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.
NAB 2016 Announcements.
I’ve been honored to speak at NAB for the past 9 years. A few days ago I was addressed as a “senior” speaker, which feels kinda good but very weird at the same time. One of the many lessons learned is that it’s close to impossible to understand what’s happening in terms of announcements while you are AT the show. There are so many people, so many widgets, and so much noise… It is actually much easier and faster to follow the news and read the reports “from the the trenches” to stay up to date on new toys.
In collaboration with B&H, this year I’m testing two new widgets that are populated automatically; one for Announcements and a second one for B&H specials during the show. I have no idea how this is going to work, but it doesn’t hurt to try. So, here we go!
NAB 2016: Just Announced
NAB 2016: Show Specials
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.
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.
The Panasonic GH4 V-Log L. Graded and Ungraded Samples.
A few tests comparing the Panasonic GH4’s default camera profiles with the brand new V-Log L.
The (very quick) grading was done on Premiere Pro CC 2015 and the super awesome Lumetri Color Engine.
Installing V-Log L on your GH4 is far from intuitive and user friendly, but we’ve got you covered. A complete step-by-step tutorial is available for free right here.
The GH4 firmware update (version 2.3) including V-Log L will cost $100, and it will be available in 2 weeks. You can pre-order it now right here.
- Hybrid Assignments Equipment List: The Essential 41 Items.
- The eternal quest for “the best” digital camera.
- Shooting Anamorphic and V-Log with Panasonic’s GH4. Valuable Lessons.
- 7 things we discovered after shooting 4K with the GH4. You won’t like #4.
- The Pros and Cons of external recorders: Atomos Shogun.
- 4K video under $2K. Meet the Panasonic Lumix GH4.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
Here are some screen grabs from the camera’s LCD:
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.
• 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.
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.
The eternal quest for “the best” digital camera.
I often receive emails asking for advice about “the best lens” or “the best camera” or even “the best laptop.” I believe it is simply impossible to determine a “best” of anything as there are too many random factors such as experience, budget, expected lifetime of the product, intended use, availability of accessories (like lenses or batteries), and even tech support in certain areas. That’s not even considering more subjective factors like personal preference, sense of loyalty to certain brands (or dislike for others), and even the size or weight of such tools. Interestingly, we are currently experiencing one of those “what’s the best” dilemmas ourselves, and not a minor one by any means; we are reconsidering our standard camera package for 2015–16.
Renting vs. Owning:
For many reasons, I believe renting is one of the best options for most people. When all you have is a hammer, the solution to every problem requires a hammer. That’s a very limiting factor to your creativity and a disservice to clients. Sometimes you can get the job done with a Swiss Army Knife like MacGyver, sometimes you need a nice toolbox, and sometimes the best approach is to have a professional plumber do the job.
Another huge reason to rent is to keep overhead as low as possible. Unless you are shooting several times a week with the same system, having something that is guaranteed to quickly decrease in value simply collecting dust in a drawer isn’t the best financial move. Unfortunately, renting is not an easy or affordable option in many small cities.
In terms of lenses I own a nice selection (from 8mm all the way to 200mm) of mostly Canon L glass, some Sigma ART lenses (with Canon mounts), as well as a couple of Panasonic Lumix lenses. I also have one Metabones Speedbooster adapter (Canon EOS to MFT).
We own a set of LED lights and basic accessories that I use frequently and will last a long time like monopods, tripods and a few camera movement tools. I also own a complete audio kit simply because we use it quite often. Audio tools tend to be fragile, and we have a very specific preference for brands and settings. Ultimately, because sound is such an important element of any video project, completely trusting it gives me an additional peace of mind. But I digress. The point of this article is not audio equipment, but cameras.
We own a Panasonic Lumix GH4 bodies and still have a couple of GH3 bodies. They have served me extremely well on hybrid assignments. I am very happy with the quality of the footage and always having the option to shoot 4K, HD, built-in slow-motion, and time lapses with the same camera and media. For video-only productions we usually rent Canon C100 Mark II or C300 Mark II bodies, which I also like very much.
Several upcoming projects will require a more “complete” camera package, and we seem to have enough projects in the pipeline that it might make sense to own instead of rent, not only financially, but to save time picking up/returning and to be certain that the tool we plan on having in pre-production is the same tool we use on location weeks or months later. So, what’s the best cinema camera (for us) right now?
Technically speaking, we will need a main camera (Cam A) that ideally shoots 4K and has all the standard bells and whistles like XLR ports, HDMI, a good viewfinder, variable frame rates, peaking, ND filters, etc. Great low-light performance is key. For several projects we’ll need to shoot high-quality behind the scenes footage, so we will need a second camera (Cam B) that is either the same or very close to the quality of Cam A.
To make the riddle even more interesting, some of these projects will be “hybrid” projects that require on-location, mostly unplanned, and available light shooting with a very small crew (two or three people max). So the gear package needs to deliver great stills, great footage, and be easily operated by one person, which means light and compact.
I will only discuss the main components of the package, so additional batteries, cables, memory cards won’t be included in the total price.
The first and obvious move would be to buy a couple of Canon C100 Mark II bodies. We already know and like the system, and own the lenses, so there’s no need for adapters. Unfortunately the C100 Mark II does not offer 4K, it is good but not great in low-light performance, it is small but not super light or compact, and it does not shoot stills, so I’ll need to get a Canon EOS 5D Mark III or at the very least a Canon EOS 70D. I’ll get the cinema features I need on only one of the systems.
