Saturday, May 29, 2010

B&H Event Space Events

If you're in New York, B&H has some interesting events coming up at their Event Space next month.

D.I.Y. Distribution for Filmmakers
Thursday June 3, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Speaker: Andrew Byrd
Join Andrew for his step-by-step presentation that will provide useful information and advice for aspiring and experienced filmmakers whose goal is to get their movies seen and distributed.

Next there will be a round table discussion on packaging materials for film markets such as Cannes and AFM. This will include showing examples of budgets, schedules, posters, and treatments, as well as what a filmmaker needs for perspective investors in order to secure financing. Also discussed will be how to work film festivals if you’re an Official Selection. This will include helpful tips on how to get your film the most favorable treatment within the festival and most importantly its organizers.

EditFest Short Cuts - The Producer/Editor Experience
Monday, June 7, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Speaker: Allan Title, Josh Apter
In this in-depth discussion, seasoned reality TV producer and editor Allan Title will screen clips from his work on hit shows like, Dog the Bounty Hunter, and give an insider’s view of what it’s really like in the world of "Reality TV". You’ll see how a character is shaped, how a story is massaged and how far people go in the name of non-fiction.

The Making of a Film Scene Using a Canon 5D Mark II
Wednesday, June 9, 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Speaker: The Lombard Twins
The B&H Event Space is pleased to present a special film screening of the dance scene “Sublevados,” shot entirely on a Canon 5D Mark II. Created by twin brothers Martin and Facundo Lombard, this creative duo will talk about their experience using the 5D Mark II without a crew or production budget. This lecture is targeted towards independent filmmakers or anyone that dreams of making their very own film. Martin and Facundo will share their philosophy in art that will help you express yourself freely while developing ideas that and engaging in the creative process.

Webinar: The Art & Business of HD DSLR Filmmaking

It seems that DSLR workshops on the web are becoming the next BIG thing. Now The DV Show is offering:

The Art and Business of HD DSLR Filmmaking
This 2 hour event will occur over two Sundays, and will be hosted by Ron Dawson, a screenwriter, director, award-winning video producer, speaker and author of the book Refocus: Cutting-Edge Strategies to Evolve Your Video Business.

The program will be recorded live on Sunday June 6, 2010 from 8 - 9 p.m. EST and Sunday June 13, 2010 from 8-9 p.m. EST with live interactive chat to follow.

Live presentations are free for everyone to view. Recordings are then made available in the Premium area after the course has been presented.

The DV Show: The Art and Business of HD DSLR Filmmaking

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 - part 3

Part 3 of The Great Camera Shootout is up at Zacuto's website, and like the other episode's it's well worth your time (it's 34 minutes long). Clearly a tremendous amount of work went into it; just check the credits list!

For me, the interesting things were (in order of appearance):
  1. While talking about the resolution test comparing enlargements of the HDSLR output and film scanned at 2K and 4K, the participants said a couple of times that on the web we wouldn't be able to see the differences, but at least on my MacBook I could see a very noticeable difference. This web video isn't so sucky!

  2. 4K was clearly better than 2K, and 2K was clearly better than digital. That said, no one seemed overly concerned

  3. The Color tests were interesting - and positive - though the comments from the colorists who worked on the tests suggested that the film was easier to work with, and there was more you could do with the film than you could with the digital

  4. Similarly, the Green Screen test went pretty well for the video cameras, though the Nikon D3s did the worst (and that might be because it is only a 720P camera)

  5. In the middle there was a bit of a tirade about how important it was not to work in H.264, and that you must transcode to another codec (like ProRes or Cineform) because of the limitations of the H.264 8-bit RGB colorspace. Unfortunately, they didn't show the footage itself that sparked this. Also, does this hold true for Premiere CS5, which makes a big deal of being able to use native content without transcoding?  Clearly it's not a concern to Philip Bloom, who was there, and is planning to edit in RAW with Premiere

  6. The T2i performed well. Unfortunately, this was not news; when they first mentioned that they were going to include the T2i in some tests back in Episode 1, that was exciting news because so little was known about the camera. But a couple of months later there's been lots of tests and reviews (one today even!) and we pretty much know that it's very close to the 7D. Just goes to show how quickly things change, even in this rapidly changing field!

