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by Matthew Jeppsen & Kendal Miller

Matt Jeppsen is a freelance cinematographer, and Kendal Miller is a director at Cultivate Studios. They often collaborate on film & video projects, and you'll find related musings here....

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PVC Experts & Answers Webinars: Inside the Mind and Gear Bag of DP Matthew Jeppsen

Watch the archived version of the live event

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 10, 2013

DP Matthew Jeppsen talks through the kind of problems and solutions he runs into as a DP on a daily basis whil traveling domestically and internationally. Matt covers a wide range of topics but focuses primarily on docu-style shooting, with a lot of discussion about travel/destination shooting.... Read More


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How to Calculate Light Output Through Diffusion

You can't. You must test. Here are some test results.

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 12, 2013

Recently I was looking for a formula that would allow me to calculate how much light output I would get from a given size HMI once I punched it through a 12x12 diffusion frame. Calculating light output for an un-modified light source is pretty straightforward; tools like the iOS app Pocket LD offer a catalog of heads, and tell you what their photometrics are at a given distance. But diffusion is a much different animal...there are so many variables, really the only way to know how a light source output will be affected is by experience and testing...

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Cinevate Kickstarting a GoPro Stabilizer

Morpheus is a multi-use stabilizer for small cameras

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 12, 2013

Cinevate launched something very interesting today, a stabilizer system for small cameras. Morpheus is a stabilizer, tripod, and mini-dolly that they've been developing for years. 

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Daily Inspiration - Small Feet “Rivers”

Flames and slow-motion heli work. Simple, beautiful.

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 12, 2013

Sometimes it's the simple ideas that are most beautiful. This music video seems almost too simplistic; it's just a man on fire, an RC octocopter, and a FS700 shooting slowmo. And yet it is executed beautifully. Watch below...

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Alexa, Epic, and F65 get the Single Candle test

Digital Cinema low-light comparisons at 800 and 3200 ISO (and the F55 too)

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 18, 2013

CML just posted a few low-light comparison images from the Sony F65, RED Epic, and ARRI Alexa cameras. There is also one from from the F55, shooting the only ISO option that was available at the time of the test. All cameras were shooting log, and they have included DPX frames that you are free... Read More


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The Sound of “Gravity”

Mixing sound on Alfonso Cuaron's latest film

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 10, 2013

Here's an exceptional behind-the-scenes featurette that talks about the sound and foley work in Gravity. One interesting note...the Foley artists used transducer contact mics to create many of the sounds in the film…that is, they recorded vibration from contact, not airborne audio, which is similar to how astronauts would experience sound in space. They also talk about using Dolby Atmos to fine-tune panning and positioning of audio, and how that helped to mirror the disorientation of on-screen characters. It's a fascinating piece, watch below.

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The Great Gatsby VFX

Before and After examples

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 07, 2013

Here's a lovely before and after peek at the extensive VFX and compositing work in Great Gatsby. As a DP who prefers to shoot things practically, I'm frankly surprised at the need to make up some of these locations in post! I'd love to know the budgetary and scheduling limitations that pushed these filmmakers to do some of these shots with visual effects instead of live. Watch below.

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Cine Gear 2013 Wrapup

Thoughts and Impressions from the Paramount backlot

By Matthew Jeppsen | June 03, 2013

I've always enjoyed the pace of Cine Gear more than NAB expo. Set on the Paramount LA backlot on street sets and amongst huge sound stages, it's smaller, more intimate, and a lot more cine-focused. It's one of the highlights of my year, and Cine Gear 2013 this last weekend was no exception. Here are a few things that caught my eye as I was browsing through the fake streets of New York. Read on...

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Free VFX Tracking Markers

Snag these DIY templates

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 19, 2013

Need some VFX tracking markers? Here, get some.

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Daily Inspiration - Paperman

This animated short is a master class in visual storytelling

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 31, 2013

There's an Oscar nominated short that's making the rounds this week. It's called Paperman, and is a six minute animated Disney short that preceded Wreck-it Ralph in theaters. In my opinion, it's a master class in visual language and shot coverage. The cinematography and pacing of this piece is flawless. Watch below...

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Daily Inspiration - Words as Images

Distilling the meaning of word into clean motion graphic elements

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 17, 2013

This is a really cool project...the challenge was to create an image out of a word, using only the letters in the word itself, and using only the graphic elements of the letters. The result is some very clean and clever motion graphic elements. Sound design also plays a big part. Watch below.

