Video

Photo & 4K Video Workflow on the Road – Adobe Premiere Pro.

On previous tutorials we covered how I use Adobe Bridge to batch rename all my stills and video assets and Adobe Lightroom to handle all my photos. Today we cover how I use Adobe Premiere Pro to create proxies and cut 4K footage on a laptop.

 


Video

Photo & 4K Video Workflow on the Road. Adobe Lightroom.

My previous tutorial covered how I use Adobe Bridge to batch rename all my stills and video assets.  On this second tutorial we cover how to use Adobe Lightroom to very quickly and easily import, manage and edit all your stills.

 


Video

Adobe Creative Cloud updated with powerful features.

Adobe has released several powerful updates  to the Creative Cloud. The new version is called 2015.3.

The are several interesting and powerful updates, including:

• Import video and audio files in the background, and switch between native and proxy formats freely when using multiple devices. With initial support for Apple Metal and H.264 hardware decoding (Windows Intel Iris only), you get maximum performance.

• Powerful proxy workflows in Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Media Encoder CC while working with 8K, HDR and HFR media even on lightweight machines like laptops.

Note: Adobe is essentially creating a new workflow with lightweight proxies during import. This is HUGE and very, very needed. One of the few disadvantages of systems like the Sony FS5 is the post workflow, especially when working on the road off a laptop (here’s why). The new feature might solve a big challenge for many shooters.

Another important update is support to VR workflows. We are very curious to test (and purchase) cameras like the (on paper) amazing Orah 4i, but have been hesitant to do it because of the post-production nightmares we hear from fellow filmmakers.
The upcoming version of Adobe’s Creative Cloud will feature powerful support for VR Video workflows.

• Editors can import equi-rectangular stitched video media and – with a click of a button in the monitors – enter VR Video mode, which allows you to use pan and tilt controls to preview the experience inside the sphere. Click-drag directly on the video clip and freely pan around so you know what viewers would see when looking in any given direction.

• Easily add a metadata flag to ensure you’ll get the full panoramic experience on supported sites like YouTube and Facebook.

Adobe Media encoder also received VERY needed updates, including video previews.Finally!


Last but not least, important improvements to the Lumetri Panel will make our lives SO much better and easier.

• Enhanced Lumetri Color tools with added HSL Secondaries to expand the editor’s toolkit for making color correction and adjustment easier for all filmmakers.

Similarly a new Essential Sound panel modeled after the Lumetri Color panel in Premiere Pro will provide simple controls to unify volume levels, repair sound, improve clarity, and help your video projects sound like they were mixed by an audio engineer.

And there are several other minor but also welcomed updates, like being able to transcode and upload from Adobe Premiere to Twitter with one click.

Adobe Photoshop CC 2015Here’s the list with the key new features and improvements:

 

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Video

Filmmaking Essentials for Photographers. Mini Courses.

Why Filmmaking Essentials?

One of the main chal­lenges pho­tog­ra­phers face when starting to shoot video is to focus too much on hardware and software, and for­get about the most important part: the story. While this informative course includes some tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion, the main goal is to provide an overview of the many aspects of filmmaking, and identify potential business opportunities with motion. Click HERE.

The “Filmmaking Essentials for Photographers” course is based on a popular event we have been presenting for several years, but it has been greatly enhanced with additional visuals and examples. Some of the clients and sponsors for the live event include Adobe, Adorama Pro, B&H Photo, Cinevate, Future Media Concepts, Gulf Photo Plus (Dubai), HOW Design Conference, International Center of Photography, Lynda.com, McCann Erickson, NAB Show, Panasonic, Photo District News, PhotoPlus Expo, Photokina (Germany), Savannah College of Art and Design, School of Visual Arts, Sony, and X-Rite, among others.

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Click on the Image to access FREE Tutorials.

Why these Mini Courses?

Sometimes we don’t have time for three-hour lessons; rather, we just need a quick and concrete answer for a very specific question. Because of that, in addition to longer courses we’ve released these mini courses, averaging three-to-five minutes each. Click HERE.

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Click on the Image to access FREE Tutorials.

Video

Filmmaking Essentials for Photographers. Online Intro Course.

In 2011 I was invited along with National Geographic photographer David McLain to present a series of two-day workshops nationwide. The events were produced by Photo Quest Adventures and sponsored by PDN, Sony, Adobe, and other leading brands. The main goal was to help photographers transition into video by simplifying key concepts and providing shortcuts, resources, and advice on what gear to buy.

I have been honored to teach “Filmmaking Essentials” at all major industry events, from PhotoPlus to Imaging USA to NAB, from South America all the way to Dubai, Hong Kong, and Thailand, and at home in New York.

Few people know that I never use the same presentation twice. Each and every time I add things I’ve learned, plug in valuable feedback from attendees, students, and this website’s readers, and I strive to improve the educational experience with better examples and shorter explanations.

When looking at the advancements in digital technology since those first workshops it seems like decades have gone by. Today, we have access to a variety of brands and models of very compact cameras that can see in the dark, shoot 4K or higher resolutions, offer incredible frame rates, and even offer GPS and WiFi features so they can be easily controlled by smartphones and tablets. The future is definitively here.

But something quite odd has been happening to my personal and professional focus. The more gadgets we have at our disposal, the more I’ve shifted towards the craft of storytelling. Instead of getting more stuff, I’ve been increasingly interested in constructing and enhancing my stories to better engage the viewer. Naturally, this approach has been reflected in the educational content I produce.

Now, and for the first time, I’m proud to offer an awesome version of my one-hour presentation online. Click HERE

The “Filmmaking Essentials for Photographers” course is based on a popular event we have been presenting for several years, but it has been greatly enhanced with additional visuals and examples. Some of the clients and sponsors for the live event include Adobe, Adorama Pro, B&H Photo, Cinevate, Future Media Concepts, Gulf Photo Plus (Dubai), HOW Design Conference, International Center of Photography, Lynda.com, McCann Erickson, NAB Show, Panasonic, Photo District News, PhotoPlus Expo, Photokina (Germany), Savannah College of Art and Design, School of Visual Arts, Sony, and X-Rite, among others.

Who is this course for?

Well, as the name implies, this version of “Filmmaking Essentials” covers concepts already mastered by advanced filmmakers or by experienced photographers who are very technically savvy. But I’m confident everyone else could learn a thing or two.

As often as possible we’ll be adding new courses, covering topics like pre-production and post, tips for one-man crews (like journalists) working stills and video assignments, advice on getting started with Color Grading, and many other fascinating subjects. As mentioned above, most of these courses are not and probably won’t be hardware or software driven, but would focus predominantly on answering the why’s, not the how’s, of the fascinating craft of filmmaking.

Also as a first, we are offering several mini-courses (averaging three minutes each and many of them for free) for those who need concrete answers to very specific questions.

So, if this is the kind of content and format you desire, vote with you wallet and let your voice be heard.

Thank you for your continued support. Click HERE to start learning. 

Eduardo Angel Visuals2

Click on the Image to access FREE tutorials.

Video

A filmmaker’s perspective on Japan.

Back in 2011 I made the best decision of my life: to get engaged. Wanting to “pop the question” at an unforgettable location, I asked my wife, then girlfriend, to write down her top five destinations that she had not yet visited. Coincidentally, and even though we both have traveled extensively, her first pick matched mine: Japan. The decision was made, air tickets were purchased, and hotels booked, but the timing was off. Just a few days before our departure, and with the ring well hidden in my camera bag, the Tohoku earthquake hit Japan. It was the fourth most powerful earthquake in the world since modern record keeping began in 1900, and the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Japan.

A few weeks ago we FINALLY had the chance to visit this incredible country and culture, and on this article I’d like to share some of the most amazing things we learned and saw. Like some of my previous videos there’s a generous mix of stills, videos, soundscapes, music and narrations.

First things first

Most of us learned in school that Japan closed its borders in 1639 for more than 200 years, keeping only one seaport open for foreign trade exclusively with Dutch and Chinese sailors. A lot has changed, of course, and the country is currently the world’s third largest economy after the United States and China. This is truly a miracle for a nation that consists of more than 6,800 islands, has a population of 127 million people, and is smaller than the states of Montana or California.

As a little kid I spent countless hours poring over my grandparents National Geographic magazines. I dreamt about far and exotic places like “Antofagasta,” which I related to cannibals, “Ushuaia,” which to me was a synonym for the end of the world, “Oaxaca,” which I imagined full of little skulls everywhere, “Marrakesh,” with stunning belly dancers and crazy sword-fighting warriors, and “Kyoto,” elegant, peaceful, and extremely expensive. I loved the sound of each place.

