Friday, August 02, 2013

Blackmagic News, including Blackmagic Cinema Camera price reduction

Blackmagic sent out a press release with some interesting news. They say that the Pocket Cinema Camera is shipping (though no mention of quantity.)

Perhaps more interesting is an astonishing price drop on the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera to $1,995 [At time of writing the price hasn't been updated at B & H yet]. That's $1,000 off the original price! Wow. (Either Canon or MTF mount.)

Finally, there's a seminar in New York on August 8th.

Camera Update

The new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is now shipping and there is a software update for it posted on our web site.
There are some new features in the software for the Pocket Cinema Camera. You can now focus by pushing the focus button when using an active MFT lens. This makes it very easy to accurately focus. The focus peaking feature is still there and you enable it by double pressing the focus button. The focus zoom feature is enabled by double pressing the OK button.
There will be an update for the 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Camera soon that will also add these features, plus new de-bayer processing that will improve the cameras sharpness when shooting non RAW files.
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is not yet shipping as we need some more time. Our first batch of sensors was delivered only this week, so we have not been able to complete the software for the camera. We expect to start shipping in about 3 to 4 weeks once the final software work and testing is completed.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Price Reduction

We have worked very hard over the last year to be able to build the Blackmagic Cinema Camera at a lower cost so we can reduce the price and allow access to digital filming to a wide range of cinematographers and photographers.
We have done it and from today the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF and MFT models will be reduced in price to US$1,995. This is very exciting and is one of the proudest moments of my life to be able to do this!
I think people will be able to use the savings to invest in some exciting lenses and rigs to really boost the creative possibilities. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a fantastic design that's now well proven. The advantage of the 2.5K sensor is it has enough resolution to eliminate the bayer resolution loss of a HD sensor, but when shooting RAW it produces files that are too not to big to store and work with easily. It's a fantastic solution.
All orders placed that have not yet been filled, can be reduced to the new lower price.

HyperDeck Software 3.8

We have an exciting new version of software for the HyperDeck SSD recorders and this new update adds 6G-SDI support on the output for HyperDeck Studio Pro and adds on screen menus to both HyperDeck Studio models where you can set formats and other features. We have also added a new ethernet remote control support.
This is really easy to use and you connect HyperDeck to your network, set the IP address of the HyperDeck in the menu and then Telnet into the HyperDeck to get control. If you type play, the HyperDeck will play and if you type stop, then HyperDeck will stop. You can get clip lists and all kinds of control functions. There are more details in the instruction manual on the protocol.
This update is free of charge and on our web site now.

ATEM Switcher Software 4.1.1

We have a new software update for the ATEM switchers and it's a big update with lots of new features. It includes a new save and restore that allows you to save the state of the switcher into an XML file, including all your media pool, into a folder of images. You can load that XML file back into the switcher to fully restore it with all settings and media back online.
You can even save parts of the switcher, such as a single keyer or even SuperSource and use them like Marcos. If you save the switcher, you also have the choice to load parts of the switcher, or the whole switcher. You can keep saving to keep rolling backups and each XML file is like a time based snapshot of your switcher state through the whole job. The media pool will keep adding any changed images to the media folder so you will get all media that's used in the job and can restore back to any point in time. Its very powerful.
We have also been opening up some of the power of the new ATEM Production Studio 4K model that includes HDMI and 6G-SDI that operates in SD, HD and Ultra HD resolutions. This update now adds new 1080p progressive video formats including 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50 and 59.94fps. This really opens up the number of devices you can plug in.
This update also fixes a bug in the ATEM Production Studio 4K that stopped some devices using RGB HDMI such as Playstation, Xbox, computers and GoPro cameras from working with the switcher HDMI inputs.
This software update is available now from our web site for download.

DaVinci Resolve 9.1.5

We have a small software update for DaVinci Resolve 9 that adds improved compatibility with Avid Media Composer 7.0 round trip, supports reel names in Final Cut Pro X XML, adds support for Avid EuControl Software Package Version 3.0, improves handling of multi track Quicktime audio files and adds improved Cinema DNG file format support.
This update is available for download from our web site.

Desktop Video 9.7.7

This new software update now adds support for the 4K DCI modes and adds improved compatibility for HDMI on the UltraStudio 4K and the DeckLink 4K Extreme models. We have also improved support for Avid Media Composer for the UltraStudio Mini Recorder and DeckLink Mini Recorder models.
This software update is available now for download from our web site.

