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Monday, October 31, 2011

More Monitors In The House

If you have been reading this site for a while, you'll know trying to find a LCD panel with accurate color has been a challenge. 

I now have had some success with getting the Asus to a more neutral color cast. I'll be sharing that over the next week or two. I've also got a recipe now for calibrating panels with the Spyder Elite3 that seems to work better. Datacolor should pay me for this one !

Last but not least, I have a new 42" LG LED panel here which I may really like. So far, so good.

On a personal note, I know I've not been posting as much as I'd like, and maybe everyone has been expecting. To say the least I've been through a lot of personal issues with one of my teenage sons. If you knew what I'd been through, you'd be amazed I've been posting anything at all. At some point I may share more, and maybe even turn what I have been thru into a project itself. I will say things are better right now, and hopefully will continue on that track.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lightening Strikes Twice

A couple weeks ago I posted shots of a pair of modded Tota lights made to operate vertically. I was cruising around ebay the other night and look at what I found - what appears to be two more Tota lights modded to operate vertically ! Maybe Lowel needs to engrave into the barn doors "Operate Horizontally Only Or You'll Be Sorry"

Well at least this pair seems to be well made as opposed to the last two that used a couple hose clamps and a bolt.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New GoPro Camera Is Out ! Hero2

I have two GoPro's, I guess now I'm gonna have 3! Its the same price as the original model.

Here's the Specs :


2X Sharper Professional Glass Lens
f/2.8 Fixed Focus
170º Wide FOV (Including 1080p)
127º Medium FOV (In 1080p + 720p)
90º Narrow FOV

1080p: 1920×1080, 30PFS
960p: 1280×960, 48FPS + 30FPS
720p: 1280×720, 60PFS + 30FPS
WVGA: 848×480, 120FPS + 60FPS
High Performance,1 /2.3” CMOS Image Sensor
Light Sensitivity: .84 V/lux-sec
Video Format: H.264 codec, .mp4 File Format
Exposure Control: Spot, Center Weighted
White Balance: Auto

FOV: Wide 170º FOV, Medium 127º FOV
CAPTURE MODES: Single, 10 Photo Burst, Time-Lapse*, Self-Timer
* Now supports time-lapse photo every 0.5 seconds. Requires Class 10 speed SD Card.

Mono, 48 kHz, AAC Compression, Auto Gain Control
Stereo External Microphone Input (3.5mm)

SDHC: Up to 32GB (Class 4 or Higher)
1080p30: 4 hours
960p30: 6 hours
720p60: 4 hours
720p30: 6 hours
WVGA 120: 4.5 hours

48FPS ! that works out great for 24, but no mention of 24fps at all, nor 25 for those who need that. Also dig that you can change the angle of view, no more  hacking cameras up to change the lens.

Also look close - the front LCD display has been updated to be vastly more useful then the wonky screen of the original.

If you read closely, there is a WiFi  back also coming. It would be crazy cool to be able to stream video to a nearby laptop or iPad to see what you are getting. that would be insanely good !

Nice work GoPro... now just give us 24fps please !

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Don't Get Taken Advantage Off !

This site is Evil -

This site is Evil

This site is good.

Would you turn out a complete spot for free ?

Would you front all expenses for free ?

Would you leave money on the table, in fact most it if you do get paid ?

Would you write, cast, shoot, edit ANY clients project for FREE ?

Excepting a good local charity cause  I doubt it. 

Who else would work for free ? 

Please tell me who in any other career, job or business would work for free ? ( except charity and community support things )


This is NOT your Big Break.

Lets get real, if you were to submit your pure odds of making that $5K payout is 1 in 100 to 1 in 300 or more. Nice odds, NOT ! Oh and your still out everything if you don't get it. 

Lets also consider that $5k Payout.... you're probably being paid anywhere from 1/4 to 1/10th what the job is actually worth. Maybe less then that.

Lets also know this is not a new game, but is has gotten a lot better and slicker thanks to the internet. Now scamming has gone global, but you knew that, right ?

I started out in NY many years ago. Back then everyone was shooting music videos on 16mm. It was simple. Maybe you hooked  up with a known artist like Rodger Daltry who was working with an up and coming band. The new band sounded good, played ok and had a big known backer. You shot a video with your own money, your own editing time ( on tape ! ), you edited, and re-edited and finally presented it. The goal was always to spend around $10K and make it look like $50K. That was always the dream.

Well sometimes the record label would like what they saw, some times not. Sometimes you could get a few grand fronted to cover your film and transfer costs begging and borrowing all other favors. 

In the end, after 6 months or a year of your life had passed by, you might have an ok video done, which maybe the label would pay you for, or not.

