Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New FCP X10.0.3 AND >> FCP 7 to X XML Translator

My long time friends Philip  Hodgetts & Gregory Clark have done what Phillip has said either wasn't doable, or would be just miserable to do : translate FCP 7 XML to FCP X XML. READ Phillip's announcement here for all the details. The best news is the app is available via the apple App Store for $9.99 so anyone can afford it. This is great news for anyone who wants to try to use FCP X where they still needed to work on old projects. The translation may not be perfect, but it seems pretty close. The converter app will even do some cool stuff like translate ( convert ) PICT files into TIFF's since FCP X no longer supports PICTS. Indeed some versions of OS X 10.7 will crash if you open a folder with PICTS in them and it goes to draw the icons. 

Great work guys !

FCP X  10.0.3 update link to apple

oh ya, FCP X has an update to 10.0.3 adding improved XML import ( NOT 7toX, thats a separate purchase AVAILABLE HERE ), multicam, and a beta of "broadcast output" meaning it talks to your 3rd party video I/O gear. Thats something that should of been in 1.0. So if you use X go get it.

This FCP X update includes

 

 

  • multicam editing that automatically syncs up to 64 angles of video and photos. Good bye Pural / Dual Eyes for FCP X users.

     

  • advanced chroma keying for handling complex adjustments right in the app.

     

  • includes a beta of broadcast monitoring that supports Thunderbolt devices as well as PCIe cards

 

MacPro's AKA Towers

This picture says a lot. It tells me towers from apple are dead. Yes we have all heard the rumors of this but this image says a lot. Its a Thunderbolt connected world of I/O boxes, storage and whatever else you need hung on ThunderBolt. Given that nVidia will be in the next generation of iMacs which may come as soon as spring with the new intel chips here is my prediction :

Apple Updates Towers ONE last time and limps them along for the next 2+ years. If there is no updated towers by summer, I think its a safe bet they are never going to be updated and current models will be sold until sales drops to nothing.

Really they are just too expensive right now. A big part of this is intel's pure gouging on XEON chips that apple is hung on using. I"m not saying those machines are fast, they are. However, they are also out of budget for most users, especially in the current economy where everyone is a lot more price conscience. 

A six or 8 core iMac as the Pro machine. In reality, this would not be a bad machine at all. The 27" monitor is great, I have one. Add on another display if you really need it, but most folks don't. TB attached storage and I/O box. That would cover a HUGE segment of the market's needs. 

Just as NLE's changed post in the 90's from tape to hard drives and computers, Apple is going to change this again. Its going to get smaller and simpler. Most users don't need towers to edit. They are using laptops and iMacs, machines with 2-4 cores in them and are happy. If you look, even apps like Resolve can run on a laptop or iMac fine. I don't mean with smoking levels of performance, but certainly good enough to get the job done. Thats what this is about : getting the job done. Maybe not the fastest way, but it'll work for most of the market.

For the upper mid end and high end of post however, we'll probably all switch to PC's running Premiere Pro , smoke or maybe Avid. Why ? because we need more from our machines. Dual GPU's like the Tesla C2075 with 492 GPU's and 6G of VRAM to handle CUDA just scream. Of course of you have not tried one, you have no idea what you're missing. However, you also have to have a need to use it. Deep long multi layer timelines with lots of layers and effects. Thats not MOST user's timelines. Sure they may have some section with a few stacked titles or something, but they aren't doing 30 minute projects with 7-12 layers the entire time. For thos few people who do, they'll probably move to PC. 

There is one possible out for apple here to support pro user's and not have to make towers themselves : Use something like a HP Z800 and license OS X to run on them. It wold be trivial for apple to do. Hackintosh's are out there in mass so getting OS X to run on a more generic PC wouldn't take much effort on their part. If anything, apple might add some stuff to actually limit OS X to running only on blessed PC configs like the Z800. This would kill the Hackintosh market and let apple support the pro market with a MUCH better tower then apple has ever built. A HP Z series machine has lots of drive space ( 6-8 slots ), RAM slots, dual XEON configs, SAS & SATA, dual 16X slots and PS big enough to handle it all. It would be too easy for apple to do really. We'll see !

Thankfully adobe apps are near identical inside, and media generally works just fine between the two. Opening a Mac Prem Pro Project on a PC is just a matter of opening it and relinking the media, then hit play.

Interesting times. By NAB I think the cards will be on the table.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Samyang Ready To Ship 24mm 1:1.4

 Samyang is getting ready to start shipping their 24mm 1:1.4 ED AS UMC lens in canon and nikon mounts.  MSRP of 599eu or about $784us... a bit of an ouch there ! but still way cheaper then the big name glass which doesn't have real mechical focus and iris rings

Having just bought their ( Rokinon version ) 35 1.4 this should be another great peice of glass. The problem is I have too many lenses in the 24-28mm range right now. I guess I need to do some ebaying :) !

