Saturday, March 03, 2012

Thanks Apple, for finally fixing my MacBook Pro!

Three years ago I bought a new MacBook Pro. About a month after I bought the machine, it developed an odd problem: it would lock up, the screen would go on the fritz, and then it would shut down or freeze. After this happened a couple of times, it stopped booting entirely.

I took it into the Apple Store and they decided it was the hard drive. [They also thought it might have been my fault for installing a piece of software that wasn't compatible with that version of OS X, but we won't go into that.] They replaced the hard drive. Two weeks later, it started happening again.

I took it back, and they decided it was the graphics card, so they replaced the entire motherboard. This took several days, during which I had no computer, which may explain my later behavior...

After that, the machine worked, except for one problem; every now and again the screen would flicker - or have a black flash - that was about as quick as your eye blinking. It was enough to be noticeable, but not enough to really drive you crazy.

In fact, for a long while, I almost convinced myself it was just something they all did; I also thought at one point that it might be connected to the Flash player, but I couldn't prove that either. Only when I used another MacBook Pro for a period of time did I really realize that my computer was misbehaving.
Artist recreation of the issue

But by then it was out of warranty, and I wasn't sure I wanted to take it back and go through diagnosis and lack of computer time. I could live with it.

I also thought it might be a problem with the cable from the motherboard to the screen, perhaps it was crimped I thought, but the problem never got worse. So I just lived with it.

Until yesterday...

When out of the blue, Apple released a firmware update:
MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 2.8
The MacBook Pro firmware update is recommended for 15-inch, late 2008 models. The fix resolves a graphics issue that may cause the internal display to flicker. The file is a 1.79MB download and requires OS X 10.5.8, OS X 10.6.8 or OS X 10.7.3.

When I read the details, my first thought was: "Hey! That's me!" but then I thought "Surely, not!" because a) what are the chances that's the problem I've had for three years? and b) surely, they can't have just decided to fix it now?!

But I installed the update last night, and after several hours of usage I can report that - so far - it does seem to have fixed my problem! And it was flashing regularly enough that even an hour of no-flashing is a tremendous improvement!

So thank you Apple! Yes, the fix is about three years later than I would have liked it, but perhaps, like me, everyone who had the problem had just sat back and accepted it and never told you.

I guess I can't complain, if I hadn't complained...

Canon 5D Mark III more news

A round-up of coverage on the 5D Mark III from around the web:

The long awaited Canon 5D mkIII…is it what we were hoping for? | Philip Bloom
| Blog
The mkiii has been desperately needed by many, including me. Why? The full frame aesthetic is so unique and still has a very clear place for me as a filmmaker. I own and adore my C300 but really want a full frame Canon DSLR for all my lenses that has next to no image issues and has a wickedly sharp image! Of course it is also much smaller and is perfect for my timelapse.

Canon Launch 5D MKIII – Headphone Jack, ALL-I Recording And Better Controls
| Dan Chung | DSLR News Shooter
Headphone monitoring is a big deal on this camera and it is the first time this has been seen on a Canon DSLR – even the EOS-1D X does not have a headphone socket. For news video and documentaries this means the 5DmkIII is a much better choice than the more expensive flagship model. Other audio features are the same as the 1D X and they include adjustment of audio level while recording and on screen level meters.

Canon 5D MKIII – my thoughts | Vincent Laforet | Blog
4. I thought that the Canon C300 was a bigger leap forward – and therefore chose to throw my hat in the ring to shoot "Mobius" just a few months ago for the Hollywood launch of Canon’s Cinema EOS line at Paramount in Hollywood. Canon’s move into the cinema market was a much bigger development in my book – pretty spectacular given how quickly it happened, following the MKII’s launch a few years earlier. The C300 is in effect the Canon 5D MKII all grown up – but a pure video camera (not a still camera.)

Why I Bought a 5D Mark III | Stu Maschwitz | Prolost
Speaking of shooting stills, I’m thrilled at the restraint that Canon showed in the 5D Mark III’s megapixel count. It’s barely bumped from the Mark II, meaning that all the advancements in sensor tech translate directly into reduced noise.

Canon 5D Mark III Official. The comprehensive EOSHD guide | Andrew Reid
$3500 compares favourably to the cheaper Nikon D800 because you are getting far better video quality. It also compares favourably to the $5000 Sony FS100 because you are getting a full frame sensor and a much more compact, ergonomic body for less money – and that camera is considered a bargain in pro terms any way.

5D Mark III round-up | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
HDMI is 1080p
There’s no drop in resolution or interruption when hitting record, but overlays cannot be completely turned off. This doesn’t matter since the internal recording format is so good, you won’t need to use an external recorder.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III hands on – What isn’t in the Canon press release! | Planet5D
Available light exposure meter 63 zone dual zone – same as 7D
Added in Chromatic Aberration correction in stills (jpeg) and video – can tag the data into the raw file, but you handle it in post processing.
New beefier shutter to handle the new 6fps shooting. There’s also silent mode like the Canon EOS-1D X.

New HD video features in the EOS 5D Mark III | Rudy Winston | Canon
While the previous EOS 5D Mark II was renowned for its exceptional video image quality – especially at low light levels – Canon's engineers have not rested. A totally new, full-frame CMOS imaging sensor is used in the Mark III model. And this sensor was designed from the ground-up to provide superior HD video image quality, with noticeable improvements in control of moire and false colors.

Canon 5D Mark III vs Nikon D800 for video | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
All the signs point to the 5D Mark III’s image quality being spectacular. Because of the high bitrates and i-frame codec compression won’t be a problem like it has been with so many DSLRs. That takes the pressure of expectations off the 5D’s HDMI output being any good. If it is good enough for monitoring that is all that matters. You won’t need to record it externally because the internal codec is so good.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III: First impressions | Angela Nicholson | Tech Radar
One difference between the EOS-1DX and the 5DMKIII is the sensor, the 5D has a higher pixel count with 22.3 million pixels. It also has just one Digic 5+ processor rather than two, which in combination with its 8 channel readout means that it has top continuous shooting speed of 6fps.

