Saturday, March 12, 2011

iPad 2 Details

I ran in to Digital Media Journalist Adam Weiss at the Camera Company show today. He had bought the new iPad 2 yesterday, and he said that he didn't find it that much faster than the older model, though he wondered if that was because not many apps are yet written for the dual processor.

He also confirmed that the camera in the iPad 2 isn't nearly as good as the one in the iPhone 4. Stills are pretty awful, and even the video isn't as good. I had assumed it would be the same camera as in the iPhone 4, but perhaps because the iPad 2 is thinner than the iPhone 4, it got the same (or similar) camera as the iPod Touch.

This article from Wired explains the situation: Just How Bad Is the iPad 2 Camera?

It's ironic that after it's announcement, several people had said to me that it would be odd shooting video with the iPad 2 because of it's large shape. Now I can tell them they don't want to do it because the iPhone 4 is a much better camera.

News From Here & There

Atmos Ninja Delays reports that the Atmos Ninja - a digital recorder that captures HDMI output to notebook HDD or SSD drives - had been delayed due to a software bug, but that it should be shipping "about now." Atomos Ninja bug slips ship date

iMovie for iPad can work on original iPad?
The German blog fscklog reports on a way to install iMovie for iPad on the original iPad, and that it seems to work okay; except that iTunes wants to uninstall it all the time.
9to5mac explains things in English.
9to5mac: iMovie works on original iPad, here’s how to install it

Benjamin Eckstein Interview
In this audio podcast, Thomas Roberts interviews DP Benjamin Eckstein about the All In Film charity poker tournament, which will benefit American Red Cross and will be held on April 11th during NAB.

They also talk at some length about the Panasonic AG-AF100. Ben just got an AG-AF100:
It's a great merger of the DSLR look; a big sensor, chips that people have been using for the last year or so in the DSLRs, you mix that with a camera that has all the functionality that you would expect in a video camera, cameras like the EX1 [...] All those features that you would expect in a real video camera are sorely lacking in the DSLR's [...] it's just nice to have it all in one.
Soundcloud-TRStudios: Interview with Benjamin Eckstein
Benjamin Eckstein
All In Film 2.0

Video Comparison: RED, Alexa and PMW-F3
Schumacher Camera has posted some video tests (resolution charts, color chart, skin tone, latitude and rolling shutter) shot with the Arri Alexa, Red MX & Sony PMW-F3.
VimeoAlexa, Red MX & Sony F3 Camera Test Comparison

Problems with inexpensive Canon EF to Micro 4/3 adaptor
Philip Johnston at HD Warrior reports that the Kipon adaptor he's been using on his Panasonic AG-AF101 intermittently for the past three months has developed a wobble.
What happens is that the lens you are using has a rocking movement in other words you can physically move the lens up and down which should not happen.
He does note that he was using the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens on it; a rather sizeable piece of glass.
HDWarrior: Kipon adapter now failing after 3 months !

Canon Coffee Mugs
While we're on the subject of the Canon EF 70-200 lens, Canon made a special coffee mug in the shape of the 70-200 f/4 lens for the winter Olympics. While they have appeared on sale intermittently, B & H now sells them too.
B & H: Canon Mugs Canon 70-200 mm Lens Mug

Friday, March 11, 2011

Camera Company Pro Video Show: March 11th & 12th

Just a reminder that this show is running today and tomorrow!

The Camera Company's 21st Annual Pro Video Show is Fri. March 11th and Sat. March 12th at The Dedham Holiday Inn, Dedham MA. The show includes a vendor exhibit with equipment from Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Canon and many more, and some of the vendors are also offering free seminars, including: JVC, Sony, Panasonic, Zacuto, Glidecam, Broadcast Pix and Sennheiser.