I have some test video shot last nite to put up, and a review coming. That lens test I posted about a little while ago is also on the burner now that I have rounded out the collection to test. I'm mainly working on getting a model to shoot.

samgyang 24 1.4

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shallow Enough Depth of Field ?

Tamron 70-200 2.8 wide open, max close focus. From this weekend, shot hand held actually. Near Macro. Full res shots are equally nice. Who says modern glass doesn't have nice bokeh ? or at least has to be super expensive to get it.

 

tamron 70-200 2.8 shallow depth of field

tamron 70 200 2.8 sample example macro

Sunday, January 22, 2012

NEX / E Mount to Canon EF Adapter with Electronic Iris Support

For quite some time it seems we have been teased with being able to mount Canon EF mount lenses onto E mount cameras ( NEX / FS100 / F3 ) but so far no shipping product. All that changed a few days ago with these adapters from a company I'd never heard of before, Metabones. Well we all start somewhere, right ? Image link takes you to the WEB PAGE for the product. A little pricy at $399, but still pretty cheap if you have a bunch of EOS / EF mount glass that has requires electronic iris control.

This Smart AdapterTM has the following features:

• True electronic integration of aperture diaphragm - let camera automatically choose aperture in P or S exposure modes, or dial in yourself on the camera body in A or M modes.

• Powered by camera body. No external power source required.

• Wide open button (opposite of depth-of-field preview function) makes manual focusing easy.
 

Whats more interesting is this connector on the sidew with 2 screw holes. Looks like a place to mount some connector - my guess ? Electronic follow focus / Iris control. 

 

Additional Note : The first batch of adapters has been recalled due to a minor firmware error. They are fixing it and making it right, but it does require a return to the factory for update. It appears not to be user updatable... probably because more than anything else they don't want some one swiping their hard created code to make the magic happen. It may also be there is no external connection point a user can connect to for doing the update too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

KODAK Finally Files Chap 11

Please understand, Kodak gave us some great stuff for 132 years, well maybe about 110 years if you don't count the last 20. They denied and fought the digital revolution only to be eaten by it. So today they filed Chap 11.

Now Kodak does have some other divisions like a chemical company thats doing ok FWIW. However, whats more disturbing is that on order to raise funds, they are going out and doing the patent troll lawsuit thing against apple, samsung and probably some other companies. Nonsense about transfering images between devices. Please, thats obvious, and there is prior art. Bad patent again, but aren't most ? Its completely and totally pathetic that Kodak has stooped to patent trolling to make some cash. Instead of filing pointless lawsuits they'll probably loose, why not spend the cash marketing the good stuff they have like low ink cost printers that are supposed to be pretty good. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA BLACKOUT PARTICIPATION : We're back!

In Protest of SOPA, proposed internet censorship laws as well other online IP censorship laws this site will be down Wed Jan 18th.

Please email or call your representatives or senators you find these proposed laws unacceptable. 

UPDATE

Ok, I think the message was heard loud and clear today....

C300 Is Available For Pre Order, $16K

Just announced, the C300 is now available for pre-order, shipping around Jan 30th. ! Get inline first here :

EOS MOUNT  or PL MOUNT 

Purchase via either link does provide this site with a small commission that helps us keep running, so please consider using our links ! Thank you.

canon C300 pre order

Monday, January 16, 2012

Yet Another C300 Short

Ok Canon, when do I get MY turn ? Nice shoot including some great low light shots showing just an amazingly clean image. As I had noted before, and this shooter also concludes, the C300 as its set up right now seems to hard clip highlights rather fast. So the ideal sitiuation is to under exposed to protect the highlights as much as you can. Nothing really that new with a video camera, but worth noting as the C300 doesn't seem to handle highlights as nicely as the others - F3 / Epic / and even eos dslr's with less dynamic range.

On the other side the C300 doesn't shy away from being sharp in a pleasing way. I think its pretty much very film like when film is having a good day. 

 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just Get Out There

A few shots from this weekend. Yes I did get out on the ice for a few of these shots. This shot was done on a Vivitar 24 F2.0 + 60D. The lower shot was on the Vivitar / Tokina 400 5.6 + Kenko 1.4X converter. Hate to say it but its not an ideal combination for stills. With an 800mm full frame equivalent it was more then too tempting to not use when the chance to shoot eagles over the weekend came by. Many hours of standing in 10-20deg F temps. While not the shots I expected to get, I still got something nice. For video purposes, it may or may not of been usable. Thats why you go out and shoot tests and learn your gear so you know what it will and will not do ! 

