Friday, October 25, 2013

The News

Producing a Low-Budget Short Film and Pitching a Movie: Run Like Hell | Filmmaker Magazine
Red Giant has unveiled their latest low-budget, effects-rich short; Run Like Hell. It’s billed as a short film, but it’s really intended to be a teaser for a full-length movie director Stu Maschwitz hopes to make. Maschwitz is a visual effects wizard who worked at Industrial Light & Magic before co-founding effects house The Orphanage. 

Run Like Hell (the script) | Slugline
You can get a copy of the script for the Run Like Hell trailer here.
Run Like Hell is a hilarious feature film in development, inspired by the cult classic video game. As the director attached to the project, I teamed up with producer Adrian Askarieh and Red Giant Films to create this teaser. Step one was writing the script.

New Sony A7, A7R and RX10 – exclusive hands-on look at video quality | EOSHD
Andrew looks at the video quality of the three new Sonys, and decides the A7r is the best of the three...though not as good as the HACKED Canon 5D Mark III footage.
I admit, I'm disappointed; I was hoping the A7 would be pretty good.
All cameras have some degree of moire & aliasing, though the RX10 is a massive improvement on previous Sony cameras with respects to this. The moire issues are disappointing but then cameras without moire and aliasing are the exception rather than the rule. Even the Blackmagic cameras have moire and aliasing. The A7R has a little more than those and certainly more than the 5D Mark III. 

Arri Alexa vs. Canon C500 | Shane Hurlbut
I found that as we increased the Alexa’s ISO, it built more contrast in the blacks. The C500 seemed to do the same but not as extreme. We noticed that the bit depth color on the C500 seemed really thin once we got over 4000 ISO, which is still pretty impressive.

4K video recording on a phone? Is there any point? A look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 3′s 4K video | Philip Bloom
So then, what is the point of a mobile phone that shots 4K? To be blunt, not a lot. Yet the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has that function! It does shoot Full HD of course but it also can shoot 3840×2160 otherwise known as 4K or Ultra HD. It’s actually not really a feature that is pushed that much by them to be fair, but it is there.

A Fresh Look at Apple’s Final Cut Pro X | Filmmaker Magazine
Consider this: FCP X is a feature-rich 64-bit pro app with a challenging learning curve (I’m still climbing), which, at the same time, provides a relatively easy interface for those otherwise intimidated by professional NLEs.

The Studio Conversion with Eight LED lights | HD Warrior
A look at a home studio conversion project
My plan was to be able to produce medium wide shots either sitting down or standing up to white, black and green and have the ability to produce full length green screen shots when needed.
A studio is better without external light like a window so the window area was partitioned with wood and gyp-rocked with 12.5mm boards to give an extra sound barrier.

Crowdfunding is a Full-Time Job: Here's How to Make It Pay | IndieWire
Crowdfunding is not for the weak of heart. Nor is it free money. It is a full time job with lots of moving parts that may not be in every filmmaker’s wheelhouse. The fact is most people will probably lose money on the deal even if they’re successful. It’s also an amazing way for filmmakers to get funding.

What Are the Ethics Behind Documentary Recreations? | IndieWire
But what happens when these reinterpretations of events become indistinguishable from raw footage? Sometimes, it can impress unintended ramifications on the viewing experience. Using the recent release "The Summit" as an example, TFI's Ingrid Kopp found the seamless transitions between recreations and reality hazardous, to the point where she no longer knew what to trust, whereas A&E Films' Molly Thompson felt it made the filmmaking all the more impressive.

Apple Pulls Some Disney and Pixar Titles From iTunes Store and iTunes in the Cloud [Updated] | MacRumors
If you buy something digitally from an online store, there's no guarantee that you'll always be able to download that content; if the store loses the rights to distribute the content, you won't be able to download it again. This has come up before with electronic books on Amazon.
On, searching for the titles results in a notice that licensing agreements have prevented the content from being purchased or rented, and as AppAdvice points out, Apple's iTunes Store Terms and Conditions does specify that previously purchased content can be made inaccessible.


