Saturday, June 10, 2017

CineGear 2017

So I went to CineGear last week...  so much to look at.  Although it seemed like a slightly smaller show this year for some reason.  I was mostly looking to follow up on gear that I already own and see what updates and accessories are now available.  

Shogun Inferno
First stop, ATOMOS.  Wanted to find out about any new firmware updates and a possible replacement for the Shogun. Nothing at the moment.  We'll see what happens later in the summer.

Next stop, Fujinon.  I had to see the new MK lenses for myself.  With the Fs5 these seem like they would make the perfect pairing.  I got the straight poop on why these only work with the E-mount - Flange Depth...17mm for the e-mount where most other mounts start a 40mm and go up from there.  These lenses would have to be twice as big and cost twice as much to work on a standard mount as well as they do on the e-mount system.  Bummer and good...

The bigger deal is how to add servo control to the Fujinon MK lenses... Awe a possible solution at Tilta!  The new Nucleus-M system.  This, for me, was the highlight of the show.  This is a wireless "FIZ" with two motors, two handles and a controller for $1200 US.  Ultimately it is a 6 channel system but in reality you would most likely use it for zoom and focus on a gimbal or drone.  It is all wireless except for one power cable to the first motor and then a daisy-chain jumper cable looping power to the next motor.  They are going to let me check the prototype out in their office in a week or so - stay tuned for an update.

Next I stopped at Blackmagic Design to catch up on Resolve 14 and the Ursa Mini Pro.  I have been using Resolve since version 9 (really 7 but I didn't fully switch until 9).  14 appears to be the best version for all around or end to end work flow so far.  With the addition of Fairlight audio and collaborative work flow the have really upped the bar to other NLE's. The Ursa Mini Pro was attracting a lot of attention.  At the Roadshow BMD did a night set to show off the new camera.  Here it was more of a daylight setting.  The camera looks very nice.  I'm going to check it out later this month in the showroom at BMD Burbank.

Keeping with the camera theme I looked at the Pansonic EVA-1.
Interesting camera.  Still just a mock up at this point.  Hope to see it in action later in the year.  
  • EF mount lens 
  • Super 35 sensor 
  • RAW out
  • SD card media
Last but not least in the camera dept. had to see the new C200 at Canon.  Really Nice! I would have a hard time choosing between this and the C300mkII.
The C200 is a little smaller and has the new Canon RAW lite offering.  We'll have to see how reviews of footage sound after some more test shooting is done.  Folks like Pro AV TV, CPVTV and Cinema5D have done pretty good first look videos if you would like to learn more.

Well that pretty much wraps up my brief look at a few cool show items at CineGear this year.  as I do some more in depth reviews of a few of these items I'll post 'em here.

Until next time, good shooting and editing and grading,

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Interview with Robet Scovill using Canon C100's

I recently had the opportunity to work with Fusion Productions at Sony Pictures Entertainment. I operated the B-CAMERA during an interview with Robert Scovill,  FOH engineer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  The band was finishing their rehearsal dates before heading out on their latest tour and Robert was kind enough to give us an hour of his time talking about the philosophy of "First In, Last Out". FILO is a concept only too familiar to production and staging folks around the world.  Todd Elliott, owner of Fusion Productions, is using this interview as one of several pieces that will be played at the FILO conference happening this spring in Chicago. Todd has created the conference to give back to the production community and also bring together some of the best people in the industry to discuss the ins and outs of large scale production.

We shot on a pair of Canon C100 cameras and had a Sony Fs5 for the CYA.  I have to say I am getting more and more intrigued with these cameras.  I was born and raised Sony and have owned more than my fair share of them over the last 25 years.  But as the DP, Dave Hunter put it, "the Canon look just works".  He lit the interview with 2 Diva 400's double dipping each unit as back and key.  We placed a Sennheiser wireless LAV on each person and those went straight into the cameras A to A, B to B.  After the interview we took the C100's around to the FOH position and shot some B-roll of Robert showing us the board layout and Mix position config - Very cool!!

The picture above is the full set under show lighting as we had it set during the interview.  On the tour there will be 4 large LED screens running upstage and to the sides of the stage for a 270 degree viewing arrangement.