Now, a “few” years later, I’ve had the privilege to visit all of these magical places and work in well over 700 cities in 50 countries, covering 40% of the world (according to Tripadvisor). Compared to my childhood pipe dreams, some countries have been much more interesting (Hong Kong and Thailand), and a few hugely disappointing (Russia and Vietnam top that list). There are no cannibals in Antofagasta, you can see little skulls in Oaxaca for “Dia de los Muertos,” and Ushuaia can’t be described in words. But Japan, in fact, so far, has been the one experience to closest match my dreams.

A World of Contrasts

If I had to define the country in a single word it would be contrast. Not necessarily as in the wide social and economic disparities one sees in India, China, or South America, but in the everyday culture itself; super-modern buildings next to architectural crimes, decadent meals followed by inedible dishes, massive pedestrian crossings and jam-packed subway cars followed by serene gardens, and very polite and quiet people during the daytime that get insanely wild and loud after dusk.

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Random Fun Facts

Coming from New York, it always strikes me how clean and quiet other large cities are in comparison. Even Los Angeles and Houston seem muted in comparison. In that regard, Tokyo, the most populated metropolitan area in the world, is impossibly silent. And spotless. And huge. For example, Tokyo doesn’t have an actual downtown, but 23 of them, some with a daytime population seven times higher than their nighttime population.

Having been born in Colombia and experiencing first hand the country’s well documented violence during the 90s, it is hard to grasp how Japan, with the tenth largest population in the world can have the second lowest homicide rate, with only TWO gun-related homicides per year, and a conviction rate close to 99%. My brain can’t even process that information.

There are many fascinating things about Japan, from the expected, like magnificent temples, pristine gardens, and stunning package and lighting design, to the highly unexpected like the super-salty cuisine, and the lack of English speaking people and information in English even in popular tourist areas. Regarding tourism, we based most of our itineraries on Frommer’s and Fodor’s guides, which proved to be excellent sources of information.

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We also tried to understand why there are virtually no public trash cans, but no garbage on the streets, millions of people everywhere, but no benches, and restaurants with vending machines, but no napkins. I’m still looking for those answers. Please hit me on Twitter if you have a good guess. And, speaking of Japanese vending machines, one can use any of the 5.5 million to buy beer, wine, canned coffee, cigarettes, food, comic books, toilet paper and even “adult literature and pleasure products.”

To widen our Japanese experience, we stayed at a high-end hotel in Tokyo, and at a Ryokan in Kyoto. The Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn with tatami floors, paper blinds, a low table for tea and super tiny pillows, provided a unique, but not very comfortable, experience. As an added bonus we located a Ryokan that offered a private Onsen, or spring bath, that was masterfully built with exquisite wood, and harvested the local volcanic waters. Of course, Japan being Japan, even this relaxing moment had many strict rules to be followed in precise order before even touching the water. Overall it was an interesting experience, especially after walking 30,000 steps each day (according to my wife’s pretty handy Fitbit).

One early morning we got the rare opportunity to attend sumo training. As architecture buffs we used some rainy afternoons to visit buildings and stores  by our favorite Japanese designers. We tried hard to cover as much of the Japanese culinary spectrum as possible, from quick lunches at shopping centers’ basements, vending machines, and food trucks, and dinning at traditional Izakayas where we tried delicious Yakitori and horse sashimi.

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Experiencing a sumo training in Tokyo.

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Inside an ancient Ryokan in Kyoto.

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The famous Onsen.

We obviously “had” to fit in a few Michelin-rated restaurants as the respected “foodies” publication has awarded Tokyo the most stars of any city in the world. More than the food itself, the service, presentation, and attention to detail are what truly offers a remarkable experience.

More Random Facts

Japan imports 85% of Jamaica’s annual coffee production, but the fancy coffees we tried were consistently inconsistent. I might get shot for saying this, but the $1 coffee at 7-Eleven was MUCH better than most of the $8 fancy brews we tried. And I’m Colombian, I do know my coffee.

Japan is also the world’s top importer of reggae music and has the largest proportion of jazz fans in the world. We treated ourselves with a jazz concert (and grossly overpriced drinks) at the Park Hyatt‘s bar, from “Lost in Translation” fame. The city views from the fancy bar are great, especially at nighttime, but you get pretty much the same view for free only two blocks away, from Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government Building, where you can also get a very filling lunch for about six dollars.

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Tokyo at night from Tokyo’s Metropolitan Government Building.

Gulping down your drink and slurping is NOT considered bad manners (mom, are you reading this?), but somehow eating or drinking while walking down a street is considered very rude and nobody does it. The Zen proverb “When walking, walk. When eating, eat” is silently but effectively enforced all the time, and everywhere. One day we had to go back to our hotel, just a few blocks away, to finish our Bento box lunch.

We did enjoy bowing on meeting someone, but sitting on the floor with your hands in your lap and your legs tucked under you, not so much. Perhaps because I’m less flexible than a tree. When wearing my first kimono I created a small “fashion emergency” with the Ryokan’s owner, as one should always wear the left side over the right side. The opposite of this is only observed at funerals. Something similar happens with chopsticks; do not point them at other people, never wave them in the air or stick them upright in the rice, since they’ll look like sticks of incense at a funeral. How are you supposed to know all this?

Cash is definitely king, and many ATMs in Japan do not accept international debit cards, with the wonderful exception of the ATMs found at the 10,000 7-Eleven stores. Coins are required for buses, trams, and lockers. We had read that Internet access was horrible, but I have to disagree. Both our hotels, many subway stations and bus stops provided free Internet access. If all you need is checking your map or access something on Dropbox you should be fine. If you are planning to stream movies or video games, stay home.

Packing Tips

In terms of packing, we broke a new personal record for this trip. We were able to fit everything into ONE suitcase. In case all the women reading this article are wondering, yes, my wife wasn’t too happy at first, but she came to appreciate my logic while navigating major transport hubs like Shinjuku, which serves 4 million passengers a day, and holds the title as the world’s busiest station.

In addition to the single suitcase, my wife had a very light daypack, and I brought my favorite photo backpack

Regarding photo and video equipment, I’ve been traveling extremely light and small. This time I brought two Panasonic GH4s (AmazonB&H), two Panasonic Lumix lenses (AmazonB&H) , and a Fuji X100S (AmazonB&H). This is pretty much the same gear I’ve used on assignments in Europe (article on Sigma’s website), Turkey, and commercials like this.

Something I failed to pack (and struggled to find in Tokyo) was a “3-Prong to 2-Prong Adapter.” Considering one can get two for $6 on Amazon, it was very painful to waste precious time walking from store to store and trying to explain what a “3 prong” means with body language and childish drawings. To connect multiple devices I ALWAYS bring two essential items: a mini power strip to charge phones, batteries, and laptops using a single outlet, and a compact USB hub, to connect multiple hard drives to my laptop. This year I’ve been using these small and cheap external hard drives on my travels, and so far they’ve worked perfectly. If you are interested in seeing what’s inside my camera bag, I wrote an article with “The Essential 41 Items” for photography and video assignments.

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The Final Product – The Video

Shooting stills, and video, and recording soundscapes while traveling alone is hard, I’m not gonna lie. Doing all that with your (extremely patient) wife is even harder, but totally worth it.

Obviously it’s impossible to understand a country, city, or even a neighborhood in just a couple of weeks. I’ve spent nine years in New York and every weekend we find something new to do, see, or eat. But, we only have one chance to get a first impression, and I believe those first reactions are great ways to identify interesting trends and cultural differences.

The video below has tons of additional information about Japan in general and our travel adventures in particular. If you like traveling—and eating delicious food—I’m sure you will enjoy it, and if you do, please SHARE the love!

If you are looking to expand your creative options by adding video into your skills set or enhance your craft, don’t miss these courses on Lynda.com.


Video

The Panasonic GH4 V-Log L is out! Step-by-step installation tutorial.

While the first steps to update the firmware to version 2.3 (which now FINALLY includes V-Log L) are the same as before, there are many new ones. I just installed the firmware myself and found the original instructions too confusing, so I rewrote the steps, captured screen shots and the camera’s menus hoping to save you some valuable time. I’m not a Panasonic employee, and I’m not being paid by anyone to write this post. If you have further questions or issues please contact Panasonic Tech Support directly. The link to purchase the firmware is here.

To watch a comparison  between the default GH4 profiles and the V-Log L watch this video.

Ready? Let’s go!

Step A – Updating the camera’s Firmware. 

  1. Prepare a fully charged battery and a blank SD card.
  2. Download the firmware version 2.3
  3. Extract the zip file and copy the firmware (xxx.bin) to the SD card.
  4. Insert the SD card into a camera.
  5. Set the camera to P mode.
  6. Turn the camera ON
  7. Press and hold the playback button
  8. Select “YES” on the screen.
  9. The firmware update process only takes about 4 minutes.

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Turn the camera OFF and ON again, and check the firmware version

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At this point, pretty much everything else is new.

