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HD for Indies

by Mike Curtis

Mike Curtis writes and runs HD for Indies, a consultancy and website dedicated to using affordable digital technology for independent filmmaking. Mike started HD for Indies after a 15 year digital media career making content for everything from cell phones to cinema screens for clients such as Ford, Dell, Compaq, etc.. As a consultant, he focuses on production and post production hardware, software, and workflows to achieve maximum results at a variety of budget levels....

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Read my reviews of the new Final Cut Pro components

Read my reviews of the new Final Cut Pro components

Yep, I've already been hands on - Final Cut Pro 7, Motion 4, Compressor 3.5, Soundtrack Pro 3, Color 1.5

By Mike Curtis | July 23, 2009

New Final Cut Studio is here - I've had a chance to review the components of the suite already, but unfortunately (for here) for another publication - MacWorld.I'll have lots more to say about them starting tomorrow on here, with the usual Mikey level of detailed analysis, with no word count constraint.Final Cut Pro 7 Review | Video | MacworldCompressor 3.5 Review | Video | MacworldSoundtrack Pro 3 Review | Music and Audio | MacworldColor 1.5 Review | Graphics and 3-D | MacworldMotion 4 Review | Graphics and 3-D | Macworld-mike Read More

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Mikey Hands On: Migrating from iPhone 0G to iPhone 3GS

Mikey Hands On: Migrating from iPhone 0G to iPhone 3GS

Took longer than expected, but worth it!

By Mike Curtis | June 20, 2009

So I skipped the 3G since it wasn't different enough, but the 3GS and the end of my contract (I was one of those Day Zero, $600 mow-ronns), but REAL GPS (with direction), 4 times the capacity, voice commands, better camera with video was enough to convince me.Happy discoveries: new and improved headphone cord with volume, new smaller power brick (same as 3G as far as I can tell, but smaller than the original's). Nike+iPod works without the dongle! Just need the shoe sensor for it to work. SWEET. My old iPod Nano just lost its reason for existence (and perhaps its will to live). Compass is cool, overall YES is faster but a few surprises as compared to the OG (OriGinal iPhone)So here follows the typical nerdery: unboxing pics, details of migration from one phone to another, boot and app launch times compared between 1st gen and 3GS iPhones, etc. And of course, some video from it to follow...LONG activation times today! Took over an hour - probably worst case scenario since Day Zero for this product.Read on for full geeky details... Read More

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Funny Video & Discussion - vendor/client relationships

Funny Video & Discussion - vendor/client relationships

Send this to clients who try to renegotiate after the fact - and lets discuss

By Mike Curtis | May 27, 2009

NOTE - There IS a high def version of this available! Click on the HD button in the box above after you hit play, then pop it full screen.The last line is a killer, especially as someone who comes up with pixel recipes for a living.Ohhhh, the sweet, sweet irony of this one! What if the stunts vendors tried to pull with us were attempted in real life situations, like restaurants, the video store, or the salon?"So you want me to work for free?""No, I don't want you to work for free, it's just a test! That way I can see if my husband likes it, and then you can roll the costs over till the next time I need color if he likes it."or"I'll come back next Tuesday, we're gonna make it up on the next one."Most importantly, WHY do they think their situation is exceptional, and they should be able to get away with this? Or perhaps more importantly, why do we let them get away with it?"Is there a problem sir?"Ohhhhhh, yes. There is indeed. Read More

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Attention Red owners/users - at LAST eSATA transfers off of Red Drives!

Attention Red owners/users - at LAST eSATA transfers off of Red Drives!

