February 8, 2013
Spike can freely move a camera with unparalleled speed and precision, adding depth and changes in perspective to high speed imagery. The groundbreaking High Speed Motion Control System ‘Spike’ brings the creative free- dom of a moving camera to the world of high speed filming and allows the creation of shots that were previously impossible to achieve.
Exactly repeatable camera moves can be created and modified quickly and interactively.
No matter where the camera is pointing, it can always be moved image left/right, up/down, forward/backwards. The same is true for panning, tilting and rolling the camera and performing orbiting moves about any point along the optical axis. And all of this even works when periscopic lenses set up with arbitrary angles are used.Thus, working with Spike is always focused on what happens with the image and all communication between operator, cinematographer and director is always done in terms of the image and never in terms of robotic axes.
Once a move path has been set up, the camera can be easily shuttled back and forth along the move path (as easy as shuttling through a film clip in an editing system), which is extremely useful when adjusting the setup of the scene and the lighting.
- Ultrafast and precise camera movements.
- Sync up to 8 additional axes and 16 multi impulse triggers.
- Software built from the ground up for film work.
- Fast and flexible interactive move creation.
- Moves can also be designed offline in a virtual 3D studio.
- Click here for a PDF of features and photos… VLOG
And click here for their website to see a lot more.
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February 4, 2013
(We thank Adam Harris for posting…)
Who doesn’t want to be the star of their own reality TV show? Well OK, sane people. But if you count yourself among the former, there’s good news for you. A new, tiny quadcopter called the MeCam is just begging to be your ever-present cameraman. And you best take it up on the offer, there’s no way you could find a human that willing.
MeCam is an upcoming product from the San Francisco-based company Always Innovating, and it promises to change self-centered video documentation forever, potentially. The copter would have a battery of 14 sensors to keep it from running into walls and other people, and would be voice controlled. You could shout at it to go “up” or “down” or just tell it to follow you like a flying, robotic member of the paparazzi (or a flying puppy), and call it a day. During its acrobatics, it’d be recording you, of course, and you could beam that footage to your smartphone and have it stream there, or shunt it over to YouTube or Facebook if that’s your cup of tea.
There’s no word on what kind of camera the MeCam would have, but that’s probably because Always Innovating doesn’t plan to build them itself, but rather to license out the technology to others. Still, when all is said and done, AI expects that the little guys could be as cheap as $49, which is frankly a steal for a pet quadcopter that doesn’t constantly film you. The video is almost just a bonus. It’s a little way off, but AI predicts the first licensed copters could hit shelves in 2014. Does it sound a little to good to be true, especially at that price-point? Sure. But here’s to hoping. Who wouldn’t want a pet quady, right? I’m naming mine “Quentin.” [Liliputing via Smithsonian]
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February 1, 2013
Thanks to David Wardrick for posting:
“So I was watching “The Next Three Days”…I know, no one’s seen it.
Anyway listening to the score I noticed that a bunch of the tracks are available for free on mobygratis.com for download. It was weird hearing something I had a license to use on a Russell Crowe movie.”
|The Next Three Days (2010)
Directed by Paul Haggis. With Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Michael Buie.
To be brief, this portion of moby.com, ‘film music’, is for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.
To use the site, you log in (or on?) and are then given a password.
You can then listen to the available music and download whatever you want to use in your film or video or short.
The music is free as long as it’s being used in a non-commercial or non-profit film, video, or short. If you want to use it in a commercial film or short then you can apply for an easy license, with any money that’s generated being given to the humane society.
I hope that you find what you’re looking for,
January 31, 2013
OnOne Software has released Perfect Effects 4 Free that is, obviously, available for free. It is a stripped down version of their image editing software Perfect Effects 4, which is included in onOne Perfect Photo Suite Premium Edition. It runs in Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop Lightroom, Apple Aperture and as a Standalone. (Note: Please do not install this product if you own the Perfect Photo Suite or the full version of Perfect Effects.)
Add a heavy dose of excitement or a subtle amount of elegance to your photos with Perfect Effects 4 Free. Choose from over 70 effects to enhance and stylize your images, including effects to create the popular HDR and vintage looks, textures to add depth and dimension, and borders to add a finishing touch. Instantly add any effect with a single click or combine them to create a look of your own.
Perfect Effects 4 Free can be used as a standalone or directly with Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Apple Aperture.
Note: this is a free, stripped down version of the software included with onOne Software Perfect Photo Suite Premium Edition.
IMPROVED! LIBRARY OF EFFECTS
Create images with impact using over 70 professional effects that help you enhance detail, add contrast, evoke moods, and more.
Design a look all your own by combining multiple effects and adjusting the strength of each effect. With the live previews in Perfect Effects 4 Free, you can see what each effect will look like on your photo before applying it. Your creative options are limitless and easy to achieve with the easy-to-use tools in Perfect Effects 4 Free.
Selectively apply any effect to specific parts of your photo with the powerful masking controls in Perfect Effects 4 Free. Use the Masking Brush to apply effects to specific areas and the Masking Bug to quickly create vignettes and graduated filter looks.
NEW! PAINT-IN EFFECTS
With a handy set of Basic Brushes, you can solve some of your most common digital photography problems exactly where you need. Use simple brush strokes to make areas darker, lighter or warmer. Add detail, glow or more color. You can also reveal highlights and recover shadows.