The Canon 5D Mark III - Here Comes The (R)Evolution | Digital Film.TV
Despite the larger file sizes produced when filmming with ALL-I, the improved quality may be worth it. That should make CF and SD card manufacturers happy as I will have to buy more of them! The bit rate of 24fps at 1080p in ALL-I mode is 685 MB/min according to Canon. That's a funny way of say 11 MBps. Anyhow, that means a 8 GB CF or SD card holds about 11 minutes of video. With IPB you can put 32 minutes of video on an 8 GB card.

Canon Three | Sam Morgan Moore | DSLR4Real
One of my dreams is to go for a hike, maybe up a mountain, and make a little film and take some stills too. For this one needs to be able to take some pictures, record and monitor some sound, and do some filming. That little headphone jack makes this a possible dream

Canon EOS 5D Mark III low-light ISO series samples | DPReview
At a colour temperature of about 3000K and low light intensity (approx 3 EV), these images are also neutrally white-balanced. This requires extreme amplification of the blue channel (and to a lesser extent the green) relative to the red, accentuating any noise or banding that might be introduced by the camera. This should therefore be considered close to the worst-case scenario - under many situations you'll see less noise at high ISOs, for example when shooting indoors in daylight.

The 5D Mark III – From the Inside | CanonRumors
Below are a bunch of images of some of the components that make up the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. The magnesium allow body, all the way to the AE module. There’s a few interesting things to see if you’re into the technical end of cameras.

The Canon 5D Mark III Has Arrived | Bruce Dorn | IDC Photo Video
Yes, I have had this camera in my hot little hands and its very, very nice. They gave us a proper little 3.5mm headphone jack (at last!) so the audio features of the Mark III are greatly improved. I'll let you read more in the official press release but I'm very pleased with this logical evolution of the Canon 5D line. And don't worry, the 5D Mark II is gonna stick around for the foreseeable future too.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III launches in March for $3,499: all-new sensor, faster CPU, improved video (hands-on preview) | Nathan Ingraham | The Verge
All these new features come at a cost, though — the camera will launch at the end of March for $3,499 for the body only, or $4,299 with Canon’s EF 24-105mm F/4 L lens. That's significantly more than the Mark II, which will stay on sale and get an additional price cut next week. We got to spend some time with Canon's latest and check out its new features — read on to find our first impressions of the 5D Mark III.

Canon EOS 5D MARK III Review | Jeff Ascough | Blog
The body is much more solid than the 5D Mark II. It is slightly more chunky in the hand and has a new ‘grippier’ material covering it. If you were blindfolded with this camera in your hands, you would think this was a 1 series without the battery grip - it is that solid. There is a marginal increase in body weight, but that is to be expected. It is still small and lightweight and I found that even after walking around for several hours at a time I didn’t ever think the camera was heavy.

Going behind the scenes with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III | Park Cameras | YouTube
Go behind the scenes with photographer / cameraman Richard Walch as he shoots a movie using the brand new Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

This short demonstration details some of the new innovative features that should enable you redefine your photography.

5D MARK III is here – Did they get it right this time? | Sebastian | Cinema5D
It's good old H.264, but compression choices are ALL-I intraframe or IPB interframe (every frame stands for itself. Great for editing) with embedded FreeRun or RecRun timecodes. This is extremely nice. Can it by synced externally? It seems so: "SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots."

Canon Announces the EOS 5D Mark III | Jennifer O'Rourke | VideoMaker
With the pro shooter in mind, features like SMPTE timecode, Rec Run and Free Run (meaning you can synchronize cameras to start at zero and run continuous, or have them record actual time, which is great for multicam shooting and when recording audio on separate devices.) Features improved from the 5D Mark II include a reduction in moiré and color artifacts found on shots with horizontal lines and improvement in the HD quality. Also improving on the Mark II will allow users up to 29-minute continuous recording time.

EOS 5D Mark III | Canon
Specifications page:
Digital, AF/AE single-lens reflex, camera
Recording Media
CF Cards (Type I); Compatible with UDMA CF cards; SD, SDHC, and SDXC Memory Cards
Image Format
Approx. 36 mm x 24mm (35mm Full-frame)
Sample Video

Canon 5D Mark III hits Twitter

The 5D Mark III lit up the web yesterday, here's some of the best Twitterverse comments:

I'm underwhelmed by the 5D Mark III's video capability. More impressive is the drop in the Mark II price.
Danfung Dennis @Danfung

Best thing about the 5DmKIII - LPE6 batteries, no need to buy a load of new ones - I laud Canon for that
Dan Chung @DSLRinformer

All three of the Canon 5D Mark III videos demonstrate two undeniable facts: • Dramatic reduction in moiré • Canon needs @vincentlaforet

A Prolost comment points out that the 5D Mark III's sensor res is exactly 3x 1080p, which bodes well for better video:…
Stu Maschwitz @5tu

So the 5D3 is exactly what I said it would be: a mini version of the 1DX. Reduced aliasing, moire (not gone), better stills.
Paul Antico @AnticipateMedia

Viewfinder magnification 5DMk3 vs D800. 0.71x vs 0.70x. Is that a game of Japanese one-upmanship if ever I saw one!?