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Daily Inspiration - JP Auclair Street Segment BTS

Behind the Scenes of a creative skiing video

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 04, 2013

I love BTS videos. There is so much to be learned about how creatives put something together. Not just the technical minutae, but also the reasons for the choices they made...and the happy accidents that sprang up along the way. Here is a great little BTS video that covers how the JP Auclair Street Segment was shot. Watch below...

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Before & After VFX for Final Destination 5

A detailed BTS look at a VFX-heavy sequence in the film

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 21, 2012

Here's an awesome behind the scenes look at the bridge sequence in Final Destination 5. This scene is very heavy on visual effects, with a lot of work put into integrating practical sets, actors, and visual effects. Even with all the greenscreens they built at the practical locations, the sheer amount of rotoscoping work that had to happen here makes my head spin. Watch below...


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BTS of a car chase stunt for Fast and Furious 6

How the Big Boys do stunts

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 14, 2012

Here's a cool stunt sequence for Fast and Furious 6, in this short BTS you get to see them drop a car and a load of prop debris right into the middle of a car chase. It looks like they're rolling 6 cameras including the two car-mounted russian arms and remote atv. Very cool peek at how the big guys do production. I'd say that one of the biggest surprises for me is that they shot it on film and not digital.

Try to ignore the obnoxious music and watch below...

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The Art of Creating Awe

Oscar-winning VFX guru Rob Legato on how to connect emotionally with your audience.

By Matthew Jeppsen | August 22, 2012

Rob Legato took the TED stage earlier this year to talk about a few things he learned working on Titanic, Hugo, and Apollo 13. What I find useful for filmmakers, is that he learned the audience didn't necessarily respond well to realistic or accurate visuals, but to how they remember the visuals. It's a subtle, but important distinction. "When we're infused with enthusiasm or awe, it changes perceptions of the things that we see and what we remember." Watch his talk below. Read More


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Shining a little light on Adobe’s CS6 Education pricing

Very reasonable pricing options for Students and Educators

By Matthew Jeppsen | August 20, 2012

Software piracy. Nobody likes to talk about it, but let's be frank; it's a thing. And when a company like Adobe comes out with an all-encompassing software package like Creative Suite 6, which can cost several thousand dollars (Creative Suite 6 Master Collection is about $2500, and Creative Suite 6 Production Premium is about $1800 USD), some people are going to choose to steal the software. You know it, I know it, and Adobe knows it... Read More


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Pixar’s Story Rules

Insightful tips for writing and story development

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 01, 2012

Recently, Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of tips for story development and screenwriting, and they are profound. Tip #8 is something that every filmmaker should know and practice: "Finish your story, let go even if it's not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time." Here are a few others that I like... Read More


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John Cleese on Creativity

Tips on how to "be creative" from a very creative Python

By Matthew Jeppsen | June 25, 2012

And now for something completely different. I grew up loving Monty Python, so I was delighted to find this presentation by Python John Cleese on the subject of creativity. In the video embedded below, he breaks down what he has found necessary for the creative process into five specific things: 1. Space, 2. Time, 3. Time, 4. Confidence, 5. Humor. Cleese expands on each of these five points at length in the video, with his trademark wit and sense of humor. What follows are my notes on each point, along with the video... Read More


Alphatron EVF - Cine Gear LA 2012

EVF with HDMI, HD-SDI, and cross-convert

By Matthew Jeppsen | June 10, 2012

We dropped in at the BandPro booth to chat with our friend Randy about the new Alphatron EVF solution they will soon be carrying. The Alphatron uses a display that you are probably familiar with, from a popular fruit-related smartphone. It's coupled with the backend from a TV Logic monitor that allows you to input HD-SDI or HDMI, and also cross-convert from either of them to the other type of output. Read More


FOR-A FT-ONE camera - Cine Gear LA 2012

An update on the 4K slow motion camera from FOR.A

By Matthew Jeppsen | June 08, 2012

We dropped by to check out the 4K FT-One slow motion camera from FOR-A. One of the interesting notes I picked up from this interview is the fact that the FT-ONE camera has a global CMOS shutter, which means it would not be subject to CMOS skew, jello, and flash-frames. Watch below... Read More