Saturday, July 14, 2012

Is film still alive?

At the recent Three Minute Film Challenge DP Brandon Vincent was documenting the event with a DSLR film camera, and I had to ask him why:

You’re shooting film today. Why are you doing that?
Well, I’ve been meaning too. I found an old, well it’s not super old, but an older film camera that I used back in college. And I figured I'd find some old film, stick it in, and make myself shoot film.

I’m really doing it to make myself more selective. I don’t want to be just popping off pictures, and hope that I get a good shot. I want to make sure that what I’m shooting is exactly what I want, everything’s the way that I want it, and I’m not going to bracket 6 pictures just to make sure I get my exposure right. I want to be as selective as I can and not waste the images, because I’ve only got one roll of film today, it’s 24 frames, I’ve got to make them count.

Two weeks later I checked in with Brandon to see how the pictures turned out.
Unfortunately, the place I used to go is closed now. I'm going to find somewhere else next week hopefully.

I think film is dead...

Brandon (right) with his film camera.

Portable EntertainmentHome EntertainmentComputersCamcorders
Digital Cameras & Gear
Pro Audio
You go to B&H

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brattle Theatre Trailer Smackdown 2012

It was back to the Brattle Theatre Trailer Smackdown last night for a fun evening of bad trailers and a competition of trailers made by 17 different teams just for the event. I wrote about the Smackdown last year, and it wasn't that much different this year; only the trailers had changed!

It's fascinating how bad, odd and weird some old trailers are!

See also NotesOnVideo: The Joy of the Bad Trailer

Here's some that stood out...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A look at the Sony NEX-FS700, and other things...

Yesterday I went to a Learning Lab at Rule Boston Camera for the Sony NEX-FS700. I've written up the experience for Filmmaker Magazine: A look at the Sony NEX-FS700 which should be up today.

As much as I'm impressed by the engineering and the image of the Canon C300 - and the fact that it works with Canon lenses natively - if I was buying a camera today I think I'd be drawn to the NEX-FS700.

Of course, this is all a little moot, as I don't have the money to buy either camera!

Speaking of Rule Boston Camera, they have two other Learning Labs and a Pub Night coming up. Be sure to RSVP to

Learning Labs:
WED: July 18: LED Lights: Ready For Prime Time
with Lighting Designer John Gates

WED: July 25: Capturing High-Quality Digital Stills & Multi0Media Content
With photographer Steve Dunwell

Pub Night:
THU: July 26: The Long & WInding Road: Thriving in Today's Film, Video & Digital Cinema World
With Cinematographer and Director Austin de Besche

Finally, the Boston Creative Pro User Group has a couple of things coming up too: on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 the "Boston Premiere" of Adobe Creative Suite 6, and on Saturday, July 28, 2012 Visual Storytelling in Premiere Pro CS6 and Magic Bullet Suite with Simon Walker, a day long workshop (cost $99)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quick Links

Life after Red | Michael N. Sutton | RedUser
Not surprisingly, Mike Sutton's column yesterday that mentions RED prompts some fiery response in the RedUser forum:
I think the point of my article is missed here. Its about progress and making better products as well as company policies, practices, etc in the end. If you think its okay to ban someone for speaking honestly or threatening lawsuits over names like Scarlet for TV's is okay then none of what I write will be acknowledged anyway. Attacking my spelling is fine if that's all you got. I am not a writer I am a shooter.

WEEK 2: Setting Up Your Color Correction Workspace | Patrick Inhofer
| Splicevine
Patrick continues his series on Color Correction, this week: Optimizing Your Room For Color Correction
The point of an external monitor is simple.
It bypasses your computer’s color management system, which is off-loaded to the monitor. The monitor is fed from a specialized board or box that’s hooked up to your computer with special software drivers installed. You enable this board or box in your NLE or color grading app and it routes the video signal to this specialized hardware and into your external monitor.

MacBreak Studio - Episode 173: Time-stretching Audio Without Affecting Pitch in FCPX | YouTube
Steve Martin talks about retiming your audio in Final Cut Pro X. He shows to Mark Spencer how you can stretch out the audio in your project to its desired length without affecting its pitch.

The F65 Project on Vimeo | BH2 | Vimeo
The F65 Project was created to explore this amazing camera. It's pro's, con's and everything it has to offer. There will be a series of short films, followed by a "Lets Talk about It" video to explain workflow, camera settings, post, accessories used and anything else used to produce that particular...