  7. They did a "Pseudo RAW" comparison with the 5D as a suggestion of what might happen if these cameras output in RAW. But they don't explain what they were doing (comparing a RAW still to a JPEG still at full res?) or what they are ultimately hoping for (RAW at HD or RAW at sensor resolution?) RAW output sounds appealing, and is clearly what the film makers would like (at full sensor res. too please!) but a camera that can do that is going to be much more expensive. Never mind how you're going to capture/deal with all the data

  8. The episode also features a music video shot in stop-motion on the Canon 7D by Carlos Lascano. It's definitely worth watching. You can read about the making of it here

  9. Finally, they once more explain why they didn't include a RED or EX3 - or some regular video camera - in the test, saying that there'd be too many cameras, but I found the answer a little disingenuous for two reasons; Firstly, HDSLRs are replacing video cameras as much - if not more than - film cameras (just ask Philip Bloom, who recently sold his EX1) and secondly, they threw in the T2i (making four Canon HDSLR's in the test), but they couldn't put in a regular video camera?

Despite my griping, The Great Camera Shootout is a great piece of work, and well worth watching. Congratulations to Zacuto for putting this together. Now we know how good HDSLRs can be, and can show this to some of the naysayers. I'm sure people will soon be using these cameras for serious production work, maybe even for network television episodes....oh wait, damn! see how quickly things are changing?!

Zacuto: The Great Camera Shootout 2010 reviews Canon T2i and take a look at the Canon T2i video performance, and find it to be pretty darn good - for an HDSLR - though maybe not quite as good as the Canon 7D [What a relief for those of us that spent almost twice the price for the 7D!]

Scores were close (higher is better), with the two returning similar numbers for Color Performance, Motion Performance, Low Light Noise and Sharpness (where the T2i was actually slightly better than the 7D.) But in Low light Sensitivity, the 7D performed quite a bit better, as well as in Low Light Performance and Video Noise. Of course, I'm basing this on the difference between the reported numbers; the numbers themselves mean little to me!

7D T2i % diff
Video Color Performance 8.31 7.45 10
Video Noise 12.65 10.68 15
Motion Performance 10.05 9.5 5
Sharpness 9.98 10.19 2
Low Light Sensitivty 8.38 6.3 25
Low Light Performance 10.27 8.41 18
Low Light Noise 11.63 10.76 7.5

Camcorderinfo.comCanon T2i Video Summary
DigitalCameraInfo.comCanon T2i Video comparison details
DigitalCameraInfo.comCanon 7D Video comparison details

B & H: Canon 7D ($1,599 with $100 rebate valid through 6/5/10)
B & H: Canon T2i w EF-S/18-55 IS ($849.99 with $50 rebate valid through 6/5/10)

[Right now it seems to be difficult to find the body-only T2i in stock at any retailer.]

Next Apple TV to be AppleTViPhone?

Engadget reports that Apple is working on a replacement for the Apple TV that will be based on the iPhone OS, store files on the cloud, support 1080p and cost about $99.

I'll believe it when I see it. Yet it's not exactly surprising. Moving the AppleTV to the iPhone OS would almost seem to be a no-brainer, though I'm not too sure just how effective the iPhone OS is with a remote control as your input device.

They don't seem to think it will be announced at the World Developer Conference on June 7th, so there's really nothing to see here...yet.

Engadget: The next Apple TV revealed: cloud storage and iPhone OS on tap... and a $99 price tag

Great Camera Shootout 2010: Part 3 - it's close

If the Zacuto main page is to be believed, Part 3 of the Zacuto Great Camera Shootout 2010 is just 23 hours away...

If the Shootout page is to be believed, it's just 8 hours away...

If past experience is any indication, it will be up sometime this weekend...

Keep An Eye Out: The Great Camera Shootout 2010

[UPDATE] The power of Twitter: the countdown timer is gone from the main page, so it must be 8 hours...

Magic Bullet Grinder

Grinder is a batch processor for footage from Canon DSLRs. It can convert to ProRes, add timecode, and create low-res with window burn proxies for offline editing. You can also use it to conform (not convert, i.e. no frame blending or motion interpolation) clips to one frame rate, so your 30p and 60p shots can become slow-mo clips at 23.976fps. It's $49.