Step B – Exporting the camera’s information

1. Insert (ideally another) formatted memory card into de camera

2. Select the menu:

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3. Select EXPORT SERAIL CODE and then press MENU/SET

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Step C – Acquire the Activation Code

1. Insert the SD card into your computer’s card reader. The computer must be online.

2. On your browser, paste the provided URL.

3. Click on DMW-SUF1/AG-SFU41

Then:

Follow this path to select the .LST file and click upload

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Then:

Then:

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Step D – Import the Activation Code

 

1. Select the menu

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2. Select “IMPORT Serial Code” and press MENU/SET

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3. Turn the camera OFF and ON again. Switch to Motion Picture Mode, go to Photo Style, and Select V-Log L.

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Something VERY important: While using the V-Log L profile the new base ISO is 400, not 200, so make sure to bring some ND filters along of you are shooting daytime exteriors.

The Panasonic GH4 V-LOG update can be purchased for $99 here by mid-September.

Happy Shooting!

Related Posts

Video

Video for Photographers: Filmmaking Essentials.

As we have covered in numerous articles before, still photographers can reasonably quickly learn the most essential filmmaking techniques and greatly expand their creative options and the range of professional services.

In our latest Lynda.com course we help bridge the gap between still pictures and moving images, by explaining and showing, what it takes to transition from one craft to the other. We tried our best to include the most essential video productions techniques; from framing and lighting for continuous shots to directing the viewer’s attention and incorporating camera movement and sound, and even offering a brief overview of our post-production workflows.

This course, our fifth on Lynda.com is the “theory course.” Our goal is to explain why certain techniques, steps or tools are important. Other topics include:

• Understanding the 5 Cs of cinematography
• Choosing the right camera
• Framing for continuous shots
• Lighting techniques
• Using camera movement to enhance your story
• Leading the senses with sound
• Working with different microphones
• Editing and post-production considerations

A follow-up “practical” course (available in a few weeks) will cover hands-on composition, camera movement, sound and lighting techniques, among other useful tips like packing and working with very small budgets and crews.

Enjoy!

Video

Shooting 4K Anamorphic and V-Log with Panasonic’s GH4. Ten Valuable Lessons.

UPDATED: I just added two video tutorials: one comparing “Panasonic’s V-Log L vs. Cinelike D” and the second one “Conforming 4K Anamorphic Footage in Adobe Premiere Pro.” 

Anamorphic is enjoying a huge comeback. The reasons to go this route vary from project to project, but generally it’s the desire to achieve a different look and use as many pixels from the sensors as possible. Panasonic’s Firmware Update v.2.2 (available here) enables an Anamorphic (4:3) Mode capable of recording video in 3328 x 2496 pixel (equivalent to approx. 8.3-megapixel) resolution at a frame rate of either 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 fps. With an anamorphic lens such as 2x Lomo lenses (see below) we now can capture and un-squeeze a 3356×2496 image in post-production. To make things even better, 4:2:2 / 10 bit HDMI output is also available.

Just like in 2013 when we had the opportunity to field test a GH3 in the Middle East and last year when we shot with one of only three prototypes world-wide of the GH4,  for the past couple of weeks I had the privilege to work with director Davis Northern, DP and tech wizard Sean Davis and many other talented people on one of the very first GH4 Anamorphic AND V-Log L projects, shot exclusively for Panasonic North America and produced by The Digital Distillery.


Panasonic 4K Anamorphic and V-Log L – Official Video from The Digital Distillery Inc. on Vimeo.

The project was exciting and very challenging, as working with hardware prototypes and beta versions of software or firmware always is. We had a lot of moving pieces and an extremely tight deadline, but I’m proud of the final results and very satisfied with the lessons learned. This article covers some of the most significant ones, and it is written from my very own personal perspective. As always, I try my best to be as objective and brand agnostic as possible. The lessons aren’t in any specific order and some links will take you to articles with additional information . Please consider using our links to help support our very time consuming articles and tutorials.

Ready? Let’s go!

1. Shooting Anamorphic

It can definitely be achieved by a very small crew on a small budget. We mostly shot with a crew of three, with very limited gear and time. I’ve always assumed you needed a 2-ton truck and a crew of 30 to pull this off. Clearly, this was not the case for us.

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2. Lenses

In terms of lenses, we opted to keep a “low profile” while keeping our options open. In other words, we rented a set of vintage anamorphic Lomo lenses (35, 50, and 75mm) and tested an SLR Magic as well as a Letus AnamorphX 1.8X Pro Adapter and a  Veydra Mini Prime

A. Lomo:

The lenses are huge and heavy. Lomo 50mm + 75mm with case = 25lbs. Lomo 35mm with case = 35lbs with each case weighting about 30lbs. Not ideal for the “guerilla” approach we needed for this project. They definitely have a unique look, but are very hard to focus, especially when using a very flat profile. We rented the set for $500/day or about $1,700 for a week including tax. Not cheap by any means but definitely worth the investment in terms of time and quality.

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If I were to shoot this project again (or on upcoming anamorphic projects) I probably would test the Cooke Anamorphic/i Lenses (25, 32, 40, 50, 75, 100, and 135mm with a 2x squeeze). Unfortunately these lenses cost about $30,000 each, and the rental rate is about $500 per lens, per day.

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B. SLR Magic:

We had access to a very nice selection of Panasonic glass that we wanted to use with an SLR Magic adapter. The first challenge was that the front diameter on all the lenses has to be below 62mm in order to use the step down rings. The second limitation was (for the Panasonic lenses) that anything wider than 28mm would vignette. We could have used the Panasonic 12-35mm lens, at 28mm or longer (kind of pointless), but for some odd reason with the SLR Magic adapter it vignetted all the way even at 35mm. The Panasonic 35-100mm didn’t vignette at 35mm. Go figure. The next usable lens on our Panasonic arsenal was the beautiful 42.5mm Noticron f/1.2, but we needed a step DOWN ring (from 67mm to 62mm) that wasn’t included with the kit. The last option was the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 lens, which worked well but focusing was a MAJOR issue (not Panasonic’s fault). I found the SLR Magic system very finicky and unreliable and unfortunately I can’t recommend using it.

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C. Letus Anamorphx:

The Letus Adapter worked much better than SLR Magic but it was also cumbersome. A matte box is pretty much required and there was an issue with one of our widest lenses. The lesson here is, if you are shooting anamorphic, use the real thing.

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3. Storage

There’s some heavy math involved when shooting Anamorphic. An anamorphic lens produces roughly a 2X horizontal squeeze of the image onto film. Traditional anamorphic lenses were designed to work on a 4:3 standard. The anamorphic footage captured with the GH4 on the Atomos Shogun is 3840×2160, so not technically 4K but pretty close. Shooting internally (to an SD card) the footage is 3328×2496, so greater vertical resolution than the 4K standard, but not full 4K horizontal resolution. To keep things in perspective, the 4K footage out of the GH4 4096×2160.

As you would expect, the files are huge. Shooting ProRes 422 you need about 4GB per minute of footage. Two cameras: 8GB, after only one backup you are at 16GB per minute. So somewhere around 20GB per minute is a pretty safe storage estimate for a two-camera setup. As always, we trusted all our very valuable assets to G-Tech Hard Drives.

Regarding Solid State Drives, Atomos has a great chart with all the supported drives for the Shogun and other devices. Make sure you triple check the chart before investing in one.

One SECOND of footage takes about 50MB so even if you are shooting into seemingly endless Solid State Drives, being smart about when to start rolling and when to stop can save a lot of storage.

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4. HDMI

As we were shooting, Atomos was literally finishing writing the Shogun’s firmware update (available in May or June as a free download) will enable a number of awesome features:

  • Anamorphic de-squeeze for Panasonic GH4 and standard lenses
  • RAW recording to ProRes, DNxHR and Cinema DNG for compatible RAW formats
  • Expanded RAW compatibility to include Sony FS series, Canon, Arri and AJA
  • 3D LUTs on HDMI/SDI output
  • Cinema 4K DCI support
  • Uncompressed V210 support
  • Genlock

We had to use a Small HD Pro7 (to de-squeeze) and the Shogun (to record in 4K). The setup seems pretty obvious after a lot of trials but it wasn’t at first. Here’s the executive summary that will hopefully save you some time and stress:

1. Micro HDMI to Standard HDMI cable from the GH4’s HDMI OUT to the Atomos Shogun HDMI IN
2. Standard HDMI to Standard HDMI cable from the Atomos Shogun HDMI OUT to the Small HD HDMI IN
3. In the Shogun, the 4K downconvert option should be OFF while connecting the Small HD and turned ON when everything is properly connected.
Our Small HD had a nasty tendency to constantly lose signal for no apparent reason, so step #3 had to be repeated many times throughout each shoot.

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5. Premiere Pro CC 2014 Workflow

To be totally honest, I was shocked by how easy it was to conform the footage in post. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Import the footage the way you normally do.
2. Select the anamorphic clips.
3. Go to clip > Modify > Interpret Footage
4. Under “Pixel Aspect Ratio” select “Conform To” and “Anamorphic 2:1 (2.0).
5. Create a “new sequence from clip” and start cutting.
6. Done and done. Wow!