Splice Community Web Site

Over the last few years I have spoken to more and more people at shows and seminars, and one thing that really struck me is how hard it is to be the best at editing, color correction, design and effects in this industry.
This is one very tough industry, but it’s so incredibly exciting! In my time in post production I have spent many hours at a post facility at 2 a.m. talking to editors who have just come out of a 15 hour session. You might know that feeling!
I have spent hours listening to editors, effects artists and colorists talking about the jobs they just completed and how it went and it was really exciting. I really want to share those stories with everyone!
So I have created a new community page where we have people talking about their stories and posting their projects and images online. It’s not about Blackmagic here, as I really just want to share people's stories about their work and how they got started in the industry.
I get to talk to so many people from thousands of post production and broadcast facilities, so I hope this website lets others enjoy these stories as well.
When we proposed this website to people in the industry, they were really receptive to the idea and have been fantastic in supporting it. They have really opened up and shared the tough times as well as the good times. They have explained how they got started in the industry and even the big breaks that made them who they are today. It’s fantastic and we are so lucky that we have had this support.
If you are interested in reading these stories, please head
I hope that Splice will be a community space where you can go to see the background stories behind so many great projects. We will feature everything we can from feature films, shorts, TVCs and documentaries. There are loads of projects from directors, DPs, editors, colorists, visual effects artists and post houses who have all shared their stories.
So please check it out! If you want to tell your story, please let the guys know via the website or Facebook. I hope you like it.

New York Seminar

We are hosting an event in New York City to show our latest products. This is a great opportunity if you have not been able to make it to one of the big trade shows to be able to come and meet us in person and get to see our newest products. We'll be showing our new Ultra HD and 6G- SDI equipment, the latest DaVinci Resolve 10, our Cinema Cameras, and the rest of our latest developments.
This event is a great opportunity to get a sit down demonstration of our products, catch theater style presentations, speak directly with the Blackmagic Design team, and mingle over the provided refreshments with colleagues from the area!

DateThursday August 8th
Time11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Ave, New York, NY
For more information and to register to attend, please visit:

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Rotolight Statement

Rotolight sent me a short email (below) and a copy of the statement that they released concerning the recent take-down of a video by Den Lennie (see: Using a Copyright Infringement claim to shut down the opposition)
With reference to the recent online publicity regarding Rotolight please find attached the official Response from Rotolight.
The Statement is also available online:-
There will be no further comments.

I've reprinted the full statement below.

I'm not going to flog a dead horse; I don't think we'll learn anything more by pursuing this particular event, though I don't think it removes the underlying concern that companies can have things taken down because they don't like them.

I will add though, that I'm a little bit puzzled that in their statement they say that they received advice advancing the legal theory of having things removed that might be "potentially misleading and unrepresentative."

Wouldn't that cover just about everything written on the Internet?

Note: Den Lennie has posted his own piece about this as well: Censorship? Copyright Infringement used by manufacturer to remove a comparison video…Reinstated!

1st August 2013
Rotolight Statement

Rotolight would like the opportunity to respond to the recent concerns raised that related to the circumstances surrounding, and subsequent request for the removal of a video from Vimeo.We sincerely apologise for any offence caused to Den Lennie and the F‐Stop academy, and for the resulting anxieties around freedom of speech.

Rotolight is a small, family owned and run, UK based business, with a great team of extremely hard working and passionate people, who have worked for decades in the creative industries and care greatly about creating highly innovative products for our customers. Rotolight is not a ‘corporate bully’, far from it. We are in fact one of the ‘little guys’, and have to work extra hard to compete with larger companies, to come up with exciting and imaginative new designs that push the boundaries of LED lighting technology.

Rotolight welcome and encourage independent reviews, editorial and feedback from customers on our products, and indeed go out of our way every week to provide products for test to numerous major industry publications, to which Rotolight has no affiliation. We also regularly provide loan products to leading cinematographers and DoP’s in the field for use on their projects, without any prior knowledge of their potential feedback on the product. As a result, our products have recently been used on James Bond Skyfall, Tom Hanks latest movie Captain Phillips, and currently by ITV’s ‘Your face sounds familiar’ as well as recently on a major BBC series and Formula 1.

In this specific case, the video was not removed for copyright infringement reasons as has been widely reported. Rotolight received external advice with respect to this particular video that it was potentially misleading and unrepresentative. This advice resulted in the only request the company has made to have a video removed from any video sharing website in the last 3 years.

