Saturday, February 19, 2011

Final Cut Pro News

How to quickly create a slideshow explains how to quickly create a slideshow from still images in Final Cut.
dvcreators.netFCP Tutorial: The Down and Dirty Slideshow or “how to create a slideshow in a minute and a half”

Broadcast Compliance Filter Set
complianceSuiteFC is a set of professional broadcast filter and generator plug-ins for Apple Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Express. complianceSuiteFC consists of two tools; legalEyesFC and safeEyesFC and costs "From £695":

legalEyesFC is a professional broadcast legalizer that handles SD, HD and beyond and can legalise in PAL, NTSC (with or without 7.5IRE setup) and RGB domains. legalEyesFC also supports simultaneous composite and RGB domains and EBU R103 gamut.

safeEyesFC is a safe area generator plug-in for Final Cut and Motion which provides an extensive range of broadcast safe area markers covering all the requirements for SD, HD and 2K including 16:9 and 14:9 requirements in SD. safeEyesFC is provided with over 100 marker configurations, providing SMPTE, ITU-R, EBU and ARIB markers, and the ability to add user defined markers.

MoPictive NYC Final Cut Filmmakers, Feb 23rd
Next meeting: Wed. Feb 23 @ B&H Superstore (2nd Floor)
Doors open: 6:00pm, Meeting starts: 6:30pm, Doors close: 7:00pm
  • Jay Ignaszewski - AJA Systems presents the KiPro Mini and other surprises
  • Bruce Sharpe - PluralEyes dual-audio sync software
  • Tips, Tricks and Member Input
mopictiveNext Meeting – Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Editing True Grit
The movie True Grit was edited using Final Cut Pro, and Apple has published a short article about it:
Associate editor Katie McQuerrey worked with the Coens in their primary cutting room while two assistant editors, Gershon Hinkson and David O. Rogers, manned a satellite editing room at the Post Factory in Manhattan. Post supervisor Catherine Farrell moved between both locations. Each editing room was equipped with two Mac Pro editing stations with Final Cut Pro, as well as a dedicated MacBook Pro for secure file exchanges. All systems were connected to an Apple Xsan shared storage network, which allowed the editors to easily swap projects.
AppleCoen Brothers: Editing True Grit

Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 3.6
Apple has released Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 3.6, adding RAW image support for a number of cameras as well as addressing issues with processing for several cameras added in earlier updates. The update adds RAW image compatibility for the following cameras to Aperture 3 and iPhoto '11:
  • Canon EOS Rebel T3 / 1100D / Kiss X50
  • Canon EOS Rebel T3i / 600D / Kiss X5
  • Olympus E-5
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100
  • Pentax K-r
  • Pentax K-5
It also addresses processing issues for the following cameras:
  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon COOLPIX P7000
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
apple.supportDigital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 3.6

Friday, February 18, 2011


At last nights BOSFCPUG + BOSDSLR Mixer, Jay Ignaszewski, Northeast Region Manager for AJA brought along the Ki Pro Mini - in the flesh! - a small field recorder for capturing "ready- to-edit" digital video. The Ki Pro Mini takes any digital video from an HDMI or SDI source and does a 10-bit full raster recording to Apple ProRes 422 SD and HD formats on Compact Flash (CF) media. It costs $1,995.

The Mini is the smaller brother to AJA's Ki Pro, which captures to hard drives and is much larger and heavier than the Mini. At 1.2 lbs (vs. 6 lbs) the Mini makes it possible to attach the device to the camera itself, though unlike the Ki Pro, it lacks several features including the ability to up-convert and down-convert, analog ins and outs, and wireless support.

The Ki Pro Mini was announced a few months ago, but they've only just started shipping. According to Jay, one of the reasons it was delayed was problems they had certifying Compact Flash cards that worked with it. "We'd get it working with one manufacturers card, and then it wouldn't work with another," he said. They also encountered issues with cards that would work fine for 20 minutes, and then would start dropping frames. He said that they've already tested it with several cameras including the Panasonic AG-AF100 and the Sony PMW-F3.

Other important notes:
  • The Ki Pro Mini has slots for two Compact Flash cards: it does not support relay recording (i.e. automatically switching from one card to the other in the middle of recording.) They are hot-swappable however.
  • The cards are Mac HFS+ formatted. You will need something like MacDrive software if you're using it on the PC.
  • It's powered using a 4-pin XLR jack. There's an included AC adapter, or you can connect to a - not included - external battery (12 volts.)
  • Jay says the VU meters are useful for setting input levels and checking presence, rather than closely monitoring the audio.
  • There's no built-in Wi-Fi, but you can connect through Ethernet to a LAN, and then access it through a regular web browser. Jay recommends using a LAN to hook up through your laptop to control the device - particularly for adjusting settings - rather than using the small LCD.
  • LANC is not currently functioning with the first release; there will be an update of the software in a few weeks.
  • They are selling a separate cheeseplate to attach to the sides for $75 each, and some third parties are working on mounts for it as well.
Local Reseller, Stuart Cummings of Watermark Productions was also at the event and talked briefly about using the Ki Pro Mini with DSLRs. He suggested that the Panasonic GH2 might be a better camera to use than Canon's DSLRs because unlike Canon the GH2 outputs a full HDMI image during recording. Unfortunately, Stuart also said that he'd heard reports from some people who had problems using the GH2, but since he only just got the unit himself, he hasn't yet been able to try it!

