Saturday, November 27, 2010

News from Here & There

Sony PMX-F3 compared to Panasonic AG-AF100
Dylan Reeve at gives his opinion on the Sony F3 vs the Panasonic AF100.
Both cameras a quite different. While there is a significant commonality in their markets it’s clear that Sony is aiming for slightly higher-end buyers than Panasonic and will get them in with features like Dual-Link SDI and S-Log colour. Out of the box both cameras are going to be pretty similar, the differences really come in how far you can take them – the Sony PMW-F3 can be extended to deliver much higher quality video signals, than Panasonic, but that flexability comes at a premium price. Sony F3 vs Panasonic AF100

All The Reasons To Get A Panasonic AG-AF100
Over at dvxuser, Barry Green lists all the things the AF100 does that a Canon DSLR doesn't, including:
  • Clean monitoring at full 1920x1080 resolution, suitable for recording to an external recorder
  • Clean HDMI output at full resolution even during recording, suitable for recording
  • Professional HD-SDI output
  • 1080/24pSf output
  • A composite video output jack
But does it give you change from $4,750?!
dvxuser: AF-100 Another DSLR $9,000 4:2:0 is a solution?

YouTube vs Vimeo
Vincent Rozenberg compares YouTube and Vimeo, and decides he likes YouTube for a number of reasons, including:
If you open the downloaded video’s (720p version) in QuickTime you find out that YouTube uses a bit rate of 2.783,02 kbit/s and Vimeo 2.158,00 kbit/s.
vincentrozenberg: 5 reasons why Youtube is better than Vimeo

Switching to Premiere Pro Episode 02 - Keyboard Shortcuts
Editor Kevin Monahan and Karl Soule from Adobe discuss using keyboard shortcuts for faster editing, and the best way of merging the shortcuts you know and love in FCP into a Premiere Pro workflow.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Canon T2i/550D and EOS 7D Firmware updates

Rebel T2i/550D Firmware 1.0.9
Firmware version 1.0.9 incorporates the following fixes.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which tone jumps become noticeable in some images, depending on the shooting scene, when shooting with the Auto Lighting Optimizer settings (Low / Standard / Strong).
T2i Firmware

EOS 7D Firmware 1.2.3
Firmware version 1.2.3 incorporates the following fixes.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the settings of the Speedlite Transmitter ST-E2 revert to the default settings when both the camera and the ST-E2 are set to auto power off.
  • Fixes a phenomenon in which the Macro Ring Lite (MR-14EX, MT24-EX) and slave flashes do not sync while shooting wirelessly.
7D Firmware

Sony PMW-F3 - almost affordable

How did that happen? B & H has a page up for the Sony PMW-F3, and they are listing a price of $13,300. That's still a lot more than the Panasonic AG-AF100, but less than the $16,000 (list?) figure originally quoted.

B & H: Sony PMW-F3L Super 35mm Full-HD Compact Camcorder [$13,300.00]
B & H: AG-AF100 Micro Four Thirds Professional HD Camcorder [$4,795.00]

News from Here & There

Sony PMW-F3 Impressions
Alister Campbell at XDCAM-User got to play with the Sony PMW-F3, and though he says it wasn't really long enough to review, it was long enough for him to decide to place an order!
The PMW-F3 will give you around 11 stops of latitude with the built in EX style cinegammas and Sony claim in excess of 12 stops will be available when the 4:4:4 option, which includes S-Log and Hypergamma curves is introduced in April 2011. Remember that 1 stop is either double or half, so an extra stop is double the dynamic range. We really are into film performance territory here.

