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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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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


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Why the FCP sky is not falling

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. Read More


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1st Video - NLE for your iPhone

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. Read More


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Google Chrome vs Things That Go Bang

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... Read More


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Filmmaker Conversations - Shane Hurlbut and Bandito Bros

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. Read More


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FreshDV’s NAB 2010 Video Coverage

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 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. Read More


Canon 5DMKII 24p firmware is released with audio bug (UPDATE: Fixed)

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. Read More