Saturday, February 01, 2014

Letus Anamorph-X GP - Quick FOV Comparison

Letus has posted a very short video that shows the FOV of their GoPro Anamorphic adapter vs the regular GoPro field of view:

This was shot on a GoPro Hero 3+ with and without the Letus Anamorph-X adapter. This is a quick sample straight off the camera showing what the adapter does to the FOV. Shot in 2.7k Protune mode. Trimmed and exported out of GoPro Studio. No other editing done and no stretch applied. The image can be flattened using the de-fish option in GoPro Studio and by tweaking it in post. We are also working with some plugin vendors to build a simple, one click converting option for various post workflows.
NOTE: you would of course want to apply a 1.33x stretch to the anamorphic footage to re-establish proper aspect in the image. This is most easily done using the "4x3 to wide" pre-set in GoPro Studio. That applies a 1.33x stretch but does it more intelligently than a standard stretch in post. My personal workflow is to shoot in 2.7k, apply the dynamic stretch in GoPro Studio, export out in CineForm at 2.7k, pull footage into a Premiere sequence set to the final output size I want. Tweak / trim as needed in Premiere for final output.
For more information, visit We will keep all of the latest details on this page and update as necessary.

Anamorph-X GP - Quick FOV Comparison from Letus Direct on Vimeo.

Friday, January 31, 2014

More News

Several items from yesterday reappear in today's report. First up, Amira (or is it AMIRA?) prices were sort of leaked yesterday, and today ARRI in Europe confirmed the prices. I was going to link to ARRI's site, but it must be really popular or something, because it wasn't loading while I was writing this, so I have to link to a second source.
Now ARRI Officially Announce Amira Camera Prices Cinescopophilia
Hot on the heels of CVP dropping their ARRI Amira camera and package prices comes the official ARRI announcement that pricing has been set for its new documentary-style camera, AMIRA, and orders have begun to be taken.
And Andrew Reid writes a love letter to the Amira.
Arri AMIRA priced to compete with Canon C500 – plus, the secret of Arri’s success | EOSHD
What’s the secret to Arri’s success?
I’m putting my cards on the table straight away… I love the AMIRA.
It’s as close to being the perfectly designed single-operator camera as I’ve ever seen.
And now the US price seem to have been revealed, and it's actually higher than the European prices; starting at $39,999 according to AbelCine.

The second item from yesterday? The report from Stu Maschwitz at prolost about the 5D Mark III mentioned the excellent RAW performance. The link below is evidently a discussion of the performance and extended Dynamic Range of the camera. Only thing is, I don't really understand it.
Topic: CMOS/ADTG/Digic register investigation on ISO  (Read 14216 times) | MagicLantern

Finally, yesterday the new update of Lightworks was released, and now there's a "review". Actually, I'm not sure if it is a has a summary at the top, and Pros and Cons, which is great, but you get to the end and it seems like there must be a page missing or something. It just ends with details about downloading. Odd.
And points off for mentioning the upcoming OS X release. Until it actually ships, it doesn't actually count as a feature any more.
Lightworks and Lightworks Pro 11.5 review: video NLE for Windows and Linux | ZDNet
Summary: With this full release of 11.5 for Linux and Windows, and with an alpha version of 11.1 demonstrated running on OS X in April 2013, EditShare is finally starting to make good on its promise to deliver Lightworks as a cross-platform, professional-level, video editor.

Andrew Reid at EOSHD also likes Cooke lenses. Cooke makes some very nice, and very expensive cinema lenses. And they have a marketing campaign tied to “The Cooke Look”.
Cooke Panchro/i PL Cinema Lenses – first look | EOSHD
Few can seem to quantify it or convey it in words but I am going to have a guess. For me, the lenses appear to do something different at the micro-contrast level, to give extremely high resolution but without the clinical hyper-sharpness you get with other sharp lenses. A lower micro-contrast is less harsh on an actor’s face and skin.

