Saturday, November 30, 2013

The argument for 'fixing' it in post

This week FxFactory released Cineflare's Final Cut Pro X Hand Held Effect, a plug-in that turns your video into...well a bit of a mess if you're not careful. You can add whip pans, lens focusing, zooms, and bumps and jitters.

All to give you that classic camera-operator-wasn't-ready kind of feel.

The idea is that you apply it to a locked down shot to make it look a bit messy. And since you're doing it in post, you can play with it as much as you like. I find that very appealing, because making something look naturally accidental can be very difficult and time consuming. So why not do it in post?

And it's $49, which isn't too bad. My only gripe; it's only for Final Cut Pro X, and even though I have Final Cut Pro X it's not my editing tool of choice at the moment.

Of course, you could recreate the effects yourself using After Effects or Motion, but a plug-in will save you some time.

Friday, November 29, 2013

iPhone not signing into iMessages

I upgraded my iPhone 4 to iOS 7 last weekend, and since then I’d been unable to use Messages to send texts through the iMessage interface (I could send regular SMS messages).

I did some searching on the net and found some different articles that had a variety of suggestions for fixing the problem. These boiled down to:
  • Turning off Messages and FaceTime in Settings
  • Resetting Network Settings
That didn’t work, and some other suggestions (like backing up and restoring the entire iPhone, or using a Jailbreaking utility) weren’t particularly appealing, and seemed more of a last resort.

But I was awfully close to doing just that when I tried using the Restore iPhone... option in iTunes (with the iPhone connected to my Mac.) That was when it told me that I needed to first turn off the Find My iPhone utility.

That was interesting, because other instructions had talked about turning off Messages and FaceTime, but hadn’t said anything about the Find My iPhone function.

I turned that setting off, made sure everything else (Messages and FaceTime) was off, then reset the Network Settings (from General in the Settings control panel on the iPhone, not using iTunes) and then I went and turned on Messages and voilĂ ; it worked.

I’m pretty sure that’s all I did - though I had tried turning the iPhone off and on just before that, so it’s possible there was a longer sequence of actions needed to successfully do this - but if you’re having this problem, try turning off the Find My iPhone as well as iMessages and FaceTime to see if that fixes things.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Friday Sales

It's Friday, so I guess we all have to run out and spend money!

There's been articles about the best time to buy different gear, whether it's best to rent or buy, etc. etc. I'm not sure I can provide any advice except this; if you aren't going to be shooting with it in the next 30 days, don't buy it. Buying things before you really need them doesn't make much sense - often you find out you didn't need the thing much at all.

At least, that's what I've found.

B & H Sales
B & H has a bunch of "special" sales over the weekend:

There's a wide range of stuff there, the most interesting to me are (but there's a lot more listed):

Amazon often matches prices at B & H
(we do get a small commission from the links to B & H and Amazon):

Hot Rod Cameras
Finally, Hot Rod Cameras sent us the following announcement. We actually have no connection to Hot Rod.

Of particular interest, if you're in Hollywood on Friday, they will be hosting the world's first public demonstration of the just completed Digital Bolex camera from 3:PM to closing on Friday.

This Friday we are renaming Black Friday "Bokeh Friday" (as we are camera nerds). Because frankly, we're human; we are then taking Saturday and Sunday off (our office will be closed). We are then back in the office Monday for what is known as "Cyber Monday"- we're calling it "Mattebox Monday", on account of our exclusive discounts we are offering on both matteboxes and filters on Monday. There will not be a better day to buy a mattebox (or filter) all year.

Prices on everything in the store are too low to advertise, so deals are only available over the phone, in store, or by email. Nearly everything is on sale only on Friday and Monday.

We are also doing some (must be present) equipment giveaways at our Hollywood showroom, and offering free Egg Nog to all, yay! We are also doing the world's first public demonstration of the just completed Digital Bolex camera from 3:PM to closing on Friday - which will be fun!

There are great lens (and lens case) deals on Bokeh Friday, including some ridiculous open box/demo lenses offers. We've got a nearly new Century 23-460mm 35mm PL mount zoom being offered at less than 1/2 the original price. We've also got demo/used Zeiss CP lenses, including the beautiful 100mm Zeiss CP.2 (PL Mount) for more than $1000 off the list price of $4900. Also, a lightly used 35mm CP lens is an astounding 48% off the new price- and includes a warranty! You won't find a better lens deals on ebay or anywhere else!