NEW! PERFECT BRUSH
Smoothly apply or remove effects to the specific areas you’re working on without going “outside of the lines.”
Turn on the Perfect Brush when using the Masking Brush or the Paint-in Effect Basic Brushes.
NEW! BLENDING MODES
Blend effects to create amazing and highly stylized looks in Perfect Effects 4 Free. By changing the Blending Modes, you can control the brightness, contrast and color of the image to dramatically alter the appearance. And, by adjusting the opacity, you can control the strength of the effect.
COMBINE IMAGES FOR ENDLESS CREATIVE OPTIONS
In the Layers home module, you’ll find tools designed specifically for photographers to combine the best parts of multiple photos and quickly retouch your images. You’ll easily be able to swap faces or create a balanced exposure. You can also blend images for creative effects, create layouts, build composites, and more. Enjoy all of the benefits and creative power of a layered workflow, even without Adobe Photoshop. Your creative options are endless.
Learn more about Perfect Effects 4 Free
Download Perfect Effects 4 Free (It’s under Freebies – check out what else you can get for free!)
January 30, 2013
By Adam Wilt
(Thanks to David Wardrick for posting!)
SEE the light: Cine Meter gives you an RGB waveform monitor and a false-color picture in addition to a cine-style light meter, using the camera in your iPhone / iPod / iPad.
• The light meter shows you your stop as a decimal value (such as f/5.0, good for cameras with EVF iris readouts) or as a full stop and fraction (like f/4.0 ⅔, good for cine lenses with marked iris rings). You can calibrate Cine Meter to match other meters to a tenth of a stop.
• The waveform monitor shows you how light levels vary across a scene. You’ll see how smooth and even the lighting is on a greenscreen or background, and find subtle hotspots and shadows at a glance. The waveform’s RGB mode shows you color imbalances in the image and gives you a handy way to check color purity and separation for chroma-keying.
• The false-color mode lets you define allowable contrast ranges, and see instantly which shadows are underexposed and what highlights risk clipping.
Cine Meter gives you *absolute* light meter readings, but *relative* picture and waveform monitor levels:
1) Cine Meter’s picture and waveform monitor do not use the *exact* exposure shown by the light meter (they are close to the meter reading, but can differ from it slightly). The picture and waveform monitor show you *relative* levels within a scene, not *absolute* levels based on the meter reading.
2) You can’t *preset* exposure or color temperature in Cine Meter. To compare exposures and colors, you lock Cine Meter’s auto-exposure and auto-white-balance settings while looking at a known good reference, such as a gray card. The picture and waveform monitor then show you levels and colors relative to your locked settings.
I was on a film commercial shoot when an AC sent me the link to this app. The director, gaffer and I downloaded it and compared it to both meter readings and dailies. This is not a gimmick or toy but a really accurate light meter! For 4.99 you’d be foolish not have this on your phone in case your meter battery dies or your scouting or just curious what a beautiful moment would meter at.
Would love to see foot-candles added.
This is a great app. Very useful. I’ve been familiar with Adam Wilt’s work since the beginning of Digital Video. There is nobody I would trust more to make a great utility for shooters. Well worth the money.
See http://www.adamwilt.com/cinemeter/details.html#How_It_Works for details.
January 28, 2013
Short on cash? Here’s a boatload of DIY projects, along with their how-to videos to create an array of camera products. Of course, they also sell the parts!
Rail systems are constructed from 15mm DIA rails, which are crazy expensive. That’s fine for short rails used to align optics, but it is equally crazy to construct rigs, stabilizers, and other components from 15mm rails. Our DIY product line is dedicated to using 5/8 inch DIA (0.625″) Aluminum tubes.
Learn how to select tubes for your own DIY projects and accessories.
THIS BABY ROLLS !!!
Learn what you need to do to create your own slider / dolly of any length you wish. Feel all that extra cash in your pocketbook that you will be saving …
DIY SUPPORT / RIGS – DSLR AND CAMCORDERS
Look Mom … NO HANDS !!!
Watch our video on “Ergonomic Analysis of DSLR Rigs” … it is very enlightening …
DIY ACCESSORY BRACKETS / RIGS – DSLR AND CAMCORDERS
Look at all of those accessories mounted to that DSLR!!! It is super sturdy, with its components fabricated out of solid aluminum.
This bracket version allows you to mount tons of accessories to your DSLR, while still having access to the hand grip and hot shoe.
Mount your entire DIY101B with all of its accessories directly to your existing 15mm rails. Also serves as a general purpose 1/4-20 interface to 15mm rails.
VideoMic is a nice run-n-gun mic. But, it takes up your hot shoe, so you can’t mount any other accessories.
Watch how to use this simple bracket which mounts to the threads on the rear of the VideoMic to attach additional accessories.
iPHONE/ANDROID/SMARTPHONE – SUPPORT / ACCESSORY BRACKETS / RIGS
Not just for iPhones.
Watch how to use this general purpose tripod mounting adapter for any type of smartphone (iPhone, Android, etc).
Attaching a hand grip to the tripod mount provides you with a convenient portable handheld video solution.
Tiny cameras = shaky, crappy video.
