Friday, February 14, 2014

The News

The NAB rumors are starting! Canon to release a new EOS video camera:
What’s Next from Canon? | CanonRumors
The Cinema EOS line will see a new camera or two for NAB in April, we’re told a lower cost 4K camera will be the star of the show.

Blackmagic 4K Production Camera - unboxing and first impressions | Red Shark News
The Blackmagic Production Camera is a 4K device that records to visually lossless compressed Cinema DNG raw and ProRes. Last week, in a surprise move, Blackmagic reduced their original price from $3,995 to $2,995, making this an amazingly low-cost way to start shooting in 4K.

I am director Alfonso Cuaron of Gravity and other films. Preguntame casi todo. AMA! | Reddit
Hola Reddit. Soy Alfonso Cuarón and I'm a filmmaker. I directed, co-wrote, edited and produced GRAVITY starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. My other films include Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN, CHILDREN OF MEN, and HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN.

Writers Guild of America, West Statement on Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger
"Comcast’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable is bad for everyone: content creators, programmers, suppliers, and consumers. As writers know all too well, media consolidation leads to already too powerful companies limiting competition. The WGAW will fight to stop this ill-conceived merger."

Enter Olympus, who yesterday announced the development of a new ultra-wideangle zoom for the micro 4/3 standard that on paper looks like a big improvement. The new 7-14mm f2.8 is a whole f-stop faster than the 7-14mm lens from Panasonic. It is dust and splash proof and if the optical quality is in line with other Olympus PRO line lenses it should be very good.

Product Review: Fiilex P360 and P180E Full-Spectrum Color LED Studio Lights | ProVideoCoalition
Designed for portability for the independent videographer shooting interviews, quick setup talking head studio shots or even portable green screen, Fiilex P-series LED lights provide a wide range of flexibility to match ambient lighting or provide enough light to give a decent single-subject studio shot on their own.

Resolution vs. Sensor Size: Which Matters More? | David Pogue
Bigger photosites soak in more light and generate less heat, which means less digital “noise.” Other things being equal, you always want bigger pixels on your sensor.

Before we begin; a warning. Like they say in every movie theater you go into nowadays: “Please silence your cell phone,” Don’t forget to turn off the ringer and all notifications if you are going to use it as a camera during the ceremony. You don’t have to turn it off, just set it in airplane mode. Here are a few other tricks to using these amazing little devices.

A Concise Guide to Choosing a New Lens | Digital Photography School
You may find it helpful to think of lenses in categories rather than specific focal lengths. That’s because the field-of-view of a specific focal length depends on the size of your camera’s sensor (learn why in our article Crop Factor Explained). The benefit of considering lenses this way is that each type suits certain subjects. If you are into landscape photography, for example, then a wide-angle lens of some sort is essential. If you photograph sports, then it is difficult to do without a telephoto lens.

A $30 Mac animation/web building tool that authors HTML5 (and a couple of other formats!)
Hype 2.5 review: Tumult's 'love letter' update to its users is a triumph | MacWorld
Hype 2.5 addresses this issue in a major way, offering two alternative platforms for viewing animations: video and GIF animation. HTML5 is still clearly the program’s focus, but in expanding its export options, Hype 2.5 has opened itself up to an entirely new kind of user: budding animators.

Watch: Endearing & Amusing "Blooper Reel" From The 'Lego Movie' | IndieWire
To keep the marketing blitz going, Warner Bros. have released a meta-like “blooper reel” for the “Lego Movie” which is obviously winky-winky, but clever considering animation is planned out in advance and can’t really have traditional bloopers. Running two and half minutes, most of the bloopers are devoted to Will Arnett as the arrogant and inept Batman and Chris Pratt as the lead Lego character Emmett.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The News

Sony FE 70-200mm f/4.0 G OSS Lens Pre-Orders | B & H Photovideo
They're now accepting pre-orders for this new Sony lens ($1,498.00) This lens is E-Mount (not the Alpha A-mount version; there's two A-mount 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses, the G SSM II Lens ($2,998) and the G Alpha ($1,998)). Odd there's no f/4.0 Alpha lens.