Creating a Great Pitch Trailer for your Feature Film | Adobe
Thursday, October 31, 201310:00 AM - 11:00 AM US/Pacific
Project Kronos was a documentary-style short film posted written and directed by Hasraf "HaZ" Dulull. The sci-fi story follows a mission to achieve interstellar space travel. Just 6 months later, it has been picked up for feature film development. Join HaZ to learn how he got his start in filmmaking, how he made Project Kronos, and how, as a first time filmmaker, he used the creative approach of pitch trailers to get the attention of studio executives and producers. 

B & H Special Offers

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quick Links

Gareth Jones creates piece using 3D plug-in FreeForm | Mettle
FreeForm makes 3D movement in character animation much easier, especially head rotation. For example, the head can be placed on it's own layer, FreeForm applied, and the head can then be shaped in 3D using FreeForm's control points and tangents. A displacement map can also be applied in FreeForm to add more volume and detail.

VIrgin Media from Gareth Jones on Vimeo.

Product Review: Sorenson Media Squeeze 9 Pro | Larry Jordan
The application can take you as far as you want to go in improving the quality of your compressed videos. Keep in mind, however, that like any powerful tool, you will need to invest time to learn how to use it well. One of the things that impresses me about the Sorenson website is that they have already taken the time to provide the tools you need to learn the application.

A warning about OS X Mavericks from Adobe:
Adobe Premiere Pro @AdobePremiereThough #PremierePro CC supports OS X 10.9 (#Mavericks) please be cautious updating as some third-parties are not yet compatible.

Film Noise (Grain)
Last night, at the presentation by Vincent Laforet, he mentioned that he'd added film noise to a project, and someone in the audience asked him when he was going to stop doing that. Vincent's reply was that it might be something that only stays with the current generation.
Then I see this post today on Twitter:
Pop Photo @PopPhotoScott Kelby on DSLRs in 2023: Noise will be something that only exists if we add it to make it look like pictures out parents took.

Clint Regehr Winning Documentary | Sony
The documentary "State" documents four high school football players at Trinity Christian Academy (TCA) pursuing dreams of a Texas State Championship. This is an interview with director Clint Regehr:
In terms of equipment, I used 4 cameras for each of the games. For the football action I used the NX5U and the FS700. I also used the FS100 and NEX-5N for capturing crowd shots and shots around the bench. The FS700 was my primary camera for shooting the football action at the field level. This camera is amazing. I purchased the camera because of its incredible super slow motion capability of 240 fps at full 1080p.

The Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera: A Review | Filmmaker Magazine
Regarding the Super-16 sensor, there’s been some concern voiced that it doesn’t have the same post-5D super-thin focus some digital shooters have become accustomed to. I honestly think that aesthetic fad is starting to wear thin (no pun intended).

The Wally Dolly has been a firm favourite of news and documentary shooters, particularly British and Australians, for many years. It is highly portable and incredibly simple to set up. In this video review I show how to assemble it and also how it can make low angle dolly shots possible.

Getting Started with BulletProof: Presets | Red Giant
A video tutorial on using Red Giant's BulletProof utility.

ScopeBox | Divergent Media
Digital Scopes for Final Cut Pro X:
You get all of your "old favorites" - waveform and vectorscope - plus some new ways of visualizing your signal like the RGB histogram or Channel Plot. You can mix and match scopes, save layouts, and be confident that you're seeing every pixel and every frame of your signal.

Sony FS700; The Ferrari Profile | Sam Morgan Moore
Sam offers his preferred profile for the Sony NEX-FS700:
This is a profile for accurate shooting and using lights or reflectors when you need them.Its not for protecting the highlights – its for letting them blow without colour banding – or protecting them with lighting design

Not Just CGI: The Incredible Tech of Horror-Movie Monsters | Live Science
Computer-generated imagery might be replacing some of the shuffling zombies and rubber-suited monsters of yesteryear, but the technology of special effects isn't all in a central processing unit, according to Andrew Clement, the owner of Creative Character Engineering in Van Nuys, Calif.

