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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Real LED Lighting

I like LED lites IF they have a decent CRI. Close up of a light I've talked about for a bit. 4300K but 94 CRI and can gel to whatever w/o too much loss or thought. I have several of them in 4300K temp which means easy 5600K or 3200K with 1/2 correction or less. They dim which is great and 250 FPS safe because of HF power supplies.

The difference here is the high CRI that makes gelling these a lot like tungsten but no where near the power draw. I have several of these lites and I'm thrilled with them for their overall performance. The 24 emitter versions get lots of use in all sorts of secondary use - hair light, background key or fill. dimmable to whatever level you need. The only real downside is you can't get one unless you know me or the guy who has the last parts to build them. Prototype production run. If a few of you contact me, maybe another production run. You will be very happy IF enough people  are willing to commit !

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shooting With The Canon 24-105 F4 L On C100

The Canon 24-105 F4 L is a pretty common lens. Canon had a bundle deal with the C100 and lots of others have picked this lens up along the way from their DSLR gear or other deals. So while I've worked with the lens before, this was my first time operating with it for the better part of the day rather than it being on some one else's rig. 

First, yes its optical performance from wide to maybe 70mm is good, even wide open.

Next this is the first time I've had an IS lens and operating without a rig. Usually I've run into this lens with proper camera support that runs the gamut of gear. It was also me hand holding this lens. Now in the past I've used my rokinon 14mm cine on a 60D plus LCD VF with great success. Never had a problem keeping that setup steady and it was critical for making a lot of B roll on a project last year when the big camera couldn't work. I also work with the OM 50mm often in similar config for shooting close ups like in my soon to be released short film. That said, I'd never go past 50mm. Today I'm out shooting at 80-105mm, IS on, and getting really good shots. Shots I have no right to be getting even though I'm pretty steady to begin with. Oh I hear the I told you so's starting already. Honestly I've never had a need to shoot hand held like this before and I wasn't using a full size camera. I've always had some sort of camera support or lens combo that I could work with. So here I am shooting panning shots of a car driving down a country road at 105mm and, well, it looks _almost_ as good as if it had been shot on a tripod...or maybe a tripod that wasn't the best. There are points where you can see the IS sort of max out and then catch up, but by and large if I had tried this shot w/o IS it simply would not of been usable hand held. So I'm something of a convert now to IS for SOME shooting situations. I'm considering adding an IS / AF lens to my collection with the upcoming C100 continous focus upgrade simply for reality / doc shooting. For my normal type of work, this really isn't something I'd ever worry about.

Thats all the good about the 24-105. Now what I find unacceptable. The lens goes seriously dark at the 105 long end. Its not a 1/2 stop, its more like 1 to 2 stops dark. Marked as an L lens with constant F through out the zoom range this is a real misrepresentation. No surprised there are so many of them up on ebay. Its a good starter lens, but no one deserving an L designation. Ok, its got some rubber rings on it for weather sealing. That's great, that's valuable for some shooters, but its not a critical feature for everyone. If I can come into it for $500 on a canon deal I'd consider possibly keeping it but I think there are other options. One option is the canon 17-55 F2.8. Much better match for typical shooting on a S35 size sensor, an extra stop of light never hurts and makes for better bokeh

The AF on this lens also tended to hunt around. I was never thrilled with my now gone Tamron 17-50 2.8 ( see the review ) and how it was slow for AF. Perhaps the AF upgrade to the C100 will make the lens better, but in simple shooting condition - head and shoulders shot, outside in overcast light, distant simple sky and field background the lens hunted around. I manual focused every shot because it was way faster. Sure that F4 doesn't help but I had a high enough ISO in daylight this should not of been an issue.

There you go. A lens with some real pluses and minuses. If the pluses like weather sealing are critical to you, the focal length range works for what you do, you shoot a lot of bare bones hand held and the slower F4 doesn't bother you this might be an ok lens.  Me, I'm gonna try the Canon 17-55. Anyone care to say how their experience with this lens is ?

PBS's POV Does Gear Survey Of Their Content Creators

This is an interesting survey of gear. While the size is small its still worth taking a look at as it covers people who are getting their content onto PBS.  Some expected results, some unexpected. 

Meanwhile I've been pretty busy with work. Some very last minute stuff has come in while I continue mixing on a TV series. One show every week. Thats cool, work is good !

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

New Commenting System

I've fought with this problem for a while. The blog's built in commenting system was junk. I know a number of articles got spammed up and I spent a lot of waste time deleting them. I tried one popular commenting system but that never worked if you noticed the test messages / code commenting output. I now went with FB commenting. Not my ideal choice, but it works. It also restored some comments already here. As for the spammers, well you can go F' yourself's for all the time you have wasted - both yours and mine. Really did you ever think some one would click on your link for auto insurance or male performance enhancement ? really ?  Well no more wasting your time here. 

To my regular visitors', please feel free to leave comments and have discussion !