And for not a whole lot of money, there are also several workshops, including:
  • Doug Jensen: Intro to HD Video with your DSLR, Great Interview Lighting on a Budget, Gettig it Right in the Camera
  • Eric Latek: Seeing RED! A Look at The RED One Camera Part 1 & 2, Intro and Basics of Adobe Premiere & After Effects
  • Teja Arboleda: Producing the Independent PBS Documentary, Adapting to Cross Platform and New Media, Basic Digital Video Techniques
  • Adem Weiss: Getting Started with Apple Final Cut Pro, What Makes a Video Camera Better and not Just More Expensive
  • Hal Slifer; Biography Video Productions
  • David Tames: Double System Sound Production for DSLRs & Small HD Camcorders
Most of the workshops cost $39, though a few are even a bit cheaper.

They also offer some good discounts on gear at the show - last year I ended up buying a mic and a camera bag - so the show is definitely worth checking out if you're in the Boston area.
CameraCompany: 21st Annual Pro Video Show

Screenwriting 102

This post kept changing as I wrote it. Originally it was going to be a collection of links to some different screenwriting resources, but over the past month or so I've been working on my own screenplay [aren't we all? - Ed] and as a result of that experience, I've pruned this down to three things that have really helped me out.

1. Screenwriting software - Scrivener

Scrivener is a word processor that was originally released for the Mac, and is now also available on Windows. I've used it off-and-on as a writing tool, partly because I like the full screen mode - which it had before Apple added something similar to their Pages application - and partly because of these three features:
  • It saves automatically.
    I really like that it automatically saves changes as you work. There's something comforting about knowing that if your computer crashes, you aren't going to lose all your work. Admittedly, my computer doesn't crash as much as it used to, but it still happens!
  • Script Template.
    Scrivener has a script template, and that's handy! Apple Pages has one too, and you can download one from Microsoft's site for Word; there are also dozens of templates out on the web, so it's not like this is a huge thing. But it is nice to be able to just choose it and go. And it's reasonably easy to use once you learn the keyboard shortcuts; it even remembers character names and will autofill them for you.
  • Scenes.
    But the number one reason I like Scrivener is that you can put each Scene into a separate Scene "page" within the Scrivener document. You can edit the Scenes individually, or the document as a whole. And if you want to change the order of Scenes, you can just click and drag them around in the Scene list.

    Now that's a really cool and useful feature.
For $45, it's not a bad investment; just for the ability to quickly and easily reorganize your screenplay.
Literature & Latte: Scrivener

2. Signs of a Good Screenplay
Just last week I read a post from Michael Rabiger at Mastering Film, excerpted from his book Directing, Fourth Edition: Film Techniques and Aesthetics, which goes over some of the mistakes new screenwriters maker.

Then I went back and looked at my screenplay and realized I was committing several of the errors he mentions, including: over-describing, too much instruction, and camera and editing instructions.

MasteringFilm: Signs of a Good Screenplay

3. Free Online Screenwriting Course
So there I was, with a 100 page screenplay that seemed so close to being finished; but I just couldn't seem to do it. Something just wasn't working; or it hadn't turned out how I'd envisaged it. But I couldn't figure out what to do to fix it.

Then I came across the Screenwriting Unit by Jane Pugh at the OpenSpace Project at the University College Falmouth, UK. This is the complete course notes from a college screenwriting class, and it's online and free. It's free - did I mention that it's free? [I don't think you did - Ed.] You can read the class notes (and/or listen to the instructor read those same notes in the podcasts!)

I listened to the second unit ("The Principles of Screenwriting") and it was a revelation! Suddenly I knew what was wrong with my screenplay, and why it wasn't working for me (too many characters and too many story lines). Yes, I probably should have realized this myself, but as a neophyte, I think I really needed someone to hit me over the head with the solution. Pretty neat that.

Now, I just have to see if I can fix it!

But I definitely recommend taking a look at this material; and it's free!
Falmouth: Screenwriting unit at

Other screenwriting links:
Finally, I said I wasn't going to list a bunch of resources in this post, but I had these already..
  • Writing Better Dialog
    John August has posted several interesting articles and videos, including this one on writing better dialog.
  • Go Into The Story
    Named the "Best Blog for Aspiring Screenwriters," Scott Myers blog covers all sorts of things to do with screenwriting.
  • What Filmmakers should know about Screenwriting
    Elliot Grove provides a list of 10 things Producers should know about Story. Screenwriters should know it too.

