Take One Minute to Learn How to Correct White-Balance in Premiere Pro

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December 19, 2014

by Robert Hardy, nofilmschool

Premiere Pro White Balance Correction
Finding out that your white balance was set incorrectly can lead to a sinking feeling.

Not because it’s impossible or even difficult to correct, but because you just know that fixing it in post is going to be a lengthy, tedious process. Luckily, the process is not as bad as you might think, and if you’re a Premiere Pro user, you can fix funky white balances in at matter of seconds with the “Fast Color Corrector” effect. Here’s Karl Weirauch to show you how.  Click here for the video and more…

Blending Ideas: an After Effects Tutorial from Crish Design

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December 18, 2014

by Crish Design

Click here to request your free Blend Tutorial from industry experts Trish and Chris Meyer of Crish Design. They will take you step-by-step in this easy to follow classic tutorial where you’ll be creating a vignette-like transparency around the center of attention making it easier to blend with other footage.

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CamDo Solutions for GoPro

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December 17, 2014

by Jeff and cam-do.com

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So…you’re one of the many, many professional or consumer video-makers that owns a flavor of GoPro cameras and you think you’ve done all you can do with it at this point?   Yes– you can put it on your race car, your rocket and even your pet eagle or camel.  But now what?

The holidays are fast approaching, so check out CamDo Solutions for that GoPro enthusiast in your life, below…

Cam-Do Custom Solutions…

HD Hero

Cam-Do represents an international team of software and hardware developers with years of experience developing custom solutions to real world problems.

In particular, we have recently been working with the GoPro camera to exploit its capabilities using custom accessories which extend its purpose to meet the needs of creative individuals and groups who have the ideas, but not the means to make them a reality.

If you think the GoPro camera (or another camera) takes the images you want, and have come up with a clever idea to use one, or 5 of them together, or 50 of them operating synchronously, you need to talk with us.

GoPro Programmable Scheduler

Programmable SchedulerThe Programmable Scheduler combines the features of the Time Lapse Intervalometer with a programmable timer capable of turning the camera on and off according to 17 separate programs which can repeat daily or weekly. Events can be scheduled up to one week in advance.

The Programmable Scheduler plugs into the back of a GoPro camera and requires no additional power.

[Programmable Scheduler…]



GoPro Time Lapse Intervalometer

Time Lapse ControllerThe Cam-Do Timer Control is designed to turn the camera on and off to maximize the battery usage. In most cases, the camera will take about 2,000 images on a single battery charge. These images can be spread over hours, days or even weeks.

The Timer control fits in the GoPro extended waterproof back and requires no external connections or battery.


GoPro Motion Detector

Motion Detector

The Cam-Do Motion Detectors trigger the GoPro camera when movement is sensed in front of the camera.

The motion detector uses the same board as the time lapse controller and includes all the features of the timer control as well as the motion detector unit.

There are 2 models available. The PIR unit detects the infra-red (heat) generated by moving people and large animals. The X-Band microwave unit detects movement using doppler radar and works through glass and detects objects/reptiles, which are not hot.

[Motion Detector…]


GoPro Underwater Solutions

GoPro Underwater Solutions
The Cam-Do WiFi Extension Cable extends the use of WiFi control of GoPro Hero 3 and 3+ cameras underwater. GoPro cameras underwater can be controlled from the surface with the GoPro WiFi Remote, GoPro iPhone and Android Apps, or by a PC running WiGo.

Cam-Do Deep Water housings are carved from a solid block of aluminum and have been tested to withstand pressures of 4,000 psi (280 kg/cm2), equivalent to a depth of 9,000 feet. The anodized aluminum is resistant to saltwater and harsh environments.


GoPro Video Monitor Adapter

GoPro Video Monitor Adapter
The GoPro Video Monitor Adapter plugs into the connector at the back of all GoPro HD Hero, Hero 2, and Hero 3 cameras. The adapter provides 480i SD composite video compatible with all LCD and CRT monitors and video transmitters and receivers.