The second option would be to get a Sony FS7 AND a Sony a7S as a B Cam (and also for stills and BTS). The first one seems to be the new cool kid on the block, with raving fans and over the top reviews. It seems portable enough for a cinema camera and matches most of our technical requirements (I still need to test the low-light performance). Its little sister, the a7S shares the same outstanding reviews, it is clearly number one in low-light performance and it can even capture 4K to an external recorder. The catch, and this is a big one, is the cost. The FS7 goes for $8,000 and the a7S goes for $2,500. In order to use my existing lenses I’ll need two Metabones Speedbooster adapters (Canon EOS to NEX) at $650 each, but I will not have AF capabilities when shooting stills, which is a major issue. Also, in order to fully use the a7S as the B Camera we probably would need an Atomos Shogun adding a lot to the budget.
A third, and more affordable option would be to get a second Panasonic Lumix GH4 body and keep them as A Cam and B Cam (4K, HD, and stills) and something like the Panasonic HC-X1000 as a C Cam for BTS. I am still missing the “standard bells and whistles” I mentioned above, and I still have to test the X1000’s performance under low-light. Getting the YAGH (“brick”) wouldn’t make much sense in terms of money, size, weight, and additional power sources.
We briefly considered Blackmagic systems but found too many cons to even add them here. Another topic for another day.
Honestly, there aren’t any. Not yet, anyway. We are still trying to figure out what to do. The Panasonic Package (#3) is the cheapest and easiest as we would have a very small learning curve (with the HC-X-1000) but low-light performance remains to be seen (and it is good but not great on the GH4). The price is great but we would only have the cinema features we need in one of the three cameras.
The Canon Package (#1) is right in the middle, but we would lack 4K, slow motion, a codec over 50mb/s, and only one of the two cameras offers the bells and whistles we are looking for.
Sony (#2) seems to offer the best solution, but costs twice as much as Option #1 and $8,000 more than Option #3. We would lack autofocus for stills, only one camera will have the cinema features, and the FS7 could require a significant learning curve.
An alternative, suggested by an experienced filmmaker, would be to keep using our GH3 with the Panasonic lenses as our stills camera ($0), use the GH4 with our Metabones and Canon and Sigma glass as Camera B, and simply buy one Sony FS7 ($8,000) and a second Metabones (Canon EOS to NEX) adapter $400 for a total investment of $8,400. Altogether we would get AF for stills, 4K, slow-mo, no need for new lenses, but only OK low-light performance, and only ONE system with XLR ports, ND filters, etc. I am also seriously concerned with the additional time (and expense) in post to make everything look somewhat close.
Money and lenses are obviously very important considerations, but there are many other things that have to be factored into camera choices like post workflows (software and hardware), internal codecs, etc. Color science is something else we tend to overlook, and we shouldn’t, as certain camera choices will multiply the amount of time you need to spend in post to get them to look like what you’re used to.
So, clearly, there isn’t a “perfect” camera that will meet all our requirements. So the best approach is to consider what we have (budget, lenses, software, hardware, accessories, etc.) what we need, and what we are willing to sacrifice. So, what is “the best” camera package for us, giving our existing gear, ideal requirements and upcoming needs? Now I need YOUR help to figure this one out.
UPDATE 01: Since I wrote the first draft for this article I’ve been hearing highly reliable complains about the FS7 working with lens adapters and Canon lenses. That pretty much kills the Sony package option for us.
UPDATE 02: There are strong rumors that Panasonic will be announcing an updated version of the AG-AF100 at NAB, which apparently would include 4K. That could be a great solution for our full blown cinema camera.
UPDATE 03: Another strong rumor is that Canon will replace/update the 3-year old 5D Mark III with a 4K version. Kinda cool, but it still doesn’t solve our “bells and whistles” camera dilemma.
UPDATE 04: For the past 3-4 weeks I’ve been using the Atomos Shogun (Amazon • Adorama) and I must admit I’m VERY impressed. This gadget not only provides an exquisite 1920 x 1080 ultra sharp (and fairly accurate) image, but it’s main purpose is being a 4K (or HD) recorder via Solid State Drives. The best price/quality I’ve found are these 240GB Sandisk for $146 with a 10-YEAR warranty. Not bad at all.
Something I didn’t consider when getting the Shogun is that now I have XLR options, making the GH4 a much more powerful beast. The provided batteries only last about 30 minutes of recording time. I got this off-brand ultra cheap ($36) set of 2 batteries with chargers and so far they have performed perfectly. To keep in perspective, a single Sony battery costs $199….
UPDATE 05: The Varavon cage for the GH4/GH3 works perfectly with a Metabones Speedbooster. This set up and the Atomos Shogun are making me rethink my camera strategy. Now I can have a very comfortable grip, add a shotgun for run and gun or a monitor/recorder with XLR mics on sticks. Hmmmm this is getting REALLY interesting!
More to come.
Canon EOS-5DS and EOS-5DS R announced. What’s new?
The new Canon cameras have been officially announced. Here are the specs, side by side.
• Sadly, there are no new features for video on either EOS-5DS or EOS-5DS R. Actually, they are MISSING some video features from the 5D Mark III, like a headphone jack or an HDMI port.
• The cameras won’t be available for PREORDER until mid-June. Shipping dates are still unknown.
• The highly expected Canon 11-24mm f/4 L USM Lens was also announced, and it is available for preorder!
Canon EOS-1DC 4K DSLR price drops 34%.
The price for Canon’s EOS-1D C has effectively dropped 34%, from $12,000 as of yesterday to $7,999 right now.
The 1D C is the first Canon hybrid DSLR to offer onboard 4K motion imaging and Full HD motion imaging on CF cards and it is considered part of Canon’s Cinema EOS system, right next to the C100/300/500 models.
The main (and huge) difference between the EOS-1D C is that it features a full frame CMOS sensor that can capture 4K (4096 x 2160) as Motion JPEG and HD (1920 x 1080) as H.264 and can also shoot 18-megapixel (5184 x 3456) still images recorded as RAW or JPEG. An important (and also huge) difference between the EOS-1D C and the other C series bodies is that it lacks important features like built-in ND filters and XLR ports among others.