"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot."
- Charlie Chaplin

News From Here & There

iPad Audio
Though it doesn't cover the just released GarageBand for iPadRuss Long at ProAudio Review looks at a large number of audio applications for the iPad, notably Sonoma Wire Works’ StudioTrack and Sound Trends studio.HD. He also looks at a variety of other audio tools including BeepStreet iSequence and Propellerhead Software's ReBirth.
ProAudioReviewiPad Audio Production Tools

Recording Audio Tips
Kyle Fiechter at InventorSpot provides some suggestions for improving audio recordings (and though it focuses on DSLRs, this advice also applies to other cameras.)

While the shotgun mic is a worthwhile suggestion, I would recommend using a separate recording system as well - such as the Zoom H4n - rather than going into a DSLR.
InventorSpotClearing Up The Noise Part II: Solutions For Capturing Quality DSLR Audio

Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D
John Virata at Digital Post Production profiles Graveyard Carz a reality show shot with DSLR cameras.
Not since the [Sony] VX1000 have imaginations and story ideas been sparked and acted on, and the DSLR shooting in HD has rekindled that fire to a whole new generation of storytellers.
There's interesting comments about using different kinds of video cameras, as well as camera stabilization.
DigitalPostProduction: Graveyard Carz shot on Canon DSLRs

Canon to support Thunderbolt
Canon announced that it intends to support Intel's Thunderbolt; the high speed communications interface that Apple has added to their MacBook Pro line. Canon's Video Products Group director Hiroo Edakubo said that Thunderbolt would "bring new levels of performance and simplicity to the video creation market."

Just a couple of weeks ago there was a rumor that Canon might put Thunderbolt in the forthcoming 5D Mark II replacement or the replacement for the 1Ds. That might happen, though it seems more likely that it'll appear in video products like the XF300 first (they may not want to add the cost to a product intended primarily for stills.)
ElectronistaCanon gets behind Thunderbolt, teases 10Gbps camcorders

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Successor to Sony NEX-VG10

SonyAlphaRumors thinks there might be a successor to the Sony NEX-VG10 coming. BUT, reading the post and update, it's possible that they are actually talking about the upcoming NXCAM Super 35mm camera and think it's a successor to the NEX-VG10 (both will use the Sony E-Mount, so there's a similarity there.)

Sony NEX-VG10

Then again, another possibility is that Sony will release two versions of the NXCAM Super 35mm camera; a high-end consumer version, and the professional NXCAM version. They did the same when they announced the NXCAM HXR-NX5u; and then a little later they announced a pro-sumer version; the HDR-AX2000.

SonyAlphaRumors: (SR3) Sony NEX-VG10 successor to be announced in April (with more professional controls and features)

Sony HDR-CX700V In Stock @ Amazon and B & H

Both Amazon and B & H are now listing the Sony HDR-CX700V as being in stock:

Amazon: Sony HDR-CX700V High Definition Handycam Camcorder (Black)
B & H: Sony HDR-CX700V Camcorder

News From Here & There

iMovie for iPad Review
The first reviews for iMovie for the iPad are appearing, and Jason Snell at MacWorld has posted his take on the application. It's pretty much as expected; an easy to use tool that is good for putting together quick edits, but it's limited by the source formats it supports:
My Canon T2i shoots H.264 videos, but at the wrong resolutions. My Canon HD camcorder shoots in a crazy compression format that an iMac struggles to transcode, so I’m not surprised that iMovie on the iPad refuses to acknowledge its existence. Still, if you’re planning on using an iPad to edit your vacation movies, plan on shooting those movies on an iOS device or search out a camera that shoots iPad-compatible video files.
MacWorld: Hands on with iMovie for iPad

