Archive for November, 2009

scarlet_8x_2-3rdUpdate below: screencap/render of Scarlet GUI.

As promised, RED has posted their November 30th Scarlet announcement. You can check out the thread here, if the forum will load for you. Discussion and feedback should go here. In that Scarlet thread there’s also a note about Red Ray Pro, which is like an Apple TV or DVD player on steroids and will be pushed ahead of Red Ray Consumer (which was announced a long time ago). Red Ray Pro is supposed to be out in early 2010, no pricing details yet. As Jim hinted, Scarlet specs have been improved, and they are also showing off these cute little prime lenses for the camera. At around $950 USD they are affordable and Jarred is talking up the quality. Another notable improvement to the camera? The addition of Redcode RAW 100.

scarlet_specsScarlet & accessory pricing (not all accessories listed here):
* Scarlet 2/3″ 8x Fixed – $4750 (w/ 2/3″ sensor brain+lens, CF module, REDMote, 2.8″ touch LCD, battery, & charger).
* Scarlet 2/3″ Interchangeable – $2750 (is 2/3″ sensor brain only, need lots of stuff below).
* Scarlet S35 – $7000 (S35 sensor brain only).
* Scarlet specs are 3K REDCODE RAW @ up to 120fps w/ 150fps burst, scaled 720p & 1080p @ 60fps. Full announced specs embedded in pic @ right.

* 2.8″ touchscreen LCD – $800
* 5″ touchscreen LCD – $1200
* 7″ LCD (current model, currently $2500)
* 9″ touchscreen LCD (coming 2010, no pricing info)

* Electronic Red Mount – $500
* Electronic Nikon Mount – $500
* Electronic Canon Mount – $500
I personally find these mount prices to be pretty reasonable for a fully electronic mount (enables touch focus tracking feature on the touchscreen LCDs).

redmote_pro* Bomb EVF – $3200
* Redmote – $550
* Pro Redmote – $1750 (picture/render shown at right)
* Side CF Module – $500
* Red mattebox – $1200
* Side Handle – $750-$950
* Bottom handle – $300-$400
* Epic Rear Module Adaptor – (This presumably b/c Scarlet/Epic modules/accessories are interchangeable?)
* Scarlet Module Adaptor – $300 (Not exactly sure what this component is or does)
* Base I/O Module – $1750-$2250
* Pro I/O Module – $2950
* Battery Module (two batts) – $1000-$1750
* 2x CF Rear Module – $950-$1200
* 1.8″ SSD Module – $1500-$1750
* 1.8″ SSD Reader – $200

scarlet_front_mini_primes* 6mm T/1.5 prime lens – $950
* 8mm T/1.5 prime lens – $950
* 16mm T/1.5 prime lens – $950
* 25mm T/1.5 prime lens – $950
* 50mm T/2.9 prime lens – $950
Note that these lenses do NOT appear to be electronic…it’s my understanding that they are fully manual, and you won’t get all that yummy lens metadata that the Scarlet can handle, nor would you get the touch focus tracking. Still, very reasonable pricing for primes if the quality is as good as it initially appears to be.

Scarlet schedule:
* Scarlet 2/3″ (both models)- May-June 2010
* Scarlet S35- Summer 2010
Jarred followed that schedule update with the quote “This presupposes that there are no other major surprises…..” (and if you’ve followed Red for any length of time, you’ll know that there are always other major surprises). Quick note: “both models” refers to the 2/3 swappable and Fixed lens versions.

red_scarlet_guiEdit: Screencap or mockup of Red Scarlet user interface shown at right.

Edit: If you tally up the S35 Scarlet options for a base shooting config, you’ll come up with a number around $12,000 to $15,000 sans lenses. Those options include S35 brain, lens mount, base I/O, drive (or CF), and small LCD. This does not include handles, rods, mattebox, and all the other goodies you will also want and/or need. My napkin math on the Scarlet 2/3″ option with interchangeable lenses puts a bare shooting rig at around $7000 to $10,000. I’m personally not as interested in the 2/3″ 8x fixed lens option at $4750. Don’t forget you’ll also need extra batteries, possibly a larger LCD, and all that pricey jazz for any of these options.

Edit: Paul Del Vecchio has written a “it’s nice but go #&$%ing make something now” post over at his blog. Good points. And for those saying (again) that they will postpone their plans (again) until Scarlet comes out…well, I can’t recommend that. Great tools exist NOW, use them NOW and you can always trade up to Scarlet when it eventually ships (in whatever form it eventually takes). Remember, Scarlet was supposed to ship in ’08. And then again this past summer. RED changes schedules and specs all the time, you’d be foolish to make any solid plans based on their announced schedule.