The camera’s rugged, ultra-compact form factor and huge sensor makes it an interesting option for challenging hybrid assignments when low-light performance is critical. For example, underwater or wildlife photographers capturing 4K and not needing XLR ports or other advanced video videos can find a great solution on the 1DC. Another instance is corporate assignments when the photographer is expected to shoot high-end video as well as stills. Unfortunately I believe the camera’s price have seriously challenged its market penetration. Let’s see what happens with this new price.
Now, while simultaneously shooting stills and video is certainly possible, I prefer to keep separate systems with different settings and features assigned to each task. It is hard enough to THINK about sound and movement and lighting simultaneously. the last thing I need is to be switching settings back and forth.
As of right now I’m happy with our current systems; a couple of Panasonic GH4 4K bodies with Canon and Sigma lenses (using a Metabones Speedbooster adapter), and a couple of Canon C100 Mark II bodies when stills are not necessary.
Here’s our current standard camera package:
• 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art at Adorama | Amazon | B&H
• 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art at Adorama | Amazon | B&H
• 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Art at Adorama | Amazon | B&H
• 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art at Adorama | Amazon | B&H
If you are ready to buy any of these items, I’d suggest checking all three stores as the prices constantly change. Happy shooting!
Panasonic GH4 Firmware Update.
- Anamorphic (4:3) Mode is available which optimizes the settings for 3328×2496 video recording with a 4:3 anamorphic lens.
To convert the footage to a cinemascope aspect for playback, corresponding software and device are required.
- 1/16000 sec shutter speed can be selected manually when using Electronic Shutter.
- Fixed the issue which video recorded in rec format AVCHD got misdated when imported to some editing software.
Here’s a video shot with the 2.2 (beta) version which unlike the public version also included V-Log L.
A short film by Eduardo Angel, Davis Northern and Sean Davis. Shot with Panasonic LUMIX GH4 firmware 2.2 in anamorphic format. The film starts out ungraded as shot in a new V-Log L gamma file color space, which is being evaluated for market release in 2015, then transitions to fully graded scenes. Learn more about our experience shooting this project here: http://bit.ly/1DddoB6
The previous version 2.1 – offered the following changes and fixes:
• Time code can be embedded to the HDMI output signal.
Selectable in Motion Picture menu : [Time Code] -> [HDMI Time Code Output]
• RSS (Recording Start/Stop) signal can be embedded to the HDMI output signal.
• FHD at 30p/25p native output via HDMI is available while recording video in FHD at 30p/25p.
Selectable in Motion Picture menu: [HDMI Rec Output] ->[1080/30p Set.] or [1080/25p Set.]
• Playback performance of recorded 4K video is improved.
We’ll need to test this feature and see what the improvements are. Stay tuned!
• Time Lapse Shot Program is fixed to start recording at the designated time even when [summer time] is set.
A very welcomed fix. We ran into this issue a few months ago.
Lens Firmware Update
The super tiny and awesome 35-100mm lens has also received an update! Version 1.2 of the lens firmware brings improved Optical Image Stabilization in Motion Picture recording (when using DMC-GH3/GH4) and improved AF speed with GH3 (240fps control).
Previous Body Firmware Updates
The previous firmware version 2.0 introduced 4K Photo Mode, which automatically set shooting parameters optimized for stills and allows 4K capture in a variety of aspect ratios. There was also a Rec Loop mode that constantly shoots and deletes footage from the card – retaining only the last five two-minute clips. The firmware also brought a 23.98p 4K shooting in MP4/AAC mode. Other changes included adjustable flash output and greater control over ISO.
How to update your GH4’s Firmware:
1. Check the current version of firmware of your camera and lens – Mount a lens onto the camera body. – Set the camera’s power switch to ON. – Press the MENU/SET button. – Go to the SETUP menu and select the “Version DISP.” If you already have 1.1, there’s nothing else to do. If you have a previous version, please continue:
2. Download the file for update (here’s the direct link)
3. Extract the file
4. Copy the firmware update program extracted into an SD memory card.
5. Make sure the battery is full.
6. Turn off the power switch.
7. Insert the fully charged battery to the body.
8. Insert the SD Memory Card with the firmware file.
9. Turn on the power switch.
10. Here’s the key step: Press the Play button to enter the Play mode. After the message of “PLEASE WAIT …” is displayed, the “Version Up Body” should appear. Press the Up button to select YES. The update process will start. The green bar increases the level by the process. The firmware update will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Once the firmware update process is completed, the camera body will turn off the power and turn on again then it will be initial mode automatically.
11. Go shoot something awesome. Important: While updating the firmware on ANY camera do NOT attempt the following operations before completion:
Turning the power off and on
Pressing any buttons
Opening the SD memory card compartment
Removing the SD memory card
Removing the lens
Removing the AC adaptor cord
Removing the DC cable
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.
Discussing the Panasonic GH4 Live!
The 50 Best Warner Bros Films (Blu-ray) Collection is 70% off right now.
I’ve been drooling over this collection for a while, not only for the fantastic movies but also because it comes with hours and hours and hours of director’s commentaries and behind-the-scenes featurettes. $420 is kinda hard to justify, but right now Amazon is offering the complete set for only $177, about 70% the regular price. The timing couldn’t be better, this would make THE perfect Christmas present for the film lover in your live (or yourself!).