It is important to understand the damage that can be caused not just to our business, but to its hard working employees and their families, and also to the numerous other SME’s in our UK supply chain, whom we make a conscious effort to source components from in order to support our local business community, which is why we felt we needed to act.

However, we accept that we could have dealt with this better and avoided the issue through clearer communications in the first instance, and we are already reviewing our process and policy on this matter to ensure it does not happen again.

Due to a simple human error, the light featured in this Video was found to have a minor anomaly in its manual software calibration process,which affected only this particular light. It was immediately rectified and returned to the customer, resolving the issue displayed in the Video. The issue here was not that we simply ‘didn’t like the results’ but that the original test video was posted to Vimeo 5 months after the issue had been rectified, without any reference to this. It was therefore felt the Video was potentially misleading and unrepresentative, although we fully accept that this was not the intention of the Video when it was uploaded.

We have already posted a link to a completely independent test of a representative light alongside 20 other manufacturers lights, carried out by Wide Open Camera that can been seen here:‐

The colour accuracy of the Rotolight Anova was specifically analyzed by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers in an independent test where they said “Many lights, especially LED’s, produce a spiky spectrum or have large chunks of spectrum missing, but the Rotolight Anova showed a nice smooth gradation through the whole visible light spectrum, which in turn means rich, beautiful and natural colour rendition in the subjects you are shooting” (Sarah Moffat, CSC,

We recognize everyone’s rightful concerns about freedom of speech, which we equally share. However, this particular case was more an issue of a breakdown in communication between the key parties, which is regrettable and for which we deeply apologize to all concerned.

As a gesture of good faith, we have offered to donate a brand new Rotolight Anova worth over £2000 to Den Lennie’s F‐Stop Academy for use by its students in their workshops, and have invited them to our Pinewood Studios Office to meet the designer and the Rotolight team.

Indeed we always try to communicate, promote, understand and welcome our end users feedback, either positive or negative ‐ It's what makes us work harder, move further and improve our products every day. That’s one of the reasons why in a recent survey over 92% of Rotolight customers said ‘they would recommend our products to a friend’. We encourage you to visit a store today, try one of our products and see it for yourself.

Last week Rotolight was proud to be honoured by the Hollywood Film Making Community as the Winner of  the prestigious CINEGEAR 2013 Technical Award  (held at Paramount Studios LA). We have also won numerous other industry awards including the CINEC Special Award for Scientific Innovation and Technical achievement, and the British Kinematographic Sound and Television Society award 2013 for a product range that has “made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the industry”.

We’d encourage you to visit Rotolight at IBC 2013 on stand (11:D69) to see the award winning lights in action and have a one‐to‐one demonstration on the latest additions to the Anova product line being announced at the show.

The Joy of Discovery

Sometimes, when you're wading through the detritus that is much of the Internet, it's easy to take for granted what an amazing thing it is. Of course, there are downsides. I'm quite convinced that the Internet will one day prove that there is no original thought. Have an idea? Search for it; you'll almost certainly find that someone already thought of it, or did it.

I have a Steadicam Smoothee that works with the iPhone 4. I used it a couple of times and then put it away and never used it again. Now you can buy an adapter for the GoPro, but I don't have one of those. Today I was thinking, 'maybe I could adapt it to work with a better camera?' Well, of course you can, and dozens of people were already doing that over a year ago. Hardly an original idea!

Actually, I'm not that upset to find out lots of other people have been doing it; because now I have something to copy and I'm much more likely to meet with success..

And there is the joy of finding something you didn't expect to find. Like this piece at Slate about fake photographs from the 1930's of World War 1 dogfights. Pretty amazing.

Maybe someone should fake some World War I movie footage? (I'm sure they have)

Which brings me to my next discover of the day. This article about animated GIFs of scenes from movies. Which raises the question: Why are animated GIFs a thing? I don't get it. I've noticed this seems to be a new 'thing', and I can't understand it. WEREN'T ANIMATED GIFS WHAT WE DID BEFORE WE COULD DO VIDEO ON THE INTERNET? Hello! The 1990's called and they want their Internet doodle's back.