02_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_unsqueezed_Premiere01 03_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_unsqueezed_Premiere02 04_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_unsqueezed_Premiere03 06_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_ungraded 07_EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_ungraded&graded

Here are some screen grabs from the camera’s LCD:

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_029 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_031 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_032 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_035 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_036

6. Focus

Focus is super, extra, hyper critical, especially when shooting with a very flat profile like the one we used. Unfortunately we couldn’t trust the SmallHD and had to rely 100% on the Shogun at a 1:2 zoom.


EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_011 EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_019

7. Accessories

• A sun hood for your external monitor is absolutely essential (if given the option get the black version).
• Obviously you will need lens adapters if you are planning to use the SLR Magic or Letus AnamorphX options.
• Make sure you get plenty of batteries, The small battery that comes with the Shogun lasts about 30 min only and we got about one hour of recording time with TWO Canon batteries on the Small HD. Instead of buying tons of batteries I’m a big fan of renting them (more here). The same goes for additional Solid State Drives.

EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_003EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_020

8. Bonus lessons:

• Shooting anamorphic takes a lot practice and fine-tuning. I’d recommend scheduling at least a full day to test all the gear before a shoot.
• If we keep a small footprint and move fast, we can get a lot done.
• The “shoot without lens” on the GH4 must be turned on in order to work with the Anamorphic lenses.
EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_034EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_016EduardoAngel_PanasonicAnamorphic_BTS_014

And…..here are two more videos (not anamorphic) shot with the Panasonic GH4. Check them out and let me know if you have any questions or comments via Twitter (@EA_Photo)


News

I am a contrarian, or so it seems.

I am a contrarian…. That’s what a good friend just told me.  Why? Well, according to him because:

• I use an Android phone and Tablet. LG and Samsung are good, Lenovo is garbage. I actually got a Nexus 4, a Chromecast and a Nexus 5X the day they were announced. That apparently also makes me an “early adopter.”

Google Nexus 5X

• I purchased a 60D the week AFTER the 5D Mark III was made available and shot for several years with a 7D. I also used (and publicly highlighted) the  Panasonic Lumix GH3 WAY before the GH4 was hot (which I also added to my arsenal). I don’t have a Blackmagic camera, mostly because I love shooting with the Canon C100.

• I have been using Adobe Premiere Pro well before Apple released Final Cut X, and before David Fincher made the Creative Cloud cool.

• I dropped my monthly “all you can talk” cell plan for a “prepaid plan.” It has been saving me at least $1,200 per year. I haven’t used Skype for years, Google Hangouts is the way to go.

• I choose not to own a lot of gear. I believe renting equipment is the best way to provide clients with the best tools for each job, and it also helps to keep my overhead low.

And the cherry on top? We are seriously considering getting an HP workstation for video editing (yes, a PC computer) instead of new iMac or even a Mac Pro.

Well, perhaps my buddy is right….I am a contrarian!

Lego Lucius Malfoy with Cape Wand

But here’s the thing, as a technology consultant I spend a lot of time thinking about what will come next in terms of trends and features. I bet on Adobe Premiere Pro about a year before the flood gates opened. I also have the privilege to see many products, hardware and software, as prototypes or in their beta phases, so even though I generally can’t talk about them, I can wait until they are commercially available or I can get something cheaper temporarily.

LEGO Minifigure Collection Series 4 : Sailor

But perhaps the main reason to be a “contrarian” is that I don’t really care about the name of the brand. What I do care about is performance, reliability, and support. The faster I work, the more time I have to build my business, and the more discretionary time I get to enjoy life offline, and out of the office.

I’m obviously not the only one, check this Fast Company article “5 Contrarian Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs” and David Ogilvy’s (one of my heroes) “Contrarian Management Advice.”

Video

DP Review issues Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Final Review.

DP Review releases final conclusions on the Panasonic GH4. I agree 100% with them.

  • The DMC-GH4 sets a new bar in terms of the video capability available in a camera that a significant number of people can afford.
  • In a professional setting the GH4 is unusual in being compatible with an interface unit (the DMW-YAGH aka “The Brick”) that adds industry-standard 3G-SDI and XLR connectors.
  • The GH4’s image quality is very solid, producing nice JPEG images and usefully flexible Raw files. The color and tonality of its images seem improved over previous generations of camera. In video mode the camera is equally solid.
  • Despite the increased competition, the GH4 remains the king of accessible stills/movie hybrids.
  • A remarkably capable all-in-one package that lets you capture good quality footage and excellent stills from a sensibly-sized standalone camera.
  • The GH4’s video quality and well implemented touchscreen control system give it the edge over less expensive cameras, such as the a6000, while its price and ability to capture 4K internally will give it broader appeal than the Sony a7S.
  • What makes the GH4 so strong is its balance of capability, size and price. Its ability to slot into a professional setup, via the optional interface unit can only help expand this appeal.
  • Low light performance is solid if not exceptional – so you’ll need to think about lighting and bright lenses for low light shooting – but in many situations the GH4 produces good footage with a little subject/background distinction.
  • If you’re only interested in stills then it’s not quite such a compelling proposition – the competition is fierce at this price point. However, if you have any inclination towards moving images, there’s not a camera that offers nearly as much capability and support as the GH4 does, for anywhere near the price.

The complete review is available here.

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out these additional links:

And here are some samples clips:

Everything in Slow Motion was shot at FHD 96 fps. Everything else was shot at 4K (3840×2160). We used the Cine-D Profile. The only “grading” done was the B&W preset on Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Disclaimer:

I’m extremely proud of the 100% free content we provide and I hope you enjoy it as well. Thank you all for your support, encouragement and constructive criticisms – I appreciate each and every one of them.

I only promote products, services, and companies that I use and trust, and that in my opinion deliver great value to our industry. If you are purchasing something, please consider using my affiliate links to help support this site. Thank you in advance.

 

 

 

Video

Adobe Creative Cloud updates. Smart Bins are finally here!

A bunch of Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 mobile and desktop software applications have been updated.

Creative-Cloud_web1Creative-Cloud_web2
The most significant improvement (for us) come from Premiere Pro which now offers the following cool features:

  • Open multiple projects without importing all the assets
  • Cineform, Phantom CINE, Canon RAW, AJA RAW, 4/5/6K+ native support
  • GPU boost for unleashing of more codecs in real-time playback
  • Multiple colors for markers in timeline and source monitor. Movable markers
  • Feathered masks in Program monitor with on screen GUI for all effects
  • Larger text size in the Project Panel. Regular, Med, Large and Largest

And my favorite one:

  • Create Search Bins with metadata to better organize assets, which is essentially the same concept as Smart Galleries in Adobe Lightroom.

There’s also a brand new Adobe Premiere Clip app that “easily transforms the video shot on iPhone or iPad into edited videos that are simple to share. Aspiring videographers can then send their compositions to Adobe Premiere Pro CC for advanced editing and finishing.” Sadly, Adobe keeps forgetting that the vast majority of the mobile world (85% to be exact) runs on Android OS. So far no developments for this platform have been announced.

Here some additional info on the latest Adobe Creative Cloud features: http://adobe.ly/1vJAXkQ

Video

7 things we discovered after shooting 4K with the GH4. You won’t like #4.

The invitation from Panasonic USA to perform a field test arrived quite suddenly, with multiple commitments for Fashion Week already in place, and with nasty weather that didn’t really allow access to tried and true locations. Great!

It is very important to mention that the camera we tested was a preproduction model running firmware v0.3. As it is always the case with preproduction models, as well as some early production models, many features were disabled or not working as expected. We also wanted to test if our current workflow, which we generally use with Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera and Canon products—ranging from the 60D to the 5D Mark III to the C300 and even some 1DCs—would work at the same or needed adaptations for the GH4.

1. Comparisons
Instead of a side-by-side comparison between the GH4 and other brands, Sean Davis and I were more interested in exploring the new features of the GH4, compared to the GH3 and a hacked version of the GH2 that we have used in the past. Obviously, shooting 4K was at the top of the list.

www.eduardoangel.com GH4 field test central park_001www.eduardoangel.com Cinevate_01

2. Look and Feel
The GH4 is the exact same size as the GH3. Not only that, unlike other camera manufacturers that feel inspired to sell new batteries and chargers with every new camera, we were pleased to see that the GH4 shares the same exact DMW-BLF19 battery (here’s a much better deal). In other words, all your GH3 “power rigging accessories” will continue to work. Great news for Panasonic users and rental houses. An important difference (and a small hiccup in our field test) is that the GH4 uses Micro HDMI, and not the GH3’s Mini HDMI.