Music vs. Silence
Composer Milosz Jeziorski explains five ways music - and silence - work together within films:
3. The Rule of Montages
This technique is simple, and is also deeply ingrained in pop culture : “Where there is a montage there must be music”. The reason it works so well is a matter of convenience and musical influence. A montage allows the story to progress an indefinite amount of time within a minute’s span, but this is believable because the music gives you the impression that everything you’re seeing is connected.
NoFilmSchool: Music vs. Silence: 5 Simple Rules for a Better Film

Art Direction
From his book Voice and Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Film and DV ProductionMick Hurbis-Cherrier explains how many low-budget and student filmmakers overlook simple things.
I am constantly amazed at students who take great pains choosing just the right film stock, filters, and lighting scheme to achieve a specific “look” but end up shooting in utterly bland locations, with no thought to the color of the walls, the arrangement of objects in the space, or the background beyond the performers
MasteringFilm: The Art of Pillow Placement

Moving between Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro
Joost van der Hoeven explains how to move a project from Final Cut Pro to Adobe Premiere Pro and back again.
AdobeTV: Using Final Cut Pro With Adobe Premiere Pro

Comparing footage from Sony PMW-F3, Panasonic AG-AF100 and Canon 5D Mark II
Dennis Ersöz has posted a short video showing a gain test and a shake test (to show rolling shutter) for these three cameras.
Vimeo: Untitled

More Sony PMW-F3 footage
This commercial for the iPhone app iRABBIT was shot with the Sony PMW-F3 and the Zeiss CP2 25mm.
Vimeo: iRabbit

Visual Impact has posted a test video they shot with the PMW-F3 at 1080/50i, standard setup, available lighting and no filtration. Quite a variety of material in this video.
YouTube: Sony PMW - F3 Test shoot by Visual Impact HD

A two minute online video is the equivalent of Lawrence of Arabia for gen Y.
-Mick Jones

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Just Released- Rotoscoping:Techniques and Tools for the Aspiring Artist

Features step-by-step instruction on the artistic techniques of rotoscoping and digital painting with lessons on:
  • Articulate mattes
  • Digital paint in moving footage
  • Motion tracking
  • Advanced rotoscoping and digital paint techniques, and more
Rotoscoping: Techniques and Tools for the Aspiring Artist[Amazon: $25.57] Focal Press Info

Arri Alexa & RED Epic

Alex Buono (DP at Saturday Night Live) posted this picture of an Arri Alexa next to a RED Epic. That Epic sure looks tiny...

TwitPic: 47vuec

RED Epic
Meanwhile, Stu Maschwitz has been in New Zealand working on a shoot with the RED Epic. You can see a couple of amazing short clips taken in the helicopter of them shooting with the Epic (note: the video itself is not form the RED, but pretty amazing to see them shooting at very low altitude!)
ProLost: Epic Movie

ARRI Workshop in Boston
If you're in Boston this Friday or Saturday and are interested in the Alexa, Talamas Broadcast is offering a free workshop.
NoteOnVideo: ARRI Workshop - Newton MA

News From Here & There

BBC says "meh" to 3D
Broadband TV News reports that the BBC is anything but enthusiastic about 3D production, even though Sony is assisting them with a broadcast of Wimbeldon in 3D.
There is no standardisation of the technologies for acquisition, post production, contribution or distribution of S3D. This approach is likely to suit a smaller but better funded number of players in the movie industry. Within the broader, more diverse and often less well funded television making community a lack of standardisation would be a more significant issue; not just for S3D as a format but also in financial terms for the producers and commissioning broadcasters.
BroadbandTVNews: BBC warning on 3D standards

Commandants for Low-Budget Filmmakers
Elliot Grove offers 10 tips for low-budget filmmakers:
4) Thou shalt spend proper time in pre-production
The week or two before you shoot is pretty crucial. If you have a well-oiled and organised approach, this time will make sure that whatever freebies, and cheap deals you have managed to gather will serve you to the fullest and not be wasted. Make sure you have the legal angles covered as well.
Raindance: 10 Commandments ForLow Budget Filmmakers

