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by Bruce A Johnson

A 1981 graduate of the Boston University College of Communication, Bruce A. Johnson got his first job in broadcast television at WFTV, an ABC affiliate in Orlando, FL. While there, he rose through the ranks from teleprompter operator to videographer, editor, producer and director of many different types of programming. It was in the early 1980's that he bought his first computer - a Timex/Sinclair 1000 - a device he hated so much, he promptly exchanged it for an Atari 400. But the bug had bitten hard. In 1987, Johnson joined Wisconsin Public Te...

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REVIEW:  Fast Forward Video Sidekick HD Recorder/Monitor

Two for the price of one?

By Bruce A Johnson | December 09, 2011

PREFACE: The ProRes DilemmaLet's start this review off by dispelling a long-held rumor. I'm a PC guy, just always have been, and after reviewing just about every PC NLE at least once, I have settled on Adobe Premiere Pro (and the CS 5.5 suite) as my editor of choice. Not too long ago, I had a freelance client that absolutely insisted on Apple ProRes files for the output of a project. Unfortunately, Apple does not allow PCs to write ProRes files, and at the time PC's couldn't read them either.Fast-forward a few months: Imagine my dismay as I walked the aisles of NAB 2011, looking at all kinds of new recording devices from Aja, Atomos, Sound Devices and others that promised long recording times and transfer speeds - yet the catch was: Only records in Apple ProRes.So when I was offered the opportunity to review the Fast Forward Video Sidekick HD combination video recorder and camera-top monitor, I was distressed to think that I could shoot the footage, but couldn't edit it. So I put the question to my colleagues on the Vidpro listserv - can PC Premiere Pro play back ProRes? My pal (and fellow Wisconsinite) Steve Oakley FTP'ed me a few Apple clips that seemed to work, so I went ahead and received the Sidekick HD. And I can now say with 100% certainty - Adobe Premiere Pro 5.5 can play back Apple ProRes files, even happily combining them on the same timeline with just about any other type of clip you want to add - .AVI, .M2T, Photoshop files, Canon 50Mb, Sony 35Mb, After Effects comps, you name it. (The theory is that the ProRes playback capability came along with one of the many Quicktime updates Apple shoots out. Hey, who knew?) Read More

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Is TV Broken?

or: if It Ain't Broke, Does it Need To Be Fixed?

By Bruce A Johnson | December 07, 2011

I don't generally re-post links to articles, but this one from CNN's Business Insider Matt Rosoff caught my eye. Give it a read, but the thumbnail is this:What is so flawed about the television watching experience that Steve Jobs devoted his final months of life to changing it? It's a good, quick read. What do you think? Is TV broken? Read More

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Canon Cinema EOS C300:  A Dissenting View

Disappointed is a weak word...

By Bruce A Johnson | November 07, 2011

I know, there have been a million opinions shot over the Internet over the last three days regarding canon's new Cinema EOS C300 camera. About half point out it's great feature set, and about half seem to point out every flaw it has in comparison to RED Epic. Whatever, all that's fine. Me, I'm dissapointed for an entirely different reason:Where's the killer Canon camera for the tens - to hundreds-of-thousands of us that actually work in television? When I reviewed the Canon XF305 a year ago, I was very impressed with the package, with a few caveats - chief among them the 1/3" chipset. If Canon can jam a 35mm CMOS into the D5 mkII, why not the same hardware in a form-factor that a real TV production crew could easily use? And in a package that can sit on your shoulder?When I got my invitation to the Canon press event, I was really excited. I even planned to fly from the Midwest to LA just to see the announcement. Luckily, I was offered some freelance work before I bought the plane ticket, but I watched for news on my smartphone in every bit of downtime. And when the news came out...what a letdown. The EOS C300 does nothing for me... and in fact, doesn't seem to do much of anything for anybody until you outfit it with tens of thousands of dollars in accessories, including audio and timecode adapters, lenses, rails, grips, you name it.Maybe I'm missing something here, but I have to figure that there are many more video pros actually making a daily living than there are folks that will ever make money off their films. If I'm wrong, say so, but that's the way I see it. I've used - and generally loved - Canon video cameras since the XL1 came out 13 years ago. Please, Canon, I beg you - put a 35mm chip, a good audio section, swappable lenses, the 50Mb codec, 10-bit HD-SDI out and SMPTE timecode in and out into a $10K shoulder-mount package. You'll have a line flowing out the door for miles. But in the meantime, I'm dismayed at the EOS C300. I guess I should be old enough by now not to get my hopes up so easily. Read More

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The One Collaboration I Need Adobe To Make

I don't think I'm really asking much...am I?

By Bruce A Johnson | September 07, 2011

Hey folks, been gone a while, but it's fall and time to get back in the swing of things. One of the interesting side-effects of writing for PVC is that I am on just about every PR person's mail list. Usually these missives are easy to toss to the side, but the other day I got one from Adobe, talking up their presence at IBC 2011 in Amsterdam (for the record, IBC is the international version of NAB, held in early September every year.) As a long-time Premiere Pro and CS-suite convert, I paid a little bit more attention to this one than average. Unfortunately, I neglected to save the URL, but the gist of it was this: Read More

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REVIEW:  Litepanels Sola ENG LED Fresnel Light

Bright, Light And Oh So Cool...