Sony FDR-AX1 Digital 4K Video Camera Recorder | B & H
Sony's consumer 4K camcorder, the FDR-AX1, is shipping now and it's only $4,498.00. I'm sure that before I know it, every camera will be 4K and I won't be able to conceive of buying an HD camera, but today I think I'd wait on the least until I can get a Mac Pro.

Pixel Problem with BMPCC | YouTube
Problems with a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera:
Bummer. Just received my Blackmagic pocket cinema camera and it has a ridiculous number of hot or stuck pixels. ISO at 1600 but problem persists, though less noticeable, at lower ISO.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Vincent Laforet on the future for creatives

Last night I went to a talk by Vincent Laforet. The event was sponsored by Rule Boston Camera, Canon and the PBS show Frontline.

I’ve heard Vincent speak before, and some of this talk was a rehash of past material; his years at The New York Times, the amazing pictures taken at the top of the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, the helicopter shots of New York, and Reverie; the first movie shot with the Canon 5D Mark II, it was all there.

But Vincent added in a new element from past talks. In this one he looked at what’s going on with the internet, social media, and the advancement of technology, and tried to make sense of it all and offer suggestions for how to have a creative career in this new world.
Learn all the Rules, and then break them
He had some fascinating stats on the volume of media being produced and uploaded to social networks every hour of every day. Hundreds of thousands of pictures are uploaded to Facebook, and hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every hour. Or is it every minute?

Ultimately, he offered a number of data points:
  • The internet has made it easier to distribute things, and harder to be seen.
  • If the clients daughter owns a 5D Mark II, why do they need to hire you as a still photographer?
  • If a 5K video camera can take stills as good as a still camera, why do we need a still camera?
  • If your phone can take a 41MP image, why do you need another camera?
  • With the technology being so good, and changing so rapidly, is the camera really important?
  • If the most popular shows are Honey Boo Boo and Storage Wars, is there still a place for serious content?
  • Attention spans are getting shorter
  • We’re watching content on smaller screens
  • We’re watching less regular television
  • The people at the top in production can still command high prices, but there’s a lot more people at the bottom, and the middle is disappearing.
Depressed yet?

His conclusion; technique and skill is still important. And so is story. A good story will differentiate you.

That, or a really funny cat video.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A bit of news

‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin | The Washington Post
Increased sensitivity of digital cameras makes it easier to record darker skin tones:
For the first hundred years of cinema, when images were captured on celluloid and processed photochemically, disregard for black skin and its subtle shadings was inscribed in the technology itself, from how film-stock emulsions and light meters were calibrated, to the models used as standards for adjusting color and tone.

#166. Are the new Zeiss / Sony lenses for the A7 camera too expensive? | Dear Susan
Sony announced some new E-Mount lenses that are a bit more expensive than their previous models, and some people are complaining. This article explains why they are worth the money, though I like the first sentence best:
Short answer: NO. They’re a bargain. The end.
And then the article goes into a lot of depth about MTF curves. You were warned:
In brief : Zeiss have really done their homework with these lenses and produced some of the sharpest / most contrasty ever produced for the 24×46 format, then thrown in very decent build and autofocus for a tiny fraction of the price of lenses of competing technical excellence from other stables.
Sony: Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA (it's $798 at B & H)
Sony: Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA (it's $998 at B & H)

After Effects CC (12.0.1) update fixes crash on Mac OS X v10.9 (Mavericks) | Adobe
Just in time for tomorrow's announcement from Apple, a fix for After Effects for the new version of Apple's OS:
IMPORTANT: The After Effects CC (12.0.1) update fixes a crash on Mac OS X (v10.9). There is no need to install this update on any other operating system. After Effects CC (12.1) is coming soon for all operating systems and includes this same fix plus many more features and bug fixes. This update is only available as a manual download to prevent users on versions of Mac OS X other than v10.9 (Mavericks) from installing it unnecessarily.

