April Showers website a treasure of information

April Showers website a treasure of information

Film's online resources are great for those interesed in independent filmmaking

By Scott Simmons | April 15, 2009

I was looking at some of the films coming to our local film festival, the Nashville Film Festival, (which I won't be attending much since they scheduled most of it the same week as NAB!) and I came across a film screening this Saturday called April Showers. It's not a light little comedy but rather a drama about a Columbine-like school shooting. The synopsis from the film's website:From writer/director, Andrew Robinson, a survivor of the Columbine High School tragedy, comes April Showers a dramatized retelling of what it was like to be a survivor in the midst of the nation's largest school shootings. Based largely on actual events, April Showers follows the story of Sean Ryan (Kelly Blatz, Prom Night) as he and fellow survivors attempt to make sense of the horrors they've just witnessed and, for Sean, coping with the loss of his friend April (Ellen Woglom, Viva Laughlin). Besides looking like an important film with very topical subject matter, one other thing that makes this movie worth a blog post are many of the resources available on the film's official website. Read More


arrihead camera operator gear head geared head gearhead hd nab panahead red

Gear Head for the RED

Sacramento company GearNex brings smooth moves to your favorite HD camera

By Art Adams | April 14, 2009

Last spring, while shooting a piece for solar energy company SunPower on the RED, our jib operator asked me to keep a secret. "How interested would you be in a low cost gear head for the RED? I think I'm going to build one." Read More


beachtek camera canon 5d xlr adapter

Beachtek announces the DXA-5D XLR adapter for the Canon 5D MKII !

And the specs look very good indeed!

By Scott Gentry | April 14, 2009

Bruce Dorn found this on our sister site ProPhoto Coalition. Here's the beginning:If you've been following the maturation of the Canon 5D MKII as an HD video capture device, then you've probably heard about the camera's limitations with regards to audio recording.Yes, the 5D MKII does record audio via an internal microphone but that feature is so basic as to be nearly useless. There is, thankfully, an "Audio In" jack but the camera's compact form-factor has necessitated that this input be the tiny and sometimes unreliable 3.5mm mini-jack. Most professional level audiophiles would much prefer the industry-standard XLR jacks but there just wasn't enough room for these larger connectors. Read More


Select Color Range Command

Select Color Range Command

Quickly make accurate selections in Photoshop

By Richard Harrington | April 14, 2009

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Runaway Production

A combination of financial incentives and the convenience of digital media is making it easier to film outside of Los Angeles.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | April 10, 2009

One of the reasons we were happy to live in Los Angeles for so long is because it was where "it" was Happening - there was a critical mass of talent and infrastructure that made it one of the best places to create a film or television show. We also got started just when desktop production was becoming viable, which drastically reduced costs in many cases.These are different times now. The cost savings of desktop production has already been fully priced in. Throw in an economic crisis, and producers are looking for other ways to save money - including filming in states that provide deep financial incentives (such as our new home state New Mexico's 25% rebate). Read More


Professional Audio Podcasting seminar, April 14th in Miami

Professional Audio Podcasting seminar, April 14th in Miami

Learn how to produce a professional audio podcast in Miami, April 14th

By Allan Tépper | April 10, 2009

Now is your chance to attend a seminar about professional audio podcast production. You will learn the fundamental differences between tradtional radio broadcasts, live Internet radio, and audio podcasts... and the advantages of the latter; how to design your audio podcast format; the standard elements (intros, outros, bumpers, etc.); hardware and software to produce your audio podcast; how to conduct high-quality telephone interviews; audio editing of your podcast; compression versus normalization; how to add chapters and graphics to your enhanced audio podcast; how to upload your podcast; and how to create an RSS feed which is compatible with iTunes and other podcast aggregators.The date is April 14th, and the place is Miami, Florida. Although there is a charge of US$100 per person, attendees will receive a coupon good for a 40% discount off of the recommended audio podcast production software for Mac. Click here for more information, or to register. Read More


Stylizing Photos for Video

Stylizing Photos for Video

Video tutorial on how to quickly stylize images for the screen

By Richard Harrington | April 10, 2009

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mtf optics resolution sharpness zeiss

Sharpness is a Complex Thing

Resolution numbers don't tell the whole story; some times less is more!

By Adam Wilt | April 10, 2009

Limiting resolution is easy to determine, but there's a whole lot more to image sharpness and overall quality than resolution. For example, you can optimize a pinhole camera for maximum resolution, OR you can optimize it for a sharper-looking image! Read More


black and white channel operations desaturate gray grayscale grey greyscale monochromatic tint tritone

On Grayscale Shootout

Alternate paths to better monochrome results.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | April 09, 2009

There are many ways to convert color footage into a grayscale shot - and they are certainly not created equal. Perhaps most surprising is that the time-honored technique of removing all of the saturation from an image can produce unpleasant visual artifacts. In this article on, we run through our favorite techniques in After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and Motion for deriving a pleasant grayscale image. Click here to download the PDF of "Grayscale Shootout" from the way, this is the article I blogged about earlier which nearly drove me crazy: the same effect can have different names in these programs, while different effects can have the same name. It's always worth taking the time to test and explore, rather than taking a result a face value.The content contained in our books, videos, blogs, and articles for other sites are all copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed. Read More


aftra digital cinema film sag television

Has the Demise of Film Been Hastened by the Impending Actors’ Strike?

