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by Matthew Jeppsen & Kendal Miller

Matt Jeppsen is a freelance cinematographer, and Kendal Miller is a director at Cultivate Studio... Read More

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Shutter Speed vs. Shutter Angle

Converting from Film-speak to Digital and back again

By Kendal Miller | July 11, 2007

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the way a video camera calculates shutter (fractions of a second) and the way a film camera calculates shutter (in degrees)? If so, then this article is just for you. Here's what you need to know...{C} 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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FreshDV Film School - The Art of Pulling Focus

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. Read More


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BTS of a car chase stunt for Fast and Furious 6

How the Big Boys do stunts

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 14, 2012

Here's a cool stunt sequence for Fast and Furious 6, in this short BTS you get to see them drop a car and a load of prop debris right into the middle of a car chase. It looks like they're rolling 6 cameras including the two car-mounted russian arms and remote atv. Very cool peek at how the big guys do production. I'd say that one of the biggest surprises for me is that they shot it on film and not digital.

Try to ignore the obnoxious music and watch below...

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Before & After VFX for Final Destination 5

A detailed BTS look at a VFX-heavy sequence in the film

By Matthew Jeppsen | December 21, 2012

Here's an awesome behind the scenes look at the bridge sequence in Final Destination 5. This scene is very heavy on visual effects, with a lot of work put into integrating practical sets, actors, and visual effects. Even with all the greenscreens they built at the practical locations, the sheer amount of rotoscoping work that had to happen here makes my head spin. Watch below...


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Free VFX Tracking Markers

Snag these DIY templates

By Matthew Jeppsen | February 19, 2013

Need some VFX tracking markers? Here, get some.

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FreshDV Follow Focus System Reviews

A detailed look at 10 popular follow focus units

By Matthew Jeppsen | October 01, 2007

FreshDV's full review of five popular follow focus units was first printed in the October 2007 issue of DV Magazine. It included reviews of the Chrosziel, Cinetech, Redrock Micro, Petroff, and Indifocus units. Shortly thereafter we published detailed video reviews. Since then, we've continued the series with reviews of the Shoot35 SGFollow Focus, ARRI's MFF-1 and MFF-4 units, Zacuto's Z-Focus Flippable, and Cinevate's Durus unit. We've also reviewed the Bartech BFD remote wireless follow focus system. And as manufacturers release new products and updates we will continue to keep this video review resource current.In these video clips, we walk the viewer through the major features of each follow focus system, mount the units to our test rigs, measure gear lash, and finally use them to drive a lens. There is no silver bullet...each unit we tested has unique strengths and weaknesses, and we encourage you to view each of these videos and look for a system that meets your unique needs and requirements. You can view the video reviews in the following playlist. You may also be interested in our informative three-part series on the role of a First AC and Focus Puller, also embedded in the playlist linked below. Read More


Production Jobs and Responsibilities of Crew

Sorting out the roles and responsibilities on a production set

By Kendal Miller | September 22, 2007

After a recent conversation with some fellow filmmakers I was reminded of how mysterious in some ways our industry is, and how many people may not even be clear of their job titles, and what responsibilities those jobs entail. There also exist a hierarchy of authority on a set and a certain level of professionalism is expected of the departments. In the professional realm with a full staffed crew there exist a level of professionalism and mutual respect for each others jobs and responsibilities, or at least their usually is. Sure sometimes you wind up on a bad crew getting chewed out for nothing. The independent world could learn some valuable lessons about team management and establishing departments, and establishing a creative chain of command. Even among friends there should be a degree of departmentalization and a chain of command for decision making. This will ensure that your production flows smoother and everyone can concentrate on their job responsibilities, which has hopefully been staffed to that persons strengths and abilities. Read on for some guidelines and roles that will help you accomplish a smooth running production crew... Read More


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So You Want to Buy a RED Scarlet?

Do you really need that new camera? An intervention.

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 01, 2012

I got a question on Twitter recently regarding the pros and cons of purchasing a Red Scarlet camera. After responding, I decided to expand my replies into this blog post in hopes that someone else may find it useful. Some of this stuff seems elementary, and I apologize if that's the case for you. But I do think that there are many out there who will benefit from this discussion about new camera purchasing in general. Read More


Daily Inspiration - Words as Images

Distilling the meaning of word into clean motion graphic elements

By Matthew Jeppsen | January 17, 2013

This is a really cool project...the challenge was to create an image out of a word, using only the letters in the word itself, and using only the graphic elements of the letters. The result is some very clean and clever motion graphic elements. Sound design also plays a big part. Watch below.

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