Saturday, May 17, 2014

4K through the Mac Pro HDMI port with 10.9.3

Paul Antico sent in this report on his experience with the 10.9.3 update:

I just downloaded 10.9.3 and tested it on my 8 core late 2013 "new" Mac Pro D700s and my 5" late 2013 15" Retina Macbook Pro.

I have a 40" Seiki 4K display hooked up to the Mac Pro HDMI port.

You can now do "retina" on the 4K panel (HIDPI scaling) and it works ok in most situations. This means photos/video/visual content etc. are shown at native 4K resolution on a big 4K monitor or HDMI 4K/UHD TV, but the screen elements and UI remain at a normal size - say what you see on an iMac at 2560x1440 - but much sharper.

It's quite nice, and how the Retina Macbook Pros work. It's not a straight 2x scaling (it actually scales to 5120x2880 and scales down to UHD resolution, but from a slight distance it looks as good as the Retina screen does on my Macbook Pro.)

FCPX on those mentioned computers supports broadcast monitoring (HD, and 4K) via HDMI right out of the computer - in "A/V Output" mode the HDMI panel will show up if turned on. It won't however work with Final Cut Pro X to monitor in 4K UNLESS you turn the HiDPI "retina" scaling off first. That's easy enough to do and is a quick click of a button in display preferences. In fact FCPX won't show any video out on the panel in A/V Output unless the monitor is shown at its native resolution.

This is a little annoying, but not a huge deal. (I mostly monitor 1080P, so I use an AJA T-Tap for that.) That way I keep the 4K set at scaled to "retina" for general computing and using FCPX monitor 1080 off the AJA box on a different HDMI input. That way I can have the best of both worlds... a retina computer screen for watching 4K videos, retina websites, etc, and monitoring in 1080 with FCPX. But if I want to monitor 4K while editing, I have to switch the panel back to native resolution... which looks great in FCPX but makes anything else look tiny. Same goes if I want to use A/V output with any resolution if I didn't have a T-Tap; the 4K panel must not be set to scaling in OSX.

I thought that might be useful info; especially for those who might not even realize they could playout at 4K 24/30 out of HDMI on a 3rd screen while editing in FCPX with two other screens on a late 2013 Mac Pro or 15" Retina Macbook Pro.

On Premiere Pro CC you need a 4K playout box for unadulterated broadcast monitoring, OR you can simply move your viewer window up there. It will play in 4K in either scaled or native panel resolution. But that will be your program window, not a separate broadcast style monitoring with no UI elements. You can still use 3 screens in "retina" mode by splitting up the windows between the three screen with the 4K panel being HIDPI/Retina.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Adobe Cloud is down for a day and Other News

First, the good news:

Creative Cloud login offline for almost 24 hours (and counting) | Digital Photography Review
A serious outage has taken login functionality offline for almost 24 hours, leaving subscribers to Adobe's Creative Cloud unable to access their accounts or do much of anything else - including downloading new apps. As yet, Adobe has been unable to offer any indication of how long the outage will last, but a message on the CC homepage states that the company has 'identified the cause [and is] working to restore the service as quickly as possible'.
Adobe did offer this stop-gap solution:
Creative Cloud Help / Creative Cloud Service Outage | Adobe

Other News

Stu Maschwitz decides to return his Panasonic GH4

Shane Hurlbut, ASC, on Why the Canon C500 Is His Go-to Camera | Studio Daily
Canon is trying to create one frame, 24 times. Everyone else is trying to create 24fps [footage]. It's a completely different methodology. I have gravitated toward the Canon platform more than any other camera system. It emulates film exactly how I know it and how it lives and breathes in my soul.

3 Composition Rules You Have Probably Never Heard of Before | Light Stalking
1. Rule of IsolationComposition has many objectives. One of its major objectives is to highlight a subject – to make your main element stand out. There are different ways to do this. One of the ways to emphasize a subject is by means of isolation. In psychology, isolation means having no contact with other people.

NAB 2014 – ON THE COUCH – ep 6 – Zacuto, Rodney Charters, ASC & Bruce Logan, ASC | Cinema5D
This is a very special (sixth) 50 minute episode of ON THE COUCH, in which we had the pleasure of hosting my friend Rodney Charters, ASC, best known for his work as director of photography on “24″, “Shameless” and now the new “Dallas”, Bruce Logan, ASC, best known for his work on the original TRON, the original Star Wars films and Batman Forever, as well as the owners of Zacuto, Steve Weiss and Jens Bogehegn – both of them shooters with decades-long experience in production themselves!

Logic Pro X 10.0.7: Release notes | Apple
Apple release an update to Logic Pro with a lot of new features - and a lot of bug fixes too!
Logic no longer sometimes quits unexpectedly when:
Using the Option key to toggle all the disclosure triangles in the Project Audio window.
Dragging audio from the Project Audio window to the Tracks area.
Defining custom bank messages for a Multi Instrument in the Environment.
You insert a blank recordable DVD while Logic is running.