The Scott Simmons at the EditBlog has a blow-by-blow article, and explains why you'd want to spend $49 on this tool: Magic Bullet Grinder grinds your DSLR footage into a more editable format

Sony HXR-NX5U Ver. 2.0 Firmware Update

User Firmware Update Ver. 2.0 is now available on the NXCAM micro-site. This user installable software updates the HXR-NX5U firmware version from 1.0 to 2.0. It is available here: Sony | Micro Site - NXCAM

A minor software issue has been discovered affecting the HXR-NX5U when used in conjunction with the optional HXR-FMU128. A "Buffer Overflow" message will be displayed in the viewfinder and the unit will fail to record content as required. Although this issue has been identified in only a very small number of units, Sony takes all technical issues seriously and, as a precaution, is offering a software update for all existing camcorders within a specific serial number range. Units with serial numbers higher than 111585 are not affected.

Note: this "Buffer Overflow" message may also occur when defective or incorrect type SD or Memory Stick cards are used. This software update will not address the use of defective or incorrect type SD or Memory Stick cards.

Applicable North American serial number range: 110001 - 111585

It is strongly recommended that units within this range be updated from Version 1.0 firmware to Version 2.0 firmware.

Sony has prepared a user-installable software update to Version 2.0 firmware:

  • PC is required with a USB connection (no need to open camera body)
  • Installation time is approximately two minutes

Note: This firmware update will reset the camera software to factory default with the exception of Clip Names. Users should note the current saved settings prior to installing the update so that Clock, Menu and Picture Profile settings can be reset to the previously saved configuration.

Users requiring technical assistance with this update should contact the Sony Product Operational Support Center (POSC) at 800-833-6817 (M-F, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm ET, excluding Holidays).

Users wishing to have the Version 2.0 firmware update performed by Sony should contact their regional Sony Professional Service facility for more information.

Pimp my Camera

Zacuto has a new cage called the Z-Cage, and they pimped it out in the extreme to show the flexibility:

The Z-Cage pimped out with the Canon 5D MKII, a Z-finder, iPhone Cradle, iKan Monitor, 3 wireless plates with 2 wireless receivers, Switronix LED light, Zoom H4N, Z-focus, Double Mount, Red Plate, Battery Plate, Switronix Battery.

Check the video DSLR Z-Cage

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Adobe Events and Training Videos

Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium Roadshow
June 3: Vancouver, B.C.
June 8: San Francisco, CA
June 10: Los Angeles, CA
Register here:

Adobe Night at Editor's Lounge
June 25, 2010
Los Angeles, CA
Learn how Adobe Creative Suite 5 Production Premium extends the Final Cut Pro editing workflow with native 64-bit processing, the lightning-fast Mercury playback engine, and seamless integration between applications.
Learn more @

Can't make it to any of those events? Adobe has thoughtfully put together some training videos that you can watch Adobe TV:

Post-Production on Avatar with Adobe Video Tools
This is sort of interesting, but it's very general about techniques and tools, and much more about what was done, rather than how. 3:28min

Learn Premiere Pro CS5
18 movies of between 2 and 8 minutes long. Notable movies include:
  • Optimize a Computer for Mercury Playback Engine
  • Using Final Cut Pro with Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Creating a Green Screen Key using Ultra Key

Learn After Effects CS5
17 movies, including:
  • Adding Elements to the Timeline
  • Animating with Animation Presets
  • Animating with Keyframes
  • Making a Quick Matte with Roto Brush
  • Refining a Matte Created with Roto Brush

The Learn Soundbooth CS5 features only two movies, one on getting started and the other on exporting with Adobe Media Encoder, and Learn Encore CS5 has the same two movies and adds "Streamlining Your Workflow With Dynamic Link"

Autodesk Smoke demos in Boston, June 3

HB Communications is hosting a series of demos on Autodesk Smoke for Mac OS X on June 3 in Boston.

