Another handy tool for DSLR footage transcoding
By Matthew Jeppsen | August 30, 2010
There's a new transcoding tool making the rounds on that newfangled Twitter thingy the kids are using these days, it's called Rarevision 5DtoRGB. It's a free app for Mac users that they claim offers a much higher quality conversion from H.264 DSLR raw footage to an editing codec (ProRes is a common choice, in one of several flavors and bitrates). Two blogs have done some comparison testing between this new tool and MPEG Streamclip (another popular free option), and I wanted to point them out here for your pixel-peeping enjoyment...
Create custom keymaps and control your apps with gestures
By Matthew Jeppsen | August 16, 2010
Here's an interesting $4.99 app for the iPad; it's called KeyPad Pro and it's basically a wireless client/server app that allows you to control your multimedia pro applications from the iPad. It can either be used to augment your keyboard, maybe programming just certain complex commands or shortcuts into the iPad software, or control the apps fully from a distance (think client review from the couch). The server software is available for both PC and Mac (XP+ and OSX 10.5+). Read on...
Not really, but kinda
By Matthew Jeppsen | July 26, 2010
Intersting. Autodesk is releasing an iPhone and iPad app called Fluid FX that builds on their respected visual effects tech, and allows you to quickly and simply do some very interesting (and complex) things with these multi-touch interfaces. You can manipulate still images, or generate smoke, fire and other fluid effects using just your fingers and the multitouch interface. Is this the future of motion graphics interfaces? Demo video embedded below.
Two pre-production digital cinema cameras du jour face off
By Matthew Jeppsen | July 18, 2010
Jim Jannard has posted some test charts shot by RED, comparing ARRI Alexa with the Red Epic MX. Given that Epic is currently in development as a prototype, it's not a shocker that RED is the first to do any actual chart tests with Epic. The two tests were Dynamic Range and Resolution. On the resolution charts, RED bettered Alexa. That's not that surprising, given RED's historical fixation with resolution and that Epic has a 5K sensor. However, I thought that Alexa fared worst in resolution than it probably should have (less than 2K measured), given that it is a 3.5K sensor (though with larger photosites), so perhaps there are some issues there to iron out. I'm sure there will be subsequent tests from others that can confirm or dispute these results, so we'll see. For today, I'd like to concentrate on the dynamic range charts, which most DP's are probably more interested in. Read on...
Sony's first answer to video DSLRs
By Matthew Jeppsen | July 14, 2010
Some time back, we mentioned a Sony teaser about an upcoming HD camcorder model that would feature interchangeable lenses and be compatible with Sony's line of Alpha lenses. Since then, Sony has showed off a soon-to-ship point and shoot DSLR with similar capabilities, the NEX-5 (and it's little brother, the NEX-3). I've had the opportunity to shoot extensively with pre-production and production versions of the NEX-5, and it's a sweet little camera, though clearly intended for the consumer space given the lack of professional manual exposure controls. But we expected that from a small point and shoot.Now, Sony is showing off their new interchangeable lens camcorder, and it's been dubbed the NEX-VG10. This $2000 camera appears to be their response to the DSLR video revolution, and it's a very good first step in my opinion. The VG10 features an APS-C sized sensor and has a mount that natively accepts Sony E-mount lenses. E-mount lenses are a new Sony standard that enables autofocus, something that many videographers need and can't get from the current crop of video DSLRs. And for pro applications, you can add simple Sony mount adapter which allows you to use Sony Alpha lenses on the E-mount. Autofocus will not work via the Alpha mount adapter, however. This adapter greatly broadens your selection of professional glass options, while the stock 18-200mm E-mount lens offers autofocus and optical stabilization. Read on...
And you can keep your pretty Mac workstation
By Matthew Jeppsen | May 19, 2010
Today AppleInsider posted an article that claimed knowledge of a restructuring of Apple Pro Apps suite away from the needs of professionals and more in line with consumer-level users. Specifically "Apple's Final Cut Studio suite of video post production apps is getting a significant makeover to better target the software to the mainstream of Apple's customer base rather than high end professionals."As you can imagine, this has ignited all sorts of weeping and gnashing of teeth from the Final Cut Pro faithful, who seem primed for this sort of rumor, given Apple's disappointing incremental Pro Apps updates as of late (don't make me mention DVDSP's lack of new features in the past few revisions). At any rate, it's probably unwarranted and unproductive angst, given AppleInsider's lack of demonstrable evidence for these claims. I strongly suggest heading over to read Philip Hodgett's 1700 word response that paints a much different picture. Philip brings clear logic and strong arguments to dissect AI's nebulous assertions point-by-point, and the conclusion should prove to be far more hopeful and encouraging for the professionals who have embraced Final Cut. A must read.
Vericorder's hot new non-linear video editor app for the iPhone
By Matthew Jeppsen | May 11, 2010
Hand Held Hollywood has a report from NAB 2010 on the Vericorder 1st Video app for the iPhone 3GS. It's a full-featured non-linear editor for the device with a featureset that you simply must see to believe. Watch the video below.
Inspiring visuals - Google's latest creative viral campaign for the Chrome browser
By Matthew Jeppsen | May 09, 2010
Google has been on a roll recently with their rube goldberg-esque viral ad concepts, and the latest is no exception. With the latest release of the Chrome browser, they wanted to show off it's speed. And they did so by using high-speed cameras to pit Chrome against a potatogun, soundwaves, and a massive tesla coil. It's inspiring, both conceptually and visually. Watch below...
40-minutes of Shane Hurlbut and Bandito Bros on DSLR Filmmaking
By Matthew Jeppsen | May 06, 2010
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut and his collaborators at Bandito Brothers in LA have been shaking up the industry as they embrace the DSLR filmmaking revolution. We sat down with Shane, Bandito's Jacob Rosenberg, and publicist Hesh Rephun at their amazing LA-area facility to talk about DSLR filmmaking. You can watch this 40-minute interview in two parts here.
