Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Enter the ScarLETUS

No, this is not the next installment of the Godfather and it’s not the newest alternative music on SiriusXM. I think it’s the next step in the quest for a great camera package. The RED Scarlet meets LETUS shallow depth of field adapters at a price that runs in the pack with an FS-100 and AF-100. Lets look at the possibilities…

  1. According to Ted Schilowitz from RED the Scarlet is supposed to ring in at around $6000 – not too bad.It will have (every thing is subject to change =) 3K < 2K, 120fps, SSD, HDRx, 28mm to 240mm @ ƒ2.4 fixed lens, RED raw and other goodies.All of these features are terrific and highly sought after by shooters in all categories.The only hitch(s) - everyone seems to be hung up on the fact this camera has a 2/3” senor and a fixed lens.

  2. Philip Bloom first introduced us to the adapter craze with the SONY EX1 and LETUS Extreme. Also P+S Technik and RedRock Micro have been doing adapters for a while. With the LETUS, it has the image “right side up”, looses only a ½ stop of light and was packed into an elegant little enclosure that simply screwed onto your camera lens – no tools required. These adapters made “Film Look” cinematography/videography attainable at a reasonable price point. Add to this cameras that were now shooting in the 400 to 800 ISO range and you were almost all the way home.

  3. Now lets combine the two. It’s very similar to working with the Sony EX1 or Panasonic HVX200. The Scarlet (according to the forums) has a 77mm filter thread.The ISO can go up to 12,000.The form factor is smaller than the EX1 or HVX200. And it’s Cool!!!

So, the run down:
  • Small light weight camera 2K resolution
    so I can scale during post for HD delivery
  • HDRx for those office window I just can’t GEL
  • RED raw - no baked in look
  • SSD storage for in-expensive client hand offs
  • Cool 120fps rate
  • Full Frame image plane to maximize my current lens kit
  • DoF on par with my 5Dmk2
  • 10 bit Pro connection options
  • Great transitional entre into RED cameras and workflow

I’ll be honest, if I could afford an Epic and my current client list warranted it I would go for it but it doesn’t and I can’t. I’m holding out hope for the Epic-S but wanted to start looking at alternatives. I’m coming from a predominately Sony infrastructure and will have to do some work with myself and my clients to introduce the RED workflow as seamlessly as possible. We (my clients and I) love the look of DSLRs and the ease of the EX3 and F3 but I still need the additional things the Scarlet and Epic offer to move my camera work to the next level. Since I have the LETUS Extreme already and love it, I’m willing to try a “ScarLETUS” configuration to get there =)

I would love to hear thoughts from other DPs, RED users, camera operators and film makers. Please comment =)

Until next time, good shooting

Friday, June 24, 2011

Oops... I might have been wrong... FCPX??

OK, so I might have been a little off in my speculation about Apple buying Adobe - or not - just backwards. What if instead of Apple trying to buy Adobe, Apple is thinking about selling it's Pro Application Division? I didn't come up with this - it's been rumored on the web about Apple maybe wanting to sell it's Pro App division. This would make sense then about the current state of FCPX.

Lets just suppose Adobe were the intended buyer... FCP and Premier Pro are almost even on the playing field - you can't have a company with two stellar editing platforms - one needs to be elevated and the other brought down a few pegs. Does Adobe have a prosumer editing package anymore? So now there would be iMovie Pro for the consumer / prosumer and Premier Pro for the full time editor. Audition to replace STP and After Effects for Motion. Color could stay around as a stand alone grading tool and compressor would / could get absorbed by Adobe Media Encoder. All at 64 bit.

At least this would make more sense than the idea that Apple just didn't follow though on the re-development of Final Cut at this stage. The re-design took a long time and they had input from industry professionals. There has to be another reason... Then again this is just all speculation. However, I am taking another look at Premier Pro CS 5.5... Could be fun.

Just another thought

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Apple...Brain Fart??? FCP X ???

OK. So I have to ask the same question that every other editor is asking - WTF???

A quote from a director friend of mine:

It looks like the Amiga Toaster Flyer mated with iMovie and gave birth to Vegas Prosumer."

Not to be rude - Apple has always been a mile ahead of the rest of the world and maybe it is so this time as well... but, really. At first blush FCPX seems a little FCP'd Up. Too harsh... Sorry, I'll tone it down.

So, like everyone else, I have seen the footage from the "SuperMeet" at NAB and the speculation sites and finally the pieces starting to float up on the web by new owners. I have to say it looks very attractive at first but then you start to look at the list of missing features... These are things that everyday editors use - regularly... I just read another report of how Apple is working hard to add these features back into the next update -- but I would ask, why weren't they in there in the first place?

As I said a minute ago, Apple is always ahead of the curve. So once the missing features get added back in this could be a pretty stomping app -- but it looks a lot like "iMovie on steroids" right now.