Here are the 50 Movies included
1. Grand Hotel* (1932)
2. Mutiny on the Bounty* (1935)
3. Wizard of Oz (1939)
4. Gone with The Wind* (1939)
5. Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
6. Mrs. Miniver* (1942)
7. Casablanca* (1942)
8. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
9. Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951)
10. American in Paris, An* (1951)
11. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
13. North By Northwest (1959)
14. Ben-Hur* (1959)
15. How the West Was Won (1962)
16. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
17. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
18. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
19. Bullitt (1968)
20. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
21. Dirty Harry (1971)
22. Clockwork Orange, A (1972)
23. Exorcist, The (1973)
24. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest* (1975)
25. Superman, The Movie (1977)
26. Shining, The (1980)
27. Chariots of Fire* (1981)
28. Risky Business (1983)
29. Amadeus* (1984)
30. Color Purple, The (1985)
31. Lethal Weapon (1987)
32. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
33. Driving Miss Daisy* (1989)
34. Goodfellas (1990)
35. Unforgiven* (1992)
36. Bodyguard, The(1992)
37. Natural Born Killers (Director’s Cut) (1994)
38. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
39. Matrix, The (1999)
40. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
41. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
42. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
43. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King* (2003)
44. Million Dollar Baby* (2005)
45. Departed, The* (2006)
46. Dark Knight, The (2008)
47. Blind Side, The (2009)
48. Hangover, The (2009)
49. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
50. Inception (2010)
Amazon direct link.
GREAT deals for photographers and filmmakers.
I’m not a big shopper. Far from it. I only buy stuff I need, when I need it, but I use the “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday” and similar crazy shopping events to get things that I was planning to buy at a much lower price.
• Samsung 840 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal Solid State Drive. SSD don’t have moving parts which means no hard drive spin ups, no noise, better data protection and much better performance for video editing and heavy lifting applications like Photoshop. The 500GB version goes for $189, and the 1TB version for $349.
• Dell is selling direct a high-resolution (1920×1080) 24” monitor model # E2414Hr for $99. I probably wouldn’t use this for any color-critical tasks, but seems perfect as a second monitor for Photoshop or Premiere Pro.
• Flash Drives are a very handy way to receive or deliver video to your editor. Here’s an excellent deal:
Lexar USB 3.0 128GB flash drive for only $26.95 at B&H. This one is compatible with Mac and PC systems and offers enhanced data read speeds of up to 100 MB/s and data write speeds of up to 55 MB/s.
• Walmart has the GoPro HERO 3 White Edition AND a $50 Gift Card for $199.99 AND free shipping. The waterproof HERO3 offers the same high performance specs as the original HD HERO camera it replaces, yet it has built-in Wi-Fi, new UI and is lighter and smaller. This toy captures 1080p 30 fps and 720p 60 fps video plus 5MP photos at a rate of 3 photos per second.
• Rokinon 85mm t/1.5 Aspherical Lens for Canon with De-Clicked Aperture and Follow Focus Compatibility Fixed Lens. I have not used a Rokinon lens, but the always handy 85mm focal length and an incredibly fast aperture of F/1.5for only $235 are definitively worth a try. This lens is available on Amazon so if the quality isn’t good you can easily return it. This lens features a de-clicked aperture which is great to reduce noise and jerking motions while shooting video. The minimum focusing distance is 3.6-feet.
• If you ever work trade shows or have any involvement on photo or video shoots you need this. If you are a producer you need two. I actually have three, one per camera bag so I never run out of power. There are many brands and they all do and last pretty much the same. Today’s deal is $15, normally $25. This tiny thing adds 10 extra hours of talk time or 1 full charge to your iPhone or Android phones and tablets.
• I don’t use Wacom Tablets but most of my students love them. Amazon has the older version of the Wacom Bamboo Create Pen and Touch Tablet for only $111. Not crazy cheap for older hardware BUT it comes with FREE downloadable software like Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials, AutoDesk Sketchbook Express and Nik Color Filters as well as free offers from Shutter fly, Café Press and Digitalscrapbookplace.com. So, if you are getting into retouching and want to get started with simple hardware and a lot of software, this is a great way to go.
• Do you have ENOUGH Hard Drives? Yep. me neither. Cheap portable external hard drives are wonderful devices to store or transport projects temporarily. Amazon is offering the Western Digital Elements 1TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive for $49! An even BETTER option is the Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB USB 3.0 for $78! For a long-term backup strategy check this article.
I just purchased four of these, as they are perfect to deliver video projects to clients. Simply ship them the drive and let them keep it. Trust me, it always makes a great impression.
• Timbuk2 is selling the extremely durable Haight Laptop Backpack for $18!!! It normally goes for $89.
• I’ve been looking for an inexpensive Android Tablet to replace my broken Nexus 7 (I sat on it. Long story.) While Chromebooks are not for everyone, today’s deal seems very good. An Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB) which happens to be one of the best options out there for only $149, the same or lower as an entry level 7″ tablet. I’m still debating between the Chromebook or a $149 Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 bundled with 50GB of free Dropbox storage AND $300 of content. Decisions, decisions….
• We hardly ever see discounted Apple products. For the next 3 days B&H is offering the 11.6 MacBook Air for $799. That’s at least $100 less than anywhere else. This is a great solution for internet browsing, emails and working on a plane, but I wouldn’t recommend this one as a working machine.
I’ll update this post if I find more interesting deals. Please consider sharing what you find as well!
How to fix our broken education system. Some thoughts.
For several weeks we’ve been seriously talking about our education system, and we’d like to share some of our ideas on the subject.
The current education system is broken, outdated, and, dare I say it—dangerous. How did we arrive at this point, and what can we do to remedy the situation? (more…)
Why we need to tell better stories.
Check this out: Almost 8 million views in less than a month. Shot with a phone. I assume it is also an example of the highly debatable “Citizen Journalism”
We can discuss all day which of these is more interesting or relevant. What I care about is how the storytelling aspect of this specific video. Did you do something else while watching it? No. Did you stop in the middle of it because it was getting boring? No.
We were glued to the chair because those 2 and a half minutes were telling an amazing story.
Second example: a clearly scripted and super elaborated project, with impeccable lighting, camera movement, great acting and a very stylized grading. Since it was done by Google we can also assume it had a pretty nice budget.
Three and a half minutes long, that go by quick because the story is engaging and you want to know more. What’s gonna happen next?
