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Fresh DV

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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Bella Editing Keyboard Review

Bella Editing Keyboard Review

Bella's Professional Series EZKeyboard with Jog/Shuttle

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 12, 2008

Bella editing keyboards include printed NLE shortcuts in addition to the normal key symbols. Some models include a jog wheel and customizable user keys. I've been editing on a daily basis with my Bella Shuttle FCP keyboard for about 3.5 years now. Apparently that is long enough to wear off the left COMMAND, A, and S key labels (I think we're in danger of losing the T key in the next 6 months). Mine is the 5102 DV Keyboard model. MSRP is a little over $100. The keyboard was initially very helpful for me to learn and recall Final Cut Pro keyboard shortcuts quickly, and it's been in constant daily use for my writing at FreshDV and PVC. Here's a quick review. Read More


Camera Reports, Done Right

Camera Reports, Done Right

Even a camera assistant has to do paperwork

By Kendal Miller | December 10, 2008

Well no one, and I mean no one enjoys doing paperwork, but like it or not paperwork is a vital part of production. It allows for accountability between producers and crew members and facilitates communication allowing everyone to be on the same page. In the camera dept the job of filling camera reports fall to the 1st and 2nd AC. These reports are important for tracking footage, and knowing how to match shots, and communicate pertinent information to the lab if shooting film, in the case of video this information facilitates editing and re-shooting pickups if needed. Ryan O'hara provides a great full length article on the correct methodology for completing camera reports. Read More


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Awesome Adobe Motion Graphics Research Project

Please put this in After Effects immediately

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 01, 2008

An Adobe engineer posted a demonstration of a sweet little research project recently. It's a simple, consumer-oriented method of accomplishing complex motion graphics tasks. Here's hoping we'll see it soon in their products! Video below... Read More


1080p camera canon cmos dslr nikon rolling shutter skew test video

CMOS sensors are tastier without Jello

The Canon 5D MKII doesn't appear to suffer from excess rolling shutter skew

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 30, 2008

We've already seen some excellent video footage from the new Canon 5D MarkII DSLR camera. However, I've not really seen the sort of test footage that reveals CMOS wobble (the jello effect) or rolling shutter skew. While this isn't a perfect test, I was encouraged to see a lot of motion in the following video shot on the streets of Beijing. It appears, anecdotally at least, that the 5D samples from it's sensor much faster than the ultra-wobbly Nikon D90, and the camera sure looks like it would handle most situations with aplomb. Video embedded below. Read More


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How to Edit Canon 5D Footage in FCP

Using freeware tools to prep Mark II HD footage for FCP

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 29, 2008

Canon's new 5D Mark II DSLR with 1080p video mojo has been showing up in the hands of new users for the past few days, and the footage is hitting Vimeo faster than you can say "What's a Scarlet?" One of the most pressing questions by Mac users is how to edit the compressed HD footage, which is captured as Quicktime H.264 files at 38.6 Mbits/sec. Reports suggest that FCP can edit the footage natively, but playback is likely to be choppy. That being the case, FCP users are recommending transcoding the footage into ProRes 422, for realtime playback and editing. ProRes is several times the bitrate of the MPEG-4 source files, but it should solve the playback issues.An alert reader dropped me a Tweet this evening however, and he's got a great workflow idea for those that can't justify the additional disk space that ProRes transcoding requires. His workflow uses the free cross-platform MPEG Streamclip app to transcode the source files into the 35 Mbits/sec XDCAM EX codec, which can then be played back and edited in realtime in FCP. A tutorial video is embedded below... Read More


canon dslr marketing video

Vincent Laforet posted another Canon 5D MK2 video

Canon's accidental viral marketing genius continues selling DSLRs

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 27, 2008

If this guy isn't on Canon's marketing payroll, they need a wake up call. I imagine that he's done more to sell the new Canon 5D MarkII than any other entity out there, including Canon. Read More


Beautiful CG work in a Porsche Spec Spot

Evoking emotion with computer graphics

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 26, 2008

Porsche Speed from Daan Pol on Vimeo.

This spec spot by I ran across on Vimeo simply has to be seen. It took 4 months to render out the final composite... Read More


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Red Renders Previous Koolaid Vouchers Obsolete

Constant change can be a bug, not a feature

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 25, 2008

The latest non-news on the Red Digital Cinema front is Jim Jannard's coy announcement of yet another announcement date for their latest announcement. This one will be December 3rd. Predictably, the tagline reads "Everything has changed..."Well at least they are honest about it. At least people know what they are getting into when they plunk down cash months (or arguably years) in advance of product delivery to finance a concept in development. At least Red admits they can and will change specifications and targets, based on their whims and sense of the market, and not necessarily what their customers have requested. At least Red One owners are aware of the fact that their camera system will be left unfinished, frequently buggy, and still a moving development target for years. It's hard for me to be frustrated when I've poured my own tall glass of Red-flavored koolaid, and knew exactly what I was doing all along... Read More


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Dymo DiscPainter Review

Dymo's svelte disc printer

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 01, 2008

By Matt$250The DiscPainter by Dymo is a dedicated printer for CD and DVD disc media. Bundled with cross-platform design software, it's a solid solution for both Mac and PC users. I've been using a DiscPainter for a few months now, and here are my experiences using the unit for my own production work on a G5 PPC Mac. Read More


Imagineer Offering up to 90% Discount to small shops One Day Only

No tricks, here's your treat!

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 30, 2008

Imagineer Systems is offering an incredible one-day Halloween sale for small production shops and freelancers. Details below... Read More


Should Politicians and VIPs get special DMCA exemptions?