Also on Friday we're offering the best prices ever from an authorized dealer on NEW: ARRI, Zeiss, Schneider Xenon FF (and Xenar), Fujinon, Voigtlander, Tokina, G.L. Optics and Rokinon lenses! This is probably the most epic lens sale event of all time!

On Monday our storewide sale continues, but the really special deals will be on matteboxes and filters. We have ALL ARRI, Oconnor, Chrosziel, Bright Tangerine and Petroff Matteboxes on sale as well as all Schneider and Tiffen filters.

Our prices are too low to show. Our website will not show sale prices- anywhere. The way to take advantage is to show up, call, or email us at with your inquiry/phone number and we will call you back.

We are going to be offering some additional bundle deals on most everything. Bundling equipment can earn you store credit, which can be applied to your purchase. Be sure to ask about a custom bundle if you are planning on purchasing multiple items.

Our Hollywood showroom is open from 9-6 Friday (11/29) and Monday (12/2), but, we are extending our phone hours both days from 8:AM to 8:PM PST. The Bokeh Friday sale ends Friday at 8:01 PM PST and the Mattebox Monday sale ends on Monday at 8:01 PM PST.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone

This is a really good cover - and ukulele too! Have a great Thanksgiving!

Canon re-releases C300 firmware update

EOS C300, EOS C300 PL Firmware Version

Please note that we suspended download services for Firmware Version that was posted Tuesday November 13, 2013 due to a discrepancy in color balance. We would like to apologize for the inconvenience. Firmware Version corrects this color balance discrepancy. Any cameras that are running firmware version should be updated to firmware version

Firmware Version incorporates all the functions and modifications listed below:
EOS C300 Cinema EOS Camera & EOS C300 PL Cinema EOS Camera
1. Fixes a phenomenon where the previous Firmware Version offered incorrect color balance.
2. Ability to move the magnification viewing area around the LCD using the MAGN Function.
3. Support for a 1440x1080/35Mbps recording mode.
4. ISO up to 80,000 has been added.
5. Added functionality to support the optional Canon GPS Receiver GP-E1.
6. A Key Lock menu setting has been added which now makes it possible to lock all operations, including the START/STOP button.
7. Using the optional Canon WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter, the camera's remote-control application allows two users to access the same unit via a Wi-Fi® link providing simultaneous camera operation and control and metadata input simultaneously.
8. [Lens Exchange] and [ND+/ND-] have been added as functions that can be allocated to any assignable button.
9. A new Wide DR Gamma setting provides an expanded dynamic range of 800%.
10. Flicker Reduction has been improved.

EOS C300 Cinema EOS Camera only
11. Provides Push Auto Iris and One-Shot AF operation.
12. A new AE Shift function and the selection of various light-metering modes are now available when used with some Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and Canon EF Lenses.
13. Ability to assign the two control dials to operate either Iris or ISO sensitivity independently.
14. Peripheral Illumination Correction Data has been added for seven (7) Canon Cinema lenses (EF mount) and fifteen (15) Canon EF Lenses.
15. A function has been added to enable continuous focus and iris setting on a subject in the middle of the screen when one of the two EF STM lenses** is attached. 

**[EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM], [EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM].

Gamma information will not be shown correctly in the metadata of clips filmed on the Wide DR Gamma setting included in Firmware Version and above when using the bundled software application Canon XF Utility Ver.1.3.1 or earlier. Therefore, we recommend our customers install Canon XF Utility Ver.1.3.2. The installer for this application has already been released.

Canon: Drivers & Software

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The News

Landon Van Soest Crowdfunding for Artificial Retina Documentary Light Darkness Light | Filmmaker Magazine
I haven’t had a lot of luck with crowdfunding in the past and thought my project could get lost in the ether on a site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. My film was one of just a few initial projects when Crimso launched so I was able to have a personal connection with the site administrators, and they featured us in a lot of their own outreach and marketing efforts.

Big League Cine Summit | Big League Film
What Is Big League Cine Summit?
Starting December 10, 2103
For three days you will have access to presentations by top cinematographers on specific topics and techniques. Each day will feature a set of presentations that you can access. You will discover information and techniques that the pros use that goes far beyond what you can get from any tutorial. This is the inside stuff! Click on the button below to see the presentation topics.

