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Snow Leopard: Hopes, Misunderstandings, and Gotchas

Here, kitty...please don't bite the nice user...

By Chris and Trish Meyer | September 01, 2009

Snow Leopard (aka OS 10.6) looks like a great system update for Mac users: better performance, smaller hard drive footprint, cheap price (if you've been keeping up with your OS updates). That said, we personally are always cautious about upgrading to the "x.x.0" version of anything: Call it old age, but quite often we prefer to let the serial early adopters (you know who you are) find where the gotchas are, while we get work done in the meantime with "old" technology. Here's a brief collection of some of the issues (some real, some illusionary) that we've heard of so far; please feel free to add your own in the Comments below: Read More


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Avid Gems 11

Modified behaviors with modifier keys

By Steve Hullfish | August 26, 2009

So, it's been a while since I've started writing this series, so I should probably point out that the point here is to simply locate those cool tips and techniques that are easily found in the user manual - if you actually chose to read it. But this is much easier - at least for you - because I've sifted out most of the "duh" stuff and just delivered the tips that you might have not heard before.The theme of this specific column was inspired by a reader who commented on Avid Gems #10. They wanted to know all of the different ways the alt key on Windows or the option key on Mac altered the behavior of various keystrokes and mouse movements, so that's what I'm serving up today. Read More


Video storage space calculators round-up

Video storage space calculators round-up

These handy utilities can never be more than a click or tap away

By Scott Simmons | August 24, 2009

It's one of the questions I get asked more often than most: How much drive space do I need to hold [insert media format and time here]? At one point I tried to keep some rough numbers in my head, as in way back when DV25 was about the only format and resolution to worry about, but these days with all of the different resolutions and frame rates it's way more information than I care to remember. But fear not as there's many different places in which to find video storage space calculators. Web based, widget based and iPhone based ... read on for a round-up. Read More


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Inspiration from the anti-Google

Using StumbleUpon for creative inspiration and resources

By Steve Hullfish | August 23, 2009

More and more production professionals are living in a kind of social vacuum as production and post moves from larger companies to small 1 or 2 man boutiques. So for a little inspiration and a feeling that you're part of a greater whole, I'd suggest checking out StumbleUpon. I know that many of you have probably already become addicted to the steady stream of interesting content provided by StumbleUpon, but for those who have yet to discover the joys of Stumbling, let me introduce you. Read More


Enlightening interview about distribution with Maverick Entertainment founder and president

Enlightening interview about distribution with Maverick Entertainment founder and president

Filmmaking Central podcast from July is a must listen for the serious filmmaker

By Scott Simmons | August 21, 2009

I was catching up on podcasts recently and I got to the July 16 episode of Filmmaking Central. On this episode host Dave Basulto spends an hour interviewing Doug Schwab, President and Founder of Maverick Entertainment. This is one of the most honest and informative discussions on feature film distribution that I've heard in a long time and is a great listen for anyone making movies. Blogs and podcasts often discuss the technology and craft of filmmaking ad nauseam so the good distribution discussion is often few and far between. Maverick Entertainment is a direct to video distribution company and though you as a filmmaker may be shooting for theatrical distribution the reality is that very few films see the big screen. Schwab engages in a very thorough and very honest discussion about the reality of feature film distribution. There's a lot of great tips within the show about what distribution companies are looking for as well as tips to get your film in front of a distributor or buyer. You can listen to the episode right off of the BlogTalkRadio webpage or subscribe to the Filmmaking Central podcast (iTunes link) and look back into July for the episode. Read More


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RED Build 20 Torture Tests

Exposure latitude tests reveal perhaps too much about the RED ONE

By Art Adams | August 15, 2009

I've learned more about how cameras work by learning what the RED doesn't do. But, with every software build, it does more. Build 20 looks to be the best yet... but it's not perfect. Read More


Monsterpod: Stick Your (small) Camera Almost Anywhere

Monsterpod: Stick Your (small) Camera Almost Anywhere

...and get it back in one piece

By Bruce A Johnson | August 08, 2009

I love gadgets, especially useful ones. That love is doubled when the device is reasonably priced. And gadgets that are useful, reasonably priced and related to video put me over the top. So you can imagine my interest when a fellow member of a video discussion list turned me on to the MonsterPod, which fills all three categories well.At first glance, the MonsterPod looks like an orange and black nylon-mesh suction cup, with a 1/4" tripod screw mounted in the middle. It's once you flip it over that you find the magic ingredient - a large blob of what looks like orange Silly Putty, what the MonsterPod makers call "PodGoo." You wouldn't think something this seemingly simple could stick to just about any surface - but you would be wrong. Basically, applying the MonsterPod involves shaping and bending the cup and PodGoo to conform to the rough contours of the surface you want to stick your camera to. And the list isn't limited to just flat surfaces - the MonsterPod sticks to poles, rocks, dashboards, cement, you name it. As long as the surface isn't wet, made of fabric, too greasy or too dirty, it's a good bet that MonsterPod will adhere to it, at least for a while. A good firm press - even on vertical surfaces or upside down - will fasten the MonsterPod in place. The makers recommend a maximum 10 minutes of attachment at a time, but as long as it isn't overloaded I can see the hold lasting longer. Read More


