Archive for November, 2008

Just posted some tips and a video tutorial on how to edit 5D Mark II DSLR 1080p footage in FCP without transcoding to ProRes.

That guy Vincent is at it again. In this video made with the new Canon 5D MarkII DSLR, he shows off some new footage in addition to shots from Reverie. Canon owes this man a boatload of cameras for the publicity he’s generated for the 5D launch. Video below…

The 5D MK2 is not in stock at B&H, nor anywhere else that I normally look for such things (such as Amazon). “Due to unprecedented consumer interest” you can’t even add your e-mail to B&H’s “notify when in stock” list for the unit. Good luck finding a unit any time soon. Here’s hoping Nikon’s forthcoming high-end DSLR will include 1080p video as well, if for no other reason but to lower the intense interest in the Canon 5D.

Since the Canon 5D Mark II blew indie filmmaker minds with the inclusion of 1080p video capture, geeks everywhere have been speculating about Nikon’s new high-end models, and if they would improve on the Nikon D90‘s flawed movie mode.

It seems that yesterday Nikon USA posted photos of the new high-end D3X DSLR on their website, and then immediately pulled them as soon as photo blogs picked up on the news. The images don’t appear to directly confirm the existence of a movie capture mode. In fact, they look a lot like the previous model Nikon D3. A closer examination confirms that something odd is going on. The photos appear to be D3 press images that have been doctored with the D3X logo. The following animated gif shows this rather clearly. With the exception of some fiddling with levels and/or contrast, the images appear to be identical. So now we know exactly what we knew earlier about the possible inclusion of a movie mode…nothing. I wonder what’s up? Is this a mistake, or simply a shot at generating viral buzz?


(source)

Linkdump – Black Friday Shopping Deals

Ahh, Thanksgiving in the USA. The holiday that kicks off the ridiculous shopping sprint to Christmas. In the interests of avoiding the lines at retail stores, a number of online outfits are offering Black Friday sales and specials. Here’s a few that caught my eye, feel free to add links in the comments.

* Amazon Black Friday Deals
(Example: Canon Powershot SD770IS + SDHC card <$160 via Engadget)

* Videoguys Black Friday Specials
(including $6.99 UPS Ground Shipping on All Orders)

* B&H Photo/Video Weekly Holiday Specials
(including Free Shipping on Hard Drive specials)

* Apple’s Friday one-day sales page.

* Slickdeals Forum has a ton of linkage.

*Engadget has posted a few links also.

* Also worth checking out is Gizmodo’s Black Friday Survival Guide.

Check back here at FreshDV for updates as new links and deals surface.

Excellent Lighting Tips for New DPs

Art Adams has written a wonderful collection of tips and techniques that new (and old) DoPs should consider. Here’s an excerpt.

“When I first walk onto a set I usually stand there for a minute or two looking thoughtful and competent while I run all sorts of different scenarios. “What if I smack a hard light through that window? How do I avoid that boring white wall? What if I build a big soft source right over the camera?” I’ll play all sorts of crazy games in my head. Most of it revolves around how faces will catch the light (I’m all about making actors look good) and experience working in other locations. I’m also thinking about how malleable a setup is so that I’m not locking myself into shooting just one direction. I don’t want to spend a lot of time relighting each setup if I can avoid it. As a mentor once told me, “It’s not just about making pretty pictures. It’s about making sure the trains run on time.” It may be fun but it’s still a business. Fast lighting makes for a popular DP.”

Here’s a unique Do-It-Yourself idea for lightweight camcorder users. The “Sphere Arm” is an articulated arm for lightweight cameras that allows you to encircle a close-focus subject like insects, flowers, etc. Footage from the rig reminds me of the types of moves you can accomplish with a skater dolly. The design shown is somewhat limited, and certainly won’t support a rig over a few pounds. But it looks like a unique solution that some users may find very helpful. And with a little creative engineering, it could probably be modded to support much heavier rigs, perhaps a 35mm adapter even (make sure you’ve got a good close-focus macro lens first though). Video below.


The “Sphere Arm” tripod arm for filming Insects (DIY) from Edwin bont on Vimeo.

Thanks to PK for the heads up!

Digital Rebellion offers a free tool called Compressor Repair that helps resolve issues with the notoriously unstable Apple Compressor and Qmaster relationship. Details here. Download your copy here.

Jim Jannard just announced another announcement date. Apparently “everything” has changed. Again. So set your phasers to “fanboy” and check back on December 3rd!

