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Friday, November 30, 2012

DIG Sony Demo Film Shot on F55


Well Canon has been nothing but lame in their products, at least for price. Sony OTH has been making some great cameras, but again wildly overpriced. However, if you are going to part with a crazy sum of cash ( this year ! ) at least Sony delivers the goods. Here is a stunning 4K short... and I hope you all get the joke thats in here as well. Bottom line is it looks great, film RIP, there are no excuses left for not making a film... except for bad scripts, bad actors, bad editing and bad sound. My 2 cents for the end of this week. I just spent the last several days doing sound on A&E Biogrpahy shoot. No production pix because I think the subject was too serious. Wait until late Jan or Feb for the show to air. Have a great weekend !

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

6D PreProduction Video Sample

So... some 6D shots have shown up. This is from a pre production camera and the result is... well.. thats nice but no cigar. Given this is still pre-production unit its loaded with aliasing, especially on the wide shots. While looking sharper ( image was sharpened 30% in post ) than previous canon cameras, its still a bit lack luster. Really canon is trying to get people to buy their C100/300's. Dynamic range looks average - ok but could be better ! So notice to canon, we're not stupid ! We're voting with our money and this is not a winner we're voting for. Fix the moire and alaising if you want to sell your product, period, end of story. Lets see if production models are any better because what this camera is currently doing isn't really acceptable in 2012 anymore. I was hoping for better !

T1 Anamoprhic Lenses Announced From Hawk

Hawk probably isn't a name most people think of when it comes to lenses, especially outside of the EU. However they have been around for 20 years making all sorts of quaility cine lenses. Now they have pretty much gone and out done every one with a set of Anamorphic T1 ( as in F1.0 ) super speed primes. Its an impressive set of  glass : 17.5, 21, 25, 32, 40, 50, 65, 90, 120 mm all at an amazing T1.0 speed. They offer very nice optical performance down to about T1.4 and then get a little more wild looking at T1.0 because of the super thin DoF. Price ? well none and I think you know if you have to ask... they aren't for you. Rental item for sure. Of course my wondering.. why not also a set of non-anamorphic super speed glass because that would be a real crowd pleaser. Who knows... probably with all the other lens makers they wouldn't of stood out enough to going anamorphic put them into a spot in the market that isn't occupied. Looks like a winner for those wanting to shoot in the format. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

B&H Cyber Monday Deals


For All Pro Audio & Pro Video related Cyber Monday Deals

Click here Pro Video

Click here Pro Audio

  For All Camera & Lenses related Cyber Monday Deals

Return To Pearl : Big Screen Debut Dec 2

Many months ago I had been posting production shots from a project I was working on : A doc on a bunch of Pearl Harbor Survivors and Vets making a visit to where it all happened. I'm pleased to announce its done ! Not just done but also being released and shown twice this month. The first public viewing will be on the big screen at the Osh Kosh Opera House in downtown Osh Kosk WI. Its already been featured on the front page of the local paper. I expect some TV news coverage as well. Then there is the broadcast premiere Dec 7th, the day the attack took place. This will be on FOX Green Bay in primetime - 7:30 to 9PM ! A big deal to get that time slot ! So if you are able to travel to Osh Kosh, tickets are $10.... come on out and support and great project, and meet the vets who are in the movie.

Friday, November 23, 2012

B&H Black Friday SuperDeals

See all the great deals that B&H is offering today - audio, cameras, lenses, storage and more.

Sample of the deals here

Pro Audio



Current Price $159 dropped to $69.99   Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Professional Closed-Back Studio Headphones (Coiled Cable)

Current Price $489.99 Dropping to $399.99 ( need to click “add to cart to for price”) Sony PCM-D50 Professional Portable Stereo Digital Audio Recorder


More deals





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CineRaw In The WIld

Remember CineRaw ? The Chinese co making a 4K camera for $6K cash ? here is a project shot on it. Its mostly flat with minor contrast adjustments... looks like the RAW would grade up pretty well. Certainly interesting to you keep your eye on. Here in the U.S. we are having a holiday so its my excuse to not post thursday, but come Friday morning there will be some HOT deals posted here with links to them... stop by and have a great holiday if you have the day off !

Space Shuttle Flight

Simply amazing and cool. Lots of time over LA. Includes com audio. Enjoy... 100% non-CGI !

