Friday, April 18, 2014

Quick Links

NAB 2014: 8K resolution coming in 2020 | Digital Arts
At the NAB 2014 show in Las Vegas, Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed off massive 8K video displays and a giant 8K video camera, which the company is researching as the next logical step in the quest to crank out as much resolution as the human eye can possibly detect.

Dirt Cheap GoPro Cages From $35cinescopophilia
Well if you invent it, it will get copied and churned out at a fraction of the cost. And so GoPro cages are turning up on Aliexpress dirt cheap.
A simple and quick search reveals multiple GoPro cages selling from $35 up to $70+ and most have free shipping on Aliexpress.

Nikon D800 hacked with 50Mbit/s high bitrate video option | EOSHD
I like the Sony A7R but the D800 has a few advantages. Biggest one is you can install an anti-moire filter in the D800 from Mosaic Engineering and there isn’t yet one for the Sony, doubtless if there ever will be room for one in that mirrorless mount. I also prefer the D800′s picture profiles and Quicktime MOV codec to AVCHD.

A promotional piece from Sony:
Around the world with the HXR-NX70 | Sony
I see myself as one of the world’s leading experts on this camera. Since I invested in the NX70 in early 2012, it’s followed me through 25 different countries and together sailed over 14,000 nautical miles. Everything from filming stock shots in the fjords outside my hometown Bergen to crossing big oceans. It’s filmed hundreds of hours of footage – from lions in Kenya to humpback whales in the Caribbean – and it’s become a trusted companion.
Sony has also released the second issue of CineAlta magazine. You can read it online here.

Vocas PMW-F5 and PMW-F55 Shoulder Rig. Really Nice Stuff | XDCAM User
Now, I’ve come across Vocas many, many times before, they are not new players in this arena and thier products have always looked to be well thought out and well made, but when I put the F55 rig on my shoulder and my hands wrapped around the beautifully carved wooden handles I just fell in love with it.

DXOMark Compares the Sigma 50 f/1.4 Art to Zeiss 55 f/1.4 Otus | CanonRumors
“At f2 the Sigma is almost on a par with the Zeiss, only it can’t quite match the Zeiss in the corners – though the difference in real world terms is trivial. The new Sigma can boast of slightly better control of vignetting and, arguably, chromatic aberration at maximum aperture, though there’s some fringing evident in the extreme corners. The Zeiss has remarkable transmission but, at close to $4,000, nothing short of exceptional performance is expected.”

Doug Jensen of Vortex media has worked with Litepanels to create a handy primer on using their 1×1 panels for simple interview lighting. None of this information will be new to TV folk as Litepanels 1x1s are commonly found at most TV stations, but if you are new to lighting then this tutorial should be useful whichever brand of LED light panel you choose to use.

How to make things more interesting with the addition of light.
Adding Magic To Flat Lightpixsylated
The downside to open shade is that the low contrast of the light (the difference between the brightest highlights and the darkest shadows) creates an image that lacks texture and depth. Fortunately, a single Speedlite can add a lot of magic to the shot.

When Filmmakers Dream: A Story of Attainable Success | Filmmaker Magazine
Did Blumenthal make a million dollars in the box office? No. Is it a critical darling? No. Am I famous? No. On the flip side, is the movie terrible? No. Did it bankrupt anyone? No. Did it see the light of day? YES. If someone told me that I would successfully raise $50,000 on Kickstarter, make a movie with my friends, premiere it in New York City, get it featured on iTunes and VOD, have it land me representation as a filmmaker, and land me my next jobs as a writer/director in TV and film… Well, let’s just say I would happily accept that middle ground.

How Do You Successfully Produce a Movie? | Slate
I am often asked to define the term producer. These days it can be anyone from a financier to the fiancé, but a real producer is the guy who employs everyone, including the director.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Quick Links

Panasonic GH4 vs Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

Early Footage, Full Specs, & Why the AJA CION is the Most Exciting New Camera at NAB 2014 | No Film School
This week has been a crazy one for camera announcements. Not only did Blackmagic blow the lid off of NAB once again with the announcement of the URSA camera, but Digital Bolex brought their A-game to the world of black and white cinematography, and Apertus (despite the fact that they couldn’t make it to NAB) announced that the Axiom Beta is well on its way.

Letus AnamorphX-GP Drive
This is interesting because it's shot in 4K at 12fps...
Here's a quick sample of what the GoPro Hero3+ Black looks like at 4K 12fps with the Letus AnamorphX-GP anamorphic 1.33X adapter. I've sped up the footage 2x to achieve 24P, squeezed vertically to get back to 2.4:1 aspect, removed the fisheye, and did some basic grading using Film Convert.