The Video Adapter can be used with the GoPro extended backdoors without needing to access the connectors on the side of the camera. The lightweight PCB version is ideal for flying on drones and quadcopters to frame the camera view or for FPV flying.

Diver checking Cam-Do Time Lapse Camera
Scripps Institute divers swap cameras every few weeks

The Scripps Institute and a number of other oceanographic researchers use Cam-Do intervalometers to create time lapse records of coral reefs and undersea habitats. From time to time, divers descend and swap cameras for a one with fresh batteries and an empty SD card.

 

How to Shoot Star Time-Lapses

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December 16, 2014

by Lucas Maciel, Pond5

 

Want to learn how to shoot some amazing star time-lapses? Then follow us to Red Rock Canyon State Park in California, where we learned how it’s done from three Pond5 artists (NaoTharp, LoveMushroom and MountAiryFilms) who are working on their documentary “California Timelapse”. Get your gears ready: it’s time to warp to the desert!

 

Step 1: Pick your dates

The best time to shoot a milky way time lapse is around the new moon (+/- 3 days) night during summer, because there is less moonlight to affect your shots. Also, make sure you check the weather, because things like puffy white clouds (and rain) can be a big problem if they cover up too much of the sky.

 

Step 2: Pick your location

Make sure your location actually has visible stars. Stars are hard to see in cities and other bright areas, so pick a location far away from any possible conflicting light sources. Once you reach your location, get started before sunset so you have enough time and light to get situated. Higher elevations and more dry conditions also aid in a more vivid time-lapse, due to less atmosphere to compete with. Pick a spot for your scene that has a foreground or background object, like a tree, a rock or an old house, which gives your shot more depth and makes the star movements more obvious. It also makes your movements more dramatic, and who doesn’t love drama?

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.00.55 PM Avoid the vicinity of a city or any bright area

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.38.19 PMScreen Shot 2014-11-25 at 1.36.22 AMForeground or background objects can make all the difference. Go find them!

 

Step 3: Pick your gear

Many cameras can do the job, but most important is manual control on your camera. Good low-light performance and a fast wide-angle lens give you the best image quality as well. Another hugely important piece of gear is your intervalometer to, you know, take pictures at different intervals. Some are built-in to the camera, but if yours isn’t, you can find them online for cheap. A large memory card to store all the images (especially if you’re shooting in RAW), and a strong, stable tripod will round out your necessary equipment for quality time-lapses.

One other thing you can add, which is optional, is a motion control or dolly or track system. Adding even just a little bit of motion significantly increases the value of your footage. It also just looks WAY cooler.

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Step 4: Setup your camera

Now that you’ve locked those sticks down, it’s time to dial in your camera settings. Turn off all unnecessary features like noise reduction, vignette removal, live view display and auto lighting optimiser to cut down the camera’s processing time and save battery life. Set both your camera and focus to manual, then crank that focus ring all the way to the sideways 8. Wait, we mean infinity.

Focus: Use the brightest star in the sky to help you set your focus. A magnifying monitor can help you to get more accurate focusing.

Aperture: Open your aperture as wide as possible — f2.8 or faster is ideal — to get the most light into your camera.

ISO: Set it as high as it can be without adding any noise to the image. For Pond5 contributors, 3200 is best for high-end cameras and 1600 for mid-range cameras. If it’s too noisy, lower your ISO and check our article about noise reduction tips from Pond5 photo curators.

White Balance: Set your white balance to “Incandescent” or “Fluorescent” or manually set your color temperature between 2500K to 4200K to capture that blue night sky.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.02.35 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.04.50 PM

 

Step 5: Set Your Shutter Speed

Your shutter needs to let in enough light, but you also need to keep your exposures short enough to eliminate any star trails, which happens when your exposure is too long. The 500 rule says that you take 500 and divide it by your lens’s focal length. A full frame camera with a 16 mm lens would be 500 divided by 16, which is… hmm… this is a tough one… okay, a 31 second exposure time. Setting it to this length or shorter keeps the stars dots and not streaks. If you hate math and don’t know your camera’s crop factor, however, 20 seconds is a good place start. Or maybe reading your camera’s manual is the best place to start…

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.10.51 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.11

 

Step 6: Get ready to shoot

Depending on your camera, you’ll need to either access your interval timer in the menu or grab your intervalometer from step 1 and set your interval to exposure time + camera buffer time. This buffer time should be at least 3 seconds to give your camera enough time to process and save the data to the memory card.

