» Author Archive

Description image

Random Stop Still Image

Shooting something entirely from a first person POV may not be new, but every once in a while an exceptionally well-done shot or scene (or even an entire short) makes you step back and appreciate what can be done with the technique and how difficult it is to pull off, especially when you need to cleverly hide cuts. That’s the case with Random Stop, a short film based on the tragic real-life shooting of Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Dinkheller after a routine traffic stop. We’ve also got a behind the scenes video that is launching first on No Film School, so be sure to check that out after watching the short. More »

Description image

Sony a7S at NAB 2014While the full-frame 1080p/4K a7S from Sony is proving to be an absolute beast in low-light situations, it’s far more than just a night-shooting camera. Besides resolving what looks like a very solid 1080p image (an external recorder is required for 4K), it’s also got some pretty fantastic dynamic range. How good? Well the folks over at cinema5D took the camera for a spin, and measured it at over 14 stops, right next to the ARRI AMIRA, which uses the same sensor as the even higher-end ALEXA, which is being used on tons of Hollywood and indie features. More »

Description image

DaVinci Resolve 11 Beta 2Blackmagic has pushed the DaVinci Resolve 11 color grading suite even closer to being a full-fledged editor, but the company, at the least for the moment, does not have any interest taking editing jobs away from the big names like Final Cut, Premiere, and Avid. While the program is still in Beta form, it’s far closer to a finished product than lots of other Beta software, and they are releasing new updates all the time. The newest Beta 2 includes support for Apple’s new ProRes 4444 XQ codec, Final Cut Pro X XML 10.1.2, and a number of other new features. More »

Description image

ro11020201_02_nexfs100uk_nmPrice cuts seem to be in the air this month. First it was the Canon C300 dropping to $12,000, then it was the 7D hitting a grand, followed by a big cut on the DJI Ronin gimbal, and then a pretty insane 50% reduction for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Now we’ve got another significant cut on Sony’s budget large sensor video camera, the FS100, which is currently running body-only for just $2,500. More »

Description image

Tatia Pilieva Undress MeBack in March, filmmaker Tatia Pilieva took the internet by storm with her video First Kiss, which paired complete strangers together, and as the title suggests, had them kiss on camera for the first time. The viral hit, which was used as a promo for women’s clothing company WREN, had a bit of backlash from those who considered the video a hoax because there were actors and models used, but Pilieva’s goal was not about using anyone off the street, but about the interactions between strangers doing something intimate. Now she’s back again with another “stranger” video, this time it’s a more diverse group of people who’ve never met taking each other’s clothes off. More »

Description image

Blackmagic Camera Firmware Update 1_8_2 with ProResThere was just an incredible price drop on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and now the company is increasing the value of the entire line. Blackmagic said updates would come faster thanks to the significant 1.7 firmware, and three weeks later we’ve got another major addition. While the Cinema Camera, Pocket Cinema Camera, and Production Camera 4K are all capable of recording to the high-quality ProRes HQ codec, for plenty of shooting situations, HQ can be overkill. In the 1.8.2 firmware update, Blackmagic has added the more highly-compressed ProRes 422, ProRes LT, and ProRes Proxy codecs, which will mean longer recording times for projects that don’t necessarily need the highest fidelity possible, and less data storage for normal recordings. More »

Description image

Netflix UK Ireland TaggerDo you watch hours upon hours of shows and movies on Netflix? Wish you could get paid for all that time you log? Turns out the company is looking for people to do exactly this as part of their recommendation system for viewers. In a new job listing, Netflix is seeking people just like you who can watch and analyze both movies and TV shows, and then describe them with tags before they start streaming to the general public. Here’s a video that breaks it all down: More »

Description image

Sony Sheep Action Cam Tour de FranceYes, sheep. What feels like an April Fools’ joke actually happened. Last year there was the Galluscam, which was a humorous advertisement from LG about using a chicken as a camera stabilizer, but this year Sony’s actually decided to use animals as a way to show off the image stabilization on the HDR-AS100VR Action Cam. During the recent Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France, these roaming sheep were used to capture what is unlikely any usable footage of the race itself — but here we are talking about it anyway! More »

Description image

Ambiance - 72 Minute TrailerNope, you are reading that title correctly. A one hour and 12 minute teaser trailer has been released for Ambiancé, a movie that will run a total of 720 hours (30 days) upon its completion by Swedish artist Anders Weberg. While that running time may seem daunting and insane (and it is), Weberg plans on releasing the full film in the year 2020 on all continents simultaneously, after which it will be destroyed. It will be his last film, and when it is released, it will be the longest movie ever made, and join ultra-long works like The Clock, 24 Hour Psycho, and Pharrell’s recent 24-hour long music video. More »

Description image

Leaked Set Footage from Star Wars Episode VIIAs filmmakers we’re often trying to convince an audience that what they are seeing is real, even if what they are watching couldn’t possibly exist. That’s why it’s always interesting when “viral” videos come out that really make people question what they are seeing, if only for a short time. We saw this recently with the fake Hoverboard video, and even though some work for different reasons, for the most part they play on the fact that people tend to have their guards down when watching “amateur” or “nonfiction” videos. While a new video claiming to be leaked on-set footage from the newest Star Wars film is obviously CGI, is there something about it that makes us want to believe it more than the films themselves? More »