Viggo Mortensen Throws Shade On Peter Jackson; Says ‘Lord Of The Rings’ & ‘Hobbit’ Films Sacrificed Subtlety To CGI | IndieWire
Turns out Mortensen likes “The Fellowship of the Ring” largely because it was shot in one go. “It was very confusing, we were going at such a pace, and they had so many units shooting, it was really insane. But it’s true that the first script was better organized,” he said. “Also, Peter was always a geek in terms of technology but, once he had the means to do it, and the evolution of the technology really took off, he never looked back.”

Thursday, May 15, 2014

More on lenses

In response to yesterday's comments about the new Canon 16-35mm f/4 lens, reader Paul Antico writes:

I read your lens article. I have like 8 or 9 lenses ranging from cheap (but excellent) rokinons to the canon f2.8 70-200 is II which cost like $2400.

What lens do I use for video most constantly on my video cameras? The 24-105 f4L IS.  For video usually f4 or F 5.6 is where I want to be for most shots anyway to ease focus and allow a bit of depth. The lens looks nice, is relatively rugged, and has decent IS. It's a great all around stills lens too. And the c300/100 and my 5D3 have more than enough low light ability to compensate for the stop difference over 2.8.

Only on set up shots or interviews do I really use anything else actually. For quick setups and being mobile or running around, it wins every single time for quality and a great selection of useful focal lengths. (I use the 17-55 IS on the c100 too but it's a horrible lens body with nice glass inside).

Paul also passed along this notice from Canon, adding that's he's never seen his camera display the wrong f/stop.

Canon Firmware Update - Cinema EOS C300/C300PL

This service notification e-mail contains important information about your Cinema EOS C300/C300 PL camera. Please note that product service announcement e-mails contain advisory or informational content that may be critical to the proper operation of your product, including safety, update, and instructional messages. Please carefully review the information in this e-mail as it relates to your Canon product.

Thank you for using Canon products.

Firmware Version incorporates the following improvements and fixes.

For EOS C300
  1. Compatibility with the Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller (expected to be available in June 2014) has been added.
  2. Peripheral illumination correction data has been added for the [CN-E35mm T1.5 L F] EF Cinema lens and the [EF-S55-250mm f4-5.6 IS STM] EF lens.
  3. Fixes a phenomenon in which the EF Cinema lens F number was incorrectly displayed with Firmware Version 
For EOS C300 PL
  1. Compatibility with the Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller (expected to be available in June 2014) has been added.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I love my lens, and that lens sucks...

Canon today announced a couple of lenses; an EF 16-35mm f4 IS lens ($1,199), and an EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 ($299). Interestingly, the announcement of the 16-35mm f4 lens seemed to have prompted a rather ho-hum reaction; some saying they'd stick with the EF 16-35mm f2.8, while others suggesting that the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 is a better deal.

As someone who likes wide-angle lenses, owns the EF 16-35mm f/2.8, and has used the Sigma 18-35, I thought I'd weigh in on this new lens too!

Firstly, like Stu Maschwitz, I think I'm going to stick with my f2.8. lens. It's a nice solid lens. The Sigma lens is nice too, but it's not quite as wide, it doesn't work on full frame cameras, and I didn't find that extra 1 1/3 stops a must-have feature when I was using it.

The new Canon f/4 16-35mm lens includes IS, which is useful if you're moving the camera around, but other than that, this lens doesn't really stand out when compared to the other two.

What it comes down to is that, even though these three lenses seem very similar, they are three very different lenses that just crowd into a space and make the buying decision more complicated!

  • The Canon f/4 ($1,199) has IS. According to the specs, it's only marginally lighter in weight than the f/2.8 lens, but it does have a 77mm filter thread, while the f/2.8 is a staggering 82mm. If you're shooting mobile, this is probably the lens to get of the three, though the EF 24-105mm f/4 might actually be more useful.
  • The Canon f/2.8 ($1,699, there's currently a $200 rebate available) is faster that the f/4, but there's on IS. Do you want f/2.8, or do you want IS? That's really the question.
  • The Sigma ($899) is faster, but there's no IS, it doesn't support full-frame cameras, and it's not as wide. It's at least $300 cheaper than the other two, which might be enough for many to make a decision. It's also received a lot of rave reviews; and it has a 72mm filter thread. Interestingly, according to the specs, it's quite a bit heavier than the Canons, though I didn't really notice that when I had it. I would have guessed it was about the same as the Canon f/2.8, but I was only going by feel and the Canon is just a bigger 'feeling' lens due to it's diameter.

To be honest, I don't know which lens I'd buy if I didn't already have the f/2.8 lens. Each lens has it's own strengths and weaknesses. I guess I'm happy with the f/2.8, and the other two don't attract me enough to switch (and I can't justify having two of these.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Quick Links

Jay Leno was the commencement speaker at Emerson College this year, and he offered some surprisingly good tips for those interested in going into show business. It starts at 9:25
Comedy lights up 134th Commencement | Emerson College
The Andover, Massachusetts, native then gave graduates his “20 rules of show business in no particular order.” Those rules included: Never go on stage mad because “anger robs creativity”; when you get too comfortable, move on, saying, “you should always try to find the toughest audience”; and to not have a relationship with a partner who “doesn’t get it,” saying, “you need a soulmate, not a cellmate.”