Anyway, this E-mount version features:
  • Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
  • Aperture Range: f/4.0-22
  • ED & Aspherical Elements
  • Nano AR Coating
  • Dual Linear Motor Autofocus System
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • Dust and Moisture-Resistant Construction
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 39.3"
I've always wanted to get the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 because...well, everyone likes it! But then you look at the price and put it off for another year.
I guess I could just buy the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM for $1,349. The advantage of sticking with Canon is that I could use it on both my Canon DSLR and my Sony E-mount cameras (using an adapter.) The Canon has 8 diaphragm blades compared to the Sony's 9.
Am I conflicted? Sure.

For some unclear reason, Sony has gone and ditched the NEX prefix for their mirrorless E-mount cameras and adopted 'A.' I guess so people don't forget about their Alpha cameras and lenses. But the Alpha mount is different, and while you can buy an A-E mount adapter, it's an extra piece to carry around (and buy) and not an insignificant consideration. All in all, a really dumb move on Sony's part as I think it will confuse customers rather than help them.
But this new 'NEX' model looks interesting as Sony continues to improve the video functionality of their still cameras (Are you listening Canon?!)
Sony A6000 gets zebra, 16:9 screen and clean HDMI output | EOSHD
Sony have now taken their Alpha re-think to the mid-range NEX 6 mirrorless camera. For video it looks like an interesting alternative to the ageing NEX 7, adding a 16:9 screen, zebra, dedicated movie mode, new sensor and uncompressed HDMI output.

Storyboarding 102: Staging | Best Animation Books
One of the downfalls of most young storyboard artists is a weak use of staging. Staging refers to the arrangement of characters or objects within your scene and the corresponding character and camera movements. Choreographing your shots and characters in an exciting way creates efficiency with the scene and will bring even the dullest script to life. 

10 Films That Can Teach You Everything You Need To Know About Film-making | Taste of Cinema
While most people enjoy Citizen Kane, many are left scratching their heads as to why it’s often considered to be the greatest film ever made. The reason is because Orson Welles broke all of the rules by placing the camera at never-before-seen angles, and moving it in strange and exciting new ways. He also made great use of a deep focus technique that keeps both foreground and background easily visible.

Cybel DP's 15 Unconventional Tips to Making a Low Budget Film More Extravagant | IndieWire
1 Shoot High End & Rearrange the Budget. I'm prepping a low budget feature to hopefully shoot in 2014. I told my director (Don't worry, she's on the hunt to attach the right producer) that if we shot on 35mm or the Alexa, I guarantee we would not rent Grip/Electric equipment.

Amazon stalking YouTube? | Gigaom
Perhaps the timing is just a coincidence. But it seems at least worth noting that YouTube seems to be making moves to clean up some messes at YouTube just as Amazon is making moves to ramp up its online video advertising business.

Selling at Sundance: What Factors Do/Don't Affect the Indie Film Market | No Film School
Making a movie is relatively straightforward compared to somehow getting your film screened at Sundance — let alone finding a buyer.

ILM Considers London for ‘Star Wars’ Work (Exclusive) | The Wrap
As the new "Star Wars" movie gets ready for production, visual effects giant Industrial Light & Magic is looking at opening a facility in the United Kingdom to take advantage of foreign tax subsidies, the company told TheWrap on Tuesday.

Brett Ratner Backs ‘Night Will Fall,’ the Journey of Restoring a Lost Alfred Hitchcock Documentary | The Film Stage
In January, we reported that Alfred Hitchcock‘s forgotten documentary on the Holocaust was undergoing a digital restoration and headed for public viewing sometime in 2015. The next chapter in the ongoing discovery of Hitchcock’s Memory of the Camps is unfolding with the assistance of an unexpected member: Brett Ratner.

Adobe Webinars

Optimizing your system for peak performance with After Effects & Adobe Premiere Pro
Thursday, February 27 , 2014 | 10:00 AM PT
Presented by Todd Kopriva and Steve Hoeg

If you are building or upgrading a system for editing or motion graphics work with the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, this online seminar will help you understand your options and help you get the best performance out of your software.

10 Tips for a more efficient editing workflow
Thursday, March 13, 2014 | 10:00 AM PT
Presented by Vashi Nedomansky

If you are building or upgrading a system for editing or motion graphics work with the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, this online seminar will help you understand your options and help you get the best performance out of your software.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The News

A Primer on Photo and Video Copyright Usage | Dare Dreamer
I’ve been contacted a few times for clips from videos I’ve produced to be used in other educational DVDs and documentaries. For a few seconds of video I’ve charged $450 for a worldwide, non-transferrable license (these were relatively small runs).