The Ki Pro Mini is shipping now, though they are heavily back-ordered; it could be up to 90 days to get delivery!

Currently Certified Cards:
  • Hoodman - UDMA RAW Compact Flash 32GB 675x
  • Lexar - 32GB Professional 600x
  • SanDisk - Extreme Pro CompactFlash 32GB & 64 GB
B & H: AJA Ki Pro Mini Compact Field Recorder [$1,995.00]
B & H: AJA Universal Mounting Plate for Ki Pro Mini [$75]
AJA: Ki Pro Mini
mediafour: MacDrive
Watermark Productions

Panasonic AG-AF100 Firmware update 1.15

Panasonic has released another firmware update for the AG-AF100, Ver 1.15
  1. The color of the picture in the LCD display has been improved.
  2. During VFR recording, an icon which tells "No audio is recorded" has been added in View finder and LCD display. There is no change for the functionality of the camera.
  3. Capability for handling the invisible file made by Mac has been added.
The firmware update for the items below has been made possible by using Mac.
- Camera body of AG-AF100 series firmware update
- Lens firmware update by using AG-AF100 series

(If anyone can understand the last section above, please let me know!)

Panasonic: Firmware updates for AG-AF100 series and Option Lenses

Large Sensor Camera News

LearningLab: Maximizing the Benefits of Canon's 5D and 7D 
Rule Boston Camera has posted the video from this weeks LearningLab: Canon’s Carl Peer highlights some of the benefits to filmmakers (full-frame sensor, anyone?) when shooting with the Canon 5D and 7D along with insight from professional shooters.
Vimeo: Learning Lab: Maximizing the Benefits of Canon's 5D and 7D on 2.16.11

DSLR anti-moire filter for Final Cut Pro
After Martin Beek had some footage rejected by a client due to micro-moire patterns in the hair of people Jorgen Escher wrote a plug-in for Final Cut Pro:
If your footage is spoiled by red/blue streaks ad pixels in natural patterns and materials such as hair, grass, leaves and water…
It's free, though a donation is requested. Also, note that it may not solve all problems in your footage:
This plugin is not specifically designed to battle aliasing problems and the resulting moire from regular patterns such as brick walls. I don’t say it won’t work, but there are other and maybe easier and better ways to prevent “roof and wall” moire
ColorByJorg: Now available: my DSLR anti-moire filter for FCP! Free download!

Panasonic AG-AF100 vs RED
McGee Digital Media has posted video shot using the AG-AF100 and a RED camera. The shot includes some green screen work.
NON-MX RED with a Zeiss ZF.2 50mm prime (Nikon mount) 4k Redcode 36
AF-100 with Nikon mounted Tokina 28-79mm f/2.6-2.8 1080P24 PH mode
Vimeo: Panasonic AF-100 Vs RED Green and White screen comparison

Cinevarate Simplis Solo DSLR Rig
The Proteus Simplis DSLR Rig is a lightweight, “run and gun” modular and upgradeable DSLR Support System. It available for $399.98.
  • Simplis Quick Release Plate
  • Articulating ¼-20 Hand Grip
  • Shoulder Stock
  • 3 lengths of Shoulder Stock Rods
Cinevarate: Simplis Solo - DSLR Rig

Cinevate's Simplis DSLR Rig from Cinevate on Vimeo.

Vincent Laforet 3-Day Online Workshop - "Free"

Vincent Laforet is doing another "free" online workshop - Moving From Still to Video with Vincent Laforet starting Fri, 03/04/2011 - 10:00a.

I put the free in quotes only because it's free to watch live; but you can purchase a recording of the event ($99 up until March 7, $149 after that.) You must register to watch the event.

Vincent did a similar event last year and I watched a few hours of it; if you're just starting out in video - whether with a traditional video camera or a DSLR - I think you'll get a lot out of it.
creativeLIVE: FREE Workshop: HDDSLR - Moving From Still to Video with Vincent Laforet
NotesOnVideo: Vincent Laforet workshop [May 4, 2010]

MacUpdate Promo Feb 18 - Montage 1.5.4 for $49.95

Montage is a screenwriting application that allows everyday people to take those movie ideas they have and make them a reality. Melding the theory that a simple user interface, combined with powerful and intuitive features, provide the best writing experience, Montage makes it easy to create, edit, and manage screenplays on your Macintosh. From the ability to import and export Final Draft documents, to using custom, pre-formatted templates for film, TV, and theater, Montage guides both the first time screenwriter or the seasoned veteran, from start to finish. Also available in German, Italian, Spanish, and French.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Movie Making

Screenwriting Software
Lots of people use dedicated software - like Final Draft - for scriptwriting, but you can do it with Microsoft Word. Jeffrey Scott at Animation World Network explains how to set up Microsoft Styles to do it.
If you follow the instructions below you will effectively turn Microsoft Word into a simple but powerful screenwriting program.  As I noted in an earlier post, I have used Word with styles to write hundreds of scripts and actually find it easier than the top screenwriting software.
AWN: How to Turn Microsoft Word into a Terrific Screenwriting Program

Eye Movement
The DIEM Project (Dynamic Images and Eye Movement) is an investigation into how people look and see. They have posted a clip from There Will Be Blood, presented as only the locations fixated by 11 viewers. Their gaze was recorded using an Eyelink 1000 and visualized as a "peekthrough" heatmap using CARPE. I don't know what it all means, either. Interesting effect...
The DIEM Project
Vimeo: There Will Be Blood + eye movement peekthrough

Race for the Oscars
Blackmagic Design would like you to know that 2011 Oscar nominees “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Fighter”, “The Kids Are Alright” and “Hereafter” were all color corrected on Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve non-linear color correction system.
BlackmagicDesign: Congratulations to Oscar-Nominated Films Using Blackmagic Design

And as part of The Social Network's campaign for "Best Adapted Screenplay" Sony is giving away the script in PDF format. Social Network Ads Allow You to Download the Script
Sony: The Social Network Screenplay [PDF]

David Mamet's Screenwriting Rules
NoFilmSchool reprints a memo David Mamet sent to writers of The Unit.

