DitSpot Posts

Got to spend only an hour or so with the Sony NEX-FS100U yesterday, thanks to our friends at Expandore. So this isn’t a full review, just a quick look I got in between meetings. My first impressions are actually pretty favorable. If you’ve used an EX-1 or EX-3, this functions pretty much the same, and there will be no real learning curve.

First off, the construction of the camera was actually very good. Sure it was no Arri or Leica like tank, but it felt exactly the same as our EX-1’s in terms of build, solid and serviceable. So if you’re happy with the construction of those cameras, you’ll be happy with the FS100U.

The LCD was nice, and crisp, and can be placed for any viewing angle except under the camera. The included viewfinder was a bit ungainly, but worked well once it was set and locked, in case you’re out in the bright sunshine.

Video Cameras

So NAB 2011 is next week, and I won’t be attending this year. I’ve done NAB more times than I can count both as an attendee and a journalist, and have probably racked up at least a couple of hundred miles in the LVCC over the years.

Partly because I’m based in Singapore now, and partly because I’m just tired of the show floor experience, I’ve decided to try something I’ve always suspected would work just as well. I’m going to cover the show from the internet.

Industry

Avid Symphony is supposed to be Avid’s High-End finishing system. To justify it’s $35,000 price tag over the $2,500 version of Media Composer it comes with a workstation, a Nitris breakout box, and additional features that Media Composer Software doesn’t have, those features are:

  • Universal Mastering (allowing you to output at a different format and frame rate than your sequence setting)
  • Some Secondary Color Correction Tools

That is all.

Post

What’s the ideal amount of in-field recording time? While some might say you can never have too much, for workflow reasons smaller amounts of footage can be much more manageable. So how much capacity is enough?

30 minute tape loads have been the standard since the BetacamSP days. 11 minutes of per roll (wether 400′ of 16mm, or 1000′ of 35mm). has always been pretty standard in the film world. 60 minutes was the run time of MiniDV.

I don’t think anyone would argue that these runtimes are optimal, as changing reels, and tapes has always been a hassle, especially if you run out in the middle of the take. They are simply limited by the considerations of physical space. There’s only so much tape that can be packed into a cassette, there’s only so much film that can fit into a camera.

Production

Each Friday, I take a look at some of the week’s most interesting stories on the web for film and video technology.

The big news this week was the announcement of Sony’s NEX-FS100U. A Super 35mm sized sensor, with interchangeable e-mount lenses, and unique form factor has sent the production community into a buzz. Some early first-looks at pre-production cameras have been making the rounds to different opinions.

Uncategorized

Post Video Cameras

Don’t get me wrong, on the whole I love Avid Media Composer. I’ve been editing with it since the 90’s, and for periods in my career, I owed my living to working with Media Composer. I still think its the best editor money can buy.

That said, I’m giving version 5.5 a miss, and not upgrading the 15 Media Composers and 1 Symphony we have in house. The upgrade price is reasonable, at $150 for the software download, though the $995 upgrade for the Symphony is simply a crime (the woes of being an Avid Symphony owner are worthy of it’s own post). No, while I think that charging at all for the “.5” releases is a bit cheeky, even if Avid 5.5 was a free update I’d still think it’s probably not even worth the manpower to install and test. Bug-fixes are one thing, and there still are some fairly major ones in 5.3 at the moment, but paid upgrade for these features only? At best it’s a “meh” release, at worst it’s a little embarrassing.

Avid Post

It’s no secret that there’s a hole in the digital filmmaking workflow when it comes to archiving. In the days when film acquisition was the only game in town, your negative was the archive, it stayed in the can ready for whenever you needed it. In the days when videotape ruled the land, each tape was the archive, you put it on the shelf and it was waiting there for you years later. In memory based recording, there is no physical object on which your media lives permanently. It’s shuffled from expensive media card to inexpensive hard disk, where it’s edited, and when it’s done, perhaps laid off to tape, or more and more these days, delivered on a another hard drive.

Some people are using hard disks as an archiving solution. Shane Ross of Litte Frog in High Def fame, has come up with a nice system, but it’s really more of a 3-5 year medium term solution rather than a true archive.

Hard disks are intricate mechanical devices, not designed for long term storage. And who’s to say when the data interface will be obsolete? (Try to get data off a SCSI II drive these days).

Industry Post

OK. I get the love for the Canon 5DmkII, I understand that sometimes artistic expression DEMANDS that only the one eye of your talent is in focus, while the entire rest of the frame consists of that rich, creamy, frothy, bokeh that we all know is the real reason we shoot movies in the first place.

I understand that the Panasonic AG AF-100 will allow you to use ALL THE LENSES IN THE WORLD to make your web masterpiece, when those loser Hollywood types are limited to shooting their films with just a handful of primes.

I comprehend the need to shoot your 8 hour documentary on yarn twisting on a Sony Handycam, so the intimidating size of a real camera won’t scare the old ladies.

BUT IN 2011 THERE IS NO REASON TO USE AVCHD AS AN ACQUISITION CODEC!

Industry Post Rant Video Cameras

Canon’s pint-sized XF105 could very well be THE revolutionary camcorder for 3D enthusiasts.

I went to a Canon camcorder event yesterday, to take a look at possible replacements for our aging DVX102’s. After taking a look an Canon’s full XF lineup, there was an interesting presentation by Ian Wee of Widescreen Media (I always learn something new about 3D listening to that guy) about using two XF105’s in a 3D rig.

Watching a film is all about willing suspension of disbelief, that the illusion of motion depth and sound on the screen is real. 3D is a very difficult art to pull off, and if its not done technically perfect, it breaks the illusion, and snaps us out of the movie.

There are three main features that Canon included in this camera that make it primed for 3D illusion making.

Gear Video Cameras