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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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Gear In 60: Travel Lighting & Grip Kit

A lightweight LED lighting & grip kit you can fly with

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 31, 2011

I travel a lot for simple sit-down interview shoots, and commonly need to fly with a lightweight lighting and support kit for DSLR or small HD cameras. Here are two videos from our new FreshDV Gear In 60 Seconds series that talk about the two Pelican gear cases I often fly with, and the affordable tools inside. Watch below. Read More

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Filming Inception’s Corridor & Zero-Gravity Sequences

Behind the Scenes featurette shows how they did it "in real life"

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 29, 2011

If you enjoyed Christopher Nolan's film "Inception," you're going to love this behind-the-scenes documentary short on how the corridor and zero-gravity room sequences were shot. It's an amazing peek behind the curtain at how they pulled off the shots live, with a minimum of stunt doubles and CG. Fascinating engineering and planning. Watch below... Read More

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Kinetic Typography Motion Graphics Tutorial

How do to those cool flying words

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 07, 2011

Here's a nice long tutorial on how to do that cool animated word thing that is so popular (and useful) these days. It's all compliments of creative superstar Jesse Rosten. Watch below... Read More

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Switching from Final Cut to Premiere

My thoughts on the FCPX brouhaha

By Matthew Jeppsen | July 06, 2011

Since Final Cut X was released a few weeks ago, there have been a large number of Final Cut Pro post-production professionals looking into other NLE options. Final Cut Pro X is a very different animal, and lacks specific FCP7 features that certain users require or demand. It also changes up existing post-production workflows and is in general a disruptive release. I've observed that whether this disruption is a good or a bad thing for you really depends on how you use the software. Anecdotally speaking, I know professionals that are perfectly happy with FCPX. And I know an even larger number of professionals who are not at all happy with the new release... Read More

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Cine Gear 2011 Video Coverage

FreshDV's video coverage from Cine Gear 2011

By Matthew Jeppsen | June 13, 2011

Cine Gear LA was held last week at the Paramount backlot in Hollywood, and the FreshDV crew was onsite to capture interviews and video coverage. Watch our coverage in the following video playlist... Read More

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Digital Cinema Real-World Available Light Test

35mm, 16mm, Alexa, Red MX, PMW-F3 and DSLR compared

By Matthew Jeppsen | June 02, 2011

We geeks are pixel pushers, and we love charts and scientific testing of camera systems. It's an essential part of understanding where the system breaks, and it informs your creative freedom on-set. That said, it is sometimes refreshing to see a comparative test from a common real-world shooting situation - working with available light. This is one such test, compliments of John Brawley. Watch below... Read More

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FreshDV NAB 2011 Video Coverage

Our complete video content and coverage of the NAB 2011 expo

By Kendal Miller | April 14, 2011

Welcome to FreshDV's coverage of NAB 2011! The FreshDV crew is in Vegas for NAB week, bringing you video coverage from the show floor. If you can't be on-site at NAB, we are the resource to watch. Watch our coverage of the show in the playlist below. If you've enjoyed it, drop us a line on Twitter @FreshDV. Watch below... Read More

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PMW-F3 Dynamic Range Test

Abel Cine tests Sony F3 Dynamic Range on the charts

By Matthew Jeppsen | April 01, 2011

Abel Cine has been doing a short series of tests on the new PMW-F3 camera from Sony, and the latest episode is a very thorough dynamic range test. In it, they chart the F3 at a solid 12-stops of dynamic range, and then go on to show how the various Cine Gamma modes affect the way information the camera is capturing. It's a very well done test video, watch below... Read More

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NFL Behind the Scenes DSLR POV

Stillmotion collaborates with NFL on a POV series shot on DSLR

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 31, 2011

Stillmotion has posted a very cool behind-the-scenes video that shows their helmet-cam in use for NFL Films, used to tell the story of new players going through training. It's a great application of compact DSLRs as POV tech, and they did a nice job creating a custom helmet-cam unit that appears to work beautifully. If you want to see more pictures of the helmetcam, head on over to Stillmotion's website. And check out the behind the scenes video below. Read More

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Editors: Quietly Making You Look Better Since 1903

How editing changed the face of Johnny Cash's "Hurt" music video

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 26, 2011

Here's a short excerpt from the 2005 DVD 'The Work of Director Mark Romanek' that talks about the making of the Johnny Cash music video for "Hurt." Romanek discusses how he initially conceived and shot a very straightforward performance music video in the home of Cash. It wasn't until the edit that they decided to add some archival footage, to add more emotional depth to the video... Read More

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NEX FS-100 Overview and First footage

Complete camera walkthrough and accompanying music video

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 23, 2011

Den from F-Stop Academy was lucky enough to be one of the first shooters to get his hands on the new NEX FS-100 camera from Sony, the little brother to the PMW-F3 camera (they reportedly share the same sensor). He's posted an incredible 18-minute camera system walkthrough, behind the scenes footage, and a completed music video shot with the camera. Watch below. Read More

