Friday, May 09, 2014

Quick Links

Creating Moonshine Kingdom: An Interview with Milton Horowitz and Ryan Forte | Filmmaker Magazine
Mooshine Kingdom director Milton Horowitz says that, like a lot of Americans, he grew up watching too much television. This eventually led to film school at Cleveland State University, where he met cinematographer Ryan Forte. “Ryan’s younger than me,” says Horowitz. “He’s 21, I’m 32, and even though we’re 11 years apart we still love the same types of films and the same movie techniques.”

4 years of film school in 12 hours: Vincent Laforet's Directing Motion Tour (and a chance to win a free ticket). | Story & Heart Blog
Throughout the workshop, Vincent stresses the importance of communication. It’s a benefit to both the people in your crew as well as to the talent and those who support the shoot from a distance—via budget, schedule, post-production, etc.—that a director or filmmaker’s vision is precise and accessible.

The Quiet Season – A First Timer’s Filmmaking Experience with Magic Lantern RAW | Planet5D
I’ll start out by saying my experience using Magic Lantern on the Canon 5D Mark II was fast, moderately simple (with a complex workflow), and delivered more for my budget than anything else in existence right now. You can read about my workflow near the end of the article.

Stanley Kubrick’s VFX Master Would Like to Introduce You to the Technology that Will Revolutionize Cinema | IndieWire
"UFOTOG" a 10-minute short, might be described as state-of-the-art-to-be: Shot in 3D, at 4K, and at 120 frames per second – or about five times the frame rate of the conventional 35mm motion picture – it also portends a revolution in the economics of filmmaking: Trumbull's process involves a skeleton crew, green screen, a "zero-G" camera crane that move with the touch of a finger and virtual backgrounds that are imposed in real time.

Upcoming Events

May 13 | New Orleans | DCS Event: Sony 4K End-to-End Demo in New Orleans May 13th | Digital Cinema Society
The Digital Cinema Society comes to New Orleans for our first ever area event on May 13th to Shoot, Color Correct and Project Sony 4K at VER Digital Cinema

May 22 | Boston | Adobe Video Pro Apps Post NAB with Dave Helmly, Kanen Flowers | BOSCPUG
DAVE HELMLY of Adobe“Revealing the Next Wave of Innovation in Video Pro Apps”KANEN FLOWERS of“From Script to Screen on 18:20 and HERO PUNK”


29 Miles: GH4 4K 25p in car test shots from Philip Bloom Reviews & Tutorials on Vimeo.
A few test shots of my just received GH4 in 4K 25p in Cinelike D with sharpness at -5 and contrast at -5 with soft contrast in additional settings. Recorded internally.

BMPCC Heli test from David Aldrich on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The News

Do you think you can cut GH4 footage with other cameras like the Canon C300/C100?I think they will cut together just fine. I don’t think it will be a problem because it has such a flat setting. People think you can’t match stuff in post, but even the 5D with it’s vastly different look can be matched pretty close.

GH4 audio menu is getting better, but lacks the options of a broadcast camera. For example to split Ch1 to top mic and Ch2 to external. I remember a disaster with my 5D mkII when the cable was ripped from the camera in a scrum. The jack was left in the socket and no sound was recorded at all! Thankfully the GH4 has a headphone socket for audio monitoring so this shouldn’t happen now.

Product Review: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera | PDN
But there are a lot of trade-offs to this remarkable little camera, including a few operational quirks that make it harder to use than you’d expect. There’s also a steep learning curve for the DaVinci Resolve software, which you’ll need to process and color grade your RAW video footage to get it up to snuff.

This is cool, though I'm surprised Andrew at EOSHD would make a fuss about someone using a T2i - after all, he's pretty much been saying that Canon hasn't really improved the video performance of their DSLRs since then!
Kendy Ty and the T2i – one guy doing amazing things with a 5 year old DSLR | EOSHD
Kendy Ty shoots with a Canon 550D / T2i and Sigma 30mm F1.4 (old version). The results are staggering considering the ‘low-fi’ performance of the gear. If ever there was a spur to get out and shoot something, this is it…

With Transcendence, Jess Hall, BSC, envisions a contemporary sci-fi tale for first-time director Wally Pfister, ASC. | TheASC
From the beginning, Pfister intended to shoot 35mm anamorphic and finish with photochemical color timing. “As we’ve become more reliant on technology, I think we’ve lost sight of the fact that some technology can overcomplicate things and can cost a lot more, and that’s my analogy with digital vs. film,” says Pfister.

