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Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Review of the Atomos Ninja Blade HDMI Recorder and Monitor

Yet another review right before NAB. Busy week between shooting and getting ready, then off to the show ! See you there.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Quick BTS From the ChromaKey Shoot Out

A big thanks to Brendan Carlson for his studio. He does great stills work and this was a good test for both of us. 

Otherwise getting ready for NAB and the onslaught of new products that will surely be there !  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Scratch Lab Gets Official Licensed ProRes Endcoding For PC

 Big news today. Apple FINALLY relented and officially licensed ProRes encoding to a Windows PC Product. Lighting finally struck ! However given that Scratch Lab is a pricey $6k to own, $995/year subscription I'm sure it didn't come cheap. However when you look at all the cameras, recorders like the Ninja Blade and Sound Devices 240 ect that all have ProRes recording, you had to of been wondering when it would happen. I think perhaps the final nail was that there is a FFmpeg lib that does ProRes encoding on the PC. Given that it was only a matter of time before a developer wrote code to directly feed FFmpeg a video stream to encode as ProRes Apple must of finally saw the light : You can't stop the tide so you better ride it. Hopefully this NAB will bring some other announcements of other companies also finally getting ProRes licenses for their products like Adobe CC on PC. 

BMD Camera Goes Up in Flames Destroying Camera and SSD

Lithium batteries are serious business and now you know why there are restrictions on lithium batteries on planes. When they go its really bad and you can't put them out without a special extinguisher. In fact put water on them and the fire is so hot it splits the H20 into H and 02 and that actually feeds the fire. Bad battery packs happen and I'm sure their supplier will be "looking into it". Meanwhile I think they are due a warranty replacement. I also hope this is a very limited event and it doesn't point to a bigger problem where there are potentially hudreds or thousands of bad packs out there. Its also possible something in the camera failed and shorted out causing the battery to over load. However there should be a simply fuse to protect from this, so assuming that was the case something went very wrong with the battery pack itself. I'm sure there will be an investigation into what went wrong.

UPDATE :  after watching this, I don't think the battery ignited or exploded. If it did, and its lithium it would still be burning. This seems more like some capacitors went up in smoke. When this happens they can pop and make a ton of smoke. So this awaits BMD investigation....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Samyang Announces 10mm F2.8

Another wide angle lens from Samyang, which means cine ver from Rokinon should also be showing up. Specs:

  • F 2.8 10mm ED AS UMC CS
  • Aperture Range F2.8 ~ 22
  • Optical Construction 14 Element in 10 Groups (2 ASPHERICAL LENS)
  • Angle of View 109.5˚(APS-C)
  • Minimum Focusing Distance 0.25m (0.82ft)
  • Filter Size NONE
  • Length 76.7 ~ 105.5 mm
  • Maximum Diameter Ф86mm
  • Weight 710 ~ 740g
  • Mount Canon EOS, Canon M, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Sony-E, FUJIFILM X, Samsung NX, Four-thirds, Micro Four-thrids
  • Lens Coating Multi-coating

MSRP : About $714 US. Ouch ! Wasn't expecting that but it is a fast lens for the price. However its about time Samyang included some basic lens chipping for canon EF mounts to tell the camera at least focal length and aperture. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Green Screen Shoot Out

Green screen shoot out ! check it out. I still have another video to follow this one up.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Demo Reel

New reel ! Probably one of the hardest things to do is cutting your own reel. This is especially true as you have new shots, and old ones have to go because no one will watch a 10 minute reel these days. That said, I probably replaced about 50-60% of the shots I had in last years reel simply because in 1080, the SD shots just won't hold up. Its not that they aren't good, its just that they fall apart when made full screen. However some picture in picture and 3 ups let me keep a few of my favorite shots a while longer and open up space for new shots. So check it out.... and better yet give me a call for your next shoot !

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Slates -

As much as working on RR tracks is obviously dangerous, its typically smaller everyday things that can get you. Tall stands that aren’t leveled carrying a large light, not having proper grounding, rigging even small lights w/o safeties.

Some of the several scary things I’ve seen, here are a few :

rigged 650 over actor using maffer to attach to fire escape. during tightening, maffer cracked completely in half. the day before it has been used to rig a 1K overhead. thankfully it broke during rigging and no harm. it was one of those black econo manfrotto ones. I tossed the other one I had and replaced it with the better more expensive spun casting ones. that was 20 years ago

in studio grid, I saw 1K fresnel pop its front open due to vibration from HVAC on roof. it hadn’t of been closed properly after bulb change. barn doors came out. barn doors where safetied, no harm done.

watched producer mess around with some rental lights they brought into studio. didn’t want to hire me as gaffer because they were cheap. while messing with light on grid, guy dropped barn doors out of light ( not safetied ) and put huge dent in to lid of bosendorfer piano underneath. expensive repair ! way cheaper for a couple days of my time.

had client let me go for last day of multi day shoot. they would handle teardown themselves. they toppled a hi boy stand with 5 way header on top. 1 2K, 4 1K’s rigged on this. my rig was safe, it was piled with sand bags. they lifted stand leg to slide cable out from underneath. those where 5 new lights, destroyed. thankfully no one hurt. would of been way cheaper to of kept me on for tear down day…

its these sorts of things that will get you that the inexperienced don’t take very seriously.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

AVID Delisted from NASDAQ

Avid was delisted from NASDAQ this week. No surprise as they had been flirting with this since September. They claim its about cleaning up 5 MILLION accounting record items and restating earnings.  Thats huge. It doesn't mean they are going away, just yet but it doesn't bode well for them either. According to company statements once they clean up their accounting issues they expect to be relsted on the NASDAQ by mid 2014. Maybe. What if it turns out that in this process they are in worse shape than stated which I suspect is the case. Well they won't just close their doors up, most likely. They will operate for at least a while and do some cutting. Given they've operated at a loss for many quarters, who knows that this may mean. Its possible they sell off their editing products to raise cash and get rid of products that aren't making them money or enough profit margin. They can live selling shared storage products and service contracts for those products.

Media composer is only a small part of Avid’s income. Go read their 10K report first. their NLE products amount to 10-15% of their income. they make most of their money in shared storage products & support for those products. then again it might not even be that much if they have been cooking the books.

Ask any ProTools user about the latest release – you have to update your hardware or you can’t run PT10. a lot of unhappy campers out there right now looking at alternative products.

Avid’s main problem is their arrogance. its in their slogan “We’re AVID”. WTF cares ? I’ve watched them screw their users over time and time again and handle them in ways no company that values their customers would. however they count on blind loyalty to their products and that the competition can’t compete – in their eyes. So while for the moment they might have a better product for reality TV shows, Adobe AnyWhere just adopted by CNN is about to eat that last bit of pie they had. Anywhere allows shared storage and collaboration across locations. While its for now a high end big price tag product, I’d expect smaller versions to trickle down and bits of its tech to come to PP.

You also have to realize that reality TV and high end features represent a very tiny part of the market compared to all the users out there. Unless they return to their old prices there is no way to sustain their product at current prices in such a small market segment.

Then consider they are limping a 20+ year old UI along. that doesn’t work so well either…. I truly doubt BMD would buy the MC product from them given that they are building some NLE tools into resolve and would more than likely expand this are a of the product.

So we'll see  how this story plays out for NAB and if they have their huge booth as usual or not.