5D Mk 3 ISO 1600 looks like ISO 100 on current DSLRs. Beat that film. Going have to add that lovely fine grain in post from now on

Judging from 5D Mark III video file sizes in ALL-I, bitrate is 78Mbit
Andrew Reid @EOSHD

@EOSHD Canson USA official spec indicates that it's 91Mbit, see
685MB/min = approx. 11.4MB/s, multiply by 8 = approx. 91Mbit/s.
Marvin @marvinhello

5d3 looks cool. May be a great B cam or specialty cam. But my #fs100 will still stay as my main cam for now. Its a workhorse.
kevinkeiser @kevinkeiser

I'd throw in "If Canon didn't want to give 1080p60, why there isn't at least 48p?? It would be awesome for filming! " :)
HD Cam Team @HDCamTeam

$3499? I think I'll save for the c300. mmmK? Thanks anyway Canon.
Nathaniel Hansen @nathanielhansen

Transitioning from DSLR A-cam to more pro cams but will purchase 5D3 for B-cam & apparently, stills :)
エリック Diosay @EricDiosay

After reading the 5D MkIII specs, I'm still loving my 7D.
AleLo @AleLoPR

Don't be mad about the $1,000 price increase of the 5D3. It puts it just out of your clients' do-it-themselves price range.
Anton Seim @APSeim

Interestingly no-one's really talked about the real application of the 5D, as the best b-cam the world has ever seen
DJ Skeez @stenderz

Reading reviews of the mkiii and think its really funny that people are mad that it won't compete with the c300...why would they do that?
Dan Duncan @dandunc

To be expecting what the c300 does is crazy. No way Canon would jeopardize those sales!
Philip Bloom @PhilipBloom

I wonder if the new 5D markIII means I'll see a uptick in the composition and quality of images coming into edit? I kinda doubt it.
Scott Simmons @editblog

The Canon 5D Mark III will make life a bit easier for your editor, VFX artist, & DP but won't make you a better filmmaker!
TheMissingReel @TheMissingReel

Brilliant but the 5DMkIII like the C300 has been overpriced and it will cost Canon sales up against Nikon/Sony
Rodney Charters @rodneykiwi

5D3 could well go down as a gamechanger in the sense that's its the first major release in memory not being described as a gamechanger
Glen Ryan @PolvoPolvo

The only reason for me to get a Mark III would be if there was no more moiré and aliasing issues- had to bin too many great shots last year
Marty Stalker @ScatteredImages

Nikon D4 is the camera I am most curious about right now
Philip Bloom @PhilipBloom

What's that I hear? 4K EOS cinema DSLR that kicks everything else's ass? Blogs need rumours, let's go!
DJ Skeez @stenderz

I may sell my 5D Mk II but right now keeping it until I see the Mk III in my hands
Daniel Bérubé @bosfcpug

I am waiting for some good deals on used MKII's. Will get the MkIII when the IV comes out..
Matt Stapleton @MattJStapleton

Friday, March 02, 2012

Quick Links

Sony Professional - NEX-FS100 In Depth: Introduction | Sony Professional | Vimeo
Sony Europe is putting together a series on the NEX-FS100, this is the next part:
For more videos from the NEX-FS100 In Depth series, visit: NXCAM & AVCHD Guides

The NEX-FS100 in-depth videos, created and produced by one of Sony's Independent Certified Exerts , Matt Davis, give a unique preview from a specialist's perspective.

This first video introduces the key features of the NEX-FS100. Other videos in the series will cover key subjects such as: kit lenses, depth of field, bending time, picture profiles and downloading video.

Canon Cinema EOS C300 Custom Picture settings | Kevin Ritchie | Vimeo
Picture Profile tests for the Canon C300:
This video shows examples of the 3 preset Canon C300 Custom Picture profiles: Off, EOS Std, and Cinema.

In additional I have shot each of the available Gamma and Color Matrix settings to show how they effect the image. The Custom Picture settings in the C300 are extremely detailed and this video shows 2 of the more major adjustments that can be made to the image.

I have included both waveform and vectorscopes on the images to show how each setting effects gamma and color.

Canon LUTs for the Canon C300 | Canon
Canon has made available LUTs for the C300 for download:
Canon Log LUT (look-up table) For Gamma, Canon Log10 to Cineon10 LUT Version 1.0
Canon Log LUT (look-up table) For Gamma, Canon Log10 to REC709 LUT Version 1.0
Canon Log LUT (look-up table) For Gamma, Canon Log10 to Video LUT Version 1.0

Video Contest: Why I Love My Shuttle! | Contour Design Shuttle Newsletter
Like the Contour Shuttle? Enter to win an iPad 2 and other prizes!
1. Create a short video (60 seconds or less) that demonstrates why you love your Shuttle device. Be as creative as you wish, but show your love!

The deadline for entries is April 30, 2012. We will review all of the submissions and pick our 5 favorites. You will then have the opportunity to vote for the submission you like best. Voting will close on May 31, 2012.

Do-it-Yourself Acoustical Treatment: How to build a gobo and why would you want to? | Tim Dittmar | Audio Undone
In this excerpt from Audio Engineering 101: A Beginner's Guide to Music Production, learn how to make a Gobo:
A go-between, also known as a gobo, is a great mobile way to control sound. It can be used to help isolate an instrument or lessen the reflections and reverberation of a space. I often place a gobo in front of an amplifier or kick drum to isolate and absorb the sound. Gobos are also effective if placed around a drum kit, especially if they are being played in a “live” space such as a kitchen or on a tiled floor. This will tighten up the sound and minimize reflections.

Is 3D the future? - A brief look at the new Panasonic HDC-Z10000 | Daniel Freytag | Blog
At $3,325 the HDC-Z1000 gives you 3D in a 2D priced camcorder:
The first thing which amazed me was the great monitor. As I staid steady it created a real 3D image in my brain. But you need to stay really still! As I moved a step to the side, the 3D picture in my mind was gone. So on the one side the monitor shows how far the development already went, but it also shows, that all this 3D stuff is not yet that well-engineered for everyday use.

Video Editing on the iPad: How does Avid Studio Stack up to iMovie?
| Ashley Kennedy | Premiumbeat
A feature comparison table of the two iPad editing apps:
As you can see, Avid Studio emerges as the clear winner across multiple categories—beating iMovie on its own Apple-laden turf. If you’re interested in trying it out, make sure to get it within the next few weeks, as the price is slated to increase to $7.99 soon.