NoFilmSchool: David Mamet’s Screenwriting Rules

Video Editing News

Beauty Box 30% off
Beauty Box is a skin retouching plug-ins for After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Premiere. Using Face Detection techniques it identifies skin tones and creates a mask that limits the smoothing effect to just the skin areas. It also keeps the important features of the face sharp while reducing or eliminating wrinkles and blemishes.

Features: Face Detection, Skin Smoothing, Sharpening, External Masks, Paths As Garbage Mattes, Add Grain, Mask Creation.

Through February 23rd they are offering 30% off Beauty Box Video: $139.30 (down from $199)
AV3 Software: Beauty Box Mac, Beauty Box Win

Rental license for get
Get is a search tool for Final Cut Pro that provides a fast and accurate method for locating footage based on the spoken dialog within the video content. AV3 software is now offering 30, 60 and 90 day rentals for $59, $109 and $159 respectively.
AV3 Software: Get for FCP

Best budget color display for grading
Alexis van Hurkman recommends three affordable color-critical monitors for those interested in color grading on a budget, though "affordable" is obviously relative; the HP DreamColor LP2480zx - LCD display - TFT - 24sells on Amazon for $2,955.33! What (Inexpensive) Display Should I Buy?

Keying in After Effects
Resources and Tips for keying in After Effects at Keying introduction and resources

Preparing Canon DSLR footage for Color Correction
Robino Films has posted a short video tutorial on preparing DSLR footage for color correction using Cineform NeoHD, HDlink, FirstLight, Neat Video plugin and After Effects.
Vimeo: Canon DSLR Footage 10-Bit Color Space Up-conversion Tutorial

Mail-in Rebates on Sony EX1R & EX3

For purchases between February 1, 2011 through March 31, 2011, Sony is offering mail-in cash rebates on purchases of PMW-EX1R ($300) and PMW-EX3 ($500) from a Sony Authorized Reseller or directly from Sony.

B & H: Sony PMW-EX1R XDCAM EX Full HD Camcorder [$6,299.00 - $300 = $5,999.00]
B & H: Sony PMW-EX3 XDCAM EX HD Camcorder [$8,320.00 - $500 = $7,820.00]

Large Sensor Camera News

What ProRes codec to use with DSLRs?
If you're a DSLR user editing with Final Cut Pro, you know that for best performance you have to transcode to ProRes. But the question is: which flavor? Because there's several of them:
  • ProRes 422 (Proxy)
  • ProRes 422 (LT)
  • ProRes 422 - sometimes referred to as "normal"
  • ProRes 422 (HQ)
  • ProRes 444
Steve Sander has done some tests using footage from Canon DSLRs and writes about it over at Converge. He actually sees little visual difference even between LT and HQ, but recommends using ProRes 422 "normal" in most situations. I happen to think it's great advice; given that I use normal all the time...
Check the article for the exceptions!
ConvergeThe best ProRes codec to use when editing 5D and 7D footage
AppleFinal Cut Pro 7. Expanded ProRes Family

Here comes the Ninja
The Ninja, a digital recorder that captures HDMI output to notebook HDD or SSD drives in ProRes format (it's a competitor to the AJA Ki Pro) should be available shortly. But David Fox at reports that Canon DSLR users maybe less than impressed with it because: seems that Canon has put at white square or a red dot on a corner of the output, which will be noticeable if you try to use it as full HD
The thing is, no Canon DSLR outputs full HD anyway, so I'm not sure why anyone is that excited about capturing the HDMI output with one of these anyway.

Maybe for a few people, it makes sense...

But if you have a camera like the Sony HXR-NX5u, which outputs full HDMI in better quality than it stores internally, now that might make some sense.

UrbanFox.TVNinja ships – disappoints DSLR users
NotesOnVideoThe Ninja looks cool....but...