[...] Look at the most successful movie of the year, Avatar. All the live action (well all the real camera work) was shot using Sony HDC1500 and F900 cameras at 1920×1080. I didn’t hear anyone complaining about soft pictures or poor image quality, so you have to ask whether you really need all the extra complexity, data storage and monitoring headaches that 4k would bring. For me the F3 is a winner.
XDCAM-User: PMW-F3 35mm Camcorder Initial Review

GoPro Contest
GoPro has been running a contest to win everything they make. It's unclear how much longer it runs; today might be the last chance to win!
GoPro Contest

The Color Correction Handbook
This book on color correction techniques and software by Alexis Van Hurkman has just become available at Amazon. Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema [$37.79]
I’ve written my book to be applicable to as many applications as possible, with screenshots and information about Assimilate Scratch, FilmLight Baselight, Quantel Pablo, Iridas SpeedGrade, and Apple Color, this is also the first book to show techniques as they apply within the new version of DaVinci Resolve that’s available for Mac OS X and Linux. If you’re one of the many who are stepping up to using DaVinci Resolve for your color grading, this book is an absolute must have.
You can find a PDF table of contents at his web page:

RED Stuff
FreshDV has a 35-minute interview with Stephen Hens, Creative Director of Santa Monica-based Chophouse Edit, about their RED workflow in Final Cut Studio on a PSA project with actor Pierce Brosnan.

Meanwhile it appears that Scarlett is being renamed EPIC Light. The features are also changing, as has the price. According to a post on the Reducer forum, there will be more details in a couple of weeks...
FreshDV: Interview with Stephen Hens on RED Production Workflow
Reduser Forum: Scarlet S35 is now...

Sony Vegas
This video, posted by Sony, demonstrates the enhancements to the multi-cam functionality in Vegas Pro 10.

A Milestone
I just noticed that this is the 1,111th post of the year! Wow! I didn't think I'd been that busy!

Amazon Black Friday

It's Black Friday, and I'm doing my best to avoid the shops and lines, and spending money on things I don't really need...BUT if you're a Mac user and don't have the latest version of Mac Office, you might like to check out today's deal on Microsoft Office Home & Student. It's $40 off the Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011 - Single License for $79 (regularly $119 ERP) and Office Mac Home and Student 2011 - Family Pack (3 Licenses) for $109 (regularly $149 ERP). Note: if you want to install it on multiple computers you need the 3 license version as the installation is locked to the computer.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

B & H Holiday Sales

ContourHD 1080p Full HD Helmet Camera
A full 1920 x 1080p camcorder for recording all your adventures on land, in the air, on the side of a mountain.... pretty much wherever you feel the need to explore.
Price: $279.99 Instant Savings 20.00% Offer ends 11/29/2010 You Pay: $223.99

Sony's HDR-CX110 Handycam Camcorder is an entry level high definition camera that captures 1920 x 1080 video and 3MP digital stills to flash memory.
Our Price: $448.00 Instant Savings - $50.00 Offer ends 11/28/2010 You Pay: $398.00

Sony's HDR-CX150 16GB Handycam Camcorder is a mid-range high def camcorder that provides numerous features and functions.
Our Price: $498.00 Instant Savings - $50.00 Offer ends 11/28/2010 You Pay: $448.00

If you're looking for an easy-to-use point and shoot camcorder that offers a few extras then the 2 hour, 8GB Flip Video UltraHD Video Camera is one to check out.
Includes Free: B&H Photo $20 Gift Card: $171.00

Steadicam Merlin Camera Stabilizing System
The Steadicam Merlin is a camcorder stabilizing system for small camcorders. This system utilizes a metal gimbal for smooth camera movement. Designed by Garrett Brown, this model outperforms its predecessor, the Steadicam Jr.
Price: $799.00 Instant Savings - $100.00 Offer ends 11/29/2010 You Pay: $699.00

Davis & Sanford Provista 7518 Tripod w/FM18 Head
Combined with the FM18 Fluid Video Head, the Davis & Sanford ProVista 7518 Tripod provides rigid support for those who need strength more than versatility in height options.
Price: $199.95 Instant Savings - $50.00 Offer ends 11/29/2010 You Pay: $149.95

Switronix Dimmable 5600K LED Light Fixture - 30 Watts
The Switronix TL-50 LED Fixture is a unique compact LED light fixture which includes an integrated battery pack to supply 2.5 hours of operating time.
Price: $244.95 Instant Savings - $25.00 Offer ends 12/31/2010 You Pay: $219.95

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today is the last day to save $100 on Canon 60D

The $100 discount Canon has been offering on the Canon 60D expires tonight!