I've never attached lavaliers under clothing...though I've had them get tangled in clothing, and banged about by necklaces. RODE ( I can never work out how to do the backslash through the 'O') has been coming up with some inventive products, and here's a new one, a plastic holder for securing lavaliere mics under clothing.
Not sure if it will work for other companies mics...
You can get a three-pack for $18.00 or a 10 pack for $40.
It's a soft silicon sleeve that holds the mic and helps absorb handling noise caused by movement, something that's common with the use of a lav mic.
from the RO / DE site:
The RØDE invisiLav is designed to aid the concealing of the Lavalier and smartLav microphones.
Its soft construction absorbs noise and vibration, while the wide, flat profile provides coverage from the elements and allows for versatile mounting. There's two mounting points in case a redundant mic is required, and cable management on the side.
Available in either a pack of three or a bulk pack of ten, the invisiLav comes with pre-cut, skinsafe adhesive that can be used to stick the invisiLav to either the body or to fabric. The invisiLav itself is also made from a medical grade skin safe material so it can be mounted on the body without fear of irritation.

Some of this next article is really interesting; stories of movies that were almost completed:
Lost & Abandoned: 10 Movies That Were Shot, But Eventually Scrapped | IndieWire
What Happened? Bad stinking luck. As you'll know from the excellent 2002 documentary detailing the lost project, "Lost In La Mancha," the film came together (relatively) smoothly, but as soon as production began, it became a catalog of disasters.

The robot overlords are coming for all our jobs:
Yes, This is A Computer Generated Character | Cartoon Brew
Stockholm, Sweden-based vfx shop Important Looking Pirates (ILP) created the impressive animation for this Aco skin care product commercial. Yes, the woman is live-action in some parts of the spot too, but I was unable to identify when she was live-action and when she was computer animated until reading the description and watching the making of clip.

Digital Production Buzz — January 30, 2014
GUESTS: Peter Hamilton, Christopher Zitterbart, Beki Probst, and Nick Dager
  • Why Are Feature Documentaries So Hard To Find on TV?
  • Tips To Entering Your Film Into Competition
  • Beki Probst: Managing the European Film Market
  • The Past, Present and Future of Art-House Cinema

MōVI Stabilizer Commonly Asked Questions
My friend James Drake invited to a shoot, he was using his Red Epic and they were also using a MōVI stabilizer, I thought it would fun to see it in action and ask a few of the most commonly asked questions along the way.

A look at the little Sony consumer camcorder, the HDR-MV1 intended for recording music. I've said it before, you really don't want the mic on the camera when recording music - in most cases - but at least it's only $298.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quick Links

For the past few years Lightworks has been an intriguing dark horse in the editing world. "The King's Speech" was edited on it! And they went and released a -practically - free version of it a few years ago. And promised a Macintosh version (over three years ago.)
Nowadays the "free" version costs a little money if you want to be able to output in certain compression formats, and the Mac version is still not released, though they just released an update for Windows and Linux:
Major new Lightworks release (Windows and Linux) - and now you can just "buy" it | Red Shark
There are some big new features, including background importing, rendering and even exporting. Speaking of which, export to YouTube is now built-in.
There's more hardware support with AJA's ioXT now recognised by the software. Subtle changes to the UI make navigation more direct and intuitive, and the screen elements adjust more easily to different screen resolutions including Retina - in readiness for the Mac release.
And they say the Mac version is actually coming...soon:
No dates yet but we've heard that it's close to a closed Alpha release, although we understand that the Mac code is already running very well. It will then move as soon as possible to a public Beta release, which will be the first time that everyone will be able to get their hands on this long-awaited final piece to the cross-platform NLE puzzle.
It will be cool if they do it, but I'm not holding my breath.

A quick look at some different styles of lenses, including: tilt-shift lenses, macro, Ultra-wide, Fisheye, soft-focus and "Specialize Bokeh Lenses."
A Quick Start Guide to 6 Specialty Lenses | Photography Tuts
Often, lenses in the photography community are similar in design. Each brand has similar focal length ranges and speeds for their popular lenses (all major brands make a 24-70mm and 70-200mm for example). However, many lenses are also specialized, with features such as macro and tilt shift. Here is a breakdown of seven of these lenses and their practical purposes.

Malaysian-born filmmaker debuts short film at Sundance | Pro Video Coalition
Norman: We shot the film on a RED camera and edited it using Adobe Premiere Pro. I’d used Premiere Pro on Wanita Cosmos, which was drawn in Photoshop and animated in After Effects. I hadn’t edited anything in a few years, but I wanted to use Premiere Pro for the film because of the intuitive RED workflow.