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

This Week : More Security




The service outage on this site wasn't due to hackers, thankfully. It was due to a sys op that hosts the dedicated server this site sits on doing a hugely boneheaded move in pretty much trashing IIS settings for all the sites. That sucks, but it was overcome... and yes they are getting bill for fixing their mistake ! That said, you can never be too safe. Here is an example a bit more into the real world of production - a camera crew actually having their gear stolen ON AIR !  Worth a quick look.

Having been personally ripped off of camera gear 3 times while I lived and worked in NYC, I have to say you almost get used to it. Its not so much loosing the big stuff, but all the little bits that make your gear work. All the dopey adapters and cables, especially the custom ones that have a huge time cost to get replaced... assuming you had insurance, and that they paid off, and that it wasn't a huge fight to get that pay off.  Be safe, think twice, its only a shot, not your life.

That also means working sane hours too. Don't get fooled into working 18hr days and not getting 10 hrs of turn around - 8hrs of solid sleep ! While I sometimes do jobs where I might get 5 or 6 hrs of sleep, its only for a 2 or 3 day gig where I have the reserve to make it through. When it comes to longer term gigs, get your rest and don't take less. Its not worth it in the end between simply driving off the road... or winding up in divorce court.  I've done both and niether are good. 

Back Online

The site is back, along with my other ones. Server error, specifically that an errant sys op where the server is located made a stupid mistake in resetting everything instead of reseting ONE thing... all is good now. New video reviews shot a few days ago and being editing. Good stuff coming soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Don't Piss On Your Clients

Sony doesn't get it, but we all knew that, right ? Ok, we thought with the F5 and F55 they got it, until higher MSRP's leaked out today. No, back to the bad old days with reckless abandon that we are still stupid enough to pay 5-10X what a camera is worth. So just to compound this are a new series of ads for their NEX line... basically pissing on dslr users. I guess whoever got these ads approved didn't even know that Sony makes dslr's too... Not funny, offensive. Go and offend your potential customers...



Black Magic Design Updates Hyperdeck Shuttle To Support ProRes HQ

Speaking of format support... BMD had this tasty announcement today.


Blackmagic Design Adds ProRes 422 (HQ) Recording and Playback to HyperDeck Shuttle 2

Fremont, CA - November 14, 2012 - Blackmagic Design today announced the immediate availability of HyperDeck software update 3.6, a new update to its revolutionary solid state disk (SSD) recorder which adds support for Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) into HyperDeck Shuttle 2, plus new closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. At only US$345, the HyperDeck Shuttle 2 with the new ProRes compression feature significantly reduces the size of uncompressed HD video files while preserving full frame 10-bit 4:2:2 quality, allowing customers to record up to six times longer.

HyperDeck Shuttle 2 can be seen at the Blackmagic Design InterBEE 2012 booth, Hall 7 Booth 7206.

“Adding ProRes 422 (HQ) recording and playback to HyperDeck Shuttle 2 shows our continuing commitment to open systems and gives users the freedom to work in either compressed or uncompressed formats,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Recording ProRes 422 (HQ) straight to disk now costs less per minute than recording to professional tape, plus it’s the most efficient workflow possible. A 64GB SSD is less than $70 and will record 50 minutes of the highest quality ProRes video. That’s broadcast quality recording for less than $2 a minute.”

ProRes 422 (HQ) offers the highest quality for 4:2:2 with minimal generation loss as well as fast export and is one of the most popular video formats for high end post production and broadcast. HyperDeck Shuttle turns low cost cameras into high end broadcast cameras because it allows video file recording to bypass the camera’s compression by recording from SDI and HDMI directly to either 10-bit uncompressed QuickTime, Avid DNxHD MXF and now Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) formats. SSDs are cheap and fast, and can be plugged into an eSATA dock for instant access to the media files, so are the most flexible recording medium available.

This new update also includes full closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. Closed caption support works in 1080HD video formats and allows closed caption data to be read from the SDI input when recording and saved into .mcc type files, which are compatible with popular closed caption authoring software such as Maccaption. Then when playing back from HyperDeck, this .mcc file is read and closed caption data is embedded into the SDI output. This means customers can simply record and playback with full closed caption as well as using closed caption authoring software to generate the .mcc files for creating closed captioning for programs. With full closed caption support, HyperDeck Shuttle and HyperDeck Studio are the ideal solution for authoring closed captioning, as well as ensuring all closed caption is recorded and played back.