Jem Schofield over at The C47 has posted a cool little impromtu handheld video stabilization test. He used Redrock Micro’s theEvent DSLR handheld rig to shoot some walking footage, and then compares FCP’s Smoothcam filter with the new Lock & Load stabilization filter from Coremelt. Watch the video below to see the results.

This post is just a quick reminder that most of the offers in last week’s post on Deals for Video Geeks are still valid for Cyber Monday. Most expire after the 30th, but some are good for the next few weeks. Get ‘em while they’re hot.

27inch_imacGizmodo wrote an interested blog post recently about the powerful new 2.8GHz Quad-Core iMac with the Intel i7 processor. They argue that in terms of raw horsepower and bang for buck, that it’s “straight stupid” to sink your $$$ into a 4-core Mac Pro tower. From an editors POV, Scott Simmons has written a fantastic counterpoint to that argument, discussing the many reasons why a Mac Pro is still a viable option for editors, and why an iMac is limiting.

They are both correct, of course. The new iMac is spanking Macs across the board in benchmark performance numbers, and if you simply need some horsepower on the cheap (+ a nice 27″ display), it’s a great option starting at around $2200 (buy here at B&H and support FreshDV). But many editors need the pro monitoring and expansion options of a Mac Pro, as Scott argues. So I guess it comes down to the question “what do YOU need?”

To muddy the waters even further, the current Mac rumor de jour is that a monster 12-core Mac Pro is due in early 2010, offering 12 physical and 24 logical cores to Snow Leopard’s multi-core Grand Central Dispatch tech. Mmm, tasty tasty cores…

Everyone’s favorite After Effects resource Video Copilot has announced a new FREE plugin for AE users called Sure Target 2. It will be released for After Effects 7, CS3, and CS4.

Announced features include; Auto-Camera Rigging, Auto-Populate, Ease Target Modes, Auto-Focus, Inertia Inheritance, Camera Roll, Dolly Control, Create a Baked Camera, Condition Protection, and Refresh Expressions. Check the blog post on this for full feature descriptions and details.

chrosziel_ex3_plateChrosziel has announced a unique dished baseplate for their DV Light Weight Support kit for the Sony XDCAM EX3. The new plate reportedly offers a more solid connection and twist stability.

“…Chrosziel has designed a form-fit dished-end camera plate that considerably enlarges the contact surface to the camera. It thus distributes holding forces beyond the thread areas, providing twist protection and safe hold of the camera. The form-fit plate takes into account the screw sticking out the camera’s base: a cut-out in the plate prevents the camera from damage and ensures perfect contact between the camera base and the plate of the Chrosziel support.”

Suggested retail price for the baseplate and rods is €310 ($463), or €109 ($163) for the parts to upgrade your existing DV Light Weight Support kit.

(Via @jstunzi)

times_me_too_red_failTIME’s cover for their December ’09 magazine issue was shot on a Red One camera by photographer Finlay MacKay. They immediately boasted they were “the very first magazine in the US to use a RED camera still on its cover.”

Uh, no. You aren’t. But thanks for playing, TIME. Let’s hope your reporting on this issue is more reliable than the research that went into that press release statement (oh snap). The reality is, Esquire beat TIME by a few months with the whole hey-look-our-stills-move thing. Twice, if you count the UK Esquire cover of Megan Fox back in April (the US cover was shot on a Canon still camera). Details here from the fine folks at PDN Pulse who spent the time getting to the bottom of this story.

The takeaway from this story in my opinion? That stills and video are close enough in resolution & quality that we can be uncertain which is which, is most encouraging! This means the tools can now get out of the way and allow the user to create their vision. It’s a good time to be working in video and photography.

The latest Cineform Prospect and Neo series beta software releases include a new metadata capability, allowing users to render/display passive metadata embedded in the source video. This allows users to turn that info on or off at will. One common use might be to non-destructively add timecode or other “burn-in” info for editing and post, then remove that info for finishing. Here’s a quote from the blog post on this feature:

“As metadata is so often lost and misplaced, you are lucky if you left with just the timecode in many workflows, so we long ago moved metadata from side-car files or within the file wrapper (AVI/MOV/MXF) and placed it within the compressed sample itself. This enables the decoder to read its own metadata (not possible with 99% of video types), all that was missing was the font engine to render the results in the display. The decoder now has that font engine. Offline workflows typical have a range of burn-ins top of the video image, returning to burnin free media for online/finishing. The CineForm burnins are non-destructive allowing the operator to enable to display the overlays, choose which elements to display, switch from offline to online with a single click. Any tools that use the CineForm decoder will gain this feature.”

The Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are still trickling in…I’ll continue to update this post as new specials surface. Comment below or send me a message on twitter if you run across anything that looks good.