All our NAB 2010 video coverage in one convenient playlist. Enjoy!
By Matthew Jeppsen | May 05, 2010
We're still recovering a bit from NAB 2010...it was an amazing expo with all sorts of interesting announcements. The FreshDV crew filmed, edited and posted 35 video segments from the show. You can watch them all in one convenient playlist here.
2.0.3 firmware bugs patched in new 2.0.4 update
By Matthew Jeppsen | March 18, 2010
UPDATE: The Canon 5D MKII DSLR 2.0.3 firmware update was originally released with an audio bug, then pulled by Canon, and now they've released the 2.0.4 firmware update which is supposed to fix those bugs. I've updated a pair of 5Deuces with 2.0.4 and am testing out the audio now. So far, everything looks peachy.The 2.0.3 and 2.0.4 firmware updates add proper 24p/25p (and make 30p proper at 29.97), manual audio levels, and a video histogram (available pre-record only). Get the new firmware at the link above.
Video tools at a photography tradeshow? Blasphemy.
By Matthew Jeppsen | March 13, 2010
While visiting the recent PMA and WPPI photography expo's, FreshDV got some video coverage from the tradeshow floor. We've posted everything over at ProPhoto Coalition, and also pared out a few segments that should be of interest to those of us in the video and filmmaking industry. You can watch these select video-related segments here. Product notes and links can be found below.
Stunning stop-motion music video reinvents the genre
By Matthew Jeppsen | March 05, 2010
Strawberry Swing is a visually stunning stop-motion video starring Coldplay's Chris Martin in the lead role as a flying superhero fighting giant squirrels, sea monsters, and ultimately, getting the girl. It was created in collaboration with the group Shynola, and utilizes an overhead stop-motion animation style that has come into vogue in recent years. But this video takes it to a whole new level, using perspective and live elements in a way that hasn't been done before. You'll no doubt watch this video a few times over, trying to solve the inevitable "how did they do that?!?" questions. Enough talk, watch below.
Muxing 2D CineForm clips for 3D
By Matthew Jeppsen | March 03, 2010
For a few years now, Cineform has been quietly developing some incredible tools for 3D post-production. We caught up with them last year at NAB 2009 and talked for a solid half hour about their tools and 3D production in general, you can watch those videos here. So I was excited to see that David Newman has also recently posted a video tutorial on how to use Neo 3D to sync and mux multiple 3D footage sources. Watch below.
A crash course in the role of a First Assistant Cameraman
By Matthew Jeppsen | March 02, 2010
Image focus is one if the most critical aspects of film and video production. It can also be one of the hardest to get right. Keeping your images in focus become particularly difficult when shooting with your lens aperture wide open, during fast-moving action, and when shooting video film-style with a 35mm lens adapter or DSLR video camera. On a production set the crew member generally tasked with image focus is the First Assistant Camera position.
Discussion with Jackson, Daniels, Reitman, Bigelow, Cameron, and Tarantino
By Matthew Jeppsen | February 14, 2010
The Hollywood Reporter has put together a great video roundtable series with some of the top directors of last year. They brought together Peter Jackson, Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, and Quentin Tarantino to discuss various filmmaking topics over breakfast. It's a fascinating discussion. In one exchange, Tarantino insinuates that he'll stop directing once theaters stop projecting 35mm film and move to all-digital projection. James Cameron's response is priceless. Gotta love Tarantino's childlike obsession with celluloid...the Editing Room nailed him in their re-write of Basterds. Watch the discussion below...
The making of an amazing VFX-heavy short film
By Matthew Jeppsen | February 07, 2010
What do you get when you mix a unique story concept with unearthly special effects and a stirring soundtrack? You get this stunning dose of filmmaking inspiration...
Canon set to release the camcorder upgrade you need, not the one you want
By Matthew Jeppsen | February 06, 2010
There's been a lot of speculation on the new camcorder that Canon is revealing today at the SF SuperMeet. Some (myself included) have been hoping wistfully for a proper camcorder body and controls wrapped around a DSLR sensor, perhaps APS-C sized, with an interchangeable lens mount for common Canon L-series lenses. In simple terms, the camera of our dreams. Well, details and pictures of this new camera model are out, and to put it in romantic terms, we are fools for dreaming. Read on...
A timely roundup of withering criticism and slobbering praise for Apple's latest iCreation
By Matthew Jeppsen | January 29, 2010
It's not even been a week since Apple introduced the iPad, and there have already been literally volumes penned about this new device. These opinions are generally polarized, there seems to be either love or hate, with rarely someone falling in between the two. I'll spare you my long-winded personal opinions, this post is simply a roundup of some of the more thoughtful and insightful articles and opinions I've read about the iPad. Read on...
A director's singular vision and quest for filmmaking without limits
By Matthew Jeppsen | January 26, 2010
The upcoming Criterion release of Steven Soderbergh's "Che" has a brilliant little featurette in the disc that talks about the Red One camera, and how digital cinema affected the production of this film. If you aren't familiar with the story, Soderbergh basically took the Red One camera's digital promise on faith, and was the first to use the system in a true production environment, and a very rough one at that. "Che" was shot on-location in the damp jungle and in extremely hot conditions. Essentially a trial by fire situation for a camera that was largely untested for real production. Watch the featurette "Che and the Digital Cinema Revolution" in the video playlist embedded below the fold.Throughout the course of these interviews, a portrait of Steven Soderbergh emerges...he is driven, unrelenting, and wants no compromises in production and post. He seems willing to cede a number of technical concerns that would cause most directors to pause, in exchange for greater control and flexibility in attaining his filmmaking vision.