Get hand separation for greater video stability. Mount accessories such as lights, microphones, audio recorders.
iPAD2 - SUPPORT / ACCESSORY BRACKETS / RIGS
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January 25, 2013
Lens whacking – it’s not as destructive as it sounds. So before you go slamming that expensive piece of glass into a hard surface, listen up close.
Lens whacking, also called free lensing, is a method of shooting with the lens detached from the camera body. It allows light leaks, creates a tilt shift focus effect, and adds a dreamlike, vintage quality to your footage.
Watch this video to see lens whacking in action.
That entire video was shot with the lens detached from the camera. The following lesson is written based on my own lens whacking experiences along with this blog post written by lens whacking virtuoso James Miller. James has been whacking lenses for years and does some pretty incredible stuff with the technique. Check it out here.
How it works
Normally the only light that hits your camera’s sensor is filtered through the lens. When you remove the lens, light can hit the sensor from many different angles. If too much light is let in your image will be over-exposed and hard to make out – but if you let just a bit in, you’ll get some lovely lens flares and light leaks.
Removing the lens from the camera will also affect your focusing. Depending on how you tilt and move the lens away from and toward the body of the camera, you’ll notice that all of the frame, none of the frame, or only a portion of the frame will be in focus. This is similar to the effect achieved by tilt shift lenses.
This is what you can expect to see, but the beauty of lens whacking is that the results are largely unpredictable. It’s possible (and actually quite popular right now) to add light leaks and lens flares after shooting (in post) using overlays. However, I personally find it more fun and fulfilling to create the effect myself, organically and spontaneously, in real time. It’s a dynamic form of shooting in which you find yourself moving around, experimenting, and engaging more deeply with your subject.
Since you’ll be shooting with your lens detached from your camera body, the first thing you’ll obviously need is a camera with a detachable lens! A DSLR is a good choice. For this lesson I’ll explain the process using Canon cameras with Nikon lenses. But if you have a different setup, you should just experiment and see what works. You can use a camera with a full frame sensor—like the 5D Mark II or III—or one with a cropped sensor like the 7D.
When shooting with a Canon DSLR, it’s best to use old Nikon glass (without a Nikon adapter!). Using Canon lenses won’t work, as the distance between the rear element and the sensor is too small. The vignetting is too extreme, and the lens just doesn’t fit correctly. Nikon lenses are just slightly smaller than Canon ones, so they fit perfectly into the lens mount. Prime lenses are great, as you won’t need to zoom.
You can find some pretty nice older Nikon lenses online for around $50-100. James Miller recommends the Nikon E series 50mm 1.8 as a good place to start, for the price of only $50-75. A 50mm lens is great for the full frame sensor, but on a crop sensor that ends up more like a 70 or 80mm. Because you’ll typically want to shoot handheld when lens whacking (in order to move around and experiment more freely), stabilization is a concern. With a longer focal length you can run into issues with wobble and rolling shutter. Therefore, a 35mm lens is a better choice for a crop sensor. However, I did shoot on my 7D with a 50mm lens and didn’t find it too difficult.
You may also want to use an eyepiece like the Zacuto Z-finder to add extra stabilization and free up your hands to manage the lens and filter out light.
First, turn your camera to video mode and turn live view on. Make sure you move the lens out of the way when the mirror flips up for video mode.
Open the aperture on the lens as wide as possible, and set the focus to infinity. If the lens is too soft when it’s open all the way, you should close the aperture a step or two. However, it’s best to keep the lens open as this will let in a good amount of light. The smaller your aperture, the closer you’ll need to bring the lens to the body in order to achieve focus; if the aperture is set too high, you won’t be able to whack. In a similar vein, it’s best to set the focus to infinity because the smaller your focus distance, the closer you’ll need to bring the lens to the camera in order to focus. If you’re focusing on something close and find that you have to move the lens too far out from the camera body to achieve focus, turn the focus ring away from infinity.
Using your fingers and wrist, tilt the lens right to left, up and down to achieve the desired look.
If you have an eye piece, hold the lens and camera body with your left hand, hold it up to your eye to stabilize, then use your right hand to filter the light at the top or sides if necessary.
Tips and Tricks
+ Light leaks and flares will appear on the side of the frame that you tilt the lens on. So if you want more action on the right, tilt out on the right. For more fun on the left, tilt out to the left.
+ Sometimes you can rack focus by moving the lens towards and away from the camera body, especially when shooting closeups.
+ When focusing, if your subject moves further away, bring your lens closer to the body. If your subject moves closer to the camera, pull your lens further from the body.
+ Because you’re shooting handheld, try to focus on one element and be sure to get long shots. It’s fun to experiment, but once you get the right focus or light leak, hold it a while. Don’t just capture a few seconds here or there.
+ Use this technique sparingly. You don’t need a huge lens flare in every shot. Simply holding the lens out from the body to the point where the image is in focus will add a nice, subtle wash of light to your composition.
+ Try using light leaks as a transition. In the field, shoot light leaks at the beginning and end of your shots. When editing, start with a properly exposed and in focus shot that ends with a blast of light leak, then cut to a light leak that is slowly brought back in focus and to the correct exposure.
+ If you’re worried about dust and dirt getting on your sensor, James suggest cutting a piece of optical quality polyester film like Melinex, or ND filter film, and fitting it into the lens mount hole under the outside ring and above the contact pins.