Scriptwriting Tips
10 tips from theScriptLab:
3. Three-Act Structure
The experts can debate sequences, but all agree the story is told in three acts, with a turning-point to end Act I and II.
theScriptLab: Top Ten Screenplay Essentials

Jeff Hutchens - photojournalist & documentary maker
Zacuto interviews photojourmalist and documentary maker Jeff Hutchens, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine and The National Geographic Channel.
Zacuto: Featured Filmmaker ~ Jeff Hutchens

At MasteringFilm an excerpt from The VES Handbook of Visual Effects: Industry Standard VFX Practices and Proceduresexplains how to shoot better greenscreen.
A common misconception is that backing brightness should be adjusted to match the level of foreground illumination. In fact, the optimum backing brightness depends only on the f-stop at which the scene is shot.
MasteringFilm: Greenscreen Exposure

Welcome to the Silly Season

The next few weeks will be exciting ones with rumors and news about several new cameras and video products. It's the traditional rollout of professional gear leading up to NAB in mid-April, though don't be surprised if there are some interesting announcements after the show.

Sony already got into the act last week with a restricted presentation of several new cameras, and they have already confirmed they are set to rollout new cameras in their NXCAM, XDCAM and CineAlta families. This includes two 3D models, one in the NXCAM family and a shoulder-mount 3-D camcorder.
BroadcastEngineering: Sony aims to reclaim acquisition status
BroadcastEngineeringSony unveils professional 3-D camcorder

There's a lot of interest in the forthcoming NXCAM Super 35mm camera, the baby brother of the large-sensor PMW-F3. Just today Cinescopophilia reported that it thinks the camera will be named the FS100, (though some people are questioning it.)
CinescopophiliaFS100 NXCAM S35mm Sony Camera Has A Name

Panasonic and Sony have received a lot of attention with the AG-AF100 and PMW-F3, but what about Canon, who arguably created this rush to large sensor video cameras with the 5D Mark II? There's been a few hints here and there about a 5D Mark III, but nothing to suggest an announcement was imminent.

Now EOSHD claims that Tim Smith of Canon has said that the 5D Mark III will use the 4-2-2 MPEG2 compression in place of H.264. If true this is an interesting development both because it should represent an improvement in compression quality, but also if Tim Smith is saying this, then the announcement of the 5D Mark III is probably only a couple of months away.

Other questions are sure to follow; a better codec is one thing, but will Canon improve the image scaling to improve image quality and reduce moire and other problems? I guess we'll just have to speculate wildly until more details are revealed...
EOSHDCanon 5D Mark 3 to feature new MPEG variant 4-2-2 at 50Mbit

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Sony NXCAM Super 35mm camera news

Cinescopophilia reports that the upcoming NXCAM Super 35mm camera will be announced March 23rd, and will be named the FS100.

Cinescopophili: FS100 NXCAM S35mm Sony Camera Has A Name

Videographer Jack Lilley on producing a music video for "South Sea Company"

Fresh out of University, Jack Lilley (23) and his friend Michael Grass started their video production company almost accidentally. "We didn't really have a choice," recalls Jack. "We got asked to make a DVD for punk singer/songwriter Frank Turner and in order to make some money from it we had to set up some type of official company." The name of the company - Sea Legs - came from one of his songs, though "we threw around a few names and this one just felt right."

Based in Bath/Bristol UK, their company now specializes in producing music and event videos.

A recent project they completed was a low-budget video for the Alternative/Indie/Rock band South Sea Company. Jack was gacious enough to take the time to answer some questions about this project.

How did you get into this business?
I started filming a long time ago when I first started skating, and haven't put down a camera since. I'd always been a part of the local music scene in some way or another and after I finished university it just seemed the right thing to do; carry on filming bands as much as possible.

How did you come to make this video?
The manager of the band did us a huge favour with another video we filmed Fellsilent - immerse by providing us with a venue and in-house lighting. So we owed him one.

He asked us if we could put together a quick promo video for one of his bands for as little money as possible, but make it look as good as possible. The only input we got was that the band really like the way "Control" had been filmed, so we went for that kind of style.

