{ illuma·blogspot·com }

Saturday, January 28, 2012

••◊ To My Dearest Canon

To my dearest Canon,

Since you have neglected to produce an updated 5D for video and instead created a very expensive video camera, I would like to humbly request a few minor updates to my beloved 5D mark II's firmware.

  1. Provide a mode where we can crop into the center of the sensor and decimate the pixels by two (3820x2160) so I can avoid the line skipping/moire problems I always get on every shoot.  You did this on the C300 and it's actually less CPU intensive because there's no scaling algorithm.  You stated it in your press release material.  I won't mind the crop factor since it will likely be pretty close to super 35mm movie film.
  2. Provide a calibrated rec.709 picture style.  I had to create this myself using a DSC chart. 
  3. Provide a Canon log-gamma picture style, same as the C300
  4. Allow the 5D mark II to output clean HDMI with no overlays and no compression.  I will record this output to an external recorder.  You don't need to worry about writing to the CF card in this mode since it's for external recording only.  If you can make it 10-bit HDMI that would be even better since that's the maximum I can record using an Atmos Samuri or Ki Pro Mini.
  5. Allow me to disable the wind filter in the audio menu
  6. Enable an audio level overlay like the folks at Magic Lantern have enabled.
  7. Optional, but nice to have features would be a luminance chart, vectorscope, and video zebras, but the histogram you provided has proven to be very useful and I'd rather have 1-6 above.
Please let me know when the beta period begins so I can help with testing.

Faithfully yours,

- illuma.blogspot.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

••◊ Color Correction and Grading Resources

I'm knee deep in production this week so this is going to be a short post on some resources that recently became available for color correction and grading.
First off, Shane Hurlbut's blog has a guest entry from Vashi Nedomansky discussing the very basics of color correcting and grading footage.  Excellent beginner read.  It made me think about a thing or two again.

Also, Blackmagic Design just released a free "Beginner" (and I use that term loosely) version of Divinci Resolve Lite.  I still need to read the manual to figure it out, but it's the bomb if you need pro power on a college student budget.  It might be interesting to apply this same powerful program to still images since it's easy to import and export compatible image formats from Photoshop.

Finally, Stu Maschwitz offers some advice when dealing with color correcting DSLR footage.  Again, handy for the no budget film maker.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

••◊ On tour at Mission Beach

Over the holiday break Hope called me up and wanted to do another photo session with her fierce posse.  The first assignment... ?  Band photos.  What immediately popped into my head was the well known and maligned band-against-a-brick-wall photo.  Check out the hall of shame at this link.  I declined to join their club. 

Hope described the shoot as if the ladies were going on a comedy tour and needed a promo shot.  I at least got two of them to look in random directions because it isn't a band photo if one or more of the subjects doesn't look in a pseudo-random direction.  Makes you wonder what they're thinking as they stare intently at a piece of gaffer tape on the gear table behind the photographer!  "Did I remember to lock my car?"  "What do you think they'll order for lunch?  I hope it's not pizza again.  I'm getting sick of pizza."  "Remember to pick up AA batteries and hummus on the way home this time." etc...

In the photo below my first impression went all the way back to Van Halen.  Jessica as David, Hope as Eddie, Acasia as Alex, and Jen as Mikey.  I think Jessica might have been born about the time the group parted ways with David Lee Roth, so it's really like I'm taking a picture of the bitter Hollywood daughters of Van Halen trying to come out from under their parents shadow.

I've diverged too far.  Pictures are below.

Speaking of Jen.  She was new the group so, of course, I absconded with her for additional pictures.  She has a Julia Roberts type of smile - friendly. 