Vivitar 24mm f2.0 sample

Vivitar 24 F2

imature eagles play inflight vivitar 400 5.6

Vivitar 400 5.6 + Kenko 1.4X 60D

 

Even still, with nearly 500 frames shot, a couple great images did emerge. They weren't the ones you'd see in certain national wildlife mags, but maybe ones that dealt more with the art side of photography.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Musgo Shot on GH2

We've all heard about how dslr's should let  people make movie's free of big financial concerns. All you need is a good script, good actors, camera, sound, pizza and locations. Here is perhaps an actual example of it happening. These are pretty few and far between. Here is a micro budget production at its bare essentials. Looks pretty cool to not be tied to too much gear as many of the jobs I'm on are. 

What caught my eye was that this was shot on a GH2 that I had been thinking about getting, but in the end opted for another 60D.

 

 

And the actual trailer. I'm not a huge horro film fan, but it looks pretty good.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

DataColor Spyder3Elite Finally Has Software Update To V4.0.5

DataColor's calibration software has been updated with Lion compatibility fixes and... I don't know, I'm going to try it right now and tell you.

Ok, first make sure you get the right software - Elite, Pro or Express versions. Guess what  I did wrong first :(

So after messing around installing and doing a full calibration with my tweaks to the calibration software... drum roll.... IT WORKS ! 

I have had emails and direct calls with the developer's on my problems which I think has had some effect it seems. THANK YOU GUYS.

They have also released the Spyder4Elite with 7 color sensor thats supposed to be "26% more accurate"... hmmm 26%, not 25.5% ? are they sure ? oh its MSRP ( price on their website ) is $250, or $50 less then the older Spyder3Elite. I'm tempted to upgrade  but I'd really like to know if it works any better then what I have.

How to Calibrate Your Monitor

Here is the basics of what it takes to get a good calibration. This is based on many wasted hours of messing around.  

1. Set your monitor Brightness and Contrast to whats right, probably contrast full up or close to it and brightness at 50% for most panels.

THE IMPORTANT PART : Set your BACKLIGHT to 10% less then normal. if you have it at 90%, change it to 80%. Why ? The calibration software likes to make the screen dark and I've found this counteracts this tendency. It means you'll get full brightness out of your monitor if if its technically a little out. Technically doesn't always mean right. That said, I did get good calibrations on 2 screens without doing this. If your calibration seems dark and dingy try it.

2. Use native brightness. The Laptop option tends to do this, but if you pick LCD turn off all the options. Why ? this forces the calibrator to work better and not make you mess with your monitor settings which adds another variable to the mix. Doing this also avoids dark calibrations.

3. Colorspace REC BT.709. in the basic walk thru wizard switch to the advanced screen and use settings below.

4. Turn off Ambient LIght. Why ? because it tends to give you dark calibrations

5. Ideally calibrate in a dark room, or cover the screen with a peice of black fabric to black out ambient light that can mess this up.

 

There you go ! it finally works.

Sidenote : my ASUS 10bit panel is the main display on the mac. Even after calibration its RED cast was there, but slightly. Into the menu's I went and did -2% from where it was on red and +2% on blue and things look good and match my LG LED 42" main video output display.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Great C300 Test Short

Another C300 test video makes the light of day. Ungraded, "normal" settings. What you'll notice right away is that the camera is sharp ! no more detail dialed down low. There are some really nice night shots in here towards then, all very clean at ISO 800 and sharp. 

What did did notice is some hard knee effects in the highlights where the camera seems to hold them up to a point and then just blows out. Maybe some better camera adjustments will make for a bit less harsh of an edge. Either way, its still looking very nice.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Can a $25 or $100 Lens Make A Nice Image ?

Yes ! I shot this with a Vivitar 24mm F2.0 lens that I got for $25. Looking on eBay I see its going for more like $250+. I got a bargain for once, and a really nice lens ! Its entirely possible you may come into this lens nearly as cheap.  Before you plunge big dollars into something with a C name on it, consider what else is out there. Many a vintage lens will still make a wonderful image.  This was shot in a little inlet on Lake Winnebago, WI. 

The next image was shot with a Vivitar / Tokina 400mm 5.6. Maybe not quite as sharp as I'd like, but I was hand holding it at 125th shutter or so and high ISO. Even still it held nice contrast on severe back lighting. Ok, truth be told I did pay around $100 for the 400mm, but even still a bargain compared to alternatives. 