Now calculate the number of photos you want to take. A good base is 300, since 300 frames equals 10 seconds of footage at 30 frames per second, and 12.5 seconds of video at 24 frames per second, or something completely different if you use PAL, which our mind can’t possibly comprehend. Now take all the frames and exposure time and add it up to see how long it will take overall, which in our example is something close to 3 hours.

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.13.22 PM

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.13

Finally, re-check your frame and focus, and then start the madness. Put on some tunes, a pot of coffee, then enjoy the beautiful night sky as you document the rest of the galaxy above!

 

Fast FX Monday: Free FCPX Titles & Effects

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December 15, 2014

by Fred van Os

OK– I’m just back from a weekend of filming in and around Toronto Canada on our upcoming documentary “The Lost Clipper” and I didn’t want you guys to think I forgot about you upon my return.  So this is quick and EZ today.

Here’s three fast and free FCPX Titles and Effects by Vanos.tv.  Get ‘em while they’re hot!

SocialBox

Easy Social Media Box

focus

Focus Title effect (HD)

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Your Ultimate Crawl (HD)

 

 

 

Freelancer Websites to Find Work

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December 12, 2014

by via LinkedIn Group “Film & Video Editor

Ben Whisenhunt, Preditor

Ben Whisenhunt, Preditor

Freelance Producer/Editor via LinkedIn user’s group “Film & Video Editor” writes:

“Are there any websites out there for freelancer to find work that don’t completely destroy the industry? It seems that almost all of the work is bid work, budgets don’t even cover a day, and to top it off you have to pay just to bid. There has to be a better way.”

Lots of feedback on Ben’s question can be found here, though you must be a member of LinkedIn user’s group “Film & Video Editor” in order to link through.*  LinkedIn is a free membership and a great place for networking and demonstrating you work via various groups such as this one.  Sample feedback…

The FAA Wants You to Get a Pilot’s License Before Operating a Drone (No, Seriously)

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December 11, 2014

by Robert Hardy, nofilmschool

FAA Drone Regulations - Pilot's License

For the past few years, drone professionals and enthusiasts alike have been awaiting a new set of regulations from the Federal Aviation Administration. Unfortunately, new information about the proposed regulations point towards filmmakers being incredibly unhappy with the FAA in the very near future.

In a report that first appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week, Jack Nicas and Andy Pasztor unveiled the FAA’s proposed plans, which include some sensible regulations, such as limiting drone flight to daytime hours only, limiting altitude to 400 feet or less, and requiring that the UAV be in sight of the pilot at all times. However, the major blow to filmmakers — and anybody else looking to take advantage of the ubiquitous and inexpensive drone technology that has flooded the market of late — is that the FAA is likely going to require drone pilots to be licensed to fly manned aircraft, a process that requires dozens upon dozens of hours of training.

The main distinction to make here is between commercial and non-commercial uses. For hobbyists who have a drone and like to fly it around their backyard, these proposed regulations likely won’t have much impact. However, for filmmakers who make a living through drone videography, or at least leverage drone technology for commercial purposes in some way, these regulations could very well make their lives incredibly difficult, especially if they’re strictly enforced.

faa allows drone film production commercial use
Photo Credit: Helicam

Another interesting distinction in the proposed FAA regulations comes with their weight classifications. The agency is said to be grouping all drones weighing less than 55 pounds into one category under which this set of regulations will apply. That means that the professional and high-end drones which carry larger payloads, and which therefore pose more of a threat to public safety, will be regulated the same as drones like the DJI Phantom II, which comes in at a weight of under 3 pounds.

