» Posts Tagged ‘review’

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EditReady

Earlier in the summer, Divergent Media, a software company whose tools need no introduction in the video production world, released EditReady, a Mac transcoding app with a tremendous claim, that it was supposedly the world’s fastest transcoder for Quicktime conversion. In a market that is fairly saturated with transcoding solutions for filmmakers, that is definitely a bold claim, to say the least. However, after reading about what sets EditReady apart from its competitors, then testing the app for myself, I’m ready to say that the claim is indeed a valid one. I also talked briefly with Mike Woodworth, the CEO of Divergent Media, who’s also the lead developer of EditReady, and learned more about how the software was designed, what it can and cannot do, and where it is headed in the future. 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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NFS Reviews

Last month, I had a chance to talk with Andy Waplinger, the founder of Strahlen, about his brand new LED lighting solution, the ST-100 series of lights. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to not only have some hands-on time with the prototype ST-100′s, but to formally review them, and shoot with them on a personal project. Needless to say, the ST-100′s and I became quite close during the few weeks that they were in my possession, and I have quite a few thoughts to share about these unique lights. So, let’s get to it. More »

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Michael Plescia Digital BolexIf it seems like we’ve been talking about the Digital Bolex a lot lately, it’s because we definitely have. A few months ago, it looked as if the release of the D16 was still quite a ways into the future. However, Joe, Elle, and the DB team have really pushed the process and gotten the beta version of the camera up and running. As a result, we’ve been seeing some promising test footage circulate for the past couple of weeks. Now, we’ve got even more to get excited about, as Michael Plescia, a professional filmmaker, has shot and graded some footage of his own and weighed in on the future of this camera. More »

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Sigma 18-35We’ve talked about Sigma’s new 18-35mm f/1.8 several times before here at nofilmschool. Since it was announced back at NAB in April, the lens has generated quite a bit of buzz (especially when the $800 price was revealed). Now that the 18-35 has been shipping for upwards of a month, and the community has had ample opportunity to test and review the lens, it seems clear that Sigma has hit a grand slam, especially for videographers and low-budget filmmakers. Check out some of the stellar reviews and footage from the 18-35 below. More »

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At the beginning of 2013, I wrote about the 6 things I’m doing to write my best screenplay ever this year. Since no one is paying me to write my best screenplay ever, I’m only accountable to myself. With that in mind, and with half the year over, I thought it would a good time to review my screenwriting progress this year in relationship to these 6 things. I also realized instead of being only accountable to myself, I should be accountable to the NFS readers who were kind enough to read and comment on the original post. So, here’s my mid-year review of the 6 things I’m doing to write my best screenplay ever (including a report card!). More »

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Slugline screenwriting Mac appA few weeks ago, I wrote about the introduction of Slugline, a new Mac app for screenwriting from Stu Maschwitz and Clint Torres of Act Focused Media. The concept behind Slugline is to keep the app simple so screenwriters can focus on the writing. Slugline uses Fountain, the screenwriting markup language designed by Maschwitz with screenwriter John August, and adds a slight veneer of GUI to separate it from a plain text editor. Thanks to a review copy provided by Act Focused Media, I’ve had some time to work with Slugline to provide nofilmschool readers with a more in-depth review of this new Mac app. More »

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When news of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera dropped, I got that warm, giddy feeling. Everything I need in a camera and nothing I don’t! A few months of research later, I decided: this will be the camera I will shoot my feature film with. The quality of images this camera produces is superb. I love the dynamic range, the sharpness, the texture, and the richness in the blacks. I feel closer to shooting on film than I ever have. However, when it comes to peace of mind on set, it can leave a lot to be desired. There’s plenty of praises to sing, but I want to talk about some of the issues I’ve had with it, hidden expenses, and quirks to be aware of that are pertinent to the independent filmmaker. Click through for a list I’ve compiled after shooting two indie features with it, along with some comments from Dan May, the president of Blackmagic Design. More »