So You Want to Get Into the Film Industry? Great Ways to Get Started | Huffington Post
When push comes to shove, though, it's not easy to gain access to experiences that realistically help young people know what the film and television world is all about, let alone gain requisite skills. And in order to get accepted into one of the undergraduate cinematic arts programs, you need to have God-given talent and some (if not a lot) of experience.

Digital SLR Video Tip: Shooting in Log | Adorama
AdoramaTV presents DSLR Video Skills with Rich Harrington. In this episode, Rich shows you how to capture log footage using the new Blackmagic Design Production 4K Camera.

Shooting with an Anamorphic Lens on an Ordinary DSLR | PetaPixel
All I’m doing is mounting a 1.9X squeeze anamorphic lens in front of my normal camera lens to create the beautifully wide and shallow image. You can find anamorphic lenses that don’t have that much of a squeeze. The range varies a lot and here you can find a 1.3X or 1.5X, but I prefer the 1.9X squeeze because it creates a more cinematic and narrow aspect ratio.

Whether it's the HERO3+ Black Edition and it's 4K video capabilities, or the earliest GoPro models that have humble beginnings and shot on 35mm film, from the moment this miniature camera manufacturer came on the scene in 2004, the way life has been captured will never be the same.

Love 'em or hate 'em, the popularity of social issue films is showing no signs of slowing down. Personally, I’m not a huge of fan of the genre itself. Don’t get me wrong, I care about making the world better. I started a film company with the vision to “agitate the sleep of mankind” after all, but story will always be king, and no one gets a free pass when it comes to that. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Quick Links

The Video Journalist Blackmagic Camera Rig and Workflow Guide (Part One): Getting your Rig Together on a Tight Budget | wolf crow
But then the Blackmagic Cinema Camera appeared on the market, and I knew this could be the camera I was dreaming for a long time. The only problem was, it didn’t really fit into my way of shooting. I do mostly hand camera under a lot of time pressure. Things are always live and happening, no one waits for me. So I had to find a way to mobilize the BMCC and make it VJ-able for a small price.

Hands-on with Sony's 2014 4K televisions | C|Net
Compared against the Samsung HU9000 specifically, the X950B had better blacks and shadow detail, according to the demonstration. The X950B held up remarkably well against the ZT60 as it was able to get better white highlights than the now-discontinued plasma.

Andy from Shriro explains that the iON Air Pro differentiates itself by being designed to work in tough conditions without a housing. The camera can go to 30ft under water and has an IPX8 rating. The form factor is bullet-like and can be headword in an over-the-ear position. The camera is capable of 1080P HD at 30 fps, but sadly there is no 24 or 25P which may limit its appeal for some. There is an option for wi-fi control and preview on a smartphone or tablet.

Sony F3 Resurrected – LUTs | Hingsberg's cinema blog
There are many who feel that working with slog is no big deal and that only a slight adjustment curve is needed in post to bring things back to normal. This is partially true, and in fact the way I had been working with slog back when I owned the F3 grading using curves straight off a Premiere timeline. But for a long time many of us have been looking for a proper way of unraveling slog to remove any limitations in the grading process and to get the image to a more “better” starting point for grading not to mention getting rid of that “Sony look”.

LUMBERJACK SYSTEM – For Paperless On-Set Media Logging Now Available | PR Web
Lumberjack System is a low-cost muscular, real-time media logging and pre-edit tool for Final Cut Pro X that works from any web-enabled device including iPads and syncs in the Cloud for such productions as reality and documentary, sports, worship, education, medical, legal and conferences/events.
Lumberjack System is Live | Philip Hodgetts
In developing and using Lumberjack System, we realized that we could do even more than translate the information from the shoot directly to Keyword Ranges in Final Cut Pro X: we could create keyword-based string-outs of those keyword ranges (a.k.a. selects). Not having to start with an empty Timeline gets me to creativity so much faster.

Tips to Make Your Text Look GREAT! | Larry Jordan
It was from Matthew all those years ago that I developed my love of using the right font for the task, which has carried over into my video work. By the way, Norbert Florendo has a great definition of the difference between “font” and “typeface:” A “font is what you use, and typeface is what you see.”