Coupla Cyber Monday updates from B&H:

* $200 off Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR Camera Kit w/18-55mm IS & 55-250mm IS Lens. Also has additional $50 mail in rebate…$250 total off for this DSLR that shoots 720p HD video (and 1080p at 20fps). Just $899.98 + S&H!
* $100 off Canon EOS Rebel T1i Digital SLR Camera with 18-135mm IS Lens (see above).
* $100 off Canon EOS Rebel XS (1000D) DSLR w/ 18-55mm IS Lens & 75-300mm III Lens (does not shoot video).
* $15 off Bescor 35W on-camera LED Light.
* $32.95 off Azden WLX-PRO VHF Wireless Lav System (w/ WR-PRO Receiver & WLT-PRO Body Pack Transmitter/Lavalier).
* $70 reduced price Acer Aspire One AOD531h-1766 Netbook Computer w/ AT&T 3G built-in.

Amazon’s big page of Black Friday deals can be found here. Tons of items in many categories. I’ve posted a few specific links below that caught my eye:

* Good deals on 27″ iMacs (these appear to be i5 models, not the new i7 screamer).
* $149 off + free ship Apple iMac 21.5″, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, 8x SuperDrive, 1920×1080 LED display (Lists for $1199 normally, is $1,049.99 now. This special price is still $48 cheaper than the Apple Store Black Friday price for the same hardware!).
* $90 off + free ship Sony BDP-S360 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (pre-order, released Dec 7th).
* $228 off + free ship Canon VIXIA HF200 HD Flash Memory Camcorder with 15x Optical Zoom.
* $249 special on Sony DCR-SR47 Hard Disk Drive Handycam Camcorder (also free ship).
* $100 off + free ship Viore LED24VF60 24-Inch LED 1080p HDTV (pre-order, released Dec 7th).
* $20 off + free ship VholdR ContourHD HD Helmet Camera.
* $100 off + free ship Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote

Digicams: A relative was looking for some help with an affordable but nice point and shoot camera for general use…based on my research, the $179 Canon PowerShot SD780IS 12MP w/ 3x Optical IS Zoom & 2.5″ LCD looks like one of the best options out there. Has 4.5 star rating after 225 customer reviews, and also fared well in forum discussions at DPReview. Shoots 12.1MP images, has an optically stabilized lens, and also captures 720p HD video. Weighs under 4oz. Add a $15 8GB Sandisk SDHC card, $12 Kingston card reader, el-cheapo 3rd party NB-4L emergency backup battery, and you are still under $215 shipped. Not bad!

Kessler Crane is running a year-end special; $200 off KC-8 Basic Complete System & $50 off KC-8 Basic crane. I’m also told that for a limited time they are still honoring the PocketJib pre-order special price…$200 off.

B&H has quite a few Instant Savings holiday specials, here’s a few that look useful for video folk. In most cases, deals are good through 11/30.

* Free shipping on the 27″ iMac 2.8GHz i7 screamer that rivals Mac Pro benchmarks.
* $80 off Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 EF zoom lens (full-frame DSLR & VDSLR).
* $50 off Canon 17-40mm f/4 EF zoom lens (full-frame DSLR & VDSLR).
* $75 off Canon 70-200 f/4 EF zoom lens (full-frame DSLR & VDSLR).
* $50 off Canon EF-S 10-22mm zoom lens (APS-C DSLR & VDSLR).
* $75 Reduced Price on 16×9 Inc. 169-HDSF45X-72 EXII Fisheye Converter Lens.
* $45 Reduced Price on Century Optics 0HD-65CV-43 0.65x Wide Angle Converter Lens.
* $15 off + free shipping on Canon 5D MKII V-DSLR stills/video camera.
* Free shipping on Canon 7D V-DSLR stills/video camera.
* $75 Rebate on Litepanels LPMICROPRO MicroPro LED on Camera Light.
* $100 Price Reduced Canon Vixia HF11 AVCHD dual-flash memory camcorder.
* $220 Reduced Price Panasonic HDC-SD10 AVC/H.264 camcorder.
* $130 off Sennheiser EW100 G2 wireless audio system + free ship (AWESOME unit we use!).
* $96 off Sony UWP-V1 Wireless Lavalier ENG Microphone Package.
* $26 off Audio-Technica AT897 Short Condenser Shotgun Mic.
* $35 off Beachtek DXA-2S Dual XLR Universal Mic Adapter for camcorders.
* $15-$75 off Gitzo, Slik, and Manfrotto tripods. Free ship on Libec and others.
* $50 B&H Gift Card with Ewa-Marine VEX-1 Underwater Housing for Sony PMW-EX1.
* $75 Reduced Price on Letus35 Mini lens adapter w/ 43mm ring.
* $75-$800 off + free ship Sony Bravia LCD HDTVs.
* $200-$650 off + free shipping Samsung LED HDTVs.
* $50 off Toshiba BDX2000 Blu-ray disc player.
* $50-$70 off Samsung Blu-ray disc players.
* $50-$100 off Panasonic Blu-ray disc players.
* $15-$25 off select Sandisk Extreme III CF and SDHC cards (+ free ship).
* $150 off V.I.O helmet-cam system (standard-def)
* $30 off Flip Mino mini camcorder (+ free ship).
* $60 off Hewlett-Packard C9295A Officejet 6000 Wireless printer.
* $40 off Brother MCF-495CW Wireless All-In-One printer
* $25 off Kodak 8″ digital photo frame.
* $50 off Nikon D3000 DSLR + free ship (stills only, no video).
* $50 off Canon 580EX II Speedlite TTL Shoe Mount Flash (stills/stop-motion only, but a great unit)
* More deals and specials at the B&H Holiday Gift Shop.