Autodesk Smoke software is a creative editorial finishing application for high-quality commercial and broadcast projects. With an intuitive, timeline-based workflow, Smoke offers an all-in-one editorial finishing toolset for standard and stereoscopic 3D work. Smoke is available as a software-only application for the Apple Mac OS X operating system or as Autodesk Smoke Advanced, a turnkey solution on the Linux operating system.

Location: 225 Franklin Street, 33rd Floor, Boston, MA 02110
Times: 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, and 5 PM

You must register by sending an email to

AutoDesk: Smoke
HB Communications: Autodesk demo in Boston

Philip Bloom's 10 millionth visitor competition

Philip Bloom is having a competition - with prizes - to celebrate the 10 millionth visitor to his site. Prizes include:
  • Kessler Crane Cineslider
  • Zacuto Target Shooter
  • GoPro Camera
  • Letus Direct DSLR view finder
  • Letus Direct DSLR Cage
  • Red Giant Software's Magic Bullet Looks
BUT, you have to answer 19 questions (taken from his blog) correctly to be in the drawing! Happy reading! 10 million visitors big prizes competition!

Movie Reviews and ratings

The Boston Globe's movie critic, Ty Burr, has written an interesting column about that necessary evil of the movie reviewer; the star rating system.

It's an interesting perspective on the limitations and miss-uses of the system. He also mentions a movie review site that's takes a different tack; Movie Review Intelligence attempts to break down reviews from different people:
The brainchild of media researcher David Gross, the site collects all the major reviews and ratings for a movie and slices them into infinite pieces of pie. MRI’s page for “Robin Hood,’’ for instance, assigns an aggregate rating (55.1 percent out of 100 possible points overall), then breaks that number down among Broad National Press (56.2 percent), Local Newspapers (60.7 percent), Alternative/Indie (63.9 percent), Highbrow Press (35.0 percent), Movie Industry (43.5 percent), and major, semi-major, and mini-major urban markets.
Even that method of rating doesn't fully meet Burr's requirements, and he makes a compelling - if rather futile - case for doing away with ratings altogether.

The Boston Globe: Star wars

Studio Lighting with Zack Arias

CreativeLive has been doing a series of interesting webinars on different subjects; three weeks ago they hosted a three-day event with Vincent Laforet. Interestingly, you can watch these live for free; but they sell a download of the edited program if you want to be able to watch it again; or at a later date.

Now they are planning a three-day Studio Lighting event with Zack Arias on June 11-13. If you can't watch it on the weekend, it's $79 to pre-order the download, or $99 afterward. While this is probably oriented towards photography, much of the information will translate to video.
If all the worlds a stage - I want better lighting
BE THERE FOR FREE: they are also having a competition to find six people to attend for free (no word on whether you have to cover your own expenses to get there, but I'm guessing you do so you should probably live near Seattle...)
"I’m going to be teaching a studio lighting class. White seamless and beyond. Models, bands, etc. In order to maximize this for as many people as possible to see it live and for free I will be teaching the class over a weekend. Probably about six hours of live training with live Q&A and critique."
creativeLIVE: Studio Photography with Zack Arias

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sony HXR-NX5U - Firmware update coming - here?

Marshall Levy at posts an update on the firmware to fix the buffer problems with this camera. He says it should be available officially in 7-10 days. The firmware evidently fixes a problem in the camera - not the FMU - and takes about 3 minutes to install. NX5U Firmware Update Particulars & Process

[UPDATE 5/27 7:15AM] Philip Johnston at HD Warrior says it's available now and provides a link to the Sony Europe support site BUT you need to register to access it, and you need a PC to carry out the Firmware update.
HD Warrior: Buffer Overflow problem in Sony NX5 Solved… Firmware V 2.00

Apple vs. Microsoft

@ 2:15PM EST AAPL $227.10 billion, MSFT $226.72 billion

via: 16x9cinema@twitter

Interesting - doesn't help me decide if I should switch from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere though...

New Final Cut plug-ins

There's a couple of new filters out for Final Cut Pro/Express (and in Freebie Pack 1's case, After Effects)

Freebie Pack1
Five FxPlug filter/generators for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion and After Effects.