Editor Jay Cassidy on American Hustle | Studio Daily
On American Hustle, each editor took responsibility for a big chunk. When you’re on such a short schedule, it’s inefficient to pass scenes around willy-nilly. The person receiving it doesn’t have the depth of knowledge about the material or know the evolution of the scene, how it came from the first assembly to what the fine cut is.

Fundamental Lessons for Oscar Winning Cinematography | Raindance
2. Watch technology doesn’t interfereSure, we’re thinking of new and inventive ways of producing films but essentially you need to tell a story. Next time you’re on set or in a production meeting really ask yourself, do we need that pocket dolly/green screen/zero gravity lighting rig? Or is that getting in the way of the story?

I am Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker. Ask me anything.@reddit_AMA
I'm really excited to have launched yesterday the new Ken Burns app for the iPad, which is the first time I’ve entered the digital realm this way. We've taken short clips from 35 years of my films covering over 200 years of American history and assembled them both thematically and chronologically.

Why Hollywood Resists Disruption | Slate
Hollywood is the closest thing the business world has to a Roman Empire: a largely self-sustaining, self-contained industry, reigning supreme over most premium content in most media channels. And like Rome, the entertainment business has plenty of enemies who’d love to watch it burn. They probably won’t get their wish.

Reports keep popping up about a Canon 7D Mark II, though if it doesn't do 4K or some really high frame rate, I'm not sure many will care...
Rumoured Canon 7D Mark II specs | EOSHD
Oddly the camera is mentioned as needing an optional transmitter for WiFi. That’s something I’m expecting Canon to build into the 7D Mark II itself like on the 6D. To have the document mention specifics like weight and dimensions is quite interesting. Where did they get the info from?

Set of Cook 28 Picture Styles For Canon Cameras | Cinescopophilia
The Cook is a set of 28 Picture Styles for Canon cameras and to be used in camera plus with Digital Photo software.The highlight preservation increases the range for capturing bright backgrounds without clipping, and when something clips the highlight roll off is ok.

SLR Magic Anamorphot-50 officially announced | EOSHD
As a commitment to the film industry, SLR Magic developed this 1,33x anamorphic adapter to help filmmakers maximize their image quality by preventing this loss of vertical resolution. The unique 1,33x squeeze factor uses the entire 16:9 sensor/negative area to achieve the desired 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Anamorphot 1.33x – 50 does this by compressing a 33% wider field of view to fit the width of the 16:9 sensor/negative without compressing image height.

One thing that did catch my eye in GAZER’s rather un-cinematic Kickstarter video, was how they show the top-of-the-range DS3 gimbal easily attaching to a Steadicam arm. This is something that has been done by other gimbal brands but never in such an elegant way. How well the system works with an arm at smoothing vertical movement remains to be seen.

I had planned all along for my group to use FCP X as that is the program I use professionally and the thought of having to use FCP 7 again fills me with dread! Going back to 7 for me is a bit like watching a VCR compared to Blue-ray disc. The laptops the students had were newish MacBook Pro’s but they only had copies of FCP 7 installed. Luckily for me, one of the students was resourceful enough to quickly install FCP X on all the laptops and we were in business!

Love those long traveling shots...
Watch: The Amazing Full 6-Minute Tracking Shot From 'True Detective' | IndieWire
The crew ran through the sequence a full seven times, and once it was in the can, Fukunaga completed a few different versions of the scene, with edit points in case he wanted to cut away to something else. But wisely, he kept the entire shot intact, but only because it worked so well. "The best ones, you don't even realize that they're oners," Fukunaga explained. "They're the most first-person experience you can get in a film."

Nice little short showing how to do spacecraft effects very simply.
To create a spaceship flying through the space, the effects wizards of yesteryear used simple techniques of keeping the model spaceship still, and having the camera move in towards the objects. This would give the illusion that the ship was moving.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The News

A little more info and thoughts on the Blackmagic announcement
Blackmagic 4K camera price cut: $2999 / €2029 | Cinema5D
According to the Blackmagic press release, the camera is “shipping now“, which is great news as the original shipping date was “summer 2013″, announced at NAB 2013. We know for a fact that a beta version of the camera has been in the hands of cinematographers already

Who Else Wants a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera? | Filmmaking Stuff
In our estimation, the most exciting lens choice for this camera, however, is C mount. Most people commonly know the C mount as a BOLEX film camera lens. They are small and fast and easily changeable via screw in system.