With the addition of the new ProRes recording and playback, as well as full closed caption support, the HyperDeck Shuttle 2 provides customers with a small, affordable and battery powered solution that is the perfect field recorder. For direct camera mounting, HyperDeck Shuttle Mounting plate can be added to provide multiple pre drilled 1/4” and 3/8” mounting holes.

HyperDeck Shuttle 2 Key Features

  • Record and play back to Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Avid DNxHD MOV, Avid DNxHD MXF or 10-bit uncompressed QuickTime formats.
  • Uses high speed, off the shelf Solid State Disks (SSDs) available from computer resellers at low cost.
  • SSD is removable for editing and changing to blank disks.
  • 3 Gb/s SDI input using mini coax SDI connector and HDMI input. Auto selects.
  • 3 Gb/s SDI output using mini coax SDI connector and HDMI output.
  • Power supply connection also recharges battery.
  • USB connection for software updates and settings.
  • Machined out of solid block of aluminum for maximum strength and attractive design.
  • File compatibility with Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve and more.

Sony Quietly Releases 10.8 ML Compatible XDcam Browser & Drivers

For several flavors of Sony media, XDcam and NXcam you've been stuck to use those formats with 10.8 Mountain Lion. Finally Sony has an update HERE. 

Whats included ? Quote from the Sony Site 




XDCAM Browser’ has been renamed ‘Content Browser’ as it will consolidate XDCAM, NXCAM and the forthcoming RAW formats on the new F5/F55. It looks just like XDCAM Browser and more or less works the same way. It also has Mountain Lion support. It’s not on the XDCAM download site yet but it is on the SCS site. Please log on to link for XDCAM Browser with ML support.


FTP Connection to XDCAM Station (XDS v2.0)
Remote control improvement on XDCAM Station (XDS v2.0)
Archive Clip / ClipList to ODS-D55U through Content Manager application
ClipList export to AAF file* *Advanced Pack (optional) is required

This single app also replaces all these separate apps

XDCAM Browser
Content Management Utility
XDCAM Transfer (for Apple FCP)
XDCAM EX Clip Browser
PDZ-1 (XDCAM Proxy Browsing Software)
PDZ-VX10 (XDCAM Viewer)


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Camera & Gear Rat Race


I realize I've been a bit slow with postings lately. A lot of it has simply been work related and being busy, another has been some personal self questioning about what I've been posting.  Every so often one of you kindly sends me a personal email thanking me for what I do. I really appreciate that and its a big help to keep something going that's largely a labor of love. Don't be afraid to say thanks once in a while, or ask a good question. Some of you have been good enough to make a purchase thru one of my affiliate links, thank you ! That helps too. What I like is that you folks understand my real world experience with production work and gear and that I'm not just talking about stuff to make a post. I'm only gonna post if its relevant. There are plenty of news type sites that mostly live on pushing out the days events. That's perfectly fine and useful, but also very draining to do unless its your full time job. 

I'm not quitting this site, but I'm making some change in direction back to how I get started doing this in the first place. I too got caught up in the dslr revolution. Lets define it though : small, reasonably priced cameras with big sensors making images that used cost a fortune to make otherwise. While I have no question in my mind that S35 size sensor cameras would be where they are, they would also be much more expensive with out some price pressure from the rest of the market. I was completely intrigued with how cheaply I could make great images. 

That of course brought me into looking at used AKA vintage glass. I have some really nice old lenses these days, some I've gotten for nearly nothing. I was out shooting some stills yesterday with them and was pretty thrilled at getting nice images from them. Enough so that I don't think about or lust after MOST modern glass, except for maybe filling out my collection of Rokinon cine lenses. I know I've featured their glass here several times for good reason : great price, great performance, great features - value for the money. 

However I see the revolution as being a bit corrupted now. It started early on with shooting rigs for dslr's. Ok, granted, with a big sensor camera having a matte box and follow focus seem like necessities. Some days they truly are and I use several filters all the time : ND's and grads along with an occasional diffusion filter. However, I've also found myself shooting bare bones too. When ? when clients aren't around ! When I don't need a ND filter and I don't need to impress anyone with tricking out a little camera to make it look big.  There are lots of times I've found myself shooing in a very minimalistic way and liking it. In fact if you watch some BTS vids out there you'll see other name shooters doing the same thing. Honestly if you are working by yourself having to schelp around all the heavy stuff is tiring and time consuming.  I think its fair to say some rigs out there are just completely ridiculous in how big and heavy they are. My ultimate anti-rig was shooting with a 60D + Rok 14 2.8 + Letus LCD VF. Consumer size and weight, made great images and got lots of key shots  with this setup. It was fun to work this way. 