Exclusive review – Sony RX10 | EOSHD
With this camera Sony have made an all out attempt to get it right and pack in everything we need for video. Unfortunately it has a manic-depressive personality. When it feels like delivering a shot it will do so very well. And what an ability you have to get that shot with a lens like the Zeiss.

PluralEyes 3 Update: More Camera Support & Automatic Organization | Red Giant
A new revised look and feel, streamlined and simplified to bring focus where it’s needed.
Additional camera support: Canon C300, XF300 and other Canon XF cameras, with full support for spanned clips.

Improving POV Cam Footage with a few Tricks in Adobe CC | ProVideoCoalition
Normally, if I've done a good job of mounting my GoPro Hero camera or stabilizing my quadcopter in advance, then all I have to do is a quick edit of the footage or images and do some color correcting in Photoshop, Premiere Pro or After Effects CC. But when things get shaky, loose or just need a little help, there are some go-to procedures I use to get me useable footage. I'll share a few examples and techniques with you here...

MacBreak Studio: Episode 242 -Wrapping Text in Motion | YouTube
This week on MacBreak Studio, Mark shows Steve how to animate text to wrap around an object in Apple Motion.

This was one of the hardest selections of products for the editors to determine at Videomaker, as we define the gear of the past year that we think is innovative and evolutionary enough to say it will last through the technological changes of the next year and more to come. And, so, without further ado, here are the Videomaker Editors’ Picks for Best Products of the year for 2013...

C300 Quick Tip: Assigning a Custom White Balance Button | AbelCine
Today's quick tip involves changing the white balance on the Canon C300 and C500. There are actually five white balance modes to choose from, selectable via the Function button at the back of the camera. The Function button also allows you to change your ISO and shutter speed, so today i'm going to show you how to dedicate one of the assignable buttons to white balance, which is great for very fast adjustments.

Monitors and Filmmaking | ProVideoCoalition
Technology has changed: Film and Video had a child, and its name is Digital. We’ve got big imagers, small imagers, high-resolution displays, digital projection in movie theaters, RAW, LUTS, HDR and HFR. We’ve got people trying to pull focus on still photo lenses with cheap follow focuses. At every step of production and post-production, armies of people with computers can touch the image and have their way with it. Some of the viewfinders are very sharp indeed. Everyone has his or her eyes glued to the monitor.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The News

“Directors These Days Really Have to Understand the Business of Film”: Producer Christine Vachon in Wroclaw | Filmmaker Magazine
These days when there’s a lot of downward pressure on the budgets of the movies we make, when we have to be more and more inventive about how to make our films work with the amount of money we have, we really need to be able to chart the audience. I only succeed as a movie producer if my movies make their money back. And the only way I can do that is to have an idea who the audience for my films is, and how to reach them.

DaVinci Resolve 10 Adds Editing to its Toolset | Filmmaker Magazine
But now Blackmagic is finding that the newer colorists have some editing background and for small changes “would like to just finish a project in Resolve rather than have to go back to the NLE.”

When should you use raw - and when should you avoid it? This is the definitive answer | Red Shark News
Shooting raw video seems to be a very loud and persistent buzz from the filmmaking and shooter forums these days, especially so since Magic Lantern announced they had successfully hacked Canon DSLRs to shoot 24 frames per second (fps) in the raw image format.  While there is a lot of information out there about technical side (what memory cards to use, how to install the firmware, etc.) there is another whole side to adopting raw image formats because this migration is going to completely change how you shoot.

DJI Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camera | B & H
The new release of the Phantom Quadcopter includes it's own HD camera. It's in-stock, and it's $1,199.
The Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camera is the second generation of quad-rotor RC helicopter from DJI and features their own 14 megapixel wireless HD FPV camera, giving you first-person view (FPV) experience right out of the box. With a larger battery and improved prop design, flying time lasts to up to 25 five minutes, compared to around 14 minutes on the original DJI Phantom Quadcopter. 

Not everyone loves the Blackmagic Pocket Camera | Twitter
Matthew Allard ACS ‏@mattaljazeera
The BMPCC is horrible in low light and the rolling shutter is abysmal. The image quality in decent light is ok. Apart from that blah.

Just Touching the Surface of Dual Pixel Technology? [CR1] | CanonRumors
NL reports that they’ve been told to expect even more new features from Canon’s Dual Pixel technology other than autofocus. Currently the tech appears in the EOS 70D and will also appear in an upgraded EOS C100. Will the C300 get a similar upgrade?