- World: A sun lit Earth generator in 3D space with clouds and city lights.
- MultiSpace: Puts two inputs into 3d space with global & independent XYZ & rotation. Planes can intersect too. The only way to animate two images or movies to move together in 3D space in FCP/FCE.
- iSight Live! 
Get a live input on your timeline in FCP/FCE/Motion/AE. Very handy for picking a colour off a client’s brochure.
- Rack Focus: Racks the blur from one input to the other with one parameter. Both blur values for each input can be independently set. Great for highlighting text over a picture.
- Opposites: Two input basic parameter linking - move one left, the other goes right. Rotate one clockwise, the other one goes anticlockwise. You can assign a behavior such as random to both elements. Great for getting funky text moves. Customisable font selection, colour & drop shadow parameters.

New in this Version:
- World plugin that creates a revolving Earth in 3D space. Toggle clouds and city lights on/off.
- Rounded rectangle controls on MultiSpace and Opposites Soft edge controls for MultiSpace and Opposites
- Anti-Aliasing added to MutliSpace for smoother edges when rendering.

Noise Industries FxFactory 2.1.5 or later must be installed (free download/install)

DE:Noise handles spurious frame-to-frame defects ranging from fine digital/electronic noise to blotchy spots (e.g. dirt on the film). DE:Noise combines motion estimation techniques with feature-sensitive, edge-preserving spatial filtering methods to reduce the visual impact of various problems such as: noisy video (that can happen with low-light capture), excessive film grain, CG renders affected by ray-tracing sampling artifacts, fingerprints and dust captured during film scan/transfer and printing, snow, drop-outs and many other defects.

What’s New in this Version:
- Much faster than version 1.

Works with: Final Cut ProFinal Cut Express, and Motion

[UPDATE 5/28] Added link to YouTube movie of Freebie Pack

News from Here & There

Boris FX Introduces Final Effects Complete 6 AE
Boris FX has announced Final Effects Complete 6 AE (FEC 6 AE). FEC 6 AE brings 120 designer effects and transitions to Macintosh and Windows versions of Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro CS5, CS4, and CS3. The new release features 12 new filters and transitions, faster rendering, audio-driven keyframe generation, customizable animated presets, and a new Compare Mode feature that enables users to compare the filtered result with the unfiltered source via either a side-by-side view or a live split-screen view. Each Final Effects Complete filter has been re-engineered for 64-bit operating systems.
Boris FX: Press release

Kessler Crane Motorized timelapse
Philip Bloom has been playing with Kessler Crane's Motorized dolly to take timelapses, and has put up a new example:
Philip Bloom: Kessler Crane’s Motorized dolly and tripod systems now shipping!

Zacuto Z-Finder Jr. First Impressions
Ross Chapman needed a viewfinder fast, so be got one of the first Z-Finder Jr's. He's written up his thoughts: Zacuto Z-Finder Jr. First Impressions

More Zacuto news, the Z-Cage
Clint Milby at HDSLR Shooter has a photograph and short piece on the new Zacuto Z-Cage, which looks like a nice piece of gear to put your SLR in; it'll cost $827. They are taking orders now, with delivery in a couple of weeks.

And speaking of Zacuto, any minute now they should put up their final part of the Great Camera Shootout 2010. If you haven't checked this out, they took several DSLRs and compared them to film cameras to see how they performed...they are saying the last day of May now...
Zacuto: The Great Camera Shootout 2010

1st Video iPhone Video Editing App

The new iPhone should be announced in a couple of weeks - wow! - and everyone seems to be wondering if it really will have a forward facing camera so you can video-chat with your dog [Video Phones!  Wow! Welcome to "2001"- Ed] Me, I want to know what the resolution of the camera is; I'd really like to have a 5 Megapixel camera in the iPhone....and if it would capture 720p video, that would be very nice, Mr Steve Jobs, Sir!

And if it would capture 720p video, then Vericorder has the app for you! They were showing their iPhone editing app at NAB, and now it's on the iTunes App store in a "Network" and "Consumer" version. Just to be clear, the "Network" version is free, but is for large media organizations (who pay a subscription) only. You'll probably want the Consumer version, which is $9.99.

I've seen a demo of it, and it looks pretty amazing, and if someone had offered this to me 20 years ago for $10 I would have jumped at it. So why do I sit here going....hmmm....640 x 480?...

