit looks interesting:
Here’s a couple of DIY projects (video below) using the Varavon Motorroid Kitin ways it was never intended to be used. Don’t take the build quality on these DIY projects too seriously, it was something I whipped up in a matter of minutes to show proof of concept of what can be achieved.

Independent Film Festival April 24-30
Independent Film Festival Boston (IFFBoston) was started in 2003 to provide Boston with the type of film event it had been looking for: one that discovers emerging talent and celebrates the leading edge of cinematic story tellers. A showcase for the best films from around the world—a festival that would bring directors, actors, producers, sponsors, and attendees together in an interactive environment. 

Short Film: Spy vs Guy | Red Giant
Red Giant has done a series of entertaining short movies with Seth Worley. But the best part can be watching the behind-the-scenes

| VideoMaker
Vimeo recently announced it's new initiative, the Vimeo Brand Creator Fund, which aims to match major brands with creative individuals from the Vimeo community. We spoke with Vimeo CEO, Kerry Trainor to get the the details about what this means to filmmakers and videographers.

NAB 2013: Ryan Connolly from Film Riot | YouTube
The wide shot is my NEX 7 w/ 16mm f/2.8 pancake, the medium is my FS700 w/ 35mm f/1.8, and the close up on the One Man Crew is Redrock's Nikon that they let us use. I dialed the settings on the Nikon to match my FS700 as close as I could by eye and then color corrected them to match in post.

Today sees the launch of the new Lumix G6. The model is from the mid-range G line but has much better specs than the previous G5 model and is now much closer to GH models for video. While the DSLR revolution may have passed, the lower end offerings are getting much better for video – with cameras such as the Nikon D5200 – and this is good news for budget-conscious shooters.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Quick Links

The Challenges of Shooting Global News Coverage with Matthew Allard on 4.17.13 | Rule Boston Camera | Vimeo
I went to this talk last week, and it was really interesting...worth watching:
Award-winning shooter and editor, Matthew Allard, shares his 23+ years of experience covering breaking news stories around the world — from major sporting events to terrorist bombings — while shooting almost exclusively with large sensor cameras.Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Allard works as Team Leader/Cameras for the Asia/Pacific branch of AL JAZEERA, shooting with HD broadcast cameras including the Sony NEX-FS700, the Sony PMW-F3 and the new Sony PMW-F55 as well as a plethora of Canon DSLRs.

Six Questions Apple Needs to Answer in 2013 | Scott Macaulay
| Filmmaker Magazine
Forget the Apple TV, where’s the Apple TV SDK? The iPhone has been Apple’s growth driver since its launch in 2007. But it wasn’t until the following year, when Apple opened up the iPhone operating system iOS to third-party developers, that the platform exploded with possibility.

The NPD Group: Apple iTunes Dominates Internet Video | NPD Group
According to The NPD Group, a global information company, Apple dominates the home digital-video sector, in much the same way it dominates digital music. iTunes’ share of electronic sell-through (EST) for television shows reached 67 percent in 2012. 

Tutorial - Color Correction Masks in FCPX | Chris Fenwick | One On One
yea yea yea, its not the 3 way color corrector from FCP7 but there are some really cool features in the FCPX color board and color corrector. Color Masks, Shape Masks, Inside and Outside controls. Check out this simple fix on a shot that just needed a little bit of love.

HDVideoPro Review: Technicolor CineStyle Color Assist | Shutterstock blog
Now Technicolor also has a software application, Technicolor Color Assist, that makes color grading easier and more efficient, and works hand-in-hand with the CineStyle color profile. The technology is based on Technicolor’s DP Lights, a professional on-set color-grading tool.

You don't have to pander | Seth Godin
The agency that gives its clients exactly what they think they want never deserves to win Agency of the Year, and worse, is rarely seen as the leader in the field, the trusted advisor that is smart enough to know what the client ought to want instead. They certainly can't charge more or hire better team members.

