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Monday, October 27, 2014

Please Add Your Support For MOX Media Format


I'm happy to say that we finally have a solution on the horizon for the woes of many current media file formats and codecs. I know many PC users don't like QT and they can't easily write to ProRes. Yes there are some reverse engineered ProRes encoders for PC now but reports vary in how well they work and if their image quality is as good as the real apple encoder. For years we have all complained about cross platform compatibility, closed source codecs, patent encumbered codecs, good codecs that don't support alpha channel or resolution independence, additional video channels like Z depth, ect... Oh and documentation about the format so that in the future you could write new code to open up your old media. 

Thanks to Brendon Bolles we can change that by taking destiny into our own hands instead of begging the guys to give us what we need. Introducing MOX, open source, source code available once up and running. MOX the container is based on SINGLE file MXF which is a well documented format. Uncompressed and compressed formats including Dirac ,OpenEXR and Jpeg, deep color, multiple channels. Follow the link to read all the details, you'll like what you read. 

Please consider supporting this project with the one thing its going to need - a modest investment. $20 would be great to get you in the door early and help this project go. Its been less than a week and its already gotten to 60% of its base funding goal. Lets make it 100% funded this week and get it past the base so that other additions will be possible. Now is the chance to quit complaining about whats wrong with all the current media formats and help create a new format that does everything you need for an intermediate or mastering codec. Who knows  but I really think this format will also make its way into some cameras too. So please add your support to help make this happen !

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

C100 Mk2


OK, well who saw this coming ? Very odd they didn't introduce this at IBC a few weeks ago since its clearly been in the works for a while. In many respects its what the C100 should of been to start with. That said there is still a lot to like especially with the upgrades on the camera. Since the camera is now processing 4K internally instead of 1080 its had some image improvements. Hard to say what those are except perhaps the increase in ISO to 80,000 and I"m sure and even quiter image in the more useful under ISO 10K range. I'll take it. Wifi plus Wifi App puts this into current day camera range. The bump up in data rate to 35mbits in MP4 mode is nice, but its not 50 that would put this camera into the acceptable for demanding broadcasters range of productions. Still protecting the C300/500 which I'm sure have updates coming.... or both those models go away for a C400 thats 4K. Given all the new cameras that are doing 4K I can't see canon doing anything else less to stay relivant in the game 6-12 months out. I don't think canon is used to having to innovate this fast. However, even Sony, the slower player to market has gotten it on with the FS7 @ $8K base, about $12K shootable. Quite simply put canon has to get into this price range with a 4K camera thats 13-14 stops of dynamic range. Of course I'm starting to think dynamic range beyond that is starting to just be a ratings game as most real shooting situations just don't need that much. In fact on some recent shoots I've found myself wanting LESS dynamic range to get black blacks and white whites. Instead I had flatter images that needed stretching out in post to look right.

Will I get one ? maybe. If canon has a trade up program that might make the deal sweeter. What I mostly miss from the camera is SDI out. Canon has SDI on its $2K plamcorders, as they also have 50mbit Mpeg2. The codec doesn't bother me as I have a ninja to monitor and record on. The MP4 codec is a modest upgrade but really we should have 50 or 100mbit recording. Honestly there is just NO EXCUSE for it except trying to protect the higher models. The problem is, we are all wise to that and have lots of other options right now that are cheaper or in the same price range with better features like, uh 4K. Canon time to get your shit together.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Canon 7D Mk2 Video Sample….


I'm ready for Canon to deliver something great, too bad this wasn't it ! I'd love to be telling you how great this new sample is, but, well.. you can watch it for yourself and see if you don't agree with my take of it : Conceptually stupid and weird knock off of some sort of out take from Cats, with any lens we have we'll throw on the camera as long as its Canon. Consumer lens ? Sure, L lens ? Sure, Regular Zoom ? Sure, Prime ? ok ! No rhyme or reason in lens selection outside of lets throw all of them on. Lets add gratuitous camera moves because we can even if there is no motivation for them. ! Lets make sure the highlights are burned out and the lighting is flat outside. Lets also go Low Chroma style because who cares about rich color reproduction. Floating black levels ? game on !  Don't be surprised to find this video gets pulled pretty quick. WIsh it was something great....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Latitude ! How Much Do You Really Need ?

Ok, real shot, minor grading, taken a couple days ago on real paying job for client. Looks tasty, yes ? Here is the truth. Its only about 8-9 stops of light here ! My C100 with Ninja Blade ate this for breakfast wanting more. I had to pull blacks down, whites up. That's using my own custom tweaked Wide DR setting pulling the black levels down a bit ( and some other secret stuff ). Its full extreme light but the camera is sucking it all up and asking for more ! Sorry no HMI's rigged on chase car, no LED's or other light modifiers here. Just Natural light and a good camera. 14mm Rokinon Cine in case you wanted to know. I also used a Vivitar 28 F1.9 on some other chase shots... all good with very nice lens flare when it happened. 