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Your Daily Motion Graphics Inspiration

Stunning dynamic text tribute to Conan O'Brien's farewell speech

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 22, 2011

We've all seen these fantastic "dynamic text" videos, that use animated text, generally cleanly laid out on a simple background, to convey information-dense concepts. For corporate video producers, it's a good way to deal with the common situation when a client essentially requests what I call Video Powerpoint...that is, when the client demands a lot of text on screen, and isn't creative enough to explore telling the story in other ways. Read More

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PMW-F3 vs AG-AF100 vs 5D MKII

Comparison of Gain & Sensitivity and now updated with a Latitude comparison

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 21, 2011

Here's a quick side-by-side candle-lit comparison of the Sony PMW-F3, Panasonic AG-AF100, and the venerable Canon 5D MKII DSLR. The test footage was shot by Dennis Ersöz. This video clip very neatly shows how the native sensitivity of each camera compares, and also how clean the gain/ISO is at high levels. Watch below. Read More

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The subtle VFX work in Black Swan

Good VFX execution that doesn't draw undue attention

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 17, 2011

The filmmakers of Black Swan have been discussed for the choice to shoot much of the film on 16mm stock, as well as some coverage being shot on the Canon 5D and 7D DSLRs (see IMDB tech specs). But I've seen very little coverage of the visual effects in the film, which you may be surprised to learn are rather extensive, including full-head replacements for a number of Natalie Portman dancing shots. They are also very subtly and tactfully executed. Here's a behind the scenes video that shows clean plates, followed by composite and VFX plates... Read More

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Confirmation on Sony F3 native sensitivity

800 ISO native and 6400 ISO equivalent at 18dB gain!

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 27, 2011

A couple weeks ago FreshDV linked to a C47 video where Jem Schofield discussed seeing the PMW-F3 in use in a high-ISO test. At that time, Jem indicated he thought the native sensitivity rating of the camera was 800 ISO and that it offered a 6400 ISO equivalent with 18dB of gain engaged. He also talked about how clean the image was, even at 18dB of gain...which piqued my interest greatly. Well it's all been confirmed now by Andy Shipsides from AbelCine, as he posted these figures over on a DVinfo forum thread... Read More

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Shutter Speed vs FPS

Shutter Speed 101 for n00bs (and confused pros)

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 27, 2011

Here's a short video tutorial on the topic of Shutter Speed, which is at times confused with Frames Per Second. The tutorial is from a DSLR shooting series by the University of Waterloo, and it's a good primer on the topic. You can watch it below. Read More

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Which ProRes quality level is Good Enough when editing DSLR footage?

My experience using ProRes LT for Canon DSLR production

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 22, 2011

So I wanted to share some personal findings after working heavily with DSLRs for about a year and a half now. I've been converting most of my DSLR footage to ProRes LT for post-production, and have found it to be a good size-to-quality happy medium. In most cases, my projects will end up on DVD, web, or some kind of Standard Definition delivery, so LT allows me to strike a quality compromise that tends to be invisible after output. Even for HD applications, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find visible quality issues when editing with ProRes LT, assuming that you aren't pushing the image too much in color-correction and grading. And let's be honest, you probably shouldn't be heavily grading DSLR footage anyway...for as much as I love DSLRs, the footage doesn't like to be pushed hard. Read on... Read More

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Analyzing what you see in a film frame

Eye-tracking study provides data on where viewers look when watching a film

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 17, 2011

This new study by David Bordwell provides fascinating data on where viewers look when watching a film. Researchers used infrared pupil tracking to correlate attention to what was happening in the film, and their findings will surely be of interest to DoPs, Directors, and Editors alike... Read More

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Courage Under Lighting

A case study in set lighting for a music video. We deconstruct a set and examine the lighting approach.

By Kendal Miller | February 06, 2011

Recently I had the opportunity to direct a music video for a local Chicago band called Flatfoot 56. On this particular project, the narrative would be completely shot on a sound stage and the performance piece of the band would be shot at one other location. Lighting the performance location wound up taking roughly eight hours to rig, utilizing around 22 heads and drawing about 23,000 watts. So where did we end up and how did we get there? Come and take a ride along with us; our first stop is in Gary Indiana. Read on... Read More

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Constructing a helmet cam

Stillmotion on how they built a helmet-cam for an NFL shoot

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 02, 2011

Stillmotion has a blog post up with info on how they pulled together a makeshift DSLR helmet camera for POV shots. They built it around a standard skateboard helmet and a Canon T2i, with the addition of one of those el-cheapo wireless video monitors (I snagged one a while back, and it works great for the money). Head on over to their blog for more info and pictures. Read More

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