LEMO to eSATA cable for faster data transfers in the field

By Mike Curtis | April 16, 2009

R2E cable adds eSATA transfer abilities to RED cameraFINALLY! I asked about this before the first Red One even shipped, so nice to see it (eventually) saw the light of day - a LEMO to eSATA cable. The fastest possible data transfer bus for Red data transfer. Get a card in your laptop that supports port multiplying, then you can run data on one eSATA bus and two drives on another for your data backups with 2 copies via eSATA ASAP which on set is PDI.At $230 it is a bit steep (how about a discount on the backup cable guys?) but at least SOMEBODY is doing it!-mike Read More

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Mike’s Buyer’s Guide - Inside the new iMacs for editors

Mike’s Buyer’s Guide - Inside the new iMacs for editors

Which of the new iMacs is the right one for YOU?

By Mike Curtis | March 11, 2009

Apple introduced new iMacs the other week with bumped up specs. There are now four models to choose from on the online store, and all can be customized - but not all the same - you can upgrade some 24" models differently than some of the others, and the 20" is its own creature. So, if you're interested in a low/mid end system for video editing (such as offline editing or LIGHT weight HD), which one should you choose?Read on after the jump for Mike's read on the new models. Read More

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So - what’s up with Apple and Mini DisplayPort?

So - what’s up with Apple and Mini DisplayPort?

some notes on Mini DisplayPort and its possible uses

By Mike Curtis | March 10, 2009

I didn't pay a whole lot of attention when Apple introduced the new Macbook Pros with a Mini DisplayPort connector. Now that they are also in use ALL the new Macs introduced the other week (Mac Pro towers, iMacs, and Mac Minis), I figured it was time to do a little digging and find out what it is all about. Read on after the jump. Read More

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Mike at Sundance - just saw Soderbergh’s new The Girlfriend Experience

Mike at Sundance - just saw Soderbergh’s new The Girlfriend Experience

shot in just over 2 weeks for $1.7M on Red One

By Mike Curtis | January 21, 2009

(I'm at Sundance, I'll update with pics as soon as I get a cable to upload - I'm at a friend's condo right now, cables back at mine - drat)Just got back from the Sneak #2, the worst kept secret of Sundance - Steven Soderbergh's new film, The Girlfriend Experience. Highights from Steven himself before and from the Q&A afterward the jump. Read More

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ProVideoCoalition Liveblogging the MacWorld 2009 Keynote

ProVideoCoalition Liveblogging the MacWorld 2009 Keynote

Mike's on the scene live at the keynote

By Mike Curtis | January 06, 2009

This is the placeholder for liveblogging the keynote. It is 8:53am, I'm seated (decently) and ready to go...iI'll keep updating this best I can, and I'll start update again once...anything happens.8:54 - just sittin' here...8:56 - Irony is realizing best seat ever at a keynote, but no Steve...9:00 am - asked to silence phones, and upbeat music begins...as does a likely long stream of elipses…Continues after the jump… Read More

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Mikey on the scene - blogging the MacWorld SF 2009 Keynote Live

Mikey on the scene - blogging the MacWorld SF 2009 Keynote Live

I'll be at the keynote, typin' away...

By Mike Curtis | January 06, 2009

Head's up - I'm in San Francisco with my media pass to MacWorld San Francisco 2009 (MWSF), I'll be at the keynote clickety clacking away. I'll post as much as I can as live as I can from the keynote.Rumor mills calling for new Mac Minis (likely), new 17" aluminum, fixed (ugh) battery laptop (sure why not), and new Mac Pro towers with Blu-ray. My friend and vendor I buy my Macs from has his own thoughts on the matter: Torrey's Mac Pro predictions.UPDATE 11:30am CST Tuesday after the keynote: oops, no new towers. Or new Minis. No wonder Steve stayed home. Here's the link to my live coverage.-mike Read More

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Color 1.0.4 Released - Red fixes

