Saturday, March 05, 2011

Sony HDR-CX700V

The new Sony HDR-CX700V may be available for pre-order at Amazon, and the SonyStyle US website says it will be available on or about the 15th of March, but it's already turning up in stores in Canada!

Ron Evans in Ottawa noticed it was listed as "in stock" at the Sony Canadian site, so rang up and ordered it. He was told it was one of only two in the country. He's written a little about his experience's so far at the forum:
The LCD is smaller but is very sharp and bright. Will do some more shooting tomorrow its dark now. What is surprising is taking some shots in my dark bedroom the data code shows 21db of gain and the image is pretty clean. Will do some more testing tomorrow against the XR500 and the NX5U.

Comparing to the XR500 and NX5U the colour seems to be a little lower easy to bring up to the same in Edius by adding about 5% to chroma then they match more closely. Wide angle is very wide compared to even the NX5U. The downside so far is that everything is in a menu. I would have like the low lux to be a switch like the XR500 but its buried in a menu.
The HDR-CX700V is notable for a Handycam in that in addition to "standard" video formats it supports 24p, and it also supports 60p.
DVInfo: Sony introduces HDR-CX700v 1080p60 camcorder
Amazon: Sony HDR-CX700V High Definition Handycam Camcorder (Black) [$1,298.00]

Vincent Laforet - HDDSLR workshop - live streaming TODAY

Last year Vincent Laforet did a multi-day workshop on HDSLR shooting, and he's back doing it again today. You can watch it for free today and tomorrow; either live (and they also repeat it overnight.)

You can also purchase a copy of the event for $99 this weekend (it goes up to $149 after this weekend.)

The event actually started yesterday, with an introduction to equipment, rigs and editing. I think the best days will be today and tomorrow: today they are going to be covering documentary shooting, and Sunday they will be covering cinematic shooting.

The broadcast starts at 10:00AM PST.

creativeLIVEFREE Workshop: HDDSLR - Moving From Still to Video with Vincent Laforet

Script to Screen UStream @ 2:30PM ET today

IFP’s Script to Screen Conference is taking place today and if you can't be there, you can at least watch this afternoon's "New Platforms for Writers" panel though UStream.
As hype rapidly builds for new platforms and technologies for screenwriters and filmmakers to tell their stories, competition is growing stiffer for more traditional writers to “make it” – unless they, too, become curious about these new methods. In this conversation with “Onion News Network” Head Writer Carol Kolb, who took the show from a web series to national broadcast; Noah Harlan, a filmmaker and content developer for story-driven apps; and the writing team behind Writers Guild Award-winning web series “Anyone But Me”, we discuss these new landscapes, and how to approach them.
IFP: Script to Screen

Flip Accessories

There are some interesting accessories for the Flip that have recently become available.

Flip Video Action Tripod
Compatible with all Flip video cameras, it can be used as a tripod on a level surface, or attach to bike handlebars, helmet, and other gear using the attachable (and removable) straps. Features a standard tripod mount that is compatible with Flip Video camcorders and other light-weight tripod-based cameras and devices.
Users note that as a tripod it's a little shaky, but it's only $14.
Included in package: Action Tripod, two velcro straps to attach Tripod to gear. List price $24.99
Amazon: Flip Video Action Tripod[$14.25]

Ikelite (left), Bower .45x lens (right)

Ikelite Underwater Housing
All camera controls are fully functional through the housing and depth rated to 200ft (60m). Easy open latch and drop in camera loading. Compatibility Note: This housing is compatible with 2nd generation Flip models U1120 and U2120 only. Ikelite does not offer a housing to accept 1st generation Flip models F230 or F260.
Neutrally buoyant underwater. External Color Filters. The included UR/Pro color correcting filter for tropical blue water settings replaces some of the reds and more natural tones that would otherwise be lost underwater. Effective in relatively shallow, sunny conditions. The #6441.71 removable color filter is available separately for use in green water settings.
List price: $260.00
AmazonIkelite Compact Underwater Video Housing for Flip Video Ultra & UltraHD (2nd Gen models U260, U1120 and U2120)[$219.95]

Bower Wide Angle Lens
The BOWER .45x wide angle magnetic lens designed for Flip video. Sturdy magnetic design with 3 year limited warranty. Users not that there's some loss of detail in the video when using this lens.
List price: $49.99
Amazon: Bower VLMWF 0.45x Wide Angle Magnetic Lens for Flip Cameras (Black)[$39.00]

Flip: Accessories

Friday, March 04, 2011

News From Here & There

Final Cut Pro Stuff
While we impatiently wait for Apple to not release anything about Final Cut Pro 8 at the NAB show, here's some great tips for Final Cut Pro users: The Top Ten FCP Technical Errors

And Noise Industries has some free filter effects that work with FxFactory: Free Final Cut Pro plugins

Going to NAB? Don't forget the SuperMeet; even if you aren't a Final Cut Pro user, if you edit with any NLE it's worth going to. Early bird sales end March 15th.