A Message To The Employees Of DreamWorks Animation: Win The Crowd | VFX Soldier
More on the planned VFX protest to be held tomorrow:
You’re probably coming into work and wondering what the fuss is with all this green stuff. First off, this isn’t to make DreamWorks look bad. I’ve showered praise on how DreamWorks treats it’s workers and as a former Animation Guild member, I’m a converted evangelist for what they offer the VFX community. You all deserve the praise and recognition by President Obama.

Vine Star (With KC James and Dan Chung) GCS017 | Go Creative Show
Today we speak with Vine Megastar, KC James who in less than 1 year has transformed his career and built an audience of over 2.5 million followers. Plus Dan Chung from shares all the hot news from InterBee 2013. Cameras, Lenses and the future of 8K!!

Shitty Rigs | website
Fun collection of pictures from different productions. 
"Our PA lost the keys to the back of the truck while we were picking up some bead board but since we were super strapped for time, it’s gaff tape to the rescue!"

BulletProof Windows Beta | Red Giant
Red Giant has released the beta of the Windows version of BulletProof (the Mac version has already been released.) If they follow the Mac development plan, the actual release shouldn't be more than a month or so off. 

The Letus AnamorphX Adapter & DIY Lens Flares!
Film Riot takes a quick look at the Letus Anamorphic adapter. If you skip the three or four minutes of ads in the video, it has some very useful information especially about low-cost 'anamorphic' alternatives. The adapter is $1,695 from Letus.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The News

What Screens Want | Frank Chimero
Interesting discussion about software and how it's changing the way we interact with things...and it has a bit about the history of motion pictures too:
Muybridge had discovered how to bottle movement, and like any good inventor, he did experiments to see if he could reanimate his frozen horses. Muybridge’s first attempts to set time in motion were to print the high-speed photographs radially on a glass disc and spin it while it was lit from behind. He called it a zoopraxiscope.

VFX Protest Planned for Obama’s DreamWorks Trip | Animation Magazine
Hoping to raise awareness about the plight of U.S.-based visual effects artist, activists are planning a protest during President Obama’s visit to the DreamWorks’ campus in Glendale this Tuesday (Nov.26). The Hollywood Reporter says about 500 green T-shirts have been purchased by organizers in the hopes that artists will wear them to express their support for this cause.
‘Go Green’ Demonstration Details | VFX Soldier

Screenwriting Down to the Atoms: The Absolute Essentials | Smashwords
The first four chapters of this book are free!
This simplified 4-chapter edition of "Screenwriting Down to the Atoms" hand-picks the most essential sections of Michael Welles Schock's innovative new approach to screencraft - and offers them absolutely free. The selected chapters represent the core of the book's unique method, most of it unavailable in any other source. These are the real essentials every screenwriter must know.

The Weinstein Company, Seeking Hits, Shift to TV | The New York Times
The heavy investment in the production and sale of series signals a strategic shift that is meant to anchor Weinstein, a midsize independent studio, almost equally in television and film. It mirrors changes occurring elsewhere in Hollywood: Last week, for instance, the much larger Sony Pictures Entertainment said it would trim its film slate, while building up TV.

The Perils of Home Theater | prolost
When I finally got the rear surrounds mounted and wired (speaker wire is another perilous rathole to dodge for now), I popped in Pixar’s Brave, which features an optional 7.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. I waded through the punishing pre-menu crap that defines the Blu-ray experience, selected the 7.1 option, and played the movie.
And no sound came out of my rear surrounds.

Getting SpectraCal’s ‘Color Checker’ and ‘Virtual Forge’ Working on One Mac | The Tao of Color
In September and October the Tao Colorist Newsletter ran a special with SpectraCal (it’s still available if you click through here). It was a 4-piece bundle allowing you to check the accuracy of your reference display – to let you affirmatively know if your display is (or is not) out of alignment and in need of professional calibration.
This blog post will walk you through how to set up this system on a single Mac – which is a bit of a chore since one element of the bundle (CalMan Studio) is PC software and the other element (Virtual Forge) of the bundle is Mac software.

4 Camera live shoot…Edited on FCPX Multicam | HD Warrior
The JVCs worked well together giving us a good clean shot in low light at 0dB, Scott was using the Manfrotto 504HD, the C300 was on the stage on a Millar Solo ENG tripod with a Compact 25 head, Sean was using his JVC 600 on a Manfrotto 501 HDV and I had the Lumix GH3 and a light weight DSLR Manfrotto 500AH head.