It seems like we can all agree that some measure of professional and certifiable training is in order for people who fly drones professionally. Obviously public and personal safety can be threatened by these aerial drones without the proper precautions. But to require drone pilots to be licensed to pilot manned aircraft is perhaps one of the most laughable and arbitrary things that the FAA could have done. As Bryant Frazer over at Studio Daily so eloquently put it:

That’s a little like making a 16-year-old become licensed to operate an 18-wheeler before being allowed to tool around town in a Honda Civic.

At this point, these proposed regulations are just that: proposals. That means that, for the time being, you can still go fly your drone over a wedding and make a few bucks off of it without needing a pilot’s license. However, don’t expect that unbridled freedom to last long.      

A smart, affordable, and easy to use timelapse trigger

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December 10, 2014

by Mindarin

A smart, affordable, and easy to use timelapse trigger.

Two and a half years ago we launched our first Kickstarter: Astro Time-lapse + Motion Control. With the amazing support of the Kickstarter community we were able to turn our idea into a reality. Now we are very excited to be back with a new project.

Pico was born out of our desire to make time-lapse accessible and fun for everyone. DSLR and mirrorless cameras can take amazing pictures and give us a lot of control, but they aren’t very smart; and even though our smartphones are incredibly capable, the built-in camera’s functions are still pretty limited.

So we thought, wouldn’t it be great to have the best of both worlds? And that’s why we created Pico.

What is Pico?

Pico is like a new brain for your camera.

Use the free smartphone app to create a program and send it to Pico. After transferring your settings, you can unplug it from your smartphone and Pico will save the program in its memory. Then, connect Pico to your camera using the included adaptor cable, and Pico will take control to create the time-lapse sequence.

Manual Mode

If you don’t have a smartphone with you, you can still use Pico as a simple intervalometer. To set the shooting interval, just press and hold Pico, and count the number of beeps to reach your desired interval. Each beep equals one second. Let go and Pico will start shooting at the programmed interval until you unplug it.

Advanced Modes

With the smartphone app, you have the ability to create professional time-lapses:

HDR (High Dynamic Range): Take multiple photographs at varying exposure levels.

Bulb Ramping: A technique used to compensate for natural changes in light. It is ideal for seamless day to night sequences.

Speed Ramping: You can adjust the speed of time within the time-lapse to add a cool slowing or accelerating effect.

Always with you

There is a saying that the best camera is the one that you have with you; we believe the same is true for time-lapse photography. You don’t always know when something amazing will happen and we want you to have Pico at hand when it does.

Pico is small enough to always be in your camera bag, and with a battery life of 8 years, you will never have to worry about charging it. Just keep Pico in your bag and you will always be ready to capture that epic moment.

Technical Specs

Weight: 0.4 oz / 11 gr
Battery life: 8 years

Camera compatibility: Pico includes a cable that connects to your camera. There are 9 different cables to choose from that work with more than 300 different cameras. See the full list of supported cameras in our FAQs section.

Smartphone compatibility: iOS 6 or higher & Android 2.3 or higher.

Click here to see the REWARDS and product information.  Support this Kickstarter!

 

New Red Giant Shooter Suite 12.6.1 Release Keeps RED Camera Media In Sync

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December 9, 2014

by Red Giant

Suite update features PluralEyes 3.5.5 with sync automation support for RED camera media; enhancements to Offload, BulletProof and Instant 4K

I wanted to inform you about the most recent software update. Shooter Suite 12.6.1 features PluralEyes 3.5.5 support for RED camera media, ensuring that users can effortlessly sync multi-camera and dual-system audio production media shot on RED cameras in seconds. The update also supports sync automation for spanned RED media, treating multiple files as a single logical clip.

Portland, OR – December 4, 2014 – Red Giant today released the latest update to its powerful Shooter Suite, a collection of purpose-built applications that give directors of photography, videographers, shooters and filmmakers the automation and workflow capabilities they need to offload, analyze, touch up and synchronize digital media destined for post. Headlining the Shooter Suite 12.6.1 release is PluralEyes 3.5.5 support for RED camera media.