About this project, Google India wrote “We’ve brought this idea to life in a short video to show how human passion and hope can overcome time and borders. In this story, a woman in India reunites her grandfather with his childhood friend (who is now in Pakistan) following six decades of separation with a little help from Google.”
If you have some time, read “What storytelling does to our brains.” Some of the comments below the article (unlike YouTube’s comments) are good as well.
Do you have a good story? Please share it with us.
4K video under $2K. Meet the Panasonic Lumix GH4.
Panasonic just announced its latest system, the Lumix GH4. We had the honor to field test the GH4 this past weekend, and I shared some of my impressions live on Twitter.
I’ll be posting more details as well as images and sample videos later this week.
Adobe Creative Cloud for Photographers.
We recently shared a very good deal on Adobe’s Creative Cloud for Students and Teachers ($16.58 per month for ALL the Adobe applications). Since we use Premiere Pro, SpeedGrade, In Design and other apps this solution makes complete financial sense for us. But, what if you are a photographer using only Lightroom and Photoshop?
Adobe Creative Cloud for $16.58.
Amazon is offering a yearly subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud for $199 a year. That’s only $16.58 per month to gain access to ALL current Adobe applications.
How to shoot a zero budget film in 17 hours without a crew.
Being busy should never be an excuse for not participating in creative challenges. Not having a budget, crew, or even actors, are simple excuses as well.
Let me explain. (more…)
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…)
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.
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.
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!
Adobe Lightroom 4.4 is out. 25 new cameras supported.
Adobe just released a new Lightroom update making this version 4.4. Lightroom now officially supports over 25 different RAW file formats. Here is the complete list.
This version adjusts the White Balance for a number of Nikons, includes a correction to the demosaic algorithms for Fujifilm cameras with the X-Trans sensor, and adds support for new lenses like Canon’s EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS USM and Nikon’s AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR are included. Unfortunately the Panasonic Lumix lenses are still missing.
According to Adobe, users are now (finally!) able to add contacts from their Address Book to email (on Mac). I’ll try this ASAP.
These are the main improvements added and bugs fixed:
• The crop overlay tool resized incorrectly when used in conjunction with the “Constrain to
Crop” checkbox in the Lens Correction panel
• Background graphics were not correctly rendered within the Book Module
• Reading metadata from file would sometimes result in keyword and and GPS metadata to
not save for video files
• Updated the “Missing File Icon” for HiDPI / Retina dispalsy
• The supplied lens profile for the Sony RX-1 did not contain vignette information
• Preview in Develop Module was not updated with the latest adjustments
• Square tile artifacts while painting with brush
• Previews of photos in portrait orientation were blurry when viewed in the filmstrip in the
Develop module. (Mac only)
Click to keep reading (more…)
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?”
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.
• 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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
Canon EOS C300 Cinema Camera Insights.
Over a year ago, when Canon’s EOS C300 was announced, we wrote about the significance of the new EOS CInema system for photographers (you can read some of our previous articles here, and here). Since then, we practiced on the very clever online “Menu Simulator,” attended several Canon events, watched all the outstanding tutorials on Canon’s Digital Learning Center by Jem Schofield, wasted hours day-dreaming with the Accessory Configurator and played with the system on and off.
But not until last week did we have the chance to really go down and dirty with the system, shoot for several days, tweak some hardcore settings, create “custom picture presets” and see what the camera was made of.
The verdict? Absolutely impressive. Instead of writing a long post about it, we decided to use our 10-minute break and shoot a quick video with our impressions. Here it is, and we hope you enjoy it.
Gulf Photo Plus 2013 Workshops in Dubai.
We are truly honored to be a part of the upcoming Gulf Photo Plus (GPP) Workshops in Dubai. From March 1-8 2013, we will be teaming up with industry leading professionals Joe McNally, Gregory Heisler, David Hobby, Zack Arias, Peter Hurley, Bobbi Lane, and other great photo instructors for an unforgettable event. We will have a jam-packed week with workshops and activities aimed to help improve skills, inspire, and educate photographers at every level of expertise. Taking place at the core of the Middle East’s photo community, this is going to be one incredible week!
We are thrilled to present two “Photo Friday” seminars AND two 3-day Workshops introducing the craft of Digital Filmmaking to photographers. As we all know, the emergence of HD Video in current cameras has opened up a new world to photographers and cinematographers, widening the creative palette for visual expression. Our workshop’s emphasis will be on reinforcing the theory behind the technique; understanding the equipment and processes rather than concentrating on a finished product. Here are some of the many topics we will cover, all while working as a small film crew: Digital cinema workflow, new terms and techniques, Adobe Premier Pro, script writing, production considerations, budgeting, and the most essential gear.
Check out below what our workshop is about:
David Hobby, the famous and respected “Strobist” recently said “I happen to think this is the best photo week of its kind on the planet. If you are anywhere near that part of the world, GPP is a no-brainer. But even if you are far away, it’s worth the trip.”
That’s what I call a statement.
Below is an AWESOME shoot-out during last year’s GPP between Hobby, Martin Prihoda and Gregory Heisler. Simply brilliant.
Think a $5 gallon of gas is crazy? Drivers in Norway are currently paying $9 a gallon, and Germans pay just over $8.
That’s cheap compared with gold, which right now is at $1,700 per ounce.
Think gold is expensive? Consider this: If cars ran on printers’ ink instead of gasoline, each trip to the gas station would cost $100,000. According to PetaPixel, to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with ink would cost billions of dollars.
My tiny office printer uses HP21 black ink cartridges. The best deal (often on Amazon) goes for $12. Each cartridge is 1.4 ounces. Now, if you can remember your high school conversions, 1 US gal = 128 US oz. That means at $12 per cartridge, a gallon of the cheapest ink in our office costs about $1,536 per gallon, and the cheapest color cartridge is about $3,364 per gallon. Yikes!