Ti West On Why Piracy Hurts Indie Film (and It's Not All About The Money) | IndieWire
The independent film world is a fragile ecosystem. It allows for unique experiences and challenging stories to be told by bold filmmakers in adventurous and often unproven ways. Studio films do not take the same risks. But this adventurousness, this ability to surprise us, is why we love indie movies. By supporting this ecosystem, we are supporting the possibility of original, rewarding experiences that would otherwise go unnoticed. 

A great explanation of film terms for those new to the industry:
What does that term mean? | imgur
Collaboration = No pay
Assistant = No pay
Seeking Film Student = No pay

Stunning ‘Awakening’ 4K Time-Lapse Will Awaken Your Desire to Visit New Zealand | Peta Pixel
Shot over the course of 4 months in New Zealand, Awakening is only part one of four, and if the first part is any indication, then we’re in for some truly spectacular visuals.

The 10 Types of People Who Work On Films | RainDance
1)   Urban Bear GryllsThe techie with a North face jacket, head torch, harness with various carabiners and straps, cargo shorts, unkempt beard and scraggly hair. Can produce any tool from many hidden orifices, thinks in Volts and Amps and is faster moving vertically than he is horizontally. Looks like he sleeps in the field behind the studio.

An Evening with the Arri AMIRA – New York | Abel Cine
At this event, AbelCine and Arri experts will be on hand to present both the technical aspects and the design philosophy that went into creating the AMIRA. Real-world usage will be discussed and footage will be screened. Additionally, attendees will get ample time to ask questions and go hands-on with the camera.
And if you're in Boston today, Rule Boston Camera has an AMIRA event today from 10am to noon.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Quick Links

Vincent Laforet on Directing, Cinematography and Knowing Your Craft | Filmmaker Magazine
Laforet is currently undertaking a US workshop tour with the Directing Motion workshop, which will visit 32 cities over the next ten weeks. “I knew that there was a hunger for learning about the craft of filmmaking, and I thought this would be the natural next step,” says Laforet. “It’s a look back at everything that I’ve learned and applied, from both my work and working with other directors and cinematographers, and trying to condense that into how it relates to moving the camera and what’s in front of it.”

Red Wants to Make the Dragon a Live 4K Studio Camera | Studio Daily
Red is working to get as many Dragon cameras and sensors out the door as possible, but it did have some new tricks up its sleeve this year, including the Red 4K Broadcast Module ($6950), which adds an uncompressed YCbCr 4:2:2 video feed to the Red Dragon.

5D Mark III raw versus Panasonic GH4 | EOSHD
The GH4 is much closer than I thought it would be to the 5D Mark III in terms of colour, considering the compressed 8bit codec vs mighty 14bit raw. Dynamic range appears to be about the same too from my real-world tests, though these were not scientific.

Over the past five years I have seen my freelance photography work transition slowly into a specialism in multimedia – predominantly photography plus video. For many editorial publications, offering video as well as pictures is an attractive proposition and can stretch a single day assignment into two or three. Yes it is true it is not possible to shoot stills and video at the same time and get great results, but for feature stories, particularly those that involve a lot of travel, spending extra time to produce a video for online often makes sense for both me and the publication.

Enter Dave Aldrich at D|Focus Systems. From his California machine shop he has created a great little filter thread adapter that simply slides onto the front of the lens and allows you to mount 77m filters. It is constructed of delrin and is secured to the lens using a push-on fit. This means you can mount fixed or variable ND filters quickly and easily.

Random GH4 4K Footage ISO 1600 – ISO 3200 Monterey Bay Aquarium | CheesyCam
My first time taking the GH4 out for a 4K test drive. I decided to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium again, and shoot everything under low lighting conditions. The thick glass made it hard to focus and images are not at it’s sharpest. Don’t take this as a good example of GH4 4K video samples. Now I know what not to do, I think i’ll get better footage the next time out.

The 12 principles of animation | Kottke
During the 1930s, animators at Walk Disney Studios developed a list of 12 basic principles of animation through which to achieve character and personality through movement. These principles were laid out in The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. #6 is "slow-out and slow-in"

Hot Docs: Advice from the Masters on Finding Your Documentary Voice | IndieWire
"I do films because it's love and I believe in people so much. Sometimes people are stereotyped or put into certain boxes and for me, when I see somebody stand up - whether it's in Eastern Kentucky or anywhere - and take charge of their lives, I feel so happy. I like to do films that allow the characters to bloom and to go places they've never gone. I feel so privileged to go with them," said Kopple

Big League Cine Summit
This free online workshop runs today and tomorrow.
Never worry about disappointing footage again. Because we’ve gathered 9 Top Cinematographers and Film Makers for an online cinematography summit called Big League CineSummit – on May 6th & 7th. And you can register today, for FREE.

