Why Film Editors Complain Alot Today

I was going to write up a post on the recent ACE pre-announcement—which is apprently all the rage lately—that they are giving their first ever technical award to Avid Media Composer. This award is also meant to be a snub against Apple, whom ACE feels is not listening to their concerns. As I said, I was going to write this post. Norman Hollyn took the words from my mouth.

Sorry folks, but that’s just the beginning of it. and complaining about not being consulted about our editing platform of choice reminds me of the days when some editors refused to move off of film because it “just wasn’t right.” I’m trying to think of how many editors who refuse to edit digitally are working today. The answer to that would be — none.

Good read on FCP-L

A lengthy but interesting thread popped up on FCP-L. What started out as a simple off-topic post about the new Canon 5D-MkII evolved into tapeless vs tape, digital vs film, and even the evolution of nonlinear editing. At some point I will probably go through and pull out my favorite posts, but for now, I just wanted to get the link up. It’s definitely worth scanning through.

Zacuto Camera Shoot-Out 08

Zacuto recently held a camera shoot-out (video also embeded after the break) to compare image quality. Actually, it’s more of a format comparison. The cameras/formats compared:

  • 35mm Film
  • Red One
  • Sony EX3
  • Panasonic HVX200 (w/ Letus & Redrock Micro adapters)
  • Panasonic HPX170
  • Panasonic HPX300
  • Canon XH-A1
  • Canon 5D MkII
  • Nikon D90

You can probably skip through the first six minutes or so to get to the footage comparison. Copied & pasted from my IM with Dembro, here are my impressions:

  • Film: Awesome.
  • Red: I know for a fact Red footage looks great, what did they do ((Not to knock Filmworkers, but some Red footage we had color graded there & down-converted to SD also looked a little off as well. But I’m sure they, like the rest of us, are still working out our Red workflows.))?
  • HPX300: DOF is terrible, color is nice.
  • HVX200 (Letus Ultimate): Noisy, soft.
  • HVX200 (Letus Elite): Same.
  • HVX200 (Redrock): Same.
  • EX3: Not bad, but something seems strange with the focus.
  • HPX170: Okay, but a bit dull.
  • XH-A1: Blah.
  • 5D MkII: What did they do? That camera is praised for its low light capabilities, but the blacks are completely crushed.
  • D90: Flat.

Dembro & I both came to the same conclusions: 1.) Film looks pristine and b.) It looks like Zacuto is really trying to push their low end cameras to people who otherwise wouldn’t have even thought of renting one to begin with.

In all honesty, though, the closing statement is spot on: Any of these cameras in the hands of a skilled professional can produce great results.

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DSLR “Cinematizing” Kit

A company called Redrock Micro is introducing a DSLR kit to allow for rail mounted lenses and follow focus knobs. At first glance, it looks like a typical rail system, until you notice a 5D Mark II attached. I have to admit, despite my initial skepticism, I’m getting a little more excited to see what people do with a kit like this.

Granted, there are already options on the table to attach 35mm lenses to traditional video cameras, but using a DSLR will make this much more portable (and prevent loss of light through ground glass). I do have to wonder, though. If you’re already going through the trouble of using a system like this, why aren’t you using a camera that offers more control over and less compression of the image?

[via Gizmodo, thanks Ryan]

// Update: This comment on Gizmodo I think further proves my point that this above the head of average consumers:

How are you supposed to hold the thing other than the handle on top?? The back is just four rods sticking out.

Tripod, dolly, shoulder mount, steadycam, etc. A kit like this isn’t meant to be a camcorder.

Indie Film Distribution Through iTunes

According to Ars Technica, TuneCore, a service which has made it possible for pretty much anyone to sell songs on iTunes is now doing the same for indie film makers. Apparently, all it takes is a flat, upfront fee, you get to keep all the profit from the stores which you choose to sell your film through. Albums range from $20-30, while film fees depend on the length; $550 for a 60-minute, $770 for a 90-minute feature.

This sounds like a great option. I know many people who have a difficult time getting distribution in the physical arena. This would allow their films to reach audiences around the world for a small fraction of the overall budget. I’m looking forward to finding new indie films up on iTunes.