What equipment was used to shoot it?
The only camera we used was the Canon 550D/T2i. Lenses were my Sigma 24-135mm F2.8-4.5 (discontinued-Ed) and the standard Canon 18-55mm 3.5. The shoulder mount was a Habbycam SD camera brace. We had a slider on set as well, an Igus 2M rail that we had propped on 3 tripods. Lighting wise we hired out 6 Satchlers because it was such a small room and we wanted to have focused patches of light rather than fill it too much.

Do you use the Canon for most projects?
For short promos yes, but for live shows no. The 12 minute recording restriction is really annoying in that sense, but now Panasonic have bought out the AG-AF101 I expect we'll be using them as our live cameras and maybe have a few roaming 550Ds, 7Ds etc.

Who was the crew for this?
It was shot with myself and my aforementioned colleague Mike, thats all. We don't tend to work in big crews; we find it can complicate things a bit.

How was it shot?
It was shot in multiple takes. We shot a series of complete takes and I think in all we had over 25 full takes lined up in the editor, that's not counting mistakes though. I dont know how many we did in total, probably some where in the region of 35-40.

How long did you spend shooting?
We shot for about 3 hours just doing take after take, then we gave the band a "break" and filmed them walking outside, just to give us an establishing shot. Then we probably filmed for another two just to make sure we had everything.

At what point did you decide to make it Black & White?
We set out to make the video in black & white from the beginning.  The band wanted this video to be very British and had cited Control as one of their favorite films, so we purposely shot in Black and White.

How was it edited?
We used Final Cut Pro, and Apple Color. I did edit it along with Mike. I think that in all it took a couple of days. Once we had the tracks lined up it's just a case of seeing what works where.

You can see more examples of their work at their website: Sea Legs

HomepageSea Legs
Myspace: South Sea Company
Amazon: Habbycam SD Shoulder Brace, Supports Any Camera Up to 20 lbs.[$249]
Amazon: Igus Sliders
Habbycam Habbycam SD
Igus: Camera Technology

News From Here & There

How Digital Acquisition Is Still Changing Editing
Michael Miller at the Filmmaker's Diary writes about editing Josh Radnor’s happythankyoumoreplease. Michael notes that having shed the cost limitations of film, Josh recorded the entire rehearsal process as one long take, which meant that the classical meaning of the word "take" was lost.
Ironically, this directing breakthrough was first presented to me as a descent into lunacy.  Phoning me from the film’s New York location, one of our producers exclaimed, with great consternation, “You’re gonna get a 40 minute take in tomorrow’s dailies!  For a two minute
Miller saw this as an opportunity:
...with sound and image being recorded non-stop, unrehearsed moments of brilliance were never lost.
FilmmakersDiary: happythankyoumoreplease

Mastering Film
Focal Press produces a lot of books about video and movie production, and now they've set up a website devoted to the subject, with a collection of short articles from various authors.

In one such article, Mark Sawicki advocates for the art of Cinematography:
Camerawork is so much more than so called “product acquisition.”  Cinematography is an art form and the foundation of the magic we call the movies.
MasteringFilmA Plea to Preserving the Art of Cinematography

The Good And The Bad of iPad 2
Taz Goldstein at HandHeldHollywood looks at the good and the bad of the iPad 2 for film makers.

Personally, the disappointing thing is that even with iMovie for iPad you won't be able to edit video shot with DSLRs or AVCHD camcorders on your iPad - this is assuming that iMovie for iPad doesn't support importing these file formats since the iPad doesn't support playing these formats natively.
HandHeldHollywoodIPad 2: Good And Bad News For Mobile Filmmakers

Panasonic AG-AF100 Sensor Flare
Some people seem to think the AG-AF100 suffers from sensor flare; or more accurately, that it can be worse than on other cameras:
Yes, we do understand that DSLR’s and other HD large sensor cameras show that phenomenon too – please don’t call us names. We never stated otherwise, read our original post carefully. What we do state however is that this phenomenon is much more visible in AF100. We think it can be a problem.
Now I've seen a lot of conspiracy theories and concern trolls pop-up on forums, but interestingly, this subject - and/or the people promoting the issue - seem to have provoked some serious backlash. The DVXUser forum banned some people, and deleted a thread for "spreading FUD," while others have responded with blog posts.