Political campaign seeks to circumvent anti-circumvention measures

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 21, 2008

John McCain's campaign has experienced first hand how much the burden of fair-use proof lies on the shoulders of the general public in today's post-Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) world. Several of their viral videos that included remixes of music and video clips were pulled by Youtube automated software for copyright claims under the DMCA. In most of these cases, the videos ARE allowed under Fair Use, but that requires complaining and getting in line to be re-reviewed. Not surprisingly, the campaign has written a formal letter to Youtube, requesting an exemption from the accepted procedure and specifically suggesting human review of uploads from politicians. This is the same campaign that has received several (legally-toothless) cease-and-desist letters from recording artists. As a side note, the cease letter from "Heart" was rather humorous (warning, NSFW language). But I digress. Anyway, CNET writer Christopher Soghoian takes issue with the McCain campaign approach to this issue, suggesting that unless politicians suffer with the masses, the incentive for change will never gain footing. Here's an excerpt... Read More


Mr Pixel and Mrs Grain

Their analog/digital marriage on the rocks

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 21, 2008

In this three-part series of shorts, the film vs. digital argument is presented as a married couple in counseling sessions. Simply brilliant, and perfectly played! Enjoy. Read More


Building Good Hardware (is Harder Than it Looks)

Product Hype and The Cibola Complex

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 19, 2008

Building good hardware is not a trivial undertaking. We've all seen it time and time again as new companies go through the throes of taking a great concept all the way through the many layers of design and development, to a final shipping product (unfortunately, not always in quantity). We saw this play out for Red Digital Cinema, with their months of revised shipping target dates and hardware changes. Sony dealt with it when they had to fix widespread lens issues shortly after the EX1 launch. Even the mighty Apple has faltered recently with the somewhat buggy launch of the iPhone 3G revision. I'll say it again; building good hardware is not an easy task. Even while companies miss the mark, what's is interesting to me is that rarely is the original idea a bad one. In this article I'd like to take a look at several recent product launches from "indie-centric" companies. I'll also discuss the reservations and deposits business model, a practice that seems to be largely constrained to these small businesses. I'll sometimes casually refer to this as the "Red-servations" model of business. Obviously the concept of taking reservations in advance wasn't innovated by Red Digital Cinema, but they really put it on the map with the development of the Red One camera. Read on... Read More


16mm camera dii ikonoskop

Interview with Ikonoskop about the A-cam dII Digital Cinema Camera

Ikonoskop's Daniel Jonsater dishes on their new "digital 16mm" offering

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 13, 2008

After writing 1200 words on the subject immediately following it's launch at IBC, I interviewed Ikonoskop's Daniel Jonsater about the new A-cam dII. In our 30-minute audio podcast discussion, we cover many of the burning questions users have been asking about this new camera system. Subscribe to the free podcast to listen, or download directly here. Read More


Redrock Micro cinescreen ground glass upgrade cuts light loss

Redrock updates the venerable M2 lens adapter with an improved imaging screen

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 25, 2008

Today Redrock Micro announced an improved ground glass imaging screen for their M2 35mm lens adapter system. The new ground glass element has been dubbed cinescreen II, and Redrock has said it offers "significant improvements in light transmission, contrast, and sharpness." I've not had an opportunity to examine images shot with the new element, but Redrock isn't being shy about it's performance... Read More


S/N Ratios Demystified

Understanding signal to noise and how it impacts your image quality in a camera system.

By Kendal Miller | September 25, 2008

In light of a recent discussion I had with a photographer about the grain inherent in high ISO speeds, I thought I would take minute and write about Signal to Noise Ratios and how they affect image processing in both video and photography. I will try my best to explain this subject as I understand it. I am no electrical engineer however, and this subject can quickly delve into the physics of electronics deeper than I fully comprehend so if you have more observation or clarity on the subject please let me know in the comments below. Ok here we go. So what is a signal to noise ratio? Read More


Audio Peak vs Average Levels: How our ears perceive loudness

Dynamic Audio Feels Louder

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 22, 2008

Recently I posted a link to, a project that aims to restore the dynamics and range of sound in today's audio production. The problem is that consumers are being fed increasingly over-compressed, over-produced music and audio, and it's created a loudness war of sorts. What's really interesting about all this, is that human ears actually perceive more dynamic music as louder. There's a very informative post over at the Mastering Media blog that deals with this, check it out. Read More


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Can Ikonoskop’s DII Digital Cinema Camera Coexist with Red?

5 Reasons why I believe Ikonoskop has found a niche with the A-Cam dII

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 19, 2008

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Behind the Scenes at a superfad Phantom shoot

Production of Kung Fu HD high-speed spots

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 19, 2008

superfad is the creative production company behind some of the most compelling uses of high-speed video that I've seen to date. When Vision Research needed a demo of their Phantom camera for NAB 2007, they tapped superfad and DOP Stephen McGehee for a three-minute demo that showed off the camera's high-framerate possibilities. The result was impressive. You can see a fairly detailed behind the scenes featurette on that project here. Another recent project was a few essential elements-themed spots for a Kung Fu HD channel. A photographer working to capture stills alongside the 1000fps Phantom has posted a short behind the scenes clip on the project, you can watch it below. Two of the finished superfad ads are posted in their high speed gallery. Enjoy the slow motion goodness. Read More


Boris Motion Key plugin restores my childlike belief in Magic

This sweet plugin is quite possibly a witch. Burn 'er!

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 18, 2008

I just watched a demo video for the Boris Continuum plugin called Motion Key. The instructor showed how unbelievably easy it was to use Motion Key to remove a moving foreground object, in this case a car traveling across a locked-off street scene. In a few clicks, the vehicle was gone. Bam! Magic. This looks like a seriously cool plugin... Read More