Archive for October, 2011

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few weeks, you are probably aware of the much-ballyhooed “stay tuned for November 3rd” announcements from Canon and RED. Here’s a rough accounting of what has happened in the past month or so (with a fair bit of my opinion sprinkled in there for good measure).

First, Canon announced that they would announce something mindblowingly amazingly shocking on November 3rd. Fanboys rejoiced. Shortly after that news and the ensuing rumors/speculation, RED announced that they would announce something that would rock our worlds and cause us to weep from the sheer joy and enormity of their big product announcement. Fanboys rejoiced, and things escalated quickly. There were horses, a man on fire, and Brick killed a guy with a trident.

Yep, both Canon and RED have been playing it up for weeks. Gamechanger, etc…you know the drill. Canon isn’t saying what the gear is, and all the usual suspects that have their grubby paws on the new camera (yeah, it’s a camera), have signed NDA’s and aren’t talking. RED is also playing coy, no real camera specs or details to speak of, but they are dropping the normal vague hints and marshaling the adoration of the faithful REDheads over at Reduser forum.

RED has stated that the Nov 3 announcement will be related to Scarlet, that elusive unicorn of a camera that they’ve been tempting indies with for roughly three years now. Heck, maybe longer…I lose count when it comes to Scarlet du jour. Anyway, what’s interesting is that in the last week, with the fanboys in both camps whipped into a frothing, wide-eyed rumormill frenzy, RED’s Jim Jannard has been tempering expectations on the Reduser forums.

A couple days ago, Jannard stated “Scarlet is now a professional camera. It will be more expensive. And there will be no discounts for RED ONE owners.” followed by “If you were expecting 3K for $3K… this is bad news.” Bear in mind, that 3K for $3K is a phrase that RED themselves created and hyped. Which makes Jim’s quote later in the thread even more ironic; “No one will be disappointed if they ignore all previous conceived notions.”

At the suggestion that Scarlet would include “4K 72fps for 10K” along with HDRX, Jannard responded “Sounds like EPIC… lower your expectations. Really. Not close. This is what bugs me. And you get something like this from where?”

Pardon me, but that’s a laughable statement, given the rhetoric that’s been pushed out in recent weeks…ahem…Jannard from just a couple weeks earlier; “Scarlet is going to blow you away” and “I’m expecting Nov. 3rd to be the biggest announcement in the history of RED.”

It bugs me too, Jim. It bugs me that you seem to want to have your cake and eat it too. If you are going to put out statements like that, expect Redusers to dream big. And when people dream big, there will always be those who are disappointed by the reality of what you can feasibly deliver. You made that bed, now you get to sleep in it. Or as one Reduser put it so eloquently: “Soaring rhetoric is matched by soaring expectations.”

Now, for a look at what to realistically expect from Scarlet in a couple days, look to the past. RED has said TONS about what Scarlet will be over the last 3 years, and what they showed at NAB 2011 is probably pretty close to what you’ll see in a few days. Take a look at this video from NAB 2011, by the crew over at Wide Open Camera. They interview Ted Schilowitz on Scarlet:

As Ted says in the video, it’s a fixed 8x zoom lens camera with stills and video…note that he specifically talked about pulling stills from video, not necessarily two different functions. DSMC doesn’t mean two functions, it means high-res video that you can pull stills from. But the point I’d like to note is this…Ted says specifically while pointing to Scarlet, “This is the 3k version.” Is that a clue that they might differentiate Scarlet models by resolution options? RED does always seem to come down to resolution as their rallying feature.

Bottom line, I believe the Scarlet camera they will announce (and reportedly ship in quantity shortly after) on Nov 3rd is the following…essentially “Epic Lite”; a roughly DSLR-shaped modular camera that can take most RED accessories (Redmote, EVF, batts, etc), with a fixed 8x zoom lens at 3K resolution coming from a 2/3″ sensor. I’d expect 1-60fps, some limitations in terms of codec bitrates and such to differentiate it from Epic. I don’t think it will include HDRx, and I don’t think they will offer an interchangeable lens option even at a higher price point…they have to protect Epic owners. I personally WISH it would include up to around 90fps at 1080p or better, but it seems that Jannard scoffed at the idea of 72fps…so I suppose that’s out. Jannard has vaguely hinted that there might be three Scarlet models announced, my guess would be that the differences will largely be internal features…codec, HDRx on/off, etc. All determined by price…and perhaps it’s a firmware upgrade model, ala Sony’s F3 SLOG option. I’d guess $7,000-$9,000 USD for the base model. All speculation, and I’m sure I’ll be wrong on many points. I hope that I’m very wrong on framerates.

