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Sunday, August 14, 2016

••◊ Video Production Essentials

Dom wanted to create a short tutorial on the essentials for a video production go-bag.  So we recorded this yesterday.  It's a great little piece of information for anyone starting out in the business.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

••◊ Shooting on actual FILM! - Highway 20


Believe it or not, I actually shot on film this last weekend - Kodak Ektar 100 to be exact.  The idea was that this would be a warm up for a future outdoor adventure with my grandpa's Pentax Spotmatic IIa SLR camera, circa 1968.  I inherited two "useful" lenses; a 28mm f/3.5 and 55mm f1.4 Takumar lenses.  Oh, how I really wanted a 35mm lens!

My results were mixed.  This experience taught me how much I should appreciate the advantages of modern digital cameras.  When I got the negative scans back they all had extreme contrast, which I had to fix in Photoshop.  The shadows were just...gone and the highlights were blown out.  Saturation could be problematic, depending on the hue.  Half the pictures were garbage because of the limited dynamic range of this film stock.  Since the outing I've learned that Ektar isn't the most forgiving for dynamic range.  I would have been better using Kodak Portra 400 or Fuji Pro 400H.

I also learned that film is sensitive to UV, sort of like digital sensors are sensitive to infrared.  So at any reasonable altitude you're supposed to use a UV filter, like the Tiffen Haze-1.  This can be had on Ebay for about $10.  I didn't have one with me.  The really cheap UV filters do little to nothing, despite their product naming.  Cheap UV filters also blur the image.

My biggest concern in shooting film was exposure.  I'll likely never come back to these places and not knowing if I got the exposure right in tricky situations, like mixed shadows and dappled sunlight, was a bit concerning.  I was also limited to ASA 100, which meant I couldn't get certain shots in the canopy of the woods without loading a different roll of film - after I used up the current roll!  This seems to unnatural to me since I'm used to ISO sensitivity just being a knob roll on a DSLR.




So, the camera does work.  But do I pine for film, like the hipster squad?  Not really.  When I have to get the negatives scanned in a lower resolution than most modern digital cameras, manipulate the contrast and saturation in post, and publish digitally, I have yet to see an advantage for image quality.  What I will say is that it was refreshing not having to worry about the camera's battery wearing down.  But you have to be aware of the 36 exposure limit at all times, which limits creativity and experimentation.  Every "oops" costs money. 

The original idea here was that since this was my grandpa's camera, it would be like taking him along on the trip if we shot on his trusty SLR.  In that regard, I see merit and will try to keep going with film.  But eventually I'll probably settle down into my digital comfort zone again.  Besides, modern (good) lenses are much better. 

   

Sunday, July 31, 2016

••◊ ND versus IRND filters

In our latest tutorial for Video Gear Dominique demonstrates the difference between standard ND and IRND filters.  In case it wasn't obvious, we partnered with Formatt-Hitech for the IRND filters.  They worked so well that I want to get a set.  I still have to sell two more of my Tiffen filters to get there.



Sunday, July 3, 2016

••◊ 5600K or Chroma Green Panel For Green Screen with the Cineo HS2?

Dom and I made a short tech video showing the difference between using the 5600K panel and Chroma Green panel when lighting up a green screen using the Cineo HS2.  In general, I like these LED lights.  They require only small adjustments in post to bring skin tones to perfection - no small feat for most LED lights.

The problem we had with our loaner units is that they didn't include the barn door set, so we had green spill galore problems and couldn't do a demo of a person in front of the screen.  The shop didn't have enough black solids left in rental to flag off the spill of the lights.  So if you use these, make sure they come with the rear ballast mount *and* barn door kit.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

••◊ Interview Camera Techniques

Dom, Haley, and I pounded out a quick camera tutorial yesterday on camera angles and focal lengths used during interviews.  This was Haley's first time on camera!

We were loaned two Cineo HS2 units right before the shoot and decided to assemble them and use them at the last minute.  The scene is almost completely lit with the two HS2's and a Cineo Matchbox.  There's a small amount of daylight coming through the windows which lit the back wall.  I made Dom take a picture.  What I found is that there was very little color tweaking in post to get the skin tones to look natural - a credit to their product.

This coming week we're going to do a video highlighting the HS2 lights.  So stay tuned.



Saturday, June 18, 2016



I began making 3D CAD for the LED light this last week.  It's slow going because I'm a newbie at mechanical CAD, but I'm slowly getting there.  In the photo above you can see the six bulb PCB's, a (unfinished) heat sink, and four fans for the assembly. 

The heat sink and fan vendors didn't have mechanical CAD publicly available for their parts so I'm having to make the parts myself.  I want to go as far as defining the entire bulb and cooling system in CAD, then leave the rest for the next phase of the project - which is the housing.

It's fun learning something new.  Now I can say that I'm a triple threat at work.  I design electronics, write firmware, now design mechanical parts.  I used to have to do this on engineering paper and an Excel spreadsheet, but installation of new CAM machines at work forced me into the modern age.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

••◊ Dom's Emmy Win!




I finally received a picture of Dom's Emmy win from last night.  He won for the Lomics app commercial, which I helped him color correct.  I'm not directly saying the color correction clinched the win, but... 

Congratulations on your award.  Now I can say that I work closely with an Emmy award winning director.