Serving Your Client vs Serving Your Muse | RON DAWSON | Dare Dreamer
Unfortunately, many people were not getting it without a second or third viewing (and some not at all). That may be great if this were a stand alone indie film. But when it needs to help raise money, that wouldn’t do. So I revised the film, and blended the narrative with the PSA approach. Based on the client’s ecstatic reaction and additional follow-up feedback from their board , I think we made the right decision.

NewsShooter has posted several more videos from NAB:
Dan Chung recaps the first day of the show with Matt Allard, Dave and Brad from GoPro, and Phil Bloom. The group discuss the demand for 4k, the advantages of Cineform and there’s a surprise appearance from award winning DP and Dallas of 24, Rodney Charters.

The Etiquette Of Being a Camera Trainee | Tales from TV land and other stuff
Being a Camera Trainee isn't easy, I should know, I was one for many years. Finding the work in the first place is more than half the battle. Once you are on the job you generally have to be really bad at learning new things to not get re-employed again. 

3 THINGS I'D BUY AT NAB (IF I HAD $10,000) | Videomaker
ARRI L7-C - $2800For those not familiar with ARRI's L series of lights, they are basically LED lights that have the same light properties as traditional tungsten lights, with some huge advantages. New to the L series lineup this year is the L7-TT.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quick Links

Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS (SEL-1018) - Lab Test / Review | PhotoZone
Another review of this E-mount zoom lens, with some highs and a few lows:
The build quality of the Sony lens is, again, impressive. It has mostly an all-metal body based on a metal mount. While this may sound like heavy stuff, it is an amazingly light-weight lens of just 225g. The inner lens tube extends slightly when zooming towards the long end of the zoom range. Both the zoom and focus ring operate smoothly. A plastic, petal-shaped lens hood is also part of the package.

Mocha Corner Pin Tutorial | VACD | Vimeo
This is a tutorial on how you can track motion in Mocha and apply the corner pin data on your After Effects projects.

Why the Sony FS700 won NAB Show 2013 | Tony Reale | NextWaveDV
Then I headed over to Sony to get the low-down on their 4K upgrade path. Low and behold, they had a Odyssey7Q hooked up to their FS700. That means Sony is embracing this as an option for FS700 owners. While talking about 4K with Mr. Juan Martinez, he casually noted that the FS700 would be getting S-Log 2. Whaaa-wha?!

Who will finance your film and why? Proven strategies to get your film funded and produced | Chris Jones Blog
It sounds crazy but it’s true. Looking stupid is feared more than loosing money. So offer people information that gives them comfort – the EIS tax rebate, film credit, expert endorsements, market endorsements, past film successes in the same budget area and genre etc. If the film stinks, at least they don’t look stupid having secured at least a 50% return guaranteed.

Adobe After Effects 3D Projection VFXHow To Move Your Camera Through The Floor Using 3D Projection | Tobias | Surfaced Studio
I have always enjoyed the effect of the camera passing through walls or floors for seamless scene transitions! Today I show you how to create this awesome effect using 3D Projection inside of Adobe After Effects

Resources for Filmmakers | PBS
The POV For Filmmakers site features many essential resource lists. From grant opportunities to engagement strategies, we parsed out exactly what you will need to get your documentary made and seen.

Lithuania likely to approve tax incentives for film production | movieScope
The Lithuanian Ministry of Finance has approved a long awaited amendment to the law on Corporate tax which could see an influx of foreign productions to the region. The proposed changes – which Parliament is expected to ratify in the spring – would offer tax relief to companies wishing to invest in local film production.

Fifteen Years and $500 Million Later, Michael Bay Apologizes for Armageddon
| Vanity Fair
I will apologize for Armageddon, because we had to do the whole movie in 16 weeks. It was a massive undertaking. That was not fair to the movie. I would redo the entire third act if I could. But the studio literally took the movie away from us. It was terrible.