Hardware News & Reviews

Rycote Portable Recorder Audio Kit
Rycote has announced this new piece of gear; a combined Windshield and Suspension solution, the kit contains everything needed to protect a handheld digital recorder from outdoor wind noise, and also to isolate it from unwanted vibrations. It's currently available in a configuration for the Zoom H4n.
[It's listed as available March 1st, though it's not yet available at online retailers.]
Rycote: Portable Recorder Audio Kit

Inexpensive wireless HDMI transmitter
Vincent Rozenberg found an inexpensive (US $338) wireless transmitter and says that it works well, though he's having trouble getting it to communicate with a Lilliput field monitor because the latter shuts off before the transmitter has had time to configure itself.
The transmitter and receiver are both the same size, a bit smaller then the length and width of a V-mount battery, and about a centimeter thick. 5 Volts is the input, so you can make a cable with power converter to power the transmitter via your camera output. The weight is almost nothing.
VincentRozenberg: Cheap wireless HDMI transmitter/receiver

GoPro Review
Ben Horton reviews the GoPro camera, and he thinks it as revolutionary as the Canon 5D. He offers some tips:
  • You don’t have any control over the exposure or ISO, it’s the trade off for getting a tiny camera for $300, so if you want a professional looking shot, you need to pay attention to your light. There’s not a lot of leeway, so you can’t use photoshop to save your images as much as you can with an SLR.
  • For filming action sports, shoot in 60P. The ability to slow down the footage a bit without creating a video reminiscent of a flip book will help take some of the jitter out of some of the bumpier subjects like skiing, rally car racing, or a high speed chase. The trade off is now your shooting at 720 instead of 1080.
PhotoCineNews: Nat Geo Shooter Ben Horton Reviews GoPro Cameras
B & H: HD Helmet HERO Camcorder [$299.99]

Rokinon 85M-C F/1.4 Aspherical Lens
Ron Risman reviews this all manual lens that costs just $270. For video he thinks it's a good budget choice, though he notes that when shooting wide open at f/1.4 you will sometimes notice a bit of chromatic abberation along high-contrast areas that are out of focus. He doesn't recommend it for stills. It's available for Canon, Nikon and Sony alpha mount.
Cameratown: Rokinon 85M-C F/1.4 Aspherical Lens Review
Amazon: Rokinon 85M-C 85mm F1.4 Aspherical Lens for Canon (Black)[$274.36] | Nikon (Black)[$271.67] | Sony (Black)[$274.36]

Will 2011 be the year of 3D? 2012? Andy Stout at TVTechnology argues that what 3D really needs to sell into the home is a big event; HD video, he says, had Beijing. He goes on to suggest that 3D could come to the London Olympics, and drag everyone along with it. Except that he says the "signals are impressively mixed," over whether that will happen.
The manufacturers, with Panasonic leading the charge, are all over it and promising great things, but Olympic Broadcasting Services’ Manolo Romero is cautious, on record as saying that OBS might experiment with recording some events (notably the opening ceremony in 3D) but not as yet seeing any great demand from broadcasters for 3D. 
TVTechnology: The Year of 3D?

Large Sensor News

Canon T3i Review
Methods Blog has posted a review of the Canon T3i that includes sample video, and pictures comparing the T3i to the T2i.
I don't see much of an improvement between the T3i and the T2i.  If you can live without the swivel screen, I don't see a need to go and rent or buy the new T3i
methodikalge: Canon T3i Review
Amazon: Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Panasonic AG-AF100 Review
Dan Brockett reviews the Panasonic AG-AF100 for HD Video Pro. He was loaned a unit with the Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm F4.0-5.8 lens and he likes the fact that it basically combines video camera features with the shallow-depth of field capabilities of DSLRs.
The AVCHD codec is surprisingly good, better than expected, with clean greenscreen shots easy to obtain. Operationally, the AG-AF100 is a big step up from the HD DSLR. Panasonic seems to have tamed CMOS artifacts nicely, with very little rolling shutter and no moiré or aliasing visible in my footage
HDVideoPro: Bridging The Gap
B & HPanasonic AG-AF100 Professional Memory Card Camcorder [in stock $4,795.00]
B & HPanasonic Lumix G Vario HD 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 ASPH./MEGA O.I.S. [in stock $745.00]

Sony PMW-F3 footage
More people are posting test video from the PMW-F3 to Vimeo:

Sony PMW-F3 Firmware
Andy Shipsides at Abel Cine Tech's blog reports on the firmware update for the PMW-F3, and says it will cost $3,300 [$200 less than we first heard!] As he notes, this update - particularly the S-Log support - really opens up the true potential of this camera.

