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Friday, August 30, 2013

Timing Matters

Are these images a little soft ? yes... Low Res by modern standards ? yes. That doesn't make the content any less amazing. Shot on my iPhone yet again ! Given that I tend to get shots like this often enough, I think I have good reason to upgrade my iPhone when the new models show up, hopefully with an even better camera. Either way it just goes to show that best camera in the world is the one you have when you need it. Indeed many moments of modern history have been captured on phones. However, I'm still sticking with my good cameras for production work.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vitec Buys Teradek

The Vitec Group has acquired Teredek. Maybe Vitec hasn't bought every video product company, but they seem to of eaten up most of the small ones. The companies with 10 to 30 employees, often family owned and run. Can't say I'm thrilled with this but nothing you can do about it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Yet Another Drone Crash

Yet another drone into people crash. Hard to say what the failure was here, although operator error plus maybe some wind may of been the cause. Operating too low without any recovery margin as the drone seems to try to level off but its too late. Ultralight planes aren't allowed to operate over "cities or crowds of people" and I think thats a good rule. Unless we get into FAA certified drones with automatic recovery and that enforce minimum operating hieghts that allow air craft to recover, you shouldn't be operating over crowds of people. I mean really, what could go wrong ?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

70D Video Sample

Word is the 70D will be shipping end of August or Early Sept. Here is a sample which to me on vimeo looks ok. One shot has aliasing in the opening on the fence gate but the rest seems ok. However the poster says its filled with moire and aliasing for which I can only assume they are looking at in on their own monitor and its there... and vimeo + compression has hidden it away here.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

C100 vs 5D mk3 RAW

This is the last week for the Canon C100 $1000 off deal. I came upon this very interesting comparison of a C100 recording to Ninja2 in ProRes vs 5D mk3 recording 14bit RAW via ML. Are there differences ? yes if you really look. I suspect some of them are simply due to the zoom lens on the 5D having a bit more flare going on. Other than that they are near identical to the casual viewer. All interesting as I consider what my next camera upgrade will be.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

GoPro DeTunes ProTune To 35mb/sec For


In the last firmware update for the Hero3 camera GoPro has disabled full 45mb/sec recording in 2.7K and 4K for most micro SD cards except for a very short list off ones they bless. This list includes :

  • Lexar 32GB SDHC 600x (LSDMI32GBSBNA600R)

  • Lexar 64GB SDXC 300x (LSDMI64GBBNL300R)



  • Samsung 64GB SDXC (MB-MGCGB/AM)

What ? If you don't own one of these cards then ProTune gets detuned to 35mb/sec. If you don't have the new firmware installed don't. In fact installing firmware on the Hero3 is such a huge hassle its probably almost not worth it, especially now with the downgrade. Its also possible that this downgrade was put into the second most recent firmware update as well.

Why ? I have no clue. One would guess that it would be because other cards aren't fast enough to be reliable, but that simply is not the case. I bought a Sandisc 64gb micro SD card, the SAME card GoPro themselves sold. It will record 45mb/itsec all until the battery quits. I put my micro SD card into a SD card adapter, put that into my laptop's SD card reader that is in the PCIe slot. BMD Speed test confirms : 10mbyte/sec write, 40mb/sec read. 45mbit = 5.65mbyte/sec or my card is about 2X fast enough. That is plenty of safety margin. So my open comment to GoPro is why ?

There are other brands of micro SD cards that are fast enough. Having this limited list makes no sense. Let the user determine if their media works or not, especially since my card worked fine before. 

I have in fact shot some video on my Sandisc card and they are 35mbit so this is for real. I'm considering starting an online petition to get GoPro to restore this functionality since we don't have something like Magic Lantern to do what we want. So what does everyone think ? start the online petition ? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

RED R3D Files WIll Get GPU Decoding Now, REDROCKET Not Required

I'd always thought that a REDROCKET card looked an awful lot like an AMD FireGL card. Well today it was officially leaked that the next rev of REDCine will use your regular GPU ( nVidia Titan can do 6K at 24fps ) decodes. While they say a real REDROCKET will be faster still, your Titan will be the next best thing and perhaps already in your machine. Even some lower cards like the K5000 should do justice for 4K which is probably what you are getting if you handle R3D. I'm just surprised it took this long and figured it would of happened a year or two ago. No complaints ! It probably won't be too long before NLE's get this GPU boost as well. Should be interesting.

Garmin Has Two New Action Cams

Garmin has 2 new action cams to compete with GoPro's offerings. They are indeed interesting having a more video camera like shape and some cool features.The VIRB and VIRB Elite will go on sale in September, priced at $300 and $400. What does an extra $100 get you ? The VIRB Elite model has with an accelerometer, high-sensitivity GPS, an altimeter, and built-in Wi-Fi. Data such as location, speed, elevation, and heart rate (monitor not included) can be recorded while shooting and optionally overlaid on the video. Sounds great for athletic training, bad for everyone else.  SInce the Elite version has built-in Wi-Fi, it can stream live video using Garmin’s mobile app for iOS and Android  running on your smartphone. The apps also function  as a remote control to turn the camera on and off.

Another plus is that both cameras have digital image stabilization and lens distortion correction which I'll assume is an option to turn on or off. Yet another good thing : A built in 1.4-inch transvective display uses sunlight to help illuminate the screen and save on battery life. Nice not to have to spend extra for a screen, especially if its even modestly viewable in daylight.