This brings me back to the image I started this with. I shot this almost 2 years ago on what could be called the ultimate vintage lens, a 100 year old bit of Kodak glass. This project has been looking at me for a while and I haven't done anything with it. TIme to do it ! Its next on my list of reviews. I think its time to get back to basics in some ways. No I'm not going Luddite at all, just not succumbing to being a complete gear slut. I've actually spend some good money on audio upgrades as of late ( new Sound Devices 552 mixer ) but have been stuck for a camera I want to upgrade to... at least not with out spending a fortune. As I look at the market I see several good M 4/3's cameras and then a huge gap to S35 / APS-C and FF cameras. Nothing in between thats worth doing. Its like < tin foil hat warning > the camera manufacturers have decided that if you want the big sensor you are in for $5k + if you want a sharp image that doesn't suffer from moire and aliasing. I'd LOVE to eat my words with Canon releasing a 70D APS-C camera  this week that address this with a sub $1500 price, but I doubt it. Canon has clearly engaged into feature pricing like Sony... except Sony has been making some  interesting moves, and RED is trying to stay in the mix. However, they are all still selling products that I find too expensive for what they deliver if look back at what has been offered before. Silly me, I want to be profitiable rather than sending all my hard earned money to one of them. After all I buy an item to make money with it, not to have something and have no money. Odd concept I know.

So I have a couple of video reviews to shoot this week and that will get released over the following weeks. I'm going to be changing the posts I make too - more quality ( I hope ) and some what lower quantity.  I want to do more indepth work like the dynamic range and codec tests I did showing how shooting flat can seriously reduce your dynamic range. Thats my plan... and please don't be afraid to post some comments and continue the conversation !

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Coverage : Working For A Living

Doing another live shot of election coverage today. Started at 6am, finished around 11:30pm. Doing it again tomorrow, but probably later. No complaints. The producer is treating us great, every one is working well together. Getting shots to air. Ok, its cold and damp out, and the wind is blowing and it rained on the gear today. Plastic bags are your friend. Somewhere in the middle of all this are politicians we cover showing up for 10 minutes to be in front of our lights and lenses. In between you wait a lot, move gear for shots that don't happen and pay attention to whats going on to figure out your next shot.

Photo : Chris Hibben who was the shooter was kind enough to share the pic above. That's Chris on camera below... freezing parts off just like me. Thankfully the truck was warm and we where outside for only short bits. In case you are curious, those are my LED lights working underneath  a 10X10 folding canopy to keep us dry.


Below : Coverage of Paul Ryan's Rally in Milwaukee

Thursday, November 01, 2012

RED Price Slashing

If you wanted a RED Scarlet or EPIC it just got a whole lot cheaper today. 50% cheaper. This was of course in response to Son't F5 / F55 intro yesterday. So if you want a shotable Scarlet setup, barebones, its now $15,460 as pictured above : body, 2 batteries and charger, 4" LCD touchscreen, 48gb SSD and reader. You won't be shooting a lot with that, but you could get started. Add in more media storage, maybe the Pro I/O module, the 7" LCD, the EVF, arm, and you are looking at $25K as a everyday working package. No Glass. Thats a lot more doable than a day ago. So I respect RED for the major price cuts. This is what they talked about from day one. 

The new pricing is :

  • 5K EPIC-X Brain – $19,000
  • 5K EPIC-X Monochrome Brain – $20,000
  • 5K EPIC-M Brain – $24,000
  • 5K/4K Scarlet Brain – $7,950
  • 4.5K RED ONE M-X Battle Tested – $4000 (includes CF or SSD recording module)

The new pricing is due to what they say is greatly reduce manufacturing costs and they have paid off their initial R&D.  So this puts some real pricing pressure on Sony. In fact the RED ONE to me actually gets interesting even if its now dated and clunky to work with. Ebay prices will get interesting to be sure now. 

Of course still we wait : no APS-C / S35 dslr with problem free video images... that isn't pricey for now. Don't get me wrong, these tools are amazing. Dreams 10 years ago... now yours today for a much lower price !... thoughts ?