And now there's a blog dedicated to the subject.

NOTE: I haven't seen the original thread and I have absolutely no opinion on this subject.

Monday, March 07, 2011

How to Make a Living as a Filmmaker

The Tribeca Film Institute at The New School hosted a panel discussion last February on How to Make a Living as a Filmmaker or How to Make a Living and Still Be a Filmmaker.
You've completed your school work and made a few films in school, and now you need to figure out your next steps. What career options exist for filmmakers? How can you develop and raise money for a film project and still cover your living expenses? This panel addresses these questions and provides examples and answers relevant to all makers of film and other media.
  • Sharon Badal (Moderator) is head short film programmer for the Tribeca Film Festival.
  • Sandi DuBowski is the Director/Producer of Trembling Before G-d, Producer of A Jihad for Love, and Co-Producer of Budrus.
  • Macky Alston is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, an educator on issues of media and religion, an organizer within the worlds of philanthropy and media-making, and a regular writer and reviewer on film and religion
  • Moon Molson
 graduated with a M.F.A. from Columbia University, where he won the New Line Cinema Outstanding Achievement in Filmmaking Award for his thesis film Pop Foul.
  • Buboo Kakati is a three-time Emmy winning writer, director, and producer; her work has aired on NBC, SHOWTIME, PBS, FOOD NETWORK and WNYE
The New School

JVC GS-TD1 In Stock at B & H

Amazon doesn't seem to stock it yet, but B & H say they have the new JVC 3D GS-TD1 camcorder in stock. I'd love to play with one; don't think I want to buy one, though Camcorderinfo seemed to prefer it over the Sony HDR-TD10.
B & H: JVC GS-TD1 Full HD 3D Camcorder [$1,699.00]

News From Here & There

Those Smoking Hot New MacBook Pros
Need an excuse to buy a new MacBook Pro? "BestOfInspiration" has posted a video that compares the new Apple 17'' MacBook Pro 2011 (2.2 GHz Intel Core i7) and the 1 year old Apple 17'' MacBook Pro (2,8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo) using Adobe Photoshop, Apple Compressor, Final Cut Pro and Blender.
Exporting a clip with the 3-Way Color adjustment filter attached in Final Cut Pro took 13:58 on the old model, 3:46 on the new model. - Wow How much faster is Final Cut Pro on the new 2.2GHz i7 MacBook Pros?

How To Use a Lightmeter
I've never used a lightmeter - I've always had a camera that had it's own meter - but in case you want to do it the right way, Jem Schofield, from, demonstrates howto use the new Sekonic 308DC light meter with the Panasonic AG-AF100.
CineTechnica: Using Sekonic’s 308DC Light Meter with AF100

POV.HD Review
The V.I.O. POV.HD Digital Helmet Camera System might be expensive ($599) but it does have the advantage over other POV cams like the GoPro and the Contour in that it has a monitor on a separate control panel on a long cable. Being able to see what you are shooting would be really useful [you can get the add-on monitor for the GoPro, but that still requires you get close to the camera to view it.]
Engadget reviewed the POV.HD camera, and while they have reservations about price and usefulness in all situations they conclude:
But, though though the footage [GoPro & Contour] capture may contain the same number of pixels, it won't look this good, won't be this wide, and won't be this clear, especially in lower light. They won't manage three and a half hours to a charge, either.
Engadget: POV.HD camera review
B & H: V.I.O. POV.HD Digital Helmet Camera System [$599.00]

More Details From Sony's Semi-Announcements
David Williams already wrote about the Sony event last week revealing the forthcoming NXCAM cameras. Now he's added more details about 3D developments ...[though it appears the pictures have now been removed.] Sony’s Big (NAB Show) Reveal – Part II

