Friday, April 04, 2014

Public Beta version of Lightworks for the Mac.

The date for the release of the Mac Beta of Lightworks has been announced: it's June 11, 2014

Red Shark NewsDate announced for Lightworks for Mac Public Beta: this is the date it's available to everyone!

Importing into Final Cut Pro X from the Sony FDR-AX100

The weather here in the Northeast has been miserable the last week, but I’ve finally started shooting stuff with the Sony FDR-AX100, and here’s what I’ve found out so far

NLE Support.
It turns out that Adobe Premiere CS6 does not like 4K footage from the FDR-AX100. Prelude seemed to import it okay, but when I transferred it to Premiere, there was garbage displayed in the Source panel. An image was displayed in the Program panel, but I couldn’t play the footage, even after rendering it. After rendering, it would just jump between two frames and not play anything else.

It seems like you’ll have to get the Creative Cloud if you want to edit 4K (unfortunately, at the moment I can’t as I’m working on a computer behind a network that the IS department won’t approve any cloud-based software.)

One option might be to use DaVinci Resolve to create 1080 footage from the 4K and then edit in Premiere. Final Cut Pro X, fortunately, happily imported the video and lets me edit it.

AVCHD directory in Final Cut Pro

I did find an interesting issue when importing footage into Final Cut Pro. The first time I imported video after shooting only a 4K sequence on the memory card without trouble. Final Cut let me navigate through the memory card to find the .MP4 files, and then import them.

Then I captured some AVCHD footage to do a comparison with the 4K footage. The next time I connected the camera, Final Cut recognized the AVCHD directory, and only displayed that; not letting me see the rest of the directory on the memory card! I imagine there’s a way to tell Final Cut not to do this, but I haven’t found it yet – please email me if you know how!

Copying files to the hard drive

I did solve the problem by manually copying the MP4 files from the memory card to a hard drive and was then able to import them again.

I’m going to reformat the card, as I don’t think I’ll be shooting much AVCHD on this camera anyway (more on that tomorrow), so that will solve the problem anyway.

Importing MP4 files

Next up: Resolution: Yes, 4K does make a difference!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

The News

Calling all colourists – Grade Panasonic GH4 4K ProRes next to Arri Alexa 2K ProRes | EOSHD
The camera records a LOT of data in 4K mode. The internal codec is compressed to 100Mbit/s and packed into an 8bit 4:2:0 codec but 4x the resolution of 1080p means you can oversample 2K from it and gain 10bit precision and 4:4:4 colour sampling. This theory has been backed up by people in the know, specifically David Newman at CineForm / GoPro in this EOSHD interview.

New Canon XF205 And XF200 Professional Camcorders Deliver Ideal Performance For Run-And-Gun, Cinéma Vérité Filmmakers | CanonRumors
Positioned above the XF105 and XF100 Professional Camcorder models, the new Canon XF205 and XF200 Professional Camcorders are equipped with the upgraded zoom lens, CMOS sensor and image-processing platform featured in the XA25/XA20 High Definition Camcorders. 

Canon Announces $33K US 17-120MM ENG Style Servo Lens For Large Sensor Cameras | News Shooter
Canon have pre-released information about their new Cine-Servo Zoom Lens. Designed for ENG, documentary and narratives this new lens features an incredible range of 17-120mm, at a bright T2.95 (although it drops to T3.9 at 120mm). This is a direct competitor to the popular Fujinon Cabrio range. Canon seem to have traded the extended zoom range with the loss of the constant aperture at the long end.

Canon Cinema EOS: Which Camera? | DV Info
As I studied, it became apparent that each of the four cameras that carry the Cinema EOS label has its own unique capabilities. Rather than simply adding features as the price point climbs, it appears that Canon specifically engineered each model for a particular market segment. Since I wanted to be capable of shooting in a wide variety of situations, well, therein lay my quandary.

Surprise! Sony Alpha A6000 video mode makes huge improvement | EOSHD
I have the NEX-5, which is a very nice little camera - though I primarily use it as a stills camera. The A6000 is $648 for pre-order.
The Sony A600 is the best Sony consumer camera yet for video. A Nikon D5300 in a mirrorless body, with far more features, the image quality is closer to the FS700 in 1080p than to a NEX 7 or A5000. The pristine sharp EVF, a magnified focus assist which can be activated whilst recording (rare!), peaking, zebra, 16:9 screen and of course the mirrorless form factor. This is arguably the best current ‘cheap’ camera for video, de-throning the GH2 and GH3. At just $650 it is an absolute bargain.