Pity that it effectively increases the price by a quarter.
CineTechnicaSony’s New Firmware Upgrade for the PMW-F3

Sony's NXCAM semi-announcements
Following on from the initial details reported about Sony's forthcoming NXCAM cameras, David Williams of tells a bit more of the story of seeing these new cameras. You won't really learn any more than was in the Film and Digital Times report, but you get a bit more atmosphere.
dv.comSony’s Big (NAB Show) Reveal – Part I

Inexpensive Aerial Footage
Vincent Rozenberg put a Sony NEX-5 on a friends DIY-Hexacopter and they took it for a short test flight. It's not the most scenic shot, but what's interesting - to me - is the way he combined a second clip from a ground camera that was shooting the copter on top of the footage from the NEX-5, and uploaded the result as a vertical movie to Vimeo.
VincentRozenbergSony NEX-5 on a DIY Hexacopter
B & H: Sony Alpha NEX-5 Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera w/16mm f/2.8 Lens (Black) [$649.99]

The Cheapest Redrock Rig
Chris & Zack at Production Junction show you how to build an inexpensive rig from Redrock parts that will cost $305.50, and can then be built out later as you get more money! They demonstrate how it can be used in a variety of configurations and discuss other options.
VimeoRedrock Micro Basics: Low Cost and Expandable DSLR Configuration

Setting Up A DSLR
Richard Harrington & Emmanual Etim demonstrate how to set up a DSLR correctly. They cover:
  • White balance
  • Picture Styles (color balance)
  • Recording Format
  • Focusing
Then they move on to tripods, rigs and assembling your video.
VimeoSetting up a Camera Correctly for DSLR Video

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Birger Engineering Canon EF mount for Panasonic AG-AF100

The Birger Engineering lens adapter for Canon EF lenses to the Panasonic AG-AF100 first got some press a few months ago, and though they won't be formerly announcing it until NAB, Erik Widding from Birger Engineering spoke at this weeks LearningLabs at Rule Boston Camera.
Rule has posted a video of the event, and if you are interested in this mount, it's well worth watching ( though it does get a bit technical here and there.) Some interesting details:
  • They are already looking at other cameras they could support in addition to the AG-AF100. The Sony PMW-F3 and even the Arri Alexa were listed, though they think the Sony NXCAM Super 35 might be the other "high-volume product."
  • The mount allows the camera to communicate with the lens, controlling aperture and focus. It will also allow autofocus, though he hedged a bit on whether he thought people would like the performance of auto-focus. He suggested that people come to NAB and try it! The camera will display the focus position of the lens on it's LCD panel.
  • Aperture can also be set manually using a knob on the mount.
  • He demoed a separate remote control that they are also developing. It will not be released at NAB, but should be available later in the year, with a target price of $700. In the current demo, the mount was connected by wire to a Mac, and then the control was talking wirelessly to the Mac; the final control unit will be able to talk wirelessly to the mount
  • It's compatible with "every Canon lens ever made" though he noted that the Canon lenses seem to talk slightly different variants of the basic control language; he said there were six to eight "dialects." The work of controlling the lenses has been done, and they are just finalizing the communication with the camera. That's about 70-80% done.
  • It works with the GH1, and they expect it to work with the GH2.
  • No back-focus adjustment is built in, but they don't believe it is necessary due to the tolerances of the camera, lenses and the adapter.
  • They will support Nikon "someday." They have an engineering model, but are currently focusing on other projects.
  • There was some discussion about price, and it sounded like they'd had some push back on the price but they justified it on what was involved in creating and manufacturing the product, as well as expected support and marketing costs. They may be able to reduce price in the future
Rule Boston Camera
Birger Engineering

Learning Lab: New AF-100 Lens Control System on 3.2.11 from Rule Boston Camera on Vimeo.

iPhone Film Festival

The iPhone Film Festival is looking for entries. Closing date is March 31st (Film Festival date is April 6th), and categories are: Cinematography, Comedy, Commercial, Cooking, Documentary, Feature Film, Featured Video, Interview, Music Video, Series and Short Film.