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to liberate those lenses from the constraints of your camera body and whack away, my friends! We’d love to see what you do with the technique, so when you’re finished, add your lens whacking videos to the Lens Whacking Group! To get your creative juices flowing, I’ll leave you with a gorgeous video shot by James Miller, the lens whacking master.
Lens Whacking technique used more information at:
January 24, 2013
by Clay Asbury
As Editors, we all need elements like flares, light leaks, grain, etc.
There are some good paid resources out there, but a lot of people have limited funds so free stuff is always welcome.
As I find more cool free stuff like light leaks, lens flares, I will add them to the list.
This is a good place to start, and let me know if you have any cool freebie links.
Free Film Flash/Light Leaks/Grain- use in different Modes (Add/Screen/Softlight)
https://vimeo.com/38137955 (8mm film grain)
https://vimeo.com/38137956 (35mm film grain)
I did a tutorial on using light leaks here. https://vimeo.com/38384245
Design Elements/Brushes/Free Sampler Packs
http://theodyssey.co/free-stuff (Motion Graphics Elements) (register to download)
http://www.cgtextures.com/ (register to download, free textures)
http://browse.deviantart.com/resources/applications/psbrushes/?order=15 (photoshop brushes)
Additional Free Presets for After Effects
Come back here tomorrow to learn all about Lens Whacking so you can create most of the above effects on your own, free and easy!
January 22, 2013
Since their launch in January of 2012, their products have been sold in over 150 countries worldwide. 5DLEAKS has been featured on ESPN, Discovery, NFL Network… used by Wedding Videographers, Game developers, Church Media teams, the full spectrum of media professionals.
In march of 2012, they released HUES, a colorful collection of light leaks designed to bring energy to music, fashion and sports videography.
Click here to see… http://vimeo.com/50475535#
Over the past few months they’ve concentrated their efforts on the development of new 4K content. They’ve also re branded themselves from 5DLEAKS to EDIT WITH LIGHT.
It’s an exciting step forward.
Their products are created in camera and delivered in beautiful Apple Pro Res in either HD or 4K resolution. Instantly download following purchase and begin editing today.
The edit process for all of their products is pretty straight forward.
If you’re edit software supports blend or composite mode, you’re good to go.
Editing with light is simple. Lets take a look inside Adobe Premiere CS6. Add their content to a layer above your footage, adjust the blend mode to screen in most cases and just like that you’ve added a dynamic effect or transition.
Check out their new website EditWithLight.com where you can browse through their products, read the frequently asked questions, or take a look at a few of their case studies.
Follow them on twitter at twitter.com/editwithlight for giveaways, discount codes and more.
So take a minute and check them out at editwithlight.com…
January 21, 2013
Now that it appears that Blackmagic has sorted out the sensor issue and will begin shipping the camera in mass this January, a flood of $3,000 RAW cameras is about to hit the market. But is the market ready for affordable RAW? Are you ready? Am I ready? Don’t let this DSLR-like camera fool you. It isn’t as straightforward as you may think. Here is what you can expect, and what you should prepare yourself for as you make the switch from compressed formats to RAW…
Before you even take a step on set, the first thing to figure out with this, or any other camera for that matter, is how you are going to outfit it. If you thought working with a DSLR was awkward, this oddly shaped camera will be even more awkward to work with. It is bigger and heavier than a DSLR, and it doesn’t have the built in handgrip style body that is fairly standard on DSLR’s. So I recommend spending some time making sure that you have all of the parts that you need to make this system work for your own personal style of shooting. I personally like working from a tripod, slider, dolly, or a jib for the vast majority of what I do. And to fit my style of working, I have pieced together a rig that you can find detailed part by part at the bottom of this post.
The next piece of the puzzle to figure out is how audio will be recorded. Will it be a dual system? (Sound recorder, and internal recording). Will it be sync sound only, and use the onboard mic as a sync track? (This is my personal favorite, as I hate having extra cables on the camera). Or will you be recording straight to the camera? (This is highly preferred by a lot of productions). If you will be recording straight into the camera, this is where the first hidden “gotcha” will crop up. The Blackmagic records a wonderfully high quality 48kHz 24 bit audio file, and then proceeds to beat that file to death by its internal signal processing. If you raise the levels above the 20-30% mark on the camera you will get digital clipping even though the audio going in isn’t really being clipped. The only way that I know of to avoid this is by using an external pre-amp, like the one offered by JuicedLink. This is the only way to know for sure that the full 48 kHz, 24 bits are being used to their fullest. JuicedLink has gone above and beyond by providing an online user manual with notes about the Blackmagic as well as this excellent overview of what is happening internally with the audio, and how to solve the problem:
And here is their video on setting the Riggy Assist meters: (Be sure to read the online user manual notes about setting the meters for the Blackmagic. They are toward the bottom of the manual).