More Or Better Pixels? It’s Up To You | Definition Magazine
The other has a harder job – this group we’ll call the Better Pixel Camp. They must convince us of the merits of more arcane qualities – decreased quantisation error (e.g. 10 bits v. 8 bits per pixel), increased dynamic range, reduced compression and so on.

Welcome To The 4K Future | Definition Magazine
But it is telling that DoPs aren’t the ones screaming for more resolution. In fact many are using their craft to ‘damp down’ the sharpness by using old lenses and filtering. One DIT Nye Jones who has worked on movies like Skyfall, Thor: The Dark World and Prometheus puts it more plainly, “Most DoPs are not as concerned with pixels and more concerned with lenses and latitude.

ALEXA and M18 HMI lights on ALL IS LOST | ARRI
Looking to make the most of his relatively low $9 million-dollar budget, Chandor re-teamed with MARGIN CALL DP Frankie DeMarco, who chose to record ARRIRAW with ALEXA cameras and also made use of ARRI M-Series M18 HMI lampheads supplied by ARRI subsidiary Illumination Dynamics. He spoke with ARRI about his choices and challenges on the film.

A small LED light that you can control (change color) using an iPhone app!
We got our hands on the KICK light by Rift Labs and took it for a spin. Turns out there's a little more than meets the eye when it comes to this little LED light.

Vimeo brings us subtitles and a look at the much improved Vimeo Pro | Philip Bloom
Being a Deaf film maker subtitles are a vital part of my career as well as my life so despite many advances in the internet where broadband is faster, more people show their films online and a wealth of information for film makers to learn skills it is like the dark ages when it comes to online subtitles – only a very small percentage of online content is subtitled.

Loading Sony F5 / F55 Scene Files via SD Card | AbelCine
In the Sony F5/F55′s previous firmware versions, scene files had to be loaded manually via the Paint menu. Now, with the latest v3.0 update, there is a dedicated menu that supports the loading of scene files onto an SD card, as well as the camera’s internal memory.

Still lightweight and compact it weighs a mere 1.58 Kg, collapses to 84cm long and yet extends to 180.5cm. It can take a maximum camera weight of 4.25 Kg which means it can even carry cameras like the C100 and FS700 with smaller lenses.

5 Great Cold Weather Camera Tips | iheartfaces
In a pinch, I have been known to poke a hole in the bottom of a plastic bag and then sticking just the edge of my lens out of the hole, with the rest of the bag covering the body and leaving me lots of room to check and change my settings. MacGyver’s got nothing on me, I tell ya!

New Film Czar Ken Ziffren Calls Runaway TV, Film Production a ‘Devastating Blow to the Middle-Class’ | The Wrap
Of the 45 big budget feature films of 2012 and 2013, only one was shot exclusively in California, representing a loss of thousands of jobs to other states and countries. From 2005 to 2013, California’s share of the one-hour TV series market declined from 64 percent to 28 percent.

This was just going to be some additional footage for my almost done review of the camera, I needed some more tripod footage, but the sky was so stunning it deserved it's own little edit even if there weren't that many shots in it! I did do about 10 versions of that VERY long pan, but of course you can only put one in and I liked this one as it had the girl jogger adding motivation to it.

Ocean on fire shot on Digital Bolex D16 from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blackmagic Design Announces Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is now Shipping with a New Low Price

After a significant delay, Blackmagic announces that the Production 4K camera is now shipping. They have also dropped the price by $1,000 (it was originally priced at $3,995.) B&H hasn't yet updated it's price.

Fremont, CA - February 10, 2014 - Blackmagic Design today announced the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is now shipping and with a new low price of US$2,995. This new low price will be available for all customers, including existing pre-orders. Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is available now from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide for only US$2,995.

“The support from the creative community for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Production Camera 4K has been amazing,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “As with all of our products, we work hard in production to reduce costs so we can pass along the savings, even to our first Blackmagic Production Camera 4K customers. The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a perfect companion for ATEM Production 4K switchers and we hope the new low price will help more customers to expand their Ultra HD live production set ups with even more camera angles!”