What about my fancy photo printer? A long time ago I learned a valuable lesson: the cheaper the printer, the more expensive the inks. I have also learned that over time, the market leaders tend to be more stable in their pricing of consumables, because they are better equipped to react during rough economic times.
Keep this in mind during the holiday season when you see some “impossibly good printer deals.”
How NOT to announce new products. Google Nexus.
UPDATE: 20121123 Google’s Nexus 4 Smartphone and Nexus 10 Tablet sold out 20 minutes after the Google Play store opened. http://ow.ly/fg1mo
By now it is pretty clear that we love Google (most of the time). But the company can learn a thing or two from Apple, especially when it comes to important product announcements. On Monday, while Hurricane Sandy was hitting the East Coast ,and 7.5 million people in 16 states have lost power, Apple announced that the company’s senior vice president of iOS was getting fired for (apparently) refusing to apologize publicly for the Apple Maps mess. The timing was impeccable, since nobody noticed nor cared. Well, at the very same time, Google was announcing three new Nexus devices; a smartphone, a 7-inch tablet, and a 10-inch tablet. Guess what happened?
Nobody noticed nor cared. They sold out.
All three devices run Android 4.2, which Google describes as “a new flavor of Jelly Bean.” The Nexus 4 is Google’s latest 4.7-inch, quad-core Nexus smartphone, developed with LG, and priced well below analysts expectations. It will be available for $299 (8GB) and $349 (16GB) for unlocked, contract-free units. However, the best deal seems to be the 16GB unit on T-Mobile for $199. We can’t really predict how sales will perform, but what is certain is that the Nexus 4 will make a strong impact on the smartphone market.
Although we are more excited with Samsung’s Galaxy Camera, one of our favorite features of the new Nexus smartphone is Photo Sphere, a camera app/Google Maps hybrid that allows users to create and share 360-degree panoramas.
Click to keep reading (more…)
It doesn’t get more serendipitous than this. After Hurricane Sandy passed through Brooklyn leaving behind floods, fires, and a long trail of destruction, this was the first image I saw when I woke up. I had several cameras handy planning (unsuccessfully) to document the hurricane from our window. Two images later, the clouds covered the rainbow and it was gone!
Adobe Premiere Elements 11. Worth it?
Back in May, Adobe announced Photoshop CS6 and Premiere Pro CS6 with a new user interface. Now, the company has added that new look to Photoshop Elements 11 and Premiere Elements 11. Both applications are less intimidating for newcomers, allowing quick and easy organization, editing and sharing of media, and targeted for new photographers or video editors.
Both apps include an image organizer that closely resembles Adobe Bridge, making the most commonly used functions easily accessible, while other tools are hidden away in the menus. The new organizer is laid out as a 3 column panel in Photoshop Elements 11 and integrates with Google Maps, just like the Map Module in Adobe Lightroom 4. Additionally, tagging photos and videos with people or events (mimicking Facebook) is now possible.
Since Premiere Elements includes “Expert” workspaces with interesting transitions and effects, this might be a good product for photographers transitioning into video. The goal is not to become an expert video editor, but understand NLE apps and more importantly, the required assets to put together a video project.
click to keep reading (more…)
The Dawn of the Innovated Dead.
Photokina started a few hours ago, and Sony is banging its drums. And loud!
Kazuo Hirai, the brand new CEO (since April), seems to finally come to the realization that in order to compete with Canon and Nikon in the HDSLR arena the company needs to provide products that photographers and filmmakers need, and understand.
The most impressive announcement is the Cyber-shot RX1, which is basically a point-and-shoot with a full-frame sensor.
• The Specs:
35mm full-frame 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor, ISO 100-25600, 14-bit RAW image capture, f/2.0 Carl Zeiss Sonnar T lens with 9 aperture blades, P/A/S/M modes, Full HD 24p/60i/60p video with manual control. Check all the features here.
• The Good:
1080p video recording at 60fps or 24fps.
Manual exposure controls for both stills and video.
Automated modes for HDR photography.
• The Bad:
35mm fixed lens, even if it is an F2.0.
For $2,800 it is pretty hard to consider this camera over a full-featured HDSLR. If you are still interested, Amazon is taking pre orders now.
Photokina 2012 focuses on HDSLR Video.
Every two years there is one focal point in the Photo industry: Photokina, the world’s leading imaging fair. Photokina covers the entire spectrum of imaging, from image capture to image processing and storage to image output. This is where new trends and major innovations are presented to the world, and where the spotlight is on groundbreaking technological developments including mobile imaging, connectivity, and moving images. The show always delivers an impressive program of workshops, symposiums, photography exhibitions and many special events at the exhibition centre and at sites all over Cologne.
As you might know every Photokina show focuses on one single topic. Because filming withHDSLR systems is increasingly becoming a necessity for professionals, this year’s topic is HDSLR Video.
The show has created a “Shoot Movie Park” in Hall 4.1, offering a unique area where suppliers have an optimal location to present themselves to the attendees. The Movie Park will be supplemented by a series of lectures, workshops and exhibitions. Canon will present Richard Walch, sailor, snowboarder and photographer. Zeiss will have Sebastian Wiegärtner, one of the first users in the German-speaking region to understand and make use of the capabilities of the new HDSLR systems. We are very excited to be representing X-Rite, and show our most recent Color Management Video Tutorials (Video 1, Video 2 and Video 3).
Representatives of ADF — Arbeitskreis Digitale Fotografie (digital photography working group) will also be sharing their expertise as they answer visitors’ questions about digital photography and film. More information about the “Shoot Movie” program can be found here.
Putting us on the map.
We are proud to announce that Eduardo Angel LLC is now on a digital map called, Made in New York, a great resource developed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg for tech companies, investors, developers and designers. Featuring more than 500 local companies across the city’s five boroughs, including 325 that are presently hiring, the projects’s goal is to interactively show what is happening in the technology industry throughout the five boroughs.