Before you ask, the answer is no. We did not have the Lumix DMC-YAGH Interface Unit (aka The Brick) with us.

www.eduardoangel.com GH4 field test grand central _001

3. The 4K Footage
As you can see from the image below, the GH4’s 100 Mbps is broadcast 4K or Quad HD (3840 x 2160), not DCI compliant 4K cinema spec (4096×2160), but the camera is capable of recording DCI compliant 4K at 200Mbps. This article explains what DCI is.

www.eduardoangel.com GH4-4K-File-Size_web

Just for fun, I created this side-by-side file size comparison between the cameras I use most often.

www.eduardoangel.com GH4 File-Sizes-compared_web

Everything in Slow Motion was shot at FHD 96 fps. Everything else was shot at 4K (3840×2160). We used the Cine-D Profile. The only “grading” done was the B&W preset on Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

4. Storage
Regarding memory cards, we were ALSO testing a pre-production version of a SanDisk. The GH4 didn’t like the SanDisk 95mbs SDXC that we always use with our Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera. To spice things up a bit more, we had to use a beta SDHC II 280mbs 32GB card provided by SanDisk. I hope that once the camera ships, it will take “standard” SD cards, but they won’t come cheap.

Shooting 4K @100mb/s 30p on a 64GB card will give you about 29 minutes of shooting time. So we are looking at three to four cards per shoot at $150 each. All things considered, I’d get Panasonic 64 GB microP2 cards. If you have a better suggestion please send me a tweet.
This extra budget consideration of $450-$600 doesn’t even include hard drives for storage and backups. Definitively a G-RAID 4TB Dual Thunderbolt drive is the way to go.

5. High ISO
Per multiple requests via Twitter, we shot the same exact cityscape in Central Park with the GH3 and the GH4.

The exposure settings were identical:
• Manual Exposure
• The beautiful Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f2.8 Lens
• f/2.8
• 1/30th
• 1600 ISO
• WB at 5500K


Lumix12-35mm lens

The only difference was that the GH3 was recording at its highest video resolution 1920×1080 at 72mb/s ALL-I 24fps while the GH4 was recording at 4K at 100mb/s IPB 30fps. Note: This was the ONLY video setting working on our prerelease GH4. Other settings were available but the camera was not able to record.

Here are some tests:



6. Workflow
The workflow we tested was intentionally kept as plain and simple as possible. The idea was to mimic a “normal” setup for an “average” shooter.

1. Download the SD card directly to a G-RAID 4TB Dual Thunderbolt External Drive connected to a 27-inch mid-2011 iMac.

www.eduardoangel.com About This Macwww.eduardoangel.com GH4 4K footage on iMac 2011_001

2. Open the MOV directly into Adobe Premiere Pro CC v7.2.1 without transcoding to ProRes or doing anything special to the files. This is exactly why I switched from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro a few years ago. Another feature I love on Premiere is the ability to change the playback resolution. In a few words, with high-resolution footage, you can set playback resolution to a lower value.

www.eduardoangel.com-Adobe-Premiere-Pro-Settings-for-4K_web

3. Start editing

7. Other Observations:
• The GH4 comes with two options for focusing magnification: Full frame and PIP which I find much more applicable for video. Even though PIP was not working while shooting video on our pre-production model, I’m sure it will be there when the camera ships.
• The peaking feature was working perfectly. A wonderful addition to our tips and tricks arsenal.

www.eduardoangel.com GH4 Peaking_001
• The camera didn’t have, and won’t have, built-in ND filters. I was really hoping this would be an improvement over the GH3, but we will need to keep using our variable ND filters.
• There’s a lot to like about this system and I am confident Panasonic will add enough improvements to the firmware to make your shooting experience even better.

www.eduardoangel.com GH4 field test grand central2 _001www.eduardoangel.com GH4 field test tenba_001www.eduardoangel.com Rode Mic

 

Related Posts

I Just Got a Panasonic GH4 – Now What? Hard Drives.

I Just Got a Panasonic GH4 – Now What? Batteries.

I Just Got a Panasonic GH4 – Now What? Memory Cards.

 

Video

Canon EOS C300 explained for photographers.

 
For starters, the C300 is NOT “just bigger than the EOS 5D Mark III.” Well, it IS bigger, but it is also a completely different system. The Canon EOS C300 comes in two flavors, one with EF mount (EOS C300) which takes your good ol’ Canon lenses, and another one (C300 PL) with a PL mount.
The camera is compact box, similar in size to a Mamiya RZ with a viewfinder. It is a bit heavy, but very comfortable to use for extended periods of time. (more…)

Video

Upgrading PluralEyes 2 to version 3. Worth it?

 
PluralEyes Upgrade

When shooting with a DSLR camera, and recording dual-system sound, Red Giant’s PluralEyes has been a godsend. Period. We couldn’t even consider working without this awesome plugin. Version 3 has been out for a while. Will upgrading to PluralEyes 3 make us more efficient? Or should we just stick with our trusted friend a bit longer? (more…)

Video

Upgrading to Adobe Lightroom 5 and Creative Cloud. Worth it?

Question: Should I get Lightroom 5? Answer: It depends.

Whether it’s worth upgrading to Adobe Lightroom 5 depends mostly on three things: workflow, system and cameras. (more…)

Video

Is Canon following Adobe’s steps?

 
Canon just released their “EOS Digital Solution Disk V28.1” software suite. As usual, it contains the “Digital Photo Professional”, “EOS Utility” and “Picture Style Editor” applications. So what’s the big deal? For the first time (as far as I can remember) the Solution Disk has been issued only on CDs, but this time it will be available as a download.No conspiracy theory needed here. The real reason behind the online delivery is that many new computers, including the latest Apple iMac (which is super fast and awesome) no longer come with CD drives, so we are all being forced to move to the cloud.

Canon EOS DIGITAL Solution Disk Suite

Canon EOS DIGITAL Solution Disk Suite

Support for Mac OS X includes:
• Mac OS X v10.8
• Mac OS X v10.7
• Mac OS X v10.6

And support for Windows OS includes:
• Windows 8
• Windows 8 (x64)
• Windows 7
• Windows 7 (x64)
• Windows Vista
• Windows Vista (x64)
• Windows XP

Keep in mind that you will need a serial number in order to download the software.
Supported cameras will include Rebel SL1, T5i and 1DC along with other updates.

And talking about Clouds and Adobe, on this post I added a link to Adobe’s MAX 2013 Keynote AND and a second link to the best deal for Cre¬ative Cloud I can find ($20 per month). Here’s a previous article on using Adobe Lightroom with Cloud Storage Solutions.

Video

10 (new) Cool Gadgets for Photographers and Filmmakers. Part 2

 
6• Convergent Design Odyssey 7.
Two super interesting monitor/recorders are the Odyssey7 and Odyssey7Q by Convergent Design. For $1295 and up you get a 7.7” 1280 x 800 OLED external monitor that also doubles as an external recorder capable of receiving 4K RAW data as well as other compressed and uncompressed formats onto two 2.5” SSDs.

Here’s the twist; out-of-the-box, these two products are monitors only, with all the usual settings (waveform, histogram, false color, vectorscope, zebras, and focus assist) but without any recording or playback capabilities. (more…)

Video

Post-NAB 2013 wrap-up.

 
Our Digital Technology Resource is a monthly conversation about news, trends, and events for photographers and filmmakers. On our upcoming issue we highlight the most relevant products and trends we witnessed at NAB, including:

• Edelkrone SliderPLUS
• Redrock Micro One Man Crew
• Blackmagic Pocket and 4K Production Cameras
• Atomos Ninja 2
• Convergent Design Odyssey 7
• Tascam DR-60D and Samson Zoom H6
G-Tech Evolution Series.
• Adobe Lightroom 5 and Premiere Pro “6.5”
• Imagine Products ShotPut Pro

It is never too late to sign up. Do it now!

Did you miss a previous issue? Don’t worry, be happy. Here are the links:
January 2013 Issue
February 2013 Issue
March 2013 Issue

NAB Show 2013 Highlights

Video

Adobe Lightroom Tips and Tricks 007. From Photoshop to Premiere Pro, iMovie or Final Cut.

I kinda lied. This is not really a Lightroom tip, but we’ve received so many requests for this post that we are including it in our Tips and Tricks series.

Let’s say you want to create a title for your next movie project, and would love to use Photoshop for that. The process is fairly quick and simple:

1. Launch Photoshop
2. Go to Window > Workspace > Motion

From Photoshop to Premiere 00
(more…)

Video

Shooting with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. Field report and impressions.

The friendly waiter at the Turkish restaurant in Sohar, Oman, saw the camera on the table and asked “Nikon? Canon? Which one is better?” To which I replied, “actually, this is the Panasonic GH3.” He stared at me, his expression turned from excited to perplexed to confused to annoyed within seconds. After an uncomfortable silence he finally asked, “Are you ready to order?”

