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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lens Review : Vivitar Series 1 28mm F1.9

Here you go, a look at a great classic vintage lens, the Vivitar 28mm F1.9.  Have a great holiday this week if you have it off.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

LightWorks 12 On Mac !

Its been a while since I took a look at LightWorks. Its now in V 12, and on Mac and Linux. So the very first thing you probably noticed here is... what this ? Nodes ? ! YES ! LW has nodal comping. Funny its been a while since I've done nodal comping so it took some brain searching to figure things out. Once I got the hang of it I made a few basic effects like a blur keyed on a color just to test the chain out. 

What else does LW have to offer ? How about real time scopes ! Hit play, they work.

LW also has a very spiffy color corrector thats like a mini version of Speed Grade right in the NLE. I'm sure you must figure performance sucks, right ? No ! I had real time performance on my MBP i7 with AMD 6750 1g Vram GPU playing 1080 ProRes and AVCHD. I'm sure stacking a pile of layers and effects on this, an nVidia GPU would probably pull out in front but for what looks like basic edits with a few effects this could be quite nice.

LW supports a wide variety of modern codecs and formats like AVCHD, HDV, MXF (op1a) and QT including ProRes ( mac only ). 

FCP XML import was just added. There is AAF, OMF and EDL support too. Round tripping with Resolve via AAF is supported.

Downsides ? Well yes they are there. The TL constantly wants to go into trim mode and its not the most drag and drop editing style friendly. In many respects it felt like media composer 10 years ago in that its very keyboard driven, I and O point driven. I'm sure there are some better D&D options but having just directly dove in and didn't RTFM, I did ok. Also remember that LightWorks still makes their Stienbeck style edit controller that this software is still based around. I'm sure having that controller would make this fly a bit nicer. For those of you who have editing film or tape, or even a few NLE's that did good hardware controls this might be a real welcome back. 

Audio lets you keyframe at subframe levels, but the audio mixer appears to no support track level effects, only volume and track routing to outputs. 


How about FREE for the basic version thats a very decent editor that would certainly serve web / youtube editors needs pretty nicely. The free version is limited to YouTube MP4

The Pro version which adds many more export options that you'd expect for a pro NLE ( MOV, MXF, AAF, XML, ect. ), hardware I/O support for matrox, BMD and AJA, real time project sharing where multiple editors can work on the same project at once, and many other features. Price here ? $24.99/month, $174.99 yearly or outright own for $437.99. Pretty reasonable. The outright purchase includes all minor updates for that version. When a new full version is released its $174.99. The full license also includes 2 installed seats.

A full list of features between the two versions is here.

Adding DNxHD is a $65 extra license fee.

Either way its some good competition for the market place. Now, don't get me wrong here, I don't see LW replacing my current editor of choice, Premiere Pro anytime soon. However for students,  those on a budget  or you are looking for something thats not FCP X, its a decent tool. You could use the free version to rough cut selects, export the XML from the paid ver and bring that over to your online Prem Pro editor and colorist working in Resolve. Its another tool for a different level of the market. Its main lack of, from what I could see, drag and drop style editing its a real limitation for me, but if I had to edit something on a machine thrown in front of me with nothing on it to edit with, ok, maybe it had iMovie.... I'd down load the free version and cut away. Check it out !

Monday, November 17, 2014

FS7 Tests

Sony FS7 Test - One Day in New York from Nick Betancurt on Vimeo.

A Really nice look at some ungraded FS7 material shot around NY. In fact same spot I shot a music video back when the F900 was a brand new camera ! Interesting to see how this camera goes into the shadows far more than the F900 did. Either way good to see this camera looks really good.

Another video below, but its been thru FilmConvert so I don't know if its as valid a look at the camera, but it still looks good.The "grade" done on this version apparently brought up the noise more than would normally be there although its harder to spot after web compression data rates.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

New 4K Camera For $4.4k ! From JVC

Well there you go, JVC has again brought out another innovative camera. The original HD-100, 200, 250 where pretty innovative cameras when they came out. With tweaking they made really great images and had all the connectors you'd expect once you got to the 200 or 250. JVC has continued that line into the 700 series recording to SD cards, 1080, and WiFi making for a camera I see a lot being used for local news shooting. At IBC JVC had shown a prototype of this camera and now out of the blue they have it available at B&H for $4,450. Just when I thought I was going to seriously consider a Sony FS7 for 2.5X the price in a shootable config, along comes this camera. While it has some hints of palmcorder, its got a S35 sensor being made by JVC that uses some new sensor design. The raw sensor is 4.5 m/pixels but because its not using a conventional bayer pattern is more like a 15mb/pixel chip, but with much larger pixel area. That translates to much better light sensitivity, all things being equal.

Whats not being talked about is dynamic range. No specs anywhere. So what does that mean ? excellent question I don't have an answer for. I can't just plunk down $4500 to test it and see if its 10, 12 or more stops. Realistically I'd expect about 12 stops of DN but we'll see. At some point JVC or first buyers will put that number out there. This of course makes canon look all the more lamer in the C100 Mk2 update. I mean its a really great camera for 1080, but not for $5k. Unless the JVC turns out to be a poor performer which I totally doubt, its going to give everyone some serious competition. All the other specs about the camera like great - Mpeg2 50mbit 422 1080, AVC 150mbit UHD. No 4096, but really, for this price, who cares ?

So one odd choice - the use of a M4/3's lens mount for a S35 sensor. Well you know what ? who cares. Given that the M4/3's mount is highly adaptable for just about anything including PL, EF and whatever, its a good choice. I some how fail to see that they would of went with something like a Sony A or E mount or a EF mount as the primary lens connection. So putting your glass of choice should not be an issue. Its already been shown working with a Metabones M4/3's to EF adapter.

Interesting times indeed.... as for canon... well if they want to stay in the game the base specs of their new camera HAS to be 4K, 14+ stops DN, a REAL codec using a REAL data rate. Its almost like Sony's management moved over to canon in thinking that users will just pay up to get those one or two critical things they need for 2-3X the price of the base model... that the base model could deliver if it wasn't being intentionally feature limited. Maybe they need to read Clue Train Manefesto again, maybe a few times until it sinks in... we aren't stupid, we communicate, we aren't being fooled. Of course don't get me wrong, I just so love the look of canon cameras as they just seem to get a great look thats very pleasing... because if they didn't have that I've of sold my C100 for something else a while ago....

Sunday, November 09, 2014

UPDATE : 100% Funded Thanks To RED Giant

UPDATE : Well there you go, milestone 1, basic funding to have a spec, C++ Libs, docs and Prem Pro plugin have just happened. The next funding goal is another $5k for an AE plugin. Thanks to all those who have helped make this happen so far.

Mox is getting close but still needs your support. If you have thought about adding your support, now is your time to put some $ in. A media container with documentation, open source, patent encumbrance free, cross platform, source code ! Please add your support


Meanwhile I've just been very busy with production work this week. Life is good.