Lets keep our fingers crossed =) Go Apple

---------------ADD ON--------------------

OK, so I have to ask... Is Apple planning to buy Adobe?

I've spent all morning reading various posts about a definite migration from FCP to either AVID or Premiere CS5.5. It started to dawn on me that one possible reason Apple would gut FCP so badly and call it "professional" is to create a stampead to another NLE -- Premiere, their closest competitor. With a very similar history in development and timeline it would make since. When Premiere left MAC it was still clunky. Now after it's return and apparent growth spurt it seems to be the new "BIG kid on the block". I'm wondering if Apple realized it would take far too long to re-invent FCP 64bit from the ground up as a professional application and that it made more since to stake a claim in another company... So, Apple creates "iMovie Pro", calls it FCPX for a legacy tie in. Then buys Adobe later in the year. Adopts CS5.5 as the new FCP studio collection. Adds Color and Sound Track Pro / Logic into the collection to round out the total production environment and poof... SMOKE for under $3000 bucks...

Just a thought...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

CineGear-Los Angeles 2011

Went to the 2011 CineGear Expo yesterday - Wow!!! Lots and lots of cool new stuff. Got there about 4:30 and stayed until almost closing. We were able to just stroll and take our time - very nice. We were joined by Mark Schweickart from Porta-Jib later in the day and got to get an equipment manufacturer's point of view of the show. Informative.

Equipment highlights:

Sound Devices PIX 220 and 240 HD recorders
I just found out about these little guys last week at the AbleCine F3 workshop. I've been wating for someone to wrap everything into one chassis that didn't cost $10,000. Yeah!!! the folks at Sound Devices did it. The PIX 220 and 240 are digital HD field recorders with HDMI and HD/SDI inputs and outputs. The 220 is the HDMI only version ringing in around $1800 while the 240 has both HDMI and HD/SDI along with TC IN/OUT and other cool features and zips in at just under $2600 - street. Your footage can be recorded to CF cards or SSD drives. The unit is mountable with a 1/4-20 hole on the back and the new mounts should include three 1/4-20's on the bottom. The SSD drive uses an accessory caddy that mounts to the drive and allows the drive to then be used directly for offloading to your computer via USB 3.0, Firewire 800 or eSata. The drives are formatted by the recorder in UDF so it will work on both MAC and PC straight away - Very Cool. Should be arriving later this summer - can't wait!!!

JVC 4K camcorder
Just got the teaser on this one a day before the show. Didn't know what to expect. It was...cute. The camera is still in the prototype phase. Much like Canon's "Hair Dryer" display, JVC had a working model there posed as a small camcorder poised atop a little black box. There were 4 HDMI cables coming out of the black box going over to a 60" flat panel TV. The picture was clean. There were images of people, architecture, and general B-roll. Sharp. The rep said they plan the use 4 SD cards to record the image streams and then it will be put back together in post. Interesting.

AbleCine showing their B4 to PL adapter
This was kind of cool. They had an F3 with a Canon EFP lens on it. The MSRP is about $5500. Not bad if you still have a broadcast 2/3" lens laying around. I wonder if it works with the FS-100?

Hurlbut Visuals booth
Shane Hurlbut had a booth right at the entrance of the event. It goes with his new camera rentals department. He was showing all of his different HDSLR configurations. I spent some time talking to one of his shooters at the booth about their findings over time with the 5D's and 7D's.

Steadicam - Scout
The company I do a lot of work with is selling their Hollywood Lite/ Varizoom Aviator stabilizer system and I thought I would check out the new solutions in case we want to replace it in the future. I tried the Glidecam X22 last year and wanted to try an actual STEADICAM this year. I tried the Scout - $7000 - 5 to 18 pounds. Very nice. Light weight. Simple to setup. Easy to control.

Redrock Micro
Always great stuff to see. I checked out the new FF Blue and the Wireless FF solution the microRemote with the iPhone interface. It's really coming along. I got to drive the wireless system for a bit and it was nice. Brian Valente said that they just added a torque feature to help adjust the system's feel and response from lens to lens.

Light Iron Live Playback in an iPad
This is a very interesting company. They were showing their on-set production and post tools. The one tool that caught my eye was a derivitive of the Teradek wireless monitoring system. Using the Teradek hardware Light Iron mapped a real nice interactive GUI over the playback software to help on-set decisions and footage review. It's called LIVE PLAY. You can add comments and notes as needed on a clip by clip basis. These then populate through the server for all the viewers who are connected to see. Handy if the DP catches something and puts the note in before a lot of time is spent by the rest of the production group on a big discussion. All the notes and other meta data can then be compiled for the edit and final production notes. Pretty awesome...

Well that's my quick over view of the things I liked at CineGear Expo this year. I like this show because if I can't make it to NAB, most of the exhibitors I want to see are here and I don't need a hotel or 3 days to see the show =)

Until next time, good shooting