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Atomos GH4In the past few weeks, the internet has practically exploded from people sharing their opinions, and footage, from the recently released Panasonic GH4. Most of what people are sharing at this point has to do with the camera’s internal 8-bit 4K recording, which is fantastically detailed, and which is undoubtedly one of the biggest selling points for the camera. However, another feature that Panasonic crammed into the GH4, and a feature that might be revolutionary for a stills/video camera at this price point, is the camera’s ability to output a clean 4K 4:2:2 10-bit signal from its mini-HDMI port. At this point, there aren’t any recorders that can record the 4K signal (until Atomos releases the Shogun this fall), but if you want a glorious down-sampled 10-bit HD image from your new GH4 (and why wouldn’t you), you can do it with the Atomos Ninja Blade. Here’s Jeremy Young from Atomos to show you how. More »

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Ride the Sky TimelapseSeveral years ago, motion-control timelapse was an unexplored frontier in the field of video production. Then DSLR video happened, and company after company came out with their own line of automated motion control equipment. Vimeo nearly exploded from all of the gorgeous timelapse videos from folks like Tom Lowe and Preston Kanak. Unfortunately, the internet became over-saturated with these videos, and the age-old technique of timelapse became a cliché by-product of the DSLR revolution. However, there are still filmmakers out there pushing the boundaries of the timelapse medium. Lance Page is one of those filmmakers, and his new video Ride the Sky is unlike any timelapse video you’ve seen before. More »

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FARGO -- Pictured: Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo -- CR: FX/Matthias ClamerWhen I first heard that the Coen brothers’ iconic Minnesota masterpiece Fargo was going to be adapted into an FX miniseries, my first thought was, “Well jeez, that sure is a swell idea,” (in a thick Minnesotan accent, of course). After my initial excitement, the skepticism set in. How could anybody possibly create an episodic variation on Fargo, while appealing to modern audiences and paying homage to the original? Despite the enormity of that undertaking, show-runner Noah Hawley and his team not only created a show that lives up to the Coen classic, but a show that is easily one of the year’s (if not the decade’s) best. The show’s DP Dana Gonzales recently sat down with Ben Consoli on the Go Creative Show to talk about everything from Fargo’s locations to its glorious, yet understated cinematography. More »

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Cine Meter II WideIt’s safe to say that smartphones and tablets can do just about anything these days. For most of us, our phones have replaced calendars, alarm clocks, maps, newspapers, and a whole host of other things. The same can be said for many of the tools that filmmakers use on a day-in and day-out basis. There are slating apps, and shot-listing apps, and blocking/overhead apps, and apps that can teach you color correction. There have even been a few notable attempts at replacing light meters with an app, although most of those apps left something to be desired, especially compared to their real-world counterparts. However, one of the most promising light meter apps, Adam Wilt’s Cine Meter, just got a major update that includes tons of new features that discerning cinematographers will love. More »

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GH4 BMCC Green Screen ComparisonCommon knowledge tells us that codec and compression are two of the most important factors (after lighting, of course) when it comes to green screen work and being able to pull a quality key from your source footage. Anybody who has ever had the opportunity to shoot green screens both with DSLRs and higher quality cameras with more robust codecs can attest to the fact that it’s significantly easier to pull a key from the latter. However, seeing as the GH4 keeps blowing past people’s expectations, it was only a matter of time before we started to see green screen comparisons to cameras with better internal codecs. The fine folks at Video Alchemy performed one such test recently, and ran the GH4 up against the BMCC’s ProRes and CinemaDNG. The results are surprising, to say the least. More »

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It’s clear that cinematography is changing, both from technological and aesthetic perspectives. Images are being created in new, oftentimes fascinating ways, and the role of the cinematographer is evolving at a rapid pace. Cinematographers are now being included in the extensive visual effects processes that dominate contemporary Hollywood — although the extent to which some cinematographers are actually involved is hotly debated. All of this means that the future of cinematography as we know it today is an exciting, albeit uncertain one. However, there’s one area that might provide a new outlet for the cinematographers of tomorrow: video games. More »