A couple more slo-mo shots with the Sony NEX-FS700:
Eerste beelden Sony NEX FS700 | StudioMAD
First test with our Sony NEX-FS700 and Metabones adapter.
Lens: EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Shots on 200 - 400 - 800 fps

Fireworks with the FS700 Super Slo Motion | Thaddeus Setla | Vimeo
I was in Benicia at the waterfront using the Sony FS700 for the first time with the fireworks and I absolutely loved the capabilities at 120fps. I was using the ZEISS ZF.2 35mm f1.4 lens with the novoflex adaptor.

ikan Proudly Introduces the MR7— A True Director’s Monitor! | Planet5D
ikan announces the fully equipped MR7 high definition field monitor, packed with features that cannot be found in its price range. With built-in H.264 recording abilities for instant playback, optional wireless transmitter and handheld rig, it will have your director and set-heads salivating untethered from the camera, eliminating those awkward over-the-shoulder moments of checking the shot.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Quick Links

NEX-FS700 Significantly reduced shutter when in Super Slow Mo! | Alister Chapman | XDCAM
Rolling shutter is almost gone when shooting at high speed with the NEX-FS700:
This is very interesting and requires further investigation as it suggests that the sensor read out process is different in the high speed mode. It is probably just a significantly faster scan rate, but it could also possibly be a global shutter of some kind. It’s just a shame that you can’t access this read out mode for normal shooting.

My 5 cinematography tipsTwitter
Evan Luzi offered these 5 tips is one post:
  1. Use Less Lights
  2. Point the Camera & Shoot
  3. Bounces Work
  4. Gaffers = good
  5. Perfection is a Commodity
Jake Ures ‏added:
6. Light can never be too soft.
7. A steadicam is not a dolly.
8. Don't move the camera if you don't have to.

Sony F65 hands on review part 1 | By Martin Chab | Zitrin
A review of Sony's big, expensive camera:
Let me tell you one thing. The Latitude of this camera is insane!!!!! period.
No other camera that i used so far comes even close to it. And the reason is not only the sensor itself but because of the fact that the RAW files are stored in 16 bits per channel linear. That means that the data is never clipped.
Don't you believe me? see for yourself. This take was shot in midday full sun without any reflector or help to lower the contrast ratio of the image in any way.

Sony F65 3D: Pushing the Limits of Digital Cinema Acquisition | CineGround
Using the F65 for 3D:
Being the first to put the F65 into a 3D arrangement meant that there were a lot of elements to the workflow that were still up in the air. Application support for the Sony F65 is still spotty, so we knew there would be challenges in that area. Thankfully Light Iron works closely with a company called Colorfront.

Competition is good: Life after Red | Michael Sutton | Wide Open Camera
Mike thinks RED might have their work cut out for them:
The best part of Arri, Sony, Canon and others bringing real 4K competitive cameras to market is that it will make Red make changes. Just as Red forced change in the industry by setting the bar higher, these other companies are going to force change on Red to improve its products and the way its deals with its customers.

Sigma E-Mount 30mm and 19mm f/2.8EX DN Lenses - Hands on Review!! | Jay
A review of the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens [$199] and the 19mm f/2.8 EX DN Lens [$199] which may be worth looking at for the NEX-FS100...
Over the course of the month I’ve had some really good opportunities to test these lenses out in a variety of ways including video focus tests, corner sharpness tests, fringing, shooting into the sun, and more!! I also shot mostly in jpeg mode for this round as the automatic lens correction that is built into the Nex-5n is awesome!! I also tweaked my jpeg profile a bit on the Nex-5n by lowering the sharpness and saturation a tad.

Playing with the Canon 70-200 F4 L | Chadwick Paul
A friend has the Canon 70-200 F4L lens, and while it might not be as flashy as the f/2.8L, at $1,249 with IS, or $709 without, it's a lot easier on the wallet - and a lot lighter too:
I had the pleasure of having a relaxing, family oriented weekend just recently so I thought it would be fun to try out my new Canon 70-200 in my studio. So far, I’ve only made a few hundred exposures with this lens and an hour or so of video, but I love it! It is one of those less talked about 70-200 lenses, but offers incredible image quality.

Mystery camera revealed – Sony NEX 5N in cine housing with cooling mod
| Andrew Reid | EOSHD
A housing for the NEX-5N:
It essentially turns the tiny toy-like NEX 5N into a mini Red. Advantages include a secure full sized HDMI port, cooling system, integrated Sony monitor, robust build quality, better handling and protection for the camera itself from drops, etc. As you can see, looks wise it is quite an eye opener too, turning the NEX 5N into something much closer to a digital cinema camera.