Its pretty clear looking back that while a couple of people I know did go some where, almost everyone involved didn't. I made some great friends I still know 20 years later, but only a few people I know ever played things out to bigger and better things. The vast majority didn't.

So get real, don't get sold on "This is your way to get noticed". Its not, especially in the age of the internet where tons of stuff is around. Go do something for a local charity, a local band. Do a project for yourself. Don't get suckered by one of these sites that simply exploit people, get hundreds if not thousands of free hours of work for... 

what did you get ? an  email saying thanks for entering "we'll get back to you" ?

you're smarter then that !

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Canon EOS-1D X Announced

Canon's latest and greatest was announced today. What matters ? Improved everything including reduced ( or no ?  ) moire in video mode, better 18MP sensor ect. Dual CF cards, file spanning to get around 4G file size problems. So what is the problem ? MSRP of $6800 ! Please, lets get real.

As a still camera its overpriced. Too many great cameras out there already unless you really shoot everything low light and ISO 51,000 is something you need, or even ISO 25000 to get your cash paying work done. Note I said CASH paying work, not being a status symbol you tote around to shoot your kids soccer game to impress everyone with. UPDATE : ISO 100,000 and 200,000 are also available. Thats nite vision range. If you need to see bad guys in the dark and get the goods on them, guess what camera you want ? besides with the govmint price isn't an issue, is it ? :(

As a video camera, there are LOTS of real cameras for $5K or so that are great cameras with all the things the 1D X lacks, like audio connectors, video friendly form factor, ect.

oh yes, it has an ethernet jack. Its about time for this as many Sony products have had IT connections for a while. At least you should be able to stream the compressed video data to a laptop for recording or even broadcast... provided of course its a CLEAN FEED and not a monitor out. You never know... until you know.

Now that said, read the contents of the actual press release from Canon and there are LOTS of tasty things to like :


Enhanced EOS HD Video

- New Compressions, Longer Recording Centered around an all-new full-frame CMOS sensor with larger pixels than those found on the EOS 5D Mark II image sensor, the EOS-1D X utilizes new HD video formats to simplify and speed up post-production work. The two new compression formats offered on the EOS-1D X include intraframe (ALL-i )  [ Hello, finally ! was sounds a lot like AVCintra, but 8 or 10 bit ? take a guess :( ] compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data compression, giving professionals the options they need for their ideal workflow [ Sounds like higher data rate h264 they are already doing and hopefully it really does look better ]. Answering the requests of cinematographers and filmmakers, the EOS-1D X includes two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, allowing multiple cameras or separate sound recording to be synced together in post production. [ Ok, HOW do you sync them ? IR ? Cable ? just blast TC out of the speaker for the other camera to pick up ????? ]

Canon's all new full-frame CMOS sensor ensures that video footage captured on the EOS-1D X will exhibit less moiré than any previous Canon model, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality. A desired feature for many documentary filmmakers using Canon DSLRs was to enable recording beyond the four gigabyte (GB) file capacity and the EOS-1D X is the answer. The new camera features automatic splitting of movie files when a single file exceeds 4GB. The new file splitting function allows for continuous video recording up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files; no frames are dropped and the multiple files can be seamlessly connected in post production, providing filmmakers the recording time they want in the same convenient DSLR form factor. The camera records Full HD at 1920 x 1080 in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); and 720p HD or SD video recording at either 50p or 60p (59.94). SD video can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL standards.  


Take is as a preview of things to come Nov 3.  which I suspect will be all video related. While this camera sounds like a super great still camera, and finally delivers on all the video features everyone had been wanting, price is just out there as far as I am concerned if you want to use it primarily as a video camera. You don't need the super performance still part of the camera for video, if at all.  However this will certainly feed the frenzy for their event Nov 3 to be sure.

5D vs iPhone 4S Camera Shoot Out

Ok, maybe not quite like the Zacuto camera shoot out, but still very revealing. No the 4S iPhone doesn't quite outgun the 5D, but.... well.... I did say "not quite". To be sure the 4S has more compression, and lower quality glass, ect but stll you could certainly use it for a quick B roll shoot, POV shot, ect, slip it in and at least on lower sized web mov's no one would probably every notice. really ! Ya the pixel peepers will gladly point out the differences, but clients, most of them won't know the difference unless you point it out. Would you really do that ?

The shooter here used settings on the 5D to try to mimic the 4S as much as possible including using AWB. The 5D is a bit cooler / less saturated, but nothing you couldn't correct in 10 secs of mouse twitching. The 4S also seems to have a bit more highlight compression and shadow compression. It seems biased towards protecting highlights, which is fine as a consumer camera. The 5D in stock settings seems set to preserve more shadow detail assuming the shooter will do what they need to do to hold highlights. Still, you could mix these cameras together and have a minor effort to match them if shot this way AND you are outputting smaller web mov's where the differences, well, may just not be there once color corrected.