Entries must be shot on an iPhone or iPod Touch!

The prizes include a variety of iPhone accessories.

iPhone Film Festival

News From Here & There

  • Passive 3D will get better? Passive 3D screens currently aren't that good; they suffer from limited viewing angle issues and other problems. But  Vincent Alzieu seems to think things will get five years or so. DigitalVersus: Confirmed: Passive 3D to Replace Active 3D Technology

  • 3D doesn't work! David Cohen notes that even way back in 1953 people were complaining about 3D: Patron complained about not seeing picture on screen. Had his own viewers. Checked them; they were ordinary sunglasses. Twitlonger: Odd complaints about 3D: "Those Crazy, Mixed-Up 3-D Kids" July 8, 1953

  • Sony PMW-F3 3D rig. A photo of two PMW-F3's on a 3D rig is posted at: bethmarchant


  • Lighting: FilmmakerIQ has posted a very interesting lighting article for those on a budget - and those who aren't. The author recommends avoiding work lights, and having gone that route and since switched to "real" lights, I think he's absolutely right! FilmmakerIQ: Exposing a Basic Lighting and Grip Kit

  • Steadishots: if you work with - or just appreciate - camera stabilizers (i.e. steadicams TM) then check out:

GoPro ABPAK-001 Battery BacPac

GoPro has announced another accessory for the GoPro HD HERO camera, the GoPro Battery BacPac. The Battery BacPac works as both a charger for HD HERO batteries and plugs into the back of the 1080p HD HERO camera to nearly double record times.
The Battery BacPac plugs into any USB charging source to charge spare batteries and built-in LED lights indicate battery power status. It includes:
  • 1 Battery BacPac
  • 1-1100mAh Li-ion Battery
  • 1 Waterproof Door for HD HERO housing
  • 1 Skeleton Door for HD HERO housing
  • 1 USB cable
It's available for pre-order at Amazon for $49.99: GoPro ABPAK-001 Battery BacPac

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

From the iPad 2 rollout..

We have a long history of video editing. We're the largest supplier of video editing software in the world, we think.
-Steve Jobs

iPad 2 and iMovie for iOS update

Apple announced the iPad 2, and here's what we know:

  • Same price/configurations (though with Verizon models added)
  • Same screen resolution
  • same basic physical shape
  • same battery life

  • Faster (2x faster CPU, 9x faster graphics)
  • Thinner (13.4 mm to 8.8mm)
  • Slightly lighter (1.5 to 1.3lbs)
  • Black & white models
  • HDMI output (up to 1080p)
  • Gyroscope
  • Forward facing VGA camera, backward facing 720p camera (probably identical to the iPhone 4)

Software changes:
  • Improved Safari and Java performance
  • iTunes home sharing
  • iPad switch can be rotate lock or mute
  • FaceTime
  • PhotoBooth
  • local Wifi hotspot (for iPhone 4)

New software

They've upgraded iMovie to work with the iPad. It looks like it grows up the version they previously released for the iPhone (it might be the same one; I'm really hoping that it is and it's a free upgrade if you already bought the lousy previous iPhone version of iMovie.) The iPhone version I found basically unusable for anything other than very simple editing, but this version could be actually useful.

Unfortunately, according to Apple's spec page, it won't run on the original iPad; only the iPad 2, and the iPhone 4 and 4th gen iPod Touch.

I'm not surprised about this either; but iMovie only works with 720p video (and probably not AVCHD either) according to Robert Scoble.
Apple: iMovie

They've bought GarageBand to the iPad as well. Apple's site doesn't say if this will only work with the iPad 2, but I wouldn't be surprised. Seems that you can transfer projects from the iPad to your Mac...I wonder if you can go the other way? I don't have an audio editor on the iPad, so this looks interesting as well...
Apple: GarageBand

So should you upgrade?
I was really hoping that I wouldn't feel the need to upgrade. I still feel that way, though in the Steve Jobs reality-distortion-field, I definitely started to feel an urge to purchase during the presentation. (Great to see Steve was there, by the way.)

Though I'd like to be able to use iMovie and GarageBand on the iPad, oddly enough those seem to be the only two reasons I could be compelled to upgrade. The original iPad at the moment seems fast enough, and I don't really need cameras (as I have an iPhone 4 with those same cameras.)

But I'm not too sure how really useful and necessary those two apps are; maybe I'd be better just buying a couple of third-party apps and being done with it?

So, I'm currently saying I won't upgrade....but don't be surprised if the rationalizing starts happening....