Managing Media in Final Cut Pro X | Larry Jordan | Peachpit
An excerpt from Larry's book: Final Cut Pro X: Making the Transition
Here’s the one rule you need to remember: Always either create a disk image of your camera card or copy the entire contents of your camera card to a folder on your hard disk. My recommendation is to create a folder and copy your card into that folder.

Acting: 101 | Vimeo Video School
The Vimeo film school continues with an acting lesson; watch the short video and read the article as well:
To build your character, look at the situation they’re in and what they are planning to do. Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you react? If you haven’t had a similar experience, use your imagination and conjure up some feelings. Take these emotions into account when reciting the lines.

iBook Creatives | website
Interested in using Apple's iBook Author? You might want to check out this website for tips and info.

Canon 5D Mark III officially announced

It's announced; the 5D Mark III, and it has the following video capabilities:
Next generation EOS Movies
The EOS 5D Mark III builds on the reputation of the EOS 5D Mark II, with a range of new features introduced following feedback received from photographers to provide even better Full HD video performance. As well as offering the depth-of-field control loved by video professionals, the new full-frame sensor combines with the vast processing power of DIGIC 5+ to improve image quality by virtually eradicating the presence of moiré, false colour and other artifacts. 
The addition of a movie mode switch and a recording button also offers greater usability, enabling videographers to begin shooting immediately when movie mode is engaged. 
Additional movie functions include manual exposure control and an enhanced range of high bit-rate video compression options, with intraframe (ALL-I) and interframe (IPB) methods both supported. 
Variable frame rates range from 24fps to 60fps [NOTE: only at 720p it appears], and the addition of SMPTE timecode support provides greater editing flexibility and easier integration into multi-camera shoots. 
Users can also check and adjust audio during recording via the camera’s Quick Control screen and a headphone socket enables sound level monitoring both during and after shooting. Enhanced processing power provided by DIGIC 5+ also makes it possible to conveniently trim the length of recorded movies in-camera.

22.3 Megapixel full-frame sensor
61-point autofocus
Up to 6fps continuous shooting
Native ISO 100-25,600 sensitivity
Full HD video with manual control
14-bit DIGIC 5+ processor
Enhanced Weather sealing
8.11cm (3.2-inch) 1,040,000-dot screen
HDR mode with presets

All that for about $1,000 more than the Mark II, and it's available for pre-order too!! ...

Engadget | Canon announces EOS 5D Mark III: 22.3MP full-frame sensor, 6 fps, 102,400 max ISO, yours for $3,500 (video)

USA Today | Canon unveils 5D Mark III camera (includes a video)

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sony rolls S-Log into PMW-F3

Sony has announced it has "discontinued" the PMW-F3K, PMW-F3L models and re-introduced them as PMW-F3K/RGB, PMWF3L/RGB with the 10 bit S-Log package as standard, with no price increase.

The 10 bit S-Log package, CBK-RGB01 will now sell for $899.00 (for those existing owners still without it.)

Quick Links

Canon Rumors & PhotoTips Live Launch | CanonRumors
If the 5D Mark III is announced this evening, these guys will be doing a live webcast about it. And if it isn't announced, there is a fall-back plan:
All this will start at 11PM EST on Thursday, March 1, 2012. If there is no 5D Mark III to speak of, James and I will sing A Cappella show tunes instead.
Personally, now I'm hoping Canon doesn't announce it!

Magic Bullet Denoiser II is Here! | Aharon Rabinowitz | Red Room Blog
Last year, Red Giant had to discontinue the sale of their Denoiser product due to a licensing issue. But they promised a new product, and now it's here:
We’ve developed Magic Bullet Denoiser II from scratch (completely new code) to bring you the quality of Denoiser 1, but with more stability. Red Giant owns this code 100% – which means the product is not going anywhere.
We have spent lots of time developing the default settings for Denoiser II to give you the best possible look as soon as you apply. There’s is always room to tweak setting, but often you won’t need to.

Why I'm Embracing Final Cut Pro X...And Liking it! | Den Lennie | Jigsaw 24
Admitting that he isn't a "serious" editor, Den explains some of the reasons why he likes Final Cut Pro X:
The other cool feature of FCP X is trimming and editing during playback. You are able to make changes while the timeline is in playback, which is very useful. I also like how you can fade your audio in/out by simply dragging the slider on each clip. This is another super fast time saving feature.

Final Cut Pro X: Best practices for creating layered graphics files | Support | Apple
A tech note from Apple explaining how to work with layered graphics in FCPX:
If you use any Photoshop adjustment layers, you should flatten them prior to importing the file into Final Cut Pro X. You may want to save a copy of your file with Photoshop adjustments flattened for use in Final Cut Pro X and also keep a master version of the file with the Photoshop adjustment layers unchanged to allow you to make changes as necessary.

Review of the Metabones EOS Smart Adapter | Bryant Naro | Vimeo
A lot of people have been looking for a good Canon EOS to Sony E-mount adapter - could the Metabones be it? The build quality of this adapter seems to be good, and Bryant notes that Metabones says there's a firmware update that will fix the problem he had:
An issue I've found is that sometimes switching lenses causes the adapter to not recognize the lens at first. After detaching completely (so the contacts aren't meeting) and resetting the lens, it can be controlled.

"It now feels like my EF lenses and the FS100 are finally a complete camera system."
Metabones EF to E-Mount adapter for Sony NEX Review | Andrew Reid | EOSHD
Andrew also posts a review of the Metabones adapter, though he was using it with the NEX-7 rather than the NEX-FS100. He's unhappy about the way Metabones has resolved the firmware issues (requiring the adapter to be sent back to Hong Kong) but he likes the adapter:
Frankly even without the discrete communication with the camera body for changing aperture, reporting EXIF and operating optical image stabilisation the Metabones adapter is worth the money for the build quality and tripod mount alone, not that there are any alternatives any way!