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _001

That was pretty much my reaction when, a few weeks ago, just two days before I started teaching a “Digital Cinema for Photographers” event in Dubai, I found out that Panasonic, a major sponsor of the event, REALLY wanted me and my students to use a couple of GH3s and several lenses in my hands-on workshop.

Panasonic is one of the largest consumer electronics companies, and the GH3 is the third generation of their very successful Micro Fourth Thirds DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) system. For a while I have been aware of the low-budget-filmmaking community’s devotion to the hacked DMC-GH2 and its ALL-I codec. I saw the DMC-GH3 at Photokina last year, but I had never before shot a single frame with a Panasonic camera. The bodies that I was given were running Firmware v0.5. Add to this a nine-hour time zone difference and jet lag, and you can begin to imagine my pain.

While I’ll be using some geeky terms, this is not an in-depth technical review, nor a scientific analysis of the GH3. You can dig into tech specs and MTF charts somewhere else. My goal is simply to share my honest and independent impressions, go over the things I liked and didn’t like, and communicate my wish list for future features. I want to emphasize that all the conclusions in this article are subjective and strictly based on my own personal experience.

“I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.”
-Keanu Reeves in “Speed”

I have to respectfully disagree with Keanu on this one. Much to my surprise, the camera was much more intuitive than Sony’s NEX system, and several video features got my full attention right away.

FEATURES
• Full HD 1920×1080 60p/50p (NTSC/PAL) with 30p/25p/24p options.
• Ultra-high bit rate video recorded at 72 Mbps (ALL-I) or 50 Mbps (IPB).
• Capable of recording continuously for an unlimited time for NTSC and 29 min 59 sec for PAL.
• Native support for MOV (h.264), MP4, and AVCHD formats.
• Time Code support in the MOV and AVCHD formats.
• Extremely fast and accurate contrast-detection Autofocus.
• A 3.5mm mic input AND a headphone jack AND the option to manually adjust the sound recording levels via touchscreen controls.
• Full-time AF, AF Tracking, and Face Recognition AF are available for VIDEO. The Touch AF mimics rack focusing.

THE WORKSHOP STORY
Not having enough time to field test the Panasonic systems before the Workshop, I shot dummy clips in my hotel room and made sure that the footage would work in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. The test went surprisingly smoothly. I then set both GH3 cameras to the same video settings: MOV at 1920×1080, 24p, 72 Mbps ALL-I, Standard Photo Style, White Balance at 5500K, got ND filters for all the lenses, extra batteries, and a few Class 10 SD cards. And then I prayed.

GH3_1-1

SD 16GB class10

You must use a Class 10 SDHC card when recording Ultra-high bit rate video at 72 Mbps (ALL-I).

Note: It’s extremely important to point out that full HD on this camera requires memory cards with the fastest speed available. My “older” memory cards didn’t work, giving me only four seconds of recording time.

VIDEO
We spent the first day of my three-day Digital Cinema Workshop  covering all the technical similarities and differences between stills and video. On the second day, we planned a location shoot with a Capoeira team and spent a couple hours shooting in the afternoon. On the third and last day we covered the different hardware and software requirements for post production and spent three hours editing the footage. I am especially proud of the short clip my students put together in such a limited amount of time and with newly acquired knowledge (and using brand new gear!).

Capoeira in Dubai. Student Project. from Eduardo Angel on Vimeo.

We could obviously use a few more days sweetening the audio, fine tuning transitions, and grading, but for a two-hour shoot and a three-hour edit, I believe this is a good example of what can be accomplished with great teamwork, interesting subjects, and the GH3’s many customizable options.

SAMPLE CLIPS
Below you will see a few additional sample clips, all shot as H.264, 1920 x 1080, 23.976 72Mbps ALL-I, using the GH3’s “Standard” profile (Contrats = 0, Sharpness = 0,  Saturation = 0, Noise Reduction = 0). The Exposure and White Balance were set manually. The lens was the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8 set on AF Tracking mode, which worked very well most of the time. Despite the lens having “environmental sealing,” as you can see the fine desert’s sand inevitably found its way to the sensor. I put the clips together on Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, and have NOT done any grading nor sharpening. These short clips are intended to show you what the GH3 is capable of, not to tell a specific story.

SOMETHING INTERESTING
So, mission accomplished, right? Not so fast. A couple of days later, as I was wrapping up my day, a friend asked “Are you busy? I wanna show you something interesting.” With only the GH3, the 12-35mm 2.8 lens, a 4GB card and a low battery I jumped into his car. The “something interesting” happened to be access to the Royal Suite at the 7-star Hotel Burj Al Arab—a notoriously difficult area to access. With limited amount of storage space and battery life I managed to capture a few keepers.

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _008

The 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel resembles a giant sail rising over the Gulf, with changing colors visible for miles at night.

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _002

The very next morning (on my “day off”), I headed out to meet an old friend for brunch at the Atlantis. Should you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I strongly recommend that you pay the Atlantis a visit. As we enjoyed the seemingly endless food, my friend received a call to drive to Abu Dhabi right away to pick someone up and then drive back to Dubai. Would I like to come? Guess what I had hanging on my shoulder? This time I had a full battery and a 16GB card, but nothing else to shoot the magnificent mosque and the impossibly opulent Emirates Palace. Once again, the GH3 did a fantastic job.

EduardoAngel_Panasonic_Lumix_DMC_GH3_SampleImages _003

A nice view from a 25th floor overlooking the magnificent Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

MORE FEATURES
These are some of the GH3’s features that are not obvious to the naked eye, but are interesting once you are aware of them:

• A magnesium alloy camera body that Panasonic describes as “splash proof and dust proof.”
• The Panasonic RAW files (RW2) work fine in Adobe Lightroom [add link to LR workshop] but the most current version (4.3 as of this writing) is needed. Unfortunately there are no Panasonic lens profiles available as of this writing.
• All the video formats worked seamlessly on Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Even the video recorded at 72 Mbps was easy to preview and edit on a two-year old MacBook Pro (with 8GB of RAM and an external 7200 RPM Hard Drive as a Scratch Disk).
• HDMI monitor output can be sent with or without information overlays.
• I had a DMW-MS2 Stereo Shotgun Mic with me, but was happy to learn that the camera’s built-in internal microphones provide stereo audio.
• The GH3’s sensor has a 4:3 aspect ratio.
• Built-in Time Lapse, and HDR but unfortunately it works only for JPGs not RAW.
• Five physical function buttons, and two touch-screen function buttons, all customizable with close to 40 options to choose from.
• Virtually all the key shooting controls are within the right hand’s reach. This frees up the left hand to hold the camera or focus manually.
• Excellent battery life, lasting a full day under normal operation. For extended video sessions I’d consider getting the DMW-BGGH3 Battery Grip.
• Apparently (I have not tested this) the GH3 is also capable of real-time image output to the LVF or the rear monitor AND to an external monitor via HDMI.

GH3_shotgun

DMW-MS2 Stereo Shotgun Mic

LENSES
I shot extensively (more than 2,000 images in 18 days) with the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8. The lens is tiny. And fast. And awesome. It has the equivalent focal length to a 24-70mm F2.8 on a 35mm system but it is a fraction of the size and weight. As you already know, this is a very good start when dealing with packing issues.

12-35mm lens

Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8

In terms of depth of field, the lens behaves like a 16-45mm F3.5 lens on an APS-C sensor, or a 24-70mm F5.6 lens on a Full Frame sensor. It is hard to get used to this, especially when shooting another system simultaneously, but it is not a disadvantage per se.

Click to keep reading (more…)

Video

What to bring and how to pack when shooting overseas.

UPDATED January 20, 2015
For a limited time, Tenba is offering a 10% off ANY item on their website using the Code: EduardoAngel

I have always been fascinated with bags and how photographers pack their gear. I remember reading the equipment lists of National Geographic photographers when I was younger. I used to wonder how they moved around the world with so much stuff.

Those times, as you might have noticed, are over. Nowadays, we need to deal with increasingly tighter airline safety, weight, and size regulations.

We have covered the “essential” video gear on previous posts. However, when it comes to deciding what to bring on a trip as carry on, what to check, and what to leave behind, the theory becomes much more interesting.

I tend to start with the personal stuff. Medicines, pain killers, toiletries, travel documents, etc. Some of these items are not easily replaceable; some are, but it would be inconvenient to forget them (think passport, credit cards, or headphones).

Disclaimer: The images below are taken with my phone, simply to illustrate this article. They are not intended to be fine art masterpieces of any kind. And yes, the “background” is my bed.

PackingforDubai_0001

Personal Stuff.

This is my “rolling studio” when shooting on location in New York. Add a fluid head tripod, monopod, three hot lights, umbrellas, cables and light stands.  It is a lot, but two people can easily carry everything even on public transportation.