Busy Person’s Guide to Color Correcting the Canon 5D

Busy Person’s Guide to Color Correcting the Canon 5D

In which I take some pretty footage and make it a lot prettier

By Art Adams | August 06, 2009

The 5D is fast and portable, but it's not a professional camera--so know going in that you're going to have to color correct whatever you shoot. Read More


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Abel Cine offers New Mattebox System for Canon 5D Mark II

Not just for cops anymore, custom donuts are mandatory for the Canon 5D

By Art Adams | August 05, 2009

On a recent shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II I lamented the lack of properly-sized donuts. Now, thanks to Abel Cine, I lament no more. Read More


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My First Shoot with the Canon 5D

For a still camera it shoots pretty nice HD

By Art Adams | August 04, 2009

The Canon 5D is a cinematic nightmare. In movie mode it's hard to see focus, difficult to set exposure, and it doesn't show you exactly what you're getting. It records to heavily compressed 8-bit H.264, and the only frame rate available is 30fps. Not 29.97--exactly 30p. It's a complete pain to use.And I love it. Read More


After FCP7/FCS3… we still need DVKitchen!

After FCP7/FCS3… we still need DVKitchen!

FCP7 brings many welcome exporting/sharing features, but we still need DVKitchen for the following reasons

By Allan Tépper | August 02, 2009

Final Cut Pro 7 fortunately now offers many inboard "sharing" features which were very weak or non-existent before. Now FCP7 allows us to export to multiple formats and destinations in a single job (called "Back-End Batch Capability" in my DVKitchen review of March 2009). FCP7 even allows us to export "in the background", so we can keep on editing if we'd like. Thanks to FCP7's improved integration with Apple's Compressor, some of the encoded formats can be published directly to web destinations, whether they be MobileMe, YouTube, or even your own FTP server (after you've previously made a preset destination for it in Compressor). These are all welcome improvements, which are directly accessible from FCP7. However, DVKitchen is still a vital tool (especially if you're encoding for MobileMe, your own web server... or your client's web server), because it includes the following unique and must-have features not included in FCP7/FCS3. Read More


apple tv mobile sorenson squeeze web video

Newsletter News

Keep an eye out for the third PVC Pipeline | Production newsletter in August!

By Scott Gentry | July 31, 2009

A few weeks ago, we published our sixth electronic newsletter: PVC Pipeline | Distribution, which included an overview of the mobile media scene, exploring new media production as a way of expanding your business, using Apple TV as a client review tool, using Adobe Encore to create quick web sites with embedded video, and a review of Sorenson Squeeze 5.1. Subscribers had exclusive access to these articles for the past few weeks. These articles are now available for all PVC visitors to view; a list of them is included below.We are about to publish our seventh newsletter, which will be the third edition of our PVC Pipeline | Production publication. It will include a review of the Sony HXR-MC1 camera by Adam Wilt, an "in the trenches" article by Richard Harrington on using waveform and vectorscope monitoring in the field, and more. To receive exclusive access to these articles before everyone else, click here for your free subscription! Read More


Mobile Video: Distribution to the Fourth Screen

Mobile Video: Distribution to the Fourth Screen

An overview of the players in this complex game.

By Dan Warvi & Izzy Abbass | July 31, 2009

There is a lot of buzz these days about video distribution to cell phones. The idea of uploading an independent film, TV series pilot or even your demo reel to a place where anyone with an iPhone can see it sounds like "the next big thing." Unfortunately, the ease of distributing to mobile devices is not nearly as easy as uploading a video to YouTube - at least not yet.Over the next few articles, we'll look at some of the complexities and strategies for delivering video to mobile devices. We'll also look at how some trends will have an impact on production and distribution of video content. To begin with, let's look at one straightforward question - why mobile and how are we going to view video on mobile devices? Read More