Now a big minus :  they are only waterproof  to 1 meter for 30 minutes.  To me thats pretty sad and just asking for trouble. Drop it into the deep end of a pool and the camera may be toast. They should really improve this. While I don't take my cameras to 150ft under water, its pretty easy to get them down to 10 or 20 ft for most users. I guess we'll have to find out if these housings are a little better than rated or not.

Something thats going to make GoPro sweat : recording time of up to  three hours of 1080p video on a single battery charge. If you have a Hero3 you know its a power hog and easily eats a batter in 1hr, 2hrs using an external battery pak. This for me has been a big weakness in an otherwise great product. 

Image quality ? well Garmin has a demo video on their site and image quality looks good. The black levels are all too high though. Not sure if this is from the camera or who ever edited / graded this wasn't on their game. Also whats weird is that some of the video looks really good - sharp and clean while others look soft. Not sure what that is about. Perhaps the camera has a bunch of modes and who ever was using it used one of the lower res modes, or recompressed the footage after shooting. I suspect the camera probably makes really nice pix.

Worth keeping your eye on once they start shipping in sept.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Pair of Dead iRam modules

Well here is a pic of my third pair of failed iRAM 2gb 800mhz DDR2 EEC ram modules. The company that won't stand by its lifetime warranty, won't answer emails for service, won't answer the phones, won't return voice mail. I managed to buy some non-iRAM modules on ebay last week for $89 (ouch!) and get my machine back to 16gb. I think the hard part of keeping older macs running is going to be with out a doubt simply keeping functional ram in the machines. This is especially true of these modules that run really hot, hence the bit heat sinks. I've been tempted to try some regular server ram thats ECC and otherwise the same specs that typically is  half the price. As anyone tried them with success ? not just in start up but can say a year or more later they still work ok ? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Safety First

This video isn't funny. In fact its a perfect example of utter disregard for safety. Thankfully it resulted in nothing more than 2 minor cuts. The pilot flew this thing pretty quick forwards and failed to understand the drone's climb rate and response rate. Result is some one getting hit in the head. Bad move. Think before you do ! Really have your skill levels polished before trying something like this because its boned headed accidents like this that bring on regulations to make life harder for the rest of us who try harder to be smart and safe.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Vivitar 20mm F 3.8 Prime Lens Review

Yet another great lens. Not quite vintage as it was made in the 70's using "computer aided design" and features some nice modern things like super close focus and compact design. Give that wide angle primes are few and far between, and often quite pricey this is a nice gem to find. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another Sanken CS3e Sample Using Bad Mic Placement

Maybe the real test of a good mic is what you can get away with when using it. Typically I'd never be aiming the mic horizontally because you'd pick up whatever noise was behind the subject. However in this grab shot the CS3e really came through and still made nice sound... nice to have a couple of beautiful women sing your praise ( and Kevin the shooter ). 

Avid Kills DS : One Last Update for

In the week for product EOL announcements, Avid has killed DS. It will no longer be sold after Sept 2013, but will see tech support for at least a year. There will be  one last update to fix whatever and improve MC7 compatibility. What is DS : better color correction tools than Media Composer, hip Nodal Compositing, 2K & 4K support. Ok, the nodal compositing thing is cool. I'd expect key DS features to move over to Media Composer as Avid breaths a few last gasps of air into that product. Look at the bottom line - MC is a few percent of their total revenue. Their network storage products have been and are the bulk of their revenue now and for the last few years. When you can grade / finish in DaVinci Resolve or Smoke for less. well... you know what I mean. A decent product bites the dust....  Avid is trying to sell folks on Symphony instead. During an investor call this week "Avid officials said the company will work to transition DS owners to Avid Media Composer with the Symphony option, which adds Avid's Universal Mastering feature and much more powerful color-correction tools to MC, but users said it's not a workable substitute for the 2K and 4K capabilities of DS"... um duh, Premiere Pro. PP doesn't care about resolution and does most of what you need now... 

Friday, August 09, 2013

Countour Cameras Closes Its Doors

Wow. Countour, vendors of another action cam that started at the same time as GoPro has closed their doors very abruptly. Employees had no notice until they showed up for work monday morning and found the doors locked with a notice there about the closure. Thats the wrong way to close a company even when you know its coming. Perhaps it was the responsible thing to do... or not. Maybe we'll see Countour's technology make some sort of come back. However, you also need to consider how huge GoPro has gotten - Foxconn has put a $200 MILLION dollar investment into them. Very sobering number to think about considering where GoPro was not so many years ago. Marketing counts and GoPro has done a great job of marketing... a great product. Lets face it, in side by side comparison's of GoPro's cameras and others, the Hero X always seems to make the best pix. The Hero3 doesn't hold anything back with 2.4K res images @ 23.976 or its many other modes that cover everyone's bases. The better product won. You have to wonder about JVC and Sony trying to compete in a market that GoPro pretty much owns...Now waiting for Hero4 !

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Sanken CS3e First Look Review

I bought a Sanken CS3e a few weeks ago for this job from TrewAudio . The first day or two I wasn't quite so thrilled with the mic. However after a few days is burned in and I was really starting to like it. Its bright on the high end, but not Audio Techinica burn your ears out bright. It has that boosted upper end that seems to work when using full zeppelin and being a few feet out from the frame where HF tends to loose a bit. This gave me an overall sound that cut and mixed well which is all you can ask. Lets consider this is shot at an airshow, the jeep engine is running, and its all good. Expect more soon with a review on this mic !

RIP : Paul Izbicki

Monday nite this week Paul had another heart attack which did him in. The passing of a great community leader ( IMUG and local film groups ) , a guy of great humor and intelligence who's word you could respect. Thank you for everything that you gave and rarely  who asked for anything back. Goodbye.