Paul Cameron Says 4K and Beyond Changes Our Perceptions | ASC
“The natural long lens anamorphic look, with extreme out-of-focus backgrounds, feels and looks different in 4K, even though the optics are the same,” Paul reiterates. “With all that resolution and no grain, to me, it’s different. And we have to learn to use it, to develop a slightly new sensibility about it.

Magic Lantern hacks the Canon 5D Mark III and the output is amazing. Stu argues that every camera should give you a RAW output option. Sounds good, at least for professional cameras.
Space Monkeys, Raw Video, and Giving Us All You've Got | prolost
The team at Magic Lantern have managed to hack the Canon 5D Mark III to record 14-bit raw 1080p video at 24 frames per second. The results are stunning—the highest-quality video we’ve seen from a DSLR yet, comparing favorably to images from cameras costing much more.

Fountain is a simple markup syntax for writing, editing and sharing screenplays in plain, human-readable text. I actually copied that description from here. This article is a discussion on changing the syntax:
Fountain 1.1 — “Use The Force” | John August
Most times in Fountain, you don’t need to force anything. It just understands what you want. But when you need to, you can force a Scene Heading with a leading period. You can force a Transition using a leading greater-than symbol.

The prices for ARRI's upcoming 'lower-priced' documentary camera, the AMIRA, are leaked/released, and more than I can afford;
Prices Revealed for AMIRA, ARRI's Cheaper ENG-Style ALEXA-Sensor 2K/HD/200FPS Camera | No Film School
25,980, 28,980, and 32,980 Euros is obviously the price for Europe, but if that’s translated directly to American dollars, what would it look like?$35,444, $39,537, $44,994 for the three different packages.

Canon is doing okay..I think. At least they aren't at junk bond status like Sony...
Canon’s Fiscal Year 2013 Financial Results Released | CanonRumors
In particular, the EOS 5D Mark III and 70D advanced-amateur-model digital SLR cameras continued to realize healthy growth.

The VFX industry is seriously messed up; companies going out of business, employees and contractors being treated poorly, and tax credits are working to further distort the industry. Last year there was a VFX protest at the Oscars, and it looks like they are trying to do it again.
Visual Effects Protest Planned for the Oscars | AWN
Visual effects workers are planning a demonstration in Los Angeles next month to protest foreign tax subsidies they argue are destroying their industry, according to a report by The Wrap.

This has nothing to do with video, but it does explain how someone's identity was stolen and how you might consider protecting yourself from some identity theft attacks:
How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username | Medium
Later in the day, I checked my email which uses my personal domain name (registered with GoDaddy) through Google Apps. I found the last message I had received was from GoDaddy with the subject “Account Settings Change Confirmation.” There was a good reason why that was the last one.

The Art of Close-Ups with Edgar Wright

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quick Links

Drones seem to be "it" at the moment, with lots of different models appearing. This one seems barely larger than the GoPro it carries:
The Pocket Drone is a multicopter that makes aerial videography possible through the use of an action camera such as the GoPro Hero 3. It's capable of carrying a payload of up to half a pound.

Cheap $50 Lens for DSLR Video | DSLR Video Shooter
The lens in question is the Olympus 50mm F1.8 fully metal manual lens. I found this lens in EX condition at KEH camera and LOVE IT. The sharpness of this little sucker blew my mind. And the manual focus ring and aperture are perfect for us DSLR video shooters. It also works great with full frame and APS-C sensors.

The Kessler Parallax is intended to solve the problem of keeping the camera pointing on a still subject as the camera is moved along a slider.
Redrock produced one solution for this; the One Man Crew, but the Kessler product has the advantage of being an add-on to their regular slider.
Minute Review – Kessler Parallax | NinoFilm
The good thing about the Parallax is that there is not so much to say about it – it just does what it says it does, and it simply works very well. There are only two minor downsides: For one, the Parallax itself can’t stay on the CineSlider if you use one of their bags or cases, it’s too big – so you need to take it off.
Meanwhile, Kessler has a site that offers a variety of information:
Kessler relaunched Kessler University learning site; Adding Movement to Photography with Patrick Moreau of Stillmotion | News Shooter
While the site features a lot Kessler gear there is also tons of inspiration, whatever brand you use. It’s well worth grabbing a drink, sitting down and immersing yourself for thirty minutes. I particularly like this video by Patrick Moreau of Stillmotion who explains his method of using stills in a video, in a way he feels maintains the narrative flow.