That's the assertion of DP Rodney Charters, and his explanation is intriguing.

By Mark Christiansen | April 09, 2009

Episode 29 of the excellent Red Centre Podcast consists of an interview with L.A. based director of photography Rodney Charters, who makes the assertion that entertainment industry strikes have hastened the demise of film as a shooting medium."Out of 100 pilots this year," reports Charters, "only 3 are being shot on film." This is a dramatic decline from years past, a much faster rate than one would expect in the natural evolution to high-end digital shooting in the 21st century. Why?As you are probably aware, SAG has for some time been threatening to strike, having failed to come to an agreement with MPAA in 2008; after the writer's strike which cost the California economy some $2.1 billion, this has caused a good deal of consternation on the part of producers. It also apparently led to a split with AFTRA, the sister union to SAG which traditionally is the "television" unit where SAG is feature film.AFTRA's contract stipulates that shows featuring its members be shot electronically (the television link) and therefore, in order to avoid the unexpected, producers have apparently been demanding AFTRA agreements. Thus, the vast majority of new television projects, including dramatic series that would traditionally have been filmed, have been shot with cameras like Panavision Genesis, Sony F35 and RED.Whereby, according to Charters, "the actors have single-handedly killed film." Read More


UPDATE A found video from RED’s headquarters?

UPDATE A found video from RED’s headquarters?

Some guy's "Trip to RED" video posted online and then removed

By Scott Simmons | April 08, 2009

Whooo Hoooo!!!!! Today I got my first ever "takedown" notice for a blog entry! I guess if you write about and cover any industry that deals in product launches and trade secrets for long enough then you will eventually post something that someone doesn't like. Usually it's just an opinion of some software or a certain hardware product but every now and then you might be posting something that really shouldn't have been posted in the first place. Apparently that's what happened yesterday when I posted a link to a video that a recent new Twitter follower had posted of an event at RED headquarters. Apparently he wasn't supposed to be videoing this event as some powers-that-be at RED asked for the video and links to be removed. The video really didn't show that much especially now that the RED ONE is out in full force in the world. But hey, the last thing I have time to worry about or mess with is some lawyer with too much time on his/her hands harassing me for linking to some other dude's illegally obtained video. So off the link goes. Of course with the Internet these days, is any video really gone for good?So I got a new Twitter follower recently and as I was poking around his website and I saw this link to 4 new movies. One of those links was titled RED HQ. From Nathan's RED HQ entry:I got to go "somewhere near LA" and check out the inside of Red's HQ, where the RED ONE camera was born. They showed us a couple of 4K movies, and offered hands on training with the camera and post software. It was insanely cool. In addition to that, I also went to Mexico, which has some interesting shots. Also check out the still images from the trip Right Here.Nathan posted a video to some time he spent at RED's headquarters (or some other very official RED looking event). The camera wanders around and shows RED ONE cameras, parts and pieces, a big projector on some scaffolding as well as what looks to be Red Leader Jim Jannard himself discussing the camera in an informal setting, cigar in hand. I don't know anything more about the footage than what is on the poster's website but it was kinda fun to wander around the place. Anyhoo ... Read More


Kensington trackball as a poor man’s control surface

Kensington trackball as a poor man’s control surface

Make your FCP color correcting just a little easier

By Scott Simmons | April 07, 2009

You may have never thought of using a trackball as a cheap substitute for a control surface when color correcting in Final Cut Pro but you can. At least you can use the functionality of a Kensington Expert Mouse Trackball to make using Colorista or the stock FCP 3-way color corrector to keep you hands off of the mouse. I wrote a little piece over at Studio Daily called Poor Man's Control Surface that explains just that. Read More


Motion Graphics Mix

Motion Graphics Mix

A Little Visual Inspiration

By Mark Spencer | April 03, 2009

From Smashing Magazine, here are some very different examples of great motion graphics and visual effects work.Enjoy. Read More


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PVC Pipeline | Distribution

Have you signed up yet for our free newsletter?