The graffiti shack on the Mission Beach jetty made for an interesting sunset location with it's open view and street artwork.  I thought the nicely defined edge light made the mood cinematic.  I just had to add a little on-axis fill light to make the graffiti come out of the shadow.  The other two shots happened based on where I had Jen stand.  Nothing special added, besides Jen of course.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

••◊ Home for the Holidays

If it wasn't obvious from the Pike Place Market post last week, I spent Christmas at home in the Seattle area.  Now that I'm sitting here listening to Blind Willie McTell, a CD (yes, they still exist) I received as a Christmas present, it's time to pull out the holiday photos.  The picture below represents one of the more unexpected gifts I received this year.  Anyone familiar with the move "A Christmas Story" will immediately recognize the controversial Italian leg lamp.  It's a major award!  The lamp must be Italian because the crate was marked "fragile"; mispronounced in pseudo-Italian as "frah-gee-lay".  Fun, and a movie reference to boot.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is my sister's most entertaining gift - "Haiku for the Single Girl."  The haiku shown below gave us all a crack up, and not just because of the timely Muppet's reference.

Sometimes I wonder which ornaments end up on the tree because my mom likes them and which ones remain because she feels guilty throwing them away. I get the soldier and carousel horse for the most part, but Darth Vader?  I know I went through the early 80's Star Wars phase, but mom it's OK to "forget" to hang the tribute to George Lucas' license agreement with the signature disco dance floor that lights up.  I won't notice it missing... swear.

As a young kid I made the Christmas alligator shown below.  Now that I look at it I'm not sure if the can pull tabs were from soda pop or beer... hmmmm.  Did the grown ups have just a little too much fun providing the art supplies from the Rainier Brewery?!  I'll never know.  At least the alligator's legs have glitter, which makes the ornament semi-legit for Christmas.

Christmas also provided a chance to catch up with old friends.  Jake, my best friend from high school, and his wife Emily were in town to visit with Jake's relatives.  The Diner, you may ask?  Why... "Jake's" of course.  Yes, I met Jake at a diner named Jake's - it was fate.  The waitresses, all well into their late 50's, had the hair of an 80's rocker girl from a Whitesnake video.  The only bigger hair I've seen is on the 80's hair of the band Cinderella!  The simple cinnamon roll that I ordered came with about 3/4's cup of frosting.  I had to puddle the frosting to the side to actually see, much less eat the roll!  Guess I should have taken a photo... oh well.

At the end of every vacation is a family goodbye.  My mom and I aren't much for being in front of the camera, so this was all I could think of to take as my mom drove away.  Sometimes a photo is intentional and sometimes a photo just has an intent.  I like to think this rather dull photo has the intent of a family goodbye.  At least a little humor is thrown in on the license plate of the red car at the right.

The last stop on my vacation was Capitol Hill at the Harvard Exit theater to see "The Artist", which I can safely recommend.  After watching "Senna" (recommended), "Bride Flight" (recommended), "Mission Impossible" (surprisingly good because of Simon Pegg), and "The Girl Who Played with Fire (meh), I guess I was ready for more.  The coffee shop was waiting for us afterward, which resulted in the pictures below.  It was funny because our window seats at the coffee shop featured two bookshops that book-ended a gay men's underwear store - not totally surprising for the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  So our views included people calmly browsing the bookstores and oiled up mostly naked men modelling underwear on a flashy big screen TV in the underwear shop.

Next week - back to the pretty girl models. Must... Erase... Men's... Underwear... Store... From Memory...

Monday, January 2, 2012

••◊ Neshima on kickstarter

This last winter I had a chance to work on a feature film called "Neshima" about ancient warriors in a battle over a treasure. I only worked on about one-quarter of the film, so even I don't know the whole story.  My adventures with the cast and crew can be read about here and here.

Neshima is very ambitiously being done on a shoe string budget with deferred compensation for most people involved. The quality of the actors is first rate, as most of them are SAG. We shot on the new Red Epic camera in awesome locations, so the footage has a cinematic feel. What's left is post production, including editing, ADR, color correction, music, sound design, and many VFX shots. When they finished filming two weeks ago I told them "Congratulations. Only 90% to go!"

The producers finally released a very preliminary teaser trailer to enable their kickstarter fundraising efforts to finish the film.  A widget that will link you to the trailer is embedded below. For some reason the trailer itself won't load in a blogger page.  If you think it's worthy I would encourage you to throw in a few bucks.