Friday, October 04, 2013

Ron Howard’s “Rush” Graded on DaVinci Resolve

The following press release was sent out by Blackmagic. I've seen some footage and write-ups about Rush and it sounds like it could be a pretty good movie...

Blackmagic Design today announced that Company 3 in London has used DaVinci Resolve for color grading Ron Howard’s F1 racing biographical action film “Rush.”

“Rush” portrays the exhilarating true story of two of the greatest rivals the sport has ever witnessed, drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of F1 racing, "Rush" follows the two drivers as they push themselves to the breaking point of physical and psychological endurance, where there is no shortcut to victory and no margin for error.

After a catastrophic crash during the 1976 German GP at the Nürburgring, which could have killed Lauda, he returns to face rival Hunt in their pursuit of the World Championship. Anthony Dod Mantle was the film’s cinematographer, and he presented Company 3’s senior colorist Adam Glasman with an intriguing challenge.

“While 'Rush' was shot using a variety of different digital formats, Howard and Mantle also wanted to incorporate original race footage from 1976 shot on 16mm and 35mm film. Ron and Anthony felt this would help to recreate the thrilling race sequences and give 'Rush' some real F1 production value,” says Patrick Malone of Company 3 London.

The overall goal during the grade was to create a look that would bind both digital and archived film material together, giving "Rush" a seamless look throughout. “Our brief was to give the film a 70’s period feel with a modern slant. Inspiration for the color palette came from a lot of the readily available archived 8mm, 16mm and 35mm footage of the 1976 World Championship.

“While the traditional look associated with the period is one of desaturated, almost sepia colors, Anthony wanted to push color into the cars so they looked more bold and striking. In addition, he wanted each of the grand prix races given their own unique feel to reflect the drama and dynamics of the ’76 championship.

"Take for example the opening scene at the Nürburgring, which is a pivotal moment. This had a very stormy, almost menacing feel to it as the film builds up to Lauda’s crash. This is a very bold sequence, which Adam achieved by adding in more saturation while being careful not to crush the information out of the image,” says Malone.

Company 3 London has also used DaVinci Resolve recently to complete the grading of Edgar Wright’s science fiction comedy “The World’s End,” Zombie epic “World War Z” and British action comedy “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.”

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Quick Links

Perfect lenses are coming soon - but would we want them? | RedShark News
And now, we are starting to see things that really did look like magic a few years ago, and one of them is the subject of this article: digitally correcting lens aberrations so that you end up with a better image that you could expect through optics alone.

A day in the life of a 3D artist | CreativeBlog
Actually no, the life of a freelancer is fraught with the dangers of missed deadlines, angry clients, an ever increasing workload and non payments. So why do it? Why not remove the stress from your working life and go corporate.

The Camera's Cusp: Alfonso Cuarón Takes Filmmaking to a New Extreme With Gravity | Vulture
“We are not editing our life. It’s only when we remember our life that we edit it. Alfonso is interested in this point of view where the audience’s point of view integrates with the characters’ point of view in a way that there are no interpretations. It’s more pure.”

Have you ever been pulling focus and found yourself off the mark during that split-second in which you glanced between the actor in a scene and your marks on the follow focus? It only takes a split second for the focus to go soft. By that time, the camera operator mutters, "Buzzy" and you know you're going to need another take.

Exclusive Webinar: The Anatomy of a 4K Feature | ProVideoCoalition
Watch the replay:
Listen to a discussion that comes out of the "How we make movies" event from RED Studios, Hollywood. Recorded in front of a live audience, Director Jeremy Torrie & Gary Jackemuk, colorist and DI Artist, discussed the benefits and challenges of creating a 4K workflow for their film, Path of Souls, while adopting the latest technologies to finish the film remotely. Path of Souls, a Cannes 2013 La Marche Du Film entry, was shot with RED Epic and finished with ASSIMILATE SCRATCH in 4K.

You have to sign up for this free report:
There are many reasons why building a home studio could be right for you. Perhaps you want to make your interviews look more professional with a variety of backdrops or a chromakey setup. Or maybe you need more lighting control for product shots.