I am very tempted to get it - and I probably should - though it does make me wonder what it would be like editing video on an iPad though.

Philip Johnston at HD Warrior has a bit of a review: 1st VIDEO an edit suite for your iPod Touch/iPhone
Vericorder: 1st Video

[UPDATE:] from reviews on the iTunes store, it appears that the app requires some hardware that's only present on the iPhone 3GS. It won't run on the iPad,  and may not run on the iPhone 3G

Apple iTunes

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sony Hanycam is 25 years old

It's the 25th Anniversary of the Sony Handycam, and Sony has a webpage up to celebrate. But you have to jump around to see things, so the Sony Insider webpage has a single page with most of the information which is much easier to digest.

Interestingly, I've owned at least three of the camcorders they highlight - yeah, I'm a Sony fanboy.

Sony Insider: Sony’s Handycam Camcorder Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Lightworks Open Source Beta Program

As previously reported, EditShare is planning to take the next release of the Lightworks editing environment Open Source. This new release of Lightworks will also include features such as: project sharing, advanced 3D stereoscopic editing, Universal Media File support, native RED support, native 2K support, and integration with Avid and FCP

They have just announced that they are accepting applicants to the beta program, which will be limited to 80 participants. Qualified editors can apply to participate in the beta program before June 21, 2010 by visiting:

Lightworks video editor

I hate my Blu-ray player

There are technologies that arrive and turn things on their head, quickly becoming dominant. In that category I'd put VHS, CDs, and even DV video. And then there’s the also-rans, the things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but were never quite as popular as you thought they would be; things like Hi8, mini-discs, Eight-Track, and now, Blu-ray.

I bought a Sony BDP-S560 Blu-ray player several months ago, and though I tried to like it, I find that I remain unimpressed. And it's not just because on my relatively small, 36-inch TV, the resolution difference isn't really noticeable; there are things that I simply despise about the thing:

Load times
My DVD player works like an appliance; the Blu-ray player works like a computer. Turn the DVD player on and hit Eject, and it immediately slides out the disc tray. Do the same thing with the Blu-ray player and it sits there flashing “Wait” at you for about fifteen seconds. Do you know how annoying it is to sit there waiting to stick the disc into the thing? It’s not helped by the fact that there's no eject button on the Blu-ray remote. Not that I thought that was a problem when I got it, but now I wish I could use the remote to tell it to open and then sit on the couch and wait until the thing is finally ready.

Key Pro greenscreen/bluscreen keyer for Final Cut Pro, Express and Motion

The Key Pro plug-in package is a new color keyer for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express and Motion that is based on a new 3D color space technology designed to create the most precise results. The Key Pro package includes 5 plugins:
  • Key
    Key is able to key all sorts of green and blue screens, as well as other colored screens and includes a sophisticated spill processor to make it possible to key and despill in just one step and can also produce black and white alpha masks.

  • Shadow Key
    Shadow Key can create a perfect key by leaving the shadow of the actors intact. This enables you to key the foreground without losing the shadow. The shadow will appear superimposed on the new background.

  • Spill Suppressor
    Effectively removes all unwanted light spill from the keyed object without creating colored fringes on the edges.

  • Clean Plate
    Correct green/blue screen problems and create a perfect flat background. All shadows and imperfections of the screen will be removed

  • Ambient Spill
    Ambient Spill spills light from the background on top of the keyed object. This step connects the keyed foreground to the background, creating realistic results.
Key Pro includes color channel correction and noise reduction, and a Color Offset function that enables the user to compensate for any color channel offset created by various video compression formats. The keyer is also able to shrink and sharpen the border of the keyed mask if the green/blue screen was setup incorrectly or the footage is of poor quality.

Key Pro is an Add-On plugin package for CHV QC Integration FX a plugin platform created with Apple's Quartz Composer technology. While you need QC Integration FX to run Key Pro, it is sufficient to have the demo version of QC Integration FX installed. Key Pro can be purchased individually and runs fully functional without a watermark on the demo version of QC Integration FX.

Key Pro is $95, and runs on all PowerPC and Intel Mac computers on OSX 10.4 (Tiger), OSX 10.5 (Leopard) and OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) that are qualified to run Final Cut Pro 5, 6 and 7, Final Cut Express 4 or Motion.