Micro Camera Slider DIY Tutorial | Friedhelm Fischer Blog
How to put together a small slider suitable for the GoPro Hero using one of the smallest tracks Igus makes. Igus sells some complete packages through Amazon [i.e. DryLin® W1040-A], but nothing this small, so you'll have to try and buy directly from them if you want to go this route:
This video tutorial show you how easy it is to build up a professional Micro Camera Slider...
It is really easy! Very, very easy! All you need are some special stuff and 3 minutes time.
Watch the tutorial movie and enjoy.....

Notes On The Nikon D800 | Dan Chung | DSLR News Shooter
Dan got to spend a brief amount of time with a D800:
If you are recording the clean HDMI signal with an external recorder and no card in the camera then I was hoping you could use the expanded focus to check sharpness during shooting. Sadly the HDMI output of the image is also enlarged when you expand the image to check focus on the rear screen (unlike on video cameras like the Sony F3 or Canon C300). There may be a way around this but we couldn’t find it.

Mykim | Paul Antico | Vimeo
Paul Antico and Mick Jones shot this video with the Canon C300. Much of it using the "cheap" Rokinon (Samyang) 35mm f/1.4 Wide-Angle lens [$499].
This is a little taste of a story about Mykim Dang, a multi-faceted artist not quite like any other. You can read more about her work at
Shot on the Canon Cinema EOS C300, in Cambridge, MA.

Red Workflow: Working with R3Ds | presynkt productions | Vimeo
A short video discussing the RED workflow (with the Scarlet) that they are using. They are using Adobe Premiere to natively edit the R3D files.

Genustech Guide to 3D Production. Part 6: Making Anaglyphs and editing overview | Genus | YouTube
The last in a series of videos on shooting and editing in 3D:
This is the 6th and final part in a series of videos on the basics of Stereocopic 3D video production. In this video Alister Chapman, designer of the Genus Hurricane Rig explains how you can create Anaglyph video clips for editing and gives an overview of editing software and plugins. Other videos in the series cover how we see depth, 3D space, convergence, cameras and the Derobe method for very simple yet effective 3D production.

MPEG LA offers patent license for 3D video | Stephen Shankland | C|Net
Details on licensing for 3D Blu-ray:
Building the MVC technology for 3D video into a Blu-ray player will cost 10 cents per device, and selling discs costs a penny a pop, according to newly released licensing terms.

MVC (Multiview Video Coding) is used in Blu-ray disc players, personal computers, video cameras, software, and other situations calling for 3D video. It's what's known as a codec, a specification for encoding and decoding video so it can be stored more compactly or streamed more efficiently across networks.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vincent Laforet talks about the Canon C300

Last week Vincent Laforet spoke at a meeting of the Boston Creative Pro Users Group about filmmaking with the Canon C300. The event happened at Emerson College's Bright Family Screening Room at The Paramount Center  in Boston. Vincent started out the evening talking about his career as a still's photographer - he worked for The New York Times for several years - and showed some stunning examples of his work (he didn't actually mention it, but he has a book out of his still images: Visual Stories: Behind the Lens with Vincent Laforet (Voices That Matter). He also showed several tilt-shift images he had taken, claiming that he was doing it "before it got popular again."

He mentioned "Reverie" - the movie he shot with the Canon 5D Mark II - only in passing, and then, saying that he didn't mind ruining the secret, he showed the behind-the-scenes video made about the making of the short "Mobius." He then talked a bit about shooting with the Canon C300, and then showed the movie itself. He also talked about other cameras, particularly the RED Epic and the Arri Alexa, and about the effect smaller, cheaper cameras is having on the movie industry.

Vincent LaforetDan Bérubé of the Boston Creative Pro Users Group, and Anna Feder, Events and Internship Manager, Visual and Media Arts department,
Emerson College
PHOTO: Donald Bérubé -

I treat all of these cameras like different film stocks. I've shot with the Alexa, the F3, the Epic, the RED One, the Phantom, all of them basically.... I think the Epic shines in certain places, whereas the C300 shines in other uses, especially in terms of small size and light weight. You can't [waves the C300 around] do this with an Alexa. That's a very big deal actually.

Now is this an Alexa killer? No. The Alexa definitely has a higher dynamic range, definitely on the high-lights; it's the best camera bar none. Even people from RED will tell you that. I don't know if you know this - because I only just learned it - but the Alexa actually does two passes on each frame simultaneously. So it does a high db pass and a low db pass; it's actually doing HDX itself, the whole time, they just never mentioned it. 
The RED Epic, little monster, 5K chip, but who really needs 5K is the real question? I have been showing stuff at 720 and 1080 back and forth this whole night, and nobody can really tell. At the same time, there's no way to dispute the fact that as a filmmaker I like 4K or 5K because I can stabilize the image in post. 
One of my main disappointments with the C300 is [that it's] just 1080, and there's nothing higher that 30 frames per second at 1080. You've got to go to 720 to get 60fps. That's the one limitation of this camera. The advantage is; the low light sensitivity of this camera is probably the best in the world. I'd stick my neck out on that one. Closely followed by the PMW-F3, but there's no camera that sees in the dark like this camera. It's unbelievable.
Vincent did point out that the C300 has a 4K sensor, and acknowledged that it only outputs in 8-bits, but he said; "I'll take a very rich sensor with tremendous latitude and compressed down rather than something less performing." He also pointed out that there's basically no advantage to using an external recorder with the C300.
What makes this camera so special; the noise/grain structure with this camera is very special, which I have not seen in any other camera, except perhaps the Alexa. If you look at this noise pattern, it kind of looks reminiscent of film. Having worked in black and white darkrooms, this looks awfully similar to what black and white TRI-X film neg looks like to me. 
What happens with this cameras as you try and push it and break it, you're going to find this interesting noise pattern, unlike the blotchy blueish banding that you're used to. 
As a Director or DP you basically watch that histogram on the scope and make sure you stay 100 IRE or below, and when in doubt, underexpose and dig it out from the shadows. It really holds up unlike any other camera I've seen, other than perhaps the Alexa.
He talked at some length about how the small size of the Canon C300 made it possible to quickly and easily do different set-ups and that this was how they produced Mobius on a limited budget - for a "hollywood shoot" - of $125,000-150,000. The total "all-in" for Mobius was $200,000, and while he acknowledged that for many indie projects, that was a lot of money, for a Hollywood budget where "everyone was getting paid" it wasn't.