Damn! It's full!
Business Skills for Artists Series, Part #2: Crowd Sourced Funding
Artisan's Asylum, Inc.Friday, October 4, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)
Somerville, United States

Using BorisFX products to enhance your post-production capability
Boston Avid Users Group
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)
Boston, MA

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Quick Links

MXL FR-500WK Wireless Mic for Videographers
I wasn't even aware that MXL, who makes a variety of inexpensive mics, had a wireless mic system available specifically designed for videographers. But here's the MXL FR-500WK and at $399.95, it's $99 cheaper than Sony UWP-V1, which is $499. I haven't used the MXL, but I love the Sony UWP-V1; I've had it for a few years, an it just keeps working with little problems (except when the battery leaked a couple of weeks ago!)

Would I buy the MXL instead of the Sony? I might, though having one unit I'd probably buy the same again just because I'm familiar with it.

I did notice that the FR-500WK receiver has a built-in speaker...I personally don't think monitoring at the receiver is a good idea - better to monitor what the camera is actually recording - but that might be useful for DSLR users who can't monitor from their camera and are trying to diagnose issues during setup.

You can read a short review of the unit here:
Review - MXL FR-500WK Portable Portable Wireless Audio System | Examiner
I also tested out the system at a press event, to see if any loud ambient sound would be an issue when recording and I found that it did in fact pick up quite a bit of dialogue and music, though it wasn’t so overwhelming that it took away from what I was trying to record. Still, the further you move from being in the center of background noise, the better.

Hacking Arts – Using Technology To Connect With Your Audience | Michael Murie | Filmmaker Magazine
Hacking Arts, a two-day event to “explore the intersection of arts and entertainment, technology and entrepreneurship” was held this last weekend at MIT’s Media Lab. The first day consisted of panels and product demos, while the rest of the event was devoted to participants working together to come up with new ideas in various topic areas, from mobile to art education.

Working Bad: Cinematographer Michael Slovis On 35mm Film, HDTV, And How 'Breaking Bad' Stuck The Landing | Forbes
Vince is a student of cinema and knows movies like the back of his hand. It was always in his mind that this was a Western in the style of Sergio Leone and the Italian Neo-realists. And he loved expressive lighting like The Godfather, so this was the hybrid we’re trying to put together.

Hawaiki Color | Oliver Peters | digitalfilms
Once the Hawaiki Color filter is applied to the desired clips in your timeline – and you have set the filter to be displayed in a window or full screen with overlaid controls – it becomes very easy to move from clip-to-clip in a very fast grading session.

If you skip the intro, there's some interesting comparisons between the cheapest ($110) and the most expensive 50mm lens ($1,439) that Canon makes in this video tutorial. There's obvious differences, even though in many shooting situations, you'd be hard pressed to see the difference. Still that f1.2 is a nice piece of metal and glass.
And did I say it's the most expensive Canon 50mm? Of course not! You could always get the CN-E 50mm T1.3 L F Cine Lens for $4,700. Now there's a lens!
Ever wonder what the difference is between those high-end L series lenses and the inexpensive ones? We put the Canon L series 50mm up against the economical Canon 50mm f1.8 testing focus, bokeh, image quality, and vignetting.

Sam Mendez and Conrad L. Hall Analyze the 'American Beauty' Storyboard | No Film School
The two filmmakers explain their stylistic choices and how they translate into the film language. For instance, they divulge that in the storyboard, they drew Lester’s reflection in his computer with horizontal lines, but in the film, they switched it to vertical lines to give the sense that he was behind prison bars.

My first step was to create proxy files from the RAW Cinema DNG’s. To do this I used DaVinci Resolve, as naturally it is built with the BMCC in mind. There are many other options for conforming BMCC footage including going to Photoshop or After Effects to create your proxies, but with the amount of time I had to do this, I used Resolve as I knew it was a tested workflow that was pretty bulletproof.

Mocha Pro Halloween Video Contest
Our biggest Halloween Contest yet!
Submit a Halloween inspired, spooky video short and enter to win excellent prizes from Imagineer Systems and our partners: Maxon, FXHome, Rampant Design and Mamoworld. Top 5 entries will win a prize!
The Rules:
  • Submit a short "scary, spooky, Halloween" video (no longer than 5 minutes).
  • All videos must use mocha AE or mocha Pro for part of the process.
  • Enter by Midnight, Thursday, October 31

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

GoPro Announces the Hero+ Models

GoPro has announced new models of their Hero line that are smaller and offer improved image quality, though rumors of 4K at 30fps proved incorrect; the new Black model goes to 15fps (up from 12fps on the current Black model.) Most people will probably want to shoot in the Black's 2,7K mode.

GoPro also announced new accessories including a new LCD Touch BacPac, new Battery BacPac, and a variety of new mounts.