When it comes to better late than never, Philip Bloom has posted his review of the Canon C100. At least he acknowledges it in the title: The better late than never Canon C100 review

Finally, thinking of crowdfunding? Here's a little warning about tax considerations: Understanding Crowdfunding Taxes
One thing is clear, however, other than the fees they collect, crowdfunding companies and platforms are not responsible for the money you raise through their service, the person crowdfunding is.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The News

Canon has a new VIXIA MINI COMPACT camera [Updated]
Canon just sent me a press release for a new camera, which appears to be a GoPro competitor. Unfortunately, no pictures were included, and the link to the camera page on their website - at the moment - doesn't seem to display anything.

Clearly, the size, shape and included LCD sets this apart from the action cameras...
The VIXIA mini compact personal camcorder features an ultra wide-angle Canon f/2.8 fisheye lens (160 degree movies / 170 degree photos) allowing a user to shoot from unique and creative perspectives while including their surroundings to make their videos and images more interesting. By utilizing the Wide Mode users can give the viewer a full view of their surroundings and then switch to Close-Up Mode to provide emphasis on a particular subject. While in Close-up Mode, users can record a centered 1920 x 1440 resolution image with little distortion. They can also quickly toggle from one shooting mode to the other, or switch back and forth between video and image mode, by touching the camcorder’s innovatively designed 2.7-inch capacitive-tilt touch panel LCD display. Attached to the camera by two parallel hinges, the Vari-Angle LCD monitor allows for various shooting styles, including low-angle shooting, normal and high-angle-shooting and self-shooting.
Price will be $299 and it's expected in September.

Using the ARRI Alexa | Filmmaker Magazine
A Boston D.P. I know, Chris Loughran, recently spent some time with the ARRI Alexa, and offered these thoughts.

Changes at the NeedCreative Podcast
The latest issue of the Need Creative podcast is up, and it features Aharon Rabinowitz of Red Giant talking about BulletProof, and Matt Allard from Aljazeera talking about the new Sony FS700 4K update. Should be worth a lesson.

There's some sad news, as this episode marks the farewell of co-host and founder, Paul Antico. Paul has made the decision to leave the podcast due to other work and family commitments. Paul did an astounding job putting together over 50 episodes of the show.

But, it's not all bad news as Ben Consoli of BC Media Productions is going to continue the show, and if he can keep up the quality of the latest episode, then the show is in good hands.

BulletProof v1.0 Released | Red Giant
Red Giant released the official 1.0 release of BulletProof. The Company also announced two new suites: The Red Giant Shooter Suite (which includes BulletProof) and The Red Giant Color Suite (which replaces the Magic Bullet Suite, but includes Magic Bullet Looks).

Making Movies

Five Successful Indie Films Made For Under $30,000 | Doddleme
The Blair Witch Project (1999), directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick; budget: $20-25,000. Whether you thought it was scary or not, the fact is The Blair Witch Project is one of the most influential films of the last 20-years.

How To Distribute Your Film Yourself – Interview with Jon Reiss of Think Outside The Box Office | Chris Jones
...if you are thinking of making a micro budget film and self distributing, or creating a hybrid distribution model where you work alongside traditional sales agents and distributors, then Jon is your man.

Color Grading

The Culture of Colour: Diane Kuo – Digital Colourist | movieScope
One picture you can colour grade ten different ways but you have to communicate with your client and you have to make a decision about which one will go well with the story. It really helps the story and helps the audience to understand that image.

Get the Hollywood movie film look in Sony Movie Studio 12 | YouTube
Apply these small adjustments to get the big screen film or movie look in Sony Movie Studio 12. Quick and easy to do.

Hawaiki Color for Final Cut Pro X | Noise Industries
Hawaiki Color is a fully featured primary grading tool for use exclusively within Final Cut Pro X. No more messing around with fiddly controls in the inspector or trying to make sense of the Color Board.  A serious grading product with a professional interface that is unrivaled at this price.

Other News

The Music Bed – interview | Nino Leitner
Interview with the founder of The Music Bed
That problem being the comical lack of affordable, quality, relevant music living in one space and made available to filmmakers for synching. We began just getting songs cleared for us to use in our own projects, and it quickly grew into a fully functional landing place for filmmakers around the world to pick up some tunes.