DOJ Investigating MPEG LA?
The Wall Street Journal reports that the DOJ is investigating MPEG LA, (MPEG LA is the patent licensing pool for all things H.264.)
MacWorld: DOJ won't comment on reports of MPEG LA probe

The Business of Movies

Funding for The King's Speech
Interesting article from The Wall Street Journal about how the movie was funded:
Aegis’s model is to securitize an up-front loan to a film producer against guaranteed future revenue streams, such as tax credits and distribution sales, which are payable once the film is completed. For “The King’s Speech,” the fund lent money against the U.K. tax credit at a rate of 15%, against presales contracts at 15%, and at a rate of 18-20% against distribution in territories that hadn’t been presold.
WSJ: ‘The King’s Speech’: A Royal Return for Film Financing Fund

Microbudget Films And Subpar Sound
John Yost bemoans the problems of some small budget projects:
This ordeal raises many questions. Is there an expectation of micro-budget films to have subpar sound? I feel like there is. After a screening at a small film festival a few years back I distinctly remember this exchange from two audience members:
“Sound was all over the place.”
“Yeah, well it’s probably all they had to work with.”

10 Minute Film School
Robert Rodriguez is famous for his start in movies by producing “El Mariachi” on a shoe string budget. This article provides some tips from the master of stretching a dollar:
Shooting with wide lenses can save the headache of focus pulling.  With the massive depth of field you get shooting wide, it’s pretty safe to bet that your shots will be sharp and crisp when you’re, say, shooting with a steadicam or chasing a skier downhill.
ChaseJarvis: 10 Minute Film School with Robert Rodriguez

Lens Color Differences

I've been playing with lenses on still and video cameras for decades, and though I don't get completely nuts over lens specs - usually I look at two things; price and maximum aperture and call it a day - I was aware that lenses had different characteristics; that they could be "soft" and suffer from chromatic abberation (whatever that is.)

So I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me lens A is sharper than lens B.

But it had never quite registered with me that the lens could effect the color.

Looking at a test of three different lenses on the Sony PMW-F3, I was shocked - shocked! - at the physical color differences between the three lenses. Look at this still (or watch the video.) See the subtle difference in the gray color of the jacket.

Wow! Learn something every day.

Vimeo: Sony PMW-F3 Exterior Daylight Lens Comparison

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sony PMW-F3 News

First Thoughts
Vincent Rozenberg gives his thoughts after spending some time with the PMW-F3. He notes that the production lenses are much sturdier than the "plasticky" pre-production models, and adds that his sales-rep told him the lenses are manufactured by Konica-Minolta.

While he generally likes the features and the ease-of-use compared to working with DSLR's, the price difference does give him pause.
I just did a couple of days of shooting with the 7D and the first thing what came up my mind was that finally we can do proper focus with this depth of field. Because of the good LCD screen, the peeking and the 2x digital zoom check which we know from the other cameras in Sony’s PMW line-up. Beside that it is basically an EX-1 menu- and button -wise.
The post includes a sample video.
vincentrozenbergI played with the Sony PMW-F3 today; my thoughts

Noise, Sensitivity and Photosite Size
Ryan Koo at NoFilmSchool compares the sensor size and number of pixels in the sensors in the PMW-F3 and RED Epic and tries to calculate the photosite size; the theory being that the larger the photosite, the more sensitive it is. It remains unclear whether the information - and the theory - is accurate...
NoFilmSchoolDoes the Sony F3 Have 5X the Light Gathering Ability of the RED EPIC?

PMW-F3 rig
Alister Chapman at XDCAM User explains the rig he's currently using with the PMW-F3.
XDCAMUserGenus Matte Box, Rails and Shoulder mount on PMW-F3

Lens Comparison
Hello World Communications has posted some outdoor video tests shot with Arri Ultra Primes, Sony PLs, and Zeiss CP1s. VimeoSony PMW-F3 Exterior Daylight Lens Comparison

Timelapse Video
Matthew Allard posts another sample video from the PMW-F3, this time a time-lapse taken in the city at night: F3 Time Lapse Nagoya, Japan