The last thing that needs to happen before you head out to set, or leave for remote field work, is to make sure that your media is formatted properly. This is especially true if you will not have access to a DIT, or a computer system, as you cannot erase cards in the camera. As of this writing, that formatting needs to be HSF+, so you will need a Mac to format the drives correctly. (There has been mention that by the time we get our hands on the camera we’ll be able to use FAT32 through a firmware upgrade. But I haven’t seen this 100% confirmed yet. Better to be prepared than caught off guard). As you use, re-use, format, and re-format your drives, if you are noticing a dramatic reduction in speeds, then you are experiencing one of the side effects of how SSD’s write, erase, and re-write data. This article does a great job at explaining and illustrating what is going on under the hood. The good news is that this shouldn’t be an issue for the majority of SSD’s these days. But, in the event you are having performance problems, there is a quick and easy way to get your SSD back up to its peak speed: Secure Erase. Secure erase does not format the drive, instead, it cleans out all of the “pages” on the drive. So after you have formatted a poorly performing SSD, use Secure Erase to restore it to its factory performance speed. To secure erase on a Mac, follow these instructions. (If you are interested in learning more about secure erase, and if you really need to use it check out this article – the short answer is probably not).
Preparation For On Set:
Shooting RAW on the Blackmagic is a bit of a step “backwards” to the way most people are used to shooting with digital these days. I, for one, welcome this step back. The RAW files of the Blackmagic take up roughly 7 GB per minute. That is a LOT of data! By comparison, many of projects shot with the Epic at full frame are at Redcode 7:1, which is about 4 GB per minute. And it isn’t until Redcode 4:1 that there is roughly 7 GB per minute of data. (And that is for a 5K full frame image…). This means that if the plan is to follow the typical digital mindset of over-shooting on set, just letting the camera roll, covering every conceivable angle possible so that the story can be figured out in the edit, then A LOT of SSD’s will be needed. But with the price of $3,000 for this camera, I’m guessing that the target market will not have a lot of cash to spend on piles of SSD’s. I’m hoping that the amount of data this camera is spitting out will instead inspire, and promote a more “film style” approach to the craft: where choices are made purposefully, shooting discipline is maintained, and shooting ratios drop back down to 5:1 or less. I think a return to this mindset will be further enforced by the fact that clips cannot be deleted in camera. Once “record” has been hit, that data is being used up, and space is decreasing… choose your shots wisely. Personally, I hope that deleting clips never gets added to the firmware, but I’m sure that it will probably get added in at some point due to the high demand for it.
The other part of recording with this camera that you should prepare for is that, as of this writing, with firmware 1.1, you are not able to view how much record time you have left on the SSD. The only way to have a rough idea, is to know how long you can record for on the SSD you are using, and then do the math via the running time code on the display. I know, just what you wanted, more math on set…
Another step back to the “film style” way of working on set will come in the way the physical media is handled. The consumer SSD’s that the Blackmagic camera uses are a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing for their comparatively cheap price to proprietary media. They are a curse for their consumer grade quality. SSD’s were never meant, nor designed, to be continually inserted and removed. The mere act of this motion wears down the contacts on the drives and at some point they will stop working. Additionally, consumer grade SSD’s are light weight and not built for the rigors of set life. They are not anywhere close to being as robust as a CF, SD, SxS cards, or Redmags. If you plan on tossing these SSD’s around, or leaving them laying around, be prepared for non-working drives, or even worse, lost data. These are HARD DRIVES, and like the days of handling exposed film, they should be treated with respect and the proper handling etiquette. That means using the static bags, carrying them in proper cases, and keeping the contacts clean and free of debris.
The last key preparation that needs to be made for work on set is data management. If there will be a DIT on the shoot, then her system needs to be able to handle the amount of footage that is being sent her way. If instead there is no DIT, a strict shooting discipline is maintained, and the footage will be copied at the end of the day, then it would be wise to consider how long those transfers will take. Drag and drop copying of files is not an acceptable way to go. You’ll need to use a verification program of some kind, and the verification part of the copying adds time to the process. (Most likely it will be Shot Put Pro). I’ll be covering proper backup and archiving in more depth in a future post.
Preparation For Work In Post
Now that you have successfully made it this far, it is time to edit your masterfully shot RAW footage! I am going to hazard a guess that the vast majority of people using a $3,000 camera will not have the coin to invest in an ultra high end computer system* that will allow for the playback of the 2.5k RAW DNG’s. That means the introduction of a “film style” edit and conform process. Offline ProRes proxy files can be exported by using Resolve so that you can effortlessly edit the files to your hearts content, before on-lining them by bringing them into Resolve for the final grade. This conforming process will add in extra time and work to post, but it is worth doing if you already went to the effort of shooting RAW in the first place. Editing off of ProRes should be quick and easy as just about any computer these days can handle that codec without batting an eye. How quick the initial transcoding of the proxy files, and then the final grade goes will be determined by the power and speed of your GPU’s. If you are looking for an affordable way to get more horsepower out of your system, check out this post.
Another factor to be aware of when you are transcoding, grading, and then creating your master, is that the I/O speed of your computer is going to drastically effect your performance and have a direct result on the time it takes to get the job done. Don’t expect to get reasonable performance out of USB or Firewire. At a minimum you will want to be using SATA or eSATA, and if you are fortunate enough to have a thunderbolt enabled Mac, you will want to take advantage of that connection as much as possible. Remember your system is only as fast as the slowest part of your I/O chain.