Kish Lenses Daylight Test | Digital Bolex
Our last tests were a little rushed and we didn’t have time to take any shots outside. So we did another lens test this week using natural light. And to our surprise, the most flattering lens was the 38mm, which was our least favorite lens in the earlier test. We think this is because of the color temperature/CRI. We’ll be running more precise tests soon, and Kish is constructing special testing equipment to help finalize that process.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quick Links

Sony E 35mm f1.8 and Sony E 10-18mm f4: A Very Good Standard and a Wide Zoom | Ben Boswell | DxO Optics
Positive review of these two lenses for Sony NEX cameras, note that the scores might not seem that impressive, but they do well compared to similar lenses. I'm intrigued by the 10-18mm f/4 [$848], though the 35mm f/1.8 [$448] looks good too, importantly, both support optical image stabilization.
If you own a Sony NEX camera and are looking for a wide angle zoom lens and a standard then these are the two. To put their quality into context here are the best similar lenses to fit on a Panasonic Lumix, the Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm f1.4 and the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH. With the slightly smaller Micro 4:3 sensor in the Lumix camera these two lenses are equivalent to a 50mm and a 14-28mm, so a very close match.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC Lens Hands-On Preview | ePhotoZine
A look at this just announced lens, but not really a review.
The lens is a solidly built lens with a metal and plastic construction, with rubber grips making it easy to adjust zoom and focus. The rear lens mount is made out of coated brass, and the lens feels extremely well built with a decent weight. 

Copyright Infringement and the Culture of Suing Artists Into Submission | DL Cade | Peta Pixel
The talk is called “The New Prohibition,” and it discusses the myth of the original idea, the complexities of fair use copyright law, and the culture of suing artists in order to force them to settle out of court, no matter how strong their case is.

Cinephilia and Beyond | tumblr
110 of the world’s top cinematographers discuss the art of how and why films look the way they do. Cinematographer Style is about the Art and Craft of Cinematography. It is about how everything, from life experiences to technology, influences and shapes an individual’s visual style.

Phone Snoop. Sweeps Promo C300 Rokinon Cine 85mm T 1.5 | Erik Naso | Vimeo
Everyone seems to like this Cine lens. At $349 it's a great price for a reasonable lens.
I shot and edited this in a few hours. I've had the The Rokinon Cine 85mm T 1.5 for a few weeks but didn't have a shoot that required a 85mm lens, well the time came today. Other lens used was the Canon 24-105.I'm working on comparing the Rokinon with the Zeiss CP.2. Yes a $350 lens to a $4000 one. Who will come out the winner? Follow along on my blog. I'm updating with videos and samples as I go.

Premiere CS6: Broadcast Colors Filter | Larry Jordan
Now that we know how to read scopes, there’s still a basic problem: today’s digital cameras shoot video that is fine for the web, but the white levels they record are too hot for broadcast, cable, or DVD.
In addition, programs like Photoshop allow us to create colors that are fine for the web, but excessively over-saturated for broadcast, cable, or DVD.

Tilta Now Has New US Distributor | Erik Naso
Not sure what's going on with Tilta rigs. They were distributing thorough "Team Tilta" but then that stopped and now at NAB they say they are distributing through someone else. All sounds a bit odd, though I know a Tilta owner who is very happy with the rig:
I went to see the Tilta booth at NAB today to ask them how customers in the US can buy their products. They now have a new Distributer Intellytech located in Denver CO. Hung at Tilta doesn’t have much info as to what they’re going to have in stock yet or pricing.

Trends of NAB 2013: Camera Stabilization | Cinema 5D
Nothing is as sexy as new cameras for readers, but the one trend that clearly was showing this year was camera stabilization, in various forms: there was a lot of noteworthy innovation in a sector that was ripe for innovation. New sliders, jibs, copters and handheld rigs stole the show.

Shure VP83/VP83F Shotgun Microphone with Build In Recorder | CheesyCam
The new Shure VP83 and VP83F are ultra-lightweight yet durable, with all-metal construction designed to Shure’s legendary quality standards. Additionally, both provide superior RF immunity and include highly directional supercardioid/ lobar polar patterns to reject unwanted off-axis audio.

Roger Deakins, what advice do you have for aspiring Cinematographers? | CinefiiChannel | YouTube
"You have to have your own perspective, your own way of seeing."