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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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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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10 Screenwriting Tips from Joss Whedon

Ten Tips from geek filmmaker royalty

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 01, 2011

Yeah, that title got your attention didn't it! Over at Scriptwriting in the UK there's a nice post with ten detailed tips on screenwriting, by none other than geek-filmmaker darling Joss Whedon. And a damn fine collection of tips indeed. My personal favorite is #5...quoted below: Read More


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Extra Extra, Free Light Leak Clips!

Read all about it!

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 31, 2011

Jesse Rosten is a studmuffin filmmaker, and he's giving away some light leaks that he created. These are excellent transitional elements, similar to the clips you'll find in Artbeats Film Clutter collections. You can also make your own light leaks by removing the lens from your camera and playing light across the sensor with a flashlight.But if you are lazy like most of us editors, snag these pre-made clips while you can. And if you aren't sure how you'd use them, watch the "Growing is Forever" video embedded below for a taste of Jesse's light leak goodness. Read More


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Panasonic AF100 Sensor Size Comparison

An answer for those who think the AF100 sensor is too small

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 15, 2011

One of the common questions that I've personally gotten in the past few weeks is in regards to the AF100's sensor size. There seems to be a common belief that this camera's 4/3s sensor is objectionably small in size. I personally think that this size issue has been overstated, that the 4/3s size is actually rather large...and that the real issue is one of expectations and perception. Read on, I'll explain... Read More


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The Heartbreaking Beauty of Pixar’s Films

As we review another year past, here's a sentimental look back at 15 years of Pixar brilliance

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 01, 2011

In 1995 Pixar released their first feature film, Toy Story. Since then, this amazing group of creatives has led in visual innovation and unique stories. As we review the year 2010, it seems fitting to share this inspiring mashup of Pixar films from the past 15 years. Enjoy. Read More


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ARRI Alexa vs Canon 7D latitude & grading comparison

Pushing pixels around to see where these two cameras fall apart

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 28, 2010

It seems a little absurd to be comparing a $1500 camera to the ARRI Alexa, but such is the world that we currently live in...DSLR video has made major inroads in production, and there are many situations where it is well-suited. But as with any tool, part of deciding when to use it is knowing where it fails. To that end, here is a video test chart comparison by Nick Paton ACS that shows how these two cameras fall apart when over/underexposed and then graded back to neutral. In short, this test highlights one key area where the Alexa is vastly superior to the Canon 7D. Watch and learn... Read More


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Daily Inspiration - The most realistic CG you’ve ever seen

Simply stunning work

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 19, 2010

This commercial spot was done entirely with CG, and it's simply beautiful. I would never have guessed this was done without live action high-speed filming. Read More


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Daily Inspiration - Graphic Animation, Subaru Style

This film looks better shot with a 1-degree shutter angle. Find out why.

By Matthew Jeppsen | November 10, 2010

180-degree shutter angle is the rule of thumb when shooting film & video. It almost always makes your images look better...unless you are a pro and you understand just when to break the rules. The following amazing Subaru spot is a great example of how to use knowledge of shutter angle/degrees to your benefit. It is all kinds of awesome! Watch below. Read More


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Martini QuickShot Creator puts pre-viz directly into FCP

Simple pre-visualization software for the rest of us

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 29, 2010

Just watched the demo for Martini Quickshot Creator, and must say that this $199 software package looks AWESOME. Check out the demo can quickly build pre-visualized scenes for a project from a library of characters and scenes. All from within Final Cut Pro. This software looks simply brilliant. Read More


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BMX at 1000fps from a Canon 7D

Creative use of Twixtor to eke 1000fps out of 60p

By Matthew Jeppsen | September 10, 2010

You gotta love indie filmmakers, and their desire to invest time to create motion picture magic with affordable, readily available tools. Occasionally a gem like this one will surface...this is a video shot at 60p on the Canon 7D, which was then selectively processed with Twixtor to stretch sections of footage to 1000 fps. Very cool, and subtly executed in the edit. Watch below the fold... Read More


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Rarevision 5DtoRGB vs MPEG Streamclip for transcoding

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... Read More


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iPad KeyPad Pro wirelessly controls your pro apps

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... Read More


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Autodesk Maya on iPhone and iPad?

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. Read More


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RED Epic vs ARRI Alexa Dynamic Range Charts

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... Read More


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Sony NEX-VG10 interchangeable lens camcorder announced

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... Read More