C300 Grip Relocator | Zacuto | Vimeo
An interesting accessory for the C300, the C300 Grip Relocator [$337.25] lets you use the C300 handle in place of your rigs handgrip:
The Zacuto C300 Grip Relocator moves the Canon C300 grip to a Zacuto handgrip. This allows you to maintain stability and control your camera without ever removing your hand from the handgrip on your gorilla or shoulder mounted rig. With this Grip Relocator, you can control the stop and start button, use iris, menu navigation and have an extra programmable button all at your fingertips. To get more information on the C300 Grip Relocator.

Benchmark Tests: Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 vs. Apple Final Cut Pro X
| Streaming Media Producer
Premiere is faster...
These results are targeted primarily for streaming producers, and apply to a much lesser degree to longform producers, if at all. Within the streaming media production community, however, these tests reveal that the Adobe CS6 encodes faster than FCP X, and can shave hours of rendering time off longer, more complex projects.

“The Solar Odyssey”: Taking part in a documentary, Part One | Michael Murie
| Filmmaker Magazine
Shooting with the Sony NEX-FS100:
You never know where an interesting project can come from — a friend, a client or even from Twitter. Such was the case for Boston-based DP Todd Mahoney, who spent ten days documenting the progress of The Solar Odyssey Project after seeing a tweet looking for someone to sub for their regular d.p. The Solar Odyssey is an attempt to cover the waterways of “The Great Loop” in a solar-powered boat. The project is led by skipper and adventurer Jim Greer, and technologist and host Philip Hodgetts.

Red Giant Acquires Technology from Singular Software | Red Giant Software
Important info about Singular Software products
Q: What will happen to new product development, like PluralEyes 3.0?
A: All development for Singular Software products will continue full-steam. PluralEyes 3.0 for Mac is scheduled for release in Summer 2012, and PluralEyes 3.0 for Windows will follow soon after.

The Art of Color-Correction on 6.27.12 | Rule Boston Camera | Vimeo
I was disappointed to miss this tutorial the other day, but now the video is up on Vimeo:
Colorist Rob Bessette of Finish Post presents an overview on the art of color correction with a step-by-step look at the finer points of Black Magic Design's DaVinci Resolve.
For more information about Rob Bessette, visit

Write a Script A guide to scriptwriting essentials | BBC
The BBC is promoting script writing - though some of it's intended for UK residents only:
When you’re new to writing, just getting to the end of that first script is really hard. This section of the website is for those who want to write, who have an idea that is itching to get out, and who would like a guide or structure to help them take it from idea right through to a first draft. What you get here is a series of steps in the writing process with essential elements, questions and challenges you will face. It’s not designed to be exhaustive. But it’s not just a basic ‘how to’. It’s the essentials of what we believe go in to making a good script.

Animating in Element 3DVideo Copilot
We are only one day away from launching our new plug-in Element 3D and a new demonstration video is online to show you creative ways to animate 3D objects with the plug-in. Think of other creative uses while you watch!

Discuss: 4D Is Coming To U.S. Theaters, Will You Care? | Edward Davis
| The Playlist
Oh No! I thought 3D was bad enough, here comes Smell-O-Rama again!
4D attempts to be much less lo-tech, utilizing seats that rumble (Canadian company D-Box already has a number of these in theaters), strobe lights that flash and even blind the audience, plus gusts of air and smoke, and even water spray, that expels within the theater. 4D is apparently already a hit in places like Seoul and Mexico City and CJ Group is banking that U.S. audiences will be willing to shell out an additional $8 on top of the regular ticket for their 4D experience.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Quick Links

NeedCreative Podcast Ep. 3 - It Was A Great 3 Minutes | Anticipate Media
A week after doing a three-minute film challenge, Paul, Ric, and friends get together to discuss the results of the project, as well as criticism from Steve Weiss of Zacuto - some people dream of being criticized by Steve Weiss:
In this third special episode Jason Sidelinger and Paul Antico talk with special guests DP/Director/Writers Rick Macomber, Matt Stapleton, Sean Meehan, and actress Nicole Trauffer about the first Boston Area "Under 3 Minute" Film Challenge organized by Paul and Rick

Editing “The Amazing Spider-Man” | Digital Production Buzz
An audio interview with editor Alan Edward Bell:
This time he’s back with stories of editing “The Amazing Spider-Man.” What’s it like working on a high-budget production? How does he organize his edit team? How does he determine the path from dailies to finished movie? How does he balance technology with story-telling? Alan is a great guest – be sure to listen in!