[UPDATE: added note about iMovie only supporting 720p video.]

Deal: Tascam DR-03 Portable Digital Audio Recorder

B & H is offering the Tascam DR-03 for $59.99 (that's $20 less than Amazon is currently listing it.)

The pocket-sized unit can record high-quality WAV or MP3 files at rates up to 24-bit/48kHz. The unit records to readily-available microSD flash memory cards, allowing you to record hours of material and share it easily. A 2GB card is included for convenience.

Seems like a great pocket recorder for taking notes and recording lectures; may be even useful as an additional recording source during live shoots.
B & H: Tascam DR-03 Portable Digital Audio Recorder

More Details on Sony NXCAM Super 35mm and others...

Film & Digital Times has more details on the upcoming NXCAM Super 35mm camera. Though they couldn't post pictures of it, they have added some details, including the fact that it appears to have retained the block-like shape of the prototype, though added a viewfinder on top and a removable top handle. Sounds intriguing.
FDTimes: Sony NXCAM 35

The NXCAM group were also showing prototypes of a dust-proof, sand-proof, rain-proof and spray-resistant camcorder and a 3D camcorder. It appears that both units can use a top-detachable handle like the Super 35mm camera. Both cameras will be priced under $3,500 (and they won't use large sensors!)
FDTimes: NXCAMs for Sea, Sand and 3D

And I thought all the excitement today would be over the iPad 2 announcement!

Movie News

The Mistake Novice Directors Make
Peter Rea, author of Producing and Directing the Short Film and Videoexplains the number one mistake novice directors make:
Novice directors often give actors too much direction. There is also a tendency to give the actor a “result” direction such as asking an actor to be angry or compassionate or ironic. This is how their performance might be interpreted by the audience in the story, but is not an effective way to get that result on the set.
masteringfilm: The Mistake Novice Directors Make and How to Avoid It

ILM's first full-length feature
Industrial Light & Magic has been in 3D and FX so long, it's hard to believe that Rango is the first full-length animated movie they have produced. Daniel Terdiman at CNET talks to Tim Alexander, the Rango visual effects supervisor at ILM, and gets the behind-the-scenes on the production of the movie.
For most animated films, the actors record all their lines in otherwise empty sound studios. But in keeping with the desire to make "Rango" feel--to everyone concerned--as live-action as a digital film can be, Verbinski convinced his ensemble of actors to perform their roles on a physical, albeit, tinker-toy set based on the tiny fictional Mojave Desert town of Dirt, in which the movie takes place.
CNET: With 'Rango,' ILM wrangles first animated feature

Oscars Multi-tasking #fail?
The latest explanation for why James Franco seemed to do so badly at the Oscars; he was so busy tweeting he couldn't give the performance all he had.
Forbes: Was James Franco The Victim Of Oscar Multitasking?

At this site they appear to have taken the colors of the frames of different movies and created a swatch of colors indicating the color palette of the movie. At least, that's what I think they have done, as I can't find any explanation of it.
And I'm not too sure what it means...
Tumblr: moviebarcode

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Behind the Scenes "Ryan vs Brandon 2"

Even if you haven't heard of the movie Ryan vs Brandon 2, and aren't interested in lightsaber duels, this behind-the-scenes has at least three things of interest:
  • Overhead spinning camera rig: starts at about 4.00 - Awesome!
  • Lego mechanized dolly rig: starts at about 6:30
  • Motorized rail rig: starts at about 7:00
There's also tips on staging fights and clone shots, and it's noted that they crowd-sourced the rotoscoping of the lightsaber effects.

Large Sensor News

Sony PMW-F3 Firmware Upgrade
Sony has given a hint at the cost of the firmware update for the PMW-F3 that will provide support for Dual Link RGB / S-Log / 3G / Pre-Loaded 4 LUTS & 5 User LUT's for monitoring in S-Log mode. It will be approx $3500.00... ouch!

