Archive for February, 2009

Imagineer Systems has announced that they are reevaluating their product line, prices, and customer needs. Specifically, they noted the following:

* Delivering several new releases of VFX solutions that leverage Imagineer’s signature planar tracking technology;
* Delivering substantive enhancements to its entire, existing product line;
* Overhauling its pricing structure — across the board — to better reflect customer requirements.

The new pricing changes:
monet: $2,995
mokey: $2,995
mocha: $995
motor: $495
mocha for After Effects: $199

More info at imagineersystems.com.

zzizzl is a new marketplace for content creators that bills itself as the “iTunes for indie creators.” Independent filmmakers can upload their latest masterpiece and sell it in iPod and other portable media player formats. Profits are split 50/50 with the site. More info here.

UPDATE: This issue applies to EOS 5D cameras, not the new 5D MKII.

So let’s say you are working along with you hot new Canon 5D MKII, and suddenly you start hearing a clunking noise and you can no longer see an image through the viewfinder. Chances are, your DSLR’s mirror just detached. Apparently in some cases the adhesive holding the camera’s internal mirror in place will, well, un-adhese. The issue has occurred with a number of 5D shooters, enough that Canon has officially announced that they are aware of the problem and will fix the issue should it happen to you. Here’s hoping it doesn’t.

(Thanks to Rick for the tip)

cinevate_b4_relay_lensCinevate has shown off a sneak peek of their new B4 Relay Lens for 2/3″ cameras. The relay has been in development for literally years now, and appears to be close to release. The unit has been billed as the world’s first multi-format relay, and comes with an estimated price tag of $2500-$2700 USD. The multi-format distinction refers to the relay’s ability to zoom and adjust the image frame for lenses that offer varying frame sizes (for instance, good PL glass vs SLR glass). Here’s an excerpt from Cinevate’s announcement:

“The only question you might have right now is will it work with Brand X adapter? The answer is about 95% likely a yes, assuming you’re using our flip module. The relay lens uses several types of low dispersion glass, exotic coatings and yes, has 100% internal focusing, zooming, and back focus operations. This means it does not breath physically an iota, regardless of whether you’re in SLR (or Vistavision) mode or cine mode. The video should answer any questions and explains also illustrates the nearly 50% loss of FOV that happens with any other relay system when using SLR or Vistavision format lenses.”

Watch the announcement video at Cinevate’s site for all the juicy details. There’s also an announcement thread at Scarletuser with some Q&A for future Red Scarlet shooters.

Convergent Design’s unique Flash XDR unit is a solid-state recorder for HD cameras. It accepts uncompressed video via HD-SDI, and records it to CF card using a “visually lossless” codec or one of several high-bitrate Long-GOP or I-Frame only options. Shipping with the latest firmware update, it now supports QT and MXF files, offering near-universal NLE support. So if you’ve got about $4800 you’ve been itching to spend, this one looks like a good option for high-quality capture in the field. Learn more here.

I ran across two interesting linkdump type posts over at FilmmakerIQ. The first contains links to 202 DIY filmmaking tutorials. Things like the famous (or infamous) $14 Steadicam, DIY cranes and dollies, etc. The second post contains 202 Final Cut Pro tutorials, many of them video tutorials. Some of the links and videos are dead, but overall it’s quite a collection of resources that should keep you busy building and editing for the next few months. Enjoy!

You may remember in our coverage of CineGear 2008, we took a look at the pre-production model of Zacuto’s Zwing-away, an adapter that turns any standard lightweight mattebox into a swingaway mattbox. FreshDV had a chance to look at the production Zwing-away recently, here is our video review of this unique mattebox accessory. Watch below, or subscribe to FreshDV’s audio/video podcast feed.

The National Film Board of Canada has completed digitizing their archives, and have made them available online. There’s an amazing collection of historical archives, shorts, and features freely available on the site. They also offer extremely affordable licensing terms for teachers and classrooms.

Trusted Reviews has taken a look at the Panasonic HDC-HS300, and they like it. Looks like a solid consumer-level AVCHD offering, though at quite a stiff price point (B&H has it “coming soon” for nearly $1400)

(Via Engadget)

Cinematech mentions a conversation with Joss Whedon about his three-part web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and the budget they had to work with. Looks like it was shot on a shoestring using quite a few favors for $200,000. To date it’s earned $400,000, though Whedon indicates that delayed compensation deals were paid back out of earnings. So if you are determining a budget for a slick, well produced 42-minute web series with popular actors, it appears to be possible to do it for under $400K. If you’ve not seen the series yet, you can watch all three episodes below thanks to Hulu.

zacuto_zfocus_flippableSince we first released our extensive follow focus review series over a year ago, we have continued to update the video reviews with new units as they become available. To date we’ve tested units from Chrosziel, Cinetech, Redrock Micro, Petroff, Indifocus, Shoot35/SGPro, and ARRI. Today we’re adding a video review for the Zacuto Z-Focus flippable follow focus unit. Watch the Zacuto follow focus review in the video playlist here, or by subscribing to our audio/video podcast feed.

As you probably know, FreshDV’s writers are also contributors over at ProVideoCoalition. We’ve got a FreshDV channel there, (subscribe to the RSS feed for free) and are proud to be a part of PVC’s prestigious group of video geeks and journalists.

I wanted to pass on the word that ProVideoCoalition will soon be launching monthly newsletters, for those who like to get their content delivered to them by e-mail from time to time. Each newsletter will have a focused theme, and this month’s edition will be focused on the camera and acquisition end of production.

Speaking as someone who’s had an inside look at some of the content that is forthcoming, it looks to be an excellent resource. The first issue will feature an article by FreshDV’s Kendal Miller, on the topic of using simple depth cues in your composition to deepen the viewer’s experience in subtle, but tremendously effective ways. It’s a great piece, and I urge you to subscribe to the newsletter so you won’t miss it.

Scott Simmons has a good writeup on the Hyundai SuperBowl commercial that Billy Corgan edited. Avid has confirmed that the spot was indeed cut using Media Composer. The raw footage can be re-edited online by anyone, using Adobe’s Flash-based Premiere Express. Check out all the details here.

lancome_makeupVia Larry Jordan’s essential monthly newsletter resource, I found this hot tip for quickly dealing with skin imperfections and hot spots. Lancome’s Pure Focus T-Zone Powder Gel can be quickly and simply applied to the face and forehead of on-camera talent to fix common issues. This is particularly necessary when shooting male interview subjects, who rarely are wearing or considered wearing makeup (assuming there is no budget for a makeup artist). A bottle of the makeup will run about $25-$30, and will reportedly last for many subject applications.

arri_hd_camcorder_kit1Since we first released our extensive follow focus review series, we have continued to update the video reviews with new units as they become available. To date we’ve tested units from Chrosziel, Cinetech, Redrock Micro, Petroff, Indifocus, and Shoot35/SGPro. Today we’re adding review videos for the new ARRI MFF-1 HD camcorder follow focus, and the production-tested ARRI FF-4.

The FF-4 follow focus needs no introduction. The precursor to the FF5, it is one of ARRI’s flagship units and is considered by many to be an industry standard of quality. The new MFF-1 is ARRI’s entry into the lightweight HD camcorder accessories market, and is part of a kit that also includes 15mm short rods. baseplate and a mattebox. Designed for the PMW-EX1, it is equally at home with 35mm adapter units and other HD camcorder rigs.

Watch both reviews in the video playlist here, or by subscribing to our audio/video podcast feed.