Panasonic AG-AF100 News
After using HDSLRs for a recent shoot, Cinematographer Rich Lerner - who's worked on a number of documentaries in his 25 year career, including A Story of Healing and The Urban Elephant - says he plans to use the AF100 for his next project. Panasonic wants you to know.
CriticalViewCinematographer Spotlight: Rich Lerner

Snehal Patel Panasonic AG-AF100 workshop
If you're in LA and want to learn about the AG-AF100 from the ground up, this might be worth attending. The linked page lists everything that will be covered.
Date & Time: Sat, Feb 26, 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Location: Stray Angel Films, Los Angeles
Cost: $400
PhotoCineNews: Panasonic AG-AF100 Workshop with Snehal Patel

Sony PMW-F3 News
Filippo Chiesa has posted footage from his first shoot with the Sony PMW-F3 and a Carl Zeiss Distagon 35mm 1:1,2 PL mount lens.
VimeoSony PMW-F3 1st short test

PMW-F3 overview
Jesse Miller at the .video show interviews Sony Camera Specialist Joe Schimizzi about the Sony PMW-F3. It's an introductory overview only, so if you haven't read anything about the PMW-F3 so far, watch this!
YouTubeSony PMW-F3 with Jesse Miller and Joe Schimizzi

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Free Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Workshop

BOSFCPUG FREE Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Workshops + Giveaway!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 from 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM (ET)
Boston, MA

Two FREE two-hour "Color Grading with DaVinci Resolve for Mac" workshops will be offered between 4:00PM and 7:00PM EST on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. You may register for only ONE—the two are exactly the same.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Anyone who has ever considered using color correction in their workflow. These workshops will introduce Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve for Mac and detail its features and capabilities—such as the advantages of real-time performance in color correction—as well as proper set up and integration with other tools.

INSTRUCTOR(S): FILMSYSTEMS’ David Catt has been working with Resolve for more than 20 years. He was a London-based colorist when he saw a demo of a DaVinci system in 1986 and quickly became one of the first colorists in Europe to work on DaVinci. He has worked for DaVinci as a demo artist and product manager before moving to FILMSYSTEMS.

DURATION: 2 hours for each session

COST: FREE to the Public with Registrations

AGENDA: This workshop repeats two times and the agenda is identical for each: 4:00PM-6:00PM (sign-in at 3:30PM); 7:00PM-9:00PM (sign-in at 6:30PM)

Eventbrite: BOSFCPUG FREE Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Workshops + Giveaway!

PHYX Stylist

Noise Industries kindly sent me a copy of the new filter set PHYX Stylist to try out. This set of filters consists of five effects: Cathode Ray, Fog Generator, Haze Removal, Skin Light and Sparkler Star. They are installed as part of FxFactory 2.5.5 - I already had FxFactory installed, but had to upgrade to get the new set - and you can get a free trial version.

Here's what I found:

Steadicam Smoothee Unboxing & Initial Impressions

I just got the Steadicam Smoothee for the iPhone 4, and though I'll post video later in the week, here's what's in the box and some very initial impressions:

Steadicam Smoothee box
The box is 13.5" x 11" x 3.5" and there's a cutout in the top revealing the box inside that contains the mount; that's how you know which model it's for!

Upcoming Online Seminars

Killer Titles in Sony Vegas Pro with Boris Continuum
Date & Time: Thursday, February 17, 2011 @ 1:00 PM Eastern Time
Speaker: John Rofrano

Join musician, vocalist, songwriter, author, VASST trainer, videographer, and software architect John Rofrano as he shows you how to create killer titles with Boris Continuum Complete! Attend the Webinar and learn how to:
  • Create type-on and jitter animations
  • Create highly-stylized text effects with glows, rays, and strokes
  • Extrude 3D text
  • Import and extrude EPS logos
  • Use 3D deformers to bend and explode text in 3D
Attendees will be able to download new Text Templates designed specifically for Sony Vegas Pro 10!

Raffle Prizes: One lucky attendee will win a copy of Sony Vegas Pro ($599.95 value) Another lucky attendee will win a Boris Box Set ($1,995 value)

Location: Online
RegisterLive Webinar: Killer Titles in Sony Vegas Pro

Entertainment Webcast: Autodesk Smoke for Mac and the Avid Artist Series Controllers
Date & Time: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PST
Speaker: Dean Schirm

Join Autodesk Solutions Engineer Dean Schirm as he demonstrates how Autodesk Smoke software for Mac OS X and Avid Artist Series Controllers work together to put creative finishing at your fingertips. You will also hear from a Smoke owner on how adding Smoke to his existing workflow has opened the doors to more projects and greater productivity. Plus you'll have a chance to drop in on the Tenth Annual San Francisco SuperMeet.

Deadline: Feb-22
Location: Online
Hosted By: Autodesk, Inc.
RegisterAutodesk Smoke for Mac and the Avid Artist Series Controllers

Avid enters consumer video editing market

Avid Studio
Avid has announced Avid Studio, a consumer level editing application that will cost $169.99 and runs under Windows 7.

Transform your HD videos, photos, and audio files into rich, multimedia experiences with Avid Studio movie production software––featuring the same technology used by top Hollywood editors. Edit like a pro with sophisticated photo and video correction tools, a powerful library that organizes all your media in one place, unlimited timeline tracks for advanced effects, and more. In-depth training materials get you started quickly, and the included templates, effects, and transitions provide fresh inspiration for each new project. Integrated disc authoring and a variety of export formats make it easy to share your production with family, friends, and the world.

Key Features

  • Sophisticated movie editing tools, including markers and keyframes
  • Powerful media management library to organize videos, photos, and audio files
  • Media editor to apply corrections or effects to videos, photos, and audio
  • Unlimited timeline tracks for advanced editing and compositing
  • Professional add-ons and plug-ins (valued at over $2,000):
  • Red Giant Plug-in package
  • Complete Avid content package
  • 100 additional HD video transitions
  • Comprehensive collection of how-to videos from Class on Demand
  • Motion Titler for adding animated graphics and text
  • Audio tools for professional sound quality
  • 5.1 surround sound import/export functionality
  • AVCHD burning; DVD and Blu-ray disc authoring and burning tools
  • 5' x 6' green screen sheet for chroma-key effects

Avid Studio is expected to be released March 8th. Interestingly, in their online literature, they compare it only with Pinnacle Studio.