“We expect this map to be another tool that helps propel our tech industry forward,” Bloomberg said . “The growth of the tech industry in New York City has been a critical part of weathering the nation’s economic downturn, far better than the rest of the country.” Since the map plots companies by location, job seekers can explore their desired neighborhoods, making this a fantastic resource for anyone who lives or is moving to New York City to find jobs in the technology sector. The map can be also be sorted by digital companies, investors, and co-working and incubator spaces.
Like many of you, we have been (sporadically) following the 2012 London Olympics. This year, we have noticed that the visuals are stunning. After some quick research, it turns out most of the camera work done for the Olympics is actually not done by human photographers, but with robotics. Footage from the air, sweeping panoramics, and beautiful underwater views are now captured with increasingly complex remote controlled devices.
Robotic Camera Rigs
Turns out that for security reasons, the Olympics Committee has even banned photographers from the stadium roofs. Because of this, The AFP team came up with dozens of customized robotic camera systems. Each rig is equipped with a Nikon D4 and a 16-400mm zoom lens. Watch APF’s fascinating robotic innovation process:
Obviously, the Olympics are not the only place where robots are being used to capture photography and video. Robotics are essential to research some of the more dangerous locations on Earth for extended periods of time. A great example is the Robo-fish, used in northern Spain, that monitors pollution levels with a sensor that detects it, and alerts scientists right away.
Click to keep reading (more…)
Canon EOS M Images.
UPDATED 0828 Canon EOS M – Part II. Hands-on Review
Yes, the answer is a most emphatic YES to everyone who has asked if I plan to purchase the brand-new Canon Mirrorless system. I just placed my order here. You have until October to change your mind. I seriously doubt I’ll change mine.
So, in a nutshell, we have a tiny camera body with a powerful DIGIC 5 image processor, and a very nice APS-C 18.0 Megapixel CMOS sensor, which is the same sensor size one finds in the wonderful EOS 7D and EOS 60D. The touch screen and UI are virtually identical to the brand new Rebel T4i. Apparently you can purchase the body only, but I have only seen the kit with the EF-M 22mm ƒ2.0 pancake lens. All the expected features like ISO settings from 100 to 12800, with expansion to ISO 25600, standard aspect ratios (3:2 plus 4:3, 1:1 and 16:9), and 1080p at 24/25/30 fps and 720p 50/60 fps are there, BUT now we have continuous autofocus.
The hybrid (stills and video) AF system uses “phase-difference AF to achieve approximate focus and drive the lens at high speed, then switches to contrast AF for final focusing.” The movie files are recorded in MPEG-4 format, using AVC.H.264 compression and a variable bit rate. Program as well as and manual shooting modes are supported in movie mode.
And the cherry on top? The EOS M will take EF lenses thanks to the adapter shown below. Enjoy the view.
click to keep reading
Getting in touch with your tablet.
I have been thinking a lot about tablets and how they are making our lives easier and more productive. For me, the answer is yes and no.
I recently discovered a newer company that is taking some serious steps forward in changing the way we experience digital media on tablets and similar interfaces.
Senseg, established in 2006, has produced a brand new touch technology, called “E-Sense,” with highly tangible effects that deliver different touch sensations according to the media you are working with.
Think about it; the device itself will have a form of nonverbal communication directly with a user. It also provides tremendous educational opportunities, especially for the visually impaired. I would love if a digital braille keyboard or an application to read e-books for the blind was developed with this new E-Sense technology.
According to Senseg, each application will be able to react to different user actions:
“Whether it is used to minimize visual focus required for accurate operation, or to enrich a multi-modal experience incorporating graphics, sound and feel. Senseg haptics are often used in combination with graphics or/and sound for a more engaging and complete sensory experience; other times Senseg effects are used by themselves, such as ‘tagging’ the location of hidden objects that can be discovered only by feel, or to reinforce user actions.”
Senseg’s solution is comprised of three main components:
- A Tixel™ technology that activates the touch screen for electrostatic vibration.
- An electronic module that controls a signal for touch intensities, effects and special relationships.
- Software developed by Senseg that manages effects in applications.
Did I mention that the new technology is completely silent, and will be able to scale from any device, from touch pads, smart phones and tablets to the largest touch screens?
When do you think we will “feel” the difference? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions below.
Canon EOS 7D firmware update.
The latest firmware update for the Canon EOS 7D
will be released at the end of this month, according to brief press release leak on the Canon Professional Network site. is now available for download here.
Canon addresses a number of issues for professional filmmakers and photographers, including a highly anticipated manual audio controls for video. This is extremely exciting, considering that we have filmed all of our episodes of “Conversations with Friends” with the Canon EOS 7D and have been waiting for quite awhile for these new features.
MANUAL ADJUSTMENT FOR AUDIO RECORDING LEVELS
During EOS Movie shooting users are now able to manually adjust the audio recording to one of 64 levels, whilst the sound volume during playback can be set to one of 11 levels. During movie recording noise from the aperture is reduced, and the camera also has an automatic wind cut filter.
Users can also add the camera’s Full HD (1920x1080p) movie footage with 16-bit digital stereo sound, sampled at broadcast quality 48KHz.
In addition, Canon has included a big update to the EOS 7d firmware with GPS Support:
- Mounted Receiver – can be attached to the camera’s accessory shoe or clipped to a belt and tethered via a USB cable.
- Records shooting locations – latitude, longitude and altitude for easy geo-taging and camera direction (fantastic feature for my travels around the world) as an EXIF file of the image.
- Syncing Camera’s Internal Clock – can now synced through the GPS unit using UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) for accurate time recording or syncing clocks on multiple cameras.
- GPS Logging and Google Maps Compatibility with Canon’s free Map Utility software can display the photographer’s route on a map.
