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by Adam Wilt

Adam Wilt has been working off and on in film and video for the past thirty years, while paying the bills writing software for animation, automation, broadcast graphics, and real-time control for companies including Abekas, Pinnacle, Omneon, CBS, and ABC. Since 1997 his website, adamwilt.com, has been a popular reference for information on the DV formats. He has reviewed cameras for DV Magazine and written its "Technical Difficulties" column, and taught classes and led panels at NAB, IBC, and DV Expo. He co-authored the book,"Optimizing Your Fi...

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Maelstrom - Preproduction

A whirlwind scramble to gather gear for a Rob Nilsson film

By Adam Wilt | June 06, 2008

About a week ago, Tim Blackmore and I learned that we were providing tech support for Rob Nilsson's upcoming film, "Maelstrom", a Direct Action workshop film with four actors. We knew it was going to be shot with an EX1 (which we have), handheld (EX1, handheld? hmmm), with the wide-angle adapter if at all possible. Cool, sounds like fun, what's the schedule? Read More

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Review: Sony HVR-Z7 & HVR-S270 1/3” 3-CMOS HDV camcorders

Sony gets serious about HDV with two fine cameras based on the same core components.

By Adam Wilt | May 21, 2008

The shoulder-mount S270 (left) and the handheld Z7 (right) share the same innards.

The HVR-Z7 and HVR-S270 camcorders take Sony's commitment to the HDV format to the next level. Both are based on the same core technology: three 1/3" ClearVid CMOS sensors viewing the world behind interchangeable lenses. The cameras share the same EVF and LCD panels, the same microphones, the same rich feature sets (including CF card recording, and both interlaced and true progressive HDV modes), and the same fundamental performance, but they're packaged very differently. The Z7 is a svelte Handycam, while the S270 is a no-excuses shoulder-mount camcorder, bristling with dedicated buttons and switches, full-sized BNC connectors, large-cassette capability, and four channels of audio recording—a first for HDV. Read More

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Process Note: Deleted Comments

Comment spam considered harmful

By Adam Wilt | May 13, 2008

Normally I leave article comments as they are, even when they are (to my admittedly biased viewpoint) flame-bait, less than perfectly well intentioned, or otherwise not especially helpful. I figure that folks will soon learn who the good guys are and who the trolls are, and so far it's worked pretty well: the quality of discourse in the comments section is considerably higher than on many other site with open postings.But a few of my articles have been accreting "comment spam": one-liner comments, keying off a word or two in an article or a previous comment but otherwise completely uninformative, like "Log the camera!" or "Wow, we need to discuss that!". The poster's link is simply a link to an e-commerce site, and one not even related to the topics at hand.I will be removing these comments as I encounter them. I'm not purging them for "political correctness" or for anti-Adam viewpoints, just for spamming. Please continue to discuss the topics of articles without fear of censorship. The only thing I'm gunning for is spam (and anything else entirely off-topic); I want to keep the signal-to-noise ratio here as high as possible. Read More

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Random RED Revelations

Stuff we learned during testing and Art's spec spot shoot

By Adam Wilt | May 10, 2008

Tim Blackmore helps John Chater tweak back-focus on a RED ONE

The more we work with RED ONEs, the more we learn about what they do and how to work with them, thus the following grab-bag of observations and experiences. Read More

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3.2k 4k dsc labs lens resolution testing

More RED Res Testing: The Mystery(ium) Resolved

A new chart shows what this camera (and several lenses) can really do.

By Adam Wilt | May 08, 2008

I obtained a new, 4K resolution test chart at NAB, and aimed RED ONEs running build 15 version 2.2.5 at it using four different lenses: a 50mm Super Speed, a 50mm Ultra Prime, a 18-50mm RED zoom, and a 24-290mm Optimo. Cutting to the chase: I'm pleased to report that I see detail extinction at about 3.2K, confirming the numbers RED and others have claimed. Read More

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Schneider IR Filter Tests

Using the 486 UV-IR Cut filter to improve imaging.

By Adam Wilt | May 02, 2008

Art Adams with the 486 filter on a RED ONE

Last week, Art Adams, Tim Blackmore, Ted Allen, and I tested the Schneider 486 UV/IR cut filter on a RED ONE and on a Sony PMW-EX1. Tim wore his famous "doesn't look anything like that in real life" "black" shirt, and we lit him with IR-rich incandescent sources. Read More

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RED on location: Art Adams shoots a spec spot

Art's first chance to use a RED ONE on a location shoot.

By Adam Wilt | April 29, 2008

Saturday, 3:33pm: crew assembles at Chater Camera to pick up the bulk of the gear and load it into Simon Sommerfeld's truck.

We arrive on location at 4:00pm. The shoot occurs at the elegant Craftsman-style house of Craig and Diana, an unsuspecting Oakland couple. Read More

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NAB 2008 - Take-aways

What NAB 2008 told me about where things are going.