A fully functional watermarked demo version is available for download on their website in the Download section.
CHV-Electronics: Key Pro Product Page

Google vs Viacom

Viacom is suing YouTube/Google for "encouraging users to upload copyrighted material." It might seem a somewhat trivial and uninteresting case, except that the numbers aren't; Viacom evidently wanted $700 million to give GooTube the right to host the content. According to depositions, GooTube offered somewhere in the neighborhood of $592 million. Seems like they were close...

CNET has a wrap-up of the trial so far, and notes that in his deposition, Google co-founder Larry Page says he can't recall if he ever discussed YouTube's potential copyright problems prior to the acquisition. Google's spokesman claimed that the lawyers were unfairly asking Page about operational matters he wasn't involved with; yet he's supposedly one of the top three at Google, who was about to spend $1.65 billion on YouTube, and he was never involved in any discussion about copyright issues? He's on the Board of Directors of Google! Was the Board never briefed on the purchase?!

CNET: Google offered Viacom $592 million for content

Firmware 2.0.7 released for 5D Mark II

The 5D Mark II Team reports that there's a new firmware release for the Canon 5D Mark II which fixes the  "iris jitter" effect:
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the aperture exhibits abnormal movement when shooting movies in manual exposure mode and Aperture Priority AE (Av mode) using some Canon lenses (such as macro lenses). (*)
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the exposure level shown in the LCD panel differs from what is shown in the viewfinder when shooting still images in manual exposure mode.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the Wireless File Transmitter (WFT-E4 or WFT-E4 II) may not automatically power off when used for FTP transfers.
Canon's website: EOS 5D Mark II Firmware Update Version 2.0.7
via 5DMark2 Team: Firmware 2.0.7 Released

Monday, May 24, 2010

Perfecting your Footage using Final Cut Pro and Sapphire - A free Webinar

This Friday, Michaelle Stikich, a professional editor and Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro, walks through how she used the effects library Sapphire and Final Cut Pro on various music videos, films, and documentaries in a free webinar. She'll be demonstrating color correction, glows, transitions, and other effects. You can view her most recent work here -

Friday, May 28
1:00pm EST
1 hour

The event is hosted by Genarts, the developer of Sapphire. GenArts/ Register here.

HXR-NX5U firmware patch

A reader has passed along a link to a file from Sony that contains the firmware patch for the HXR-NX5U. Unfortunately, it's on YouSendit, so there's no detail on parentage (i.e. is it the official/final release, an interim one, etc?)
You might want to wait until it's more formally available on Sony's site.


Nuendo 5 announced; World Tour

I'll admit I'm not a sound guy - the closest I get to being a sound guy is claiming that I've heard of Pro Tools - but even so I was more than a little surprised when I came across the announcement of Nuendo 5 from Steinberg - a German software company I have heard of.  The name Nuendo doesn't ring any bells, and this is the fifth release! [and with a name like Nuendo you'd think it would - Ed]

Perhaps it's the $1,800 price...

Still, Nuendo... I'm assuming that in German Nuendo doesn't sound quite as wrong as it does in English.

But I digress. Nuendo 5 offers a number of new features, and the write-up says it has "a wealth of features made for film and TV editors, mixers and video game sound designers," and includes:
  • Spot and organize
    Nuendo 5 allows the engineer to comprehensively spot and organize recording takes, such as for multiple roles by using a flexible marker track system. All marker tracks can be sorted and filtered in the marker window, which helps the user to keep the overview on the project. Nuendo 5 also reads CMX 3600 EDL lists provided by the video editor as well as exported and imported CSV formatted spotting and ADR lists.

  • New video engine
    The new native video engine of Nuendo 5 is based on QuickTime. Not only does it provide better performance but also the ability to play out videos in real time via FireWire, now also on Windows. The new video settings panel complements this top feature.
Nuendo 5 runs on Mac OS X 105 and 10.6, Windows 7, Vista and XP, and will be available in June. There's an ongoing World Tour, though the only event in the US is in LA this Thursday:

May 27, 2010
7–9 p.m.
Todd-AO Hollywood
900 Seward Street
Hollywood CA, 90038

Check the Nuendo 5 World Tour page to see if your country is included.