Monday, October 17, 2011

DaVinci Resolve 8.1 Released Today

It took a bit longer then expected but Black Magic Design has finally released their 8.1 update to DaVinci and DaVinci Lite. Go get it here

There are a massive number of new features and improvements. One bug I had reported in my last review was lack of DVCpro HD aspect ratios for that format. This has been fixed. 

There has been improvements with FCP XML and Avid AAF support with more things being supported. With Adobe's release of Premiere Pro 5.5.1 update  you can export FCP XML successfully to DaVinci. I'm off to take it for a test drive and maybe use it on a project editing next week.

In The Moment

With an insanely intense last few weeks, I've also taken some time off. Hours, maybe a day really but ever so important in the time I've had. I know over the last week there was the Motion event in New Mexico. I can't say I've been to NM, ok I have many years ago but didn't stay too long. I had been asked to speak there but it just didn't work out. I know any number of friends who where out there. I missed the event but I was just plain locked into being here.

To that end, I took out the 60D and Vivitar 35-105 during an afternoon hike. I came away with many great images and I'll share a few here. Are they stills ? yes. However if you want to add motion its not much more. I must say that when I was young I'd always wanted a still camera that could capture 5 to 10 secs of time to really capture a complete moment. Now I have that camera, but I still am happy with capturing that short moment of time.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm getting there !

Things are finally starting to get finished with the move... and I had a video review open yesterday and did a little editing on it. Hopefully today I'll finish it up and have it out. I should also get back to much more regular postings as well.

There hasn't been a lot of news out there the last few weeks except for the Canon Big Mystery Announcement in Hollywood in a few weeks. I know people have been speculating like mad, but here is what my money is on :

Cam 1: under $3k 5D update, about the same as before, 1080 HD, mini HDMI, with better scaling, better h264 encoding

Cam 2:  $5-6k or so, EF mount, S35 sized sensor, 1080 and maybe 2K 8 bit 422 SDI / HDMI output, CF recording internally to H.264 codec. DIGIC 5 processor(s).

Cam 4:  $15-18k, PL mount changeable to EF, 2K or more likely 4k sensor, 10bit 4:4:4  SDI output, SSD internal recording to RAW codec.
Both upper cameras will be "video" cameras - XLR inputs with manual level adjustment, EVF, etc. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Work Hard, Play Hard

After many weeks of hard work, how about playing hard ? I got some time in the kayak doing to hard turns right on the edge of staying upright. Its pretty amazing how far you can push these boats and yourself when the moment requires it. Its good philosophy when dealing with hard shoots, long edits and everything fighting you to get the job done. This move has been a lot of very simple things not going they way they should. How often do you open a premade cable and its 5 ft short ? Well this time around.... 

In the next week or so, I'll have pix and a formal announcement about things. Meanwhile, back to work for me while I use the fine toys Steve Jobs gave us.

This shot came from a GoPro mounted on the boat, and yes you REALLY want to safety the camera because it doesn't float. Trust me, know, don't worry I got it back !

kayak hard turn

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Thanks Steve


thanks for changing my life and making it better.
your own striving for perfection was also mine.
your machines changed my life.
they let me create in new ways.
they let me build a business that started in 1995 and thrives today.
your machines helped me feed my family and pay the bills.
to call them machines is too small a word, but its the best one I have.
to Steve's family, please accept our deepest condolences on your loss,
however trivial these words may be on the screen please know there are real people behind them that share your grief. 
the pain will eventually pass, and hopefully you'll be able to remember Steve as a person who changed the world for the better
who's invention gave jobs to thousands of people directly, and millions indirectly.
we all thank you.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

This Week And Coming Up

Needless to say, you don't move every day, thankfully ! With the move almost done, I'll finally be back to more regular posts. I've got a video review on the Tamron 70-200 2.8 shot and partially edited. With my main editing system back up and running, getting that done will certainly be a lot easier !

Let Me Hear From You

Often enough I'll get a private email which I very much appreciate, but don't be afraid to post something here. I've been wondering the direction of this site for the last couple of months. While I was certainly inspired by in part the dslr revolution, I know I've been all over the board on topics. While I may  occasionally break a news item of interest, I think there are plenty of sites that already do nothing but this. On the other hand, I think I have a good perspective on the business with a lot of experience brought to bear on where things are going and what things mean to whats the most important thing : making money with your art ! Hey it beats a day job !