*I am aware that there are workarounds to get FCPX, and even Premiere to play the DNG’s. However, as of this writing neither of these solutions are elegant, and more importantly, neither of the apps are taking full advantage of the RAW file. As long as they are not taking advantage of the RAW file, then it is no different than working with proxy files, and in my opinion, it is smarter to go with a tried and true workflow than proceed with the headaches and potential problems that these “solutions” bring with them.
By making all of these preparations you will be well on your way to working in the enjoyable world of RAW video. Ignore any of these suggestions at your own risk…
Are you ready to enter the world of RAW? What preparations do you still need to make? Are there any other preparations that you suggest adding to my list?
January 16, 2013
by VideoMaker’s Randal K. West
Demo Reels – we all know we need one and most of us need multiple versions, but what makes an effective and motivating demo reel? Many people use video résumés or demo reels to show their skills to potential employers or clients. For people in the visual world of video production, it’s even more critical. Here are some tips on what you should show and what should end up on the editing room floor. Learn more when you read How to Make an Effective Demo Reel.
Wanna see my Pre-2000 demo reel? In 2000, it was more than enough to secure my job with the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington DC for ten years. Of course, in today’s standards, it could use some work. But we all progress and improve with time…
January 15, 2013
by David Chartier, MacWorld
Give a quick overview of your skills
Endorsing someone is a bit like tagging a photo on Flickr. Add just a few tags, er, skills, to your LinkedIn profile, and recruiters can find you more easily and get a quick overview of your areas of expertise. You can also meet other LinkedIn members with similar interests and get a better idea about related fields that you could branch into or specialize in.
Let yourself see more of the big picture
When you’re logged into LinkedIn.com, the Skills & Expertise menu (More > Skills & Expertise) at the top lets you search for skills to add to your profile. Type a few letters of an “area of expertise” into the search box, and LinkedIn will suggest matches and (ideally) more-specific terms. Click a suggestion to add it to your profile, and you’ll see a page that tells you more about the skill, related skills that you might want to focus on, geographical locations where related positions are especially common, and fellow LinkedIn members that you could reach out to.
Your skills appear on your profile, and the real magic commences after you add a few. When your coworkers and friends log in to LinkedIn, a big blue box at the top of the site will ask them to endorse you and confirm that you possess the skills you claim. Contacts can also visit your LinkedIn profile to see this box.
To endorse someone, simply click the relevant Endorse button. It requires much less of a time commitment than writing a LinkedIn Recommendation does—so it’s an easy way to obtain and display second opinions that back up your expertise.
Manage your endorsements
Did you receive an endorsement from a distant friend or a contentious former coworker that you’d rather not show on your public profile? Did someone add a skill to your profile that you’re not comfortable with? You can hide rogue endorsements from your LinkedIn profile by editing it (Profile > Edit Profile): Scroll to the Skills & Expertise section, click the Edit button (it looks like a pencil), and then switch to the Manage Endorsements tab.
You can add a total of 50 skills to your profile, but only 10 can be displayed with endorsements, so choose wisely.
Is it worth it?
You may be wondering whether doing any of this is worthwhile, even though touching up your profile doesn’t take much time. Anecdotally, I can tell you that I’ve been recruited three times on the basis of my LinkedIn profile, by reputable companies with great offers.
On a broader scale,recruiters have long looked at written LinkedIn Recommendations and the people who wrote them, but the Endorsements feature is only a few months old. The job market is intensely competitive, and this simple way to offer a possible employer a quick overview of your potential value could give you an edge over candidates who require recruiters to read all 1000 words of their profile.
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January 14, 2013
by Szymon Masiak, motionVFX Team
Remember Conduit, a realtime video effects and graphics compositing tool for the Mac? Well guess what - it is now called PixelConduit and it is available for free! This great software allows to easily convert your effects into plugins. The tool was designed for realtime performance and high color precision. It has a simple and well-thought GUI and it offers advanced extension possibilities. It also includes over 90 different image processing operations that support High Dynamic Range imaging (floating-point color). Another interesting thing is a node based user-interface, called the Conduit Effect System – all the built-in tools such as blue/green screen keyers, various color correction tools and high-quality blurs can be combined without limitations thanks to this model.
The Conduit Effect System fuses complex effects together so that they can be rendered all in once on the computer’s GPU. Thanks to this, visual effects and composites can be rendered in realtime even with HD/2K+ sources. There’s also no limitation on resolution or frame rate so it’s possible to mix NTSC, PAL, HD and any other sources.
The tool offers other functionalities:
- Previewing visual effects on set.
- Theatrical shows and other video-based performances.
- Video installations.
- Compositing and other finishing work.
- Post-production workflow automation.
- Rendering custom graphics in post.
- Live graphics with custom control interfaces, e.g. for TV productions.
Alex Gollner had the opportunity to test the new tool and he found it pretty useful even though there are still some small bugs. He also describes in more detail the nodes system:
“Conduit flowcharts are made of specialized nodes. This flowchart shows a .conduit file that adds an orange tint to the input image.
In this case, the Input node is connected to a live camera. Whichever nodes it is connected to get frames from the camera.
The Gradient node has three Color nodes connected. It usually produces a vertical gradient between three colours.
The Luminance node takes a picture from the Input node and converts it to monochrome based on it’s luminance.
When the Gradient node also has a greyscale image connected to its fourth input, it renders the greyscale image based on the colours in the gradient (the black pixels in the source image as the first colour, ranging up to the white pixels as the third colour).”