Availability is quoted as "limited" at the moment.

  • HERO3+ is 20% smaller than the HERO3 and it features a lighter housing that's waterproof to 131'
  • SuperView video mode allows you to capture an immersive wide angle perspective
  • Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for improved low light performance
  • The HERO3+ features 33% improved image sharpness and reduced distortion
  • The HERO3+ features faster built-in Wi-Fi for enhanced connectivity to the included Wi-Fi Remote and downloadable GoPro App
  • The HERO3+ provides 25% longer battery life than the HERO3
  • Wireless camera software updates via the GoPro App
  • The HERO3+ has been equipped with upgraded audio performance
The Black and Silver models have the same list price as the previous versions, though you can buy the current Black model for $329.99 and the Silver for $249.99.

Pre-order the GoPro HERO3+ Silver Edition Camera $299.99
Pre-order the GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition Camera $399.99

The new GoPro Suction Cup Mount is similar to the older model but includes both a standard base and a quick-release base: GoPro Suction Cup Mount $39.99

The News

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Review – Part 1 – Worth the hype? | EOSHD
So the big companies will need to catch up with the Pocket Rocket or lose us. Even Panasonic who are not so shy of implementing useful features for filmmakers on the GH2, GH3, need to up their game when it comes to image quality because the Pocket Cinema Camera with ProRes (let alone raw video) is simply far superior to 8bit compressed footage from a stills sensor that has to throw a lot away in the downscaling process.

Back focus, focus, and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera with EF mount | MKE Productions
When Blackmagic designed the BMCC, they designed it to match with Canon’s cinema lenses.  These lenses are pricey, and made to much more exact measurements than Canon’s photo lenses, even their L series.  Most of the high-end lenses with EF mounts have very precise focus marks on the barrel.  They stop at exactly infinity.  Then, they released it to the public, and realized that certain lenses are really meant to mount much closer to the camera sensor.  Oops!

Digital Bolex Report: An Interview with Creative Director Elle Schneider | Filmmaker Magazine
Elle Schneider, Creative Director at Digital Bolex, spoke about the project at this weekend’s Hacking Arts conference held at MIT’s Media Lab. The Digital Bolex project, the creation of a digital camera that is operated and styled like a 16mm camera, was funded through a Kickstarter Project.

GoPro Hero 3 Plus Rumor Announcement. 4K And More. Leaked Photos Hero3+ | Wide Open Camera
GoPro will announcing the new GoPro Hero 3 Plus Silver and Black edition any day now. The new line of Hero 3+ cameras have some killer specs like 4K 30fps, 2K 120fps and an improved underwater housing. 

After four days with the camera I left the Tibetan plateau relieved that the auto focus had lived up to its promise, and for this assignment compensated for my poor health. It worked seamlessly with everything I threw at it, though for the most part the 70D was my second camera with which I tended to shoot wide lens and deep apertures. I never had the chance to test the extremes of the auto focus capability wide open but it dealt well with my normal use. The 70D is staying in my bag for now.

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Upcoming Events

Saturday, October 5th • High Output Studios
Coffee & Bagels 9:30 AM / Seminars 10:00 - 12:00 Noon

A panel of talented filmmakers will deconstruct what "Independent Filmmaking" means today. In addition to being producers, directors and writers, they are also fundraisers, marketers, bloggers, distributors, educators, CEOs and CFOs of their own companies, technologists, designers, and more – all while keeping the fundamental STORY in their films front and center, and figuring out how to distribute their content onto all available platforms.

• Rebecca Cohen – Director / Producer, Racing Horse Productions
• Gabrielle Dockterman – Director / Producer, Angel Devil Productions
• Laurie Kahn – Director / Producer, Blueberrry Hill Productions
• Moderated by Kathryn Dietz – Executive Director, Filmmakers Collaborative

Understanding the Changing Landscape of Visual Storytelling with Vincent Laforet
Tuesday October 22
One Guest Street, Brighton MA

Monday, September 30, 2013

Digital Bolex @Hacking Arts

I attended part of the Hacking Arts conference at MIT over the weekend. It was an interesting series of presentations, a lot of them focusing on creating - and taking advantage of - social media audiences. There was also an interesting panel on film distribution via the internet. More on that later.

Digital Bolex was also there. The following is a short presentation that Elle Schneider, Creative Director at Digital Bolex gave. An interview I did with her should be posted to Filmmaker Magazine later today.