Color 1.0.4 Released - Red fixes

Part of Pro Apps Update 2008-05

By Mike Curtis | December 17, 2008

Short and easy:"The following improvements have been made to Color 1.0.4.XDCAM Clip Relinking Is FixedXDCAM EX, HD, and 422 clips now relink properly.ISO Changes in the RED Tab Appear CorrectlyInstances where the Color UI did not accurately reflect changes made to the ISO parameter in the RED tab of the Primary In room have been fixed.Improvements to the Blur Node in the Color FX RoomAdjusting the spread parameter of the Blur node no longer causes the clip to scale up.For more information, go to http://www.apple.com/support/releasenotes/en/Color_1.0_rn."Changing ISO on RAW footage is an important and powerful tool - now it (purportedly) works right. Just saw it, haven't tested it yet myself...Also, don't forget, I do NOT recommend 10.5.6 at this time, esp. if you're a Color user - see previous post...-mike Read More

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Beware 10.5.6 upgrade, 2007 Mac Pro owners

Does Funny-Not-Ha-Ha Things To PCIe Configs

By Mike Curtis | December 17, 2008

Got an email from a RAID vendor, 10.5.6 apparently is having some issues:We have also seen on 2007 Mac Pros where the PCI-express configuration (Expansion Slot Utility) setting does not 'stick', it reverts to x8, x1, x1, x16 speeds always. So any PCI-express cards installed are affected also....so watch out. Dunno if it affects non-RAID setups, but is such a pain to roll back, if you have PCIe cards (RAID cards, HD-SDI I/O cards, etc.) probably best to wait. I've updated my MacBook and had no difficulties to date (last 24 hours).Thanks to Dulce Systems for the heads up. Read More

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Rant on The Death of Indie Film as a Business Model

Rant on The Death of Indie Film as a Business Model

TRULY Indie Filmmaking is deader than fried chicken, financially

By Mike Curtis | December 11, 2008

Went to dinner with an indie filmmaker last night. Here's a rant based on that.Synopsis: I think indie movie making as a business model is deader than fried chicken.Hoping to make your little movie and make a living off of it, until you can get the next one going? Very unlikely, unfortunately.As somebody mentioned in an email to me about this, moviemaking digital tools came along to help reduce (some) costs of moviemaking, but other digital tools came along that stripped away the marketability of those films even faster (bootleg downloads, too much content, competition for time from internet/cable/DVDs/games/etc.) and the math isn't working out favorably right now.Supporting evidence below: Read More

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Red updates Scarlet/Epic specs - “Mo Bettah”

Red updates Scarlet/Epic specs - “Mo Bettah”

...and a sweet deal for Red One owners UPDATED

By Mike Curtis | December 03, 2008

Updated with exclusive charts and analysis Wednesday 1pm PST)Red always talks about all specs, timetables, prices, etc. are subject to drastic change. So, they've already changed (read: "increased") the specs for the planned Scarlet and Epic cameras, and given a big wet kiss to existing Red One owners. Read on for the details after the jump. Read More

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TRULY native Red support in Final Cut Studio…finally!

TRULY native Red support in Final Cut Studio…finally!

Well, rewrappered QTs - as native as P2 is...

By Mike Curtis | November 21, 2008

Apple and Red have teamed up to support native (OK, rewrapped QTs, akin to how P2 is handled) .R3D support in Final Cut Pro 6.0.5 and Color 1.0.3. Red has a plugin to work with those new versions, including access to the 12 bit RGB data within Color...even letting you manipulate exposure, white balance, etc. on the native R3Ds in a 32 bit floating point space. Keep reading for either:a.) to understand WTH all that means, orb.) all the gory details if you do....after the jump. Read More

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Red’s new approach - modular digital stills and motion cameras - 8 new models

Red’s new approach - modular digital stills and motion cameras - 8 new models

EIGHT new cameras announced today from Red - new lenses too!