Some of the other updated features include:
- Improved RAW Maximum burst – Max Burst Rate now from 15 frames to 25 frames.
- In-Camera RAW Conversion – RAW images can be processed and edited in-camera with dynamic adjustments such as exposure, white balance, picture style, noise reduction and distortion correction. Options can be changed before saving the finished file as a ready-to-print JPEG. Check this article on the benefits of shooting JPGs, even for professionals.
- Image Rating Capabilities
- New Auto ISO Maximum Setting – ISO 100-6400
- JPEG Resizing
- Quick Control During Playback
- File Name Setting – First 3 or 4 characters in the file name can be adjusted, depending on the setting
- Time Zone Setting
- Quick control screen during playback
- Faster Scrolling of Magnified Images
You may download the newest firmware updates in early August at no charge from Canon’s Website here.
Does this update fix all the issues you have been experiencing with your 7D, or did Canon left a major one out? Share your thoughts and comments below.
Google Nexus 7 Tablet is out.
UPDATE: 0723 Awesome marketing effort. Very well done.
Google’s Nexus 7 Android Tablet is here. The tablet is built by ASUS, which really makes me wonder what Google plans to do with Motorola Mobility.
The Nexus comes fully packed with goodies:
• It runs the latest Android OS 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is optimized for smaller tablet screens, magazines and movies.
• 1280×800 IPS display coated in “scratch-resistant glass.”
• Front-facing, 1.2-megapixel camera.
• 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm case
• Two flavors 8GB ($199) or 16GB ($249) of storage, plus 1GB of RAM, and NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 SoC processor. Don’t worry about the Russian-like specs, it simply means it is fast, really fast.
• GPS and Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Micro USB, plus NFC.
• The 7 stands for the tablet’s size, 7 inches, which as I have said many times, it is the perfect size for a truly portable device.
• Accelerometer, magnetometer, and a gyroscope.
The Nexus 7 seems, at least on paper, the ultimate Kindle Fire killer if it ever ships! Lenovo, with its incredibly terrible customer service and tech support doesn’t need a competitor to kill itself. I believe the iPad will remain the global tablet leader through the next 3-5 years, but it will start losing some significant market share. Apple’s biggest advantage has been the App Store which now has more than 650,000 downloadable applications that include games, news and travel tools for the iPhone and iPad. Google has been catching up and Google Play (previously known as Android Market) currently offers more than 500,000 apps.
We just updated our wildly popular chart to include Google’s brand new system. Here are the side-by-side specs (click on it twice to see it full-res):
UPDATE: July 9, Is Google selling the Nexus 7 at a loss?
Apple announces 2012 products – News Summary for busy people.
UPDATE July 9: HP unveils four new business and consumer all-in-ones with Ivy Bridge processors, will Apple react with an updated iMac?
Our summary of the most relevant news at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today:
• The MacBook Pro 17″ is dead.
• The (13″ and 15″) MacBook Pro line has been updated. Some models include a 2880 x 1800 pixels retina display (220 pixels per inch), Ivy Bridge processor and thinner designs (some models are as thin as the MacBook Air). The best “new” feature in my opinion is the USB 3.0, which is TEN times faster than USB 2.0.
• The 13″ MacBook Pro gets a dual-core processor.
• The 15″ gets a quad-core processor, and a GeForce GT 650M graphics card. It will take up to 16GB of RAM, has HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports (compatible with USB 2.0), two Thunderbolt ports, and the same SD card reader as before.
• The MacBook Air has a USB 3.0 and bigger SSD drive (up to 512GB) which is not big enough for many professionals on the road.
• After two years waiting digital retouchers, video editors, motion graphic artists, and anyone using a MacBook got a minor update; a speed bump and increases in RAM. The storage and video specs as well as USB 2.0 ports instead of USB 3.0, or Thunderbolt remain the same. Interestingly, the Mac Pro wasn’t even mentioned during the WWDC event, which makes me believe that this will be the last Mac Pro we see.
Nothing new, unfortunately. I am in the market for a new video editing station, and the lack of a new iMac is pushing me strongly towards an HP Z1. One of the HUGE advantages of Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 is that it works with Mac and PC, and you won’t even see the difference. After talking to several Adobe gurus, I am considering the HP option very seriously.
OS X Mountain Lion
• OS X Mountain Lion is shipping next month, and will cost $19.99. Upgrades are free for those that buy a Mac today.
• OS X Lion already integrates with Apple’s iCloud service. Another army enters the Cloud War.
• Several new apps including Messages, Reminders, and Notes.
• There’s a new Safari which now syncs all your Apple devices. I need a lot more than this to switch from Chrome and/or Firefox.
I can take a nap now.
Adobe Lightroom 4.1 is (finally) available.
The Adobe Lightroom 4.1 update brings support for several new cameras including:
- Canon EOS 1D X
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- Canon EOS 60Da
- Canon PowerShot G1 X
- Fuji X-Pro1
- Leaf Credo 80
- Nikon D4
- Nikon D800
- Nikon D800E
- Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Other additional features and enhancements are:
• The ability to process HDR TIFF files. (16, 24 or 32-bit TIFF files)
• Additional Color Fringing corrections to help address chromatic aberration.
• Save photobooks created in the Book Module to JPEG
• Publishing photos to Adobe Revel is now accessible via a Publish plugin
• Corrections for issues introduced in previous versions of Lightroom.
How to install the new version? Easy.
1. Open your Lightroom 4 and when the software update dialog pops up click “download.” This will take you to Adobe’s download page.
2. Click on “proceed to download” and “download now.”
3. Save the file to the desktop (so it is easier to find it). The download should take about 3 minutes or less.
4. Double click on the installer, follow the step-by-step instructions.
In two weeks we will be presenting an awesome 2-day Lightroom 4 Workshop at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). We hope to see you there.
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.
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.