Maybe it will be improved specs over what they already announced for the new Epic and Scarlet models. Half of me wonders if the announcement will just say “Psych!” Regardless, this latest little tidbit of non-news has goaded me into full rant mode, so here it is: Red Renders Previous Koolaid Vouchers Obsolete. Feel free to add your own rant or flame mine in the article comments.

Zacuto Shows off DSLR Kits

Those creative geniuses over at Zacuto have come up with some sweet support and shooting kits for the new crop of DSLR still cameras that can also capture HD video. For a taste, they’ve released a video that shows off their systems. Check it out below.

Silicon Imaging’s SI-2K digital cinema camera was apparently used to shoot the feature Slumdog Millionaire. Over at his HD Cinema blog, Ben Cain has some criticism for the camera. He takes specific issue with SI’s claim of a “low-noise, high-dynamic range sensor,” citing excessive image noise in some of the night exterior and dark interior scenes. Image quality discussion aside, the film is doing exceptionally well from a critical standpoint, with a current 92% RT rating. So I’m curious, did you see the film? And if so, did any potential image noise pull you out of the story in any way?

I saw the new Quantum of Solace Bond flick projected in 4K recently, and am reminded how in the very first shot I was pulled from the story by image noise. Instead of being drawn into the story by the long ocean aerial shot as it approached the shore, I was wondering how many stops the negative had been pushed. Yes, I’m a geek. To top it off, I didn’t enjoy the rest of the new Bond either. It was like Bourne, but with ham-handed editing and less plot. A big disappointment after Royale

Here’s an interesting review on an plugin product for Final Cut Pro that is designed to simplify color correction. The $49 overlay plugin is a specialized waveform monitor that helps you nail down flesh tones with the 3 Way Color Corrector. It’s a bit hard to explain, best check out the review for all the details. Looks like a very unique solution that might be a good start for those just dipping their toes into real color correction.

Aptina, OEM source for cameraphone image sensors, has announced a new sensor design that can capture 720p HD video. At 60 frames per second. Nice.

Till now, Red One camera users have had a somewhat limited workflow with Final Cut Pro. Yes, FCP was the first to support editing the Quicktime Proxies of the RAW .r3d footage. It’s a workflow, but a cludgy one. Since then, Apple has been notably silent on the Red front, even as Adobe added native 4k R3D support in Premiere Pro. Well, the wait is over it seems. Red has announced that there is now a Redcode Plugin for Final Cut Studio 2, that enables the use of Log and Transfer to import .r3d’s natively into FCP (and Color). This is brilliant news! Now instead of rendering out one-light grades as ProRes, users can operate on the original RAW data. For grading in Color, this means you’ve got access to all the data. For instance, a grade that clips highlights can be helped along by backing off on the exposure. This really brings out the benefits of shooting in a Raw format like Redcode.

There are some limitations and issues to be aware of, as expected. For starters, as with Red Alert and RedCine, the plugin is only compatible with Intel Mac users. I’d say this confirms that Red has no intention to expand support to PPC users. You’ll also need to grab the latest Pro Applications Update via Software Update, bringing FCP up to version 6.05. Secondly, the plugin requires roughly twice the disk space as the original raw footage to re-wrap in a Quicktime format for FCP. Thirdly, the rewrap takes time. Anecdotally, this has been noted as about the same amount of time to rewrap DVCPROHD footage. Finally, some users are reporting a gamma shift when using with Color. This may or may not be related to the plugin, as Color and Quicktime gamma has been an ongoing moving target (and Color got an update in the latest Pro Apps version). However, it’s worth noting.

The plugin is available at www.red.com/support

Thanks to Chris at Lakeview Productions for the heads up. If you are looking for a good Red rental source in the Chicago area, Chris really knows his stuff and has excellent kit. He’s also a kickass gaffer.

Ikonoskop Releases Footage

We interviewed Ikonoskop recently about the new A-Cam dII, a digital 16mm replacement. They promised footage soon, and cameras later in the year. It seems that at least some footage is now available. It looks like preliminary test footage however, and I am interested to get my hands on some RAW DNG files from a production camera. Snag a copy at www.ikonoskop.com/dii/footage/

Final Cut Pro Tip: Show Duplicate Frames

Editing organazized has a short post on the FCP feature “Show Duplicate Frames.” It’s a handy, though somewhat obscure feature. Check it out, might just save you some time in the edit.