Sorenson Squeeze 5.1 Review

Sorenson Squeeze 5.1 Review

New Publishing presets deliver great workflow

By Steve Hullfish | July 31, 2009

PVC Reviews - The BackstoryThere's been some back-room discussion amongst the PVC writers about reviews. The general consensus being that since all of the PVC writers are actually folks just like you who are actually making a living as video professionals, instead of as "bloggers," we don't have the time or patience to review a bunch of crappy products that we'd never use in the course of trying to make a living. And since we wouldn't use bad products for projects involving real clients, and since we're too busy to do anything else, the reviews of products by PVC writers will tend to be fairly positive, more often than not. That doesn't mean they're not honest, it just means that they're well-informed purchases to begin with. That's certainly the case for this review. As background information, I've been using a number of compression products for several years: Squeeze has always been part of the arsenal; Apple Compression, of course; Adobe Media Encoder CS4, the Elgato Turbo-264 USB device; and my oldest compression product, ProCoder, which I haven't upgraded since 2002, I think. Read More


fcp red soundtrack pro

RED+FCP: 3-channel Audio NG in STP

Yet another example of why you want to validate a new workflow on a small project!

By Adam Wilt | July 21, 2009

Just a quick note: I took a short piece shot on RED and sent the FCP edit into Soundtrack Pro. I found to my dismay that I was unable to apply almost any processing to most of the clips: no noise reduction, no add-on processing (as shown in the image). A bit of investigation followed: Read More


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Netflix vs Redbox rivalry shaping up

Extensive Selection vs Instant Gratification

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 08, 2009

Have you seen those red kiosks at Walmart and McDonalds locations across the US? If not, you probably will soon enough. With about 15,000 existing locations in operation, Redbox is currently rolling their $1 DVD rental kiosks out at a rate of one per hour. Cinematech's Scott Kirsner has a post about Redbox and their competitor, Netflix. Both offer DVD rentals, but using distinctly different approaches. Netflix's DVD title selection is extensive, with over 100,000 titles to choose from. In contrast, a Redbox kiosk carries around 200 titles at a given time. The difference is instant gratification...Redbox is an impulse purchase, made at a location you are likely shopping or frequenting. While Netflix does offer instant internet streaming options, it's not always the same for folks who don't have a computer hooked up to their entertainment system. I've used both services before, and while I wish the instant selection of Redbox was more extensive, there is no denying the price point and convenience. They also allow you to order a DVD online in advance (ala Netflix), for later pickup at your local kiosk. I honestly did not see Redbox as that useful when I first used the service, but am finding that we use it more and more. Regardless of which you personally use, I think there is one thing we can all agree on...the good 'ole fashioned Video Store is all but dead. Read More


Please label tapes and disks: An open letter to DPs, camera ops, DITs

Please label tapes and disks: An open letter to DPs, camera ops, DITs

Just a simple label of format and frame rate will tell the editor a lot about what is on the tape or disk

By Scott Simmons | June 26, 2009

Man, there are a lot of high definition formats out in the world today. Just to spell them out would be a dizzying array of letters and numbers. 720p, 1080i, 23.98, 30p ... this list could literally go on and on so I won't even attempt a partial list other that what I have above. Just take a look at this HD format chart. That's a lot of different formats and it doesn't even take into account the different flavors of a particular format that camera manufacturers often come up with on their own.With that in mind this PVC post is an open letter to all DPs, ACs, camera ops, DITs, anyone and everyone associated with the camera department to please label their tapes and hard drives with the usable, relevant information of shooting format and frame rates, codecs and cameras so post-production will at least have an idea of what is being handed to them. Read More


Black Glimmerglass and Hollywood Black Magic Filter Tests

Black Glimmerglass and Hollywood Black Magic Filter Tests

A camera assistant extraordinaire puts two new lines of diffusion filters through their paces

By Art Adams | June 23, 2009

World-class camera assistant Mako Koiwai recently shot a camera test with two new sets of diffusion filters: Black Glimmerglass from Tiffen and Hollywood Black Magic from Schneider Optics. He compared them to diffusion filter sets that he has in his own collection, which includes Tiffen Soft Effects and Schneider Classic Soft filters. Read More


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It’s the End of the World as We Know It…

...and I feel fine. (The iPhone 3G S and the next video revolution.)

By Alex Lindsay | June 22, 2009

I posted a fun little video about creating a shoulder mount rig for the iPhone 3G S on Friday. You can see it here.While done in a tongue and cheek way, the most important thing for Pros watching the video is actually the first minute. I was dead serious there. The new iPhone is a game changer... make no mistake about it. Read More


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The Case of the Two Licenses

"Royalty-free" music may still require a performance license.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | June 18, 2009

A question came up recently about what sort of licenses are required when marrying music to motion graphics (or any imagery edited or animated in time with music). It so happens there are two, which you may or may not need to worry about: Read More