Video cameras all seem to include Wi-Fi support of some sort, but mostly for monitoring or trasnferring content; only a few are really intended for live streaming to people watching...but this camera seems to be intended for just that, with support for recording to two codecs simultaneously, and it can stream over 3G/4G mobile and WiFi. It's $5,995.
RedShark reviews the dual codec, streaming camcorder: JVC's GY-HM650 | Red Shark
The BBC has put in for a large order of 650s and so clearly feels that it offers something above the competition. The compatibility with Sony’s XDCAM EX series is an advantage, as is the fact that it can also record AVCHD, making it a versatile camera to use if you need to cater for a few different NLE requirements.

This reminds me of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail bit: "Bring Out Your Dead," it seems film is not...quite...dead....yet:
Paramount Pictures to make some exceptions to all-digital policy | Los Angeles Times
Paramount Pictures reiterated to exhibitors this week its plans to embrace the digital format, but added that it would make exceptions for some movies.

So-Called Screenwriting ‘Rules’: Part 5 | Go Into The Story
So it occurred to me, why not just deal with it once and for all! Get every single supposed screenwriting rule out on the table, then go through them, one by one, to see if we can take all the heat that typically gets generated when one of these online snits breaks out and collectively create some actual light.

I used to think that interactive video would be really great for entertainment. And it is, if you count video games as interactive video. But video streams that you jump around in? For education, I can see the point, but for entertainment I don't think it works. Or let's put it this way, I get bored of clicking for silly reasons.
But here's a contest to make an interactive video:
Tribeca Film Fest Launches Interactive Music Film Challenge, with $10K for Winning Filmmakers | IndieWire
The Tribeca Film Festival has unveiled a new competition, the Tribeca Interactive & Interlude: A Music Film Challenge. The fest invites storytellers and content creators to work with Interlude’s video platform to create an interactive music film for major music artists Damon Albarn, Aloe Blacc, and Ellie Goulding. The winning project for each will screen at the fest in April.
You can see some examples of authored interactive movies on the Genero site here.

The robots are coming to take over our jobs:
Show-Focus: The Future of Pulling Focus | Filmmaker Magazine
Designed to facilitate the duties of the on-set focus-puller, Show-Focus renders a physical representation of the invisible plane of focus so that the precise focal point can be deduced, and captured, at any time.

If you've ever used a 'serious' zoom lens, you' will of heard about back-focus. For the rest of us, you might of heard of it, but it's not something you can really do much about as many lenses don't have a back-focus adjustment that the user can perform.
But here's an explanation from Fujinon about how it's done:
How To Back Focus A Camera Lens | YouTube
If you're a professional videographer or cinematographer, you've likely been in a situation where your focus is sharp, but softens when you zoom in or zoom out. When this happens, your back focus needs adjusting.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Quick Links

Atomos Samurai ‘Blade’ and ‘Connect’ | James Miller | Philip Bloom
One thing to bare in mind is that if recording interviews using external sound into the Blade, for reference or as a master (Audio is not supported over HDMI on Canon 1DC), the sync will be off by a few frames. Luckily if you do clapper tests before your shoot, you have the option to shift sync + or -. This is very handy and will save headaches later in shifting audio layers.

One of the problems with CMOS sensor cameras is Rolling Shutter. A global shutter solves that problem, so it would be good seeing that appear on more cameras (though I think the Global Shutter tends to lower the sensitivity of the sensor by a stop or so.)
Canon to Offer Global Shutter for 2.5k Video on an Upcoming DSLR? [CR1] | CanonRumors
We heard rumour that some folk in the video world are selling off gear in anticipation of a global shutter capable of 2.5k video being made available on an, as of yet, unnamed DSLR.