Working with Less (or, Get Out There and Shoot!) Part 1 | Philip Bloom
A guest post by David Kong about working with less gear, for less money, and making it look good:
You’re more versatile. What happens if you show up on set and your Steadicam operator has sprained his ankle? If you can jury-rig a Steadicam substitute from an extra tripod and a piece of rope, you can actually get the shot. 
Interesting piece, though I'd still rather have a Canon C300 over a 5D Mark III. Just don't over-rig it!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The News

Indiesonar interviews Charysse Tia Harper about the making of her currently in-production documentary Panomundo: "We’ve been fortunate enough to borrow equipment from crew members and friends from our past shoots. However, I have a Lavalier mic and a Nikon D5100, and Keith has acquired a Canon 60D."

NPR's POV blog has an article for those just starting out: Tips for Making Your First Film: Choosing a Topic, Interviewing Like a Pro, and One Aspect of Filmmaking That’s Often Overlooked
Choosing a TopicIFP: You have to go with your gut on this one! Whatever makes you happy, piques your interest, inspires (or enrages!) and activates is probably going to appeal to someone else. When you put passion into a project, others can see it. This makes them excited about the work too!

First test's of Canon 70D footage aren't that spectacular. Johnnie Behiri has posted an initial test with a beta copy of this camera, and the footage: "At present time there is not much to rave about the video quality coming out of that sample 70D camera.Images are extremely soft, a bit noisy and moire and aliasing are everywhere."
I'd say I was surprised, but I wasn't expecting the 70D footage to be any better than previous DSLR models.

Okay, this is pretty impressive; creating a scene using a model helicopter and After Effects. And a tutorial that shows you how to do the whole thing. Awesome!

The whole series is here: IndependentVFX | YouTube

Daniel John Peters offers some tips for recording scratch audio with the Red Scarlet.

New Shooter looks at the latest firmware update for the Sony F5 & F55.
It enables a couple of very significant things, the first being the ability to record the SR codec in 3 different varieties. These are SStP SR-SQ 444  RGB at 440Mbps, SR-SQ 422 at 440Mbs and SR-Lite 422 at 220Mbps. 

Philip Bloom liks the Film Convert plug-in
I have used many of them over the past 8-9 years. None of them have ever done what I want: make my video truly look like film…until now. FilmConvert does. I have taken the harshest, mode video like stuff I have and ran it through FilmConvert and have been blown away by it.

Film Financing
MovieScope offers a look at various financing and film making incentives for independent film makers. This has a European perspective, but some of this probably applies in the US too: Film Financing: The Whole Picture

Spike Lee got some grief for going to Kickstarter to fund a movie. Now he's claiming that it's all good because he's brought people to Kickstarter who didn't know it existed..

Monday, July 29, 2013

Maybe Vincent Laforet was right

Back in April Vincent Laforet started tweeting and posted about a new device he'd used that would be a "game changer" and would shake things up in the industry as much as the Canon 5D Mark II had. He said that this was the first thing since the 5D Mark II that he felt was as important, and added "I have a hard time imagining the day where I won’t be using it on a shoot."

The device was, of course, the MōVI, a "revolutionary" camera stabilizer.

The footage was certainly impressive, but at $15,000 for the M10 (they have a M5 that will sell for $7,500) I found it difficult to see this as a game changer for the majority of the video production industry. I just couldn't see a lot of indie or corporate video people spending that much money for a video stabilizer. And while the shots were pretty impressive, a regular Steadicam shot - done carefully - is pretty similar, and probably just as effective.

But, now there seems to be a dozen or so companies and individuals coming out with similar products, and the price of some of these is much, much lower. Relentless Inc is offering the Defy G2 Gimball at $2,300. It only supports a camera up to 2 lbs, but a lot of people are shooting with cameras that weigh less than that. And it seems likely there will also be under $1,000 products, though they may only support a GoPro Hero.

  • There's now a "Brushless Gimbal" group on Vimeo.
  • The company Brushless Gimbals sells "all the components required to build your own brushless direct drive gimbal for your camera."
  • A Google search will turn up lots of examples and videos

So is this a revolution? Will we all be sick of pointless "flying" shots in a couple of months? Will everyone have one in two years?

I'm not sure, but I'm starting to think that Vincent Laforet was a little more right than I originally thought he was. He just might have gotten the specific product wrong; it's not so much the MōVI that's creating the revolution, as the revolution in brushless gimbals. As Tom Parker wrote in his blog about creating his own test project:
Over the last few months brushless motor gimbals have taken to the spotlight, and for obvious reasons. They are simple to start with, it only takes some bent metal in L shapes with some motors bolted on and there you go. As long as its balanced it will work a treat.

eSteady Camera Rig For GoPro from Motor Reflex on Vimeo.