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DeakinsI’m not sure that anybody necessarily needs to be reminded of why Roger Deakins is one of the greatest cinematographers of our era. Not only has he crafted the images in a majority of the Coen Brothers’ modern masterpieces, but he has been at the helm of many of the most gorgeous films of the past 20 years. But just when you think you couldn’t possibly admire the man and his body of work any more than you already do, something comes along that puts his prolific career into perspective, leaving you in awe. A recent tribute video from Plot Point Productions does just that. So sit back, relax, and prepare to experience Deakins’ cinematography like you never have before. More »

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After Effects Key CleanerOver the past two weeks, we’ve been sharing tutorials for the new features that were introduced in the recent major update to Adobe’s Creative Cloud video applications. First we took a look at Live Text Templates, which allow for complex text compositions from After Effects to be manipulated inside of Premiere. Then we took a look at the new features in SpeedGrade 2014, including stronger linking with Premiere and a host of new usability features. After Effects also received several new features in this most recent update, including two new effects which should make the keying process much faster and more accurate. More »

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WaveAccountingLogoNPPGHere at No Film School, we focus a whole lot on the technical and creative processes of filmmaking. However, for those of us who are attempting to make our living from freelance filmmaking (or any other creative endeavor), it’s incredibly important not only to be artistically and technically proficient in the craft, but to have a basic sense of how to run your business. One of the biggest steps that you can take is to develop organized and responsible accounting practices. As intimidating as the accounting process might seem, there are tons of excellent online tools that can help you and your business tame the finance beast. One of my favorite tools is called Wave. It’s easy to use. It’s powerful. And it’s free. More »

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SpeedGrade CCLast week, Adobe released the much-anticipated update to their Creative Cloud video applications. We’ve already taken a look at one of the most exciting new features inside of Premiere/After Effects, Live Text Templates, which allows multi-faceted After Effects text compositions to be manipulated directly inside of Premiere, eliminating the need for excessive round-tripping. However, Live Text Templates are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new features in this update. SpeedGrade CC, Adobe’s color grading application, also received a few welcome new features, features that one of our readers, Dave Andrade, shows off in a new video. More »

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Soul Searcher LightingIf there’s anything that up-and-coming filmmakers struggle with more than anything else, it’s lighting. Even though most of us can pull off a basic three-point lighting setup with a key, fill, and backlight, dramatic narrative lighting is often far more complex and multi-faceted than any simple setup can provide. Unfortunately, we all don’t have the budget for highly complex lighting setups with a multitude of lights and modifiers. Most of us are stuck with a few lights (at best) and a few small or DIY modifiers. Luckily, this is 2014, and literally anything can be learned on YouTube, even dramatic lighting for narrative films with a minimal budget. Neil Oseman, who shot a fantasy/action feature in 2005 called Soul Searcher, recently uploaded a 10-minute masterclass on how he lit the film, and it is delectably educational. More »

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Kinefinity KineMINIWe talk an awful lot about cameras here on No Film School. Why? Because new cameras are absurdly exciting. However, there’s one camera company that might make some of the most intriguing and cost-effective cameras on the market, yet it’s a company that we rarely mention. I’m talking of course about Kinefinity, the Chinese company whose cinema cameras offer many of the features and aesthetics of RED’s cameras at a fraction of the cost. The folks at HDVideoshop in Berlin recently went out and shot with the KineMINI 4K, and shared some excellent footage, BTS, and workflow solutions for this unique camera. More »

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DaVinci Resolve 11 EditingIn the early days of NAB 2014, Blackmagic Design shared a few new products that made a major splash. However, even though some of these products generated some serious excitement, their biggest announcement by far was the fact that DaVinci Resolve, the legendary color correction software, was now also a fully fledged NLE with a host of new trimming and timeline tools. Although the official release date for the software is still several months out at this point, today Blackmagic released the public beta of version 11, which can now be downloaded from their website. More »