Videoguys is also running quite a few specials on software and hardware. All the deals are outlined on their specials page here. For instance, Sorenson Squeeze 6 is $300 off! In addition to the specials listed, they are offering free UPS shipping on all orders, and $20 off orders over $500 w/ the promo code BF20. Deals expire on 11/30. They are also offering a $200 instant rebate on Matrox RT.X2 Bundles through 12/31.

Artbeats is running a 5-day up-to-75% off sale on SD and HD stock footage collections.

For for military only, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service takes 20% off one item via coupon code 9189vip1 (max discount of $500). That makes the 5D MKII just $2,049! Details at dealmac.

LensRentals is offering $100 off on four Canon 100-400mm zooms for sale. Available till 1pm Central Friday only (via this tweet).

David duChemin is offering 50% off his Craft & Vision photography ebooks…use discount code BLKFRIDY to make these $5 titles just $2.50. Titles include Drawing The Eye – Creating Stronger Images Through Visual Mass, Chasing The Look – 10 Ways to Improve The Aesthetics of Your Photographs, TEN – Ten Ways To Improve Your Craft. None of Them Involves Buying Gear, and TEN MORE – Ten More Ways To Improve Your Craft. These books are aimed at photographers, but there are plenty of lessons here for cinematographers as well. Note: This deal was supposed to be for Friday only, but the discount code still appears to be working.

I’m running a little Black Friday deal of my own…I recently listed my Mac G5 2.7 Dual desktop system on eBay, and will ship it free for any FreshDV buyer (within continental US). If you are the winning bidder, just email me following the auction & mention FreshDV, and I’ll refund the $45 shipping charges. Happy Thanksgiving!

New Sony EX1R is now available

sony ex1r updateI just got word in that the new Sony EX1R is currently in stock at B&H. Just in time for Christmas…

You can watch Alister Chapman’s review/overview of the EX1R (and PMW-350) in the video below. He outlines all the key differences between it and the EX1 (and EX3 for that matter), and should get you up to speed in no time.

Sony goes AVCHD with NXCAM?

sony_nxcamOver at PVC, Allan Tépper has a preview review of a forthcoming camera system from Sony with the designation NXCAM. With solid state recording to Sony Memory Stick and “a new NXCAM flash memory unit”, the NXCAM adds pro-level features to a tapeless AVCHD recording system in a package reminiscent of the tape+solid-state hybrid Sony HVR-Z5U (when equipped with HVR-MRC1 CF recorder unit).

This is certainly an interesting development, is this Sony’s low-to-medium production level HDV replacement codec? It sure seems like it, as the Z5U was a replacement for the venerable Z1U, and this model shares the imager and lens from the Z5. My initial reaction is that I wish they would use an existing flash memory option instead of inventing new ones and pushing users to Memory Stick. Yay! More formats!

Engadget has posted a review of the $1700 Canon 7D, it’s a solid writeup that hits all the high points and issues. But their summary at the end is what really caught my eye…

“If we’re running around shooting a mile-a-minute, we’re still going to reach for our trusty HD camcorder. But if we have a moment to breathe in between takes, you can bet the 7D will be the go-to camera. It’s easy to get caught up in the beautiful images from this camera, but like with all recording, it’s merely a tool to help tell a story.”

Well stated.

Midtown Video’s Jesse Miller is doing a live webcast this evening on two new cameras from Sony, the EX1R and PMW-350. I’ve embedded the promo for this webcast below. The webcast will include a demonstration of these new cameras, as well as an interactive Q&A following. Tune in to jtown.tv at 5:30pm Central to catch the webcast and get your Q’s A’d.