The Panasonic PX270 Video Review explained | HD Warrior
I keep getting asked to explain my conclusions within the Panasonic PX270 Video Review and why I reject AVC I Frame over AVC Long GOP.
If you read the specs about I Frame over Long GOP you will convince yourself that I Frame is the clear winner but although I had downloaded Panasonic’s white paper about AVC ULTRA it was a bit heavy going, I am a practical person I prefer to go on what I see rather than make my mind up with what other people think in theory.

First Footage from AJA Cion 4K camera | Red Shark
Probably the most unexpected announcement at NAB 2014 was that of the AJA Cion. AJA are well known for their high end external recorders but have never released a camera before, until now. I think everyone was quite taken aback by the camera which seems to have had a fantastic amount of thought put into what would make it really usable, the main reservation people seemed to have related to what the footage from the camera might look like as this has been the big unknown.

Watch Documentary ‘Cinematographer Style,’ A Great Exploration of Film Technique | Slashfilm
Here’s a feature-length documentary on the art of cinematography — one of many such films, but this particular one does feature the participation of dozens of cinematographers. Actually, more than “dozens” — Jon Fauer‘s Cinematographer Style features interviews with over one hundred shooters. 

What Could NHK's 8K Format Mean for Narrative Storytelling? (Analysis) | The Hollywood Reporter
Japanese public broadcaster NHK offered a series of notable demonstrations at last week's NAB Show of its developing "Super Hi Vision" format and broadcast system, which supports 8K resolution—16 times more resolution that HD—as well as a high frame rate of 120 frames per second and 22.2 channels of audio. Many who have seen these images have been dazzled by the uniquely realistic look.

New “cheap” Sony 4K TV announced | SonyAlphaRumors
With the new Sony A7s release we now have to talk more about the 4K world :) Well today Sony announced their new 4K TV’s including the “cheapest” 4K Tv which will cost $2,099 only. All Sony 4K TV’s can be seen and ordered at that Sony 4K TV page

Legally Speaking, It Depends – Who Owns Script Notes? | ScriptMag
Let’s face it, writers need notes. Without them, fathoming what might not be working with a script or what the producer might be looking for is much harder. Whether to follow what they say or not is an alchemy that has been dabbled into many times on this site by many others. My goal in this column is to look at the legal aspects of those notes and their impact on the screenwriting and filmmaking processes.

Netflix Is Actually Getting Faster on Comcast | Slate
According to new data released by Netflix, customers with Comcast Internet have been seeing major speed improvements since the deal in February. Comcast moved up six places in Netflix's carrier speed rankings to No. 5. Other carriers in the top 10 lost a spot or stayed the same—Comcast was the only ISP that gained.

Debate: Are smartphones posing a threat to the DSLR market? | E & T
Do onboard cameras on smartphones represent a significant nail in the coffin of the conventional digital single-lens reflex camera market? If we want to use that descriptive, yes, it is a nail. The question then arises, though, of how many nails you need to seal the coffin.

‘Bears On Stairs’ Is a Ridiculously Smooth Stop Motion Animated Video | PetaPixel
Meant as an experiment to just keep with being creative and have some fun, this particular project combined 3D animation (commonly referred to as CAD), 3D printing and stop motion animation. What makes this stand out from many other similar projects is just how smooth the final product looks, despite each frame consisting of a completely separate 3D printed piece.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Quick Links

Panasonic GH4 – Slow-mo at 96fps and 4K rolling shutter test | EOSHD
Between 24fps and 60fps image quality is very good, the same as you’d get from the normal speed 1080p video modes. The 100Mbit/s data rate is enough to prevent any mud or blockiness ruining motion blur or fine detail. If you’d prefer to add slow-mo in post from regular speed footage, it is perhaps best to choose the 200Mbit/s codec and 1080/60p though.

Definition Magazine
NAB editions in digital format.
AJA say that their new CION camera is the culmination of years of development. But they must have been inspired by what Blackmagic Design has done in the last couple of years.

A great production house camera: A professional promotional film shot in Jordan with the Digital Bolex D16 | Kurt Lancaster
Some have claimed that Digital Bolex’s 16mm 2K cinema camera, the D16, is simply a “niche” camera.
A cell phone is a niche camera if you’re using it for serious production. The D16 is a Cinema Camera and I would place it side by side with a RED camera and not be ashamed. I have shot two short documentaries with this camera

Looking to edit 4K footage? Needing a bigger and better machine to handle all that data? Determining the best computer system to edit 4K footage is a bit more complicated than just looking at the system requirements of the editing software you want to use.