The point is I got into dslr imaging because I was intrigued with making high quality video ( and some stills ) for cheap. I'm thrilled I DIDN'T spend thousands on gLamour gLass and found some great lenses that work just fine. Ok, Ok, yes, yes, that gLamour Luxury glass will do better, no doubt but I'm just not making images were clients will ever know, care or see the difference. Its nice not to be gear poor for a change ! Seriously, quit pixel peeping and make some great images.

 

vivitar 24 F2.0 lens sample test example

Vivitar 24 F2.0

tokina vivitar 400mm 5.6

Vivitar 400 5.6 Hand Held at about 250th, 5.6

Vivitar 35-105 3.5

vivitar tokina 35-105 3.5 lens sample test ice water image

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Scarlet Test Video So Sharp It Hurts

Scarlets are making it out into the wild. While not a cheap camera, or simple camera to use in production this sample came by my eyes. The thing you'll notice right away is how sharp it is, even for Vimeo which sometimes tends to smooth things out a bit. Really suprisingly sharp. This could be the camera that makes or breaks some lenses as being suitable for work or not.

I think we've all gotten used to dslr material with the sharpness dialed down. Me personally, I got tired of the look and I've had my sharpness up a bit. If the camera is gonna moire, its gonna do it and there isn't much you can do about it by dialing down the sharpness. It does help a little in smoothing it out, it may help on really small borderline cases. However with nasty ones like you get on fabric, they are gonna happen regardless. Ok, maybe if you put some REALLY strong diffusion on the lens it will be ok, but otherwise it'll be there. 

SO enjoy - even from the vimeo preview you can see the sharpness. As for the short story, whatever, its a test shoot.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

If You're Going To Steal, Don't Get Caught !

It sounds obvious, doesn't ? not that you should be stealing in the first place but we've often heard good artists borrow, great artists steal. I've seen it done by "creatives" in the production biz way too many times. Worse is when I know or easily find exactly where they stole it from. 

So would Lucas, Speilberg and crew steal ? You be the judge here with this clip comparing Raiders of The Lost Ark to another film made a few decades before.

Here are the credits

Directed : Steven Spielberg
Produced : Frank Marshall, George Lucas ,Howard Kazanjian
Screenplay : Lawrence Kasdan
Story : George Lucas
Philip Kaufman

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year & Do The Tools Matter ?

Some once said, you hire a carpenter for their skills, not the brand of hammer and saw they own.

 


Well then poor carpenters, framers, trimmers and cabinet makers. I don't think  the analogy is really  true once you leave the commodity common items. For example, a carpenter without a truck or van to haul materials and tools to a job site is in a different category then one who does, or one who has certainly specialty tools for jobs that most don't. Clearly having certain tools means you can do jobs others can't. A highly skilled craftsman is also more likely to have more and better specialty tools because they know they can do the job better with them than without them.

Having some tools in either trade are significant advantages : editing camera formats native vs hours of time and 100's of gb's of drive space to transcode. If your tool won't edit your material, well thats not much of a story you're telling, at least on the screen anyway.

I say myth when it comes to the tools not mattering so much.

Having the right tools may well be critical to telling the story

Lets face it, if you need a couple of GoPro's for specific POV shots there's the  right tool and the wrong one. Sure there are other small mountable cameras which could also work fine but a big shoulder cam is another story.  if you don't have any small mountable cameras you just may not be getting the shots you need at all. That may mean no story to tell, or one that just isn't anywhere near as good.

If your NLE hasn't been updated in years but "it just works" consider - you are wasting how much time and drive space to transcode to a common frame rate and codec ? at some point the few hundred dollars to upgrade is just a no brainer. You'll spend more on that for drives to hold the material you're transcoding ! How do you tell some one paying you for your time you need to waste theirs on out-dated software that can't handle a modern format ?

Having the wrong tools may make it much harder and time consuming. 

This is the more popular one to tell. " A skilled pro can shoot on a pixel vision camera and make it look good"  or some variant of it.  I've heard it, I'm sick of it. Ya sure I can shoot on a pixel vision camera, but why on earth would I ? really ? this is just such a poor argument. I know in  a pinch any one with skill will improvise a solution to get through the day or week. The Skilled will also realize if they are going to need to do this task more often, getting the right specialty gear or software that really handles the job well is a requirement. I can tell you've I've bought a lot of gear for this reason. More often then not, one job paid for the gear and then I have it. While it might of cost me more than a rental, as long as it gets used enough its a smart purchase. If it never gets used, and I don't send it off to ebay while its still got value, it wasn't a smart move. 

So I say the tools do matter sometimes. They matter more under some circumstances than others to be sure, but they do matter. Leaving yourself at a serious disadvantage because of short comings in your tools is not the mark of a real pro.

The ability to use your tools is important, but having a plan in what you are building is just as important because you need both to get something done.