Click to keep reading (more…)

Video

PhotoPlus 2012 Workshops

 
The 2012 PDN PhotoPlus Expo is the largest photography and imaging show in North America, attended by over 24,000 professional photographers and enthusiasts. This year we are presenting two awesome seminars: The Power of Lightroom 4 and Digital Cinema Essentials for Photographers.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us!

Video

Adobe discontinues support for CinemaDNG on Premiere Pro.

 
We have watched this comparison test between Blackmagic’s Cinema Camera (4:2:2 10-bit image), and Canon’s 5D Mark III (4:2:0 8-bit image) way too many times.

 

And here’s a low-light comparison between Sony’s FS100 and Blackmagic. We believe the footage speaks for itself.
 

We are seriously considering getting Blackmagic’s amazing camera next month when it finally becomes available. Because of this, we are extremely surprised and dissapointed by Adobe’s sudden decision to drop support for their own CinemaDNG format on Premiere Pro. CinemaDNG is one of the many features we really like from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. This is Adobe’s statement:

“The Cinema DNG Initiative has been discontinued and is no longer hosted on Adobe Labs. The CinemaDNG format continues to be an open format, and its development is not limited to Adobe. CinemaDNG files can still be opened by any current Adobe application that includes the Camera Raw plug-in (note: which is NOT the case fro Adobe Premier Pro) for importing DNG files.”

Right after our NAB 2012 wrap-up report (where we highlighted Blackmagic’s Camera AND the announcement of Adobe Premiere Pro CS6) Adobe had this to say:
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Video

Will Lightroom 4 support all my files? Maybe.

 
Updated 9/22

I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking whether Adobe Lightroom 4 (and/or Adobe Camera Raw 7) will support the file format for certain new cameras.

In Lightroom 4.1 or later, you can import and work with TIFF 16-, 24-, and 32-bit floating point images – also known as HDR (high dynamic range) images. You can use the Develop module controls to edit HDR images, and then render the images for export or printing as 8-bit or 16-bit images. Lightroom can now import DNG format HDR images, but you need to make sure the images are processed version 2012.

To keep things simple, here’s the complete list of currently supported file formats:

• JPEG
• TIFF (8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit)
• PSD (8 bit, 16 bit)
• DNG
• RAW – Here is the complete list of supported cameras. As you can see, the list keeps growing and growing and now includes Hasselblad, Mamiya/Leaf, and PhaseOne Medium Format Digital Backs.

There are two important exceptions:
PSD files saved without the “Maximize Compatibility” setting enabled
Files with dimensions greater than 65,000 pixels per side

As you already know (if you have been following this blog), Lightroom 4 also supports the most popular HDSLR video formats, including MOV, MPG, AVI, and AVCHD.

Keep in mind that the AVCHD support is limited to MTS and M2TS video files. Video editing applications like Adobe Premiere Pro may need the AVCHD file structure to process the files, which can be a pain. Final Cut Pro 7 won’t even take the MTS files without transcoding them first.

This is how the typical AVCHD file structure looks like:

Sony NEX-7 Files

If you find this information useful please help us share the love. It is good karma!

Video

H.265: A New Standard for Digital Cinema?

 
A new video codec is expected to replace H.264 as early as next year. H.264  is one of the most common formats for recording, compressing, and distributing high-definition video, not in small part because it is the codec found on several HDSLR systems such as Canon’s EOS 5D Mark III. Another big advantage is that it is currently supported by for most video sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo.  Additionally, runs natively in both Lightroom 4 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, which dramatically decreases the time wasted transcoding and rendering files.

But, apparently there is (or technically, will be) a new kid on the block. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and the Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) are teaming up and plan to release H.264’s successor as early as January 2013. The new kid’s name will likely be H.265 or MPEG-H Part 2.

Just how much more efficient will H.265 be? Well, H.265 is expected to provide a significant improvement in data transmission and streaming efficiency compared to H.264. It will have almost twice the amount of compression ratio from for a similar quality level.  This means that I’ll need to buy less memory cards, and less external hard drives. Both will make my accountant really happy. Below is the only video test comparing H.264 and H.265 we were able to find. It was performed on an Android tablet by Qualcomm, a San Diego-based chip-maker that is listed as a member of the international standards group developing H.265.

H.265 will be designed to support all new and current streaming technologies including devices working at 4K and Ultra HDTV (also known as 8K or 4320p) resolutions. Did you know that Ultra HDTV definition contains about 16 times the amount of pixels that are present in a 1080p video stream? That’s kinda insane!  Check out the chart below to see things in perspective.

New h.265 HVEC Standard Resolution

The H.265 codec sounds promising, but (there’s always a but) it will have to fight for widespread implementation with another codec called VP8. This format was purchased by Google two years ago and was released it as a royalty-free alternative under the Creative Commons license. Nvidia (Qualcomm’s main competitor) has built VP8 decoding support into its newer Tegra 3 chips alongside H.264 support, and several companies including Skype have adopted VP8 as their preferred format. Adobe also announced that the Flash Player will support VP8 playback in a future release. Who will win? Let’s wait and see.

Video

Adobe Creative Suite 6: is your current system supported?

 
As part of Adobe’s Photoshop CS6 Public Beta announcement, the company said that it will continue to provide official support for Windows XP, and Windows 7, but will be dropping official support for Windows Vista. As you might know, Lightroom 4 is no longer officially supported on Windows XP. For Mac OX OS, Adobe is officially ending support for Macintosh systems that are not 64-bit capable. Premiere Pro CS6  requires Mac OS X v10.6.8 or v10.7, and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1, but it is not clear if Windows Vista and/or XP will be supported. We have been beta testing Premiere Pro CS6 for several months and I can tell you this: it is sweeeeet!!! Actually, most of our “Conversations with Friends” have been edited on CS6.

Premiere Pro CS6

If you are just getting started with video and want to explore a video editing application, you could also consider Premiere Elements 10.  Elements is a slightly less powerful, but still very capable version of Premiere Pro with an easier-to-use interface. It is important to know that Premiere Pro is a 64-bit only software and requires a computer with a 64-bit processor and 64-bit operating system. Premiere Elements 10 includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions to run on both systems, but the 32-bit version won’t be able to access more than 4 GB of RAM. The same is true for the old Final Cut Pro 7 and older.

If you are curious about which NVIDIA graphics cards are better for Adobe’s CS6 Suite, go here.

Tomorrow we will show the quick and easy way to tell if your Mac has a 32-bit or a 64-bit processor.
Questions? Comments? Please post them below.

 

Video

Video Essentials and Video Editing for photographers at SVA.

 
PDN Magazine recently published what we consider the “13 Prod­ucts you need to add HD Video to your busi­ness.” (You might need the password “tutorials” to download the file.) The arti­cle is also avail­able on PDN’s May print issue. If you are new to the world of Video, this list is a great place to start.

During the summer we will be offering two new workshops at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City: a 2-day “Video Essentials for Photographers” and a 1-day “Video Editing for Photographers” using Adobe Premiere Pro. We hope to see you there!

School of Visual Arts - New York - Summer Classes

Video

Catching up with the coolest tech news. Summary.

 

I’ve been on the road for the past 2 weeks, with very limited internet access. Today, I finally had some time to catch up with the latest technology news (1683 articles and 268 emails). These are, in my opinion, the most interesting and relevant announcements:

• Filmmaker Jeff Desom took Alfred Hitchcock’s famous 1954 film “Rear Window” and turned it into a single panoramic time-lapse video.

Two years ago I set up my camera to take a picture every 15 seconds for 36 hour and edited 698 still images into a 29-second video.

• Recently I was interviewed by PDN about the “13 Products you need to add HD Video to your business.” Do you agree or disagree? Did we miss something? We would love to hear your comments below. The article is also available on PDN’s May print issue.

What to buy to shoot video?

• Blurb posted a cool article about how we use the Book Module on Adobe Lightroom 4. If you are interested in exploring this option don’t miss one of our upcoming seminars. Here’s the sample book (about wine!) we created.

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Video

Canon EOS 5D Mk III, 5D3, 5D Mark III has arrived.

 
Ok. Let’s start from the beginning: We are looking at a 22.3 Megapixels, Full Frame (36 x 24mm) CMOS sensor system, powered by a DIGIC 5+ processor. Check this article if you want to fully understand the differences between the DIGIC 4 processor on the 5D Mark II, and the new DIGIC 5+ on the 5D Mark III.

canon 5D M3

EOS system - view from the top

Some of the highlighted features include:
• Dual card slots (1 SD/SDHC/SDXC and 1 CF). Sorry, no XQD on this one. What is awesome about the dual cards is that you can a) record the same data to both cards, or b) record different file sizes or types to each card, or c) automatically switch to the second card when the first card is full. That’s great when shooting long interviews, or concerts, for example.
• HDR with +/- 3 stops
• Improvement in noise reduction by 2 stops
• Multiple exposure mode
• 63 zone dual metering system
• +/- 5 stops (the 5D Mark II has only 3 stops)
• iFCL metering system with a 63-zone dual-layer sensor
• File Formats: AVI, RAW, JPEG, H.264, MOV, MPEG-4
• Full HD video recording: 1080/30p, 24p, 25p; 720/60p, 50p; 480/60p, 50p

All the typical features are here: Minimum Shutter Speed (30 sec), Maximum Shutter Speed (1/8000 sec), 100% coverage viewfinder, etc, etc, etc. As expected, durability on the Magnesium Alloy chassis has been improved including a 150,000-cycles shutter, and water and dust additional resistance.
 