Sensor Color Balance: What It Really Is | DV Info
In those old days it was common knowledge that the blue channel was always the noisiest, although for the longest time I never understood why. It took a little lesson in the native response of silicon to lightwaves before I caught on. This web page points out that silicon is sensitive to wavelengths of light from 300nm (UV) through 1100nm (IR) while the human eye only sees from about 400nm (deep blue) to 700nm (bright red), so it’s fair to say that silicon is most sensitive to IR, or light we can’t see anyway.

Fantastic addition for C300 users (£2,799) | HD Warrior
It's $2,999 here in the US:
Providing access to any in-camera function using the standard operating menus, the RC-V100 features dedicated interfaces that allow users control of common settings such as iris, zoom and white balance, whilst a number of more advanced adjustments, such as knee point/slope and master pedestal, can also be made directly. Support for custom settings is provided in the form of four buttons that mirror the operation of assignable camera buttons 1-4 on the body itself.

30 Tips for being an Outstanding Camera Assistant | Film Camera Course
1 Always be a good time keeper and turn up at least 15 minutes before you are expected to start work. General rule of thumb: “If you’re on time… you’re late!”

BAVUG is celebrating our 10 yr Anniversary! | Boston Avid Users Group
It's $10:
Join us Apr 16 at the East End Grille in Somerville for BAVUG's 10 yr anniversary celebration. We'll enjoy some great food, drinks and conversation in one of Somerville's trendiest new hangouts.Please note that there is limited space at this event.Registered attendees only please.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The News

Panasonic GH4 4K Production Diary – Day 2 – Test Footage | EOSHD
I have not seen any moire in the GH4′s 4K output yet. The only artefacts in the 4K image are related to aliasing from 4:2:0 colour sampling. Mr Uematsu told me that all internal processing and debayering is done in 10bit 4:2:2. However the internal 4K codec drops this to 8bit 4:2:0 to save space. You’re thankful for the light footprint of this codec though after using Blackmagic 4K ProRes or 5D Mark III raw files! Much more practical to store and archive.

Andrew Reid at EOSHD has also been tweeting as he goes:

And if you read French
Panasonic a eu la belle idée de m’inviter tester le GH4 en Hollande, l’autre pays du fromage, des tulipes, des moulins et des vélos … étant déjà parti avec un GH4 dans ma besace à l’autre bout du monde, j’ai demandé à l’ami Sylvain Berrard, jeune Machineur de talent et fondateur du Laboscope de me remplacer afin de pondre son premier article sur mon blog histoire de le tester un peu car il m’accompagne pour la couverture du NAB 2014.

Digital Bolex D16 Review – Part 1 | EOSHD
A few weeks ago I had an email from Theo (below left), a filmmaker and EOSHD reader. Theo also happens to be the only Digital Bolex owner in Europe (well…the only one in Berlin…probably!?). So we took the D16 for a spin and shot a fun test. Frank Sauer and I handled the camera-work and the lovely Christina Mj Zahra (fashion designer) was our subject for the day at an abandoned Berlin beer factory, full of drunk ghosts.

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K versus Panasonic GH4 | B&H Photovideo
Are you looking at specs only? Good luck with that. Although both cameras have a lot to offer, hitting a relatively low price point has affected the design choices of both models. Essentially, it all comes down to how you shoot, or, as the British say, “...horses for courses.” Are you looking for a still camera that also shoots 4K video? Or are you looking for a 4K camera that has a larger sensor than the Micro Four Thirds format, and is strictly for shooting 4K and HD video, not stills?

Introducing CinePlay, the professional Mac video player | Digital Rebellion
CinePlay is intended as a professional alternative to QuickTime Player X. It plays back modern video formats and offers masks, safe areas, timecode overlays, markers and more.

Red Giant BulletProof adds some significant, needed features | ProVideoCoalition
I took a look at the brand new BulletProof at NAB last year. Jeff Foster recently had a review as well. In my mind, there were a couple of missing features that kept BulletProof from being anything more than a DIT in that early release ... not that that's a bad thing as it is a great DIT tool but only had limited usefulness in a dedicated editor's toolkit. 