Bad news for Sony, their credit rating goes to junk status. Ouch! Sony is suffering in the TV (set) and PC business. Impossible to know how their professional video camera business is doing; but even if it's doing okay, it's probably a drop in the ocean compared to the size of their TV business.
Moody’s cuts Sony’s credit rating to junk (BBC) | SonyAlphaRumors
The ratings agency said that while Sony had taken steps to cut costs and improve profitability, the benefits of those steps were emerging “slowly” and its key segments “seem unlikely to soon regain the robust profit levels seen historically”.

But, Sony Europe is running a film making competition for filmmakers and filmmaking students. I - briefly - read through the rules, and couldn't see any restrictions on entry based on where you live...and you could win a Sony NEX-FS700...
Sony PROduction Awards 2014 | Sony Europe
You could win the latest Sony technology, including Sony's NEX-FS700RH 4K Super 35mm Exmor CMOS sensor NXCAM camcorder and UWP-D wireless microphone kit, as well as profile-raising publicity and access to Sony's cloud-based video production and library platform Ci℠. 

Richard Gelfond, CEO Of IMAX, Makes Big Prediction About The Future Of Movies | HuffingtonPost
"I think there's going to be much less kind of Western power in the movies," Gelfond said. "I don't think the Russia's going to be the bad guy, and the U.S. is going to be the good guy, because that's not gonna play well [in Russia]."

Sundance is over, and here's a couple of breakdowns of the cameras used by the filmmakers. As NoFilmSchool points out, it's a much wider list than the Oscars..
How'd They Shoot That? Here's the Cameras Used By the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers | IndieWire
As you can see, the vast majority of filmmakers shot digitally, but a few used film cameras and at least one DP even used both.

Which Cameras Were Used by the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers? | No Film School
The Oscars might’ve been completely dominated by the ARRI ALEXA and ARRIFLEX, without even a mention of a RED camera, but Sundance had quite an array of cinema cameras and DSLRs, film and digital cams, ARRI, Canon, Panasonic, and yes, even RED.

Profiles in Criticism: Anne Thompson | IndieWire
"I will say this to anyone with great conviction: do not take film as an undergraduate because you need to know as much as you can about history, politics, the world, Shakespeare," she emphasizes. Especially Shakespeare -- for Thompson, missing a survey on the Bard of Avon's opus was the signal mistake of her undergraduate education.

Whether you’re shooting with a DSLR with sub par audio controls, or you need more inputs than your camcorder has, a field mixer can help expand your audio possibilities, and get you better quality audio.

I interviewed these guys for Filmmaker Magazine, and here's a short video interview with them at Adobe.TV. I've only seen the trailer, but it looks like an amazing piece of work.
The Cardboard Puppetry of Me + Her | AdobeTV
Writer/director Joseph Oxford and cinematographer Bradley Stonesifer discuss "Me + Her" a short performed entirely with puppets made of corrugated card board. The two describe the workflow and tools used to make the film.

Another career bites the dust:
UK Newspaper Chain Follows in Sun Times Footsteps, Shutters All Photographer Jobs | PetaPixel
It’s unclear exactly how many photographers will hit the pavement as a result of the decision by Johnston Press, but the National Union of Journalists counts 24 at newspapers scattered across Scotland and the Midlands.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Quick Links

CineAlta Magazine | Sony
Welcome to the premiere issue of CineAlta magazine, a periodical dedicated to telling the stories of those using Sony's large sensor digital motion picture cameras in production.

Rode VideoMic GO Review | Photography Bay
I have one complaint about the VideoMic GO. I wish it was built so that it did not extend behind the camera. If it remained only over the front of the camera (more like the VideoMic Pro), I would probably never take it off when I’m on an outing.

Reading a Light Meter: Tips and Tricks | Hurlblog
The Sekonic L-758C is the ultimate meter because it is two meters in one. You are able to read the incident light levels with the ball and the spot meter function gives you the ability to read points of light, the wall and buildings in the deep background to make sure there is enough fill level, grey cards, etc.

A Film Can be Good, Fast and Cheap But You Can Only Pick Two Out Of The Three | Lights Films School
The color palette evolved out of an intense collaboration with DP Chayse Irvin early in the production. I wrote a treatment and he responded to it with his own write up. Together we came up with a unique aesthetic language for the story; water drops on windows, wet surfaces, raining ash, specific times of day to shoot, camera movements, etc.