Ultimately, if Scarlet is priced appropriately, I’m sure RED will find a market for it. It just may not be the market that they initially garnered interest from wayyyy back when the plan for Scarlet was a high-fps, interchangeable-lens S35 camera. Which basically got rolled into Epic. The old interchangeable lens S35 Scarlet for around $10-12K was the last time that Scarlet interested me personally.

Anyway, we’ll all see what the scoop is, come November 3rd. I’m sure you’ll be shocked and amazed…just so long as you keep your expectations in check.

Cinevate Fall Rebates up to $150

Cinevate is offering significant rebates on a number of their popular products, from sliders, to Simplis rigs, to their Durus Follow Focus. See www.cinevate.com/blog/fall-specials/ for a full list, terms, and rebate forms. These specials are good for purchases from October 27th through November 30, 2011.

Cinevate is a sponsor of FreshDV and an avid supporter of the filmmaking community in general.

New Zeiss 25mm f/2 looks delicious

Zeiss announced a new 25mm f/2.0 Distagon T* ZE and ZF.2 lens the other day, and it looks amazing.

Beyond a fast f/2 stop (previous iteration is a f/2.8), it also has a ~10 inch minimum focus distance, and of course like all Zeiss lenses, will be built like a tank. I like that focal length a lot, and I’m very excited to try this one out in person.

Digiloyd has some example images up already, and you can also come see the lens in person at Createasphere ETE Burbank on November 2-3.

Your own copy of this lens will MSRP for roughly $1,699 and be available in late 2011.

Zeiss is a sponsor of FreshDV.

Zacuto’s EVF has a new firmware update, version 2.00.00. New features include:

-Added 1080p support for 24, 25 and 30 frames per second.
-Added Frame Store Feature.
-Added Frame Box appearance to Frame Lines menu.
-Overhauled the manual scale interface to a much more user friendly version where customers can create up to 8 unique user presets as opposed to 4 in the previous firmware.
-Fixed a unit freeze-up problem within the menu screen.
-Fixed Loop-Out Bug where turning power off on looped to monitor would stop recording in the camera.
-Menu indicator added to show when you have selected an option that can be changed with up or down buttons.
-NEXFS100 camera preset fixed to display correctly.
-D3100 preset now titled D5100.

Get the update for your Zacuto EVF here.

What the title says…Cinescopophilia has the details and video.

60p Sony A77 footage

Daniel Boswell was one of Sony’s headliners at PhotoPlus this past week, and while he was there he shot some 60p footage using the new A77 camera paired with their new 16-50mm lens. Watch below.


“Shot in 60p at Sony booth and conformed to 24 via FCP X. All shot handheld with Sony’s new 16-50 lens.”

Mike Tomei has a good recap of what you may have missed at the Boston SuperMeet, and Chris Portal wrote a recap on Walter Murch’s presentation and thoughts on FCPX. Here’s an excerpt:

“Walter was in Cupertino when Final Cut Pro X was first dangled in front of a few editors. It was a beta version, and Apple highlighted things like 64 bit support. After that initial exposure to FCPX, he dove into making a film, and it wasn’t until June when FCPX was published that he revisited it. He quickly looked at it, and said he couldn’t use it, wondering where the “Pro” had gone. It didn’t have XML support which he depended on, the ability to share projects on a raid with people, etc. He was confused and wondered what was happening.”

Indeed, you and everyone else, Walter. You and everyone else.

Over at LensRentals, they have a fascinating article on their discovery of predictable sharpness degradation and variation in well-used Canon 24-70mm zoom lenses, and why. It’s a very interesting article about this lens, and also lens testing in general. Check it out.

(via @dancarrphoto)

I somehow missed this announcement last month, the new AG-HPX-250PJ from Panasonic offers an AVC-Intra codec with 10-bit 4:2:2 at 1920×1080. Very interesting! 10-bit in a small package, with proper I/O features and a pro codec…there is definitely a place for this camera.