I hope I get a chance to see the tour when it comes to California.  Until then I'll just have to enjoy this picture =)

Until next time, good shooting and editing and grading,

Friday, February 19, 2016

CHOC Fundraiser with PCE

I did a live handheld gig the other day.  It's been a while.  This was a fundraiser here in the OC for CHOC Children's Hospital.  A ton 'O' fun.  The production was being done by Pacific Coast Entertainment out of Huntington Beach, California.  We were using the new Panasonic 610's - nice cameras.  Lighter than I expected.  They are P2 based and have just 2 slots instead of the 4 that the 500 has.  Great EVF.  I think I was actually in focus most of the time - LOL.


The headliner was Keith Urban - great show.  He did about 90 minutes straight through.  I was in the pit and the fans (mostly ladies) all wanted to get as close as they could to the stage and I was between them and the stage...  The director was really nice.  He's the tour video director and wanted to test out some shots during the show that they might use during the actual tour IMAG.

The event raised a little over 2 million dollars - YAY!!!  They auctioned off everything from first up in the valet parking position to a couple of Keith's guitars.  The crew was fantastic.  I hope to be invited back next year.

Until next time, good shooting and editing and grading,

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sony Fs5 - Wow!!

OK so I got a demo Fs5 from my good friends at VMI Video in Southern California.  Well in short - Very cool!!!

I've got it for about 6 days to test out and put though it's paces in my typical work flows.  Yesterday I shot a group of sit down interviews with it in 4K.  Today I used it as a B camera to our F5 for a green screen segment.  The director is going to do the final edit with both cameras but I looked at my footage in 2160@ 24p and it looks really nice.  I was able to pull a key very quickly in PPro.  

Tomorrow we are getting together at a local production company's stage and testing it against an F5 and an A7s.  The plan is to use every lens, recorder and format we can with each camera and then compare to footage.  So this will be an on-going series of posts for the next few weeks as I develop my impressions further.

Part 1:

The interviews went very well.  I used the Fs5 as the A camera and my EX3 as the B camera.  The EX3 was mostly to give me a backup as the Fs5 was new and I was new to it.  I sent the same audio feed to both cameras and kept matched framing.  I used the EX3 last year on this project and was sure it would work if I got pickled.  The Fs5 did a fine job.  I wanted to to be in 4K for re-framing in post.  I got a little scare when I looked at the footage this morning; there was one interview where a short had a tight blue and white pattern that created a moire pattern and I didn't see it while we were shooting...  The I thought about it, I am down resing the footage to 1080 on the fly and hadn't rendered it.  I hit the big R button and then everything was fine.  So one for OE....

That's it for now.  I'll post some more info this weekend after the big camera day.

Part 2:

So we did the shoot out with the other cameras and it turned out pretty well.  We set all three cameras up with the green screen.  We tried Sony lenses and Canon L series lenses along with a pair of B4 ENG lenses - one SD and one HD.  As for the B4 glass, we found very little difference to the eye when viewing on a 20" JVC broadcast LCD monitor.

The Sony lenses, a 24-70 ƒ4, a 16-35 ƒ4 and a 70-200 ƒ4 worked very nicely.  Auto focus worked as expected and face tracking on the wider lenses was remarkably accurate.  The Canon glass looked very sharp as well.  The iris control through a Metbones Mk IV adapter was quite good.  I was having a little trouble (probably OE again) getting the camera to use auto focus with the canon glass.

The kit 18-105 lens from the Fs5 worked on the A7s which was fun.  But the zoom function was a little lacking with the  A7s' remote.  We tried a LANC remote via and adapter and it was still a little on the unhappy side.

More info soon... Stay tuned 

Until next time, good shooting and editing and grading,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Davinci Resolve 12 - Flippin' Fantastic Again

Well. Blackmagic Design has done it again - Davinci Resolve 12 is awesome!!!  I've been working with it for about 2 months now and I love all the new features.  Here a quick example:

This week I worked with a long time client who used a new high speed camera from Fastec to shoot an art project.  They were capturing all the footage at 600 fps in DNG raw files and then aiming for a 24p output.  Since this method leaves all the footage in image sequence folders it sometimes makes it a little tricky to review the files and work with them.   
Enter Resolve 12...

Resolve has long been able to read image sequences as clips automatically and then pop them into the media pool as needed.  In this project I simply double clicked each clip folder to load the clip into the source view and then reviewed the clip.  When we found a take we liked I'd pull it from the source viewer into the media pool.  After we found the hero shots I was able to throw them on a timeline and start editing.  BTW this is all in Resolve 12... All in RAW dng - no conversions or proxies.