In depth test – 5D Mark III and 7D raw video vs Blackmagic Pocket vs GH3 | EOSHD
Interesting comparison of three cameras. Notice that all but the Blackmagic Pocket are running hacked software to improve the output quality:
Magic Lantern Raw video gives the 5D Mark III the image quality its full frame sensor deserves. Huge files but worth the effort. Expensive, but not relative to the professional cinema cameras it lives with and in some cases even exceeds. Silky smooth image, very little grain and very good in low light. Full frame aesthetic and rendering of lenses. Magic Lantern continues to improve in terms of usability and features. For now, top dog.
Interesting recommendation of an anti-aliasing filter for the Canon 7D:
VAF-7D Optical Anti-Aliasing Filter | Mosaic Engineering

Lens Testsclaudiomiranda
Claudio Miranda, the cinematographer on The Life of Pi has posted some examples of lens tests he's conducted.

Introducing the NEX-FS700R series camcorders | Sony
Sony has an update to the NEX-FS700 coming. I'm under the impression that this is primarily a software upgrade, though this flyer from Sony suggests it also has a new sensor. No idea when it will actually be in stock anywhere:
The NEX-FS700R?RH takes creativity to the next level with a new Super 35mm CMOS 4K sensor, 4K/2K RAW recording option, Sony E-mount interchangeable lens system and SLOG2 gamma mode.

Things you have to know: A7r has offest microlens design (the A7 has not). A7 has electronic front curtain shutter (A7r has not) | SonyAlphaRumors
This has an interesting list of differences between the Sony A7 and the A7r. There's a hint that the A7 may be better fro video. According to one article I saw, pre-orders for the A7r are higher than for the A7:
2) A7 has AA filter which avoids major moiree issues and is also great to have if you shoot videos (it’s harder to get rid of moire on videos).
Here's a sample video from the A7:

FCPX & Logic Pro X Integration | Tutorial | Dan Allen | YouTube
A tutorial for moving between Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X:
this HD Voice tutorial for Apple Final Cut Pro X 10 we learn how to integrate and send projects between Final Cut Pro and the brand new Logic Pro X by Apple ( roundtrip roundtripping ). We cover the XML export from Final Cut, importing that into Logic, how to import a video mov film file into your logic project to enable you to start mixing or scoring right away.

Interactive Cutaway F1 Car Infographic - Sauber F1 Team | YouTube
As someone that's created a lot of interactive projects over the years, I was interested to see this "interactive" video on YouTube. Not exactly seamless, but interesting to see something coming back that was being done 15 years ago...
Featured car parts: pitot tube, lap trigger / FIA transponders, drivers' seat, airhorn / airbox / air inlet, team radio, GPS receiver, telemetry data transmitter, pedals (accelerator and brake), security data recorder, Correvit optical sensor, SECU (Standard Electronics Control Unit), damping system, knee padding / leg protection, antennas, steering wheel.

Netflix's 3Q earnings quadruple, stock soars | Yahoo News
A year ago I would of suggested that Netflix was going to go out of business....good thing I don't play in the Stock Market:
Netflix's earnings quadrupled as the Internet video subscription service's line-up of original programming helped attract 1.3 million more U.S. subscribers during its latest quarter.

Smoove Rock Digimove DIY Runner: They Are All Brushless Gimbal Camera Rigscinescopophilia
Everyone is making brushless gimbals; here's five more.

George Lucas 'Constantly Talking' to J.J. Abrams About Star Wars | Mashable
I'm still a big fan of the first two Star Wars movies. The last three, not so much. So I'm not too sure if I want George to be involved in the next one, or don't really care...
Asked if Lucas was keeping a watchful eye over what happens next with Star Wars, he replied: "yeah, as any parent watching their kid going to college would. He's constantly talking to J.J. [Abrams, director of Episode VII]. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The News

More on the positives of Sony's new cameras, though we're still waiting to see how the actual video looks:
It has always been small details such as these that have put professional filmmakers off using DSLR-style cameras. However, the video features in the A7/A7R pair (Zebra, clean HDMI, audio and focus control), and the new RX10 (3-stop ND, Zebra, clean HDMI, audio control) suddenly make them very appealing prospects. Lets hope the video quality is better than Sony’s current NEX cameras.