By Adam Wilt | April 28, 2008

I spent NAB 2008 walking around, looking for gear for our production company and getting a feel for where things are headed in general. I took away several strong impressions about where the industry is going—as well as a couple of interesting toys. Read More

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Snapshots - NAB 2008 Day 4

Stuff I saw on the final day of NAB 2008

By Adam Wilt | April 20, 2008

Softron's OnTheAir Video: playlist automation for OS X

Softron Media Systems demoed their suite of fully Mac-native broadcast automation apps, with OS X compliant user interfaces. Their capture and playout apps use AJA or BlackMagic cards, standard codecs, and are AppleScriptable. Never heard of Softron? They've been in TV Stations in Europe and Asia for several years; in Russia this past year; they're just now coming into North America. If you're interested in Mac-flavored broadcasting, dowload demo software or the user manuals and see for yourself. Of course, there are other Macintosh broadcast apps—BUG.tv is also Mac-centric, and Building4Media's front ends are cross-platform—but I thought Softron deserved a look since they're new to our market. Read More

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Snapshots - NAB 2008 Day 3

More pix from the show floor

By Adam Wilt | April 17, 2008

Panasonic AG-HPX170

The Panasonic HPX170 is a P2-only update to the HVX200 (The HVX has been updated to the 200A and remains in the lineup). The HMC150, which records to AVCHD and lacks many of the 170's advanced features, looks much the same. Read More

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Snapshots - NAB 2008 Day 2

Codex Digital, SpeedGrade, Tangent, SI2K, and Nila

By Adam Wilt | April 16, 2008

Codex Digital Portable and disk pack

Highlights of my walking around the show floor on Tuesday...Codex Digital showed working versions of their Portable digital cine recorder. $44K gets you the lunchbox plus a three-hour drive pack, and the superb Codex user interface. Read More

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Snapshots - NAB 2008 Day 1

Various images from the show floor

By Adam Wilt | April 15, 2008

Carlos Acosta shows off his prototype shoulder mount for the F23

Carlos Acosta shows off his prototype shoulder mount for the F23 at the Band Pro booth. Fully flexible configuration: grips rotate freely or lock down, and adjust laterally, vertically, and in or out. Shoulder pad is positionable and can be angled; split foam padding velcroed in place allows easy changes, such as a thicker pad on the "outboard" side for better balance. Completely tool-free adjustment and assembly, too; and squeak-free by design. Nice work! Read More

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Sony Snapshots - NAB 2008 Day 0

Some highlights of what Sony is showing

By Adam Wilt | April 14, 2008

PMW-EX3 with 2/3" cine lens, Sony HDD recorder

Sony's Juan Martinez gave me a night-before-the-show tour of the Sony booth (really a miniature city; "booth" doesn't do it justice), and here are some of the highlights from a camera operator's perspective. Read More

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Locking HDMI cables!

Finally, a non-self-ejecting HDMI cable

By Adam Wilt | April 11, 2008

Left: normal HDMI cable. Right: locking HDMI cable. Note the cantilevered paddle with two tiny retention hooks.

A colleague and I were discussing the sorry state of the physical HDMI connection; we call it a "self ejecting" technology. HDMI cables fall out of HDMI sockets with surprising ease. Fortunately there's now a solution to this problem: a locking plug that works with any HDMI socket. Read More

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Review: Camhandle camera support

Renegade tripod handle makes handheld shooting smoother.

By Adam Wilt | April 07, 2008

The $220 Camhandle looks like a tripod handle gone AWOL from its tripod. Its attachment plate bolts to the underside of the camera, and it hangs off the left front side. It looks goofy, but it works surprisingly well. I tested it for two weeks on the notoriously hard-to-handhold PMW-EX1. Read More

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Pix: Zacuto rig; RED tests

A Zacuto support kit for small cameras; Art Adams tests RED build 15 at Chater Camera

By Adam Wilt | March 28, 2008

Art Adams uses his spot meter during exposure testing.

Camera porn: some photographs from the past couple of days... Read More

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RED? Or Cyan?

Why the RED's highlights went cyan and dark, and how to fix 'em.

By Adam Wilt | March 25, 2008

In my unfair comparison of three cameras, I found that RED's overexposed highlights went cyan and got darker than surrounding, non-overexposed areas. Here's why it happened, and how to fix it—it's an easy fix, but you'll appreciate it more if you see what happens if you don't use it! Read More

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Working with RED Footage

RED's postproduction tools, and some pitfalls of learning them.

By Adam Wilt | March 21, 2008

For my unfair comparison of three cameras, I had to process RED clips to a greater degree than I had previously, including dealing with odd overexposure artifacts. I relate my experience, both to describe the steps I took to decide on the processing parameters I did, and to show what I ran into when learning to use RED's tools. Read More

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EX1 Misfocusing Explained

Some PMW-EX1s show back-focus changes when internal ND filters are used

By Adam Wilt | March 21, 2008

[Updated 2008.03.29] I noticed in my unfair comparison of three cameras that the EX1's outdoor shot wasn't in focus. I was puzzled: I had zoomed in and focused carefully, then zoomed out and shot. Was back-focus that far off? It hadn't been when I last checked it. Hmm... Read More

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cameras compared ex1 f23 pmw-ex1

Three three-letter cameras: EX1, F23, RED

An unfair comparison of three entirely different cameras

By Adam Wilt | March 17, 2008

On March 7th, Tim Blackmore and I visited Videofax, a San Francisco camera rental house. Videofax is unique in the area (as far as I know) in having both a RED ONE digital cinema camera and a Sony F23 HDCAM-SR camcorder. Videofax's Leigh Blicher kindly invited us to come by and take a look, following the DCS RED Event the previous weekend. How could we refuse? Read More

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