He also adds that it is very easy to publish your plugin – simply once you are happy with your PixelConduit-enabled effect you can save it and make it available in Final Cut Pro X.
You might also want to download a detailed PDF on creating effects in Motion 5 for Final Cut Pro X using the tool – to download it click here.
Alex shared a lot of info on the tool, so make sure to read his article, here.
And in order to download PixelConduit, click here.
January 11, 2013
How will Apple (AAPL) follow up a 2012 lineup that included two new tablets, a new notebook and a new phone? Analysts Gene Munster and Douglas Clinton of Piper Jaffray took a stab at predicting what used to be unpredictable: Apple’s product calendar. Their report includes a number of not-so-prominent product upgrades, which lead Piper’s analysts to the conclusion that 2013 “will set the stage for bigger changes in the product lineup in 2014 and beyond.” But even a slow year from Apple tends to turn some heads. Here are five possible Apple products to look for in 2013.
Apple Radio, March 2013
Media discussion surrounding Apple Radio has been ongoing since October, so an expected release in early 2013 would come as no surprise. The free radio service — which would make money through ad revenues — will most likely be part of iTunes and offer major competition to the likes of Pandora. The day after Bloomberg News reported the possibility of Apple Radio in October, Pandora stock fell 12%. Piper analysts believe that Apple Radio will be unveiled alongside another product launch in March, possibly….
iPad mini with Retina Display, March 2013
Apple sold more than 3 million iPads with retina display over a single weekend in March, and between 8-10 million iPad mini devices are reported to have shipped by the end of 2012, according to Digitimes. By combining the best of both products, Apple is hoping to maintain its place atop of the growing tablet market. The timing would make sense; Apple launched new iPads in March of 2011 (iPad 2) and 2012 (iPad with retina display). In theory, a retina display makes the pixels impossible to detect from a normal viewing distance, providing crystal clear images on the screen. The current iPad mini display has 1024-by-768 resolution, the same as the iPad 2.
iOS 7, June 2013
Apple users were outraged with the iOS 6 upgrade that eliminated YouTube and Google Maps apps. Apple’s maps app was so bad, in fact, that CEO Tim Cook issued an apology to customers in September and even encouraged them to try competitor’s apps until the problem could be resolved. Factor in the management shakeup that resulted in the firing of mobile software chief Scott Forstall, and the pressure is on Apple to come back strong with iOS 7. Look for Passbook, the mobile wallet feature of Apple’s operating system, to play a more prominent role in the upgrade.
iPhone 5S, June 2013
Munster and Clinton believe a new iPhone 5S will come out in September, although some reports have pegged a launch date as early as June. The iPhone 5 was a September release; so was the iPhone 4S in 2011. Regardless of the date, users can expect an updated camera (as usual) and better battery life. The 5S will look the same as the iPhone 5 — same screen size, same width — but the new stuff will all be inside. Apple sold over 5 million iPhone 5 devices in the phone’s first weekend in September.
Apple Television, November 2013
Not just the digital receiver box already available as Apple TV — an actual Apple Television. The timing would make sense, right before the holiday season, but not all Apple followers are convinced a TV will actually hit the market in 2013. For starters, analysts have predicted an Apple Television would arrive for years with nothing to show for it. Plus, television margins are small, and Apple products are notorious for having some of the largest margins in the industry. Munster and Clinton predict an Apple TV will measure 42″ to 55″ and cost between $1500 and $2000. Similarly sized plasma and LCD TVs from Vizio, Samsung and Panasonic all clock in at under $1000, but Apple has never shied away from offering high quality at high cost.
To read the original article, click here–
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January 10, 2013
I have seen tons of editing tutorials out there that are NLE specific. I watch them all the time. However, I rarely see any basic editing tutorials that are useful for any NLE. In order to fill the void, I present my video-editing tips series, good for the newbie, and potentially useful to the pro.
If you are creating videos for the web, then this tutorial is for you. I’m going to go over a tip I use to increase production value while capturing live events or action, and cutting to music.
In order to take advantage of this tip, there are a few parameters to meet. You must have:
- Footage that is 1080p (or at least 1080i)
- An NLE (non-linear editing system) capable of adjusting scale, position, and creating sequences in multiple formats.
- 1 billion dollars to donate to my paypal account (this is not mandatory, but preferred)
There are 3 main formats for HD footage: 1080p, 1080i, & 720p. The “i” stands for interlaced. The “p” stands for progressive scan. Here is a great explanation on the difference from Geek.com:
Like displays, resolution is the prime determiner of an HDTV’s picture clarity, and those crazy numbers roughly equate to vertical resolution. A television which is 720p, for example, will support video of up to 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall. A television which is 1080p will support video of up to 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall.
But what about the trailing p and i? They refer to the television’s scan modes, but the good news is that you don’t really need to pay attention to that. If you’re curious, they refer to progressive scan and interlaced and refer to the way the screen is drawn, but virtually all modern HDTVs are progressive scan.
Simply put, progressive is the more appealing ‘visual’ format. 1080 has more pixels then 720, which equals a higher quality image, and overall larger size.