By Mike Curtis | November 14, 2008

Today Red announced 8 (yes, EIGHT) new cameras. Sensors range from 2/3" to 186x56mm (yep, that's 7 1/3 by 2 1/5 INCHES), with resolutions from 3K to 28K, with prices from $2500 to $55,000 for the "brains" of the units (more on that below). Incredibly modular to a Legos or Erector Set degree. There's a HUGE amount of information up on Red's website here, but after the jump I've organized/summarized, have some analysis, and answers to questions not found on their site. Continues after the jump.... Read More

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New workflow options for Red announced from Apple, Adobe, & Avid

New workflow options for Red announced from Apple, Adobe, & Avid

more goodies from the Red announcements today

By Mike Curtis | November 14, 2008

I spent much of today on the Fox lot, watching Ted Schilowitz talk about what's up with Red. I'll have another article up shortly about their new hardware, but in terms of workflow, some interesting things were discussed today for upcoming changes coming this year from Apple, Adobe, and Avid for native (or more native) Red workflows. Details after the jump. Read More

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Red Drops the (Specs) Bomb

Epic, Scarlet, DSMC = pile of Lego blocks

By Mike Curtis | November 13, 2008

It is 5am.And I still haven't gone to sleep. Then Pliny from Offhollywood drops me an link to Reduser's page on all the specs for Epic, Scarlet, and the whole DSMC (Digital Stills and Motion Camera) thread that Jim has been posting to tonight. Read on.... Read More

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“The Conversation” Conference starts today in SF

I'll be speaking there tomorrow 1:30-3pm

By Mike Curtis | October 17, 2008

Starting this morning, The Conversation begins in Berkeley, California. The Schedule is here. Speakers will include John Gaeta (VFX super on The Matrix trilogy & Speed Racer), John Knoll (of ILM, also created Photoshop), Phil Tippett, and a slew of new media folks. I'm crushed that I'm missing the first day - I'll be talking about what's new in post & production tomorrow at 1:30, and my Red One camera wasn't ready to drive up to San Francisco until this morning. In any case, if you can, dart on over to Berkeley and check it out - if you're curious about where content is going and how it'll be created, this should be fascinating. On site registration is about $150 for the two day event.-mike Read More

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QuVis Wraptor to export your own DCI DCP (that’s theatrical digital file package)

$699 Compressor plug-in lets Final Cut Studio users export Digital Cinema Package

By Mike Curtis | September 16, 2008

QuVis has announced a new product - QuVis Wraptor - a $699 Compressor plug-in for Final Cut Studio that allows independent content producers to create their own DCI DCP. That is a Digital Cinema Initiative's Digital Cinema Package, which is the digital file format and wrapper used for digital projection, a standard that only came about in the last few years. Why is this such a big deal? Because I've heard encoding of even just TRAILERS was about $6K a pop, and features were about $20K. Now you can "roll your own" for about $700. So that's BIG.Read on for more about it... Read More

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Bloggage - I’ve got my own Nikon D90 on the way

Bloggage - I’ve got my own Nikon D90 on the way

I've ordered one of the Nikon D90 cameras for myself

By Mike Curtis | September 10, 2008

Just a simple blog post - I've ordered one of the new Nikon D90 cameras for myself - I wanted a DSLR so I could learn more about RAW shooting, I also wanted a Nikon, so I could doodle with the Red One's Nikon lens mount. BH Photovideo has the D90 with a VR 18-105 lens for $1295, I'd asked for B&H gift certificates for my birthday back in June, so I was able to use those to offset the cost. I got the camera with lens (the body alone is about $1000, but not available until October according to B&H's site), a coupla 4GB cards, a remote trigger, an extra battery, the big battery pack that lets it do something extra I recall, and a monopod. It should, in theory, all get here Friday, so I'll let you know how it all turns out. I'm really a post guy at heart, been learning more about what happens in front of the sensor the last few years. My iPhoto has about 20K+ images in it, so I figure it is time to step up to a DSLR and start learning more. Plus, the camera has a nifty 720p video mode which will be fun for doodling/documenting. DPreview mentioned a Nikon GP-1 GPS tagging gadget, BH didn't list it, but that sounds like the kind of thing I'd definitely want to play with, and could lead to some fun web stuff to doodle with. All in time.-mike Read More

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