The Realities of Video on Demand | Moviecope
A film that’s in post now, for example, a filmmaker should be thinking ‘From around January or February 2014, I want to be on exclusively the transactional sites when I’ll do marketing push one.’ And they need to make sure that their pricing is consistent; it just sends confusing signals to the market if it’s £2.99 on one site for a 48 hour rental and £3.99 on another site. They should then define a second window, which would be opening it up to subscription and advertising supported sites.

Better Manage Your Media: Work and Workflow with Red Giant Software BulletProof | Creative Planet
I found the most compelling part of the software in the refine tab. You can add and edit detailed metadata for each clip, from EXIF settings to markers to client notes. You can auto-balance the image, do a one-light correction with Magic Bullet Colorista (in my mind, about the best color plug-in out there), adjust curves and add a lookup table. All metadata and color settings are non-destructive.

Cinematography for Directors: Focal Length (Part 1) | Colton Davie
One of the most foundational aspects of cinematography is the lens. The lens is the eye through which everything that appears in front of the camera, the acting, the set design, the lighting, is seen. As such, it is probably the aspect of cinematography about which the director should be most knowledgeable, particularly in regards to focal length. The choice of focal length for a shot is almost always a joint decision between the director and cinematographer, if not dictated by the director.

iOS 7 at the One-Month Mark: 18 Picks and Pans | Filmmaker Magazine
What I now realize is that all those people who wrote that the animations are too slow are those developers who had been using the OS for weeks. Now that I’ve been using the OS for weeks, I think the motions are… too slow. Sometimes you want to just open the phone and get to work, and that little lag begins to feel gratuitous after too many fly-ins.

Equalizing Audio | Woody Woodhall | ProVideoCoalition
Although a powerful tool, caution must be used in the application of EQ.  Digital Audio is no different than any thing else in life - you may be able to change it but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily for the better.  EQ can be an amazing tool, in the right hands, in the right room on the right material.  It can be used to help clarify dialog tracks, remove murky or boomy frequencies and help the overall sound quality of a mix.

I’ve been a shooter/editor for the BBC for eleven years, four of them with the Africa Bureau. Recently I began an attachment (temporary posting) as a video journalist working for BBC World News. Suddenly I’m having to find and plan my own stories. I shoot them, cut them and sometimes even have to write a script and show my face. It’s demanding and stressful but always incredibly rewarding.

Sequencing Shots to Tell a Video Story | Photofocus
Visual interest. Most viewers have come to expect faster editing paces. Don’t believe me? Watch a film by Hitchcock, Spielberg, and Kathryn Bigelow.  Remember though, one wide shot just won’t work for most viewers.

FS700: The 4K Story from My Perspective | DVInfo
In 4K you really need to make sure something is in sharp focus at all times or the image will look soft overall. Focus splits under such circumstances make me very nervous. If the most important thing is in focus then it’s no big deal to try to hold other things in focus as well, but at least you’re safe if your focus split fails. It’s best to pick a single point of focus and make sure it is sharp.

Welcome! "What I Did Last Summer"... and let's Start with Adobe Premiere CC | Anticipate Media
Paul Antico, formerly of the NeedCreative podcast is back and blogging again. In his first post he explains what he's been up to and looks forward to the next Premiere Pro update:
I'm convinced that the changes relate to the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks, because they realize on changes in the new operating system to enhance the Adobe software. This includes GPU rendering from the Adobe Media Encoder, which will include multiple GPU usage for encoding and rendering, the ability to use integrated HD Graphics from Intel where drivers did not exist for that before to accelerate your edits, and so on.

Samsung Note 3 4k vs Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5k RAW resolution chart comparison | YouTube
Interesting comparison of the Samsung Note 3 at 4K and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera at 2.5K RAW (that's not the 4K Blackmagic camera). I was actually surprised that the Note 3 is so noticeably better.

GoPro: Fire Breathing With A 24 GoPro Array | YouTube
Interesting Matrix-like effect, though I think they should of had the fire move more in the sequence.