Steadicam Rickshaw first Test | Sam Morgan Moore | Vimeo
Some video's shot using a Steadicam on a home-built "Rickshaw" that is pulled by a bike. The first video shows the device at the end:
A very very quick first test of the Rickshaw am constructing
While the device has a hard mount for my Pilot I was using the Blackbird here
RickShaw, Test 4 | Vimeo

Testing your film with an audience, top five editorial mistakes you CAN FIX
| Chris Jones Blog
Some advice on how to take audience reaction to your masterpiece:
All those times in the cutting room when the director was saying ‘no, no, no, it’s a beautiful shot, let it breathe…’ will now haunt you. You will sit through this screening wishing every single edit came just fraction faster. In your head, you will be screaming ‘no, no, no stay awake because the next scene is really good…oh dear god, hurry up, hurry, hurry, hurry’. If the director is present at this screening, it maybe a wake up call but beware, it may lead to further denial – ‘they just don’t understand my art…’

| esperimentocinema
This appears to be an iPad app for controlling DaVinci Resolve:
Unleash the power of Davinci Resolve on your iPad! This is Esperimentocinema Davinci Resolve Layout for iPad. It allows to use the mac keyboard shortcuts of Resolve on your iPad, advanced playback functions and it can launch various tabs of Davinci Resolve, Render tab included. To control the color parameters, curves, etc. we suggest to use a pen tablet. A resolution of computer monitor of 1920x1200 is recommended to use all the functions of the layout.

Sony to produce first full frame DSLR with 1080/60p and EVF | Andrew Reid
Information on the video specs for the upcoming: Sony A99:
Sony’s new full frame DSLR features 1080p video in 24p and 60p – the first full frame DSLR to have the higher frame rate, which is very welcome for slow motion. Interestingly this DSLR is also able to record stills without interrupting video. A dual readout like that has only previously been seen on compact cameras which can output the entire sensor at up to 30fps.

Zoom Magazine | DigitalBolex
Another interview with the creators of the Digital Bolex:
We were interviewed just after NAB this year by ZOOM Magazine, which also featured us on the cover of their magazine! Their interview just posted…

Don Winslow on "Savages" | Billy Brennan | Filmmaker Magazine
An interview with writer Don Winslow:
Winslow: Sometimes I do an outline, but what I tend to find, even when I do, is somewhere around page 70, give-or-take, the character will do or say something that wasn’t in the outline; but it’s better. And then I go chase that, grab it for a while.

So I think, you know, if you back out of the driveway it’s probably a good idea to have some idea of where you want to go. But I don’t want to be married to that concept.

Customize Text in After Effects | Rob Mize | Creative COW
Rob Mize demonstrates a number of techniques to create your own unique text with After Effects. Learn how particles, masks and combinations of effects can be used to create and animate an unlimited library of text customizations... all without 3rd party plugs-ins.

Inspiration! 16 Impressive TV Show Opens & Main Titles | Danny Greer
| Premiumbeat
A collection of YouTube clips showing different title sequences:
The following innovative main title sequences present the theme of a television show in a totally unique and creative way. Use these show opens as inspiration for your own work!

What's New In Captivate 6 | Michael Murie | Changing Interactions
From my other blog on eLearning, some notes from a webinar on new features in Captivate 6. The latest rev supports new video capture and editing tools; though it's nothing like Premiere!
Previously, Captivate captured either only the changes that occurred onscreen – rather than the entire screen – or short sequences of real-time frames that were captured when the mouse was down. Now, Captivate will capture frames of video; you can even record video playing inside an app

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Quick Links

Sony NEX-FS700 Kit and Gear Walkthrough | Tony Reale | NextWaveDV
Tony talks about what he likes about the Sony NEX-FS700, and also what gear he likes to use with it. He's a fan of the 18-200 kit lens (with reservations) and likes the Metabones adapter for use with Canon lenses:
In this video I talk about my new Sony FS700 video camera. People have asked me why I went from HDSLRs to the new FS700 and I explain my reasons while also showing the gear I have in my kit.