“But it’s a 1/3″ sensor!” you say with a sneer as you fondle your EX1/DSLR/AF100/FS100/F3. True. I love a big, fat sensor as much as the next spoiled-rotten 2011 filmmaker…but remember that there is a HUGE market that is best served with a small size imager. Heck, I shot something last week on a 1/3″ CCD camera (gasp)…to tape (double gasp). And guess what? That was EXACTLY what the content needed…I would have done the content a disservice to shoot it on a sensor that created more DOF. I absolutely needed deep focus for this content (and a CCD that didn’t skew…but that’s another topic entirely).

Abel Cine has posted a video overview of the HPX-250 here. Check it out.

Redrock is still running special introductory pricing on their LiveLens mount for the AF100 (and other micro four-third mount cameras). LiveLens is currently $442.50, and allows you to control the electronic aperture of Canon lenses on M4/3 cold mounts. Check it out.

Cinevate recently released one of their “Ask Cinevate” videos, this one features Patrick Moreau of Stillmotion. In it, they show off a simple, lightweight rig for supporting the Red Epic camera that Stillmotion just added to their gear bag. It looks like a solid config, and I like the use of the grip knuckle to support the Red battery. Peep the video below.

Over at the Avid-L2 list, there are some details about Media Composer 6 that were accidentally (?) leaked by Avid. A lot of this info was previously known, no real bombshells here. Some features of interest to me were the AMA updates for AVCHD and ProRes.

Info quoted below…

New features and workflows

Full 64-bit power
Fast gets even faster with native 64-bit operation, so even when you layer
together the most complex effects, things will still feel snappy. Experience
smoother playback, faster rendering performance, and better handling with large
bins—and say goodbye to the old memory limitations of the 32-bit operating
systems. (Still need 32-bit? Learn more about Media Composer 5.5)

Better performance—and 3D—with Avid hardware
For the fastest capture/edit/monitor/output workflows, pair Media Composer with
a Nitris DX or Mojo DX video interface and experience hardware-accelerated power
that’s second to none. You can now even customize Nitris DX with up to two
Avid DNxHD or AVC-Intra chips to fully support stereoscopic 3D and HD RGB 4:4:4
workflows.

Open for business
Media Composer is now fully open thanks to Avid Open I/O, so you can work with
your choice of Avid audio and video interfaces or third-party video interfaces,
including those from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, Matrox, and MOTU.
Manufacturers can simply create plug-ins using Avid Open I/O to have their
hardware work with Media Composer, meaning you’ll have even more choices to
come. See all supported hardware.

Sleek new look and Avid Marketplace
Modern, smart, and sexy. Media Composer has a whole new look, but its familiar
editing workflow stays the same (watch the video). Work faster through the
tabbed interface (no more window clutter!). Customize window configurations with
Workspaces. Browse the Avid Marketplace for stock footage, video and audio
plug-ins, software and hardware options, training materials, and more—right
from within the app. You can even access user guides and other documentation
without having to scour our website.

Work with 3D
Edit stereoscopic 3D material as quickly and easily as you do with standard 2D
footage, with a full set of new features and workflows (watch the video).
Capture, edit, and manage the complete 3D end-to-end workflow. Mix and match 2D
and stereoscopic 3D clips on the same track. Plus, work with full frame and
frame-compatible sources, full-fledged editing tools, video effects, and more.

Go hands-on with Artist Color
Accelerate your color correcting and grading with Artist Color (watch the
video). With its highly responsive feel, you can keep your eyes on the picture
instead of the interface while you make adjustments. And since you can tweak
multiple parameters at once, you dramatically gain more speed and efficiency to
complete time-consuming tasks quickly.

Mix in surround sound
You want your audio to sound as spectacular as your video looks. Now you can
record, edit, and mix studio-quality audio in up to 7.1 surround—right in
Media Composer. Not only that, you can share mixes with Pro Tools editors (using
AAF), and even record and monitor audio using a host of Avid audio interfaces.

Edit faster and easier than ever

Open to anything
You never know what kinds of media, projects, and people will arrive at your
desk or doorstep. That’s why Media Composer offers an open workflow, so you
can take on whatever challenge awaits. Work with practically any media format,
including tape and film. Capture and monitor with your choice of Avid and
third-party interfaces. Accelerate editing with Artist Series control surfaces.
Integrate into any professional production pipeline. Sync projects with Pro
Tools editors using Video Satellite. And take your offline online to Symphony or
Avid DS—without redoing work.