By Bruce A Johnson | July 20, 2011

I've gone on record in the past as not being a big fan of camera-top lights. The last thing an interview subject needs is a glaring "sungun" to impart that "deer-in-the-headlights" look. Of course, sunguns of the past were crude tools, usually a low-to-medium wattage tungsten lightbulb that - if you were lucky - might be hiding behind a piece of bathroom opal glass. (If you are one of the six shooters in all the world that ever had an HMI sungun… good for you.) In almost every setup, the light was mounted directly above the lens, right on axis with the optics - a recipe for flat, unflattering light if ever there was one. And powering this device almost always required external batteries - anyone that has ever had a battery belt pull your pants down on a shoot, raise your hands now, please. Read More

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The Phantom Hum

(and I'm not talking about phantom power)

By Bruce A Johnson | June 20, 2011

I do a certain amount of freelance work, mostly for friends that have businesses. Last weekend I started work on an instructional video for Exerstrider, makers of poles you use while walking that really ramps up the exercise value. We were plowing through the script at a rapid pace when......The Phantom Hum reared it's ugly head. Read More

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Today The GoPro Let Me Down

(sad face)

By Bruce A Johnson | June 03, 2011

Regular readers of my mind-spillings might remember the Color-Correction Conundrum of a year ago, where I used the decidedly outdoor-color-balanced GoPro Hero HD as an accent camera for a choral concert in a church. The lemon-yellow footage of the piano keyboard was brought to heel by help from the readers of this blog, and since I had such success last time, I figured I'd do it again. Read More

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Blackmagic Design at NAB 2011 Part 2

Have A Look At Hyperdeck

By Bruce A Johnson | May 04, 2011

Blackmagicdesign Hyperdeck Products from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

The extended death of tape continues. Blackmagic Designs gives us a look at the Hyperdeck line. Again, the audio is pretty rough, but the info is good enough to share. Read More

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Blackmagic Design at NAB2011 Part 1

A quick look at Davinci Resolve 8

By Bruce A Johnson | May 04, 2011

Blackmagicdesign from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

Here's a quick look at Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 8, including discussion of its new XML capabilities to ease the workflow with Final Cut Pro. A combination of a loud room and a hoarse throat doesn't help the audio, but the info is good enough to share anyway. Enjoy! Read More

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PVC NAB 2011: Rotor Concepts

Is It A Toy...Or Something More?

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: Rotor Concepts from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

 

The runaway popularity of the GoPro Hero camera has changed a lot of things. Here is a radio-controlled helicopter that would have been considered a toy not long ago that today actually holds some production promise. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011: Topaz Labs

A Pretty Incredible Demo

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: Topaz Labs from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

You know how hard you laughed when you watched "CSI" or any other cop show and the detective told the computer kid to "zoom in on that photo...and...enhance"? This demo might just give you pause. Great looking software, too. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011:  Camlight Focusing LED Studio Lamp

A Clever Design Gives Some Focus To A Flat-Front LED Lamp

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: Camlight Focusing LED Studio Lamp from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

You find some of the most interesting things at the smaller booths at NAB. Here's a new take on focusing an LED lamp from Camlight. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011:  Arri L7T LED Fresnel Light

Big, Bright And Cool To The Touch

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC Arri L7 LED light v2 from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

Arri has been a leading name in production gear for almost 100 years. Now they are taking the next leap into LED fresnel lighting with the L7 series. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011: Mushroom Networks Teleporter

Live Shots Keep Getting Easier

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC Mushroom Networks Teleporter from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

Mushroom Networks offers live HD from anywhere you can make a phone call. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011: TVUPack

Will Cell Phones Replace Satellite Trucks?

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC TVU Networks from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

HD over 4G was definitely one of the growth categories at NAB 2011. TVU Networks showed the TUVPack. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011:  Minicaster

Backhaul Thru The Cloud

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: Minicaster from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

If you have access to the Internet, you can broadcast anywhere you want - with the Minicaster. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011: Steadiseg

Want. One. Now.

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: SteadiSeg from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

What happens when you cross a Steadicam with a Segway? Whatever it is, it sure looks fun...and useful. Read More

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PVC NAB 2011:  Petrol Cambio Suitcase

Very Clever, And Very Necessary

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: Petrol Cambio Suitcase from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

We all drag out rollaboards with us on airplanes...why didn't we think of building a tripod into one? Read More

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PVC NAB 2011:  Hoodman Photo Frames

Something Really Useful!

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: Hoodman Photo Frames from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

I've worn glasses since I was six years old. I've been shooting since I was twenty. Why did it take till I was 52 for these to be invented? Read More

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PVC NAB 2011: PortaBrace Audio Organizer Flex

Lots Of Flexibility For Your Audio Gear

By Bruce A Johnson | April 16, 2011

PVC NAB 2011: PortaBrace Audio Organizer Flex from ProVideo Coalition on Vimeo.

PortaBrace has been there for shooters and production people for over three decades. Let's see what's new from North Bennington, Vermont at NAB 2011. Read More

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