Vincent Laforet holds a Canon C300 on loan for the event from
PHOTO: Donald Bérubé -

Vincent stressed that while the C300 makes it possible to shoot a lot of things without lights, that doesn't mean that you should give up on lighting:
You maximize the parts where it's going to pay off [because] you can't light everything in three hours with 50 shots a day. Let those go, and get the best quality you can, with framing and bounce boards and negative fill, and then maximize the look on a few scenes. 
Everything we shot, we shot at 850 ASA, which is the best dynamic range off the sensor, and we shot in Canon - log. It's a very light log, you don't need to have a LUT on set.
At the end, Vincent spoke about making the change from DP to Director, storyboarding (he always storyboards, saying that he's done enough shoots where he didn't storyboard and he's always regretted it) and he also recommended a book Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need which he said was good, but will ruin the movies for you!

He concluded with this thoughts about the new cameras:
The danger is, for all the professionals that are used to the fancy toys, we're going to be a little bit scared now because there's a danger of younger, less experienced people charging a tenth of the price and flooding the market. It's our job to actually help educate [clients] on how we can make a living doing this, but also we can't hide behind the gear anymore. It comes back to ideas.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quick Links

BOX OFFICE: ‘Act Of Valor’ #1 With $25M Weekend, ‘Good Deeds’ $16M, ‘Wanderlust’ And ‘Gone’ Bomb | Nikki Finke | Deadline Hollywood
A $12M movie that made $25M on the first weekend will probably make a profit:
Educated guess is that they spent $45M-$50M total to hawk this actioner. Yes, they acquired domestic rights for cheap and aggressively pre-sold foreign. And, yes, the budget was only $12K. Looks like Relativity will recoup. Marketing-wise, Relativity launched an aggressive 400 screening program in over 40 markets as part of a multi-pronged strategy that spoke to gamers, action fans, sports fans, ethnic audiences, country music fans, patriots, military, women, and the faith-based community.

Big Roundup Of Canon C300 Rig Options | Dan Chung | DSLR News Shooter
Dan puts together a collection of rigs from Redrock, Zacuto, Genus and others for the Canon C300:
Redrockmicro had one of the first dedicated cage setups for the C300 and it was used extensively by Vincent Laforet and the other filmmakers who shot the promo films for Canon. The Ultracage Blue wraps neatly around the C300 giving it some protection and multiple mounting points for accessories. 15mm rods can be added top and bottom with option for a handle on the top. The baseplate form-fits the camera neatly and when assembled the basic cage does look very much like it is integral to the camera itself.

The C300 short Hustle and some before and after images | Scott Simmons
| ProVideoCoalition
Rob Bessette of Finish Post and Daniel Bérubé of Boston Creative Pro User Group talk about The Hustle, the short video made during a test shoot with the C300:
Overall I really liked the camera. In my opinion, it’s way better than the 5D or 7D. Way less video like. Still has a little more crispness than I’d like, but that’s just me. Doesn’t quite reach the Alexa as far as latitude is concerned, but does pretty damn well. Latitude was impressive and seemed like a real nice color range.
See also: Canon C300 Shoot No 1: The Hustle | NotesOnVideo

Canon C300 cold shoe “PIN” a word of warning! | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
A note about a feature of the C300 cold shoe:
I realise its not rocket science but this wee gem of information may prevent one of you trying to force your monitor off the handle thinking as I did that it had become stuck. Fortunately I had time to decipher the problem as it was at the end of the shoot but a timely warning never to force anything out of its holder.

Canoflex Type C300 Cinema Base Shows Up At Filmtools | Jared Abrams
| Wide Open Camera
And Jared posted this short video look at a base plate for the C300:
This time Jim Martin had the new Canoflex cinema base for the Canon C300 camera. This base looks very similar to the older Arri 16 SR cameras. The Canoflex has two 3/8-16″ threads in front for 15mm rods. It has one 3/8-16″ camera left side mount and two 3/8-16″ threads on the bottom.

Filmmaker Vincent Laforet Discusses The Canon C300 | Neil Matsumoto
| HD Video Pro
An interview with Vincent Laforet about the C300:
Well, it’s only 1080 – it’s not 4K, 2K. It’s not 60 – 120-fps, 300-fps. It’s locked at 30-fps max at 1080. For those that are pixel-pushers that want 4K and 5K or that want to do sports shooting where they want to shoot 120-fps – it was a little bit of a letdown. But what made it come right back is when you actually use the camera. The dynamic range is astonishing. The fact that this camera is regularly being compared to being a viable B-camera to an ALEXA is about the biggest compliment you can give a camera.

Review: Sony NEX-FS100 “Super35” LSS AVCHD Camcorder | Adam Wilt
| ProVideoCoalition
Can't afford the C300? Maybe the Sony NEX-FS100 makes more sense. This in-depth review covers pretty much everything, including the color fringing seen when highlights are blown out:
I’m guessing that when a cluster of photosites is sampled and processed to generate an image pixel, having some but not all of the photosites in the cluster driven to their clipping values may be fooling the color-reconstruction algorithm used, just as channel-specific clipping in the highlights (on any camera) can cause a hue shift in the affected area.

M. Night Shyamalan Shooting 'After Earth' on Sony's F65 Camera as Studio Launches Training Program | Carolyn Giardina | The Hollywood Reporter
Meanwhile, at the high-end:
Sony began shipping its awaiting F65 4K digital camera last month, with roughly 400 orders worldwide. Sony Pictures’ After Earth has gone into production with director M. Night Shyamalan using the F65, while the studio introduces training workshops to support the new camera technology.
And if you can't get enough F65, here's an unboxing video!: Unboxing my Sony F65 | YouTube

How To Film A Wedding: Speed | Christian | Bright Lights Media
Some good tips about gear, getting help, and being prepared:
My final suggestion when it comes to making the day run smoother and faster is to visit the wedding location before the actual wedding. This saves you a lot of time from having to put the camera down and sniff out a spot with adequate lighting or with interesting visuals. Make a mental observation the day before and plan to bring the couple to your chosen locations. It’s just one less thing you’ll have to worry about, and you can spend more time on the actual filming.