A Hands-on Experience with the ARRI AMIRA | ProVideoCoalition
What I want to focus on is where this camera is going and what productions should be or will be choosing it over some of the 4K competitors from the likes of RED or Sony. While Jim did hint at possible 4K cameras in the future, these would require a whole new sensor and we’d see that most likely in a newer ALEXA first then the lower-priced ENG AMIRA.

10 Things Every Film Festival Wants Filmmakers to Know | Indiewire
3. There is no conspiracy against you. As much as filmmakers like to believe, there is no payola, payoff, conspiracy or edict against your film by the festivals. If you didn't get it in, please don't assume this. There are a multitude of reasons it may not be chosen. Don't get paranoid about it.

Character Ark: the visual effects of Noah | FxGuide
The final animation relied on ILM’s system devised for Transformers, where, explains Snow, “you can take your base animation and override it so that you can specifically move pieces. That was how they added little impacts when the rocks collided.” The Watchers’ rocky surface was developed from photographic reference of rocks in Iceland where production filmed a number of scenes, varying surfaces and shapes so as to differentiate between Watcher characters. The final creatures were rendered in RenderMan.

Canon EOS-1D C Camera (Body Only) for $2,000 off | B & H Photovideo
Is it because it's spring, the favorable reviews of Panasonic's GH4, or because NAB is coming? Whatever the reason, you can get $2,000 off on the Canon EOS-1D C right now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Red Magic Updates BulletProof

Red Giant announces an update to BulletProof:

Red Giant BulletProof Takes Aim with More Camera Support
AVCHD and Canon XF Support. Faster Import. PluralEyes Integration.

Today, April 1, 2014, Red Giant announced BulletProof 1.2, an update that brings more camera support and other improvements to its footage backup and preparation tool.

Bruce Sharpe, Shooter Suite business unit manager said, “Last year at NAB, we released BulletProof - a product that we knew had the potential to become an essential tool for shooters. This year, we’ve updated it to support the AVCHD and Canon XF format, two formats that are a mainstay of the industry.”

In addition to the existing support for Canon and Nikon DSLRs and GoPro cameras, BulletProof now includes support for Panasonic and Sony DSLRs, and for the Canon C-series and XF-series cameras.

BulletProof is designed to solve several challenges that, since the DSLR revolution, have plagued shooters, both on set and right before post-production. One of those is the issue of reliable backup.

“Shooters work under extreme time pressure while on set,” said Randon Morford, Shooter Suite product manager. “Reliable file backup is often considered a luxury. At best, most shooters simply copy their footage to a hard drive, blazing on with their shoot and hoping for the best. Too often, however, the data is corrupt and doesn’t make it to the timeline. We designed BulletProof to make sure that never happens.”

BulletProof, which boasts robust automated backup and verification tools, allows shooters to do what they are already doing, but with confidence. Once the camera card is in the card reader, BulletProof creates copies of your footage and verifies them to ensure a perfect duplication. In addition, while the footage is being backed up, the shooter can use BulletProof’s GPU-accelerated playback tools to review the footage and make sure they got the shots they need.

Also new to BulletProof is a highly requested feature called “Add Mode” - a reference mode that speeds up the import process by cataloging media that has already been copied to disk.

While BulletProof's features start with back-up and review of footage on set, it also addresses the next area of pain in the shooter’s process - preparing the footage and notes for post production. BulletProof includes powerful tools for tagging, adding metadata, notes, in-and-out points, and even suggested color correction to the footage - all to help bring the shooter’s intention over to the timeline. These features can be used right on set or once the shooter gets back to the edit suite.

In addition, BulletProof is now integrated with PluralEyes, Red Giant’s hugely popular automated audio/video sync tool. One of the editing industry’s most popular tools, PluralEyes literally saves hours or days of audio/video syncing work, with the touch of a button. BulletProof now makes the process even more fluid by sending the footage over to PluralEyes in an organized way, so that you can sync your footage immediately. Once synced, PluralEyes sends the footage directly to the editing timeline, ready for editing.

“Since PluralEyes allows the shooter to work more freely on set by not having to worry about timecode or clapboards,” said Sharpe, who also created the app, “it seemed like a natural progression to have our footage back-up and prep tool integrated with the next tool in the production chain.”

“For the last year we have been singularly focused on making BulletProof a better tool for people working on set and in the edit bay,” added Morford. “We’re proud to offer a product that lets the shooter work with the confidence that comes with knowing that their footage will make it home safe, sound and in sync.”