KineRAW S8 Camera Test Footage | Cinescopophilia
A Chinese company is working on some interesting cameras. A few details can be found here:
There are three Chinese KineRaw cameras the KineRaw S35, KineRaw S16 and the KineRaw S8 in the making. [...] and now we see more test footage of the KineRaw S8 camera has been put up by Dan Hudgins. The KineRaw S8 is similar to the KineRAW S35 and KineRAW S16 cameras except for the lack of Cineform compressed recording.

and here: KineRAW S35 Camera Vs Sony F3 Camera

Now filming with Canon C300 and XF305 | Philip Johnston | HD Warrior
Philip needed a run and gun camera to use with the Canon C300, and found that the Canon XF100 [$2,995] wasn't good enough. That left either the Sony HXR-NX70 [$2,499], Sony EX1r [$5,899], or the Canon XF305 [$6,995]. Philip explains how he made the choice:
Although the Canon has 3 chips, 4:2:2, 50Mbps and the magical CBR (Constant Bit Rate), I cannot match the colours to the C300 as good as I could with the Panasonic AC160 but the pictures from the 305 are stunning.
I need a run and gun camcorder for everything other than interviews and the Canon XF305 will be a great stable mate to the C300.

Little fix to make using Premiere CS6 a little bit better! :) | Philip Bloom | Blog
A hack for enlarging Premiere's icons:
One thing that bugs me though is when zoomed out on the timeline the icons are just too damn BIG. You are constantly zooming in to to do edits and tweaks due the icon size. My great friend, amazing shooter and English MacGyver has the same problem as me and has started work on reducing the size of the icons to make editing easier.

Duran Duran – A Diamond in The Mind 2011 – How we filmed it | Den Lennie
| F-Stop Academy
Den Lennie explains shooting a 22 camera Gig on Super 35mm with the Sony PMW-F3 [$13,160], NEX-FS100 [$4,999] and HXR-MC1P [$1,795] Point-Of-View camera. Interestingly, unlike most concert films made these days, the camera operators were roaming free and weren't being directed through talkback:
We chose to shoot the gig primarily on Sony PMW-F3, and Sony NEX-FS100 camera’s with on stage minicams Sony HXR-MC1P. The F3′s were recorded internally at 35mb/s and externally on to Convergent Design Nano Flash ast 80mb/s Quick Time. This meant we’d have the necessary higher bit rate for HD Broadcast spec and a secondary back up using the camera’s internal codec.

It’s Hard to Stop a Trane: Shooting Action Sequences | Shane Hurlbut
| Hurlbut Visuals
Another blog post about a multi-camera shoot that featured a lot of DSLRs:
Most of the shots for this concept involved complex stunt and practical FX work, so proper planning was paramount. The Elite Team was strategically placed for maximum coverage during each action sequence using 17 cameras: 2 Arri Alexas, 8 Canon 5D’s, and 7 Canon 7D’s. The Arri Alexas shot 120 FPS from a safe distance while the 5D’s and 7D’s were put into Pelican crash housings and placed in harm’s way.

Understanding Color Processing: 8-bit, 10-bit, 32-bit, and more | Karl Soule
| Adobe
A blog post about color processing, along with a tip for using Premiere Pro (via Patrick Inhofer's Tao Colorist):
Okay, now how does this relate to Premiere Pro? Some of Premiere Pro’s effects are full 32-bit floating point effects and have the ability to work in this high color precision. There’s a little secret to making this happen, however. Since 32-bit float color is more memory intensive, you need to turn on a small check box in the Sequence settings

Continuing Tales of an FCP Switcher – CS6 workflow, for now | Walter Biscardi
| Biscardi Creative Blog
Walter continues his move away from Final Cut Pro; in this, the third post on the subject, he explains the workflow they are currently using:
Gone is the “log and transfer” requirement of FCP and it does take some time to get used to the fact that you can literally jump right in without the need to do anything to your media. As much as we can, we just leave everything raw and native as it came in. Saves a lot of time initially and with some very fast “big iron” systems, we have cut our back end render times down to essentially “real time.” Our 27 minute shows render in about 28 minutes.

Screenwriting: More Research | Lilith | Tumblr
The post goes into some length about researching modified motorcycles, but it also makes an important point about how plausible foundations are important, which I think is why I had such a problem with Prometheus:
If we want to create the seemingly implausible (a computer becoming self-aware, for example) then we must create the plausible foundations for it. And there will always be an intangible factor (The Monolith) that we can’t explain, but we’ve got enough foundations to extrapolate and have our minds connect the dots in the way that only the human brain can.

5 Tips For Filmmaking On The Fly | Jason Brubaker | Filmmaking Tips
Some of these tips are obvious - have a good script! - but others are not:
3. Load your screenplay into the Lightspeed production management software, for FREE: This is one of the best innovations, possibly ever. You load your screenplay and create a script breakdown. In addition to this, you can later use this software to manage your production.