Canon XF300/XF305 Instruction Manual

The XF300 / XF305 Instruction Manual is available in PDF format on Canon's site. There's also a Technical Information About the XF305/XF300 document, which lists computer requirements, and compatibility with Apple Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer.

Canon: XF300 Drivers & Downloads

Dynamic Perception Timelapse Dolly

I was really taken by the Dynamic Perception Timelapse Dolly used by Sean Stiegemeier to shoot that volcano in Iceland nobody can pronounce the name of. See: Timelapse Dolly

There's not a whole lot of information on Dynamic Perception's website yet, but the More Information link worked[!] and they sent me the following details:

  • Their first product, the Timelapse Dolly Stage Zero, will be priced in the $800 range with accurate speed adjustment (top speed around 25 minutes per 5 feet) and direction motor controller. This dolly will be 6’ ready to run, support cameras between 5 and 25 pounds, and have everything you need to start making time-lapse dolly moves.

  • The controller that comes with the dolly kit will have the ability to connect to the upcoming open source OpenMoco-based Engine [Open-Source Photographic Motion-Control]. This engine will support up to four axes of integral control, allowing mixing of DC motors, Steppers, and Servos. Once integrated with the Engine, you'll get full camera-sync capability, shoot-move-shoot, stop-motion, and long-term time-lapse capabilities.

  • They hope to start shipping the Dolly Stage Zero in July. They expect to have delivery timelines nailed down within three weeks, and then they will open the pre-order page.

  • After the Dolly Stage One, they plan other products, with an ultimate goal of producing a three axis kit (Dolly, Pan, Tilt) that's easy to assemble and transport and hits the sub-$2500 mark for a 15-20 pound payload.

News from Here & There

5D Mark II firmware coming says that a firmware upgrade to fix the "iris jitter: problem, [I'm assuming they mean this problem] is coming, but don't expect any other functionality.

HDSLR footage in Post
Roman France has posted a blog entry documenting the workflow for working with footage from HDSLRs: Dealing with that DSLR in POST! It primarily focuses on Final Cut Pro.

The Boston Globe wins awards for their videos!
The Boston Globe and took two regional Emmys for "The Survivor," a feature on a World War II veteran who recites the names of fallen comrades on each anniversary of a tragic attack, and for "Ted Kennedy," an hour-long documentary on the late Massachusetts senator that took nearly a year to research and complete.
The Boston Globe: Two Globe videos win Emmys

RED Epic News
If you're following RED's upcoming Epic, then you will want to check the update on the stages of development and eligibility for different "stages." While cameras bought prior to May 22nd could be traded in towards an Epic, any camera bought after May 22nd cannot be traded in.. EPIC STAGE Clarification and update

Hollywood considers pushing movies to living rooms soon after release

The Wall Street Journal reports that major Hollywood studios are talking to Time Warner Cable about proposals for sending movies out to home viewers within weeks of release:
...the main one, which has received early support from some studio executives, would allow consumers to watch a movie at home just 30 days after its theatrical release—far earlier than the usual four months—for roughly $20 to $30 a pop.
The big concern is what this will do to theater owners.

The Wall Street Journal: Hollywood Eyes Shortcut to TV

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Letus New Products

Letus is well known for the Letus Extreme; a lens adapter that lets you attach a 35mm lens to "traditional" video cameras like the Sony EX1 and produce much shallower Depth of Field. Now they are coming out with products for DSLR users, including a viewfinder and rod supports, and they now have a specific website for their DSLR products:

Letus Hawk DSLR Viewfinder
Constructed of carbon fibre with a 2.75x view factor and +1.5 to -2.5 Adjustable Lens. The viewfinder has 3 lenses in 2 groups, a removable eye cup and a camera plate for mounting.
It's $385 @ Amazon though it's not expected to ship until early June.
LetusDirect: Letus Hawk DSLR Viewfinder product page

Letus Talon K1
A quick release baseplate, stainless steel L-bracket, and 90mm stainless steel rod extensions which are female threaded on each end. Intended for use with a viewfinder, it can also be purchased with the viewfinder as the Letus Talon K2.