Impressions of the Sony PMW-F3
Matthew Allard bought one of the first PMW-F3's - though he only just got to play with it! - and he loves it. Particularly the low-light capabilities, and - though this may not be true for all - he actually is glad it supports 50i.
I have been very happy with the image out of the 5D mkII and the F3 certainly has a very different look to it than the DSLRs. It does look more like video on the standard settings and that’s because it is a video camera. The F3 is incredibly sharp on the standard settings and the detail is incredible. It can be made to look more like a 5D mkII but that requires a lot of tweaking and bringing the sharpness way down.
He recommends buying it with the three PL lenses, as he thinks they are a great value.
DSLRNewsShooter: Using the new Sony F3 – by Matthew Allard of Al Jazeera
B & H: Sony PMW-F3K Super 35mm Full-HD Compact Camcorder [$18,950.00]

Sony 4K Camera
Sony previewed a 4K CineAlta camera in Japan yesterday. The camera has a single 8K sensor (8768 x 2324 - 20.4 Megapixels). A half hour of 24p footage will fill 1 TB! People who has seen images from the camera describe them as "stunning" and "incredible."
The camera will be shown at NAB, and may be released in the summer.
fdtimes: New Sony Camera: 4K and Beyond

Mike Seymour at fxguide got play with the new RED camera, and notes that it's really small and that "the HDRx is working well, not that you will need it for every shot, but it is logical and impressive to use."
fxguide: Today was EPIC

Impressions of the Panasonic AG-AF100
Robert Ruscher spent time with the Panasonic AG-AF100 over the weekend. He loves the XLR audio input, ND filter and flip out screen, and made his piece with the viewfinder, but he's unhappy that it records in AVCHD - which he doesn't consider a pro format - and he's also unhappy that the comparatively smaller sensor means it's harder to get a good wide angle lens.

Note: if you don't like using AVCHD with the AG-AF100, you could use the AJA Ki Pro Mini (or similar) to capture the video from the HDMI or HD-SDI port.
RobertRuscher: First Impressions of the AF100

Sony NXCAM Super 35mm camera news

Will Sony announce the NXCAM Super 35mm camera before NAB, or at NAB? Or will they just preview it at NAB and announce it sometime later? Serious tea leaf reading is taking place, but it looks like we'll have a ship date by NAB. Here's a couple of news snippets:

Sony themselves are offering the NXCAM Super 35mm camera as a prize in their "Behind The Lens Contest." The winner will be announced June 1st, so the camera will more than likely be available by that date!

They also list the ARV: at $5,999.

Separately, Matt York at VideoMaker reports he got to see 3 incredible things at Sony, one being the NXCAM Super 35mm camera, which "seems like an HDSLR killer."

Sony: Behind The Lens FAQ
VideoMaker: Sony Atsugi Technology Center

Sony "Behind The Lens" Contest for Film School Students

Film Students are invited to submit their work to the Sony Behind the Lens Contest: Film School Edition through March 15.
The winner will win a Sony PMW-F3 camera (plus lenses), as well as one for their school. There's also a semi-finalist prize of a NXCAM Super 35mm camera.

Any student enrolled in a film or video digital media program at an accredited college or university can enter. Submissions are limited to one entry per person.
Sony: Behind the Lens Contest

Nikon Rumors

Nikon D4 to support Thunderbolt
Apple and Intel announced Thunderbolt (formerly Light Peak) last week, and while several peripheral manufacturers have indicated support, it seemed unlikely that a camera this year would include that new standard. And yet NikonRumors thinks that the forthcoming Nikon D4 might support it.
NikonRumors: Nikon D4 to support Light Peak/Thunderbolt?

Nikon D800 Announcement Soon?
The D700 is reportedly discontinued, a D800 announcement is expected shortly. Wonder what sort of video support it will have.
DigitalRev: Imminent Announcement of Nikon D800
NikonRumors: Nikon D800 rumors

Monday, February 28, 2011

Samyang announces E-mount lenses

Photorumors reports that Samyang has announced a manual 8mm f/3.5 FISH-EYE CS VG10 lens designed specifically for the Sony NEX-VG10 digital camcorder. It then goes on to say that the "lens will be officially introduced during the forthcoming Focus on Imaging fairs held in Birmingham [Mar 6-9th]" and exact release date and price will be announced later.

The article/press release concludes: "We are also about to introduce Samyang lens with Sony E mount for NEX system cameras."

The puzzling part about that is that the Sony NEX-VG10 and the Sony NEX-5 (and NEX-3) cameras, all use the same mount; the Sony E-mount. Did they mean to say that there are other lenses coming, or did the first sentence of the press release get accidentally moved to the end of it, or am I totally confused? Samyang announces the 8mm f/3.5 FISH-EYE CS VG10 lens
Focus on Imaging

News From Here & There

Sony PMW-F3
Andy Shipsides at Abel CineTech has been conducting some sensitivity tests on the PMW-F3, and posted his initial results that 0 db = 800 ISO, and 18db = 6400 ISO. He says he will be posting a detailed report soon.
DVinfo: 63db S/N Accurate on F3?

