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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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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

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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 Jeppsenwww.dymo.com$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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 TurnMeUp.org, 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

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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

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Creative Titling Inspiration

Drawing creative inspiration from film title sequences

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 17, 2008

Titles are one of those areas in editing that at times can seem like an afterthought. With all the time and budget constraints in today's demanding editing schedules, titling often takes a back seat. But when creative editors have the time and budget to devote to it, a strong opening title sequence has the potential to be a story within a story, setting the tone and pace for the film or production to follow. One only need watch the splendid intro of "Catch Me If You Can" to be reminded of this. Read on for some practical examples of innovative title sequences, and a few resources to draw inspiration from in your own editing projects. Read More

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Sony XDCAM EX and SxS making industry inroads

JVC Embraces Sony solid-state media

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 16, 2008

An interesting announcement that emerged from IBC this year is the news that JVC will be supporting Sony's XDCAM EX long-GOP MPEG format as well as SxS solid-state media cards. Initially the format and media will be implemented in JVC's KA-MR100G docking recorder accessory for ProHD GY-HD200 and HD250 camcorders. Read on for details... Read More

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What Indie Gear Makers Can Learn from Apple

Form, Function, and Quality Packaging. And the lack thereof.

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 11, 2008

Small indie companies arguably form much of the backbone of the production industry, and deliver some of the most innovative solutions to end users. They are by and large forward-thinking, in touch with users, and extremely nimble. They also have a unique set of challenges. In addition to producing a polished product that is 100% functional, their gear must be able to hold up to hard use and the daily rigors of production. And while form should always follow function, gear should at minimum look professional and polished. And preferably it should be sexy! Alas, those guidelines are all too often the exception and not the rule. Another area that is consistently overlooked is packaging and manuals. Which is a shame, because those last two items are literally the first things a new owner sees when they tear into their box. Read More

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Turn Me Up! Audio Mixing and the Loudness war

Bringing Dynamics Back To Music

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 09, 2008

Turn Me Up! is a site that aims to bring back the full range of sound and dynamics in popular music. You can learn more about the issue of excessive loudness and find out what you can do to help at www.turnmeup.org. The main aim of the organization is primarily the music industry, but I think we editors and post-producers also feel the pressure to deliver the loudest mix within legal limits. Audio compressors are powerful tools, but can be overused at times. It can't always be helped, but is something to consider the next time you are in the middle of a mixing session. Read More

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Zylight Z50 and Z90 First Impressions

Using LED lighting on and off camera in event production

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 08, 2008

I first read about Zylight LED lighting systems in the summer of 2007. At NAB 2008 FreshDV made a point to stop by their booth and get a demo of the lighting technology, and we were duly impressed. You can view that video at the end of this article. Shortly after returning from NAB, a friend of mine ordered one of the Zylight systems. We had been using some Swit LED on-camera lights for certain events, but were open to other possibilities. At NAB we were really impressed with the configurability the Zylight system offers...dimmable output, instant color shift without using physical filters or gels, Daylight and Tungsten presets, and the ability to network a number of Zylights together for centralized control. So after NAB my buddy ordered a Z50, and when it arrived was so impressed with the build quality that he ordered a Z90 model almost immediately. Read More

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