AvidAvid Studio

[UPDATE: Oh, Avid owns Pinnacle? How'd I miss that?: Avid Unveils Four Consumer Editing Suites]

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Public Television Quality Workshop, March 2

The Public Television Quality Group has been holding workshops around the country this past year. I caught the one in Boston, and it was well worth attending. The next workshop is in New York city on March 2 at SONY Headquarters, 550 Madison Avenue, and it's only $50! If you're in or near New York, I highly recommend it!

Public Television Quality Group: Events

NotesOnVideo: Creating Documentaries
NotesOnVideo: The 24p debate: Part I
NotesOnVideo: The 24p debate: Part II

Glidetrack Hybrid slider available: 10% discount for 24 hours

Glidetrack has finally announced the availability of their new Glidetrack Hybrid slider, which combines new Igus Hybrid bearings that incorporate both sliding AND roller bearings.

If ordered in the next 24 hours from Glidetrack, you get a 10% discount. (1 meter track: $547.68 [before discount], 0.5 meter track is $483.06.)

NOTE: for comparison: the current Glidetrack HD costs $309.95 for the 0.5 meter track and $389.95 for the 1 meter track from B & H.

The Hybrid slider system runs on high precision extruded industrial grade rail, that is made of hard anodized aluminium. The rail is of a heavier duty extrusion, which makes the Hybrid perfect for mid to large size rigs, that may include external monitors, matte boxes or support systems.

In addition to the traditional drylin self lubricating liners, the new carriage now runs on four self lubricating, dry running roller bearings. As a result, The Glidetrack Hybrid Carriage requires 4-5 times less force to move than the traditional Drylin liners. Typical roller bearing systems (as featured in competing products) use grease filled noisy metal bearings. These style of bearings are very prone to being affected by dust, dirt, grit lint and moisture, which can significantly affect their performance, and limit the number of environments that they can reliably be used in. Should they become contaminated, dis-assembling/cleaning and re-adjusting them is no easy task.
GlideTrack: Glidetrack Hybrid

Glidetrack Hybrid Slider System from Glidetrack on Vimeo.

News From Here & There

Sony PMW-F3 for Stereoscopic capture
Seems there's been debate about whether shallow-depth of field could be used for 3D movies:
...anything that is out of focus in a movie in 3D, will actually attract the audiences attention, who’s eyes and brains, after a quick scan give up and move on. If this occurs often enough in a movie it can lead to headaches from mild to extreme, depending on the audience
But then someone made TRON, and now it's been decided that yes, you can!

TRON was shot using the Super 35mm chipped Sony F35 camera, but the much cheaper Sony PMW-F3 has a chip with the same dimensions - it's not the same chip - and can produce the same depth-of-field results.

Real Vision got to demonstrate shooting stereoscopic 3D with the PMW-F3.
The Sony F3 camera has a few more enhancements that are ideal for stereoscopic 3D movie making, and will be shortly enabled simply my software and/or feature updates. Full 4:4:4 output and 3D link are just some of them
RealVision: Sony’s PMW F3 brings Depth of Field to Stereoscopic 3D movie making

Another Roger Deakins Interview
Seems everyone is interviewing Roger Deakins, and here's Movie Lines:
If I had a digital option when we started True Grit I’m not sure I would have shot it digitally, just because of the nature of the film. But I don’t know, it’s a real transition now. I don’t personally think film emulsion is going to be used for very much longer at all. I know people have been saying that since — well, since I started in the business — but I really think this year and next year will be it, really.
MovieLinesRoger Deakins on His True Grit Oscar Nod and the End of Film: ‘Next Year Will Be It’

Slow Motion using Adobe Premiere and After Effects
Björn Gramm did a short slow motion test with Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 (Time Remapping) and After Effects CS5 (Timewarp). The Source Video was short with a Canon 5D Mark II @29,97 fps

His conclusion is that the Timewarp offers the smoother motion, but it produces some more or less weird motions in the video. Time Remapping (frame blending on) in Premiere Pro just isnt that smooth.

Looking at the 720p on YouTube, I found the distortion going on in the background with the After Effects clip very distracting. I think I'd rather use the Premiere clip.
TwitterBjörn Gramm
YouTubeSlow Motion Test: Adobe Time Remapping vs. Timewarp

Panasonic AG-AF100 not as sharp as GH2?
We already knew that the GH2 video was sharper than the video from Canon's DSLRs, and that the Panasonic AG-AF100 was better than the Canon's too...but I think we all assumed the GH2 and AG-AF100 would be identical or very similar. Surely if one was better, it'd be the AG-AF100?

But the German website Slashcam shot some test charts, and they found that the GH2 was sharper than the AG-AF100.
EOSHDPanasonic GH2, AF100 pixel peeped - AF100 loses

More Sony PMW-F3 Footage
James Houk has posted a video shot with the PMW-F3 using 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm LOMO primes. Some grading was done.
VimeoPMW-F3 Test Footage with Karen Waldrup

ikan FG Follow Focus

ikan has announced the FG Follow Focus ($449). It offers precision machined aluminum construction, light weight design, beveled dry erase marking disk, and is compatible with all ikan Elements kits and/or any 15mm rod-based camera support system.