And to spammers - all your worthless hard work is gone, gone gone. It will never be displayed again because the old commenting system has been removed.  Feel good about your worthless work ? I hope so. Please go find something worthwhile to do in this life as its the only one you get.

Sound Devices Introduces the 663 Mini Mixer Recorder With Big Features

Sound Devices makes great stuff. Here is the new 663 mixer / recorder. 6 channels in, 6 channels out, records 10 channels, has the same LCD panel that the 664 has in the size of the old 302 mixer. Its really small but yet has all the I/O most folks would want. My only gripe ? lack of dual outputs for connection to another camera. There are aux outs you could use to feed transmitters though and use the XLR's for a camera hardwire. Media cards on on the top right like the 664. The unit can power from 2 L type batteries on the bottom if you want, but most folks would go with the 4pin Lemo like other SD  mixers. All in all it looks like a really nice unit when size and weight really matter. Price ? an near reasonable $3095. Trew Audio also has a kit version that includes batteries, TA3->XLR adapters, portabrace case and TC cables for $3836. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Continuos C100 Auto Focus Test - It Works !

Shot at a trade show in Japan, here is a look at the C100 doing autofocus with a Canon 50 1.2L and  28-300 f3.5-5.6L. Any skilled DP or 1st AC would of put this down because AF in the past in video cameras has just plain sucked on a good day. This sample shows otherwise, as in it just nails every move correctly. Ok, one minor point, I hope that focus box can be moved as it can be in the current C100 firmware otherwise is there going to be a lot of center of frame bull's eye shooting. Then again there probably will be anyway since too many will be lazy in not moving it.... we'll see. Looks like this might be a worthwhile $500 upgrade if you have a couple of AF lenses around. Me ? I'm down to one right now but that might change with this development.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

C100 Firmware Update Released Today

I had checked 2 days ago.... so it  figures that Canon released the firmware update for the C100 and C300 series cameras today ! Go get it. ISO 80,000 may not be the most useful except in extreme circumstances but the other ISO's look pretty good. Also of importance is assignable focus magnify zones, and being able to navigate menus without the joystick on the handgrip. All nice, glad they didn't make us wait until the end of the month.... so how about a codec upgrade ?


Firmware update went well. Played around with higher ISO's and it almost seems like they did something to reduce noise at lower ISO's. While I might not reach for ISO 50K often, nice its there. 80K looks like older HD cameras at 18 or 21 db of gain, but lower seems usable for those grab shots for your doc or news coverage. I'm off to shoot job with the new firmware and reloaded my settings files ok.

Monday, November 11, 2013

60 MInutes Story On GoPro

GoPro, we all have a couple of them. 60 Minutes takes a look. Did I ever talk about working on 60 minutes ? Well I did, way back when. I got to animate the stop watch twice which isn't the simply job it seems, trust me ! Good to see one of my favorite shows still on. I always remember when I was a ( gulp ) teenager watching the show and always being impressed with how well it was done. I always wanted to work on the show... so who knew I would some day !

DaVinci Resolve 10 Released

Ok, Its released. Its got lots of new features and improvements that will make lots of folks happy. Go look on the BMD site for all the info.

However before you jump on it a word of caution. FCP XML output is broken if you are  using Premiere Pro CC. PP CC simply barfs on it with a "generic error" and that's it, game over. You can still generate a single solid QT of your grade, but thats not quite the same as having a live TL with all your clips in still editable form, especially if you gave them trim handles. If Resolve -> Prem Pro CC workflow is important, you probably want to hold off on this upgrade for the moment until this is fixed. I"ve heard that Prem Pro CS6 can import the XML and I'm going to try that. Meanwhile if you still have a creaky ok copy of FCP7 running on your system you can use that as an XML fixer utility by loading the XML in and exporting it back out for PP. If you don't have FCP7 running, well, you know, your SOL for the moment.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Canon Announces Continous AF For C100

Canon has not yet shipped the C100 firmware update due this month...ok we'll place bets very end of the month, however this did make this announcement : There will be a mod for the C100 to allow for 2X faster one shot focus and continuos AF while shooting that can be toggled on or off while in record. Nice feature for some if you have better EF glass. If you don't and have mainly manual lenses like me I guess this one doesn't matter. The upgrade will be $500 and require the camera to be a sent to authorized service center, available Feb 2014. So I suspect its more than just a firmware update and that a board in the camera is also probably being replaced. Cool feature if you need it and have glass that supports it. So the question is, what about the C300 and 500 ? Next question, will this be standard for all new C100's ?

Monday, November 04, 2013

My Shoot Last Week on O'Reilly Tonite

If you wonder why I haven't been posting so much, its because I've been busy doing shoots like this one. Shot a segment for O'Reilly / Watter's World which airs tonite. Fun shoot ! Not so much sleep :( but its all good to pay the bills.

UPDATE: The actual segment is now up.

This is a preview of the segment playing tonite. If that gets posted I'll swap it out. Now back to finishing editing & grading my short.