Iconic Olympic Ski Jumper Commercial-BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera + RAW | Planet 5D
The client had a friend who said to shoot HD, then suggestedto shoot Ultra HD – I shot that down quickly (no delivery method, longer workflow, and no reason to archive the commercial- it wasn’t going to play again in 10 years, etc.)Lastly, the client’s friend recommended shooting RAW video. I liked the concept, but wasn’t sure. Our workflow would increase and what camera would we use? On the other hand, this might really help us.

Setting the stage for “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” | ProVideoCoalition
Rather than filling the screens in post production and using archived news reports, the team produced nearly all original content and fed it to the screens in real time. News reports were shot and composited together with stock footage using an Adobe Creative Cloud video workflow and plugins from FxFactory, which offers a broad range of VFX tools for editors and compositors.

Every TV shooter I know has a rack full of Pelican cases. Instantly recognisable, they are well known for their rugged construction and I use them to protect all my gear when I travel by air. They are however not exactly stylish – this is something Pelican are trying to change. Their soon to be launched new range looks much more like high end consumer luggage and is also incredibly lightweight. 

Announcing New Product: MotionPulse | VideoCopilot
Interesting sound effects library:
This is not generic sound FX collection, like footsteps and bad guys screaming, this collection was generated specifically for motion designers that need to add hard-hitting sound FX to things that do not exist. Bring your motion graphics to life with MotionPulse!

Back when I was into film photography, I dreamed of getting a medium-format camera.
Pentax 645Z officially announced: Sony sensor wipes out the MF sensor competition! | SonyAlphaRumors
First, Sony is literally conquering the full medium format digital camera market in one single strike! Hasselblad, Phase One and now Pentax use the newly developed and first ever CMOS sensor with 50Mp. Sony just had to make one sensor to wipe out the sensor competition from that market!
Medium format, thy name is Ricoh; Pentax 645Z has no competition (Update: Now with full tech info) | Imaging Resource
This is another huge change for the Pentax 645Z: It is, to the best of our knowledge, the first medium-format camera ever to allow Full HD movie capture. (That is to say, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.) No crop is applied; instead, video is recorded across the whole sensor, providing the same depth-of-field effects and medium-format look of still imaging.

Cooke Anamorphic "Seeing" 1080p version
Shot in 3K on the Arri Alex XT 4:3 sensor camera - in 4:3 mode. Everything was 800 ISO. We shot 444 ProRes except for the slo motion shots, which we shot using Arri XT Codex Cards. Redlab onlined our edit for us in 2K. Cooke Optics has the 2K P3 projection file available for download to those who want it as well as a ProRes HQ 1920x1080 Quicktime.

AMIRA show reel:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interesting Things

Production Update: April 2014 | Digital Bolex
Two weeks ago we sent out an email to our customers letting everyone know that our production line had been delayed due to third party interference. Today we have good news! Shipping and production on the D16 has resumed, and we are shipping cameras again.

Here is the long awaited Video Review of the Panasonic AJ-PX270 | HD Warrior
The Panasonic AJ-PX270 is a joy to film with and having 10bit 422 really makes the pictures stand out. Watching the review which is a massive 19mins long you will learn the camcorders most inner secret which I will talk about later on this week but till then watch the review and be amazed.

Interesting demo on attaching the Sony Action Cam to a helmet using the Sony Skeleton Frame and a GoPro mount!
Moto-Vlogging with the Sony Action Camera | TechMoan
Judging from some comments under my Sony AS100 action camera, a few people still believe it's not possible to access the microphone socket on the camera when it's mounted to something. This was an issue that Sony resolved last year with the introduction of their Skeleton Case...but it seems like it must be time for a demonstration. 

There's wisdom in the old adage "never bite off more than you can chew." It's good advice because too much of a good thing can cause one to choke. The same rings true with video editing. Technology continues to grow and push the boundaries of what's possible in the world of video editing.

James Cameron AMA Highlights: Avatar 2, Battle Angel, True Lies 2, Aliens, Prometheus, Terminator | SlashFilm
48 fps to me is not a format, it’s a tool, like music it’s good to use sparingly and in the right spot. I believe all movies should be made in 3D, forever, but the projection needs to be better, and brighter. I want people to see in the movie theaters what I am seeing in my perfectly calibrated screening room, and people aren’t seeing that. 

The Blackmagic URSA is really representing 3+ cameras, so some might call it cheating, but we'll just say that it's huge when it comes to determining what movies are made with.

Dolby Has A Vision For The Future | Larry Jordan
This morning, I was invited to a technology briefing at Dolby Labs looking at their latest technology for improving image quality: Dolby Vision.In a nutshell, what this does is expand the dynamic range of an image. The benefit to this is that, based on the demo I saw today, highlights just explode off the screen.


