Archive for May, 2010

27
May
10

ginter-fy your 5D & 7D

This Memorial Day weekend, while you’re grilling, beaching and what have you, remember the true reason we are celebrating: to commemorate the lives of the men and women who have died in service to our country.

And I can’t think of a better way for this blogger to celebrate than paying respects to the excellent knowledge and video tutorials Lt. Tyler Ginter of the 55th Combat Camera Company has bestowed on the DSLR filmmaking community.

Lt. Ginter, thank you for all that you, and the men and women you serve with, have done and continue to do for our great country.

proactively • this one’s for you • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

27
May
10

5dmarkii naked running & gunning

And by naked I mean shooting with absolutely no accessories and natural lighting.  No shoulder mount.  No external monitor.  No boom mic.  Just the camera, two L series lenses, and all the light that our apartment provided.

And my takeaway is that shooting naked with the 5d is no small undertaking.  At f/2.8 my focus was difficult.  Not impossible, difficult.  I really wish the LCD would flip out so I could look at it while holding the camera lower or higher than my face.  Since focus is so critical a lot of times I was guessing, saying to myself well, I hope that’s in focus because in this low light it’s kind of hard to tell what I’m seeing on the LCD.

Positively, I am BLOWN AWAY at the low light performance of this camera.  I found my sweet spot to be ISO 1250.  Barely any noise that I could tell.  And if my memory serves I shot all of this with the standard picture style settings.  Philip Bloom was nice enough to share his Picture Style setup with me:

Philip Bloom's 5dmarkii Picture Style

Hand holding with the 24-70 was the most difficult.  A very heavy lens.  My approach was a firm right hand grip around the camera with my left hand supporting the lens and pulling focus as needed, but the weight of the 24-70 made it difficult to keep a steady picture while zooming and pulling focus.  The 16-35 was much lighter and better balanced.  I’d dial in f-stop manually with my right thumb when panning from people to the fish tank interior.  None of those shots in the above video, so I’ll show some examples of how that looks after I’ve put together kirquariums episode 1.  Hopefully over the weekend.  We’ll see.

On a side note, I think I ran into Wes (featured in the above video) outside my place of work the other day.  He had the SmallHD DP1x hooked up to his 7D via HDMI on Cinevate rails and it looked awesome!

Even more impressive was the Sunhood.  In glaring, oppressively hot and bright DC weather the screen was perfectly visible.  Awesome!  Hey B&H, would you be able to start selling these?  Would love to be able to finance it :)

proactively • dslr filmmaking is putting me in the poor house • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

26
May
10

canon 7d is the new hv20

Just saw this new music video posted on Vimeo, shot with the Canon 7D.  Took me back to another time when the Salvia Bros. and Mike the Mailman shot this video of The Black Keys with 2 Canon HV20′s and a Canon HF10:

And if you’ve been a looong time reader of this blog, you’ll remember the multiple levels of hell it was to post this video due to early adoption of Canon’s new (at the time) tapeless camera.  Over time the DSLR revolution overtook the popularity of the HV20 + 35mm adapter movement, for good reason.  And that’s not to say there aren’t new levels of post production hell to be traversed working with h.264 footage from the 7D, 5D, etc.  But is that really an excuse considering the price and results?

If I were starting all over today, was heading to film school full time, what have you, my ideal toolset would be a 17″ MacBook Pro with FCS3 & Adobe CS5 Production Premium, a Canon 7D with the kit lens, and a Lacie Rugged drive.  Not to mention the bank account to pay for it all, plus a smattering of lenses, shoulder mounts, monitors, plug-ins, etc.

proactively • daydreaming • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

24
May
10

hullfish and sliga on demand

Steve Hullfish posted these links to free Apple Color video tutorials the ColorList late last week.  Click the images for a link to the video.

Software Scopes Overview

Interfacing with Final Cut Pro

Advanced ColorFX Room

Advanced Grade Management

These preview videos are very, very good.  Essentially a dream teaching combo of master colorist and Color guru Bob Sliga and master workflow documentarian and writer Steve Hullfish, these preview videos are equally informative and accesible on a level that I’ve not seen produced before.  Excellent control of UI monitoring with some creative editing that I haven’t seen used in other video tutorials.  Solid and well-timed leading questions of Hullfish to Sliga to keep the instruction on track.  Explanation by Sliga down to the Finder level of what the heck is going on with Apple Color.  And an overall approach to understanding not just the what-can-Color-do questions but, IMHO more importantly, the how and why questions as well.