These are the specs that REALLY got my attention:
• It is now possible to check two images side-by-side for sharpness, exposure, etc at different aspect ratios (1:1, 4:3, 16:9) with the new “Comparative Playback” function.
• There’s a Q button that will process RAW to JPG on camera.
• The new camera shares the same exact 61-point High Density Reticular AF system found in the EOS 1D-X (for half the price).
• There’s an iPod-like button to make changes in the movie mode without adding noise to the clips. Smart!

Canon EOS system
• The 5D Mark III uses the same batteries (LP-E6) as the 7D and 60D.
• The ISO war keeps getting better. The Mark III offers ISO 100-25600 (expandable up to ISO 102,400) for stills, and 100-12800 (up to ISO 25,600) for video. Wow! Now we really could use an iPad as a Key Light!
 
Here’s an interesting set of high-res JPEGs samples shot at ISO 50 to 102,800. The test was performed under low level halogen lights, which are perhaps the most challenging to digital sensors and noise reduction systems.

Video Features.
There are several serious improvements on this front:
•There are a couple of new video Modes: “Silent and Low Vibration,” but I don’t recall seeing them on the prototype I tested.
• The video resolution is Full HD (1920×1080), and the video format is the same H.264, which I personally love because it runs natively on Adobe Premiere Pro and Lightroom 4, and plays extremely well with online sharing platforms like Vimeo and YouTube.
• The recording buffer has been extended from 12 minutes to 29 minutes and 59 seconds. The 4GB limit is finally over.
• Following Nikon’s D800 improvement, we now have a 3.5mm head­phone jack for live audio mon­i­tor­ing and a Wind Filter. Other ports include USB 2, HDMI, Mic Input, and Wireless.

HDMI port on Canon EOS 5D Mark III
• The LCD screen is virtually the same 3.2″ 1.04 million as the Nikon’s D800. With a screen this size photographers are out of excuses for not using Histograms the way they should.
• There’s a built-in info menu while shooting video, which comes super handy to quickly check important settings like White Balance, Resolution, ISO, Picture Style, etc.

Regarding audio, the changes are pretty exciting:

“The camera includes manual audio level control with 64 levels, adjustable both before and during movie recording. There is also an automatic audio level setting, or sound recording can be turned off entirely. A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input.”

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Photography

Adobe reconsiders upgrade policy expiration.

 
Adobe’s worldwide upgrade policy was set to change after December 31, 2011. Well, now they are announcing a new “special upgrade offer” for CS3 and CS4 customers.

“We want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012. More details on this offer, as well as any introductory offers for existing customers to move to Creative Cloud membership, will be announced when CS6 and Creative Cloud are released later this year.”

I am wondering if this is a response to unhappy customers, or a clever marketing move. What’s your take?

The complete press release is here.

Adobe CS5

Video

Adobe Lightroom 4 HDSLR video support explained.

 
UPDATE March 6, 2012. The full version of Lightroom 4 is available now and Adobe cut the price in half: The full version (which used to cost $299) will now be $149. The upgrade version will only cost $79. The beta version (which was downloaded more than 250,000 times) will expire on March 31, 2012.

My birthday was yesterday, and the present arrived this morning. Lightroom 4.0 (public beta) FULL VERSION is now available as a free download from Adobe’s website.

Important things to consider:

• You do not need a serial number and the beta version will not update your current Lightroom 3 (or earlier) catalog.
• The public beta comes in three flavors: Mac (OS X v10.6.8 Snow Leopard) or v10.7 Lion), Windows 32-bit, and Windows 64-bit. Make sure you download the correct version. Each compressed download is about 400MB.
• File support for Lightroom 4 beta, is exactly the same as in Lightroom 3.6 and Camera Raw 6.6.
• The public beta will expire on March 31, 2012, when the final Version 4 becomes available.
Adobe Lightroom 4 Video Support

Here are the new features, organized from super awesome to awesome:

• HDSLR video support (full details below)
• Soft proofing (found under the Develop Module, not the Print Module as one would expect)
• Photo book layout
• Email directly from Lightroom (works with Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, and AOL)
• Publish videos directly to Facebook or Flickr
• Geo location (via GPS metadata) with the Map Module
• Enhanced DNG workflows
• Adobe Revel (Carousel) export workflow
• Additional local adjustments including Noise Reduction and White Balance
• Powerful new Shadow and Highlight controls
• Simplified basic adjustments

Adobe Lightroom 4 Soft Proofing

 

Video

Regarding Video Support this is what Adobe has to say:

“Lightroom 3 added the ability to import, manage and tag video files but as the popularity of video capture increases it’s important to provide a single, robust workflow solution that can support all of your imaging needs regardless if they’re still images or video captures. Lightroom 4 adds native playback for a wide variety of formats from mobile phones to high end DSLRs.”

Here’s what I have to say: In version 3, we were able to import video files along with our still images, but to see the clips Lightroom needed to access Quicktime. Now we can play the files inside of LR. Also, by using similar shortcuts from well established NLE (non linear editing) software applications like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro, now we can set In and Out points directly in Lightroom. Shift+I (In) and Shift+O (Out).

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Video

How much is Slow-Mo worth? Twixtor vs. Adobe Premiere Pro.

 

Tues­days Tutorials.

We recently purchased a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM lens, and tested it by shooting stills and video at a skate park in Manhattan. We liked some of the footage we got, and decided to quickly play with some slow motion effects in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.

One of our friends at Abel Cine suggested that we look into Twixtor, and we did. Here are the side-by-side videos, so you can judge the quality by yourself.

Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

RE:Vision Twixtor

The video was shot with a Canon EOS 7D, at 1270×720 and 60fps. The shutter was anywhere between 1/125th and 1/500th of a second. All the clips were slowed down to 20%. We feel that Premiere Pro did a decent job, but Twixtor definitively is the way to go. Unfortunately, the standard version is $330, and the Pro version is $600. Is anyone using another preset for slow motion with a similar (or better) quality?

Video

Weekend Wrap up.

 

What a great weekend! Tons of new friends, and a few exciting announcements at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo in New York. My Adobe Lightroom and Digital Cinema seminars went great, big thanks to Victor Ha from Cinevate for his awesome hands-on demo on High Production Value. The 2-day HDSLR Workshop at B&H was really fun. We had a great group of photographers transitioning into digital cinema!

Thank you all for the great feedback and support. Here are some pictures.

If you are interested in HDSLR Cinema, check my upcoming workshops in Washington D.C. (Nov. 5-6), and Los Angeles (Nov. 11-12).

Video

Is this the future of Video editing?

 

Adobe just released some “early-stage technology ideas” during the recent Adobe MAX conference, and by far my favorite is “Video Meshes” which basically is a new way to edit videos that includes the ability to create 3D fly-throughs of 2D videos, AND change focus and depth of field.

Imagine the possibilities: Lightroom meets Premiere meets Video Meshes meets the recently acquired Iridas. Iridas, just in case you missed it, is a leader in high-performance tools for digital color grading and enhancement of professional film and video content, including stereoscopic technology. Adobe is getting really serious about these things lately.
How long will it take for this to develop into a real product? Any guess?

I am also impressed with the gazillion of Cloud apps they have announced lately. But that’s another post for another day.

Video

Can’t miss seminars at PDN’s PhotoPlus Expo 2011.

 

Last week, my great friends Ted Kawalerski, Matt Stanton, and Justin Katz helped me shoot this 45-second video to promote my upcoming seminars at PhotoPlus Expo in New York City.

On Friday, October 28, from 8:45 to 11:45 a.m., I’ll be co-teaching “Portrait Lighting Techniques & Lightroom Workflow” with Bobbi Lane. Expect a very energetic and intense seminar.

The same day, from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m., I’ll be presenting “Intro to Digital Cinema.” This 2-hour class is specifically designed for photographers transitioning into HDSLR video, and my goal is to provide enough tips and resources so that attendees will be able to start shooting video by 6 p.m. that same day. I guess I love challenges. As the title says, this is an introductory class.

To truly understand all the technical concepts, filmmaking techniques, and upcoming trends of this amazing digital revolution, I suggest you attend one of my upcoming 2-day PDN HDSLR Video Workshops in New York (Oct. 30-31), Washington D.C. (Nov. 5-6), and Los Angeles (Nov. 11-12).

Let me know if you have any questions!