Experience the “waitless” workflow
With AMA (Avid Media Access), you can instantly access and edit file-based
media—including new RED/RED EPIC, new AVCHD, ProRes, QuickTime (including
footage from HDSLR cameras), XDCAM, P2, Canon XF, and other formats—without
transcoding, importing, or rewrapping files (watch the video). Get a jumpstart
on reviewing footage without the wait, and avoid bringing in unwanted material.
And as new cameras and formats emerge, manufacturers can create and release
their own AMA plug-ins independently from a Media Composer release.

Work with any media
File-based media, analog and digital tape, stereoscopic 3D material, film —
bring it on. Media Composer offers a wide range of features, workflows, and
options that enable you to work with everything, from old-school media to the
latest camera technologies. Experience the fastest tapeless workflows in the
industry. Capture footage directly from digital cameras. Or add an Avid or
third-party video interface to capture from other analog or digital sources.
Plus, with support for 4:4:4 HD-RGB color and DNxHD 444, you can work
efficiently while preserving the full-quality color detail from beginning to
end.

Take storytelling to the cutting edge
It doesn’t matter how you learned to edit—Media Composer goes where others
leave off, enabling you to work faster and in ways you’re most comfortable. In
fact, its tools are ACE-certified. Trim clips and manipulate transitions on the
fly using the Smart Tool (see the Smart Tool in action), or perform
ultra-precise edits using traditional tools. Mix and match media formats, frame
rates, resolutions, and more in the same timeline—in real time—without
rendering (see Mix and Match in action). And edit HD material in real time—in
mastering picture quality—using Avid DNxHD or DNxHD 444.

Collaborate with ease
Share media, projects, and bins—locally and across the world—to complete
projects on time and on budget. With Avid ISIS, you and your team can access the
same assets and capture media to the same volume simultaneously. Access
files—even when in use by others—without copying media. Collaborate across
mixed editing platforms, including Final Cut Pro through AMA, which supports
ProRes encoding (Mac only) and decoding. Share audio mixes with Pro Tools
editors—and vice-versa—using AAF. And bring collaboration to the highest
level with Avid Interplay.

Find the right clips and best takes fast
Working on a scripted or dialog-heavy project such as a reality TV show,
documentary, or interview? Save hours of wasted search time using two dialog
search options for Media Composer. For script-based projects, the ScriptSync
powered by Nexidia option phonetically indexes all clip dialog in your project
and then syncs all relevant clips to your script—automatically—so you can
find the best takes fast. The PhraseFind powered by Nexidia option offers the
same phonetic audio indexing, but enables you to quickly pull up all relevant
clips by searching on a key word or phrase.

Gain peace of mind with reliable media management
Whether you work alone or as part of a team, you won’t have to worry about
losing your assets. Media Composer provides you with 20+ years of
industry-proven media management innovation, which keeps track of all your
projects, assets, source material, rendered files, metadata, and more, so you
don’t have to. Not only that, you can customize it to track your assets the
way you want.

Shop the Avid Marketplace
Conveniently browse for stock footage, video and audio plug-ins, hardware, and
more, right from within Media Composer—no shoes, shirt, or pants required.
Search for and preview stock footage from Thought Equity Motion, download comps
for editing, and make purchases once editorial is complete. Shop for video and
audio plug-ins to get the look and sound you’re after. Discover software
options that’ll greatly speed up your workflow. Shop for audio interfaces and
other hardware. You’ll even find training and other media that’ll help
perfect your skills.

Get the look, sound, and quality you want

Design and dazzle with visual effects
Give your projects that professional polish using the bundled and built-in
design and effects tools. Create eye-catching 2D and 3D composites, titles,
animation, and effects with Avid FX (aka Boris RED), a powerful collection of
creative tools designed by Boris FX. Add visual impact, drama, and depth with a
host of built-in 2D and 3D effects, title tools, transitions, key and motion
effects, and more. Add focus and fix issues with motion tracking and
stabilization tools. And expand your visual palette with our third-party
partners’ effects, many of which can be purchased within Media Composer from the
Avid Marketplace.

Create studio-quality soundtracks
Make your projects sound as good as they look using the built-in audio
recording, editing, and mixing tools (see the audio tools in action). Record and
monitor voiceovers, overdubs, and more using select Avid audio interfaces. Edit
and mix multitrack audio in up to 7.1 surround. Share mixes with Pro Tools
editors. Polish sounds with 20 included AIR effects—the same ones that come
with Pro Tools. And expand your sound with the industry’s best compressors,
reverbs, and other sound processing plug-ins, many of which can be purchased
within Media Composer from the Avid Marketplace.