Description image

Canon 7D Body OnlyWhile we recently saw a dramatic drop in price for the Canon C300, another Canon camera is getting a significant price reduction. This time it’s the Canon 7D, which is now being offered for just $1,000. The APS-C camera has seen a ton of use for both filmmaking and photography since its introduction in 2009, and was even given some extra life as a RAW-shooting DSLR with the Magic Lantern video hack (It’s also capable of up to 2.5K RAW in a cropped shooting mode). There have been plenty of rumors, but does this drop mean a 7D Mark II is on its way very soon? More »

Description image

David Cronenberg Short Film - The NestDavid Cronenberg’s new short film, shot on a GoPro in one continuous take, is certainly NSFW, but depending on your distaste for insects, may also be NSFL. The film is pure Cronenberg, and it’s clear that things are a little off right from the get-go as a shirtless woman is being examined by a less-than-trustworthy surgeon who is recording the entire consultation with a camera strapped to his head. (Just as a warning, the thumbnail of the video itself is also NSFW). More »

Description image

C300The Canon C300 was announced nearly three years ago (alongside the RED SCARLET), and since its release it has been a workhorse for many TV, doc, and reality productions, with quite a few movies thrown in there like the Cannes-winning Blue is the Warmest Color and the recent indie hit Blue Ruin. Its light weight, good dynamic range, EF lens compatibility, and excellent low light abilities have brought many productions out of the 1/3″ or 2/3″ realm and into the large sensor arena. While the price dropped $2,000 a little over a year ago, the C300 is seeing yet another price drop, this time to an all-time low of $12,000. More »

Description image

Comparing a One Dollar Lav to Professional MicsWhen it comes to sound gear (like many things), you tend to get what you pay for. Quality microphones and recorders tend to be a little more costly, though there is certainly a price/cost ratio the higher you go. It’s usually a pretty good decision to pick something that the pros use, but how much quality can you get away with on the low-end? DJ Clark with the World Press Photo Academy compared a number of microphone solutions, including lavs, and even compared a $1 mic from China to the professional equipment. More »

Description image

SoundWorks Collection Transformers Age of ExtinctionIt might be the fourth film in a franchise based off a toy, but Transformers: Age of Extinction has now brought in over $300 million at the box office after just a few days in theaters. Though the film has been getting miserable reviews, audiences have still turned up in huge numbers to see it. The one aspect of these films that is always impressive, however, is the sound design. In his newest video, Michael Coleman of SoundWorks Collection goes behind the scenes with the sound design team from the film. More »

Description image

Blackmagic URSA 4K with PL MountA little over two years ago, Blackmagic Design completely disrupted the cinema camera market, and changed expectations about how much we should be paying for excellent image quality. Their goal with the first 2.5K Cinema Camera was to make something with as much flexibility in post as possible, and would be a companion to cameras like the Canon 5D Mark II — which is why they chose the Canon EF mount. They haven’t stopped with just one camera model, as they have since introduced the Pocket Cinema Camera, Production Camera 4K, and the URSA 4K Digital Cinema Camera, which features interchangeable sensors. At the recent NAB show, I interviewed Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty and asked him all sorts of questions about their camera line, firmware updates, and what he thought about the image issues some people have experienced with the Production Camera 4K. More »

Description image

Matthews Slider Stand DemonstrationMatthews has new stands that were designed with sliders in mind. If you’re using heavier cameras and heavy-duty sliders like the Dana Dolly or even Matthews’ own slider, you need something supporting the whole rig at both ends. While you could use a smaller C-stand, the Matthews Slider Stand has a built-in Junior Receiver and is made to be more stable and versatile, allowing you to level easier with two rocky mountain legs. Here is the introduction video, followed by a demonstration of the stand: More »

Description image

Domenic Barbero T-shirt Diffusion CroppedDiffusion is an important part of getting the light in a scene to look pleasing. While there are plenty of professional materials made just to diffuse entertainment lighting (like silks, spun, frost, etc.), sometimes you run out, don’t have what you need with you, or just want a different quality of light that you can’t get with what you currently have. That’s where regular household diffusers come in. Cinematographer Domenic Barbero did a test with Casey Schmidt of Northwest Grip to see what kind of light would be produced by using everyday items as their diffusion material. More »

Description image

blackmagic-ursa small[UPDATE: You can hear the full interview here.] I had the chance to talk with Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty back at NAB 2014, and while it’s taken a while to get the interview together, it will finally be going live on Monday. Grant offered up tons of fascinating details about his mindset with hardware, his take on the rest of the industry, and what’s going on with the Production Camera 4K, and he also gave some interesting tidbits about the new URSA 4K Digital Cinema Camera, which was first announced back at NAB. I’ve put together a teaser in which Grant mentions that the URSA is not only capable of frame rates higher than 60fps, but that they should be coming this year. More »

Description image

Dave Dugdale Downscaling 4K to 1080pDave Dugdale of Learning DSLR Video recently produced a terrific review of the new Panasonic GH4, which shoots 4K internally to SD cards. Since the majority of work is still being finished in 1080p, he’s been downscaling most of the stuff he’s shot to 1080p, but he wanted to explore the differences between downscaling in the timeline or after he’s finished editing in a 4K timeline in Premiere. He also addresses people accusing him of being paid off by Panasonic for his review. More »