B&H: Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera [$1,099 - $100 = $999]
Amazon: Canon EOS 60D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) [$999]

CineAlta Production User Group meeting December 7th in NYC

The next meeting for the Sony CineAlta Production User Group is on Tuesday, December 7th in NYC at 550 Madison Avenue in the Sony Wonder Technology Lab HD Theater, entrance on the ground floor in the Annex.

The meeting will take place from 7pm to 830pm


PMW-F3 Super 35mm camcorder
The features of the F3 will be explained and footage will be screened shot with the camera.

S-LOG Demystified
S-Log is a gamma function applied to Sony’s electronic cinematography cameras, in a manner that digitally originated images can be post-processed with similar techniques as those employed for film originated materials. Since S-Log can reproduce the entire tonal range captured by a CCD or CMOS imager, the S-Log image can be described as the “Digital Negative” of the image acquisition process. Shooting in S-Log will enable the cinematographer to decide the exposure value by using a light meter, and offer a smooth transition from film acquisition to digital acquisition. S-LOG is unique to Sony engineered acquisition technology and is broadly supported in the post production process.

This session will clearly explain S-LOG as it relates to the PMW-F3, HDCAM SR F35, F23 and SRW-9000PL.

S-LOG in Post Production: FilmLight’s TrueLight – S-LOG Color management
This session will focus on the S-LOG color management process using the TrueLight plug-ins.

Exploring XDCAM – The new XDCAM Browser and Direct to Edit workflows
This segment will focus on the DTE workflow, XDCAM Browser for XDCAM EX and XDCAM Professional Disc platforms.

Info and Registration

News From Here & There

Redrocks new Running Man Nano reviewed
Matthew Jonas at Small Town Photojournalism takes a look at this new light, low-cost rig from Redrock. Liking the quality, price and lightness of the rig, he thinks it's great for those that want something small and portable to stabilize their camera whether shooting video or stills:
It’s lightweight. When I am working I usually carry at least 2 camera bodies each with a lens and a waist pack with extra batteries, a strobe (or 2), memory cards and audio gathering equipment. The last thing I need is another heavy piece of equipment on my shoulder. The Running Man weighs basically the same as another short lens.
He has a bunch of close up pictures of the rig too. The Nano is just $439.95 at B & H.
Small Town Photojournalism: Redrock Micro: Running Man Nano DSLR Rig Review

Sony NXCAM 35mm and PMX-F3 pics
Jon Fauer at Film and Digital Times has put up several pictures of the new PMX-F3 and NXCAM 35mm prototypes taken at InterBEE.

How close will the final cameras match these prototypes? The PMW-F3 is probably pretty close given that it's supposed to ship in about three months, and they are already letting people shoot with it. The NXCAM 35mm on the other hand is six or more months away, so may differ significantly from the prototype. Several people have expressed reservations about the body shape being too square.
Film and Digital Time: Sony F3 and NXCAM 35 at InterBEE Japan

Panasonic GH2 delayed
Oh no! Seems that shipments of the Panasonic GH2 are being delayed.
43rumors: Panasonic GH2 US shipment by mid December only. Amazon deleting the black GH2 preoders?

3D Must Go On
Panasonic reports that the Oceanic Preservation Society has acquired two AG-3DA1 3D cameras to support production of its next feature documentary, The Singing Planet.
Videography: Oceanic Preservation Society's Team Buys Panasonic AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D Camcorders for Documentary Venture

Meanwhile, though it got hardly any press coverage, Sony did show a twin-lens 3D ENG camera at InterBee.
Cinescopophilia: Sony Twin Lens Shoulder Mount 3D ENG Camera

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Interview: Filmmaker Jared Flesher

Filmmaker Jared Flesher was in New Hampshire last weekend at the SNOB Film Festival with his first film: The Farmer and the Horse. Jared made the movie with a limited budget and a Canon Vixia camera.

