Friday, May 31, 2013

Last day to save $200 on Bower 24mm lens

FYI: You have until 8:15PM EDT today to buy the Bower 24mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle Lens fro $200 off (i.e. $499 down from $699.) It's available in several mounts including Canon, Nikon and Sony A Mount. Note that these are 'all manual' lenses.

These lenses have gotten pretty good reviews based on their price. If you're only shooting video you might want to look at the special 'cine' version which has geared focus and aperture rings, and 'declicked' aperture ring. Unfortunately, that will set you back $749.

Quick Links

Join Alex Buono at our official June BOSCPUG! | Boston Creative Pro User Group
Saturday, June 15th
Discounted prices for Alex's tutorials:
BOSCPUG is excited to partner with Oscar nominee and DP of the Saturday Night Live Film Unit Alex Buono in Boston at The Art of Visual Storytelling Tour to deliver an intense educational overview of the artistic elements and core principles of cinematography. Taught by Alex, this all-day class features training that will dramatically increase the impact of your films. Designed for both DSLR and Cine-style filmmakers, this workshop will teach you advanced techniques for lighting, lens selection, blocking, camera movement, audio, workflow, camera settings, visual structure and more.

A brief report from Wednesday's meeting of the BOSCPUG:
The most interesting trend that came out of the discussion was, while most NLEs and 3rd party plug-in developers have worked over the years to provide built-in tools for color, audio, and motion work directly within Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and Avid Media Composer, Blackmagic is doing the same with DaVinci Resolve, but coming at it from the colorist’s end.

Pocket in Kurnel | John Brawley | Vimeo
Shooting with Blackmagic's camera's, including the new Pocket camera:
So far on the second series of Puberty Blues we have two Alexas, A C300 (for surf footage in the water and slow mo) three BMCC's and now a BMCC pocket. I've been shooting a lot of tests this week and unfortunately I can't share most of those with you, but I was able to steal a few minutes to shoot with the pocket with the SLR magic 25mm lens.

5D Mark III & RAW Video, A Case Study | CanonRumors
Below is an ISO test of the standard H.264 of the 5D3, and what the RAW video from Magic Lantern looks like. This was done by Dustin J Tolman. The results are pretty remarkable and easy to see, this software is still in its early stages and will probably get a lot better over the next few months.

How to Install Magic Lantern | Learning DSLR Video
I thought many people will be trying Magic Lantern soon because you can now shoot raw on many of the Canon DSLR’s now, so I thought I would start with baby sets and get everyone going on the most stable version 2.3 first before we get into the raw stuff.

INSIDE | Canon C100 Kit with Atomos Ninja 2 | TheApartmentCreative | YouTube
Photographers Jeff Chang and Charlie Thompson share what's in their bag for a typical commercial film shoot. With the new Canon C100 and Canon 5D Mark3 as their cameras of choice they show you what equipment they use along side to optimize their creative workflow. 

Sony Gears Up for 4K Ultra HD Internet Movie Service | Variety
A Sony rep confirmed that the 4K movie service is still on track to launch this summer, but said the company has yet to release pricing or additional details about the service. Sony announced plans for the streaming service at CES 2013.

Making FCP X Work For You | Oliver Peters | digitalfilms
Unlike the previous iterations of Final Cut Studio – where everything was integrated into a bundle of Apple applications – FCP X relies more on an ecosystem of outside developers who have brought a number of useful tools to the table. This means that you only buy what you need and fill your toolkit according to your own specific workflow. Here are some tips on getting the most out of the FCP X.

Thoughts About Value And The Cost Of Doing Business | DIY Photography
Recently a photographer shared a little CODB calculator created for other photographers. It was based on time and materials and an hourly rate for the shooter.
I thought it was terrible, and tried to explain why. I thought I was pretty good, but so many folks thought I was saying NOT to have any idea of what your business is costing you that I am taking this opportunity to explain.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Quick Links

NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' Eyes Ultra-High-Def 4K | Hollywood Reporter
Buono said that while more storage is required, 4K “has not [resulted in] a significant change in price.” The SNL film unit plans to continue to experiment with 4K going into next season, using new tools such as AJA’s Hi5-4K format converter.

Councilwoman Castillo: Margo Guernsey on Making Her Feature-Length Political Documentary | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
Margo Guernsey has produced promotional mini-docs and videos for a number of non-profits, but for her first feature-length project, “Councilwoman Castillo,” she is focusing on the story of a hotel housekeeper, Carmen Castillo, elected to the City Council in Providence, Rhode Island. The project will cover Castillo’s first three years in office starting with her election in November 2011.

Legally Speaking, It Depends: Ripped From the Headlines | Script
It is usually not a question whether a sensational story that captures the public’s attention through news reports would make a great script. The question should be, “What are the legal issues you have to be aware of to turn that story into a script that has a chance of being made without being hopelessly embroiled in a legal tussle?”