Matthew Allard has posted a video to Vimeo that compares the F3 and the Canon 5D Mark II. At the same shutter speed, f-stop and ISO, the F3 is noticeably brighter than the Canon 5D. He adds that "at ISO 1600 and 3200 the F3 was too bright and had to be stopped down to f4."
Vimeo: Sony F3 vs Canon 5D Mark II Low Light Test

Choosing between PL and still lenses for the F3?  Ola Christoffersson compares the choices, concluding:
when it comes to ergonomics [...] PL-lenses win, hands down. But in a lot of situations you can come reasonably close with a good still lens.
kamratprod.blogspot: PL-glass or still lenses for Sony F3

The Future of QuickTime
The news of a forthcoming update to Final Cut Pro has provoked quite a bit of excitement, but few people have thought much about QuickTime, which has gotten even less attention from Apple in the past few years. Philip Hodgetts goes over the future of media handling on the Mac, including the QTKit Framework and the AV Foundation from iOS 4.
So, two conclusions. Clearly the features not already added to QTKit for Lion will never be part of QuickTime moving forward. In its place is a much more flexible and powerful technology called Quartz Composer, integrated at the System level.

My other conclusion. I would be very, very surprised if – in addition to FXPlug – Final Cut Pro 8 (or 2011) did not support native Quartz Compositions as filters and transitions.
philiphidgetts: What is Apple doing with QuickTime?

Bad Movie Tips has compiled a list of things to avoid in student movies - or any movie for that matter - including:
  • The Tortured Artist Film
  • Dream Sequences
  • & Bad Audio
But hey! Dolly/Zoom is out of bounds?! D.U.M.P.S.: Directing Unsuccessful Motion Picture Shorts

One last Oscar item: Cinematography
Mike Eisenberg at ScreenRant discusses the nominees for best Cinematography. Of the winner, Inception, he writes:
Few question the fortitude of Inception‘s cinematography. It is fresh from a technical perspective, using the latest technology to give the audience an immersive visual experience without falling into the 3D revolution. As advanced as the execution may be, it still lacks the imagery that the Academy tends to favor. For instance, the hallway fight scene is a true testament to the film’s creativity, but many would be hard-pressed to compare the actual imagery to the film’s competition this year.
ScreenRant: Oscars 2011 Spotlight: Best Cinematography

Bits & Pieces

Canon T3i News

While it's electronics are basically the same as the T2i, one feature of the T3i that raised some excitement was the zoom video modes; the ability to digitally zoom at 3x and 10x while shooting video.

At ChessyCam, they have posted a couple of videos, the first one shot using the 3x zoom. They note that things "get a bit soft" at 10x. ChessyCam: T3i 3x Zoom w/ 100mm F/2.8L IS Macro

A second clip from ChessyCam shows both 3x and 10x zoom on a dime.

Canon T3i / 600D Macro Test with 3x-10x Zoom Feature from emmagination on Vimeo.

Amazon has the Canon T3i in stock and shipping:

Monetizing Stereo 3D - webinar Tuesday March 1

StudioDaily is offering a webinar Tuesday, March 1, 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. PT on 3D. It costs $99.

This webinar will take a look at the current state of the industry. Working producers and cinematographers will share their experiences on both the production and distribution sides of the stereo 3D equation, looking at what's working, what's not, and what they know about where the market is heading. We'll look at the realities of today's marketplace for stereographic content and the business plans that will support it.

StudioDaily: Monetizing Stereo 3D

What the Oscars nominated movies were shot and edited with

I don't care if the Oscar winner was cut on FCP, Avid or Lightworks. All I care about is the engrossing story that takes me away.

While I agree, I still think it is interesting to know what people are using to create things. The following is a list of acquisition methods, software and (some) lenses used for some of the Oscar nominated movies.

The majority of this information is extracted from a post by "Warren" at the International Colorist Academy: 2011 Oscars Best Picture Who Graded Them? I've reformatted it to make it more understandable.


  • Winter's Bone
  • The Social Network

  • True Grit (35mm Film (3 perf))
  • Black Swan (16mm Film Fuji)
  • Inception (35/65mm Film)
  • The Fighter (35mm Film Fuji)
  • The King's Speech (35mm Film Fuji)
  • The Kids Are Alright (35mm Film Kodak )

  • 127 Hours (Canon 5D/7D/SI2K Mini/35mm Film)

[Only found limited information]
  • The Social Network (Best Editing - Final Cut Pro)
  • The King's Speech (Best Picture - Lightworks)
  • True Grit (Final Cut Pro)


Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • The Fighter
  • The Kids Are Alright
  • Hereafter

Filmlight Baselight
  • 127 Hours*
  • The King's Speech
* Warren notes that "Soret called it the most challenging color job of his career because of the vast number of mixed camera formats Boyle used."