Here's What Sundance Cinematographers Think of Shooting Film Vs. Digital | IndieWire
"The shift from film to digital for me, just is. I've tried to never get too caught up in that battle, I just try to keep focus on what is best for the story I'm trying to tell. Whether it's film or digital, the aesthetics in storytelling is the same for me." -- Cinematographer Brett Pawlak ("Hellion")

World Press Photo offers free online multimedia course - What Gear Would You Recommend? | News Shooter
What would be on your list and why? what other gear do you consider essential? Please remember that this kit needs to be capable of creating great stills, video and audio. Please post your suggestions below or on my Twitter feed @djclark.

Creating Real Value - First notes on working with cinemaDNG | Nothing Underground
I would also mention here that if you’re going to make a feature film with cinemaDNG you really need to use proxies. I see lots of alternative workflows for cinemaDNG, but realistically, I can’t imagine editing Real Value if I had to load 6TB of data into Premiere Pro… it’s just not feasible to have that much data in a project file. Learn how to work with proxies.

How long do hard drives actually live for? | ExtremeTech
Now, before you all rush to the comments section to tell me how long your hard drives have lasted, I’m not talking anecdotally. I mean, in hard numbers, just how long does the average hard drive last? One year? Three? Five? Because the standard warranty is now only 12 months, do hard drives die sooner? If I slot a new hard drive in today, how long can I expect it to last?

China heavyweight - How a successful feature documentary was shot on Canon 5D MK II | News Shooter
Shot mostly on a Canon 5D mkII it is one of several documentaries now entering theatres that were shot during the early days of the DSLR revolution. I spoke to Director of photography Sun Shaoguang and producer Han Yi about the challenges.

Canon 24-70MM VS 50MM primes – Lens Wars 50MM Conclusion – Episode 8 | SLR Lounge
Welcome to Part 3 of the final part of the Canon 50mm focal range of the SLR Lounge Canon Lens Wars series. Since we had 7 Canon lenses in this grouping, we separated the shootout into three parts. In the first part, we compared the Canon 50mm primes, while in part 2 we compared the 4 different Canon zoom lenses that cover the 50mm focal length.

Why Didn’t Shane Carruth Change the Distribution Paradigm for this Year’s Sundance Filmmakers? | Filmmaker Magazine
During the festival I asked a number of filmmakers if they had considered emulating Carruth by using Sundance as the launch of their own DIY efforts. They all shook their heads, but their reasons were subtly different.

The Best Career Advice From Top Producers in Hollywood (Including Brad Pitt!) | Glamour
Jerry Weintraub (Producer, Behind the Candelabra): "I never hear the word no. I hear the word maybe. Maybe means yes. If I want to do something, I do it. I don't listen to anybody else. I'm not interested in anybody else's opinion. I just go do it if I believe in it. That's the most important thing. Believe in [what you're doing]."

Freebie: Eyedesyn Grammy model for Maxon Cinema 4D | Toolfarm
Eyedesyn posted a freebie model for Maxon Cinema 4d! You don’t even have to be a musician to get a free grammy these days!

What is metadata and how can it help us improve our post-production routine? Philip Hodgetts, President of Intelligent Assistance, gave a terrific panel discussion at our recent "4K & Final Cut Pro X" seminar, where he expanded on the ways that metadata can help us keep track of our media and avoid wasting time.

Exclusive: Watch Steve Jobs’ First Demonstration of the Mac for the Public, Unseen Since 1984 |
Amazing to see how far we have come...and how amazing the original Mac seemed at the time:
It’s January, 1984. Steve Jobs, nattily attired in a double-breasted suit, is demonstrating Apple’s breakthrough personal computer, Macintosh, before a packed room. He speaks alarmingly of a future controlled by IBM, and shows a dystopian commercial based on that theme.

AMAZON: Up to 50% Off Transcend Flash Memory Cards, External Hard Drives, and Solid-State Drives
Today only, enjoy special savings on the select microSD cards, SD flash memory, solid-state drives and external hard drives from Transcend. This one-day offer is valid on January 27, 2014, or while supplies last.