The go-to tool for audio and video sync automation, PluralEyes support for RED media ensures users can easily sync multi-camera and dual-system audio production media shot on RED cameras in a matter of seconds. Thanks to its outstanding accuracy, the new PluralEyes update even supports sync automation for spanned RED media, treating multiple files as a single logical clip. The update also enhances the overall export workflow and includes a new welcome video tutorial to help new users start using PluralEyes faster than ever before.

In addition to the new PluralEyes update, the Red Giant Shooter Suite includes a number of improvements to the Offload, BulletProof and Instant 4K applications.

Free Update for Existing Shooter Suite 12.6 and PluralEyes 3.5 Customers
The Red Giant Shoot Suite 12.6.1 release is free to existing 12.6 users and can be downloaded here or use Red Giant Link to update.

PluralEyes 3.5 users will receive a notification upon software launch that an update is available.

Shooter Suite and PluralEyes Pricing
Red Giant offers the full Shooter Suite 12.6.1 package for 399.00 USD. Existing Shooter Suite users who fall outside the free update guidelines can update their existing applications for 99.00 USD.

PluralEyes 3.5.5 is sold as part of the Shooter Suite Shooter Suite 12.6.1 and as a standalone product for $199.00 USD. Existing users who fall outside the free update guidelines can update their existing PluralEyes solo application for $79.00 USD.

Red Giant Press Kits
Members of the media are invited to review Red Giant Shooter Suite 12.6.1, PluralEyes 3.5.5, or standalone products from the Red Giant Shooter Suite. For more information, please contact Anya Oskolkova at anya@zazilmediagroup.com.

The Red Pledge
The Red Pledge is Red Giant’s commitment to customer happiness, with no purchasing hassles. Learn about the Red Pledge guarantee at redgiantsoftware.com/redpledge/.

About Red Giant
Red Giant is a software company made up of talented artists and technologists who collaborate to create unique tools for filmmakers, editors, VFX artists, and motion designers. Our company culture is focused on finding balance between work and life – we call it “the double bottom line.” This philosophy helps us ignore complexity in favor of building simple tools that yield giant results. Over the last decade, our products (like Magic Bullet and Trapcode) have become the standard in film and broadcast post-production. With over 200,000 users, it’s nearly impossible to watch 20 minutes of TV without seeing our software in use. From our experiences as artists and filmmakers, we aspire not only to provide tools for artists, but inspiration as well. Watch our films, learn from over 200 free tutorials, or try our software at redgiant.com.

Press Contact
Anya Oskolkova
Zazil Media Group
(e) anya@zazilmediagroup.com
(p) 617-817-6559
(Skype) anya.oskolkova

 

Shoot a movie on DSLR? This Australian film shows how it’s done

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December 8, 2014

by

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“Love Is Now” is an Australian feature film shot entirely on dSLRs. The director of photography describes the process and offers tips for would-be filmmakers.

Big-budget Hollywood blockbusters have been doing it for years. Small indie productions know about it, too. DSLR video has opened up a whole new world to film makers and its star continues to rise.

The very first dSLR capable of shooting video was the Nikon D90, released in 2008. Although it was only filming in 720p, other camera makers quickly followed suit and opened up full HD video capabilities.

Filmmakers are attracted to these consumer cameras because they are smaller and generally have a more accessible price-point than traditional movie cameras.

Plenty of big-name films like “Black Swan”, “Rush” and “Drive” have used dSLRs for a part of the production, but a small handful of movies have been shot entirely on these cameras.

“Love Is Now” is an Australian film shot on the same Nikon D810 dSLRs and lenses available to everyday photographers. Anthony Jennings, the director of photography on the film, is a cinematographer with extensive experience using dSLRs on both short films and full-blown features.

The decision to use these cameras on Love Is Now was easy. “We did talk about using maybe an Alexa or a Red camera, but it kind of made sense [to use dSLRs] because we were going to be having to move quickly and going to a lot of locations,” he said.

love-is-now-production-still.jpg
David Oliver

Over five weeks, Jennings and the production team filmed in locations across Sydney and the Hunter Valley in New South Wales. Moving around so much required kits that would suit multiple purposes so the team had two handheld rigs.