The documentary follows three young farmers who are just starting out and want to use horses rather than tractors. There's a lot more to it than that, because starting out farming - whether with horses or tractors - is not a simple proposition. In the course of the movie, you learn their motivations and see the struggles these people go through during one season. The movie also covers the history of farms and farm mechanization, as well as the decline of small farms in New Jersey.

Jared Flesher

How did you come to make the film?
My background's not in film, it's in print journalism. I write for newspapers, magazines and websites. I was working up in Boston, I had an internship and I started writing stories about sustainable energy, renewable energy, and they were getting a lot of attention. When I came back to Jersey, I decided I wanted to keep going along that vein, but to do something a little lower tech. So I found this farm In New Jersey called Howell Living History Farm, and you can intern there for three months. I was going to go there and blog about it, and it's still up, it's called The idea was I was going to live on this old time farm for three months and then move on to the next thing.

But I started meeting these farmers that were coming through that weren't just going there for the novelty thing, but they really wanted to learn to farm with horses, and then go off and hopefully start their own farm, so that kind of seemed like the ultimate energy/food story to me.

[...] And if just one or two people see the film and rethink farming, or maybe think about farming who weren't going to do it before, then I would think it would be worthwhile.

Was this your first film?
This was my first film, though in college I did take a documentary/film making class for one year, and the best thing the professor every did was; he didn't spend a lot of time teaching, he just said 'here's the equipment, go out and do it." And I made all of my mistakes - well, I made some mistakes in this film too - but I was able to make most of my mistakes in that practice film.

What did you shoot it with?
I shot it with a camera called a Canon Vixia, it's a $1,000 camera. It's high definition but affordable, and it was a pretty low-budget project. But I was really pleased that I could make a pretty good looking film for much less money than you would have even a few years ago.

I actually down-graded everything to Standard Definition for the DVD because it was a little bit cheaper and I wasn't working with a lot of money and I knew how to make a DVD. I didn't know how to make a Blu-ray. I'd never down it and would have had to buy some extra equipment, so maybe for the next one. If I need to, I can go back and recut it in High Definition.

What was the budget?
My production budget was about $5,000. I've probably put another $1,000 into marketing, another $1,000 into DVDs and another $1,000 into driving around. The huge expense of making a film is time, and I think that's why filmmakers go for grants and ask for money; what they're really asking for is time.

What did you edit it with?
I used a PC and I used Sony Vegas.  It isn't one of the most popular programs but the format I shot it on with the camera uses AVCHD, and it was brand new when I started using it, and it turned out that Sony Vegas could handle it better than the big, more expensive editing programs, and I just liked it. You know, most people if they have a Mac they'll use Final Cut Pro, or if they have a PC they'll use Adobe Premiere or Avid, but I had pretty good luck with the Sony program.

Did you have any other equipment while shooting, or just the camera?
I ended up getting a microphone that cost about $500. The hardest part of a low-budget film to make it stand up to a higher budget film I think is sound. I definitely recommend getting a good shotgun microphone and I got a converter that lets you plug a professional microphone into a consumer camera, a Beachtek audio adapter. I shot the whole film with a wide-angle lens - a screw-on adapter - because it made it seem a little more filmlike and a little less home-video like.

And it was just you?
It was just me. I didn't have the money to pay anybody.

How did you find the people in the film?
I had gotten to know my characters - or some of them - because I had spent three months at Howell Farm, one of the main locations. Tom, who was up in North Jersey when I started filming, he had come through Howell Farm, I met him there. Matt, who's one of the main characters came through Howell Farm. But Audrey, who turned out to be another main character of the film, I just met her one day at a plow competition. I just turned my camera on her and she turned out to be this really articulate spokesman.

How did you go about shooting the film?
During the farming season I tried to go to each farm at least once a week. I think most projects you'd wait until you have all your footage and then you sit down and you decide what the story is going to be. But I only had a pretty limited amount of time to do it, so I started editing the July segment by September because I knew I didn't have time at the end to go back and edit everything. This way I had at least made the skeleton for the film. This probably isn't the smartest way to do it, but it actually worked out for me.