Movi M5 Review for Weddings from IQvideography on Vimeo.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Quick Links, Drone News and Panasonic GH4 News

IFFBoston: How Do You Interview Subjects? | Filmmaker Magazine
At this year’s Independent Film Festival Boston, the panel “The Art of Documentary Film Editing: Case Studies” featured moderator Jim Hession, editor of Rich Hill, Lucia Small, director and editor of One Cut, One Life and Bryan Storkel, editor of Fight Church.
An audience member asked the panel how they interviewed people and whether they prepped them beforehand, adding “Whenever I interview people, they’re always really bad talking to the camera.”

Ask the Screenplay Doctor: How to Pitch a TV Series | New England Film
One of my partners and I have begun creating a pitch for a new television show. We've great faith in the idea, but I've never pitched for TV before. Is there a different approach to presenting our ideas when it is time? Besides a treatment, should we have a "pilot episode" teleplay at the ready? Should we also have a synopsis of several episodes? What do you recommend?

8 Things I Learned From My (Failed) Kickstarter Campaign | IndieWire
Mark Tapio Kines was the first person to employ online crowdfunding to finance a film; in 1998, he raised $150,000 in finishing funds for his debut feature "Foreign Correspondents." More than 15 years later, he ran a Kickstarter campaign for his third feature "Dial 9 to Get Out," but failed to reach his $120,000 goal. Below he details what he learned through his failed campaign:

Hot Docs: 9 Tips On How To Make Your First Documentary | IndieWire
You've got a great story idea for a documentary, but aren't sure how to pursue it. Today at Hot Docs in Toronto, Academy-Award nominated documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry, who is at Hot Docs with his latest project "Point and Shoot," moderated a panel discussion featuring first-time filmmakers with films screening at Hot Docs: Amar Wala ("The Secret Trial 5,") William Westaway ("Writer With No Hands") and Clare Young ("From the Bottom of the Lake").

Tech Notes on Final Cut Pro X | Larry Jordan
I get lots of questions every day about Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. Most I can answer using articles I’ve already written or just my knowledge of the program. A few, though, require some research. Last week, I headed over to Apple’s website to see what I could learn. Here are the results, written in Question/Answer format.

Top Ten Screenplay Essentials | The Script Lab
2. Outline Before WritingKnow at least how the story ends, begins, as well as the screenplay’s five major plot points before writing the script.

Drone News

The last swing is coming from an unexpected participant – the US National Park Service (NPS). In a plainly titled notice – Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) Prohibited in Yosemite National Park the NPS issued a notification that use of drones is prohibited while visiting the park.
While also addressing the legalities (or lack there) of using drones within the park perimeter, the NPS is also concerned with the safety and enjoyment of both park visitors and the wildlife living in the park

DJI Phantom 2 Zenmuse H3-3D 3 Axis Gimbal: The Full Review from Anticipate Media on Vimeo.

This is a full review of the DJI H3-3D 3 axis gimbal for the Phantom 2 UAV quadcopter and GoPro Hero 3/3+ camera. It is a great gimbal, but requires some significant tweaking to remove the wavy "jello" effects.
My jello was minor most of the time. I have seen it in most videos posted of the H3-3D in action. You can't see it on a small screen but you can see it on a big screen and it hurts the shots. In this video, I show you the H2-2D vs the H3-3D and why the H3-3D is much smoother in general, what jello can look like, and how to correct it (and enhance your visuals) with an ND filter.
Highest recommendation - but caveat emptor - this gimbal needs an ND filter to get great broadcast-quality visuals consistently, and DJI does not recommend using one. Very odd state of affairs.

Panasonic GH4 News

Panasonic GH4 96fps Test. How Good Is It? | Erik Naso
I’m a little disappointed that the image is a little soft. Not a deal breaker, but also not that great. I didn’t do any post grading at all so what you see is what I shot. I think I can add a little sharpening to it and that might help. If I get some time I will do a grade and upload another version. I dont know what causes the softness and how the other frame rates look other than 96fps. Dialing it down a little might help. Lots of testing to do. On the GH3 60fps looked great! Hopefully we can get a little more than that on the GH4.

La Jolla in Motion- GH4 slow motion and 4K test