“One would fit on the dolly and that was fairly heavy, a little bit cumbersome so we actually got rid of that rig fairly early in the shoot and went to a very light handheld rig that was made of half my gear and half the gear that we’d hired,” Jennings said, “as I do a lot of dSLR shooting I just had my rig because I was used to it.”

“We had a focus puller who had his own follow focus, so it made it very easy for me to operate because I didn’t have to worry about focus, which is generally what you’re doing most of the time when shooting on dSLRs. I had an Alphatron eyepiece so that I could see the images without having to look at the back of the screen. We had HDMI out into and out of the Alphatron to a monitor, so then Jim [Lounsbury, director] could watch the monitor and I could just stick to the Alphatron.”

love-is-now-production-still-2.jpg
David Oliver

With uncompressed HDMI out delivering 1080/25p footage to an external recording device and 1080/50p recorded direct to camera, there was plenty of scope for achieving different looks in post-production, on top of the obvious advantage of having lots more material to work with.

For the glass component, the production team had two kits to use. The first consisted of newer Nikon servo-operated lenses such as the AF-S 35mm f/1.4G, 85mm f/1.4 and 70-200 f/2.8 but there was also an older set of Nikkor lenses converted for use with 80mm filters.

Anyone who has played around with shooting video on a dSLR knows that the image straight out of camera can be quite contrasty, thanks to the default picture profiles. “With the D810, it has a very flat picture profile so it let us shoot a lot of things in a lot of variance of light,” said Jennings.

“We could shoot a lot more contrast without losing our highlights and our shadows. I didn’t tweak [the picture profile] because we had a very short pre-production, so I didn’t get too many chances to do testing. We got the D810 that was released a week before we started filming, so we were under the gun to get hold of one.”

Jennings said that the configuration he chose was almost emulating the effect from an older movie camera. “Partly because the dynamic range on this camera is very good, but with film they kept upgrading film all the time so you could see more and more and more.”

“A lot of cinematographers, especially me, preferred the older stocks because you would see less. So you could define what people were looking at, you could let the shadows drop out. With the D810, it was almost giving me like the old Kodak 200 ASA stock, it had that really beautiful drop-off and an interesting grain that I haven’t seen before on dSLRs.”

love-is-now-production-still-3.jpg
David Oliver

Although Jennings didn’t run into too many issues with the dSLR set up, he does have a wishlist item for future productions.

“It would be a much stronger HDMI connector! The HDMI is always precarious, it gets knocked out, you lose the image on the monitors, then you try the cable and the cable’s broken. It would be nicer to have a stronger connection there, that would probably be my biggest frustration there.”

Jennings was also able to make use of the intervalometer feature in the camera, which is often used by stills photographers rather than filmmakers. Timelapses of stars, sunsets and clouds ended up being used in the final film. “We would race off with just a D810 body and lens, stick it on a tripod in a field and shoot timelapses. There’s no extra pieces we have to stick on or batteries we have to worry about. You run out, put it down, hit a button and off you go … If you had to do it on a more traditional film camera it’s just a huge rigmarole of settings things up, plugging them in. It’s a lot harder.”

love-is-now-production-still-4.jpg
Jasin Boland

For budding cinematographers and those who want to get started shooting video with their own dSLR, Jennings suggests investing in a core kit of three fast lenses because you want to capitalise on depth of field.

“You don’t need too many; a fast 50mm is great for a lot of things, shooting faces and if you have the distance, wide frames as well. Then you need a wider lens like a 16mm or 16-35mm, something in that range. Then all you need is a longer lens, like a 70-200mm. That’s basically my workhorse set, those three lenses,” he said.

In terms of grading and playing around with the image in post-processing, it all depends on the time you have. For those who want to experiment with grading, use a flat picture profile — either one provided in-camera if applicable, or a third-party alternative like Technicolor’s CineStyle.

“If you don’t have time to grade, you can use some of the standard, neutral or portrait picture profiles and have a play. A lot of people complain that dSLR footage is too crushed and contrasty, but again I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. If that’s the look you’re going for then you already have those tools in the camera.”

 

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