Once the timelines were built, I went into grading mode and did a little cleanup shot by shot.  The client needed the clips mainly as proof of concept at this point so H264's were fine.  I simply went to the delivery page, chose 264 and entire sequence, added the job to the render Q and was on my way.

The client had done an After Effects session with the footage to look at it earlier in the week but found that difficult to keep a creative focus as there we many steps to get to the end product.  This was so fast, from ingest to output, he now has great confidence about the project moving forward. 

I think the folks at Blackmagic Design have done it again.  This is a terrific step forward for all departments in the video world.


So the day after I posted this blog they released Resolve 12.1
Here's the official feature scoop:  

Remote rendering on DaVinci Resolve Studio
Support for native display color profiles on OS X
Preferences option to enable 10-bit precision on viewers on OS X 10.11 El Capitan
Ability to select clips when in blade mode
Support for faders on generators and titles
Ability to extend freeze frames from the start of the edit  
Ability to media manage selected clips on a timeline
Ability to perform negative timecode offset in clip attributes
Improved support for sub-clips from FCP7 XML
Improved rendering of audio transitions (cross-fades) and audio faders
Auto scroll during timeline item resize
Improved sorting in media storage and media pool
Support for smart bin filtering based on clip type
Ability to move clips and timelines from a smart bin view
Support for moving files to the trash instead of deleting them permanently when using the media manager on both Mac and Windows systems
Ability to delete multiple projects and folders in project manager
Ability to decompose a compound node
Ability to grade nested timelines  
Ability to filter clips based on whether they have keyframes
Ability to manually keyframe power windows in frame mode even without tracking
Ability to freeze the current frame on an external matte
User option to copy flags and markers when performing ColorTrace
Improved ACEScc support
Support for stereo decision list (SDL) v0.25
Support for RED SDK v6.0.4
Support for embedding timecode in audio output

Until next time, good shooting and editing and grading,

Friday, December 19, 2014

Premiere Pro CC 2014 Possable Smooth Playback Solution

Hi All,

Happy holidays.  So I just updated my PPro to the lasted version as I saw a news blast they had released an update this week to build 8.2.0.  I tried an earlier v8.1 pre build 65 version and it had really bad playback - very choppy.  All excited, I launched the new version... and....... CRAP!!!!!  same thing.  However, I did catch something that I maybe didn't see before:  Once you have updated to the latest version it appears the playback engine defaults to OpenCL instead of CUDA for accelerated playback and rendering.

I created a new project and switched the settings at startup and voila... the new project was playing back perfectly.  I then closed that new project and re-opened my older project that was stuttering and now it was playing back nicely too.  

I also did a quick export with matching sequence settings and it went about 3x speed.  Conversion to H264 was pretty slow taking roughly 16 minutes for a 2 minute piece.  1920 x 1080 30p  5D/GoPro mixed footage.

Well, I hope this helps a little.  I was searching for a while for this and got close but never saw anything about the playback engine.  I did the rollback to 8.0.1 once last time but now I'll stick with the newest version as it seems to be working =)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My New Sigma 50mm ƒ1.4 DG HSM Lens

I just picked up my new Sigma 50mm ƒ1.4 DG HSM Lens from Samy's Cameras on Monday - Wow!!!  I've been waiting for it to come on now for about 2 months and it was worth the wait.  All the research I've done says this is one of the sharpest lenses to come along in a while and they are right. 

I'm using this lens on my 5D3 rig.  This is one in a new line of lenses from Sigma.  They also offer a 35mm ƒ1.4  Full Frame and a 18-35mm ƒ1.8 zoom for an APS-C size sensor.  

The skinny:
  • Very sharp - all the way to ƒ1.4
  • Great contrast
  • Great color rendition
  • Smooth focus ring
  • Fast auto focus
  • Nice ergonomics
So of course I wanted to shoot an image as soon as I got it and had 2 choices; the cats or the bird feeders ( man!! I'm getting old =).  So forgive the not so scientific photos... I will post some real shots and video as soon as I get a chance.

Along with the lens I added a cool little focus gear from DLC called a DL-V/Band.

It went on really easy and is nice and snug. Not too much extra hanging over to catch on the camera rig.  Smooth feel with my Chrosziel follow focus.  $15 USD.

All in all a nice ad to my kit.  I was holding out for a Rokinon 50mm Cine lens but as they seem to never want to make that lens (rumors be damned!!!!) I thought it's time to make a move.  Stay tuned and I'll post some more info as I discover it though use.

Until next time, Good shooting