APRIL 24th BOSCPUG: Director Graham Elliott and Screening of “New York in Motion” | Boston
We are pleased to feature a special conversation with director Graham Elliott as he screens “New York in Motion,” his celebrated 60 minute documentary and dazzling portrait of the motion graphics industry in New York and breathtaking visual journey behind the scenes and screens of the industry that shapes how we see the world today.

Oscar winner Skip Lievsay on Gravity April 19 | New York
On Saturday, April 19th, come join us at the Media Center to watch the Academy Award winning film GRAVITY with master sound designer, Skip Lievsay.  We'll have lunch together and Skip will walk you through his experience working on GRAVITY.  Skip Lievsay has an outstanding history of collaborating with major American filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, the Coen Brothers, and John Sayles. 


Post Production Panel

Chris Fenwick on Editing for interviews

Shot on Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera RAW April 2014at very cloudy but hot weather (30 °C / 86°F) There was bad visibility because of haze. I shot with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens wide open.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The News

There is some good news. The high ISO is stunning on this camera. 40,000 ISO (forty thousand!!!) looks great and even 409,600 (yep, that many zeros) looks somewhat useable (at least through the 4K HDMI output before compression). The body is small with a good EVF and solid controls. It even has a clever way to attach XLR inputs. The only flaw I could find with this “video optimized” camera was discovered by chance...when I accidentally kicked the tripod.
Andrew Reid offers his thoughts:
Sony A7S rolling shutter test | EOSHD
Even in 1080p XAVC-S mode on the A7S the sensor is still scanning every line and every pixel so the rolling shutter is likely to be the same in that mode. It will be interesting to see if it improves between 24p and 60p modes though, but I was hoping that 4K 24p would not suffer from quite some much wobble.

Netflix begins 4K streams | CNET
Netflix's 4K streams are only viewable on 2014 4K TVs that include a built-in H.265/HEVC decoder. That includes most of the major-brand 4K sets announced at CES, the earliest of which are starting to ship now.

G-Men Media, video collaboration,redefined and real time [PDF] | Adobe
G-Men Media first tested Adobe Anywhere on shorter productions, and then used it to edit a featurefilm. The studio is able to integrate with its existing technology infrastructure to enable an entirely new,more productive workflow. Overhead is also lower using Adobe Anywhere because the studio spendsless money on travel and overnight shipping services for sharing files.

Samyang 12mm f/2.0 SAMPLE PHOTOS from Sony NEX5N | Dark Shape
I was lucky enough to test the brand new Samyang 12mm f/2.0 wide angle lens for Sony NEX. This lens is so compact!
The lens is for APS-C sensor cameras, and is available for pre-order under the Rokinon badge at B & H in a number of mounts including Sony E-mount, Micro Four Thirds and Canon EF-M for $399

News Shooter did a great job of covering news at NAB, and you should really check out their coverage, but here are some high-lights:
Defy have been making a big name for themselves since first showing a prototype handheld brushless gimbal at NAB last year. One of the first companies into that market they have brought three models out that vary in price and payload capacity. We talk to Drew Janes about their range and the latest innovations they are bringing to their products.

Can a 4K or HD image be too sharp and unflattering to your subject? Carey Duffy from Tiffen filters thinks so and he has the evidence to back it up. The filter company have been working on a video so show the effects of various diffusion filters on the image.

Our Newsshooter reporter Chuck Fadely managed to spot something at the Sony booth under glass that many Alpha series video shooters will surely be looking for – a smaller version of Sony’s existing XLR-K1M audio jackpack that mounts directly on top of the camera, instead of on a separate hotshot on a cord.

According to Tokina’s reps at NAB their new rain dispersion filters are almost ready to go on sale. We first reported on them back at IBC in Amsterdam last year and since then the company have made a screw-in version of the filter which they were showing. It looked like a finished product and should come in a range of sizes.

Sunset shoot with Freefly Cinema MoVi M5 and SmallHD Monitor, Canon 5D Mark II. No post stabilization was done... all shots done handheld with MoVi M5.

Healbe Hustle: The full story of how a failed Russian cake shop owner humiliated Indiegogo and took “the crowd” for over $1m | Pando Daily
For the past three weeks, I’ve been reporting on a company called Healbe and their Indiegogo campaign for a seemingly-miraculous calorie counting wristband, the GoBe. I’ve shared with Pando readers each new scientific red flag, each new comical statement from the company’s CEO, each new piece of bluster from their PR flacks, and each inexplicable head-in-the-sand response by Indiegogo.