I also spent a lot of time with the historical research [even though] it's only a small part of the film.

Did you originally intend to finish it at the end of the year?
When I did the first cut, I finished the film in December, and I started showing it to people, and people really liked it, but it also felt like it ended on a down note. Farming in the middle of winter, everything was dead. So coming back in the spring and everything is bright again, and the farmers had moved on to their next thing. Tom had started farming on his own farm, which I think was the most exciting thing, so it showed you where the farmers were going. I think it also ended on a more hopeful note.

Do you have any ideas for the next project?
I have a couple of ideas. When you make a film you have to live with it for a long time. You shoot it for a year and then you're editing it and marketing it, so I'm just kind of bouncing some ideas around at the moment. Mainly I'm spending most of my time marketing this film.

I have a couple of ideas for the next one, some of them are related to the environment, some of them aren't, but I'm not ready to talk about it yet.


Monday, November 22, 2010

News From Here & There

Goodbye DLSR
Director and Editor El Skid wonders if some of the power-pioneers of DSLR (Bloom,Hurlbut et. al) will move to cameras like the Sony PMW-F3, and leave DSLRs behind: BLOOM, HURLBUT, LAFORET, ELSKID – BLOG RIP?

Bloom Plays With The Panasonic GH2
Maybe he's going to switch to the PMW-F3, but in the meantime Philip Bloom is playing with the Panasonic GH2 and likes the fact that it has HDMI out: First bit of filming with Panasonic GH2 and good news about clean HDMI OUT!

Switching to Premiere Pro
Chris Fenwick, who's been talking up switching from Final Cut to Premiere Pro a lot lately, notes that switching can be hard because of the little things: Switching IS hard.

Apple makes Find My iPhone service free
Previously you had to subscribe to MobileMe ($100 a year) to be able to find your iPhone, but now you can do it for free!
Engadget: Apple's Find My iPhone / iPad service now free, doesn't require MobileMe

Sunday, November 21, 2010

News From Here & There

November Videography Magazine Online
You can view the November issue of Videography magazine online: Videography November

Diffusion Panels for Outdoor Lighting
Over at IzzyVideo, a short blog (with video) on using diffusion panels to help control outdoor light.
IzzyVideo: Diffusion Panels for Outdoor Video Lighting

Asylum VFX House Closing Its Doors
Post-production house Asylum is closing it's doors. Bryant Frazer at Studio Daily has an interview with Asylum VFX CEO Nathan McGuinness.
What happened was we couldn’t compete with the rest of the world. We couldn’t compete with the tax incentives from other countries. The work I’ve seen coming from around the world, the U.K. especially, is stellar. Amazing. We could do the same, but we weren’t given the same playing field.
Over at the Animation Guild blog a different perspective on the impact of the closing:
Effects studios are not high-margin businesses. Competition is fierce, and the attrition rate is high. And one of the dirty little secrets attached to that attrition is: if you're a happy employee of Big Fish Visual Effects, Inc. who enjoys a 401(k) and health plan, when Big Fish rolls belly up, your 401(k) is safe (by Federal law) but your health coverage ends.
StudioDaily: Q&A: Asylum VFX CEO Nathan McGuinness
AnimationBlog: Adios Asylum

Adobe Premiere CS5, the Mac, 64-bits and Nvidia cards
Paul Joy has been giving Adobe Premiere CS5 a try on the Mac, and looking into Nvidia cards that work with the Mercury Playback Engine. And if you're running CS5 on the Mac you might be wondering about whether your OS is running in 64-bit; and whether it needs to:
Here’s the one-sentence summary of this post:
You don’t need to run the 64-bit kernel on Mac OS X to run 64-bit applications (like After Effects CS5).
Adobe blogs: 64-bit kernels and After Effects CS5
PaulJoy: More Premiere Pro CS5 trials

Planning a 3D Production
A short article outlining the issues in planning for a 3D production, and why you need to know what you're doing so that you don't make your audience sick!...
RealVision: Sanctioning a Depth Budget for today’s 3D movies