This series appears to be the definitive guide to learning and accessing Apple Color’s immensely powerful tools.

These videos are a good follow up to the tutorials Sliga includes in his Scone Looks which you can purchase here.  I bought them.  The Scone Looks are both an incredible value and insightful learning tool.  I use them as a guide to building my own custom grades.

And before many learning resources about Color were available, Steve Hullfish published this book.  It was my dedicated bathroom reading for a solid month, so you definitely want to get your own copy and not borrow mine.

proactively • continuing his color education • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

21
May
10

first try bending time

I’ve been admiring the art of hd time lapse for a loooong time.  And I found out Canon’s 5d markii was available with video, I saw it as the perfect union of a high quality still camera for time lapse and a ridiculously sweet film camera with awesome depth of field.  2 and a half years later I finally have one to call my own.  The above is my first ever attempt to make a time lapse after admiring the great work of many others from afar.  Here’s a few that fueled my inspiration:

Chad Richards took the hd time lapse one step further by creating an hdr time lapse.  Check out this post to see how he does it.

I interviewed Michael Rissi about his time lapses a while back.  You can read the full interview here.

I recently ran into Michael again on the forums at timescapes.org.  I can’t speak highly enough of this site and its members.  The best in the business, very friendly and the willing to share in their knowledge.  A rare mix indeed!

Finally, check out the Time Lapse in HD channel on Vimeo.  Always a great source of quality work.

proactively • timescaping • peter

19
May
10

rumorama – apple dumbing down final cut studio apps?

Hot off the AppleInsider presses, Prince McClean writes:

Apple’s Final Cut Studio suite of video post production apps is getting a significant makeover to better target the software to the mainstream of Apple’s customer base rather than high end professionals.

To quote Robin Kurz on the FCP-L:

Oh puuuh-leeeeeeze….

Basically, this article gets legs when it cites two new positions at Apple:

Senior Visual Interface Designer for Pro Apps

Senior Human Interface Designer for Pro Apps

It seems to me these rumors circulate along with product life cycles.  I remember when a high ranking engineer at Discovery passed me in the hallway back in 2007 and said something like ‘Avid is going to sue Apple over ProRes because Steve Bayes stole the code for DNxHD.  It’s going to force Apple to revoke ProRes from FCS 2 and render it useless.‘  Bleh.  This kind of stuff is marketing propaganda, corporate warfare, blatant entrenched hatred, what have you.

Apple Final Cut Studio 3

I can understand that a lot of us were hoping for more from FCS 3, something along the lines of the Phenomenon rumors and rants.

Adobe Production Premium CS5 for Mac

I know that Adobe has my full attention with CS5 Production Premium, specifically new features like After Effects’ Roto Brush and Photoshop’s Content Aware Fillimproved selecting and masking, and HDR de-ghosting.  I must say the Adobe TV partnership with Lynda.com is very common-sense innovational.  I’d definitely like to see Apple provide an equally broad and detailed approach to offer their users free software training.  But, I digress.

If anything, I’m looking forward to continued innovation and market-shaping, value added features from Apple for upcoming releases of Final Cut Studio.  Just like when they brought us HD.  Just like when they created the Final Cut Studio suite.  Just like when they gave us ProRes and Color.  Just like when they will do the next thing that blows the top off of everybody else.

proactively • looking forward, still • peter

***UPDATE***

Philp Hodgetts has a great write up on this same article here.

***UPDATE 2***

Oliver Peters just posted a solidly informative review of Premiere Pro CS5 to the FCP-L:

I’m not so sure I would characterize FCP as “having been left in the dust” by Avid and Adobe. I’ve done some pretty decent testing with Premiere Pro CS5 on both the high-end FX4800 and my stock GeForce 120 cards. I run Avid MC 4 as well.

PrProCS5 is definitely better than PrProCS4, but if you are working with most DVCPROHD, uncompressed, or ProRes, the experience is pretty comparable between FCP and CS5. On the other hand, even MC4 with DNxHD is more responsive than either app and these media types. If you run native AVC-Intra 100, CS5 is very slick and as fluid as anything I’ve seen. It’s also very nice with H264 or RED, but I still wouldn’t want to cut natively with either. Yes, you can do native RED raw 4K editing, but so what. You’re not going to cut a feature this way.