Driven by a 2” diameter control wheel, the FG Follow Focus features low backlash and is compatible with standard film pitch gearing of .8 MOD supported by a 2.3” diameter focus gear. The horizontal adjustment feature accommodates a wide range of DSLR lens diameters and is complimented by a focus mark indicator and lockable focus control.

The included 17" FG Follow Focus Whip features vinyl covering and a crank stability grip for smooth control. Utilizing ikan’s compact square connector, the FG Whip provides leverage over distance and smoother focus pulls all around. Also in the box is a pair of 2.5” to 4.25” diameter adjustable zip lens gears. Complete with two no scuff, non-slip lens gear liners; your DSLR lens is protected and ready to pull focus.

FG Follow Focus Cine-Kit Includes:
  • FG Follow Focus
  • 17” FG Follow Focus Whip
  • 2.3” FG Follow Focus Crank Knob
  • 2.5” to 4.25” Diameter Adjustable Zip Lens Gears (2)
  • No scuff, Non-slip Lens Gear Liners (2)
For information: ELE-FGK FG Follow Focus Cine-Kit

Jared Abrams did a "Quick Take" on the unit at Cinema5D: Quick Take: ikan Cine Follow Focus Kit.

Rule Camera LearningLab - Canon's 5D and 7D: Wed, Feb 16th

Rule Boston Camera is hosting a LearningLab on Canon DSLRs this Wednesday from 10am to 12 noon. RSVP to

Feb 16th - Maximizing the Benefits of Canon's 5D and 7D
Canon's Carl Peer highlights some of the benefits to filmmakers (full-frame sensor, anyone?) when shooting with the Canon 5D and 7D along with insight from professional shooters.

Monday, February 14, 2011

News From Here & There

Camera Exposure Comparisons
Cinematographer Geoff Boyle shot a collection of dynamic range and skintone tests at the Gothenburg Film Festival, at workshops organised by Camera Centre. He used an Alexa, Canon 7D, SI-2K and RED MX and has posted some stills at

They make for interesting comparisons, though Geoff is careful to point out this wasn't a shoot-out; he just did the best he could in the conditions he had. There's quite a bit of discussion about it in the Reduser forum, including this post from Jim Jannard:
We feel compelled to do the DR tests again when we are present. We have no idea what was done in these tests and certainly get different results. We have acknowledged that the Alexa is a great DR performer but the RED ONE MX does better than these tests suggest. We'll post with all specific details of how the tests were done, firmware build, post methodology, etc. so people can duplicate the test results. Gothenburg Skin Tests
ReduserCamera testing and comparisons
Geoff Boyle

And You Thought WebM Would Be Free?
Back in May 2010 when WebM was first unveiled by Google, there was some question whether the VP8 codec didn't do things covered by existing patents (specifically H.264 patents.)

MPEG-LA - who handles licensing for H.264 - is moving forward with this question, inviting member companies to submit any instances where they believe VP8 violate their patents.
ElectronictaMPEG-LA calls for instances of Google's WebM patent
CNETMPEG LA patent move blemishes Google's Web video plan
NotesOnVideo: Some things you might want to know about WebM and VP8

Spending the Day with Philip Bloom
Geoff Charters got to spend the day with Philip Bloom - and play with various camera gear - while Phil was in Australia.
GeoffChartersA day with Philip Bloom

HDTV Input Lag
Seems that HDTV's can have a bit of a lag; the difference in time between a frame arriving at the TV's input and it being displayed onscreen. This is caused by post-processing in the HDTV, and seems to be a problem for video games rather than those just watching content. Unacceptable lag for gamers seems to by anything over 3-4 frames.
High-end Panasonic plasmas seem to have the lowest input lag, whereas LG plasmas seem to have the most. Samsung falls somewhere in between
HighDefinitionForumThe HDTV Input Lag Thread

Lightworks Blog: Post 3

Lightworks Editor News
I've been distracted from my playing with the Lightworks editor over the past week, but Mike Jones has written up a provocative post: "Lightworks editing software is free and nobody cares."
Lightworks is Powerful and its Free but it’s also archaic and illogical; the wrong tool at the wrong time doing the job the wrong way.
and goes on to say:
There’s no doubting what Ligtworks can do - its a feature-rich system - but its also a system predicated on defying the natural user instincts of a standard computer GUI.
A reader of his blog, Richard Blakely, calls him to task:
I do find your comments about standards odd though. On one hand you're saying that it is the worst word in the world, and that it is wrong that someone should define 'standards' and then you criticise Lightworks for not conforming to standards such as drag and drop.
To which Mike responds:
The point of my post wasn't about my opinion of whether Lightworks is any good or not but rather that the strange culture of brand-loyal digital-native Post production will find it very hard to accept Lightworks whilst it insists on positioning itself outside of known and common parameters.
The problem is, while I see Mike's point - people find it hard to switch to different paradigms - that's not how he presents it in the original post; the original post spends quite a bit of time dismissing Lightworks as being backward and wrong; not just different. Which sort of undermines the brand loyalty argument.

And I actually agree with him in a lot of ways; launch Lightworks and it is disorienting; your first thought is "do I want to spend time dedicated to learning something this different?"

On the other hand, it is capable, and it is free. So while it might not be easy for those of us already using Final Cut or Avid or Premiere, but you would think that those starting out who can't afford to spend several hundred would have a completely different opinion.