How Lenses Assist in Storytelling | Shane Hurlbut
“The camera is a tool, but the glass serves as your eyes into the story.”The lens’ traits can help tell your story. The look and feel of lenses, their characteristics of color and contrast rendition, are all relevant factors. For example, some lenses are cold, some have warmth, and many are yellow.

Which Canon DSLR’s can do RAW with Magic Lantern? | Cinema 5D
And here’s a list of all the cameras that can currently do RAW. Keep in mind that most of these don’t reach 1080p resolution (yet) and require a fast CF card to achieve the write speeds required.

Feature Upgrade for the EOS-1D C Available | CanonRumors
25p 4K RecordingCanon has officially released feature upgrade for the EOS-1D C that will allow recording in 25p at 4K resolution. This upgrade is not available via download.

Using Final Cut Pro X to edit a documentary for the BBC |
I had been using Final Cut 7 for TV and online projects but was still pretty skeptical when Final Cut Pro X first came out. My friend Fernando finally convinced me to give it a go when we were working together on another project, our interactive stage show "Choose Your Own Documentary" which has since been shown at the Southbank. He had raved about Final Cut Pro X so by the time this doc came along,

Why Zach Braff's Film Going to Cannes Shows the Future of Film Financing | IndieWire
They may not have realized this but more than forty-six thousand individuals – many of them ordinary Americans with no prior film industry knowledge – had a direct bearing on what has been happening this past week thousands of miles away at the Cannes Film Festival.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why subscriptions are bad for Adobe

I’ve written about Adobe’s move to subscriptions before, but I thought I’d take one last swing at it, and outline the primary reason why I think subscriptions are bad for customers and the industry.

There’s been a lot of defense of Adobe’s move to subscription pricing. The common threads of the defense seem to be:
  1. It’s a good dealwhich it is if you were buying the Master Collection and upgrading with every release, then it is a pretty good deal (at the current subscription rate.)
  2. If you can’t afford $50 a month, you’re a loser – certainly, if you’re a professional video producer and can’t afford $50 a month for the tools you use day-in and day-out, then you might want to reconsider your career choices. (But if your video passion is more of a hobby than a contact sport, $50 every month, can start to add up.)
  3. You’re already renting the software, so this isn’t really a changewell yes and no; all things being equal - and despite frequent OS changes and equipment updates - it’s not that unusual to be running software five to seven years after you purchased it. So yes, it is a change.
  4. If you think $50 is too much, you should see what X costs – Which may be true too, $50 a month is not a lot compared to other things…say a Rolls Royce. On the other hand, compared to a Big Mac, it is. 
But I want to re-iterate that I think subscriptions are a terrible model for Adobe, as well as for many of their customers. Not because Adobe won’t be able to do well financially - it’s likely that for the next few years they could do very well - what I worry about is what this will do to their long term development plans and goals.

Under the current model, Adobe develops a new release of their software every year or two (they tend to do major releases for some apps in the suite, and minor ones for others, as the mood strikes them.) Implicit in this upgrade cycle is that they have to do something that encourages people to upgrade to the new version; if CS7 is primarily a collection of bug fixes and a UI color change, then the current user base won’t rush out and buy the upgrade.

The subscription model changes that. Under a subscription model the user base becomes more stable and is pretty much locked in to the software - even more so than cable television. If I change cable providers, I can still watch most of the same TV shows, but if I stop subscribing to Creative Suite then I won’t be able to open my existing files.

Under the subscription model, the primary impetus changes to one of getting new customers hooked. There are two ways you can get them hooked; offering features no one else has, or offering the same features at a price no one else can match. The beauty of the subscription model is that you can afford a heavily discounted first year to get customers in, and then make it up once you have them hooked. And if that becomes your basic model, your drive to innovate to keep customers is lessened.

Monopolies are generally bad for consumers, but ultimately they are bad for innovation. Subscription pricing on software – particularly creative software – will create a tight binding between the user and the company. Companies with monopolies - or who have the customers closely tied to them - can spend so much time maintaining the status quo, they overlook changes in the market place. They become complacent. They also tend to price less competitively over time.

This is not only bad for the users and the industry, in the long term it’s bad for the company as well.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Quick Links

"Arnold Worldwide" (with Nicholas Agri) | NeedCreative
Co-hosts Paul Antico of Anticipate Media and Ben Consoli of BC Media Productions talk the latest news in video production. Then they are joined by special guest from major advertising agency, Arnold Worldwide, Nick Agri. Nick talks all about the world of advertising, from the creation of campaigns to his specialized role as in house creator of content. 

Choosing the Best DSLR for Video | DSLR Video Shooter
Will you be shooting stills and video or just video? Is your filming indoors or outdoors? Do you film day in and day out? Or are you more of a hobbyist? Do you film long for content or quick clips and b-roll? These are all important questions to know before you purchase a camera. For example, if you film a lot of commercial work you will probably be shooting interviews in small offices. 