Product Review: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera | Photo District News
In my testing, I found the ProRes movie files to be almost on par with the RAW footage I shot, but they took less work in DaVinci Resolve. Let’s face it though: If you buy this camera, you’ll probably want to shoot the 12-bit RAW video and while it takes some time to process these huge files to get the right color, it’s worth it.

Memories from the making of the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey
"Why are we paying this guy so much money?" Ivor Powell shares his memories of '2001' and beyond | 2001Italia
I can confirm that the story is true: I worked on 2001 for nearly three years and although uncredited, apart from Ray Lovejoy (deceased Editor of the movie) I was one of the longest crew employees on the movie. I started off working as a publicity assistant, assigned to working within the Art Department - helping obtain tie-ins with all kinds of companies and then ended up working directly for SK as a kind of junior special effects production co-ordinator.

10 Tips and Tricks on Directing Motion from Pulitzer-Prize Winning Photographer and Director Vincent Laforet | IndieWire
4. Pay particular attention to the action in front of your camera and how you block your actors and if you have them, your extras.  If not, use your crew (if they are into it) to wipe the frame and create background action; it renders a much richer frame.

10 tips for editing video | TED Blog
The TED Talk editing toolkit is small when compared to ones used to cut a narrative feature or documentary. And that’s why it’s a good place to start as an introduction to the art of editing. We use continuity editing to maintain a consistent feeling of space and time over the duration of the talk. But overall, we strive to keep our edits invisible.

Clips on using Final Cut Pro X. Perhaps the most interesting is the one on DaVinci Resolve Round tripping 4K footage:
Understanding How FCPX Works – Workflow Round Up | Jonny Elwyn
When it comes to FCPX, seemingly more than anyone else on the internet, Sam Mestman is the most passionate advocate for professional creative workflows involving the power of FCPX at their core. He’s written about why he’s starting his new company FCPXWORKS over on

You can watch the 10 tips for on-set safety for free:
Ten tips for set safety |
Host Anthony Q. Artis covers shooting techniques for particular video challenges like portraits, tools to help you control light and judge exposure, and advice for the traveling videographer, such as putting together a great lens kit or packing a truck.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Quick Links

Check out the First Indie Short Film Shot on the 4K Panasonic GH4 | No Film School
Aside from being truly funny, the film does a great job of giving an entertaining overview of Panasonic’s new camera. Really, Le Cas GH4 is one part indie short, one part GH4 camera test, and one part pseudo GH4/5D Mark III shootout.

Editing Interview Footage – Tips and Techniques | Learning DSLR
I got to watch Chris Fenwick who has been an editor for many years to cut one of my videos while we were at NAB2014. Warning this is a long video, but I think you will learn a lot like I did.

Starting from Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., we see the production unfold through the lens of the Adobe Premiere editing software interface, revealing a constant state of video flux until dress rehearsal, airtime, and the export of the post-production version. Apparently, sometimes the process is daunting enough that it requires extra work in between the latter two.

The IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 was originally announced at the end of 2013, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in the flesh. This super fast lens is designed for compact system cameras, such as the Sony NEX, Panasonic GH and Fujifilm X ranges, and comes in most corresponding lens mounts (Micro FourThirds, Fujifilm X and Sony E-mount). It is not full frame, so will not cover the larger sensor of the Sony a7 however (you can of course switch to crop mode).

Shooting Abroad: Confessions from a Monolingual Filmmaker | Preston Kanak | Philip Bloom
Going into the project, I didn’t completely understand the role of a fixer but still coordinated to have one with us on the shoot as I knew there would be valuable to have one, especially with us not speaking Spanish. I have’t had the opportunity to travel much outside of North America so haven’t been on a project that I thought I needed one for. However, after this project, I will rarely travel without one.

Tutorial Shows You How to Convert Manual Still Lenses Into Cine Glass | PetaPixel
As shown in the video above, Pike takes three manual Olympus OM lenses — a 35–70mm f/4, a 75–150mm f/4 and a 50mm f/1.8 — and shares five steps that functionally change all of the lenses so that they’re as close to cine glass as you’re going to get at the price.

Oh gosh! Hasselblad in trouble? | SonyAlphaRumors
I really don’t know if the rumors are true but Photorumors claims to have “heard” that “Ventizz will pull the plug on Hasselblad very soon“. Ventizz Capital owns Hasselblad since 2011. A couple of months ago I reported that Hasselblad CEO Dr. Larry Hansen had been removed (article here). So probably something strange is going on…

Distributing the Cause of Dam Removal: Patagonia’s Push for DamNation | Filmmaker Magazine
Newman is the film’s marketing and distribution consultant, and along with the company and other partners he’s implementing an innovative campaign employing Patagonia’s customer base, collapsed release windows, partnerships with affinity groups and the old-fashioned hustling of DVDs.

GH4 lomo anamorphic 4K from Ryan Glover on Vimeo.