Now, since most cameras, including an iphone, can shoot 1080p these days, that is the format I usually shoot in. However, when the final video is going to be presented on the web, the difference of quality b/t 1080p and 720p is marginal at best. So I will always create a final sequence in 720p to give me a distinct advantage in editing. For example, I can:
- scale, rotate, and position the picture to a better framed shot.
- create keyframes to add movement to a shot by increasing/decreasing the size of the image.
- create keyframes to adjust the position, panning either from left to right or vice versa.
This adds some production value to a boring shot, similar to if you had a dolly or slider on set. However, the main advantage I finish in 720p has to do with cutting to music.
Editing to the Beat
Cutting to music is all about matching the visual footage to the beat. This is probably the simplest way to begin to learn how to edit. It gives you certain lengths to cut to, and forces you to make tough decisions, as well as get creative.
For any newbies, the simplest way to start is by stretching out the waveform of the song, and cutting at the peaks. This is usually the loudest sounds, and a good place to start. As you get more advanced, you learn how to cut on different sounds, and add visual transitions to match certain sounds such as a guitar riff.
When cutting event videos, the music usually tends to be upbeat. Without getting to technical, that means the timing between beats will be short, and to create the most engaging edit, it would be great to have a lot of footage and angles to cut to.
However, we all know this is never the case. Whether you do not have enough cameras, or you are a single man crew trying to capture an entire event, this is where my tip comes in handy. Essentially, it allows you to…
Double your footage
By taking 1080p sized footage into a 720p sequence, you are essentially doubling your footage. In a 720p sequence, a 1080p shot will fit the screen perfectly when scaled down to 67% (or approximately 2/3) of its original size. So now you have the same shots you started with, plus the ability to choose different close-ups in the original frame, scale, pan, and even rotate.
Having room to scale opens a myriad of options to play with. If a shot is a little crooked, you can easily fix it. If a shot is framed wrong, you can fix it. If it is ‘boring’, you can add excitement.
In this video, I lay out step by step the technique I use to take advantage of formats when cutting to music for event videos, or any live action piece. This includes how to:
- pick a song that builds.
- match the footage to the beat using waveforms
- cut on the ‘fast parts’ without making people throw up.
The NLE I use in the video is Adobe Premiere, however any NLE that meets the parameters at the top of this post will work. Check it out…
Would love to hear if this tip has helped you at all, or if it was the biggest waste of time since the internet was created. LIKE IT? RATE IT. SHARE IT!
January 9, 2013
Is your New Years Resolution to really get a good grasp on After Effects or maybe add to your skills set and master the program? Here are some resources that are helpful to beginners and seasoned pros alike.
If you don’t own AE CS6, you can download a free 30 day trial from Toolfarm downloads. It functions just like a full version for 30 days and after that, it won’t launch.
Tutorials and Blogs
- Getting started with After Effects (CS4, CS5, CS5.5, & CS6)
- After Effects basics tutorials by Andrew Devis
- AE Tuts+ - Lots of fun stuff at all skill levels.
- 10 Basic After Effects tutorials for beginners
- After Effects Tutorials – links from Toolfarm with all skill levels
- AE Freemart – Free stuff and links for After Effects
- Learn After Effects CS5 & CS5.5 - Learn the basics of After Effects CS5 and CS5.5 with Getting Started and New Features tutorials by product experts.
- Learn After Effects - Essential After Effects tutorials and learning resources for getting started and new features.
- CG Tuts – A popular site mostly dedicated to 3D but with some AE tutorials as well. Good resource if you use both.
- Adobe After Effects Help and Tutorials
- Video Copilot tutorials – Awesome tutorials for After Effects, Trapcode, Video Copilot Products, Cinema 4D and more.
- Red Giant TV – Tutorials for Red Giant and Trapcode products as well as AE and more.
- AE Portal – Rich Young’s blog at Provideo Coalition, which is a weely roundup of AE related stuff from the web.
- CMG Keyframes – Chris and Trish Meyer’s blog supporting their training and books.
- Production Values – Mark Christiansen’s blog at Provideo Coalition.
- Creative Cow After Effects
- Vimeo Video School - lots of cool stuff here for all aspects of production.
Online AE Groups
- Media Motion List-serv – One of the best resources out there.
- After Effects Portal – Facebook group
- After Effects Malaysia – Facebook group
- After Effects India – Facebook group
- After Effects Help – Facebook group
- Toolfarm – Like us on Facebook.
- Adobe After Effects – Todd Kopriva from Adobe manages this Twitter account. Follow him!
- Toolfarm – Yep, we’re on Twitter too.
- After Effects Apprentice by Chris & Trish Meyer
- Plug-in to After Effects: Third Party Plug-in Mastery by Michele Yamazaki
- The After Effects Illusionist by Chad Perkins
- Class on Demand AE Training – Includes After Effects Apprentice from Chris & Trish Meyer and more
- Adobe Press After Effects CS5 Training – it may be a full version number behind, but it’s still very applicable to CS6.
- Total Training – Fantastic in depth training.
There are a lot more resources out there that I know I have left out but this should keep you busy for a while! We’ll be following up with resources for other host apps in the next few days.
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January 8, 2013
In July of 2011, my wife and I created FCPeffects to help Final Cut X users edit more efficiently & creatively.
Since then, we’ve been honored to help editors around the world tell their stories through video.