By Scott Gentry | April 03, 2009

This coming Monday, we'll be releasing our third newsletter: PVC Pipeline | Distribution. As you can guess from it's name, this one will be focused on the broad subject of alternate ways of getting your creation out into the world - from podcast production (including an insightful article from Alex Lindsay on the Pixel Corps' experience producing podcasts for themselves as others, as well as Allan T©pper's review of a tool he uses for his podcasts: Übercaster), to getting distribution for your independent movie (a great roundtable discussion led by the FreshDV folks, including award-winning producer/writer Jerome Courshon, and Scott Kirsner of Variety), to a tutorial by Michael Vitti on creating buttons for a custom DVD. So if you haven't subscribed yet, do so now - it's free, and you'll get to enjoy these articles weeks before anyone else. Read More


billy fox macbreak motion

Billy Fox and Motion

How a Feature Film Editor uses Motion for VFX

By Mark Spencer | April 02, 2009

Billy Fox returns to MacBreak Studio, and I talk with him about how he used Motion to create a shot "out of nothing" for the feature film Traitor starring Don Cheadle. The movie is embedded on the next page - click the Play Video link below, please give the movie a moment to load. Read More


after effects cascade range selector text text animator

After Effects Apprentice Video Tutorial #4

Animating text in After Effects.

By Chris and Trish Meyer | April 02, 2009

We've recently released After Effects Apprentice (2nd Edition). The DVD-ROM that comes with the book includes an hour and a half of video tutorials that provide gentle introductions to major features inside After Effects, such as text and expressions. In this fourth video, we show how to master Text Animators, including Range Selectors, the secret to creating cascading animations, and more. Click on the Play Video link below, and enjoy! (For the previous video on how to create and typeset text, click here.) (Note: For those who are hearing-impaired, has added Closed Captioning to these tutorials. They are available here. We are also in the process of creating video training for all of the After Effects Apprentice lessons; they will also appear on If you do not have a subscription, click here for a free 7-day pass.) After Effects Apprentice was designed for students looking to learn After Effects from scratch, as well as those who do not use AE full time (such as editors or web designers). It starts gently with an introduction to keyframing, and progresses through the important features (such as masks, mattes, effects, text, audio, 3D space, shape layers, expressions, parenting, and building advanced hierarchies of compositions) until you end up keying, stabilizing, and compositing a shot in high def. The second edition has been fully revamped for After Effects CS4, and includes integration with Photoshop CS4 Extended and Flash Professional CS4. The content contained in After Effects Apprentice - as well as the CMG Blogs and CMG Keyframes posts on ProVideoCoalition - are copyright Crish Design, except where otherwise attributed. Read More


compositing coraline reel vfx

Beautiful Compositing Reel from Coraline

VFX work on the acclaimed stop-motion film

By Matthew Jeppsen | April 02, 2009

Compositor and VFX artist Adam Sager has posted his personal reel from the work he did for the 3D stop-motion film "Coraline." It's a beautiful collection of clips that show the before and after comparisons. Anyone with an interest in compositing and the VFX arts should really dig the video embedded below. Read More


MSM on Hollywood’s Obsolete Business Model

Journalists calling attention to a floundering business model

By Matthew Jeppsen | March 31, 2009

HDFilmTools shed a little light recently on mainstream media coverage of the major upheaval in Hollywood's traditional business model. With the credit crunch, the rise of piracy, and slacking DVD sales, the industry is in a unique position that they've not had experience with in the past. While these changes have not occurred overnight, it appears that they are finally seeing some major media coverage. Read More


backup data dvd failure rot sticktion tape

Data Rot

Were you expecting your backups to last more than five years?

By Chris and Trish Meyer | March 30, 2009

Well-known author David Pogue recently aired this interesting piece on "data rot" for his CBS Sunday Morning tech series, which has been transcribed for the New York Times web site. Aside from containing some interesting geek trivia and a renewed warning that DVD lifespans vary greatly (5 to 100 years, depending on the brand and storage conditions), the line that smacked me in the face was "well, hard disks only last five years, generally." And that's not Pogue saying it; that's Dag Spicer at the Computer History Museum, who is trying to preserve these things.I know a lot of people have migrated away from tape backups to hard drives stacked in a closet; I know I copied as many of our old Exabytes as I could read onto an external FireWire 400 drive (in addition to using redundant DVDs of more recent material). I've always worried about stored drives spinning up again and potential "sticktion" problems; this is the first time I've personally heard a time frame put on it by someone of authority. And as we know, FireWire 400 is getting dropped by some computers as well. It sounds like backing up data is no longer a save-and-forget-it exercise (not that it ever was), but instead a shell game we need to be playing constantly in order to keep backups up-to-date.Regardless of media used, as we noted earlier still make two copies - just to be extra safe. Read More


art adams camera dp f35 ian mccamey lighting night porsche sony spot

Porsche F35 Spec Spot Revealed

PVC readers get an early look at my finished F35 spec spot

By Art Adams | March 30, 2009

About a month ago I shot a spec Porsche spot at night on the Sony F35 at ridiculously low light levels. Here's the finished piece. Read More