I did some studio shots the next day. Completely controlled lighting and the blacks floated while the whites where not even close to white. Ok, idiot proof ! I could of easily of messed up exposure 2  stops either way w/o worry... just like..almost like.... film !

Above - Studio setup with product on green screen doing suspend from behind gag 

In editing I had to pull the image down quite a bit. That nice since it made some minor evils go away without any paint and tracking work. All Good ! 

This came back to cold hard reality - how many stops of dynamic range do you really need.... vs fantasize about ? 14 ? 16 ?  How many stops in reality with a few lights or none vs. being sold on latitude you might not ever even encounter in the real world....and I haven't even gotten into how new vs not so new vs vintage glass can change contrast range. Hint - older low contrast glass can easily give you another 2 stops of dynamic range over new and too contrasty modern glass. Ya I know I just exploded a few minds with that, may earn a few hate mails with it.... but that is for real. Low contrast glass like the Tiffen Low Con filters may help expand your DR  by an easy lazy stop or more like 2. All tested out in the film world years ago by world famous you've seen them DP's. So there you go, not me talking jive to sound good. 

So Stop. Here is a camera with an honest 12 stop range in what would generally be considered a high contrast situation making a great basic image with lots of room to spare. In fact I had to pull the image in both directions to get real  black / white levels. 

What does it mean ? well after about 10 stops of DN ( 7D / 60D et al. ) what do you really need ? Maybe some boost light, or more likely some negative fill from a black solid or flag.  Since when did sucking up and removing light become a major factor ? well since moden film stocks at ISO 500/800 and new modern cameras at ISO 800-2000 ! Yes its more or less see in the near dark. Havning shot at ISO 5000 - 8000 on the C100 I know what you can and can't get away with and be happy when you see it in post. 

Oh, BTW if you really look at the piick above there isn;t onw tungesten light in use. 100% all LED ! I pulled maybe 800W total power which was a pain since it didn't warm the studio up much at all. On any other day I would of burned several Kw of tungsten for this little setup. Happy to not waste the planet's resources for this !

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Breaking Too Much Stuff

Thats the bottom of my laptop. I've had it open about 4 times in the last week and a half due to the hard drive shuffle. First the original 750 drive I had in there was flaky. Ok, replace it with Samsung 2 TB drive #1 pried from a USB case. I bought this a few weeks ago. Format and copy stuff over to it but it seems to shut down due to laptop's internal heat. Once it shuts off it won't come back up w/o a reboot but it otherwise seems to work. Hint : don't believe everything you read on the internet that you can buy the 2TB drive in a USB case for $15 less than the bare drive and its the same drive even if the skew numbers are the same. Its got to be different firmware, but I lost the drive out of my computer bag so I can't check it. 

Great ! Ok, remove it put it back in USB case where it works fine, reinstall 750g drive for  now. Order NEW Samsung 2 TB drive #2. Wait a few days. Open laptop again, install drive, spend 24hrs copying data from original 750g drive in USB sled to new 2TB internal drive. Copy is slow because I'm using Disk Warrior 4.4 to mount the drive, the system won't mount the drive due to directory problems. Ok, great, I'm done, right ? All sorts of weird write problems with the new drive.

SUDO CHMOD -R 0777 /Volumes/2TB ! ok that should be fixed. Nope. Numerous command line bits later, a test with Disk Warrior reveals this drive maybe having problems. Ok, re-partition the drive. That fails with " can't erase directory....." error in disk utility. Tried several times, same error. Ok, this drive is bad too. Return to Amazon.... print labels, find box, call for pick up... oh wait I forget, open the laptop and its 25 or so screws to get the drive out from the optical bay adapter.

Ordered another Samsung drive #3 from NewEgg hoping this drive will come from another batch rather than replace from Amazon. Paid $10 more at newegg, whatever. Ok, now I wait again for the next drive I hope is good. I plan to test it in eSATA dock first before copying the contents of my old 750g drive. Oh, I also copied the contents of the 750G drive onto my tower's array as back and hopefully a fast copy back... and you may be wondering why I haven't been posting as much as usual !

Oh, then the repair I made on the Rycote S handle rebroke itself. The plexi I glued on actually bonded fine and just sort of cracked but didn't come off. Other parts of the handle just didn't stick as well. Another $50 and a week of waiting but I have a new handle. Glad I'm not using the cheap gear at this rate !

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Site Updates

Just been working on some site updates. Cleaned up the menus and some things that didn't align right, updated content on secondary pages, updates in menus, updates on sidebar. Always things to fix and I know there is a broken link here too that needs a code fix. Thinking about a redo of the site design which is no small job. You folks think its worth it ? or should I just leave it alone for a while... well meaning at least a year ?