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By now Dave Dugdale and his site Learning DSLR Video should be fairly familiar to you because of his honest personal experience and no-nonsense gear reviews. In our modern, lovely era of acquisition technology — particularly regarding the proliferation of low-cost, high native ISO cameras — the need for Neutral Density filters inevitably arises. That said, there’s quite a few options out there, but like lenses themselves, quality concerns must be heavily weighted against price-point. Dave has recently created an ND filter shootout that incorporates both of these key considerations into his conclusion. Read on to find out which ND filter just may be the right choice for your needs. More »

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The FS700 is expected to start shipping in less than a month, and as we await the flood of beautiful slow-mo videos that will surely come in its wake, Philip Bloom has recently put up his review of the camera — yes, slow-mo abilities are featured, but Bloom also looks at other important factors such as low light sensitivity and ergonomic considerations.  You might be weighing whether you want to buy this camera over the FS100, or perhaps you’re a current FS100 owner wondering if the FS700 is an upgrade.  Bloom offers answers to these questions and more: More »

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If you’re a DSLR shooter, you know that having an independent audio recorder can be a must for getting quality sound. There are a lot of affordable flash recorders that can deliver great audio, but only a few of them have features like XLR inputs and multi-channel recording. Three models stand out: the Zoom H4n, the Tascam DR-100mkII, and more recently, the Tascam DR-40. How do they stack up in terms of features filmmakers want, and which one delivers the sound you need? I aim to delve into these questions and more, so read on! More »

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In the past year Okii has put out two interesting tools for Canon HDSLR filmmakers – the Okii FC1 USB Focus Controller and the MC1 USB Mini Controller.  They are both notable for being among the first camera controllers for Canon DSLRs to use the USB protocol — this means you can keep the live view on, either in camera or via monitor, while remotely adjusting camera settings.  Now, although using the USB protocol presents pros, it also has its cons:
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On-camera lighting is mostly used for ENG/documentary filming, but in a pinch it can be used to subtlety add to a dramatic scene. Especially in tracking shots, you’ll often see a grip walking a Kino-Flo alongside the camera, to keep a consistent light in the talent’s eyes. Of course, that’s not really “on-camera” lighting; while cheap LED lights that mount to a camera’s hot shoe are not going to offer the same quality, for news gathering and other uses they can certainly be handy. Thanks to Frank Glencairn, we now have a shootout between five different LED options, four of which are in the sub-$100 range. More »

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To me, it’s one of the most important American stories to come out of the post-9/11 war on terrorism. It’s currently playing in New York and Los Angeles, and will be opening wide September 3rd. It’s a fascinating, tragic, true story that you simply couldn’t write — and it’s well-told by director Amir Bar-Lev (My Could Could Paint That). I’m talking about the first feature-length documentary on Pat Tillman, who famously gave up a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the military, only to be killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire (not, as was initially reported, by Taliban soldiers). But after watching the film, I couldn’t help but wonder: does The Tillman Story bury the lede? More »

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Thanks to my guide on DSLR cinematography I have the opportunity to get my hands on some filmmaking equipment for review purposes. This is also possible because I’m moving into an apartment July 1, which will be the first time in nine months that I’ll have steady access to my 5D (not to mention a physical address to receive things in the mail). In light of this, I started wondering, “what gear would people like to see reviewed?” And then I realized I should just ask you! So please leave a comment with any gear you’re wondering about. This could be a category of tools (e.g., tripods, viewfinders, steadicams) or a specific item (e.g., Zacuto Z-Finder, Genus Matte Box, Shoot35 Follow Focus). Let me know and I’ll do my best to get ahold of it and let you know if it’s worth your hard-earned dollars!

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MacHeist is a website that sells a lot of Mac applications in a bundle for less than the normal price of one of the individual apps. In the case of the currently running “nanoBundle2″ promotion, it’s seven applications that would retail for $266, on sale together for a total of $19.95. These aren’t trial versions or crippled licenses; they are the full monty.

How can MacHeist do this? Well, the involved app developers get a lot less money for their app, but they’re getting less money from a lot more people. Plus they gain a larger userbase and get broad exposure from the promotion. The current bundle contains a number of handy-looking creative applications and is live until March 9th, so I thought I’d review the software contained therein from the perspective of a writer/designer/filmmaker/blogger. To get your money’s worth you’ve really only gotta find one of the seven applications useful; is the nanoBundle2 worth a Jackson? More »