But as Mike points out, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Yet it's probably too soon to dismiss Lightworks; it was only the most recent build that I could even get to work, so we need to give it a few more months before writing it off completely.
MikeJones.tvLightworks editing software is free and nobody cares

Lightworks Roadmap
And if you're wondering what's coming, they have posted a Lightworks roadmap for 2011: Roadmap

Upgrading My Internal Hard Drive

The 300GB internal hard drive on my MacBook Pro has been practically full for some months now, and I've kept putting off installing a larger drive....finally, I ordered a 500GB replacement, and decided to install it myself. I went with the Western Digital Scorpio 2.5-Inch 500 GB SATA after reading a few reviews. I hope I made the right decision!

The MacBook Pro is a second generation model (I determined) and I found some good installation instructions (with pictures) at ExtremeTechUpgrade Your MacBook Pro's Hard Drive: Second Generation. Good thing I have an iPad to follow along with while doing the install. No need to print out the instructions!

12:30pm Realizing that I didn't have the special screwdriver I needed, I tried the local hardware store. They only Torx T-6 they had was part of a $25 set. Had to drive to second hardware store to find an individual T-6 for $3.99

12:45pm Driving home, it occurred to me that I had been having problems because I had less than 3GB free; and I still remember buying 700MB drives and thinking they were huge.

1:10pm Though I backup the MacBook Pro using Time Machine, I had decided that it was a good idea to do a second "clean" backup of the drive before starting the process - just in case. Discovered that the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Upgrade Cable FireWire 800adaptor/cable I had bought for the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drivedrive is for the portable GoFlex drives, not the desktop drives. I should have bought the Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk Desktop Adapter - Firewire 800/USB 2.0 STAE105.
Looks like USB speeds for the backup and transfer...

1:15pm Just to be safe, updated the current Time Machine backup first.

1:45pm Formatted the new external drive. Seagate includes a Mac installer, which was nice, but why-oh-why did the installer install a couple of .exe files on the drive? I told the installer I didn't want to use this drive on PCs!

1:55pm Started the second - complete - Time Machine backup.

4:07pm Only 89GB copied so far, just under 1/3 of the way. This is going to take a long time!

4:14pm 100GB copied...192 to go!

7:00pm The backup is completed!

With it all backed up, I shut down the computer and started the installation. The installation on the second generation MacBook Pro's is really simple;
  1. Lift a latch to release the battery cover
  2. Pull of the battery
  3. Unscrew a single philips-head screw that keeps a bracket in place
  4. Lift up the drive and unplug it
  5. Unscrew four posts on the sides of the drive (using the T-6 driver)
  6. Screw the posts into the new drive
  7. Attach the cable to the drive
  8. Put in the drive and screw the bracket back in
  9. Replace the battery and cover

The list makes it seem harder than it actually is.

With the drive replacement done, I rebooted using a Snow Leopard system disc. The machine itself is running Leopard, but I was thinking I'd upgrade (now that I had some free disc space.) The machine booted okay, but when I went to try and restore from a Time Machine backup, it wouldn't let me do it. It took me a lot longer than it should have to realize that I hadn't initialized the new internal hard drive!

After I did that, I tried to install from my original Time Machine backup (which contains incremental backups from over a year ago), and it said there wasn't enough space to restore! So I took the complete backup I had made that day and tried that instead, and this time it was happy (I can't help thinking it must have been confused; it should have worked!) My adventures in not formatting the drive may have confused things...

7:50 pm Started the Time Machine restore. Initial time remaining estimates: over 6 hours!

10:48 pm Reinstall completed! Restarted and found that it's still running 10.5.8. Guess I should have guessed that it would restore everything from the backup, not install the OS from the booted disc and then update from the Time Machine backup!

At this point, since everything seemed to be working, I decided to postpone the upgrade to Snow Leopard until another time...

A Popular Camera

Every now and again, Amazon sends me a "More to Explore" page with a list of their most popular camcorders - I wonder why? For as long as I've been paying attention to it, the Top Ten Videocameras list has been filled with Kodak Pocket Cameras and Filp's.

But today's list had a couple of "unusual" - for the list - cameras; the GoPro HD Helmet HERO Cameraand the Canon VIXIA HF M30 the latter is currently on sale for $399.00.

It's nice to finally see a more traditional camcorder like the HF M30 appearing on the list with the pocket cameras. I have nothing against them - they're small, inexpensive, and easy to use - but having spent time with a Flip, I really miss the better resolution, exposure control, and a good optical zoom lens.

Camcorderinfo has a review of the HF M31 (the same camera but with 32 GB of memory instead of 8GB). They mostly like it, though ding the low-light performance:
The HF M31 disappointed us with its low light performance—just as the Canon HF20 did previously. The camcorder did very well in our bright light sharpness and motion tests, but it couldn't carry over that strong showing once the lights got dim. It definitely isn't the worst camcorder as far as low light capabilities go, but we were hoping Canon would have done something to address this issue.
Personally, though I haven't used the HF MXX series, I think the low light of the HF20 isn't that bad at all; certainly better than what I've seen from Flip cameras.