Color correct and grade with precision
Save time and maintain the highest quality production with the fully integrated
10-bit color correction toolset. Quickly and accurately match colors from shot
to shot using NaturalMatch. Gain better color precision with support for
full-quality 4:4:4 HD-RGB color space processing. Get fine control over shots
with animatable color correction. Speed up your color work with Artist Color
(watch the video). And dive into the large palette of easy-to-use tools to
refine settings or get creative.

Design and deliver
With Avid DVD and Sorenson Squeeze included, you can author DVDs and optimize
media for the highest-quality playback—online or on disc. Author professional
DVDs and Blu-ray Discs using Avid DVD, which works with Windows-based systems
(including emulation software on Macs). With Sorenson Squeeze, you can optimize
content in a variety of formats (including HD, DVD, MPEG-2, MPEG-4/H.264, Flash,
and 3GPP), author DVDs and Blu-ray Discs (on Windows), and burn discs on a PC or
Mac.

Register for the 2nd Annual Boston SuperMeet

The SuperMeet is coming to Boston again, and Walter Murch will be there to (presumably) talk about FCPX. Here’s all you need to know about this event…

Second Annual FCPUG Boston SuperMeet
Where? – STUART STREET PLAYHOUSE
Radisson Hotel Boston
200 Stuart Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

When? – Thursday, October 27, 2011 – 3:30pm – 11pm (Doors open 3:30pm for Digital Video Showcase). SuperMeet begins at 7PM
How Much? – $10.00 General Admission and $7.00 for Students ($20.00 at door) Includes 2 raffle tickets per person.
Any raffle prizes? – Of course. Over $50,000.00 worth
$2.00 per raffle ticket or 3 for $5.00
Who should attend? – Everyone who wants to learn more about the craft of editing, digital filmmaking and meet others who may know more than you do. Food and Drink? – Food (free) and Cash Bars will be available to enjoy a few cocktails!

Agenda: (not in order and subject to change)

- Walter Murch
This will be the FIRST public appearance by Walter Murch since the launch of Final Cut Pro X. We look forward not only to hearing Walter’s thoughts on Final Cut Pro X but more importantly we are truly excited to offer SuperMeet attendees a rare chance to listen to and learn more from Walter on the craft of editing itself.

- Avid
AVID will feature ANDREW WEISBLUM, A.C.E., who will discuss his editorial workflow on BLACK SWAN. Weisblum was also editor on THE WRESTLER, and supervising editor on FANTASTIC MR. FOX, among other credits. Plus Avid will have a VERY special Announcement.

- Canon
Canon just announced it’s flagship DSLR, the EOS-1D X. Jem Schofield of TheC47.com will discuss this as well as Canon workflow and digital filmmaking.

- Autodesk
AUTODESK’S Marc-Andre Ferguson will demo SMOKE on Mac OSX workflow using a laptop. That’s right, a laptop. You have got to see this.

- Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve
Colorist ALEXIS VAN HURKMAN will show off the latest and greatest version of Resolve by Blackmagic Design. Version 8.0.1 now integrates with Final Cut Pro X and Alexis will not only explore this, but screen some of his latest work.

- World Famous Raffle

At the Nov 2-3 Createasphere Expo coming up in a couple weeks in Burbank, CA, there will be a ProVideoCoalition Panel discussion. And FreshDV’s Kendal Miller is going to be on that panel, to discuss his thoughts on the latest developments of 2011 and what it bodes for the future of filmmaking and production. So come on out for the PVC Panel, on Wednesday, November 2nd from 1:30-2:45pm. See you there!

While at the Hurlbut Visuals / Letus Master Cinema Series launch in LA, I got some footage of the event as well as interviews with Shane and attendees. It was an awesome event to attend, and the Letus and Hurlbut team really were amazing hosts.

Here’s a quick and dirty docu edit that explains the gear, shows it in use, and offers some instruction on it’s intended use. Watch below.

You can also see a ton of still images and my initial thoughts on the event in this post.

LetusDirect is a sponsor of FreshDV and kindly provided travel accommodations to and from the MCS Launch event. We were not contracted or paid to shoot this video.