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Premiere Pro Live Text TemplatesA few days ago, Adobe released the Creative Cloud 2014 video applications, an update that included a few extremely welcomed new features throughout the entire range of video tools. Most notably, Premiere Pro and After Effects are becoming even more tightly integrated than they were previously, with new features in Premiere like masking and tracking of effects and Live Text Templates. These templates allow editors to manipulate text assets in multi-layer After Effects compositions without ever leaving Premiere Pro, something which should end the practice of incessant round-tripping between the two programs in order to make small adjustments. In a brand new Lynda tutorial, Chris Meyer shows us how exactly Live Text Templates work, and how to incorporate this exciting new feature into your editing workflow. More »

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GH4 Dave DugdaleAnybody who has been learning the ins and outs of shooting video with DSLRs during the past few years is likely very familiar with Dave Dugdale and his excellent educational site Learning DSLR Video. Like the rest of us, Dave started out from square one, with a Canon T2i, a few lenses, and an insatiable hunger to learn anything and everything about the process of DSLR filmmaking. A few years later, Dave is shooting corporate and real-estate videos, and doing it quite well. While his gear has changed a bit since that first DSLR, he has been a Canon shooter since the beginning. Until now, that is. His 45-minute review of the Panasonic GH4 explains why. More »

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sony curved cmos sensorDigital imaging sensors are traditionally small, flat devices that convert images, which are focused onto the sensor by a lens of some sort, into an electronic signal that can then be processed in numerous ways. With very few exceptions, every digital sensor in use today is flat. However, in a few year’s time, that may not be the case, as Sony’s device manager Kazuichiro Itonaga recently showcased two new curved CMOS sensors, one a 43mm full frame sensor and the other a much smaller 11mm 2/3 size sensor. These new sensors are reportedly up to twice as sensitive as traditional CMOS sensors, and they have the potential to make our lensing systems simpler, faster, and sharper. More »

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FCPX Workshop Larry JordanCreativeLive is one of my absolute favorite educational websites. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the site, it offers educational video workshops in a variety of creative disciplines – everything from photography and filmmaking to audio production and business tips for creatives. Like most websites of this nature, the content can be purchased and viewed on your own schedule. But the thing that sets CreativeLive apart from its competitors is the fact that all of their courses play live (and for free) before they end up in the archives. So if you’re free this coming Monday through Wednesday (June 23-25). you can watch Larry Jordan teach a three-day masterclass in FCPX without spending a dime! More »

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HistogramCameras these days come with a veritable plethora of tools to help you expose your images properly, everything from built-in exposure meters to zebras and false color displays. However, there’s one tool that is often overlooked, despite the fact that it’s available on nearly every digital camera today. The histogram. It’s an extremely simple tool, but when used properly, it can help you make sure that you never blow out your highlights again. More »

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CropperCapture[32]In the days leading up to NAB 2014, Adobe announced the features that would be included in the latest iteration on their popular Creative Cloud video applications. The new features are numerous, and some of them — like After Effects features inside of Premiere Pro and the ability to transcode industry-standard DCPs in Media Encoder — are incredibly welcome. Yesterday, after a few months of waiting, Adobe finally released the new versions of these programs to their subscribers, and they can all be downloaded now via the Creative Cloud desktop application. More »

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Adobe AuditionFew things in filmmaking are as difficult or headache-inducing as getting clean production audio while you’re on set. Hence the reason that ADR is such a widespread practice throughout the narrative filmmaking industry. In almost all cases, even with the most talented boom operators and on-set mixers, there will be imperfections in the production sound. However, before scrapping the original sound for ADR (which is an incredibly time-consuming process), there are some nifty post production tricks in Adobe’s lineup of programs that could save you hours upon hours of time with just a few clicks. More »