Autodesk Lustre
  • True Grit
  • Black Swan
  • Winter's Bone

Quantel Pablo
  • The Social Network

Zeiss announced on FaceBook that the following films used Zeiss lenses:
  • The King's Speech (Master Prime)
  • The Fighter (Master Prime)
  • 127 Hours (Ultra Prime)
  • Black Swan (Ultra Prime 16, Master Prime 100)
  • The Social Network (Master Prime)
  • The Kids are all Right (Ultra Prime)


[UPDATED: Added True Grit to Editing list]

Thoughts on the Oscars

I remember when I was young [well done, - Ed] and I used to look forward to the Oscars. It was a big, exciting event. Now, it seems sort of blah. I don't know why. Have I over-dosed on Oscars? Built up immunity?

Perhaps part of it is that when I was young I never really saw movie stars on TV except at the Oscars. But now they seem to be everywhere. The web, The Daily Show, the dozens of late night talk shows, Oprah, you see them so much that seeing them get up and read mildly funny bits from a TelePrompter isn't that interesting or exciting.

So I generally half watch the Oscars; catch the opening, miss most of the middle, and try and catch the end of it to see who got Best Director and Best Movie; if I'm still awake.

This years event was a little different, as I was half watching Twitter and watching the live show. If anything, Twitter, was the only thing that kept me going; for some reason it was the snark that appealed to me the most:

Kevin Spacey locks it for next year's host.
-John Hodgman

Spielberg's tribute to great Best Picture non-winners is the best thing I've ever heard on the Oscars.
-John Gruber

I predict a suprise upset and Last Airbender will take it.
-David Stripinis

Can we get CG Bob Hope to host next year?

I think they're just dangling good hosts in front of us now.
-Michael Scott

I hope James Franco does better on the oral exam for his PhD.

I'm old. I knew so many of the people in the Memoriam segment when they were young and filled with excitement. So was I.

The worst Oscar cast I've seen, and I go back awhile. Some great winners, a nice distribution of awards, but the show? Dead. In. The. Water.
-Roger Ebert

Oh it's tough out there...I'm glad I'm not in charge of producing the next Oscars.

One question: Did they really need to take a couple of minutes out of our lives to announce that ABC had renewed the Oscars through 2020?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nominations for best Oscar acceptance speech

and the nominations are:

Luke Matheny who won best live action short for God of Love.
For observing that he should have got a haircut and then thanking his mom who did craft services.

David Seidler who won for best original screenplay for The King's Speech.
"My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer."

Colin Firth who won for best actor for The King's Speech.
"I have a feeling my career's just peaked." "Now if you'll all excuse me, I have some impulses I must tend to back stage." And for saying that he was discovered as a child sensation 20 years ago.

but the winner is:

Randy Newman for an oddly rambling yet exhilarating speech with several unexpected moments including:
"They could find a fifth song from someone... Aw, the hell with it!"

News: The Oscars Edition

Tonight is the Oscars, so in celebration:

Razzie Awards
The Last Airbender scored big with: Worst Picture, Worst Director, Worst Supporting Actor, Worst Screenplay and Worst Most Eye-Gouging Mis-Use Of 3D. indiewire‘The Last Airbender’ Razzie Leader

Oscar Nominated Scripts
Most of this years Oscar-nominated scripts can be read here: Raindance: 2011 Oscar Nominated Scripts

Oscar Nominated Scores
Andy Trudeau plays excerpts from, and provides a little background informatinon about, the Academy Award nominees for Best Film Score. The nominees are: How to Train Your Dragon, Inception, The King's Speech, 127 Hours and The Social Network.
He picks How To Train Your Dragonby John Powell for the win.
NPR: Movie Music 2011: Oscar-Nominated Scores

Story is King
The New York Times profiles/interviews movie exec Peter Gruber (former chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.) He has a new book coming out this week: Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
And Mr. Guber’s take-away from the great adventure is this: That he succeeded, when he did so at all, “by telling many purposeful stories, face-to-face, over the course of a long career.”
NewYorkTimesIn Film and in Life, the Story Is King

And finally, how long until an Oscar nominated movie is shot on an ARRI Alexa? Probably not too long. Inspiration Studios in Australia has this amusing short piece on the ease of use of the Alexa.

Sensible Digital Cinema: The Arri Alexa from Inspiration Studios on Vimeo.