Camcroderinfo: Canon HF M31

Two Pocket Camera Stories
My daughter has been doing a lot of shooting with a Sony Handicam of mine, so I got her a Flip camera for Christmas. She's happy with it; but she still borrows the Handicam for most things. The other day she was talking about going off to college, and asking if I'd get her a Handicam of her own to take with her.
"What about the Flip?" I asked.
"It's okay....." she shrugged.
After some thought, I said: "Well, maybe I'll let you take the Handicam, and I'll buy myself something new."
She seemed happy with that.

I was at a meeting talking to someone - I didn't know them - and they made a comment about video cameras that was something like "most people use terribly cheap cameras, and that's not what I'm about." When they said it, I got a little defensive because much of the time I use consumer cameras, and I was thinking this person must be a real pro. And then they went on to say "I just ordered a Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera" and I realized that "cheap cameras" is a very relative term.

Upcoming Events

Sony Competition - Win a PMW-F3
Sony's Behind The Lens Contest: Film School Edition begins March 1, 2011 and ends March 15, 2011. Enter and you could win a Sony PMW-F3 camera for you and your school [Wait; is that two cameras? - we don't know!]

Who Can Enter: Any student 18 years or older enrolled in a film or video digital media program at an accredited college or university who is a legal resident of the United States.

At the moment you can register to get an email when the contest website goes live for submissions!
Eventbrite: Behind The Lens Contest

NAB/Las Vegas SuperMeet tickets go on sale Feb 15th
The Las Vegas SuperMeet happens Tuesday, April 12, 2011. Earlybird sales start February 15th and run through March 15th.
SuperMeet: Les Vegas

motionVFX 40% Sale through Feb 20
motionVFX are celebrating 400 Apple Motion Templates, 100 Adobe After Effects Templates and 30 Cinema 4D Templates. To celebrate they are having a 40% off everything SALE which lasts till Feb 20 2011.
motionVFX: Celebrating 400 Motion Templates

Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group Feb 23
The next LAFCPUG meeting occurs Wednesday, Febuary 23, 2011. Editor Larry Garb will show what is required to take a theatrical motion picture to syndication TV. Also Zack Arnold, editor for USA Network's Burn Notice will discuss his "interesting" career path as well as his work on this hit TV show. Plus, Fabienne Bouville returns to lafcpug to present on "The Role of the Assistant Editor." Fabiene is currently the assistant on the hit TV show "Glee."
EventbriteFeb. 23 lafcpug Meet

Createasphere Entertainment Technology Expo, New York Sep 20th & 21st, 2011
Createasphere has announced that the Entertainment Technology Expo will return to New York on September 20th & 21st, 2011 at the New Yorker Hotel.
A detailed schedule will be released shortly.
CreativeCow: Createasphere Entertainment Technology Expo Returns to New York with Leading Cinematographers, Editors, Artists and Technologists
Createasphere: Entertainment Technology Expo - New York

And if you're in Boston this week, don't forget:
This event will be held at the Apple Store, Boylston St, Boston and will feature colorist Alexis Van Hurkman who will present an overview of DaVinci Resolve on Mac OS X.
NotesOnVideo: BOSFCPUG + BOSDSLR Mixer; Feb 17th

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Boston #1 city to live and make movies

Reportedly, MovieMaker's annual "Best Cities To Live, Work & Make Movies in 2011" lists Boston at number 1. I should move there....oh, wait!

The article doesn't appear to be online, though last year's list has Boston at number 7. That's a big jump. Clearly our stellar winter weather this year turned it around for us ....

MovieMaker10 Best Cities To Live, Work & Make Movies in 2010

News From Here & There

HDMI Monitor Comparison
Paul Joy takes a look at the Marshall V-LCD651STX, Marshall V-LCD50 & SmallHD DP6. He finds there's pros and cons to all three; for focusing, the SmallHD and the LCD651 scored best. The V-LCD50 is better than the cameras own LCD, BUT it's not as good as the other two. The LCD651 also did much better than the other two when used outside, and had better color reproduction.
PaulJoy: HDMI Monitors: Marshall V-LCD651STX, Marshall V-LCD50 & SmallHD DP6
B & H: Marshall V-LCD50 [$516.35]
B & H: Marshall V-651STX [$1,631.85]
SmallHD: 5.6 DP Monitor [$899]

Do-It-Yourself Ikea Shoulder Mount
Cris Knight shows how to make a shoulder mount for your DLR from parts from IKEA.
  • 4 pc aluminum (or other) tubing with a matching diameter Drill bit . On my rig, the short rails are 8 1/2" and the long rails are 22 1/2" but you can adjust this to best fit your application.
  • 1 Ikea Boholmen plastic cutting board or similar
  • A small piece of foam for the shoulder pad, if desired.
  • Several small screws or nuts and bolts with drill bit (and tap if desired) to match
  • 2 bicycle hand grips
He has a video, as well as step-by-step instructions on his website.
kimncris: Shoulder Mount

Portrait lighting
If you're still trying to master basic lighting for portraits (and video interviews) check out this video tutorial from Jay Morgan at The Slanted Lens.
YouTube: Portrait Lighting for Photography and Video!

Guide To Streaming Options
Technology In The Arts looks at some of the different options for streaming live video, .
TechnologyInTheArts: Livestream, Ustream, We all stream: A practical guide to streaming platforms

More Sony PMF-F3 Footage
Matrix Video has posted some video from the PMW-F3 - most of it captured at 60p. You can also download the original file.
Vimeo: Genesis Matrix Sony F3 Footage - Ungraded