About Blackmagic Production Camera 4K
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is a super high resolution 4K digital production camera for Ultra HD television production. Featuring a large Super 35 sensor, professional global shutter as well as EF and ZE compatible lens mount, the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K captures high quality ProRes™ files, giving customers a complete solution to shoot amazing high resolution music videos, episodic television productions, television commercials, sport and documentaries.

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K has everything customers need right out of the box including a built in SSD recorder, rechargeable battery and a large 5” LCD touchscreen. In addition to focusing and monitoring shots, the touchscreen also lets customers enter metadata and change camera settings all on a single easy to use interface. Customers also get a full copy of DaVinci Resolve for amazing quality color grading and finishing for Mac OS X and Windows computers.

Key Features
Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution
ProRes 422 (HQ)™ recording
Super 35 sensor
Global shutter
EF and ZE compatible lens mount
Built-in SSD recorder
5” LCD touchscreen
Metadata entry 6G-SDI output for 10-bit HD and Ultra HD

Availability and Price The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is available now for US$2,995 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

The News

On the downside, built-in ND filters are still missing from the feature set. The ergonomics and power requirements of the bolt-on interface are somewhat backward and no attempt has been made to make this camera fit better on the shoulder. My guess is that this will be saved for other ‘pro’ models to come.

Panasonic GH4 in a professional setting – FAQ | EOSHD
When the camera is set to record in 4K internally the onboard HDMI output is down-converted automatically to 1080p. In playback mode the HDMI output is 4K capable (relaying the 8bit 4:2:0 footage from SD card). Only the DMW-YAGH add-on base can output 4K (uncompressed, 10bit 4:2:2) from the GH4. However the micro-HDMI port is 8bit / 10bit switchable and can deliver impressive 1080p in 10bit 4:2:2 format, uncompressed to an external recorder.

Using The GH4 Camera, Panasonic to Commence Joint Research with Digital Hollywood University | Cinescopophilia
Panasonic Corporation will commence joint research with Digital Hollywood University in Tokyo toward the development of new forms of video expression that utilize 4K technology, and digital imaging equipment such as digital single lens mirrorless (DSLM) cameras compatible with 4K video.

A comparison of two cameras that aren't shipping yet.
Which 4K camera for the masses? GH4 vs Blackmagic Production Camera | EOSHD
The GH4 has a lower point to entry but to get 10bit 4:2:2 and ProRes from an uncompressed 4K feed you will need the add-on box. This will put the camera in the same price bracket as the Blackmagic Production Camera and ideally require the same outlay on SSDs and monitors. At least you get two tasty XLR inputs thrown into the bargain and a full sized HDMI port.

Shoot35 CINEfocus r3 review | Paul Joy
The Shoot35 CINEfocus r3 is the latest incarnation of Shoot35’s follow focus offerings. 

I reviewed the original (r1) CINEfocus back in 2009 and although that version has worked really well over it’s lifetime the latest incarnation is a totally new design with a host of features that promise to make it more precise, more flexible and easier to use.  So lets start by opening the box and seeing what goodies are waiting inside.

Working in the field with the Editshare Field 2 | Pro Video Coalition
Our Editshare Field 2 system came equipped with 6TB of usable storage capacity in a fault-tolerant RAID5 configuration. This was more than enough for our anticipated storage needs of approx 1-2TB raw footage + another 2 TB for ProRes transcodes. We were going to use Adobe Premiere CC for post, so I could have chosen to stay in native formats.

Not everyone has given up on the DSLR for video. On a recent assignment for National Geographic Online in the south of Egypt, Matt Ford went with the Canon 5D mkIII for his video: “I go for the DSLR because if I am going on a shoot and I already have a lot of lenses and bodies that I am using for still photography, if my primary camera goes down, I still have a lot of backups.”

And if that seems intimidating to you, then that’s because you haven’t yet dealt with a mistake large enough to realize that you’ll survive it. Life goes on and “in the end, it’s only a movie” has to be your mantra. It can be reshot, it can be redone, it can be reworked.

The New York Times Op-Docs PitchApplications for 2014 are now open! | Sheffield Fest
We're delighted to welcome back one of our most popular pitching opportunities to Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2014 - The New York Times Op-Docs Pitch. Get your short documentary viewed by the world on like last year's winner, Kris Hoffman, who was funded to make An Unfair Game