Pricing & Availability:
BulletProof 1.2 beta will be available soon, with a release in Q2 for $199. It is a free upgrade for existing users of BulletProof 1.0
Learn more at

The News

Andrew Reid and Frank Sauer shoot with the Panasonic GH4 – Production Diary Day 1 | EOSHD
The even more astonishing thing is the 4K codec has such a light footprint. About 100MB for a 10 second clip. 8x smaller than Blackmagic Production Camera 4K in ProRes. 1GB for a whole minute… approximately 64 minutes per 64GB card is very nice when you are used to 12 minutes per 64GB with 1080p raw on the 5D Mark III… yet this is 4K. So 8bit 4:2:0 has its advantages after all… wow.

Last week, multiple sources stated that Panasonic will be dropping the Micro Four Thirds format on future cameras. The rumors came after a recording that is said to be from a recent Panasonic staff meeting was leaked onto YouTube. In it, two reps (possibly from the company, but again not confirmed) discuss how the company is having to restructure and refocus their efforts (specifically referring to their MFT Cameras) as a result of steadily decreasing sales on their camera lines. 

Digital Bolex hints at new camera | Upcoming events! | Digital Bolex
In a blog post about NAB and upcoming events is this hint:
??? will be showing a new camera that we’ll announce on Monday the 7th!

5 Tips for Working in High Frame Rates | Production Hub
2.) Optics:The faster a lens the better is a good general rule. An extra stop or too can sometimes be the difference in pulling off a high speed shot, especially when losing light outdoors or working in ultra high frame rates.

Cache record is a very important feature and the ability to have your camera buffer record up to 15 seconds in 50Mbps 4:2:2 before you have even pressed the record button can make all the difference. Every news and documentary shooter has at some point in time said: “Damn, I wish I’d been rolling ten seconds earlier and I would have captured that moment that is now gone.”

Gone! FCC Closed Captioning Rules Threaten to Remove Movie Titles from Digital Storefronts | Filmmaker Magazine
The rules, mandated in a January, 2012 revision of 2010’s Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, require newly acquired movie and other content shown on the internet to be closed captioned if this content was shown on television with closed captioning after September 30, 2012.

New Zeiss Compact Zoom CZ.2 15-30mm T/2.9 lens | Sony Alpha Rumors
Well, if you want a top quality zoom for your Video work with E-Mount cameras you can buy the new Zeiss CZ.2 15-30mm T/2.9 lens. It’s not thaaaat expensive…you get it for € 17,900 or US$ 23,900….excl. VAT! 

Ultra-Portable Devices Change Workflows and Capabilities for DPs and DITs | ProVideoCoalition
In his 30 years as a Colorist, Lorne’s seen what used to be an entire room of gear now condensed in a small on-set package. We discussed how those changes have affected his career, what it’s like working with Michael and how professionals everywhere can improve their on-set and post-production workflow.

Red Giant updates Magic Bullet Looks & PluralEyes | Filmmaker Magazine
Magic Bullet Looks has become popular with filmmakers who want to do a quick color grade for a project but don’t have the time – or the skill – to use a tool like DaVinci Resolve. This update adds several features, but perhaps of most interest to those who already have the tool is the promise of speed increases of up to 95% on Windows, and 25% on Macs. 

How to clean a tripod: a simple guide to protecting your gear | Digital Camera World
You need to get into the habit of cleaning your tripod whenever you come back from a shoot that’s left the feet, legs and joints dirty. But you don’t need to fill your cupboards with expensive cleaning products and lubricants: chances are you have everything you need under the kitchen sink!

Monday, March 31, 2014

New DJI Phantom Software

An interesting update to the DJI Phantom 2 software includes the following:

  • Main controller firmware now includes the Flight Limits functions, inclusive of maximum height radius limits, which is aimed to help users fly more safely. Max height is set at 400m and max radius is 1600m by default. The default parameters can be configured in the Assistant Software v2.00.
  • The max descent speed has changed to 3m/s.

Reader Paul Antico notes:
New DJI ground station firmware released for Phantom 2 won't even let you use it within 5 mi of a major airport...
They are also limiting down speed to 3m/sec. Mostly for safety but this also effectively limits how far up you can go.
Point is this is a peek at the future: regulated use of drones based on GPS and flight envelopes. Nothing to stop the future from being limited in height or based on gps coordinates.
The airport limitation may be limited to the iPad Groundstation software or it may apply to both (I haven't been able to confirm.)