The core editing functionality is still largely the same, so if you liked Premiere Pro CS4 you’ll love CS5. If you hated it, then the 64-bit performance won’t have you jumping ship. It’s not just a matter of the Mercury Playback (CUDA) optimization or 64-bit operation. Performance also gets down to other factors: CPU power, RAM and hard drive speed.

- Oliver

***UPDATE 3***

In an official end to the madness, CNET just poted this quote from Apple:

“Final Cut Pro is the first choice for professional video editors, and we’ve never been more excited about its future,” Apple spokesman Bill Evans told CNET. “The next version of Final Cut is going to be awesome, and our pro customers are going to love it.”

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.

18
May
10

aputure gigtube = viable for 5d mark ii?

As I’ve known for some time, outfitting your 5d mark ii with enough accessories to make it a solidly functioning film camera can be… expensive.  That’s what’s so intriguing to me about the Aputure Gigtube Digital Viewfinder.  Remember, I’m an editor with some shooting experience looking to branch out, so I’m not approaching kitting out my 5d like a full-time DP might.  My interest is to outfit my 5d as a viable run-and-gun documentary film camera with incredible DOF to make my work have sweet bokeh and stand apart from stuff I would otherwise shoot on an HV30, HVX-200 or what have you.  The number one thing I’ve been missing so far is an adjustable LCD screen so that I can move the camera low or high and still be able to see the framing.

And while I’ve read that monitors like the

Ikan V-8000HDMI 8" LCD Monitor

and the

Marshall V-LCD70XP-HDMI 7" LCD Field Monitor

are great to work with.  However, they are

a) really big so not suited for somewhat low key run and gun work

b) like 4 times as expensive as the Gigtube

c) definitely going to require an additional investment in some kind of shoulder mount or rails system, which I’m trying to avoid spending money on while I get to know my camera.

Alternatively, I’ve been considering the

Zacuto Z-Finder Pro 2.5x

but it doesn’t solve the issue of holding the camera low or high and still being able to see the LCD.

a must see for anyone considering a DSLR for filmmaking

Quick shout out to the Zacuto team, if you haven’t seen their web videos ‘The Great Camera Shoutout 2010,’ do so as soon as possible.  Making the point that todays DSLR’s have as much or more light sensitivity than the cameras Kubrick used in Barry Lyndon is one of the more genius observations I’ve heard in awhile.  And one of the main reasons I decided to take the plunge.

I’m seriously looking at the

Fast Draw #Z-DFD

or one of their other shoulder mount systems. But again, pricey.

Anywho, back to the topic of this post, here’s one of the few informative threads I’ve found about the Gigtube.  Anyone out there have experience with one of these?

proactively • researching • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.

17
May
10

a lens is a huh?

Mitch Gross has produced a very cool and informative video posted on CineTechnica explaining the relationship between lenses and camera formats and sensors and stuff.  Click here for the video or on the pic above.  I’ve been researching the heck out of basic photography concepts since purchasing my new 5d mark ii.

My new gun.

I guess now would be a good time to fully disclose that I was solicited by B&H a few weeks ago and agreed to become a B&H sales affiliate.  I think B&H is the best place to order your video gear;  great customer service, a ton of product reviews, and a proven track record.  They also offer 6 month no interest financing which makes it possible for me to pay for my gear (who has 2 grand in cash anymore?).  And if you feel like my blog has offered you some good info along the way, you now have the opportunity to help me while helping yourself.  Just click on any of the links on my blog linked to a product you’d like to receive from B&H and I get a commission.

There, I said it. Now, moving on…

I shot almost a full 32GB card of footage on Saturday.  It was my first opportunity to go raw dog with the 5D and make a video;  I filmed my good friend Kirk Schmidt installing a new 40 gallon salt water fish tank for my fiancee Dawn and me.  Lenses were the

Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Autofocus Lens

and the

Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Autofocus Lens

Shot all natural and available light at ISO 1250 and, besides a few shots on sticks, all run and gun style with no shoulder support. I’m blogging from work so don’t have access to any stills yet but will be posting more info this week.  Stay tuned…

proactively • back to blogging, again! • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.

11
May
10

sony nex-3 & nex-5

This looks pretty darn cool.  More info here.

proactively • briefly • peter




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