Damon LindelofOn Story
Season 3 Episode 6 (26:48 Minutes)
Damon Lindelof discusses his hand in some of the most celebrated and scrutinized works of science fiction over the past five years, and how much of their success is attributed to writing stories that leave a lot up to one’s imagination.  Accompanied by Dean Loxton’s improvised short film, METRO 7 BIS about a woman’s encounter with a handsome stranger in Paris, only to find their meeting was hardly by chance.

First Person: James Erwin | Financial Times
An internet post turns into a script:
On the day it was tough sitting at work watching it all happen. I just wanted to jump up on my desk and shout at people, “I’m famous on the internet!” I was toggling between windows the entire afternoon. There was stuff I had to get done at work but at the same time all of this was unfolding online.

Two Pretty Amazing shots with the MōVI and the RED Epic Infra Red in 5K | Vincent Laforet
The shot that got away:
Let’s just say that that one shot stuck with Tabb Firchau, Hugh Bell (two of the co-founders of Freefly Systems and the MōVI) and myself for weeks after the successful launch of the MōVI - and we couldn’t wait to get the team back together for a second try at it…  

First image of the new Samyang 16mm f/2.0 (A and E-mount) | SonyAlphaRumors
Samyang (aka Bower/Rokinon) have a 16mm lens coming. At 2.0 it could be a nice alternative to the T3.1/f2.8 14mm lens:
The 16mm focus length with rectilinear imaging system ensure extra wide angle of view amounting to 83.1 degrees (for Nikon version and 79.5 for Canon). The big aperture opening of F2.0 ensure photographers able to use it for low light environment like night street shooting. 

It lives! 5 year old $350 Canon 50D becomes raw cinema monster | EOSHD
It seems the 50D is the best Super 35mm DSLR for raw video from Canon. The sensor resolves very clean highly detailed raw video with hardly any moire or aliasing, at a higher quality than the Rebel lines does.

Will Third Party Firmware Void Your Canon Warranty? | CanonRumors
Canon’s Response “There is no such thing as “voiding” the Canon warranty, there are simply repairs that are covered, and those that are not.

It was clear from the beginning that both Mika and I would be breaking common documentary practices with ‘The Amerikans’. We weren’t interested in capturing reality exactly as we found it, since reality is often unorganized, unpredictable, and in the case of Tom hunting, even perilous. Instead, the decision was reached with Jeff to script the episode with the help of a few preliminary audio interviews. 

Douglas Trumbull | UnreelVirtualSets | YouTube
Doug Trumbull talks about his new plans to make movies with Virtual sets, higher frame rates, larger screens, brighter images.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Who's really feeling Entitled?

Adobe's decision to move to an all-subscription model with the Creative Cloud is still creating headlines - at least on the internet. 

In an article titled The Entitled Filmmaker | NextWaveDVTony Reale takes on those complaining about the extra cost they'll be paying, and labels them as the entitlement generation, suggesting they are pretenders to the title of "pro." He even goes so far as to label them as thieves as well:
I promise you there are people complaining about Adobe’s change to Creative Cloud that have never paid for a single copy of Adobe software ever.
Actually, that's a bit of a theme for Tony:
Tony Reale ‏@TonyReale 21 May
I'm very curious how many of the #CreativeCloud naysayers are currently pirating their version of @Adobe software. #justsayin...
Now, he's not suggesting everyone complaining has never paid retail for Adobe's software, but obviously he thinks there's a high statistical likelihood that this is the case.

And for the record, I actually bought Production Premium CS5.5 when Adobe was offering the 50% discount for users of "other" systems and I also paid for previous versions of Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Director and even Premiere. And I didn't buy them from eBay either; some of those were bought before eBay existed!

When challenged if Adobe's products are intended exclusively for pros (and by pros, I'm assuming his definition of a pro is someone who doesn't need to care what things cost) Tony answers "In a way, yes." Adobe, meet Abercrombie & Fitch. #justsayin

Now, I know it's dangerous to make broad assumptions and statements about various demographic groups, but I'm curious; several pros have already said that the Creative Cloud is a great deal for them; it will be cheaper - at least under current pricing - than buying the full suite and upgrading each time. Which begs the question; assuming Adobe plans to continue to make the same amount of money as they are currently making, then someone must be paying more.

Under Adobe's new pricing model, it appears that the non-pro market Tony dislikes will actually be subsidizing his software.
Makes you wonder who's really acting entitled...
One problem this created was a sense of “entitlement” among some novice, no-budget filmmakers. Everything should be cheap and anything that cost money was a “rip-off”. A $3000 jib? Rip-off. A $2000 monitor? Rip-off. A $800 light? Rip-off. And so it continued. In fact, when Canon was getting ready to announce their first professional, large-sensor video camera, there were a large number of people who expected the price to be under $4000.
The Entitled Filmmaker | NextWaveDV