More 5D Mark III Images? | CanonRumors
Today CanonRumors posted some pictures which may or may not be the Canon 5D Mark III, which may or may not be announced at the end of the week.

Thoughts on the (near) future of Metadata | Philip Hodgetts | Blog
Philip talked about metadata at The Boston Creative Pro User's Group a couple of weeks back. Here he talks about the future of metadata:
Everything you’ve shot is only an asset if you can find it and use it again (including knowing what rights are associated with it). So, once again I’ve been thinking about the future of metadata for production automation, largely because it’s the only way I think we can hope to produce the Solar Odyssey TV Show, and because I was presenting on the subject in Boston in the middle of February. Both are forcing me to think on the subject.

FCPX - Multicam In Depth | Chris Fenwick | One On One
A video tutorial on using Final Cut Pro X's multicam feature:
In this, the first of my tutorials on FCPX, I take a look at some of the details and tiny details about how to put together a multi cam edit in FCPX so that it is the easiest to work with. If you like it, let me know, I'll do some more on FCPX.

Adobe Announces Integrated Video Publishing, Advertising and Analytics Platform | Adobe Press Release
Today Adobe announced a video publishing system:
As part of the first phase of bringing the platform to market, Adobe is making “Primetime Highlights” available today. The new video publishing offering integrates a Web-based video clip editor with the Adobe Auditude ad platform enabling the industry’s first single workflow for creating and monetizing live video clips in real time. Video publishers are able to deliver ad supported clips that are instantly available – even while an event is still ongoing – making content more timely and less expensive to produce.
See also: Adobe introduces ‘Primetime’ end to end video publishing solution | 9to5 Mac

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Monday, February 27, 2012

The not-the-live Oscars blog

I didn't want to live-blog the event, but here's a recap of my notes from the evening.

My night of watching got off to a rocky start at 8:00pm, which is when I thought the show started. But it turns out it starts at 8:30, and I get to watch half an hour of the red carpet special after all. Oh dear. Evidently Angelina Jolie was "made for the red carpet." I still think the best dress-related comment I ever heard at the Oscars was when the winner in the documentary category said her dress cost more than her movie.

It's almost like comfort food to have Billy Crystal hosting again. The first time Billy Crystal did the bits intercut into the movies it was hilarious, but now it’s just sequelitis. I still like Billy Crystal, and I thought he did a pretty funny show - mostly - but maybe it would have been nice to do something really different. He did have some great lines about the Kodak Theater during the show:
"Here at the Chapter 11 theater"
"Here at the Your-Name-Here theater"

The Cinematography award went to Hugo; Vincent Laforet isn’t going to be happy; he wanted The Tree of Life to win.

I’m actually watching the event with my teenage daughter and four of her friends. It’s definitely a more interesting way to watch the Oscars, and sometimes I can’t hear the show over the conversation - though I don’t think I’m really missing anything. Everyone groaned when the Forest Gump clip was shown. They are also upset that the orginal songs aren’t going to be performed. When bits like the popcorn girls come on, there’s lots of “they cut the songs so they could show this?!” comments.

Billy Crystal makes a joke about digital: “That's from a long time ago when movies were actually shot on film!” I wonder how many of the Oscar audience actually got that. But it's good to see that some traditions never die: the stilted, pre-scripted conversations are still being used at the Oscars. The Costume Design intro was “awkward!”

For several of the awards, they show montages of the movies with the nominee - or someone - talking about working on the project. None of these comments seem to be designed to contribute anything to your knowledge of movie making; just nice little platitudes like makeups: "ordinary people arrived in the morning and extraordinary people left"

In one sequence of actors talking about the movies, Tom Cruise didn't actually look like Tom Cruise! He did show up at the end, looking like himself, to give the Best Picture award!

I really liked Sandra Bullock’s German sounding Chinese bit for the Best Foreign Language Film. The group I was with all said "that one’s going to win" when they showed the Iranian movie clip; and it did. Sometimes you feel that the Oscars does the predictable thing. BUT, the audience I'm with thinks the acceptance speech by the movie maker was very classy.

Fun fact of the evening: The Artist is the first silent picture nominated since 1928.

The focus group piece was funny, though maybe more to the Hollywood audience than to the watching audience. It suggests that Hollywood has a real problem with focus groups, but it was funny in an SNL sort of way. Still, was it the best use of time?

When The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo wins for film editing, my daughter says “it’s because it had that MTV style of editing.” To top it off, the winners serve up one of the most awkward speeches yet, but I loved it! According to Twiiter: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the first film to win Best Editing and no other award since Bullitt.

My next nominee for best acceptance speech is one of the co-winners for Sound Editing for Hugo who says “I’d like to thank everybody every born, or who ever will be born. If I've forgotten anybody, then you probably know who you are.”

The award for Sound Mixing raises amongst the audience here the question; What is the difference between sound editing and sound mixing? I have no idea; but someone Google’s it on their iPhone and reads “Sound editing is recording everything and sound mixing is putting it all together.”

The Muppets introduce Cirque Du Soleil, who start off spinning through the air with a clip from North by Northwest behind them. That's my favorite movie, so they get points from me for that! I like Cirque Du Soleil too, but I can’t help thinking; they cut the two original songs for that?

Billy Crystal’s best line so far: “We've got puppets and acrobats, we're a pony away from a bar mitzvah!”

Robert Downey Junior does a semi-amusing bit about shooting a documentary live during the intro for the Best Documentary, which goes to Undefeated. "This is ridiculous,” says one of the winners, “A year ago we were sitting being depressed thinking no one would ever see this movie…” The second speaker then gets the first - and only - beep of the evening, and they get played off!

Chris Rock does a funny bit about voice acting, and how if you’re a fat woman you can play a young thin damsel, and “if you're a Black man, you can play a donkey or a zebra.” He follows up with how “I've done animation. It's the easiest job in the world,” and talks about recording the voices for animation!

Another favorite acceptance speech: “It's a huge honor to be nominated, but it's awesome to win. It's really underrated.”

Christopher Plummer is a popular winner for Best Supporting Actor, and is evidently the oldest actor ever to win. He then says to the Oscar “You're only two years older than me, where have you been all my life?” He gives a classy speech.

After the head of the academy delivers a dull speech, Billy says “Thanks Tom for whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Mr. Excitement.”

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis come out in white tails and cymbals, and do a short, funny bit before presenting the music and song awards. I wish they’d had a few more minutes to develop it. And surprise, there are only two original songs nominated? Things are tough all over. I wasn’t impressed by the snippet of Man or Muppet, but hey, it was written by a New Zealander, so woot!

Angelina needed a better writer - or a better delivery - for her intro to Best Adapted screenplay. Unlike nearly every other award category, I actually saw most of the movies in this category: The Descendents, Hugo, Moneyball and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and I’d have given it to Moneyball, but The Descendents wins it.

Woody Allen gets Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris. I loved the Hemingway bits in that movie, so I'm okay with that.

As usual, the technical awards get short shrift, but Douglas Trumbull gets a well deserved award for his work over the years.

The cast of The Bridesmaids come out to award the best short subject awards, and make some jokes about short vs. long "movies" and also reference a Scorcese drinking game.

The Best Animated Short Film goes to “two swamp rats from Louisiana,” and their movie The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore. I think they might have been playing the Scorcese drinking game before they won. You can see the trailer for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore on Vimeo.

The teens think Terrence Malick should get best Director, but they also think Scorcese will win. So it's a bit of a surprise when The Artist gets it instead. He proclaims “I am the happiest director in the world right now!”

Once again, the previous Best Actor and Actress winners come out and say some touching little bits about each of the nominees. I think this is part of the punishment for winning an Oscar. Does anyone else find these rather awkward?

I also thought Glenn Close would get the Best Actress award, but it goes to Meryl Streep, and she wins me over with a nice acceptance speech. But it's The Artist that wins the night for Best Picture, and the last acceptance speech ends with “I want to thank three people: Billy Wilder, and Billy Wilder, and Billy Wilder.”

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Quick Links

C300 and F3 Grading Tests | Alister Chapman | XDCM-User
Another in a series of comparisons between the C300 and PMW-F3. It is increasingly clear that if you're recording to memory cards, the C300 comes out slightly on top, but if you use an external recorder that can take advantage of the F3's 10-bit output, then the F3 beats the C300. If only the C300 had 10-bit output:
Well both the cameras grade well, even the 35Mb/s 4:2:0 of the F3 holds up OK. The C300 50Mb/s 422 comes out a little cleaner than the F3 35Mb/s 420 after grading. The F3 recording to the Samurai at 10 bit ProRes HQ is cleaner than the C300 50Mb/s 422 after grading.

Testing the Canon WFT-E6 Wi-Fi dongle with the C300 | Philip Jonhston
| HD Warrior
Philip got a loan of the Wi-Fi dongle for the Canon C300 (they aren't shipping yet.) He reports that it can be used to focus some lenses on the C300, and that it can operate as a WiFi hotspot (though he doesn't know how yet!):
The thing I love about the software is the ability to change any of the settings using the iPads touch screen, all the useful parts of the C300 at your finger tips, its like having a remote CCU (Camera control unit).
Remember this dongle is primarily used with the likes of the new Canon 1Dx DSLR and the focus function seen above does not work with the C300…OR DOES IT !

Canon C300: Best Practices | Cinema EOS User Forum
A PDF detailing Canon's recommended steps when shooting on the C300, though I'm not too sure who actually put this together - I don't think it was Canon:
Powering the camera:
Canon recommends that Canon batteries be used to power the camera. The BP-­‐955 battery pack comes with the camera. Here is a list of compatible batteries:

BP-950G, BP-955, BP-970G, BP-975

With the BP970G and BP-975 batteries, the battery door will not close
The battery door is removable: (page 169 of the instruction manual)

Short Film Shoot: Desecration | Scattered Images Film Production
Interesting post about the adventures of shooting a movie over three-days:
When I sit down to watch low budget indie films it’s the acting and sound that let me down. However, on this production we were blessed to have such talented actors and a great sound team involved. By the way I don’t believe you can make high quality zero budget films-but that’s just my own opinion and another blog article altogether The script could be potentially strong but if you haven’t got the skilled crew in place or professional actors on board then the audience will inevitably pick up on that and take the focus away from the writing and subsequently the story.

5 Things I Hate About You… | John Brawley | Blog
DP John Brawley on the things he dislikes about the ARRI Alexa (though he likes the camera):
2. Controls for the operator are on the dumb side…recording media on the operator side?
Alexa is a drama camera, not an ENG camera. I don’t understand the logic of having the card slots for this camera on the operators side….well actually on your right cheek ! I mean if the camera purred the way an Arricam did when you ran it with film I’d happily nuzzle my ear next to the card slot and listen to those bytes being recorded as a final check that the loader had laced the digital magazine properly.

*UPDATE* The Next 5D on March 2, 2012 [CR3] | CanonRumors
Now the date for the - rumored - Canon 5D Mark III announcement moves to March 2?!

The City of Samba | Jarbas Agnelli | Vimeo
This Tilt-Shift timelapse of Rio de Janeiro and the Carnaval party is quite amazing. The first half is interesting (the helicopter rescue is quite something) but the parade in the last half is just amazing. The timelapse makes it look like some fantastic stop-motion animated production!